The Political Realist's Argument
Is war ever the right or wrong thing to do? Political Realists claim that war is just and permissible only when it is in the best interest of a state. Further, they argue morality has no place in determining the justifiability of war. In considering the legitimacy of war, I will first analyze one main argument in support of 'Political Realism', after which I will critique the argument, which I provided in support of political realism.
Political Realists clearly state that war is acceptable once it is in the state's best interest to do so, and once embroiled in a war, a nation must employ all methods to ensure that victory is the end result (Morgenthau 14). They believe that "war is an intractable part of an anarchical world system ("War"). And that it ought to be resorted to only if it makes sense in terms of national self-interest. While political realism is an intricate and highly developed doctrine, Political Realists assert that its core propositions center on a strong rejection of applying moral concepts to the conduct of international relations (Ibid).
Political realists denounce the idea of applying morality when discussing the justifiability of war for two main reasons. Firstly, political realists believe that only a superior and legitimate international authoritative body can impose a moral system upon all nations (Lauleta 2). Secondly, realists assert that there is no overriding international authority that enforces a common code of rules that apply to all nation states (Ibid) Therefore, by virtue of accepting these two main premises; realists contend that we should not use morality as a factor in considering the legitimacy of war.
In arguing th...
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... We can clearly see evidence of this whereby countries abide by international laws. Therefore, it is safe to say that we do not need a world government to determine universal morality because other world organizations are capable of establishing common codes of conduct and laws.
We have explored two counter arguments. Firstly, a common sense of morality among states does not require authority as a common basic morality, despite cultural diversity, is innate in every human being. Secondly, states' participation in international organizations ensures that a common set of rules determining the justifiability of war can be applied to all states. Therefore, when states co-operate without a universal governmental body, they can arrive at some degree of commonality where international law is concerned. Therefore, in conclusion, we can evaluate war based on moral issues.
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