Global and International Politics

  • Robert F. GormanEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-31816-5_1429-1

Keywords

Foreign Direct Investment United Nations International Relation Moral Realist North Atlantic Treaty Organization 
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Synonyms

Definition

Global and international politics concern both the cooperative and conflictual relations that exist between and among governments of nations as they seek to advance the common security, well-being, and prosperity of their populations and territories in conditions of justice and peace.

Introduction

International relations have existed from the dawn of recorded history. Trade relations and conflicts have existed between and among peoples, empires, and feudal state systems for as long as human communities have been organized. Examples of this include the rise of Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Assyrian, Hittite, Persian, Chaldean, and Israelite kingdoms in the ancient Near East to the state systems in the subcontinent of India and Chinese Empires. Diplomatic contact, conflict, and commerce among these ancient political systems constituted a primitive form of interstate relations. With the rise of the Greek city-state system and the subsequent emergence of the Alexandrian and Roman Empires, another phase of international relations for which a substantial historical and political record exists established a foundation for the later development of the state system. Following the emergence of Christianity, which was the first religious tradition to distinguish separate roles for religious and political activity through the institutions of church and state, an additional dynamic process was introduced into the development of international relations throughout Europe and the Mediterranean basin. The collapse of the Western Roman Empire left the Catholic Church in place as a focal point for cultural unity, while secular states, at first of a decentralized and feudal nature, gradually evolved into larger and more centralized secular states. By the High Middle Ages, these European states grew in power and stature, competing among themselves and with the Church for control over territory and populations. The religious wars of the seventeenth century and the collapse of Christendom in Western Europe reached a turning point in 1648. In that year the Holy Roman Empire resolved disputes between Catholic and Protestant rulers in the Peace of Westphalia, which established the foundation of a new system of sovereign states, which in the following two centuries became truly globalized following the colonial expansion of Europe. In the twentieth century, rapid decolonization occurred during the Cold War, along the rise and fall of Communist states and the birth of the modern globalized system of political and economic order (Nye and Welch 2013).

The following analysis considers the historical development of international relations in light of several competing theoretical approaches that have vied as explanations for international behavior, including realist, liberal-idealist, and Marxist theories. Here it will be argued that a more comprehensive understanding of the global international order rooted in moral realism accounts for the basic assumptions of the other theories, while advancing a theory of institutional responsibility that promotes solidarity while respecting subsidiary rights of local and national actors.

Realism and Moral Realism in International Relations

Consulting the earliest more systematic writings of philosophers in China, India, Persia, Ancient Greece, and the Hebrews, one finds sophisticated commentaries on politics and ethics. The uses and abuses of power are examined in these ancient writings, and within them one can begin to see reflections on the proper uses and limits of power as well. Many contemporary realists point to Sun Tsu’s Art of War (ca. 300 BCE in China), Kautilya’s Arthashastra (ca. 300 BCE in India), and Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War (ca. 400 BCE in Greece) as progenitors of the modern realist school of international relations, which emphasizes the calculated use of power to advance the interests of nations. However, these writings also contain observations on the limits and purposes of power. In them a moral awareness aimed at the common good and just treatment of the people, the distinctions between right and wrong behavior, and the general obligation to seek the happiness and flourishing of human communities are also discernible. Similar awareness is found in much older traditions of Confucian, Hindu, Hebrew, Zoroastrian, and Babylonian/Chaldean writings. Thus from the very first moments of conscious reflection of politics and power, matters of justice and moral obligation were also present in ways that offered rulers guidance not only on the effective and wise use of power but also on its limits in light of principles of justice. It is more accurate to characterize the early writings on the behavior of nations as moral realism.

However, because war is a constant feature of human history, a realist approach that looks to power as a motivating principle of state behavior has dominated theoretical inquiry into international relations (Morgenthau 1985). Nonetheless, an even more widespread reality of human history is that of peaceful cooperation, often marked by trade, diplomatic ties, peaceful migration and settlement, and intercultural contact. To be sure, war has often interrupted peaceable states of affairs throughout history, but its inherent destructiveness has always evoked awareness that war needed justification. While just war thinking existed in many ancient cultural settings, the tradition that has most systematically influenced the modern international system began in the Ancient Greek philosophical writings of Plato and Aristotle, their successors who are the Stoics, and ultimately the great Roman philosopher Cicero, who systematized both the idea of natural law and the just war concept in Book I of his De Officiis. These would later be developed under the influence of Judeo-Christian thought to survive as the basis for modern laws of war. Cicero taught that war could be justified only when it was undertaken by a lawful sovereign for a just cause and with a right intention. Just causes for him included self-defense, protection of allies and other innocent peoples, and the glory of the empire. Right intention generally, however, required a motive to establish peace and justice without aggrandizement. He acknowledged that a prudent lawful authority would explore diplomatic options before using force. He noted that even during the course of war, basic justice should be sought, clemency afforded to defeated enemies, and a constant attention be paid to diplomatic means of bringing war to a swift and just conclusion (Waltz 2001).

The Rise of Liberal-Idealist Thought

Although the Peace of Westphalia was primarily a European neighborhood arrangement to produce a more stable and peaceful regional environment, it corresponded to the European Age of Discovery and colonial expansion. The European state system was slowly globalized as Western European states, including Spain, Portugal, England, Holland, and France, claimed sovereignty over territories in the Western Hemisphere, coastal portions of Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia. To acquire sovereignty for themselves, colonized peoples would eventually seek recognition from existing sovereigns, often after wars of independence. This began with the United States and the Latin American republics. As European imperial states dominated newly discovered areas, they imposed mercantilist economic systems, whereby they commanded control over the exploitation of resources to fuel their emerging industrial economies. Excess production was typically shipped backed to colonies that remained captive markets to European powers. However, the industrialization of Europe also gave rise to new economic theories emphasizing the deregulation of governmental control over economic activity. David Ricardo and Adam Smith emphasized the importance of free markets to the increase of wealth not only within but also between countries. Ricardo demonstrated the importance of the law of comparative advantage in international trade as a means to wider production and reduced prices for goods. A new science of international political economy thus emerged in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Influential among these thinkers was Immanuel Kant, whose work, Perpetual Peace, emphasized that the problem of war among nations was only likely to give way to peaceable relations among nations if they engaged in cooperative trade, embraced democratic constitutions, and collaborated with one another in international organizations.

Liberal-idealist thought proposed a new way of conceiving international relations whereby the national state was only one actor among many, important to be sure, but linked and limited by various nongovernmental entities and coordinated by intergovernmental bodies of their own creation. With economics emerging as a powerful mechanism of production and change, European and Western Hemispheric countries began competing for global resources and markets. Colonialism in Africa commenced with greater energy after the Berlin Conference that ended the Franco-Prussian War in Europe, while the British, French, and Dutch expanded their domination of Asian countries. Britain, the chief global naval power, gradually established a Commonwealth system of trade which anticipated and prefigured the possibility of a global trade system. Following the collapse of Napoleon Bonaparte’s effort to establish French hegemony in Europe and the world, the Concert of Europe anticipated a world political system of collaboration. Apart from occasional eruptions of conflict, this multilateral approach to keeping peace was enhanced by a relatively stable balance of power in Europe even as European states began establishing international organizations to better cope with their mutual interests in taking advantage of new technologies such as the telegraph, establishing commissions for regulation of river navigation and trade, promoting more efficient postal communication, protecting countries from the spread of disease, encouraging the legal settlement of disputes through arbitration, and limiting the effects of war with the establishment of humanitarian law. A general optimism rose in the nineteenth century that enlightened states, now increasingly adopting democratic and parliamentary constitutions, cooperating in trade, and collaborating in various international forums, were on the cusp of establishing the perpetual peace predicted by Kant.

The Marxian Political Economy Alternative

The nineteenth century, although dominated by the liberal theory of political economy, also saw the rise of a Marxist alternative. Karl Marx, a German refugee writing from London, proposed a whole new theory of political economy. Marx insisted that history must be understood from the perspective of historical materialism in which economic forces of production vied for dominance (Marx and Engels 1967). For example, primitive communism gives way to feudal systems of land ownership in which land owning classes dominate peasant workers. The feudal system, in turn, collapses owing to emerging merchant classes whose mobile wealth makes it possible to establish urban industrial systems of production that are far more dynamic, but which also exploit a new proletarian working class. Resentments among the latter predict inevitable proletarian revolutions in capitalist countries and the rise of the secular socialist state, where private property and wealth give rise to a socialist system of redistribution of wealth in the name of equality. With reeducation by the state, in which the previous roles of family and religion are rigorously repressed, it becomes possible for the new communist man to emerge and for the socialist state to give way to a global communist utopia. Marx failed to anticipate the strength of nationalism among peoples and the capacity of capitalist business interests to ameliorate the grievances of the working class through negotiation with union movements, as well as the enduring religiosity of human beings, but he did predict correctly the rise of the modern secular and regulatory state. Moreover, his ideas were warmly embraced by intellectual elites drawn to their egalitarian flavor and by individual leaders, such as Vladimir Lenin and Mao Zedong, who respectively applied and adapted them to the conditions they found in Russia and China (Tucker 1978). Thus although the heartland of Europe would prove largely immune from the socialist revolution Marx predicted there, the still largely feudal states of Russia and China would prove fertile ground for communist experimentation in the twentieth century as the European colonial system collapsed under the weight of two devastating world wars. The subsequent competition between the West and the emerging communist powers, the Soviet Union and Communist China, produced a century of unprecedented bloodshed.

Contending Theories in the Turbulent Twentieth Century

At the outset of the twentieth century, the European powers still controlled much of the world through their colonial systems. In the Western Hemisphere, the United States emerged as a dominant military power backed by prodigious and growing commercial prowess. Russia by contrast demonstrated fatal weakness in its contest with Japan which easily bested the tsarist regime in the Russo-Japanese War of 1905. The Age of Enlightenment was finally reaping benefits in the realms of science and technology, and the hope for a better future rested on a Kantian vision of perpetual peace constructed by human reason and secular democratic states cooperating toward the common good of humanity and finally laying to rest the superstitions and grievances of ages past. This ideal vision of the prospects for humanity was terribly shaken by World War I, which was the deadliest conflict humankind had ever before witnessed.

There were warning signs of the terrible devastation to come. In the first decade of the 1900s, many governments in Europe and in Asia, Japan, embarked on massive production of armaments. As they devoted more resources to building up their military capacity, their volume of trade began declining – a process documented by Richardson (1960). Nationalist fervor was on the rise, as was an emerging demand among non-self-governing peoples to national independence. In the Balkans, war between the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires and contested provinces seeking liberation from imperial control served as ominous harbingers of future woe. European powers quietly entered into secret alliances as they maneuvered to protect perceived interests. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo by a Serbian nationalist was the spark that ignited world war in 1914. As armies marched off to war, they were hailed with enthusiastic displays of nationalist fervor, everyone expecting a quick victory, like the rare and brief wars of the late nineteenth century. Instead, much to the world’s dismay, a 4-year long, global war of brutal and industrial destruction ensued, in which 16–17 million people died, including around 6–7 million noncombatants killed owing to combat-related causes or to disease. The global scale of the war included naval combat in all the world oceans and land warfare in Europe, Asia, and Africa. About 650,000 Asians and Africans served in European armies. Chemical weapons, machine guns, tanks, submarine warfare, and air warfare made their debut as a means of combat and destruction. What could explain this outburst of inhumane violence?

To the realist the primary cause was the aggressive propensity found in human nature and the breakdown of the balance of power system. To the moral realist, the cause could be found in both the natural desire for security; the human propensity to pride, malice, greed, and domination; and the diplomatic misperceptions of governments. To the Marxist, the cause could be attributed to greed of governments and arms merchants that overrode the class consciousness of workers duped by patriotic appeals and nationalist fervor. To idealists the cause could be attributed to the lack of international cooperation, international law, and diplomacy that allowed trade to decline and arms races to begin and to the colonial systems that denied rights of national self-determination. At least initially the view of the idealists as propounded by the US President Woodrow Wilson prevailed, as victorious allies took steps to prevent such a future conflagration by establishing the League of Nations, promoting treaties of disarmament, and dismantling the imperial and colonial systems of the Axis powers, in the name of national self-determination. The League Covenant sought to establish a perpetual system of collective security. It was open to all nations, although the United States never became a member, and other powerful countries such as the Soviet Union and Germany were admitted later and then both withdrew in the 1930s, along with many other signatories. The turbulent 1930s were also marked by global economic depression and trade protectionism. The League placed former colonies of Germany in Africa and the Pacific under the mandate authority of victorious allies such as Britain, France, and Japan, while the Ottoman Empire was reduced to the modern state of Turkey as Ottoman territories in the Middle East were placed under British and French administration. Iraq and Saudi Arabia gained their independence from British administration in the 1930s. Austria-Hungary was dismantled, and its territories in the Balkans were granted independence as the Kingdom of the Southern Slavs or Yugoslavia. The League sponsored the development of the Permanent Court of International Justice and many other collaborative efforts to cope with social, economic, and humanitarian problems, notably establishing the first agency for protection of refugees, who numbered in the millions following the war.

Apart from the problem of spotty membership, other factors reduced League effectiveness. These included rivalries among the Great Powers, ongoing nationalist sentiments throughout the world, resentments in Germany that fueled the rise of the Nazi party, increased military spending in Germany and the Soviet Union, and the imperial expansion on the part of Japan and Italy. All this challenged the capacity of the League’s machinery for keeping peace (Nye and Welch 2013). In 1939 the invasion of Poland by Germany and a few weeks later by the Soviet Union catapulted the world into an even more deadly world war, dashing the hopes of idealists at least for the moment. During World War II, about 60,000,000 were killed, including 20–25 million military deaths, about equal numbers of civilian deaths, and another 20 million war-related death owing to famine and diseases. After the war it is no surprise that the realist and moral realist theory of international relations once again gained currency. But so too did a rival theory of Marxism, aggressively advanced by the emergence of the Soviet Union and later China as communist states offering themselves as models to large numbers of countries who would soon win their independence in Africa and Asia as European powers divested themselves of their colonies.

Contending Theories in the Cold War Era

A moral realist perspective is evident in the years immediately following World War II. The Allies, including prominently the United States and Britain, and the Soviet Union, after June 1941 when Hitler invaded his erstwhile ally, began negotiations to replace the League of Nations with a revised global organization in 1944. The United Nations (UN) would defer in its Security Council to the cooperative capacity of the global powers by granting its five permanent members a veto. However, the expected cooperation gradually broke down in the years following the war as the Soviet Union consolidated its control over occupied nations in East Europe, and the Cold War emerged between a Western bloc led by the United States and a Communist bloc led by the Soviet Union. Shattered by the devastation of World War II, idealist thought gave way to a more practical moral realism that recognized the importance of power properly oriented to maintain peace and security. Still, the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials punished major war criminals, and crimes against peace and against humanity were defined in the hope of deterring future outrages. Added to these developments in the law of war was a new emphasis in the UN Charter on human rights and self-determination of peoples. Thus, although realist principles seemed to motivate state behavior after the war with the emergence of competing alliances in a new bipolar world dominated by two superpowers, elements of moral realism were also visible. In 1948 two major international documents, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Genocide Convention, restored the principle that the human person is the subject of all politics and that human dignity calls for the respect of universal human rights, religious liberty, and the integrity of the family. In subsequent years the proliferation of human rights instruments would testify to the international community’s aspiration to more noble behavior. In keeping with both moral realist and liberal thought, the number of independent and UN-related and other intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) proliferated to about 300, as did the numbers and activity of new international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs).

Moral realist thought could be also detected in the ideas motivating the restoration of Europe, which under the influence of Christian Democratic Union principles embarked upon a strategy of functional economic integration to achieve peace and prosperity advancing the common good of European nations. Supported by the United States, this strategy contained implicit elements of liberal-idealist thought as well, emphasizing free trade, free flow of capital and labor, and the establishment of supranational regional institutions among social democratic states (Keohane and Nye 1977). If the West largely advanced a model based on liberty, the Communist bloc ideology emphasizing equality at the expense of liberty served as the competing model of state-centric planning and the elimination of markets and private property.

As Europe focused more on its own reconstruction and development, it also recognized the independence of its colonial possessions. By 1980 around 90 new nations gained independence and membership in the UN. Many of these Third World countries preferred a policy of nonalignment in the Cold War, but they could not altogether avoid its influence. Many of these new countries were attracted to Marxist models exemplified by the Soviet Union but also by the increasingly independent and distinct Maoist model in China (Wallerstein 2004). Others continued to tilt toward the West and its liberal monetary and trade models advanced by the Bretton Woods monetary system that relied on a strong US dollar backed by gold and the creation of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). In addition, the free trade policies of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade came under pressure by nonaligned movement’s UN Conference for Trade and Development, eventually producing reforms in the free trade approach to permit preferential trade models. Rooted in neoliberal thought that emphasized global interdependence, multilateral diplomacy, and regional trade approaches, preferential trade was readily adopted by the European countries, the United States, Japan, and other Western nations (Keohane and Nye 1977). The rise of Arab and other oil-producing countries produced another layer of states with a keen interest in exploiting markets to their national advantage (Nye and Welch 2013).

Although liberal economic principles contested with Marxist models of economic development, the political and military aspects of the Cold War could be understood in realist terms. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was established in 1949 as a regional defense alliance to contain the potential Soviet threat to West Europe. In response, the Communist countries formed the Warsaw Pact in 1956. Western countries, in turn, established defense alliances in central and Southeast Asia, while the United States also formed the Rio Pact in the Western Hemisphere. The Korean War of 1950 intensified east-west tensions, and as countries in the Third World gained independence, many found themselves engaged in deadly civil wars, motivated in part by Cold War ideology and competition. These included conflicts in Africa and Asia. In Latin America, the Cuban Revolution was followed by ideologically based civil wars in Central America. The Middle East conflict served as another hotspot for east-west contention that produced four Arab-Israeli wars. Conservative estimates put the death toll of these conflicts, genocides, and government-induced famines at 60 million – this despite the UN’s collective security and humanitarian activities. Military expenditures and arms races dominated the foreign relations of many countries, to which one must add the specter of nuclear weapons. The United States, the Soviet Union, China, the United Kingdom, and France were the first nations to attain nuclear weapons, but later both India and France did so as well, along with Israel.

Soviet military and political expansion in the 1970s and 1980s came seemingly at the expense of Western political dominance in much of the Third World. However, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, coupled with expensive endeavors to support pro-Soviet socialist regimes, overtaxed the weak Soviet economy. A Western military buildup in the 1980s coupled with Western economic resurgence and Soviet economic bankruptcy and the collapse of Communist Poland, attributable in part to the influence of Polish Pope John Paul II’s religious and political influence in his homeland, precipitated the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Communist bloc in the early 1990s, and a new era international cooperation and economic globalization began. In his 1991 farewell address, Soviet President, Mikhail Gorbachev, admitted that a major cause of the political and economic collapse of communism was its underlying moral bankruptcy (Gorman, The Cold War, p. 18).

Contending Theories in the Era of Globalization

After the intense rivalry of the Cold War, the 1990s ushered in a unipolar system dominated by American military and economic power, in which liberal-idealist principles seemed at least for the moment triumphant. The Soviet Union eventually collapsed as its constituent socialist republics sued for independence and as former allies in East Europe were sued for entry into the European Union (EU) and NATO. The EU expanded and its economic productivity accelerated. Russia sought western assistance and it joined the World Bank and IMF. A new World Trade Organization was established to resolve commercial disputes between countries, and a globalized but also decentralized system of trade and foreign direct investment and aid stimulated spectacular growth in much of the world, including China which prudently determined to liberalize its economic system even as it remained under Communist party control. The general benefits of globalization gradually removed a billion people from the ranks of the desperately poor and global wealth production surged (Nye and Welch 2013). China emerged as an economic power, surpassing even Japan in economic productivity only 20 years after its decision to liberalize. India and Brazil also emerged as major regional powers and active participants in the globalized marketplace. Western countries in need of labor opened their borders to substantial immigration of peoples from the southern less-developed countries, and remittances by these migrants back to their home countries emerged as one of the most significant mechanisms for transfer of wealth, surpassing in many cases even official foreign development assistance and foreign direct investment.

Although the world still suffered from lingering conflicts, the UN’s collective security system began to function in a spirit of wider cooperation as dozens of peacemaking and peace-keeping deployments gradually resolved civil wars and conflicts of the Cold War era (Weiss et al. 2014). Throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America, a new wave of democratization occurred as nations adopted republican and parliamentary constitutions, offering the hope, based on democratic peace theory, that the world might at last become a more peaceful place since democracies rarely go to war with one another. International humanitarian aid mechanisms were reformed and extended to deal with those parts of the world, especially in Africa where civil conflicts continued, most notably in Sudan and Congo, where millions of people were still exposed to bloody conflicts.

But globalization had negative consequences. About a billion people in unstable countries enjoyed little positive benefit. Trafficking in human persons increased dramatically. Transnational terrorism, emerging with Al Qaeda in the 1990s, made a spectacular debut on September 11, 2001, with the attacks in New York and Washington, DC. In retaliation, US and NATO intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq in subsequent years demonstrated that military security remained an important component of international relations. Economic recession in the United States and slackening of economic growth in China produced a long period of globalized economic deterioration in 2008, leading to nearly 8 years of tepid global economic growth. The Obama administration consciously reduced the US political and military profile, as Russia, China, and Iran began to bid – on more realistic terms – to expand their power and influence. The Arab Spring in the Middle East, coupled with devastating civil wars in Syria and Libya, proved beyond the resolution of the UN or other collaborative institutions. Even the EU proved feckless in dealing collectively with the unprecedented flows of refugees into member states, who abandoned common asylum rules in favor of national protection and regulation of borders.

The rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and its swift and brutal acquisition of territory produced a haphazard international response, with Russia and Iran emerging as the proactive and dominant players as the United States settled for reactive responses. Long-standing resentments in the Islamic world and the emergence of jihadist movements in Asia, Africa, and Europe threatened global security and stability. Coupled with collapsing fertility rates and consequent demographic decline, many countries in Asia and Europe face a difficult prospect of sustaining national economic growth. Under all these contemporary pressures, the triumph of liberal-idealist principles of international relations has come under serious challenge. Realists observe that Vladimir Putin’s Russia is bidding for renewed global prominence, even as Iran dominates Iraq, Syria, and Yemen with Russian help. China militarizes the South China Sea and uses its recently acquired wealth to influence countries throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America. With Europe and the United States in an apparent period of decline, the nature of the contemporary world order and the principles on which states interact once again leave room for debate. Realists will claim that not much has changed, as power politics and conflicting national interests persist. Liberal-idealists will argue that diplomacy, cooperation, and dialogue must continue. Marxists who seemed in total defeat might claim that its principles have not really been tried, and moral realists will assert the enduring value of human dignity in the midst of an imperfect world that will resist all human efforts to establish perfect peace and justice. However, despite a world historically marked by enduring contention, the human spirit also inevitably aspires toward those higher goals.

Conclusion

We should not fail to notice different understandings about the proper organization of international, national, local, and subsidiary actors in addressing policy issues at these various levels of activity. Realists believe much of this is still the work of government interests. Liberal-idealists insist on the importance of global agencies and other private actors such as multinational corporations, INGOs, and domestic civil society. Marxists believe that the secular state is the key actor. Moral realists propose a systematic understanding of both solidarity and subsidiarity, especially in light of the profound role of religion and culture on society, economics, and politics (Gorman, Toward the Common Good, pp. 13–16). Subsidiarity implies that political, economic, and social problems should be resolved at the lowest, most effective, and directly accountable level. Solidarity implies that all levels and types of government exist not for their own power but to protect safety and dignity of human persons and their common good in local, national, regional, and international communities. Solidarity is most strongly felt at the level of the family, tribe, churches, and local community, where the vast majority of human security, economic activity, education, and preservation of human rights occur. But when local or national communities collapse under the weight of conflict or disaster, more comprehensive political institutions have a duty in solidarity to facilitate the restoration of their local or national vitality, while respecting their subsidiary rights and proper autonomy.

Too often in theorizing about the role of national government and global institutions, political scientists and students of public administration first look to more comprehensive institutions to solve problems, thus potentially violating subsidiarity. Moral realists recognize that certain policies can only be effectively addressed at the international level, but even so, such interventions stand little chance of success if the vitality and essential cooperation of local actors is ignored. Most human problems are best solved in the local, directly accountable setting. Even the recent economic globalization which has produced unprecedented wealth throughout the world was not primarily generated by the UN agency programs, but rather by the initiative of uncounted numbers of private ventures, family decisions to seek migration, and more open and efficient international trade. But globalization has also led to recent instabilities and the emergence of criminal and terrorist activities. This requires not just global institutional attention but also national and local attention to threats to safety and security. In this regard, moral realism protects against overly optimistic expectations of success in a world where perfect justice is elusive and where evil marches alongside goodness competing for dominance of the human heart.

Cross-References

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Distinguished Professor of Political ScienceTexas State UniversitySan MarcosUSA