Carnegie Ethics Online is a monthly column featuring short, prescriptive contributions from writers who examine ethical dilemmas in current policy issues.
Carnegie Council provides an open forum for discussion. Views expressed are not necessarily those of Carnegie Council.
Legacies and Prospects of Joint Criminal Enterprises in Europe | 04/14/2016 In March 2016, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic was convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. Of course, this is a positive step. Yet punishing individuals while preserving the culture and society that allowed them to commit crimes in the first place seems close to pointless.
The Lonely Resistance: Protesting Chinese Resource Exploitation on the Tibetan Plateau | 03/14/2016 China has dammed every major river in Tibet with many more dams in the planning stage. This and the pollution of waters through mining have created serious problems for Tibetans and those in neighboring countries. Despite political repression and profound isolation, Tibetans are struggling to make these dire conditions known to the rest of the world.
What Does Singapore Owe its Migrant Workers? | 02/10/2016 In Tuas View, an industrial neighborhood in Singapore, migrant workers have little reason to leave their buildings. They live in a 15,000 square foot dormitory, where they enjoy fitness centers, movie theaters, food courts, and even a beer garden. Take a closer look, however, and a darker reality emerges.
Sidelined at the Summit: Indigenous Peoples Ignored in the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement | 01/25/2016 It is no exaggeration to say that Indigenous Peoples are the frontline defenders in the fight against the forces perpetuating climate change. Yet despite lip-service about their importance, the richer, more powerful countries saw to it that Indigenous Peoples and their voices were largely unseen and unheard at the Paris Conference.
Will China Promote Autocracy along its New Silk Road? | 12/14/2015 China's ambitious "One Belt One Road" project is planned to span across Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. It's estimated that it will affect the lives of 4.4 billion people and generate $2.1 trillion in gross production. Is this the beginning of a sinocentric "New Asian Order"--and would that be such a bad thing?
The Aging of the Cuban Embargo and the Coming Era in U.S.-Latin American Relations | 11/10/2015 The decades-long U.S.trade embargo is still in force, yet meanwhile time has not stood still for Cuba. Lynn Holland looks at Cuba's network of overseas alliances, which range from trade to education, medical diplomacy, and peacekeeping. She goes on to discuss areas of fruitful cooperation between the U.S. and Cuba.
The Global Ethic and Law | 10/27/2015 "While not legal in character or aspiration, the Global Ethic nevertheless offers useful perspectives in critique of law," writes Bradley Shingleton, co-editor of the recently published volume, "The Global Ethic and Law."
Talking Peace in Person | 09/11/2015 Middle East peace talks have stalled. The 2014 war in Gaza caused the deaths of more than 2,000 people. Yet a group of 600 Palestinians and Israelis who have lost family members during seven decades of conflict have turned their backs on thoughts of revenge, and campaign for reconciliation. Peter Singer spoke to some of them.
Solidarity or Self-interest? European Integration and the German Question | 08/17/2015 "Germany today is earnest in its desire to be a good European neighbor, but it does not believe that it can or should pay any cost as part of this role," writes David Miles. "One problem is that economic, not ethical values have become the lodestone of the European Union."
To Sow the Wind: An Argument Against the War on Terror | 07/28/2015 The just war tradition--a tradition that once thought war tragically endemic and sometimes justified, but never simply, unambiguously just--has lost its profound Augustinian political skepticism and moral realism, argues David Widdicombe. Wasn't the restraint of force always a better (foundational) idea than the pursuit of justice?
The Strategic Importance of U.S.-China Trade Ties | 06/03/2015 Everyone worries about the escalation of China's maritime disputes in the South China Sea. But the greatest long-term threat to U.S.-China relations may be something far less vivid, warns analyst Ali Wyne.
Towards Non-Western Histories in International Relations Textbooks | 05/08/2015 "Exceptionalism" and many other concepts didn't originate solely in the West, yet most international relations textbooks continue to focus on Western history when outlining the evolution of the international order. Francis Grice shows what a lopsided, misleading worldview this is, and suggests how to move towards providing truly global histories.
Rethinking the Prevention Mandate of Peace NGOs: An EastWest Route | 04/07/2015 How can peace NGOs be more effective, both at preventing conflict and maintaining peace? Greg Austin of the EastWest Institute looks at the record of the last two decades with special reference to the International Crisis Group and EastWest Institute. He analyzes NGOs' strengths and weaknesses, and proposes a way forward.
Killing and Cartoons | 03/02/2015 This year Paris and Copenhagen learned that there are still people willing to kill for cartoons. The dilemma of what to think about their publication remains. What to do? Moral philosopher David Rodin tackles the difficult questions surrounding free speech in liberal societies.
Examining the Potential for an American Truth and Reconciliation Commission | 02/05/2015 The deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner catalyzed discussions nationwide over race relations in the United States. Surely it's time for some kind of Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). But how would it work? This essay examines other TRCs--including two in the U.S.--and proposes a solution tailored to fit America in all its diversity.
Global Inequality is Falling. So what? | 01/07/2015 Inequality is rising within countries, but falling for the world as a whole. What are we to make of this? This essay tackles the knotty moral and empirical questions involved in weighing global against domestic inequality.
Do Celebrity Humanitarians Matter? | 12/11/2014 Celebrity humanitarianism is alternately lauded for drawing media attention and fostering popular engagement and criticized on a number of ethical grounds. What can actor Ben Affleck's Eastern Congo Initiative teach us about the pros and cons of celebrity involvement?
Hashtags and Human Rights: Activism in the Age of Twitter | 11/12/2014 It's very exciting when an activist social media campaign goes viral. But what if all that energy is misdirected, or merely "slacktivism"? This essay examines five campaigns, including #bringbackourgirls and the Ice Bucket Challenge, to think about how to harness social networking to work towards real engagement and positive change.
Security Threats in Africa: A Critical Perspective | 10/10/2014 The U.S. is still seeing Africa from a Cold War perspective rooted in political realist thought, writes Africa security expert Metelits. But characterizing non-Western institutions as having a lack of governance and generalizing about political violence can lead to grave errors in assessing the threat environment.
The Central American Child Emigration Crisis: Facts, Figures, and Root Causes | 09/24/2014 Beginning in early 2014, news reports noted the rising number of unaccompanied minors attempting to cross the U.S. border with Mexico. Soon, it was described as a crisis. What made this flow of migrants a crisis? Who are these unaccompanied minors? What caused their migration? Did the United States play a role in it?