Wars on Terrorism and Iraq: Human Rights, Unilateralism, and U.S. Foreign Policy

By Thomas G. Weiss; Margaret E. Crahan et al. | Go to book overview

to inquire directly into the motives of agents, while building in the relevant questions in an appropriate way. If the U.S. had had good reason to believe that the benefits of intervention would outweigh its costs (and assuming we could reach agreement on the meaning and truth of this claim), it would have been justified in invading Iraq, whether or not humanitarian intervention was its motive. Principle Eight satisfies (or in any case comes closer than any of the other principles to satisfying) both Kant's question and Sartre's: what if everybody did that? What if everybody saw you doing that?


Notes
1
I am grateful to David Luban and Sam Kerstein for comments and suggestions on an earlier draft.
2
Quoted in Walter Kaufmann, ed., Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre (Cleveland, OH: Meridian Books, 1956), pp. 292-3.
3
Henry Kissinger, "Iraq Is Becoming Bush's Most Difficult Challenge, " Chicago Tribune, August 11, 2002.
4
Immanuel Kant, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, trans. Lewis White Beck (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1959), p. 39.
5
Kant intended the Categorical Imperative in a stronger sense. He believed that for some actions, "their maxim cannot even be thought as a universal law of nature without contradiction"; for others, although "this internal impossibility is not found . . . it is still impossible to will that their maxims should be raised to the universality of a law of nature" (ibid., pp. 41-2). These are very strong claims, in keeping with Kant's aim of establishing objective moral requirements. As many commentators have argued, it doubtful that they can be met. A weaker, more subjective interpretation that nevertheless has important implications for morality is the one given here, according to which agents must assess the legitimacy of their actions by their willingness to accept the universalized versions of the maxims that describe their reasons for acting.
6
The existentialists' emphasis on the centrality of choice may seem to make this interpretation implausible. But that conclusion fails to appreciate existentialism's central paradox that the only thing you cannot choose is not to choose; you have no choice but to choose. "Man makes himself . . . by the choice of his morality, and he cannot but choose a morality, such is the pressure of circumstances upon him" (Sartre, "Existentialism Is a Humanism, " p. 306).
7
Some argue the precise analogue of the realist thesis with regard to individuals. Psychological egoism is the claim that individuals always act only to advance their own perceived self-interest. Philosophers have argued convincingly that this view is either tautological or false.
8
Our focus here is on public policy and not all forms of interpersonal behavior. Perhaps a person does not need a reason to treat one friend differently from another (although from a certain point of view having a reason to act differently in one case rather than another seems almost a requirement of rationality).
9
John Rawls, "Justice as Fairness, " Philosophical Review 67, no. 2 (April 1958), pp. 164-94 at p. 171.
10
For a discussion of this view see Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars, 3rd edition (New York: Basic Books, 2000), pp. 61-2.
11
See David Luban, "Just War and Human Rights, " Philosophy and Public Affairs 9, no. 2 (Winter 1980), pp. 160-81; and Allen Buchanan, Justice, Legitimacy, and Self-Determination: Moral Foundations of International Law (New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

-72-

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Wars on Terrorism and Iraq: Human Rights, Unilateralism, and U.S. Foreign Policy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword xiii
  • Preface xix
  • Abbreviations xxii
  • Introduction 1
  • The Serendipity of War, Human Rights, and Sovereignty 3
  • Part 1 - Framing the Debate 27
  • 1 - The Interplay of Domestic Politics, Human Rights, and U.S. Foreign Policy 29
  • 2 - Pre-Emption and Exceptionalism in U.S. Foreign Policy 61
  • Notes 72
  • Part 2 - Human Rights and the War on Terrorism 75
  • 3 - U.S. Foreign Policy and Human Rights in an Era of Insecurity 77
  • 4 - International Human Rights 98
  • 5 - The Fight Against Terrorism 113
  • Part 3 - U.S. Unilateralism in the Wake of Iraq 133
  • 6 - Bush, Iraq, and the U.N. 135
  • 7 - The War Against Iraq 155
  • 8 - The Future of U.S.-European Relations 174
  • 9 - Legal Unilateralism 188
  • 10 - Tactical Multilateralism 209
  • Notes 227
  • Conclusion 229
  • Whither Human Rights, Unilateralism, and U.S. Foreign Policy? 231
  • Notes 240
  • Index 242
  • Routledge Essential Reading 248
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