Duties beyond Borders: On the Limits and Possibilities of Ethical International Politics

Duties beyond Borders: On the Limits and Possibilities of Ethical International Politics

Duties beyond Borders: On the Limits and Possibilities of Ethical International Politics

Duties beyond Borders: On the Limits and Possibilities of Ethical International Politics

Excerpt

The essays which follow are based on five lectures that I gave, between February and April 1980, at Syracuse University, as the first Frank W. Abrams lecturer. I have tried to preserve as much as possible the somewhat informal and relaxed tone of a lecture series. I believe that the issues discussed here, while susceptible to highly sophisticated and learned treatment, are important enough, and frequently misconceived enough, to deserve a somewhat broader approach. At the risk of losing fine points, qualifications, exceptions, and precision, I have chosen to be sketchy and a bit didactic, in the hope that the main lines of the discussion will be clear, if not convincing to all.

My main concern has been to try to show that there are ways--narrow to be sure--to reconcile what is usually referred to as the realistic approach to international politics, with the demands of morality. Neither these demands nor the "game of states"--their quest for power, their search for unilateral advantages, their rivalry, their insecurity--will go away. The brand of realism that declares moral behavior in international affairs impossible, or assigns to states a special morality profoundly different from that of individuals or of groups within the state, may have much of history on its . . .

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