Ethics As A Code Of Conduct

880 Words4 Pages
Ethics, in politics, can be used as a ‘code of conduct’ – a set of rules or norms for diplomatic behaviour. When considering ethics as a constraint on states and political institutions, it can be argued to be powerful and influential. However, the question of whether politics can be improved by ethics is debatable. The aim of this essay is to highlight evidence for and against the notion of whether ethics can constrain and improve politics through the use of realism and cosmopolitanism, their arguments, and real world cases as examples. Cosmopolitans, such as Charles Beitz, view international politics not just as a society of states, but also a society of individuals (Nye & Welch 2011). They argue that politics, especially at an international level, requires the use of ethics as a form of critique (questioning whether the existing code is ‘good’ or ‘right’) and reconstruction (where a new code is advocated following analytical deliberations) in order for politics to be improved. Improvement in politics can be achieved by taking into account more what ‘should’ be done as opposed to merely what ‘can’ be done in certain situations. Clear examples of how politics has been improved by ethical principles are the establishment of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which have been integrated into the national constitutions of numerous sates to protect the rights of their citizens; and the International Convention Against Genocide (ICAG), established to prevent the

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