What Role Do Ethics Play in International Relations?

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    Significance

    • Ethical concerns lie at the heart of many issues in world affairs, such as war and peace, human rights, humanitarian aid and socioeconomic justice. These issues transcend national identity or cultural differences.

    Function

    • Ethics provide an additional framework, besides national security or economic interest, for considering approaches to global economic and political issues.

    Considerations

    • Whether to provide aid to a poor nation or go to war with a hostile nation are two examples of issues with ethical considerations, as well as political and economic concerns.

    Types

    • Other ethical decisions in international relations involve aid to nations affected by natural disasters and whether to sanction other countries for human-rights abuses.

    Identification

    • Religion plays an important role in issues involving ethics and international relations. The religions of the world provide a foundation for ethical behavior; at the same time, however, religious differences have been a source of conflict.

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