Ethical Competence in International Relations (Essay) - Ethics & International Affairs

Ethical Competence in International Relations (Essay)

By Ethics & International Affairs

  • Release Date: 2009-06-22
  • Genre: Politics & Current Events
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Ethical Competence in International Relations (Essay) Ethics & International Affairs Book Review Score: ★★★★★ 5/5 stars

In order to participate effectively in international relations, international actors of all kinds, including states, international organizations, corporations, and individual men and women, have to acquire a measure of what I term "ethical competence"--that is, the skills necessary to protect freedom and diversity in the modern world. International actors that display ethical incompetence can expect negative outcomes, not only for those affected by their actions, but also for themselves in the form of losses of power, authority, and prestige. Many of the problems that presently beset the world community have arisen because of displays of ethical incompetence by important international actors. (1) This unusual assertion, that ethical competence is a core skill that international actors need to learn, draws on a deeper claim that "doing ethics" is part of what is required for even the most rudimentary participation in international affairs. All international actors engage with two distinctly global practices: (1) the society of sovereign states; and (2) global civil society. In order to participate in these practices, actors need to learn certain basic skills, and key among these are ethical skills.

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