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Ethics in International Affairs

Ethical challenges in the international system

There are outstanding issues within the international system that have been perceived as ethical challenges by scholars. As an example, the issue of human rights, military force, and international intervention in states has sparked unending debate among realists. For instance, human rights have become a discourse that has grossly raised concern in international relations because different states have compelling justifications on what entails human rights (Amstutz 86).

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Some justify human rights based on physiological needs, while others consider the moral nature of a person. All the entitlements raised by scholars have sparked controversies, and no common consensus has been made. In this case, there is a dilemma about the best criteria to use in defining human rights. On the other hand, research has shown that security has become controversial in some states.

Due to fear of risks, certain countries have opted to forego important domestic projects to boost their security levels. This has been regrettable by other countries who feel highly distrusted and thus perceived as a source of threat. Moreover, it has led to increased competition within the globe where strong nations enter into a race to acquire arms due to fear of attacks (Amstutz 118).

Besides, the ethics of the autonomy of a nation has been questioned. It is evident that since the post-Cold War era, national autonomy was one of the major resolutions that were made in the international community. However, super states such as the USA and Britain still manipulate and interfere with the national affairs of states that have lesser power (Amstutz 22).

National and global security versus human security and distributive justice

International relations policies have led to the war against terrorism all over the globe. It is argued that waging war against terror will highly curtail violations of human rights. Some thinkers argue that this is an important attribute that can be used to promote international relations. It is also apparent that scholars view anti-terrorism as a just war that will eventually ensure individuals across the globe enjoy their basic human rights.

Ultimately, this will also decimate the current challenges facing humanity across the globe (Rosenthal and Barry 3). In line with this, fighting terror activities will promote distributive justice since major actor’s attitudes will change and embrace the reality of the matter (Rosenthal and Barry 41). For instance, certain nations have been prone to terror attacks due to religious and cultural bigotry. Thus, it is probable that eliminating terror is a way of achieving purposeful results to implement social justice worldwide.

To some extent, the emphasis on national and global security is likely to steal away the emphasis on human rights and distributive justice. Realists argue that international relations are likely to maintain social order through curfews and even freezing some activities to control terrorism. For instance, certain countries might be denied the right to invest in foreign locations, especially if they were found to pose a threat to international relations (Andrew and Virginia, 67).

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Such measures could do more harm than good (Andrew and Virginia, 105). Idealists argue that imposing sanctions on some nations will deny them the privileges to access basic resources, and this will eventually deter distributive justice. From a religious perspective, measures used to enforce international security end up becoming a threat to humanity. However, both realists and idealists base their argument on an economic point of view as opposed to religious thinkers.

Ethical framework for the assessment of the country’s foreign policy

To design an ethical framework of a country’s foreign affairs, I would first identify particular ethical issues and the existing dilemmas. In this case, I would examine how ethical dilemmas affect the country’s foreign policy and the best way to solve them (Rosenthal and Barry 49). It is also advisable to develop appropriate decisions on ethics and how best they can be applied to foreign affairs. Additionally, I would set legal benchmarks to govern the effectiveness of the country to apply the identified ethics.

I would obtain relevant facts regarding the identified ethical issues. Then I would make the facts known to persons in the country. Having done that, it is necessary to outline the alternative options of exercising ethics on foreign affairs. Finally, having set the ethical framework, I would conduct a test to see how best the country can address ethical situations related to foreign affairs. From the test outcomes, I would be able to assess whether the country can behave ethically or not.

I would also suggest major changes to the conduct of the US in the international system since its hegemony in international relations has posed major ethical questions amongst scholars. Critics have argued that US superiority has resulted in the emergence of ethical dilemmas, especially on human rights (Valls 188). Evidence has shown that the US, as a superpower, has been perceived to hold unethical morals and injustices.

For instance, the state has largely encouraged arms race and economic injustices (Andrew and Virginia 162). In this case, the country is perceived to be morally bankrupt since it has been unable to regulate military competition. Instead, it has emerged as a global threat to other countries due to its sophisticated military arms. Therefore, I suggest that international relations should limit the ability of superpowers to control global affairs such as security, economy, and politics.

The most important points in Ethics in International Affairs

One of the most important things that I have learned is that there is an urgent need to have universal ethics on crucial matters such as security, state autonomy, and human rights. In this case, it will make it easier to overcome the existing dilemmas in international relations. I have realized that there is little room for international relations ethics since the world states are dominated by selfish interests (Amstutz 9).

Moreover, I have realized that morals and ethics are relative even though this is not always the case in all societies. In line with this, regardless of the ethical dilemmas in the global arena, I have noted that moral actions and norms are highly valued among world states. Besides this, it is clear that the application of ethics in private and international affairs is not an easy task. This is because certain governments do not render themselves responsible for simple moral verdicts (Amstutz, 129). Therefore, the nation’s ethics are, to some extent, driven by political motives, a factor that contradicts and results in the moral values of international affairs.

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I have learned that traditional ethics influence the moral conduct of recent international relation (Amstutz, 46). Therefore, to eradicate ethical challenges when formulating international relations, we should avoid applying traditional ethics that are not effective. Instead, the global society should apply ethics that are based on moral consensus. Finally, there are five questions that I would continue to research on. These are

  1. What are moral considerations considered to be perfect for international relations to take against the ethics of terror?
  2. What exactly distinguishes ethics, morals, and law?
  3. Which is the best way to resolve the existing ethical dilemmas in the international arena?
  4. How do morality and ethics apply to international affairs?
  5. Are there possible alternatives that scholars and policymakers can use to define and justify human rights ethics?

Works Cited

Amstutz, Mark. International Ethics: Concepts, Theories, and Cases in Global Politics, New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008. Print.

Andrew, Valls, and Held, Virginia. Ethics in International Affairs. New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2000. Print.

Rosenthal, Joel and, Christian Barry, Ethics & International Affairs, Third Edition. New York, NY: Georgetown University Press, 2009, Print.

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