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The achievement of domestic security through the creation of a state is then paralleled by a condition of inter-state insecurity. One can argue that if Hobbes were fully consistent, he would agree with the notion that, to escape this condition, states should also enter into a contract and submit themselves to a world sovereign. He does not propose that a social contract among nations be implemented to bring international anarchy to an end. This is because the condition of insecurity in which states are placed does not necessarily lead to insecurity for their citizens.

As long as an armed conflict or other type of hostility between states does not actually break out, individuals within a state can feel relatively secure.

His theory of international relations, which assumes that independent states, like independent individuals, are enemies by nature, asocial and selfish, and that there is no moral limitation on their behavior, is a great challenge to the idealist political vision based on human sociability and to the concept of the international jurisprudence that is built on this vision. However, what separates Hobbes from Machiavelli and associates him more with classical realism is his insistence on the defensive character of foreign policy.

His political theory does not put forward the invitation to do whatever may be advantageous for the state. His approach to international relations is prudential and pacific: sovereign states, like individuals, should be disposed towards peace which is commended by reason.

By suggesting that certain dictates of reason apply even in the state of nature, he affirms that more peaceful and cooperative international relations are possible. Neither does he deny the existence of international law. Sovereign states can sign treaties with one another to provide a legal basis for their relations. At the same time, however, Hobbes seems aware that international rules will often prove ineffective in restraining the struggle for power.

States will interpret them to their own advantage, and so international law will be obeyed or ignored according to the interests of the states affected. Hence, international relations will always tend to be a precarious affair. Twentieth-century realism was born in response to the idealist perspective that dominated international relations scholarship in the aftermath of the First World War.

The idealists of the s and s also called liberal internationalists or utopians had the goal of building peace in order to prevent another world conflict. They saw the solution to inter-state problems as being the creation of a respected system of international law, backed by international organizations.

This interwar idealism resulted in the founding of the League of Nations in and in the Kellogg-Briand Pact of outlawing war and providing for the peaceful settlements of disputes. Fosdick, and other prominent idealists of the era, gave their intellectual support to the League of Nations.

Instead of focusing on what some might see as the inevitability of conflict between states and peoples, they chose to emphasize the common interests that could unite humanity, and attempted to appeal to rationality and morality. For them, war did not originate in an egoistic human nature, but rather in imperfect social conditions and political arrangements, which could be improved. Yet their ideas were already being criticized in the early s by Reinhold Niebuhr and within a few years by E.

This fact, perhaps more than any theoretical argument, produced a strong realist reaction. Then, during the s and s, classical realism came under challenge of scholars who tried to introduce a more scientific approach to the study of international politics. During the s it gave way to another trend in international relations theory—neorealism.

Since it is impossible within the scope of this article to introduce all of the thinkers who contributed to the development of twentieth-century classical realism, E. Carr and Hans Morgenthau, as perhaps the most influential among them, have been selected for discussion here.

Carr challenges idealism by questioning its claim to moral universalism and its idea of the harmony of interests. Carr uses the concept of the relativity of thought, which he traces to Marx and other modern theorists, to show that standards by which policies are judged are the products of circumstances and interests. His central idea is that the interests of a given party always determine what this party regards as moral principles, and hence, these principles are not universal.

Carr observes that politicians, for example, often use the language of justice to cloak the particular interests of their own countries, or to create negative images of other people to justify acts of aggression. Policies are not, as the idealists would have it, based on some universal norms, independent of interests of the parties involved.

While the idealists tend to regard such values, such as peace or justice, as universal and claim that upholding them is in the interest of all, Carr argues against this view. According to him, there are neither universal values nor universal interests. He claims that those who refer to universal interests are in fact acting in their own interests They think that what is best for them is best for everyone, and identify their own interests with the universal interest of the world at large. The idealist concept of the harmony of interests is based on the notion that human beings can rationally recognize that they have some interests in common, and that cooperation is therefore possible.

Carr contrasts this idea with the reality of conflict of interests. According to him, the world is torn apart by the particular interests of different individuals and groups. In such a conflictual environment, order is based on power, not on morality. Further, morality itself is the product of power Like Hobbes, Carr regards morality as constructed by the particular legal system that is enforced by a coercive power.

International moral norms are imposed on other countries by dominant nations or groups of nations that present themselves as the international community as a whole. Values that idealists view as good for all, such as peace, social justice, prosperity, and international order, are regarded by Carr as mere status quo notions. The powers that are satisfied with the status quo regard the arrangement in place as just and therefore preach peace.

They try to rally everyone around their idea of what is good. On the other hand, the unsatisfied powers consider the same arrangement as unjust, and so prepare for war. Hence, the way to obtain peace, if it cannot be simply enforced, is to satisfy the unsatisfied powers. Carr was a sophisticated thinker. Thus, he acknowledges that human beings need certain fundamental, universally acknowledged norms and values, and contradicts his own argument by which he tries to deny universality to any norms or values.

To make further objections, the fact that the language of universal moral values can be misused in politics for the benefit of one party or another, and that such values can only be imperfectly implemented in political institutions, does not mean that such values do not exist. There is a deep yearning in many human beings, both privileged and unprivileged, for peace, order, prosperity, and justice.

The legitimacy of idealism consists in the constant attempt to reflect upon and uphold these values. Idealists fail if in their attempt they do not pay enough attention to the reality of power. On the other hand, in the world of pure realism, in which all values are made relative to interests, life turns into nothing more than a power game and is unbearable. While we can fault the interwar idealists for their inability to construct international institutions strong enough to prevent the outbreak of the Second World War, this book indicates that interwar realists were likewise unprepared to meet the challenge.

Carr frequently refers to Germany under Nazi rule as if it were a country like any other. The inability of Carr and other realists to recognize the perilous nature of Nazism, and their belief that Germany could be satisfied by territorial concessions, helped to foster a political environment in which the latter was to grow in power, annex Czechoslovakia at will, and be militarily opposed in September by Poland alone. A theory of international relations is not just an intellectual enterprise; it has practical consequences.

It influences our thinking and political practice. On the practical side, the realists of the s, to whom Carr gave intellectual support, were people opposed to the system of collective security embodied in the League of Nations. Working within the foreign policy establishments of the day, they contributed to its weakness. Once they had weakened the League, they pursued a policy of appeasement and accommodation with Germany as an alternative to collective security Ashworth After the annexation of Czechoslovakia, when the failure of the anti-League realist conservatives gathered around Neville Chamberlain and of this policy became clear, they tried to rebuild the very security system they had earlier demolished.

Those who supported collective security were labeled idealists. Hans J.

Can We Think Systematically About Ethics and Statecraft?

Morgenthau — developed realism into a comprehensive international relations theory. Influenced by the Protestant theologian and political writer Reinhold Niebuhr, as well as by Hobbes, he places selfishness and power-lust at the center of his picture of human existence.

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The insatiable human lust for power, timeless and universal, which he identifies with animus dominandi , the desire to dominate, is for him the main cause of conflict. Morgenthau systematizes realism in international relations on the basis of six principles that he includes in the second edition of Politics among Nations. As a traditionalist, he opposes the so-called scientists the scholars who, especially in the s, tried to reduce the discipline of international relations to a branch of behavioral science.

Ethics and Statecraft : The Moral Dimension of International Affairs -

Nevertheless, in the first principle he states that realism is based on objective laws that have their roots in unchanging human nature 4. He wants to develop realism into both a theory of international politics and a political art, a useful tool of foreign policy. This concept defines the autonomy of politics, and allows for the analysis of foreign policy regardless of the different motives, preferences, and intellectual and moral qualities of individual politicians.

Furthermore, it is the foundation of a rational picture of politics. Although, as Morgenthau explains in the third principle, interest defined as power is a universally valid category, and indeed an essential element of politics, various things can be associated with interest or power at different times and in different circumstances. Its content and the manner of its use are determined by the political and cultural environment.

In the fourth principle, Morgenthau considers the relationship between realism and ethics. He says that while realists are aware of the moral significance of political action, they are also aware of the tension between morality and the requirements of successful political action. This is stressed in the fifth principle, where Morgenthau again emphasizes the idea that all state actors, including our own, must be looked at solely as political entities pursuing their respective interests defined in terms of power.

Insofar as power, or interest defined as power, is the concept that defines politics, politics is an autonomous sphere, as Morgenthau says in his sixth principle of realism. It cannot be subordinated to ethics. However, ethics does still play a role in politics. Political art requires that these two dimensions of human life, power and morality, be taken into consideration.

Rational state actors pursue their national interests. Therefore, a rational theory of international politics can be constructed. Such a theory is not concerned with the morality, religious beliefs, motives or ideological preferences of individual political leaders. It also indicates that in order to avoid conflicts, states should avoid moral crusades or ideological confrontations, and look for compromise based solely on satisfaction of their mutual interests. Although he defines politics as an autonomous sphere, Morgenthau does not follow the Machiavellian route of completely removing ethics from politics.

He suggests that, although human beings are political animals, who pursue their interests, they are moral animals. Deprived of any morality, they would descend to the level of beasts or sub-humans. Even if it is not guided by universal moral principles, political action thus has for Morgenthau a moral significance. Ultimately directed toward the objective of national survival, it also involves prudence.

Morgenthau regards realism as a way of thinking about international relations and a useful tool for devising policies. However, some of the basic conceptions of his theory, and especially the idea of conflict as stemming from human nature, as well as the concept of power itself, have provoked criticism. International politics, like all politics, is for Morgenthau a struggle for power because of the basic human lust for power.

But regarding every individual as being engaged in a perpetual quest for power—the view that he shares with Hobbes—is a questionable premise. Human nature cannot be revealed by observation and experiment. It cannot be proved by any empirical research, but only disclosed by philosophy, imposed on us as a matter of belief, and inculcated by education.

Traditions of International Ethics - entire book

Morgenthau himself reinforces the belief in the human drive for power by introducing a normative aspect of his theory, which is rationality. But he defines rationality as a process of calculating the costs and benefits of all alternative policies in order to determine their relative utility, i.

Only intellectual weakness of policy makers can result in foreign policies that deviate from a rational course aimed at minimizing risks and maximizing benefits. Hence, rather than presenting an actual portrait of human affairs, Morgenthau emphasizes the pursuit of power and the rationality of this pursuit, and sets it up as a norm. It can be either a means or an end in politics. But if power is only a means for gaining something else, it does not define the nature of international politics in the way Morgenthau claims. It does not allow us to understand the actions of states independently from the motives and ideological preferences of their political leaders.

It cannot serve as the basis for defining politics as an autonomous sphere. Accordingly, it is useless to define actions of states by exclusive reference to power, security or national interest. International politics cannot be studied independently of the wider historical and cultural context. Although Carr and Morgenthau concentrate primarily on international relations, their realism can also be applied to domestic politics. To be a classical realist is in general to perceive politics as a conflict of interests and a struggle for power, and to seek peace by recognizing common interests and trying to satisfy them, rather than by moralizing.

However, political theory realism and international relations realism seem like two separate research programs. Duncan Bell , those who contribute to realism in political theory give little attention to those who work on realism in international politics. At the same time, there was an attempt to develop a more methodologically rigorous approach to theorizing about international affairs.

This in turn provoked a counterattack by Morgenthau and scholars associated with the so-called English School, especially Hedley Bull, who defended a traditional approach Bull As a result, the IR discipline has been divided into two main strands: traditional or non-positivist and scientific or positivist neo-positivist. At a later stage the third strand: post-positivism has been added. The traditionalists raise normative questions and engage with history, philosophy and law.

The scientists or positivists stress a descriptive and explanatory form of inquiry, rather than a normative one.

2. Twentieth Century Classical Realism

They have established a strong presence in the field. Already by the mids, the majority of American students in international relations were trained in quantitative research, game theory, and other new research techniques of the social sciences. This, along with the changing international environment, had a significant effect on the discipline. The realist assumption was that the state is the key actor in international politics, and that relations among states are the core of actual international relations.

However, with the receding of the Cold War during the s, one could witness the growing importance of international and non-governmental organizations, as well as of multinational corporations. This development led to a revival of idealist thinking, which became known as neoliberalism or pluralism. While accepting some basic assumptions of realism, the leading pluralists, Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye, have proposed the concept of complex interdependence to describe this more sophisticated picture of global politics. They would argue that there can be progress in international relations and that the future does not need to look like the past.

The realist response came most prominently from Kenneth N. Waltz, who reformulated realism in international relations in a new and distinctive way. In his book Theory of International Politics , first published in , he responded to the liberal challenge and attempted to cure the defects of the classical realism of Hans Morgenthau with his more scientific approach, which has became known as structural realism or neorealism.

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  7. Whereas Morgenthau rooted his theory in the struggle for power, which he related to human nature, Waltz made an effort to avoid any philosophical discussion of human nature, and set out instead to build a theory of international politics analogous to microeconomics. He argues that states in the international system are like firms in a domestic economy and have the same fundamental interest: to survive.

    Waltz maintains that by paying attention to the individual state, and to ideological, moral and economic issues, both traditional liberals and classical realists make the same mistake. They fail to develop a serious account of the international system—one that can be abstracted from the wider socio-political domain. Waltz acknowledges that such an abstraction distorts reality and omits many of the factors that were important for classical realism. Garrett 3. Tilchin 6. Link 7. Hodge Human Security Shahrbanou Tadjbakhsh Drone Ethics Martin L.

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