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Catholic Dictionary




Conflict of armed force in which one nation or part of a nation seeks to impose its will on another nation or part of a nation. The basic premise of war is that every right is coercible. Thus a state has the right to use force if necessary to defend just rights or to exact reparation for the violation of rights by another state. Another premise is that since no supernational organization exists with the capacity of enforcing its just decisions, with acceptance by all nations, the right of coercibility can be exercised directly by the aggrieved state itself. (Etym. Old High German werra, confusion, strife.)