By Hartmut Behr
Modern conception of foreign politics faces a twofold challenge: the serious engagement with legacies of nationwide energy politics in connection to twentieth Century diplomacy and the regeneration of notions of humanity. This booklet contributes to this engagement by way of a family tree of recommendations on conflict, peace, and ethics.
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Extra resources for A History of International Political Theory: Ontologies of the International
In spite of such a potential turn of interests, the legal ethics of pacta sunt servanda nevertheless claims that the treaty obligations have to be redeemed and the treaty is sacred. Consequently, this legal principle has to transcend the particular wills and interests of the single treaty parties, interests which could potentially arise after the treaty has been agreed and that might be different from what is laid down in the treaties. This principle thus sets up a new guideline, which states that treaties only become powerful and meaningful under the condition of a superior principle which, however, is not part of the treaties themselves, but stems from a universal ethical idea.
Here, we see the impact of the above discussed relations between anthropological universalism and universalism of the reason, ethics, and law on very concrete political considerations. Just war theorems as outlined in Cicero seem only possible due to his fundamental concepts of, and beliefs in, the universalism of ethics, reason, and law, which create a common bond and solidarity among mankind and its several, ethnically heterogeneous nations. This commonness is rationally tangible because humans are gifted with reason to investigate their anthropological constitution.
Johnson Bagby demonstrates, Thucydides ‘departs from the realist position in both outlook and method by his methodology of (1) emphasizing the importance of what we might call “national character”, (2) highlighting the influence of the moral and intellectual character of individual leaders, (3) showing the importance of political rhetoric for action ... , and (4) showing that for him, moral judgements form an integral part of political analysis’ (Bagby, 1994, p. 133). Bagby’s fourth observation is especially relevant for analyzing Thucydides from a universalism-particularism perspective; and another relevant aspect must be added, which is not part of Bagby’s critique, but nevertheless represents an important objection against the neorealist misreading of Thucydides.