The Skeptic Theory of Morality in International Relations Essay

Better Essays

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

Get Access
Get Access