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Ethical Foreign Policy? A Study of U.S. Humanitarian Interventions in the 1990s

CHANG, CHIH-HANN (2010) Ethical Foreign Policy? A Study of U.S. Humanitarian Interventions in the 1990s. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This research is situated within the introduction of a strong ethical dimension into foreign policy-making in the study of international relations in the post-Cold War era. While the 1990s gave rise to a wealth of literature on the notion of ethical foreign policy, it has tended to simply focus on a version of realism, which overlooks the role of ethics in international affairs, lacking an empirical analysis of foreign policy decision-making, with relation to ethical values in the post-Cold War period. The purpose of this thesis is to address this gap in the literature by exploring ethical realism as a theoretical framework and, in particular, by looking at US humanitarian interventions in the 1990s at an empirical level to analyse an ethical foreign policy in practice.

This study analyses the concepts of ethical realism and responsible power. The application of ethical realism to the conduct of international affairs involves the assertion that powerful states should have responsibilities and exercise leadership with ethical obligations. This research looks at the foreign policy of the United States and its experiences of dealing with humanitarian interventions during the Clinton administration, focusing on Bosnia and Kosovo, to see whether the United States could thus effectively promote liberal values and make a commitment to moral goals, rather than simply follow considerations of national security against the background of the end of the Cold War.

This thesis argues that the United States, as the only world’s superpower, should not only pursue national interests but also shoulder the responsibility of power. However, as the world still divides itself into separate sovereign states, statespeople are primarily responsible and accountable for their own citizens and national survival. Therefore, a foreign policy with an ethical dimension needs to be conducted in a pragmatic way.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Ethical Foreign Policy, Humanitarian Interventions, Ethical Realism, Responsible Power, Clinton's Foreign Policy, Moral Leadership, Pragmatic Foreign Policy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2010
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:29 Oct 2010 09:58

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