Introduction: Nuclear bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, not answering the call for help in Rwanda, allowing Germany to take over Czechoslovakia, supporting the creation of the state of Israel, giving out loans (with interest) to developing countries, and the creation of the United Nations are all forms of international interference and cooperation amongst states. When looking at these examples and many more, it begs the question, does morality play a role in international affairs of a state? George Kennan, a prominent Skeptic, would argue that in international politics “other criteria, sadder, more limited, more practical, must be allowed to prevail.” In this essay, I will first present the Skeptic argument that morality either …show more content…
These societies would then form into hierarchical civilizations leading to the modern state where laws and rules can not only be made but enforced to make peace and order is kept within the state. (Forde, 15) In the international arena, there is no hierarchical rule to keep states in line or behaved; meaning that the international system is constantly in anarchy, aka the state of nature. This lack of rule enforcement puts states in a constant state of war, in a constant state where they need to stay on guard and in a tactical advantage otherwise the safety and well being of their state will be in jeopardy. In this scenario, the state’s number one priority is to protect itself and act in its self interest when need be, despite if it would typically be deemed immoral. (Donnelly 20) Machiavelli would go so far that it is within every right for more powerful states to conquer and subjugate weaker states because if another was to conquer that weaker state, they may have the advantage over you and destroy your state. Preemptive strikes, imperialism, and unprovoked wars are fully justified to Machiavelli because you either conquer or wait till your enemy attacks you. To some skeptics, acting in self interest is the only form of morality in the state of nature. (Forde, 9) Thucydides creates a moral argument that there is no justice between states of unequal power, and it is actually immoral for weaker states to resist
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Instead, realists hold that there is some basic idea about nature and requirements of morality, or moral intuitions that guide us (Beitz, 17). Even among realists, there are some with more extreme positions about morality and ethics in international relations. Machiavelli argues that morality can be broken when necessary in order to maintain the state, or perhaps even expand the state. To this end, the prince should be amoral and self-aggrandizing (Beitz, 21). Machiavelli is not justifying unwarranted cruelty, “The prince should not deviate from what is good, if possible, but be able to do evil if constrained” (Beitz, 21). Rulers are permitted to break the shared idea of morality when they are doing so in order to protect the state from intrusion or vulnerability in international relations. Machiavelli posits perhaps the most rigid realists perspective on international relations. The basic notion is that governments and individuals that have different moral responsibilities and individual responsibilities value morality much more than the state.
The most prevalent reasons for states going to war are security, interest, standing, and revenge; of these, I posit that security is the most frequent. For the purposes of this paper, I will focus on warfare occurring since the onset of the 20th century, however many of the core arguments retain efficacy through the countless centuries of human warfare. States don’t trust one another; even the best relationships between states are mired in spycraft with, or in opposition to one another. To summarize Waltz, drive for security is something that all states want, and need, as long as there are multiple states and at least one of them is looking for power.
Machiavelli knew that cruelty and harsh violent actions can be used one of two ways: to destroy the state or to secure it. Focusing on the necessity of politics and war, he understood that some acts of ‘savage cruelty and inhumanity’ were justified. Other justification includes famine and human rights issues. Wars are started to promote unity and avoid a greater conflict such as a world war.
In the fourth chapter of Machiavelli's Prince, he doesn’t tell his readers the right or wrong ways to conquer a country, instead he spells out both options for leaders and their advantages and disadvantages. Machiavelli uses examples that were world famous. They are empires that shaped the world his readers lived in, and still shape the world modern readers live in. He uses names that would have been household names, Darius, Alexander the Great, the Turks etc.
He uses the example of Agathocles the Sicilian as a man who came into power being unethical and unjust. He was said to have led a foul life, however, his vices were so strong that through becoming a soldier, he became very successful and rose through the ranks, to be Praetor of Syracuse. Once he had established that post, he made himself prince. At one point, he had brought together all of the people and senate to talk over public matters, and upon arrival, ordered his army to kill all of the senators, and the wealthiest of the commons. This man only came into power through brute force and violence. While Machiavelli would say that force of arms is necessary to maintain power, he also says that “ still, to slaughter fellow-citizens, to betray friends, to be devoid of honour, pity, and religion, cannot be counted as merits, for theses are means which may lead to power, but which confer no glory” (21 Machiavelli). This quote alone, shows that Machiavelli recognizes true evil, and while he agrees it may lead to power, there is no glory in such
Though much of the blame is geared towards the U.S. for not intervening, there are a number of different countries that had the financial and military capability of intervening. However, more intriguingly, one must question whether nations had a moral obligation to intervene and consequently, be
Machiavellian politics is infamous for its cutthroat attitude towards rulership and coming to power. Among its main points are deception, lying, and skullduggery. In Machiavelli's mind, however, one thing reigns supreme, might. Through sheer power and wise use of it, anything can be overcome and anyone defeated. When dealing with the "prince" of a nation, this sort of conflict usually takes the world stage as war. To Machiavelli, the ultimate tool, and perhaps the only one needed, that a prince needs is the art of war.
In both The Prince and The Discourses, Machiavelli presents very specific advice on how a ruler can maintain stability and control over his newly acquired state. Machiavelli lived in a time when a ruler could come to possess another kingdom through the simple act of war. Yet, in our modernity, a ruler cannot simply declare war and occupy a territory. He must also face repercussions from the other world powers that are in existence today. Our time has evolved and a ruler now has to take into consideration the opinions of other world powers along with the opinion of other global organizations such as NATO and the United Nations. In terms of the United States and their policies towards Afghanistan and Iraq, Machiavelli would disagree in the
Sometimes states have conflicts brought about by national interests, disagreements on natural resources, war and distribution of power thereby enacting strict measures on their
People are unlikely to overthrow a ruler that they fear, for they dread the punishments of failure. If the ruler is not feared by the people, he will eventually upset enough of them that they will rise up against him. They will overthrow him because of his perceived weakness, and his name and image will be shamed in the eyes of both his government and his people. Machiavelli believes that the state is completely separate from the ruler’s private life. No matter how immoral or heartless the ruler may be in private, only his public image is important. A ruler can be a terrible, sleazy person on their own time, and when not involved with matters of the state, but at any time when the leader is involved in politics and the state, you cannot afford to injure the image of the ruler or else anarchy will develop. With this kind of rebellion can come revolution, war, and many other tragedies that could be otherwise avoided.
In Machiavelli’s world, he believes it is morally correct for a Prince to sacrifice the people before ever letting his own government collapse. Machiavelli continues to show where his morals lay with his investment in foreign affairs as he puts a lot more focus in external affairs than internal, in wanting to conquer smaller and weaker states around him. In terms of foreign affairs Machiavelli’s morals towards war is presented as once again the state over the people. When entering war he explains to the people that these difficult times are only temporary, even as their “houses having been burned and their possessions destroyed” (The Prince, 47). The Prince still creates a patriotic feel and an obligation from the people to be grateful and have love for their Prince because he has made them believe that he has protected them from outside foreign attacks. It is evident that Machiavelli has high morals for war as he states that a Prince “should have no other thought, or take up anything as his profession, except for war and its rules and discipline, for that is the only art that befits the one who commands” (The Prince, 63). These moral views of what a Prince should prioritize according to Machiavelli are views that Socrates would not agree with.
But, are there any restrictions on what the state may do to other states and to its residents. There are three main points to answer this question: political realism, pacifism, and just war theory. Political realism is an outlook that that there are no ethical restrictions on what one state might do to other in a hunt of its own curiosity. Pacifism insists that honesty practices to the connections between states and especially to intensity in between and so to war. There are two shapes of pacifism: absolute and conditional. The absolute pacifist believes that the war is always wrong and conditional believes that the war might be justified in some situations. Just war theory claims that the war is immoral but is morally defended if it fits both, the jus ad bellum and the jus in bello settings. Just in bello stands for two settings, such as proportional means and noncombatant immunity. And just ad bellum stands for seven settings, such as legitimate authority, just cause, right intention, last resort, real and certain danger, reasonable probability of success, and proportional end. This theory also convicts terrorism (pp.
Carnahan’s article offers a systematic analysis about the concept of military necessity, showing that civilian interests must be taken into consideration with assessing military necessity. The use of force by states is controlled and restricted by both customary international law and treaty law. Although there is no legal restriction to war (just ad bellum), international law such as customary law and the Geneva Conventions provide certain international law restrictions on the right to use force against other state. Carnahan discusses the Lincoln Code, the Lieber law and the Laws of War in his article. The Lieber Code. Certain limitations are imposed on states as these restrictions tend to only apply to states that have recognized sovereignty (recall week 2 reading). The present “War on Terror” is refrained as the United Nations Charter
More specifically, the positive results of cruelty justify the acts themselves. Machiavelli believes that an appropriate amount of cruel acts should occur swiftly in order to give time for the state to heal afterwards. If a ruler uses force to acquire power for the states but does not continue it, then the force is justified. This time to heal prevents hatred by citizens towards the ruler. In terms of justified cruel acts, Ali suggests that Machiavelli “assumes that in the end such cruel means are turned to 'good' ends defined as the welfare of the prince's subjects” (2015). Welfare is the key word here because it validates any act of violence a ruler practices, and changes the image of this action into something respectable. Again, Machiavelli breaks away from a classical sense of morality by not condemning cruelty. Due to the fact that Machiavelli prioritizes the stability of power in the state, his moral compass always points towards the good of the state. Thus, any action to pursue this cause is warranted and moral.
The emergence of international organizations and international norms has undoubtedly changed the way states exercise power in international politics. On the one hand, international organizations may have a large influence over the behavior of states by spreading international norms, such as self-determination, that then help shape foreign policy. They could also be viewed as a form of global governance that ameliorates nationalistic aggression. On the other hand, international organizations could be seen as simply a reflection of the existing balance of power within an anarchic, self-help system; international norms simply a convenient ideological rhetoric for a state to utilize in order to legitimize and justify their national interests.