All Options Are on the Table: Threats and Coercive Diplomacy in Foreign Affairs

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Thursday, September 27, 2018 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM

Edward Duncan’s 1843 painting of Nemesis, the first British ocean-going iron warship, which was used in British “gunboat diplomacy.” Via Wikimedia Commons.

Are there ever justifiable reasons for issuing threats? Ethically speaking, there are many reasons to assume that threats should have little or no role in the practice of diplomacy. Ideally, disputes should be settled by consensual agreements. However, in the age of Trump, with his use of threats, bluffs, and lies, a new coercive practice of diplomacy is challenging a rules-based international order that constrained the destructive nationalism of the 20th century and brought peace to billions of people.

Is there a sound moral basis for threatening indiscriminate harm? What core concerns must be addressed if we are to make the proper and necessary moral assessments?

H. E. Mr. Gholamali Khoshroo is permanent representative of Iran to the United Nations.

Gregory M. Reichberg is research professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO).

Henrik Syse is research professor at PRIO, professor at Björknes University College, and chief co-editor of the Journal of Military Ethics.

For more on this topic, see the Ethics & International Affairs journal article "Threats and Coercive Diplomacy: An Ethical Analysis" by Gregory M. Reichberg and Henrik Syse. 

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Eventbrite - All Options Are on the Table: Threats and Coercive Diplomacy


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