|International relations: International relations is the study and practice of interactions among nations, including diplomatic, economic, cultural, and strategic exchanges. It examines how countries and global actors engage, cooperate, and compete in addressing international issues. See also Foreign policy, Politics, Foreign aid, Peace, War, Development economics._____________Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments. |
Reinhold Niebuhr on International Relations - Dictionary of Arguments
Gaus I 290
International relationsNiebuhr/Brown: In 1919 an attempt had been made to bring international relations under the rule of law and the League of Nations was established, largely at the instigation of US President Woodrow Wilson, although the US Senate refused to ratify the Treaty of Versailles which contained the Covenant of the League. By the early 1930s it was clear that the hopes resting on the League were to be disappointed and realist thought developed on the back of this disappoint- ment, explaining what had gone wrong and proposing an alternative account of international relations.
Niebuhr was one of the first to undertake this task; his message is conveyed in shorthand by the title of his most influential work, Moral Man and Immoral Society (1932)(1); his point was that the liberals who created the League wildly exaggerated the capacity of collectivities of humans to behave in ways that were truly moral.
Ethics/Niebuhr thesis: Niebuhr held that 'men' had the capacity to be good, but that this capacity was always in conflict with the sinful acquisitive and aggressive drives that are also present in human nature. These drives are given full scope in society and it is unrealistic to think that they can be har- nessed to the goal of international peace and under- standing in bodies such as the League of Nations.
State/Augustine: Niebuhr's approach is essentially Augustinian, resting on Augustine's account of the coexistence of the two cities: the community of believers which encompasses past, present and future and all that is good in humanity, and the world as it is, fallen and imperfect. >State/Augustine.
NiebuhrVsLiberalism: The liberal internationalists of 1919 made the mistake of assuming that a world of reason and justice could be erected while these cities coexist; instead this coexistence
requires a politics based on a clear-headed understanding of power. >International relations/Morgenthau.
1. Niebuhr, R. (1932) Moral Man and Immoral Society. New York: Scribner.
Brown, Chris 2004. „Political Theory and International Relations“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications_____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Gerald F. Gaus
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004