The belief in a moral obligation to engage in international, like the persuasion theory, is quite broad. Morality can’t be reduced to a matter of right and wrong; states have more complex beliefs than that. In this case, the causal factor for participation is rooted in belief. This differs from coercion in that coercion disregards the intentions of (the weaker) states. The weaker states do what they must not what they desire. The morality theory also differs from the persuasion theory. Under the persuasion theory the state is in control of its actions and acts based on ideas and principles, however, those principles are based on self-interest. Morality is based on selfless beliefs that participation will benefit some group within the state, the whole state, other states, etc. The root difference between persuasion and morality is the principle of altruism. In the case of morality leaders act in such a way because they believe it’s the best for others, possibly including those outside of their own state. On the surface, it might seem that the engaging state doesn’t stand to benefit under the morality theory, but this isn’t the case. While the benefits under coercion (not being punished by the weaker state) and persuasion (whatever the state thinks it will get by participating) are more clear, the moral argument is not without its benefits. The benefit of the moral theory is a better world for people to live in, though this is an oversimplification, the root of the morality theory is altruism. [Posner]
Moravcisk’s theory of Republican Liberalism can be equated with morality in order for it to fit within the sphere of the three main theories. Moravcisk’s Republican Liberalism theory has both domestic and international compone...
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... are relevant not only for the purposes of international relations, but also international law. For instance, the merit of a treaty can be found to be null if there is evidence that coercion was used. On the other side, morality can play an important role in pushing the agenda of international law and securing collective action and world peace. Though it seems it’s impossible to produce a blanket statement regarding why states participate in international law, there are trends and general principles that work in many instances. The primary conclusion that can be drawn is that states willfully reducing their sovereignty in order to participate in this system isn’t paradoxical in the slightest. There are a plethora of reasons and justifications for nations to engage in international law. The question of why is an important one that is still not entirely answered.
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