About me

In 2010 I made the decision to follow a career path dedicated to peace building and conflict resolution, resulting in enlistment at the Royal Netherlands Navy in 2012. Currently, I am specializing into conflict resolution at Radboud University's Center for International Conflict -  Analyses and Managment. Between July 2015 and February 2016 I started working for the non-profit foundation 'United Netherlands' - facilitating the course 'United Nations and Multilateral Diplomacy: Theory & Practice' to a group of highly motivated and ambitious students from the Netherlands. In February 2016 I started my own consultancy and training bureau "Pantheon". Focussing on teaching skills needed to act within the international setting (Public Speaking, Negotiation, Etiquette, Protocol) as well as offering consultation on maritime and defense issues.

The Kosovo Just War Problem

By G.L.J. Jacobs on 2016-06-23 in Papers,

Based on CMHER's "A Just War? President Clinton’s Response to Kosovo". The Conflict Management in Higher Education Report (CMHER) is a project of Campus Conflict Resolution Resources with support from a FIPSE grant from the US Department of Education and initial seed money from the Hewlett Foundation-funded CRInfo project. See also: http://www.campus-adr.org/CMHER/ReportResources/Edition3_3/HumanRights.html

The Kosovo War (February 1998 - June 1999) was, and one may argue still is, a complex and problematic development of Ius ad Bellum theory. Unquestionably the 1990s were the theater of many atrocities of war following the end of the bipolar world that had kept aggresion in check between the end of World War II and the fall of the Soviet union.  In this short essay, I seek to analyze the immoral 'wrongs' and the moral 'rights' of the decision by the Clinton administration to incite war.

The intentions of intervening in Kosovo, assuming that they indeed were based on the indications of repetition of '94 are morally unquestionably right. I assume that this intention is the case, as the following quote suggests: "We will not allow another Bosnia to happen in Kosovo."[1] We test the morality of war to the principles of the Christian tradition of Ius ad Bellum: There should be a just cause; Attempts at peaceful resolution should have been exhausted; The war should be decided on by an appropriate authority, and it needs to be clear which that authority is; War will not make the situation even worse than it is already; There should be reasonable prospect of achieving the aims of the war.[2]  The decision to act meets the first two principles, is questionable at the third, and unsuccessful in meeting the last two principles.

While the Kantian intentions of the administration's decision are unquestionably morally right, the actions that executed the intentions, and the outcomes that followed are nearly, if not all morally wrong. Firstly and foremost immorally is the Commander in Chief's distraction caused by private matters outside of political sphere, and at the same time those who seek to influence Clinton by politicizing the matter for political gain. War, seen as the Clausewitzian extension of politics has as its goal the controlled and purposeful great destructive (kinetic) force to support a government's decision. As such the application of force is an immaculate coercion, yet it demands the appliers (in this case the Commander in Chief) full attention. The immorality of the decision makers involved can also be derived from the "credit claiming" and "blame avoiding"[3] strategy that was crucial in the two-level game taking place in Washington. Some members of Congress wanted to have it both ways: to avoid responsibility for a bad outcome in Bosnia but to share in the political fruits of a good outcome . . . they said the mission was not worth fighting for, and then they off handily accepted that American soldiers should be sent to fight for it.[4]

The immorality is followed trough in the decisions on how to apply force, by using advanced, low-risk technology. While such technology may be very well used for Ius ad Vim, the justified use of force, its immaculate character depends on the reason why such tools are used. In the Kosovo case it was to prevent U.S. deaths, making sure the pilots would return from their missions alive. On the other side of the scale, however, we see the indiscriminate power of cluster munitions. The use of cluster projectile lead to the unnecessary death of many non-combatants. The use of advanced technology can be justified if it is used to protect the innocent, not to protect the soldier at the cost of the innocent.    

While writing this essay celebrations are held at home, commemorating the sacrifices of the soldiers in the liberation of The Netherlands, as well as celebrating our freedom (4th & 5th May). How different approach to intervention from the technological racism[5] that the administration was accused of.

I conclude that the decision to act was heavily influenced by immorality taking place Washington, both in Clinton's private sphere as well in the political two-level game. The intentions were corrupted as it was no longer about intervening and a responsibility to protect the innocent, but rather about political gain in Washington.  Three of the five principles of Ius Ad Bellum are not met, and consequently, immoral actions were taken to solve the Kosovo crisis. Judging on my visit to Kosovo in February 2016 and would openly question whether the Kosovo crisis has been solved at all.


[1] Special envoy Robert Gelbard and Muslim leader Ibrahim Rugova. Elaine Sciolino and Ethan Bronner, "How a President, Distracted by Scandal, Entered Balkan War," New York Times Apr 18, 1999, p. 1.

[2] R. Sorabji, Just War from Ancient Origins to the Conquistadors Debate and its Modern Relevance, in: R. Sorabji and Do. Rodin (eds), The Ethics of War: Shared Problems in Different Traditions, Ashgate, 2009, p.14.

[3] Congress and Bosnia," Washington Post, December 15, 1995, p. 24.

[4] J.H. Ely, War and Responsibility, Princeton University Press, 1993 p. 54 as quoted in Glennon.

[5] R.W. Apple, "A Domestic Sort With Global Worries," New York Times, August 25, 1999, p. 1 quoting an op ed column from The Wall Street Journal. Apple bases the accusation on the premise that the life of "one American serviceman was not worth risking in order to save the lives of thousands of Kosovars".

Civil-Military Relations in Japan

By G.L.J. Jacobs on 2016-06-23 in Papers,

Lutterbeck (2013) distinguishes civil-military relations as an area of study in two sub fields. Generally concerned it deals with the relationship between the military and the civilian authorities (and those employed by both authorities). In a broader sense, the field studies the relationship between military and society as a whole - and the place of the military within a society. Furthermore, a distinction can be made between the interaction between military forces and civilians abroad which is often referred to as 'Civil-Military Interaction', 'CIMIC', or 'CMCoord' (Rietjens & Bollen, 2008; Hoogensen Gjorv, 2014). This is not to say Japan does not engage in CIMIC/CMCoord activities; rather it might be these types of engagement under UN Mandate that explain recent developments (Arrington, 2002). Japan has a strained relationship between military and civilian, which can be traced back in the second world war in the twentieth century: Pre-war militaristic Japan vis-à-vis post-war renouncement of war under a tight civilian control. It is only recently that Japan has re-institutionalized the Ministry of Defence, and slowly the relationship between civil and military is redefined.

When looking at civil-military as a whole, and how it may influence foreign policy one may look at the writings of Huntington (1957) and Janowitz (1960). The development of a distinct form of 'military professionalism' would be the best way to ensure a strong civilian control of the military according to Huntington (Huntington, 1957). 'Military professionalism' implies a specific expertise in the legitimate use of force (Ius ad Vim). Furthermore, it serves as a primary responsibility within the state for military functions and makes use of its own internal hierarchy and rules of advancement in its own bureaucratic military organization. In contrast; Janowitz argues for a conscripted army, a general conscription would be a key instrument in convergence between the spheres of the military and the civilian. Janowitz highlights the fundamental differences between the two spheres with the former being based on hierarchy, order, and strict discipline. The latter is disorderly and values individual freedoms (Janowitz, 1960). By converging the two spheres and encouraging mutual exchange and regular interaction between the two domains, the military remains responsive to the demands of the civilian authorities and will, as a result, be 'civilianized'. Both theories may have been of use to understand civil-military relations in Japan in various points of history. However, contemporary neither seem applicable. At best we see elements of Huntington's arguments to separate the military functions, but rather than trusting them with 'military professionalism', Japan has placed the defence forces under guardianship of the bureaucratic apparatus (Huntington, 1957; Buck J. H., 1976; Pyle, 1992; Gow, 1993; Dunn, 2003).

From Pre-war militarism to Renouncing War

In contrast with the post-war era till the end of the twentieth-century Japanese militarism refers to the ideology of the Pre-war Empire of Japan that militarism should dominate the political and social life of the nation. Related to foreign policy, militarism sees that the strength of the military to be equal to the strength of a nation. The pre-war experience of an active, interventionist military strongly influenced post-war civil-military relations (Buck J. H., 1967; Gow, 1993) Samuel P. Huntington (1957), Samuel E. Finer (1962), and Michael Desch (2001) all examine pre-war Japan and offer their theories as to why the military became a dominant authority in the state with little or no check on its power and activities.

Over the course of the years following defeat in 1945, Japan's armed forces have been transformed from the militarist elite clique that lost the war and destroyed the country, into a more or less accepted instrument of Japanese foreign and domestic policy (Dunn, 2003). Japan began rearming in the 1950s and laid the foundation for effective civilian control of the SDF with the laws and interpretations of the constitution that enforced it. (Dunn, 2003) The so-called "Yoshida Doctrine," named for the prominent post-war Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru, who developed it, provided guidance for post-war economic, security, and military policy (Pyle, 1992, pp. 20-41). One important aspect of the Constitution was Article 9 which stated that "the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation" and that military forces "will never be maintained". When Yoshida Shigeru made his policies (the Yoshida Doctrine) Article 9 played a large role. (Holcombe, 2011, pp. 277-286)

First, excessive civilian control in Japan may negatively affect the ability of the SDF to accomplish its mission and of the civilian government to formulate effective defence policies (Sigur, 1975; Buck J. H., 1976; Gow, 1993). Second, there is a disagreement among the civilian leadership in Japan over what constitutes civilian control. The dividing line between the left and right seems to be the Diet (assembly) and the civilian bureaucracy, respectively, Left out by both sides are the positions of the prime minister as commander-in-chief of the SDF and the Director General of the Defence Agency as the primary advisor on defence issues (at least in theory) (Gow, 1993; Watanabe, 1996).

Resurgence of Japan's Military Apparatus

More recently changes are made in Japan's military apparatus and the way it is being controlled by civilians. Aminta Arrington argues that societal-military relations are improving because the values of society and the values of the SDF are converging as a result of the SDF taking on United Nation peacekeeping and humanitarian missions (2002). Until a decade ago the Defence Agency did not have ministerial status, in 2007 the National Diet passed into law the change of status of the Defence Agency to a Cabinet-level Defence Ministry. The influence of uniformed personnel compared to their civilian counterparts inside the defence ministry, and on the Minister himself, is going to increase. For obvious historical reasons related to the right of supreme command, granted to the Japanese military until the end of the Second World War, the fact that operational planning is placed under the responsibility of the Joint Staff has triggered much concern in Japan about the civilian control of military affairs (Fatton, 2015). These concerns may be valid, though there is much disagreement on what the developments mean for the region. In the last decade of the twentieth century some studies often look at domestic and international constraints on Japan that prevent or dissuade it from becoming a military power (Berger, 1993; Keddell, 1993; Katzenstein, 1996) while other authors have predicted or expressed fear of a return to militarism (Pyle, 1992, pp. 11-19). It remains to be seen how the developments in the region - in particular with the South China Sea Dispute - will further develop the new civil-military relationship in Japan.


Arrington, A. (2002). Cautious Reconciliation: The Change in Societal-Military Relations in Germany and Japan Since the End of the Cold War. Armed Forces and Society , 28 (4), 531-554.

Berger, T. U. (1993). From Sword to Chrysanthemum: Japan's Culture of Anti-militarism. International Security , 119-150.

Buck, J. H. (1976). Civilian Control of the Military in japan. In C. E. Welch, Civilian Control of the Military: Theory and Cases from Developing Countries (pp. 149-185). Albany: State University of New York Press.

Buck, J. H. (1967). The Japanese Self-Defense Forces. Asian Survey , 597-613.

Desch, M. C. (2001). Civilian Control of the Military: The Changing Security Environment. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.

Dunn, T. C. (2003, May). Civil-Military Relations in Japan. Austin, Texas, United States of America: University of Texas.

Fatton, L. (2015). Do Shinzo Abe’s Defense Initiatives Matter? The Diplomat .

Finer, S. E. (1962). The Man on Horseback: The Role of the Military in Politics. New York: Frederick A. Praeger.

Gow, I. (1993). Civilian Control of the Military in Post-War Japan. In R. Matthews, & K. Matthews, Japan's Military Renaissance? (pp. 50-68). New York: St. Martine Press.

Holcombe, C. (2011). A history of East Asia: From the origins of civilization to the twenty-first century. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Hoogensen Gjorv, G. (2014). Understanding Civil-Military Interaction, Lessons Learned from the Norwegian Model. Farnham: Ashgate.

Huntington, S. (1957). The Soldier and the State - The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Janowitz, M. (1960). The Professional Soldier: A Social and Political Portrait. Glencoe: Free Press.

Katzenstein, P. J. (1996). Cultural Norms and National SecurityL Police and Military in Postwar Japan. Ithica: Cornell University Press.

Keddell, J. P. (1993). The Politics of Defense in Japan: Managing Internal and External Pressures. Armonk: M.E. Sharpe.

Lutterbeck, D. (2013). Arab Uprisings, Armed Forces, and Civil-Military Relations. Armed Forces & Society , 39 (1), 28-52.

Pyle, K. B. (1992). The Japanese Question: Power and Purpose in a New Era. New York: AEI Press.

Rietjens, S., & Bollen, M. T. (2008). Managing Civil-Military Cooperation: A 24/7 Joint Effort for Stability. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Limited.

Sigur, G. J. (1975). Power, Politics and Defense. In J. H. Buck, The modern Japanese Military System (pp. 181-195). Beverly Hills: sage Publications.

Watanabe, T. (1996, Summer). The Bankruptcy of Civil-Military Relations in Japan. Washington, D.C., United States of America: Center for Strategic & International Studies.



Pool Sovereignty

By G.L.J. Jacobs on 2016-04-12 in Definitions,

A term used to denote the sharing of decision‐making powers between states in systems of international cooperation. Whereas unanimous decision‐making between states leaves sovereignty unscathed, given the right of any state to unilaterally veto decisions, pooling of sovereignty implies a departure from unanimous decision‐making. The most prominent system of international cooperation in which sovereignty is pooled is the European Union (EU). In a number of issue areas which have been defined in the treaty and subsequent treaty amendments, the member state delegates in the Council, one of the EU's legislative organs, decide by a qualified majority. Consequently, pooling creates the possibility that individual member states can be outvoted. The main reason why states choose to pool sovereignty is to reduce the likelihood of gridlock in policy areas where—on average—states expect to be better off by pooling sovereignty than by retaining the unanimity rule. This has been the case particularly in the context of creating a European single market for goods and services. The introduction of qualified majority voting in these issues demonstrated that EU member states valued the benefits of the abolition of trade barriers more than those that would have been associated with retaining the right to veto. However, in policy areas which governments consider particularly sensitive for domestic or ideological reasons or where the potential gains from pooling sovereignty are uncertain, governments are likely to retain the right to veto (for example, foreign and security policy, and redistributive policies).

Social Capital

By G.L.J. Jacobs on 2016-03-23 in Definitions,

By social capital, Putnam refers to norms of generalized reciprocity, trust, and networks of civic engagement that are organized horizontally. These ingredients of social capital reduce the information costs about the trustworthiness of other citizens and foster cooperation. Associations, voluntary organizations, and mass-based political parties represent such networks and they inculcate such norms and trust. In conditions where public life is organized hierarchically, engagement in horizontal organizations social and cultural associations does not exist, and thus norms of trust and cooperation cannot prevail.”