Two articles on Confucianism and Just War have been published in the latest Philosophy Compass:
- Sungmoon Kim, “The Violence of the Benevolent Ruler: Classical Confucianism and Punitive Expedition“
- Kurtis Hagen, “Mencius and Xunzi on the legitimate use of offensive force: A pacifistic critique of recent just war interpretations“
I suppose war is always regarded as just by one side or another. It depends on who is the aggressor against whom. A hardcore pacifist might insist that no war is justified but matters are always more complicated. Economic and ideological pressures have long been foundations for warfare: if someone has more of something than someone else and that someone wants a bigger piece of that pie, there is bound to be trouble. Blood shed is not a deterrent when taking is more expedient than earning. Warfare, similar to self-defense, is in our genes; the fight-or-flight response of other life forms is based in self-preservation. Humans make war because they can and someone always wants the stuff someone else has.
I cannot access the articles, but should one want to put this material in a larger comparative context, my bibliography would be a good place to start: https://www.academia.edu/5179203/Violent_Conflict_and_The_Laws_of_War_Moral_Legal_and_Political_Dimensions_A_Select_Bibliography
Also, betwixt and between so-called pacifism (Gandhian non-violence well explains how and why this term can be misleading) and just war, there is what Larry May (perhaps the foremost philosopher on international criminal justice and law) call “contingent pacifism,” which I suspect identifies a viewpoint many us can or do subscribe to: Larry May, Contingent Pacifism: Revisiting Just War Theory (Cambridge University Press, 2015).