Thursday 20th of February 2020

Coalition Of Corporations

 

Consider things from this point of view. The writer of this Jakarta Post opinion piece is Professor of International Affairs, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

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China would view a club of big power democracies in Asia as an ideologically charged move that is likely to evolve into a security grouping over time. Such a development is provocative to Beijing which would also see it as a threat to regional stability. And Beijing may have a good point there. The theory of "democratic peace" holds that democracies do not fight one another.

Therefore, cooperation among democracies is beneficial to regional and global order. But the same theory also revels that democracies do have an extensive record of waging war against non-democracies. Beijing and advocates of an inclusive approach to Asian security should watch out.

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The only thing I'd quibble with is that it might be less of a coalition of democracies, more of a coalition of corporations.

 

Niebuhr - Moral Man and Immoral Society

From the Washington Post

First, Drop the Moral Pretensions

Last night there were two important phone conversations in my home regarding the war in Iraq.

One conversation was between my wife and a long time friend and work colleague. This friend’s son had just returned from his second tour of duty as a Marine platoon commander in Iraq.

The second call was from our son, an officer in the National Guard, telling us that his deployment to Iraq in January, 2008 is more certain than ever. The war remains a foreboding, daily presence in our home.

To my mind, this week’s question on the morality of the Iraq conflict continuing, was answered conclusively by Reinhold Niebuhr in 1932. Throughout the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s, Niebuhr was a highly influential political and social analyst as well as a renowned theologian. In 1932 Niebuhr published Moral Man and Immoral Society. Central to Niebuhr’s thesis in this book were the following points:

--All nations have a well-known, deep-seated selfish nature. They are driven by self-interest. Niebuhr cites George Washington’s dictum that no nation should be trusted beyond its own interest.

--Nations achieve a unity of action only through following the self-interest of the dominant economic groups and by “the popular emotions and hysterics which from time to time run through a nation.”

--Niebuhr observes that nations find it far, far more difficult than individuals [who find it difficult enough] to observe the beam in their own eye while giving critical analysis of the mote in the eye of other nations. Since moral action requires taking note of one’s own hypocrisy, Niebuhr suggests we should not expect nations to engage in ethical actions. “perhaps the best that can be expected of nations is that they should justify their hypocrisies by a slight measure of real international achievement and learn how to do justice to wider interests than their own, while they pursue their own.”

--Accordingly, Niebuhr states, it is almost inevitable that every nation, especially in a time of war, regards criticism as a lack of loyalty.

Niebuhr’s argument is that nations never make a frank avowal of their real motives, that nations will always clothe their self interest in a claim to be fighting for civilization, the good of humanity, order or democracy. Such claims, of course, help secure the allegiance and devotion of the citizenry to the cause in question.