Friday, May 6, 2011

Just Policing: The End of Modern Warfare (Part 3 - Community Policing & Conclusion)

Tobias Winright outlines the community policing model that just policing supporters want to see integrated at the international level. Unlike a more militaristic “crime fighter” model of policing, which emphasizes the use of violent force as the primary occupation of police and an “us vs. them” mindset, community policing understands the policing function to be more like peacekeeping. In this paradigm, police concentrate on crime prevention, being proactive rather than reactive, and utilizing persuasive and less-than-lethal methods of conflict resolution. They also emphasize the importance of community building, where the police and communities partner together to bring about social change, locating the root causes of crime, and viewing criminals as fellow community members who are “made not born.”

Because community policing has already shown success at the domestic level, just policing supporters argue it should be extended to the international level as well. To implement such a program at the international level, the view of states as totally independent entities needs to be replaced by one that emphasizes “multilateral cooperation, global institutions, and international law.” This paradigm calls for a strong international community with global police forces to apprehend or stop criminals and nations who violate international law. International courts would be responsible for punishing criminals, while a main international police institution (likely through the UN) would network with regional (“neighborhood”) police stations throughout the world. These regional stations would partner with local humanitarian and peacemaking groups, as well as NGOs to prevent crime. The police would have other responsibilities beyond the potential use of force that would facilitate community integration and cooperation. All of this would legally require states to significantly limit their military power, and to start viewing themselves as part of a global community of nations. While much of this may sound idealistic, just policing advocates argue that due largely to globalization, there are many signs of a more integrated international community already emerging.

To be sure, just policing faces challenges from other paradigms. Political realists will dismiss it as na├»vely idealistic, because states will never (and should never) concede any military power to an international community. Many traditional just war theorists, pacifists, and Christian realists will argue similarly. At the same time, others in those three groups might eventually be persuaded by just policing because of overlapping methods and convictions. Just policing continues to use just war criteria by applying it to international policing. It agrees with Christian realists who insist that no matter how effective our institutions get at preventing crime, the use of force will remain necessary because there will always be criminals, injustice, and violence – even if there will not be wars. On the other hand, many Christian realists will probably be skeptical about the possibility of an extensive international community due to a stronger belief in the inherently selfish nature of states. Finally, because many pacifists see a qualitative difference between war and policing, they might eventually be able to support just policing. Schlabach argues that while policing requires strong legal accountability, a focus on the common good, and a presumption against violence, warfare inherently breaks away from the rule of law, places communities in opposition to one another, and devolves into excessive violence. Furthermore, some pacifists are even open to affirming vocational callings to participate in the policing function in some capacity. In light of these observations, just policing is likely to continue to be an important part of the debate about the ethics of war and peace

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