Center for Global Affairs
Ethics in International Affairs
This course will explore one of the most exciting questions in international relations: Should moral considerations play a role in the conduct of foreign affairs? It is a question that most people would instinctively answer 'yes.' But once specific issues are considered, the answer becomes more complicated. For instance, what is a 'just' war? Can war ever be just and is the current Iraq war a 'just war?' Under what circumstances do we have a right or a duty to intervene in the affairs of another state? Is the killing of civilians justified under any circumstances? Can terrorist acts ever serve moral ends? What about torture? Where do human rights come from? Are they universal or circumscribed by culture and religion? These are just a few of the questions we will discuss on the basis of classic texts and thought-provoking documentaries. At the end of this course students will have a good understanding of the fundamental ideas regarding ethics in international affairs as well as how they apply to key issues driving current international politics.