MORALITY IN WORLD POLITICS
MORALITY IN WORLD POLITICS
- Morality and fairness should certainly play a role in world politics. In the same situation, all humans should be treated equally, i.e. they should have the same rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
- As far as this is possible, this should be ensured using international law; however, due to the diversity of human cultures and ways of life, those laws often have to be limited to a basic set of rules that is shared by all societies.
- In addition to this lack of uniformity, the international system is anarchic, and there is no government that could rightly make, apply, and enforce international law. As a consequence, international law can only be made if nation-states volunteer to abide by it. MORALITY IN WORLD POLITICS
- Nation-states agree to do so only if it is in their own interests, and as long as they are considered sovereign, this will not change.
- National sovereignty, although it might prevent the application of international law, is not a bad concept, though: Due to the inhomogeneous nature of human cultures, a local government is more apt to understand the customs and values of its people, resulting in differing but more suitable laws.
- A world government that replaces sovereign states and that is able to implement international law might be forced to make invalid generalizations.
APPLIED MORAL STANDARDS
The moral standards applied to the issues discussed above strongly follow the philosophy of utilitarianism, in contrast to deontological theories.
- Deontologists believe that the morality of an act can be assessed independently of its consequences, i.e. they are either inherently good or bad.
- Utilitarianism, on the other hand, states that the actions are to be judged depending on their results, and that actions as such have no moral value.
- The present opinion makes use of utilitarianism in stating that neither foreign aid nor use of a force of mass destruction is good or bad in itself. MORALITY IN WORLD POLITICS
- In the first case, wisely organized foreign aid may help improve the economies of both countries, while ill planned or excessive aid may harm the needy country or even both.
- In the second case, a massive attack might protect a nation-state’s own citizens while sacrificing another’s, thus, making it justifiable; a not justifiable strike, on the other hand, could bring international sanctions upon the aggressor, causing a net impairment of its own situation.
In the end, it is only the well-being of the people that is of direct moral significance.
In the anarchic system of international relations, it is a nation state’s government that represents it and looks after its interests; therefore, the government’s primary concern has to the satisfaction of its own people.
In a conflict, this gives the government the right and duty to value the well-being of its own subjects over that of others and take the necessary actions, knowing that the opposing government will do the same for its people.