So much force, fraud, and intrigue have been, and are, dominating the international arena, that the concepts like trust and confidence among the various nations are almost impossible to think of. As a performance platform of so-called national interests, the international relations rather look like a chaotic market place, where everybody is trying to rip off everybody. So why do morals have so little impact on mutual relationship between nations?
The current situation that exists among the nations can without doubt lead one to think that international relations, as they are now, are far from ethics. Also it is not wrong to suppose that current affairs are pretty immoral. To be more concrete, whenever national interests come into conflict with moral principles, the moral side is the one that is sacrificed in the first hand. And as a whole humanity, is this our destiny?
The answer might be just within the reach, as morality is simply erased from those relations because it contradicts with the petty interests of larger forces. This is not happening for the first time, as the history of diplomacy and international relations goes back for hundreds of years. Down the way, there have been various theories, namely realism, liberalism and Marxism, to attempt to cure this evil. Liberalism for example propagates common interests and actions among the states, while Marxism looks at international relations and ethics strictly from the economic factor. Looking at the current state, we can say that it affirms principles which realism is presenting. From position of realists, it is normal that ethics should be secondary, because self-interests are always over moral principles. In other words, the realists agree that states can defend their interests even through immoral means.
The five years old Syrian conflict suggests that, the current international standards and methods have almost zero function in extinguishing a wildfire killing children on a daily basis.
In nowadays politics, no state can actually be sure on what are the real interests of the other one. There are some alliances like the EU, or NATO, seemingly to help secure the international arena; that their main goal is to secure world peace, is far from the truth. Many of those countries would probably get out of those types of unions as soon as their interests are not fulfilled, no matter what were the actual moral and ethical principles of the pact. As mentioned, realists tend to think that there is absolutely no reason to compromise and lower one’s self-interests for the sake of others. As a disputed territory between UK and Spain, Gibraltar could set a good example. Gibraltar is under the UK control, but Spanish official position is that it must be returned, for various reasons, as well as the geographical ones. As a culmination of this disagreement, we have both countries ignoring principles of free trade and no border control. Recently, Great Britain has also voted out of European Union, as they could not retrieve their dominant position there, seeking to accomplish only their interests, no matter how big of a consequence for the world might that create.
The problem is simple. It is hard to maintain world stability, with every state successfully accomplishing its ambitions, while countering with the other ones. An international system based on a selfish (and at times aggressive) competition simply doesn’t work. The five years old Syrian conflict suggests that, the current international standards and methods have almost zero function in extinguishing a wildfire killing children on a daily basis. So either countries have to give up on some of their interests, in search for peace, and development of human kind as a whole, or things are just going to get tangled up even more.
At last, it’s important to say that, international relations are not a thing to be realized easily, but rather something we need to understand and try to change, beyond current structure and organizations. There are some theories that present alternatives for new interaction such as neo-functionalism or post-structuralism, stressing out, that international affairs, can no longer be settled the way they are now. Whatever alternative might be the best, it is important to raise awareness, that the path has to be changed in order to have a stable and peaceful world.