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ETHICS AND DIPLOMACY

Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all
other living beings, we are still savages.
Thomas A. Edison

Ethics is a system of moral principles and values relating to human conduct. The role of
ethics in international relations is a long overlooked and now hotly debated issue, because now we
face with a lot of challenges that include political violence, particularly by transnational terrorist
networks, aggressive tactics to secure resources, and failed interventions in the midst of genocide
and human underdevelopment. All these challenges will redefine the ethical dimensions of
international relations. Realists say there is little room for ethics in a world dominated by security
risks and national self-interest. Cultural pluralists contend that ethics and morality are relative,
depending on the traditions of the society. Idealists are sobered by the complexity of ethical
considerations posed by contemporary international challenges. Nonetheless, ethical dilemmas
swirl around the globe and moral norms and actions are embraced.
If speaking about the role of ethics in the international arena, I can say that its concerns lie
at the heart of many issues in world affairs, such as war and peace, human rights, humanitarian
aid and socioeconomic justice. These issues transcend national identity or cultural differences.
Ethics provide an additional framework, besides national security or economic interest, for
considering approaches to global economic and political issues. Ethics has different meanings:
First, it refers to well-founded standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to
do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues. Ethical
standards also include standards relating to rights, such as the right to life, the right to freedom
from injury, and the right to privacy. Such standards are adequate standards of ethics because they
are supported by consistent and well-founded reasons. Secondly, ethics refers to the study and
development of one's ethical standards. As mentioned above, feelings, laws, and social norms can
deviate from what is ethical. So it is necessary to constantly examine one's standards to ensure
that they are reasonable and well-founded. Ethics also means, then, the continuous effort of
studying our own moral beliefs and our moral conduct, and striving to ensure that we, and the
institutions we help to shape, live up to standards that are reasonable and solidly-based.
Therefore we can notice that different people may interpret ethics in different way. For example
The ethics of Machiavelli describes us the way of thinking of one of the most loyal patriots and
exceptional diplomats. If looking to his message, his ethical reference was simply, the good of the
State. He wanted to build Italy into a strong republic overcoming the fact that it was, at that time,
just an open field for invasion, torn between German emperor and the Pope. There was no Italy as
such at that time, and thus his ethical reference, which was trumping everything else. But from
Isaiah Berlins point of view, Machiavelli was not amoral; he just had a different ethical
framework. That, incidentally, is not so rare. Nobody today in any country would take
Machiavellis percepts and present them as blueprint for political behavior within the country.
Nobody would say cheat, kill, as long as you can run the country. Lots of people do it, but they

dont say it. That is why it is not claimed as a reference. But Machiavelli is still dominant in
international relations, which means that people who are moral within their own national
community
are
not
moral
beyond
the
borders.
There are different opinions in regard to the religion and the perception of ethics in war. In
the Christian tradition, one finds the full range of ethical views on war, from pacifism to limited
war to total war. Historically, thats roughly the order in which those views developed (Bainton
14). According to Matthew 26, when a mob of armed men came to arrest Jesus, one of his
disciples (assumed to be Peter) "drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest, and cut
off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, 'Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword
will perish by the sword.'" Many early Christians also noted that Jesus allowed himself to be
unjustly executed without putting up any resistance. Although some Christians served as Roman
soldiers during the Churchs early history, a very significant shift in Christian thinking about war
occurred in the fourth century when Emperor Constantine began to use the Roman state to support
the Church. According to an influential bishop named Eusebius, Christian pacifism was from then
on to be strictly for clergy, monks and nuns; lay Christians, by contrast, were obligated to defend
the empire with force (Swift 82-89). In the Islamic tradition there are also precedents for total
war. Although Muhammad was said by an early biographer to have taken the path of non-violence
at first, he soon came to justify the use of force not only in defense of his growing religious
community but also in the form of offensive war to expand the territory of Islam. And the rules he
set for fighting such wars were fairly harsh: although women, children and the elderly were not to
be directly attacked, Muhammad permitted his warriors to kill all captured soldiers and male
civilians. Also, when foreign women and children were killed by Muslim soldiers in battle,
Muhammad denied that they were responsible, placing blame on the enemy leaders instead. This
is a claim which unfortunately continues to be made today by leaders of Islamic terrorist groups,
who accept no moral guilt for killing innocent civilians. Jains and Buddhists, who generally
reject the caste system and consider the ethic of nonviolence to be binding on all people
nonetheless do not completely prohibit the taking of life. They avoid killing sentient animals, but
they accept the killing of plant life even though they consider plants to have souls. More to the
point, some Buddhists also think it can be right to kill an unjust human attacker if necessary to
save
the
lives
of
two
or
more
innocent
people.
The view of innovations in information and communication technologies, both ethics and
diplomacy are being unprecedentedly challenged in the current global order. Ethics and
diplomacy are at stake in a world that is, not only in the world that should be. Yes, representation
and voice may have reached the level of the individual. However, world power remains
asymmetric. And this is the reason why diplomats have indeed a relevant role to play. The
diplomat is able to enter doors that are unfortunately still closed to the average citizen. If the
diplomat is not entitled to speak for other people as for voice can only be grounded on the
individual , he/she may be a partner of these multiple voices by creating and protecting the room
for them to be raised. In this sense, social media is to be seen as a window of opportunity, rather
than a constraint, to reassure the work of a diplomat and to reinvent diplomacy.