Ethics & International Affairs

Published by Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Online ISSN: 1747-7093
Print ISSN: 0892-6794
There is no cure or vaccine for HIV/AIDS. The only life-prolonging treatment available is antiretroviral (ARV) therapy. WHO estimates, however, that less than 5 percent of those who require treatment in developing countries currently enjoy access to these medicines. In Africa fewer than 50,000 people–less than 2 percent of the people in need–currently receive ARV therapy. These facts have elicited strongly divergent reactions, and views about the appropriate response to this crisis have varied widely. The intensity of the debate concerning access to life-prolonging medicines for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, and the heated rhetoric with which they are often conducted, suggest that these disagreements may be rooted in deeper disagreements of value. It is not obvious, however, what disagreements of value are at stake in this debate. By analyzing the statements of scholars, public officials, activist organizations, and private sector representatives, each of whom may endorse very different policy recommendations on access to HIV/AIDS drugs, we have identified and created a typology of the different sources of disagreement in the debate. We conclude that the central disagreements concerning access to medicines arise from competing understandings of how responsibilities for bringing remedy to hardships should be allocated to different agents and institutions. A central lesson that emerges from our analysis is that thinking about “health equity” must extend beyond the explanation and justification of goals, values, and ideals, and engage more honestly with the difficult question of how responsibilities for bringing remedy to health crises should be allocated in complex social contexts.
The world is in the early stages of what will be the greatest health crisis since the advent of modern medical technologies. Millions of people—particularly people in many of the world's poor countries—are infected with HIV. The vast majority of these people will go without modern medical intervention or substantial treatment, and will rapidly develop AIDS. The extent of this problem presents profound moral and ethical questions for the world's wealthy people and countries, for it is they who are most able to assist the poor in managing and reversing this human tragedy.
The pervasiveness and magnitude of AIDS require that it be addressed on an international, global scale. However, the issues of testing for the virus, and controlling its propagation raise questions of civil rights. Brenda Almond examines different countries' policies and ways of attempting to deal with AIDS, focusing on their positions in regard to rights. Almond makes the case that while discrimination should be avoided and fought, that recognition of the primary right, that of life, demands that public health and civil rights be considered in a less oppositional way. Ultimately, however, the possibility of defeating AIDS lies not in law and regulation but in moral education.
where the poorest face considerably higher mortality and morbidity rates than wealthier groups do. Yet most of these wealthier groups enjoy health levels that are far below those of people in the industrial countries. The most prominent normative response to this situation has been an equality-demanding norm, stipulating that we strive to make health outcomes more equal even within the developing countries. In this article, I argue that under current resource constraints, institutional arrangements seeking to ensure commonly accepted egalitarian goals would engender the decrease of health status of many who do not currently enjoy particularly high levels of health. Although an alternative view, the prioritarian view, can avoid some of the negative implications of the egalitarian view, it too is untenable given the current resource constraints. We should instead develop a threshold norm that characterizes minimally adequate health status. An institutional order is just with respect to health to the extent that participants in this order do not (avoidably) fail to reach this threshold. One implication is that redistribution of resources is limited within any developing country, and thus redistribution must take place from industrialized to poorer nations.
Special Section: Health and Global Justice Public Health or Clinical Ethics: Thinking beyond Borders • Article author query • o'neill o [Google Scholar] Onora O'Neill* Most work in medical ethics across the last twenty-five years has centered on the ethics of clinical medicine. Even work on health and justice has, in the main, been concerned with the just distribution of (access to) clinical care for individual patients. By contrast, the ethics of public health has been widely neglected. This neglect is surprising, given that public health interventions are often the most effective (and most cost-effective) means of improving health in rich and poor societies alike. In this essay I explore two sources of contemporary neglect of public health ethics. One source of neglect is that contemporary medical ethics has been preoccupied—in my view damagingly preoccupied—with the autonomy of individual patients. Yet individual autonomy can hardly be a guiding ethical principle for public health measures, since many of them must be uniform and compulsory if they are to be effective. A second source of neglect is that contemporary political philosophy has been preoccupied—in my view damagingly preoccupied—with the requirements for justice within states or societies, and (until very recently) has hardly discussed justice across borders. Yet public health problems often cross borders, and public health interventions have to measure up to the problems they address.
In a democratic society, the social rules are imposed by all upon each. As “recipients” of the rules, we tend to think that they should be designed to engender the best attainable distribution of goods and ills or quality of life. We are inclined to assess social institutions by how they affect their participants. But there is another, oft-neglected perspective which the topic of health equity raises with special clarity: As imposers of the rules, we are inclined to think that harms we inflict through the rules have greater moral weight than like harms we merely fail to prevent or to mitigate. What matters morally is not merely how we affect people, but how we treat them through the rules we impose. While current (consequentialist and Rawlsian) theorizing is dominated by the first perspective and thus supports purely recipient-oriented moral conceptions, an adequate approach to social justice requires a balancing of both. Such balancing results in a relational conception of justice, which distinguishes various ways in which an institutional scheme may causally affect the quality of life of its participants. This essay argues that the strength of our moral reason to prevent or mitigate particular medical conditions depends not only on what one might call distributional factors, such as how badly off the people affected by these conditions are in absolute and relative terms, how costly prevention or treatment would be, and how much patients would benefit from given treatment. Rather, it depends also on relational factors, that is, on how we are related to the medical conditions they suffer. It then discusses some implications of this view for understanding responsibilities for international health outcomes.
This paper discusses obligations of international distributive justice-specifically, obligations rich countries have to transfer resources to poor countries. It argues that the major seven OECD countries each have an obligation to transfer at least one percent of their GDP to developing countries. The strategy of the paper is to defend this position without having to resolve the many debates that attend questions of international distributive justice. In this respect, it belongs to the neglected category of nonideal theory. The key to the strategy is to show that a significant amount of good would be accomplished by a one percent transfer, despite the fact that one percent is quite a small amount. To make this showing, the paper takes health as a fundamental measure of individual well-being and examines the improvement in life expectancy that would likely result from devoting the one percent transfer to the major determinants of health. It adduces data indicating that substantial progress towards raising life expectancy in developing countries to the global average of 64.5 years can be expected from expenditures of $125 per capita, divided between health care, education, and basic nutrition and income support. A one percent transfer from the major seven is enough to cover expenditures on that scale for the poorest fifth of the world's population.
Everyone wants to be healthy, but many of us decline to act in healthy ways. What bearing, if any, should these choices have on the ethics of clinical practice and health policy? Should risk-takers have the same claim on scarce resources, such as organs for transplant, as those whose plight is due to no choices of their own? And is there any reason not to impose fees and taxes on risk-takers, be they smokers or mountain climbers, to defray the added expense of the care they may need? In health resource allocation aimed at reducing the burden of disease, should we regard certain burdens as individual responsibilities: for example, dealing with stigma, or caretaking for family members? Socioeconomic status (SES) and health expectancy are strongly linked. To the extent that this results from risk-taking by the poor, is reduction of SES-linked health inequalities a morally important social goal? International public health aims at improving health on a population level. The World Health Organization has been criticized for failing to distinguish genuine health risks from personal lifestyle choices, as when it speaks of a tobacco-related “epidemic” as if cigarette use were a contagious disease like malaria. Should personal responsibility for health be taken into account in setting the agenda for global public health, and in measuring progress by countries in improving health. This paper addresses applications of the notions of personal and social responsibility for health. It also looks at the vulnerability of the notion of personal responsibility for health to intentional manipulation by self-interested parties in health policy debates.
In the literature on European and global governance there is a trend to conceptualize ‘public accountability’ as accountability to national executives, to peers, to markets, to ombudsmen, or to courts. While the empirical analysis of multiple accountability relations within governance networks has its merits the creeping re-conceptualization of ‘public accountability’ as an umbrella term tends to obfuscate one crucial dimension of it: the critical scrutiny of citizens and the collective evaluation of governance through public debate. This paper critically discusses the advance of managerial and administrative notions of accountability into international governance and advocates a return to a narrow conception of public accountability as accountability to the wider public. It then proceeds to investigate the public sphere of European and global governance, its actors, achievements and shortcomings, in order to assess the prospects for public accountability beyond the state. Evidence is found to support the claim that the transnational public sphere is capable of putting pressure on governance institutions in case of massive maladministration, and of generating and promoting new political concerns and demands that in turn are taken up by the institutions of governance.
Western moral and political theorists have recently devoted considerable attention to the perceived victimization of women by Non-western cultures. In this paper, I argue that conceiving injustice to poor women in poor countries primarily as a matter of their oppression by illiberal cultures presents an understanding of their situation that is crucially incomplete. This incomplete understanding distorts Western theorists comprehension of our moral relationship to women elsewhere in the world and so of our theoretical task. It also impoverishes our assumptions about the intercultural dialogue necessary to promote global justice for women.
One of the clearest lessons from the past couple of decades of sovereign financial crises is that institutional and retail bondholders, as well as commercial and investment bankers in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan, have developed a commendable track record in dealing with sovereign debt problems. They have helped to resolve innovatively, expeditiously, and generously the multiple cases of sovereign overindebtedness in which they have been involved in various parts of the world––despite, o possibly because of, the absence of a supranational bankruptcy regime for sovereign debt. The official development community, in contrast, cannot make a similar claim: time and again, the bilateral and multilateral lending agencies have dragged their feet in accepting loan losses and granting debt forgiveness––whether to overindebted middle-income nations or to the poorest countries in the world. More often than not, they have been––and remain––part of the sovereign indebtedness problem, rather than part of its constructive alleviation.
My goal here is twofold: First, I wish to make a plea for the relevance of moral considerations in debates about immigration. Too often, immigration debates are conducted solely from the standpoint of "what is good for us," without regard for the justifiability of immigration policies to those excluded. Second, I wish to offer a standpoint that demonstrates why one should think of immigration as a moral problem that must be considered in the context of global justice. More specifically, I will argue that the earth belongs to humanity in common and that this matters for assessing immigration policy. The case I will be particularly interested in is immigration into the United States, where immigration policy continues to be a hotly debated topic. The approach of this paper implies that illegal immigrants should be naturalized and more widespread immigration should be permitted. However, that discussion takes the form of a case study: the relevant considerations apply generally.
Responding to the critiques of the four previous authors, Walzer opens with a statement of the inherent imperfection of any theory of war. He reminds us that theories are merely frameworks for decisions and cannot provide answers in and of themselves. Moral decisions in war are especially difficult, for it is often necessary to choose between equally valid claims. Walzer continues the discussion of sieges initiated by both Koontz and Boyle and concedes the validity of Koontz's criticism of inconsistency in his theory of noncombatant immunity. Addressing the different authors' moral doctrines–Hendrickson's consequentialism and Koontz's and Boyle's deontology–Walzer argues that it is better to judge each case individually, weighing both the consequences and principles, rather than strictly adhere to one moral doctrine, an approach commended by Smith. Finally, in the search for a perfect just war theory, Walzer issues a realist reminder that there can be no such thing as a morally perfect war.
It is hard to watch a society's political virtues mocked as weakness by an uncomprehending foe. The fireball attacks of September 11 against the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon consumed the lives of more than 3,000 ordinary people—Americans and foreign visitors , business people, secretaries, schoolchildren visiting the Pentagon, travelers flying home. Like Joseph Conrad's terrorist who wished to destroy pure mathematics and settled for the Greenwich clock tower, this was an attack on civil society and global economy, and worst of all, on the innocence of noncombatants.
Can the momentous events in Tianamen Square and the revolutionary changes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe be seen as the inevitable triumph of one political ideology over another? Was there a political morality of “Official Communism”? The author identifies the features and framework within which Marxism endured, particularly as a promise of “political emancipation” whereby the individual would achieve “universal freedom” from capitalism and slavery through cooperation and struggle. Yet, ultimately, the pluralist-led events of 1989 demonstrated that protests were aimed at achieving justice, fairness, and identity in the name of the “people,” a refutation of oppression and the arbitrary allocation of resources and advantages by the nomenklatura. The author contends that the Marxist morality failed because it didnt deliver on its promises.
At the 2005 World Summit, the world‘s leaders committed themselves to the “responsibility to protect”, recognizing both that all states have a responsibility to protect their citizens from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and that the UN should help states to discharge this responsibility using either peaceful means or enforcement action. This declaration ostensibly marks an important milestone in the relationship between sovereignty and human rights but its critics argue that it will make little difference in practice to the world’s most threatened people. The purpose of this article is to ask how consensus was reached on the responsibility to protect, given continuing hostility to humanitarian intervention expressed by many (if not most) of the world‘s states and whether the consensus will contribute to avoiding future Kosovos (cases where the Security Council is deadlocked in the face of a humanitarian crises) and future Rwandas (cases where states lack the political will to intervene). It suggests that four key factors contributed to the consensus: pressure from proponents of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, its adoption by Kofi Annan and the UN’s High Level Panel, an emerging consensus in the African Union, and the American position. Whilst these four factors contributed to consensus, each altered the meaning of the responsibility to protect in important ways, creating a doctrine that many states can sign up to but that does little to prevent future Kosovos and Rwandas and may actually inhibit attempts to build a consensus around intervention in future cases.
Child labor evokes deep emotions and is cause for growing international concern. Most recent global estimates show that 186 million children are engaged in full time economic activity. This paper discusses the possibilities and pitfalls of Western policies that seek to curb child labor abroad. Since such policies aim to combat practices in other societies, policy-makers should be aware of the many relevant differences between developing and developed countries. We discuss three issues that are central to this debate: different conceptions of childhood and the dominance of the Western conception in these debates; the distinction between child work and child labor; and socioeconomic causes of child labor. We then evaluate the implications of these investigations for direct and indirect policy options against child labor abroad.
Dewey's refusal to abandon his strong belief in the democratic ideal, which must materialize not via powerful political elites but rather through publicly created institutions and full participation of ordinary citizens, has been grossly misunderstood. Using Dewey's critics' own arguments that purport to show Dewey intentionally, or naively, disregarded the role of power in the relations of communities, Westbrook brings examples to reinforce the contrary view. Dewey's adherence to the view that war must be universally outlawed and sanctioned was targeted precisely on the international political elites in order to reduce their domination and to maintain the real power within the hands of the citizens.
Zohar applies Talmudic views on communal sin to contemporary political discourse by posing the question “Are we our brothers' keepers?” The essay addresses international responsibility to protect victims of oppression worldwide. This discussion is particularly valuable in today's political system where the national sovereignty of a state may attempt to outweigh the victims' claim of persecution. While asserting that economic sanction, primarily boycott, in lieu of military action, is the most effective means of curtailing the actions of the oppressor government, he presents the views of Maimonides and Nachmanides on the Noahide Code of Jewish law. The former advocates full-scale embargo policy and holds all citizens responsible for acquiescing in the sins of their rulers and hence of communal sin, thereby justifying intervention. The latter, and more commonly accepted today, urges elimination of (direct or indirect) participation in the deeds of the perpetrators, the “clean-hands” approach, and hence allows for national boundaries to overshadow injustices occurring within them. Both types of boycott converge in that any transaction that fails to undermine the perpetrating regime is in some way facilitating its existence.
Despite conservative opposition, in the late 1970s, Jimmy Carter turned the tide in favor of the Helsinki Accord by taking a strong stand in fostering U.S. participation in it. Korey focuses on the U.S. delegation to the Commission on Security and Cooperation (CSCE) in Europe and credits the success of the Helsinki Accord to U.S. adroit negotiation strategies, beginning with the Carter administration. By 1980, U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev came to embrace the “humanitarianism” of the treaty. The Vienna review conference's (1986–89) effort peaked when a milestone was reached in the human rights process, linking it directly to security issues equally pertinent to the East and the West. The author contends that the United States ardent participation in the monitoring of compliance was particularly effective in putting pressure on the Soviet Union to uphold the agreement within its territory, yielding enormous progress in human rights
How can governments and peoples better hold to account international economic institutions, such as the WTO, the World Bank, and the IMF? This article proposes an approach based on public accountability, advocating improvements in four areas: constitutional, political, financial, and internal accountability. The argument for more accountability is made with two caveats: more accountability is not always good–it can be distorting and costly; and, enhancing the accountability of international institutions should not justify increasing their jurisdiction for the sake of reducing the role of national governments. Constitutional accountability poses limits on how the institutions expand their activities, requiring the active consent of all members and particularly those most affected by their activities. Political accountability requires that those who make decisions in the organizations are directly answerable to all member governments and not just to the most powerful ones. The institutions' uneven record and structure of financial accountability is addressed through a model of mutual restraint. Finally, the internal accountability should ensure that technical decisions are distinguishable from political decisions. A better matching of the right kinds of accountability to the activities of the organizations would improve both their effectiveness and legitimacy.
ABSTRACT While useful proposals to reform International Financial Institutions (IFIs) have been widely discussed, the lack of meaningful financial accountability has received little attention. Considering the substantial damage done by IFIs, this is surprising both from an ethical and an economist's point of view. In a market economy anyone must face the economic consequences of their actions and decisions. If consultants give advice negligently or without obeying minimal professional standards, they have to pay compensation for the damage they have caused. National liability and tort laws serve the purpose of compensating those suffering unlawful damages and of deterring such behavior. By contrast, tortious damage caused by IFIs must be paid by IFIs' borrowers, including many of the world's poorest people. IFIs may even gain financially from their own negligence by extending new loans necessary to repair damages done by their prior loans. One failed adjustment program calls for the next. This mechanism makes IFI-flops generate IFI-jobs and additional income. This perverted incentive system rewarding errors, negligence, and even violations of the very constitutions of IFIs is absolutely at odds with the principles on which Western market economies rest. It must be brought to an end. This essay presents the idea of financial accountability, showing how easily reforms making IFIs financially accountable could be implemented. Moreover, embracing financial accountability would bring IFI operations closer to the intentions of their founders, who wanted IFIs subject to the basic legal and economic concepts of financial accountability not exempt from it. The market mechanism and its beneficial incentive system must finally be brought to IFIs.
This article explores issues concerning accountability and global governance by looking at three cases involving Iraq: the economic sanctions imposed by the Security Council; the operation of the Oil for Food Program; and the US-led occupation authority and its management of Iraqi funds. In all three cases the problems that emerge are rooted only in part in criminal acts or failures to meet legal responsibilities. The failures of accountability that took place in these cases included also abuses of power and forms of corruption that had been legitimated within legal institutional structures. An examination of these cases helps to illustrate what accountability can demand, as well as the kinds of diverse institutional arrangements that can undermine it. In the Oil for Food Program, there was corruption despite elaborate structures of oversight. In the case of the US-led occupation authority's management of Iraqi funds, the corruption was tied to systematic procedures that eliminated structures of oversight. I argue that the abuses that occurred in these cases were not due to a lack of understanding about what might bring greater integrity to the processes involved. Rather, they illustrate how well the structures of accountability and integrity were already understood, as evidenced in the systematic efforts to evade and compromise those structures.
Footnotes * This article draws heavily, without further citations, on my previously published work, including especially two coauthored papers: Ruth W. Grant and Robert O. Keohane, “Accountability and the Abuse of Power in World Politics,” American Political Science Review 99, no. 1 (2005), pp. 29–44; and Allen Buchanan and Robert O. Keohane, “The Preventive Use of Force: A Cosmopolitan Institutional Proposal,” Ethics & International Affairs 18, no. 1 (2004), pp. 1–22.
Concerns over aid effectiveness have led to calls for greater accountability in international development aid. This article examines the state of accountability within and between international development agencies: aid NGOs, the international financial institutions, and government aid ministries. The investigation finds that there is very little accountability in these agencies, and that the accountability that there is often works against poverty relief. Increasing accountability, however, is not always the solution: increased accountability may just amplify the complexities of development efforts. Only those reforms with real promise to make aid more effective in reducing poverty should be encouraged. One such proposal is set out here.
Many intergovernmental organizations (IOs) have recently established offices of internal oversight. Yet scandals such as the one surrounding the Oil-for-Food Program in the United Nations have revealed serious flaws in the design of these institutions, especially their lack of independence from top administrators of the bureaucracies that they are supposed to oversee. This study argues that this is due, in great part, to the initial use of an imperfect domestic model. It shows that, in addition to using a flawed model as a starting point for negotiations, states and IO officials intentionally weakened oversight offices even more. The study argues that member-states need to quickly give such offices increased independence in order to make them more effective and to avoid the continued erosion of the legitimacy of IOs.
Should states be held responsible and punished for violations of international law? The recent ruling by the International Court of Justice that Serbia cannot be held responsible for genocide in Bosnia reflects the predominant international legal position. But such a position leaves open the possibility that states or nonstate agents can never be held responsible for international crimes. This article argues that they can and should be. While most international ethicists and legal theorists reject the punishment of corporate entities such as states, this article argues that certain types of international violations can only be undertaken by states, and, as a result, states must bear the responsibility for them. Drawing on some neglected strands in international law and political theory, the article sketches a potential institutional framework for the punishment of state crimes, particularly genocide and aggression.
Overcoming corruption and authoritarian government in developing countries is hampered by global institutional arrangements. In particular, international borrowing and resource privileges, which entitle those exercising power in a country to borrow in its name and to effect legally valid transfers of ownership rights in its resources, can be obstacles to achieving democracy. These international conventions greatly increase the incentives toward attempts at coups d'état, especially in countries with a large resource sector. In exploring how this problem might be highlighted and addressed, it is essential to understand that affluent societies have a great interest in upholding the prevailing institutional arrangements: Their banks benefit from their international lending and, far more importantly, their firms and people benefit greatly from cheap resource supplies. Institutional reform is more likely, then, to come from the developing countries.Thus, fledgling democracies may be able to improve their stability through constitutional amendments that bar future unconstitutional governments from borrowing in the country's name and from conferring ownership rights in its public property. Such amendments would render insecure the claims of those who lend to, or buy from, dictators, thus reducing the rewards of coups d'état. This strategy might be resisted by the more affluent societies, but such resistance could perhaps be overcome if many developing countries pursued the proposed strategy together, and if some moral support emerged among the citizenries of affluent societies.
Overcoming corruption and authoritarian government in developing countries is hampered by global institutional arrangements. In particular, international borrowing and resource privileges, which entitle those exercising power in a country to borrow in its name and to effect legally valid transfers of ownership rights in its resources, can be obstacles to achieving democracy. These international conventions greatly increase the incentives toward attempts at coups d'état, especially in countries with a large resource sector. In exploring how this problem might be highlighted and addressed, it is essential to understand that affluent societies have a great interest in upholding the prevailing institutional arrangements: Their banks benefit from their international lending and, far more importantly, their firms and people benefit greatly from cheap resource supplies. Institutional reform is more likely, then, to come from the developing countries. Thus, fledgling democracies may be able to improve their stability through constitutional amendments that bar future unconstitutional governments from borrowing in the country's name and from conferring ownership rights in its public property. Such amendments would render insecure the claims of those who lend to, or buy from, dictators, thus reducing the rewards of coups d'état. This strategy might be resisted by the more affluent societies, but such resistance could perhaps be overcome if many developing countries pursued the proposed strategy together, and if some moral support emerged among the citizenries of affluent societies.
What type of ethics should guide our behavior in contemporary conflicts? Religious groups working in many parts of the world are deeply involved in providing practical and theological answers to that question. This article examines two types of Judeo-Christian perspectives that stress the imperative to act to relieve suffering and transcend violence: liberation theology and the “religious humanitarian perspective.” Both perspectives draw linkages between ethical guidelines and action, and both have influenced broader political debates. The essay poses the following questions: What are the ethical bases of action for contemporary activists and theologians in these traditions, and have these changed with political circumstances?; and Are there ethical and practical connections between contemporary religious humanitarianism and liberation theology, and can they provide us with a coherent ethic of action to relieve suffering and reduce violence in the world? These questions are analyzed in light of current theological conceptions of evil, religious pluralism, and the uneasy boundaries between violence and nonviolence.
It is a commonplace to say that the world has changed since the tragic events of September 11. This also holds true for those dedicated to humanitarian action—to the prevention of death and the alleviation of suffering during crisis and conflict, irrespective of any consideration other than need. The cause of the change for us, however, is not so much the attacks themselves or their vicious character. Sadly, such great loss of life and willingness to inflict death indiscriminately upon innocent civilians is nothing new, as those of us who have worked in areas of conflict know only too well. What has changed is that, as a result of these attacks, the leading international power, the United States, has declared a new global war on terrorism. This war, as it has been defined, pits terrorism against freedom, and those who would imperil humanity against those who stand to defend it. While the main focus, thus far, has been on Afghanistan, the repercussions have swiftly embraced the entire planet. Like the Cold War, this is an open-ended, global fight defined to uphold both interests and values. Yet unlike the Cold War, it is one in which alliances are constantly shifting, the enemy consists primarily of an ill-defined set of nonstate actors as well as their purported state sponsors, and territorial control is not necessarily an aim. The U.S.–led war on terrorism poses a number of challenges for independent humanitarian action and the principles that underpin it. First, it seeks to subordinate humanitarianism to its broader purpose, undermining the ability of humanitarian actors to impartially reach out to all victims. Second, by questioning the applicability of international humanitarian law, the antiterrorism campaign could well threaten the fundamental restraints on the conduct of warfare, thus weakening the protection and assistance to which civilians are entitled. Third, there is a shift in attention to conflicts worldwide, and the victims they generate, making it more difficult to respond to crises at the margins of current priorities.
Exploitation of the executive exercise of covert operations has presented a dilemma, but Colby maintains that even in peacetime a “democratic society must have and respect some secrets.” Does democracy, by its inherent nature, preclude the employment of covert action, even under exceptional conditions? Colby argues that the constitutional decision-making process is an ethical and legal one. In wartime, a “just” war is the goal, and the use of covert action must be evaluated by two essential criteria: self-defense and proportionality to the act requiring self-defense.
Iran-contra and similar scandals alienate Congress and bypass the constitutional executive process. Treverton proposes four guidelines by which to test the effectiveness of covert actions undertaken by American presidents: (1) could the action stand exposure in midstream? (2) does intervention contradict overt U.S. policy? (3) what signal will be received, by whom, and with what result? (4) what if the first intervention does not succeed? The author urges presidents to abstain from implementing covert operations, which often result in nothing more than domestic and international controversy. Such decisions are the domain not of the Executive Office, but of the legitimate agency designated for such purposes, the CIA.
The tragedies of the past decade have led to an identity crisis among humanitarians. Respecting traditional principles of neutrality and impartiality and operating procedures based on consent has created as many problems as it has solved. A debate is raging between “classicists,” who believe that humanitarian action can be insulated from politics, and various “political humanitarians,” who are attempting to use politics to improve relief and delivery in war zones This essay examines the pros and cons of impartial versus political humanitarianism and differing approaches across a spectrum of actors, including the classicists, led by the International Committee of the Red Cross, who believe that humanitarian action can and should be completely insulated from politics; the “minimalists,” who “aim to do no harm” in delivering relief; the “maximalists,” who have a more ambitious agenda of employing humanitarian action as part of a comprehensive strategy to transform conflict; and the “solidarists,” exemplified by Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders), who choose sides and abandon neutrality and impartiality as well as reject consent as a prerequisite for intervention. The essay argues that there is no longer any need to ask whether politics and humanitarian action intersect. The real question is how this intersection can be managed to ensure more humanized politics and more effective humanitarian action.
This article looks at some major goals that have been set for sanctions and evaluates how effective sanctions have been at reaching those goals. It also examines the costs of sanctions, i.e., the impact on civilians and on international support for sanctions. Clawson concludes that sanctions are useful only as a short-term response in situations in which the world community is prepared to use force in the likely event that the target regime does not change its behavior. If there is not will to use force to back the sanctions, then the sanctions are morally dubious: they impose suffering and may cause deaths without offering a reasonable prospect of accomplishing good.
Far from rejecting the classicist approach, as Thomas Weiss claims, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) follows the fundamental principle of providing aid in proportion to need and without discrimination. Actions that on Weiss's political continuum would be termed solidarist are less an expression of political preference than a determination to claim and operate within humanitarian space as well as to maintain accountability to international civil society through testimony (témoignage) regarding mass violations of human rights. Although providing aid in conflict is implicitly political, involving humanitarian actors and aid in conflict resolution initiatives, as Weiss advocates, risks diluting the primary responsibility of humanitarian aid to alleviate suffering. It also further shifts the responsibility for conflict resolution and the respect of international legal conventions from accountable political institutions to the private sphere. Is this where we want to lead humanitarianism?
The traditional realist paradigm holds that the sovereign nation-state is the principal political and legal unit in the world community. Reflecting this tradition, most studies of economic sanctions are state-centered. They assume that states exercise control over their national corporations to deny economic resources to other states. Within this framework, nongovernmental human rights organizations become involved only as interest groups, lobbying governments to regulate or ban private economic activity with designated malefactor. These groups, however, are generally unable to persuade states to mandate disinvestment from or socially responsible behavior within repressive regimes. As a result, they redirect their energies away from the central authorities and toward corporations-directly pressuring them through boycotts and shareholder activism-and local governments-persuading them to condition municipal contracts on human rights criteria. This essay examines the degree to which these nonstate actors can provide an alternative center of authority to that of the state in imposing human rights accountability on corporate conduct abroad. The first section explains the logic of nonstate sanctions and establishes criteria against which one can judge their challenge to realism. The second section assesses the successes and limitations of the anti-apartheid movement, which is viewed as the role model for such efforts. The third and final section contrasts the South African case with recent campaigns against corporate investment in Burma and Nigeria. These cases have been chosen because most grassroots organizations have pressed for corporate withdrawal rather than for more socially responsible business practices. Each represents an attempt by citizens' groups to impose sanctions against repressive regimes beyond those enacted by governments.
The critics of the ICC in the Bush administration and its supporters within the human rights community have one thing in common: they assume that the ICC can evolve into a powerful institution independent of states, either to constrain American power or to act on a duty to prosecute to end impunity for perpetrators. Both overestimate the ability of the court to pursue a legalism divorced from power realities. The former attribute to the court powers it is unlikely to exercise, particularly if the United States remains outside the treaty. This is due, in part, to the safeguards within the Rome Statute, but more importantly, to the court's dependence on sovereign cooperation, which will lead it to place a high premium on cultivating the good will of the most powerful states. The latter overestimate the degree to which courts by themselves can deter atrocities. The ICC's effectiveness in any particular case will therefore be dependent on the political consensus of those actors capable of wielding power in that area. They also underestimate the need to compromise justice – at least, prosecutorial justice – in cases in which bargaining and compromise are the central means of facilitating transitions from armed conflict or dictatorship, and in cases in which the strength of the perpetrators and the limits of one's power would make legal proceedings either futile or counterproductive to other interests and values. Hence, decisions to prosecute must first be subjected to a test of political prudence, and then take place according to due process and the rule of law.
Abstract While the impact of norms on post-conflict statebuilding operations has been well-explored in the literature, the ways in which the same normative frameworks affect the exit practices of such operations has so far remained unaddressed. To fill this gap, this paper examines the impact of the liberal-democratic norms governing statebuilding operations on the timing and process of exit of post-conflict international transitional administrations. To that end, it first examines the concept of exit, arguing that exit is best considered as a process rather than an event. The second section outlines the normative framework that has shaped postconflict statebuilding activities since the end of the cold war, and proposes three ways in which norms can affect exit: first, that norms act as blueprints for statebuilding and can thereby shape benchmarks for exit; second, that norms create “zones of permissibility” that explicitly commit statebuilders to a transitional presence and make exit central to the legitimacy of statebuilding operations; and third, that local actors strategically use norms, in particular those of self-determination and the taboo of permanent control of a territory, to push for an early exit of statebuilding operations. The third section explores both the scope and limitations of the three functions of norms with regard to exit in the context of a brief case study of UNMIK's exit from Kosovo. The article concludes with some observations about the impact of the findings for exit strategies of international actors from statebuilding operations.
This article explores normative questions about what legal rights settled immigrants should have in liberal democratic states. It argues that liberal democratic justice, properly understood, greatly constrains the distinctions that can be made between citizens and residents. The longer people stay in a society, the stronger their moral claims become, and after a while they pass a threshold that entitles them to virtually the same legal status as citizens and eventually easy access to citizenship itself.
Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) are an emergent phenomenon in global rule-making on labor rights, yet academic literature on the topic is marked by a lack of clarity on their scope and distinctions. Drawing not only on scholarly sources but also on a wide range of field-level examples, this article explores the origin of PPPs and analyzes the contemporary normative and institutional contexts that have influenced their evolution. It then develops a three-fold typology for mapping the domains in which PPPs exist and for distinguishing among their varied functions. The article also analyzes related challenges of governance and effectiveness.
While the United States is now an international leader in the fight against genocide and human rights abuses, it only recently ratified the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide– forty years after the convention's unanimous adoption by the UN General Assembly. Korey provides a description of the long struggle for ratification of the Genocide Convention, detailing decades of work by a committee of fifty-two nongovernmental organizations lobbying the Senate and the American Bar Association, the treaty's key opponent. Despite the public support for the United Nations and human rights by the United States, failure to ratify the Genocide Convention stemmed primarily from the fear that international covenants were threats to U.S. sovereignty. The United States finally overcame this fear with the ratification of the Genocide Convention in 1988, which opened the door for U.S. leadership.
This article reexamines the works of Erasmus, the Abbé de Saint-Pierre, Kant, and other pacifists who have advocated collective societal efforts toward a lasting world peace. In contrast to Thucydides' (Realist) view of the inevitability of war due to intrinsic human nature, the author presents the early Christian arguments of pacifism grounded in morality and religion, including the “just-war” views of Augustine and Sir Thomas Aquinas, who believed that war fought for self-defense, or other “justifiable” purposes, was morally and religiously grounded in efforts to punish wrongdoings and “convert unbelievers.” Is the state of peace a natural one or one that must be achieved through practical steps within moral constraints by leaders of nations and their citizens? Realist thinkers who once rejected, on strictly normative grounds, the moral claims of the possibility of a lasting world peace now take the strategic position that the goal of attaining lasting world peace is clearly worth striving for, “however utopian it seemed when first advocated.”
This article examines the present bifurcation of policy-making into domestic and foreign components, and urges a theoretical effort aimed at unifying national policy by integrating its various components. Beyond such an urging, the article aims to show that the act of making policy invariably involves decisions about events that take place both within and outside of a nation. This is not a claim for the superiority of any one segment of policy making. What is important or trivial is determined within a means-ends continuum. In breaking down artificial barriers inherited from nationalist models, it is possible to institutionalize a policy process that takes into account “shrinkage” of the world that is a direct consequence of new information technologies, and at the same time, incorporates the wisdom of classical ethical theories on the nature of power.
Top-cited authors
Thomas Pogge
  • Yale University
Allen Buchanan
  • Duke University
Robert Keohane
  • Princeton University
Mathias Risse
  • Harvard University
Thomas G. Weiss
  • CUNY Graduate Center