Agency and Ethics: The Politics of Military Intervention by Anthony F. Lang

By Anthony F. Lang

Why does political clash appear to continually intrude with makes an attempt to supply reduction, finish ethnic discord, or restoration democracy? to reply to this question, employer and Ethics examines how the norms that initially encourage an intervention usually create clash among the intervening powers, outdoors powers, and the political brokers who're the sufferers of the intervention. 3 case reviews are drawn upon to demonstrate this phenomena: the British and American intervention in Bolshevik Russia in 1918; the British and French intervention in Egypt in 1956; and the yankee and United international locations intervention in Somalia in 1993. even though not often labeled jointly, those 3 interventions shared no less than one robust commonality: all didn't in achieving their professed ambitions, with the troops being ignominiously recalled in every one instance. Lang concludes via addressing the obstacle of the way to solve advanced humanitarian emergencies within the twenty-first century with out the need of resorting to army intervention.

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Extra resources for Agency and Ethics: The Politics of Military Intervention

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Rather, I see in the combination of their ideas on political agency a valuable means by which to challenge conventional notions of politics in International Relations. Morgenthau’s work provides important insights into two basic aspects of state agency, representation and the national purpose. I have thus far implicitly assumed that state agency is unproblematic. In fact, this assumption is common in both the discipline of international relations and in popular descriptions of world politics. International law has traditionally been structured around a mode of discourse in which states are the agents of world politics, even when the concerns of states may override those of individual persons (Henkin 1993; Corbett 1951).

The theory of state agency in this book differs in important ways from some of the mainstream works in International Relations theory. In contrast to realism and neorealism, this theory does not presume that states only seek power or security. Instead, it posits that one of the goals of political interaction is the pursuit of norms that result from national histories. In opposition to constructivists, who also emphasize the importance of norms, this work seeks to highlight the way in which normative visions of states are not learned from international organizations but are the result of historical interpretations of states’ own national histories, interpretations that are controlled by state leaders and representatives.

Can we find in state agency the means by which to reconceive global politics while admitting that states will remain predominant actors? This section will suggest how such a move is possible (although rare) in international politics by drawing on an unexpected source: the political realism of Hans Morgenthau. At the end of this chapter, I compare this theory of state agency to realism and neorealism, which I argue are distinct from the theory articulated here. Nevertheless, it is in Morgenthau’s writing on diplomacy and the national purpose (not national interest) that we see how state agency can arise from narration and can possibly lead to a more democratic engagement.

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