Ethics & International Affairs Volume 33.3 (Fall 2019)

Sep 10, 2019

The editors of Ethics & International Affairs are pleased to present the Fall 2019 issue of the journal!

This issue features a roundtable on "Economic Sanctions and Their Consequences," with contributions from Joy Gordon, Idriss Jazairy, and Dursun Peksen. The collection considers the ethics and impact of targeted sanctions, unilateral sanctions, and asset freezes. The issue also contains an essay by Claudia Fuentes-Julio and Raslan Ibrahim on a human rights approach to conflict resolution; peer-reviewed features by Janina Dill and Neil Renic examining, respectively, Afghan attitudes toward civilian wartime harm and the role of supererogation on the battlefield; a review essay by William Smith on the ethics of not-so-civil resistance; and book reviews by Shuk Ying Chan, Larissa Fast, Antonio Franceschet, Robert Loftis, and Yongjin Zhang.


A Human Rights Approach to Conflict Resolution [Open Access]
Claudia Fuentes-Julio and Raslan Ibrahim

This essay aims to understand the fields of human rights and conflict resolution in a more integrative way, showing how a human rights perspective can enrich the theory and practice of conflict resolution. It clarifies the main characteristics of a human rights approach to conflict resolution and identifies a set of human rights standards guiding its implementation.


Introduction [Open Access]
Joy Gordon

It is hard to imagine a threat to international security or a tension within U.S. foreign policy that does not involve the imposition of economic sanctions. This roundtable considers their ethical and human consequences.

Political Effectiveness, Negative Externalities, and the Ethics of Economic Sanctions
Dursun Peksen

This essay discusses whether economic sanctions are morally acceptable policy tools. It argues that conventional and targeted sanctions not only often fail to achieve their stated objectives but also bring about significant negative externalities in target countries.

Unilateral Economic Sanctions, International Law, and Human Rights
Idriss Jazairy
Unilateral coercive measures are sanctions applied outside the scope of Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. In addition to being a major attack on the principle of self-determination, unilateral measures not only adversely affect the rights to international trade and to navigation but also the basic human rights of innocent civilians.

The Not So Targeted Instrument of Asset Freezes
Joy Gordon
Asset freezes are often viewed as being relatively effective in achieving their goals, while affecting only the individuals and companies that are “bad actors.” However, this essay argues that there are significant ethical problems raised by asset freezes and other forms of targeted financial sanctions.


Distinction, Necessity, and Proportionality: Afghan Civilians' Attitudes toward Wartime Harm
Janina Dill
This article uses original field research from Afghanistan to show that moral principles inform civilians' attitudes toward their own harming. It further examines whether these principles are convergent or divergent with the laws of war.

Battlefield Mercy: Unpacking the Nature and Significance of Supererogation in War
Neil Renic

Debates over how best to ensure appropriate conduct in battle typically draw a binary distinction between rule compliance and rule violation. This article investigates a critical third element of battlefield conduct known as supererogation: positive acts that go beyond what is demanded by the explicit rules of war.


The Ethics of (Un)Civil Resistance
William Smith

In recent years, philosophers have become more receptive to long-standing complaints from activists that civil disobedience is an unduly restrictive framework for considering the ethics of dissent. This review essay considers Candice Delmas's A Duty to Resist and Jason Brennan's When All Else Fails, two important books that illustrate and strengthen this trend.

REVIEWS [All Open Access]

Worldmaking After Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination
Adom Getachew

Review by Shuk Ying Chan
Getachew's groundbreaking study challenges the widely held misconception of decolonization as being solely about political independence. The book recovers the internationalist thought and political projects of twentieth-century anti-colonial nationalism.

Humanitarian Action and Ethics
Ayesha Ahmad and James Smith, eds.
Review by Larissa Fast

This edited volume offers an expansive tour across the difficult landscape of ethical conundrums in humanitarian action, traversing issues related to "moral distress," triage and treatment of mental health and Ebola patients, cross-border health provision, humanitarian failures, and humanitarianism's place in the neoliberal global order.

Injustice: Political Theory for the Real World
Michael Goodhart
Review by Antonio Franceshet

Goodhart claims that a quest for "spotless" justice within the dominant paradigm of global justice thinking has long blinded scholars to the lived injustices of marginalized peoples. He outlines a broad critique of numerous thinkers and schools, from John Rawls to contemporary cosmopolitans, among others.

Negotiating Peace: A Guide to the Practice, Politics, and Law of International Mediation
Sven M. G. Koopmans
Review by Robert Loftis

There are no fixed templates for resolving conflict. This book does not offer prescriptive advice but in essence poses questions for the would-be mediator to ask herself before embarking on and while engaging in a mediation effort.

China's Global Identity: Considering the Responsibilities of Great Power
Hoo Tiang Boon
Review by Yongjin Zhang

This book seeks to understand how and why the responsible great power identity has become an important feature of Chinese foreign policy discourse, and, importantly, why such discursive construction of this particular identity matters in understanding China as a rising global power.

Briefly Noted

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