Ethics & International Affairs Volume 34.4 (Winter 2020)

Jan 7, 2021

The editors of Ethics & International Affairs are pleased to present the Winter 2020 issue of the journal!

The highlight of this issue is a roundtable organized by Kai He, T. V. Paul and Anders Wivel on international institutions and peaceful change. The roundtable contains contributions from David A. Lake; Wivel and Paul; He and Huiyun Feng; Toni Erskine; Trine Flockhart; and Mark Beeson. Additionally, the issue includes essays by Michael Doyle and Elie Peltz on worker visas as a complementary pathway for refugee resettlement and Ş. İlgü Özler on the United Nations and the COVID-19 pandemic. It also contains a review essay by Cian O'Driscoll on international political theory and book reviews by Shirley Graham, Aaron McKeil, and Kelly Staples.


Finding Refuge through Employment: Worker Visas as a Complementary Pathway for Refugee Resettlement [Open Access]
Michael Doyle and Elie Peltz
This essay aims to identify and explore an underappreciated win-win policy option that has the potential to address both the needs of refugees for resettlement and the labor demand of destination countries. Building upon provisions of the Model International Mobility Convention, the authors explore how to scale up valuable measures for identifying job opportunities that can resettle refugees from asylum countries to destination countries.

The United Nations at Seventy-Five: Passing the COVID Test?
Ş. İlgü Özler
The complex issues of the 21st century cannot be addressed by disparate actors in the 75th anniversary of the UN and have witnessed the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic. This essay explores the pandemic response in relation to the key pillars of the UN mission.


Introduction: International Institutions and Peaceful Change
Kai He, T. V. Paul, and Anders Wivel
The rise of "the rest," especially China, has triggered an inevitable transformation of the so-called liberal international order. Rising powers have started to both challenge and push for the reform of existing multilateral institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and to create new ones, such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). This roundtable examines the sources, mechanisms, and processes of possible peaceful change of international institutions and by international institutions in the current and future international order.

Whither the Liberal International Order? Authority, Hierarchy, and Institutional Change [Open Access]
David A. Lake
The liberal international order is being challenged today by populism and unilateralism. This essay argues that while international institutions can facilitate cooperation, they do not bridge this emerging divide sufficiently to forestall conflict and, in any event, will not be sufficiently robust to prevent a new cold war.

Soft Balancing, Institutions, and Peaceful Change
Anders Wivel and T. V. Paul
This essay examines the role of institutional soft balancing in bringing forth peaceful change in international relations. Soft balancing is understood as attempts at restraining a threatening power through institutional delegitimization, as opposed to hard balancing, which relies on arms buildup and formal alignments.

International Institutions, Institutional Balancing, and Peaceful Order Transition
Kai He and Huiyun Feng
This essay focuses on the "Kindleberger trap," a term coined by Joseph Nye, Jr. referring to the situation in which no country takes the lead to maintain international institutions in the international system. Based on an institutional-balancing perspective, the authors suggest that the worry about the Kindleberger trap is unwarranted because the international institutional order will not easily collapse after the decline of U.S. hegemony.

Intergovernmental Organizations and the Possibility of Institutional Learning: Self-Reflection and Internal Reform in the Wake of Moral Failure
Toni Erskine
One type of change that has lurked at the edges of scholarly discussions of international politics—often assumed, invoked, and alluded to, but rarely interrogated—is learning. This essay asks whether intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) can learn in a way that is comparable to the paradigmatic learning of individual human beings.

The Liberal International Order and Peaceful Change: Spillover and the Importance of Values, Visions, and Passions
Trine Flockhart
This essay focuses on the role of institutions as agents of peaceful change from a perspective that emphasizes the importance of a wide spectrum of human emotions to better understand the less quantifiable but nevertheless important conditions for being able to sustain initiatives for peaceful change. It aims to throw light on the often overlooked psychological and emotional hurdles standing in the way of agents' ability to undertake and sustain action designed to lead to peaceful change.

The Regional Path to Peaceful Change: What the Asian and European Experiences Tell Us
Mark Beeson
One of the more striking, surprising, and optimism-inducing features of the contemporary international system has been the decline of interstate war. This essay suggests that Western Europe generally and the European Union in particular played pivotal roles in transforming the international system and the behavior of policymakers.


International Political Theory 2020: The Worst of Times, the Best of Times
Cian O'Driscoll
This essay considers the contributions to the field of ethics and international affairs made by four recently published books. It concludes that we are observing a trend toward a more expansive way of thinking about ethics, one that has significant implications for how we approach the task of international relations scholarship.

REVIEWS [All Open Access]

The First Political Order: How Sex Shapes Governance and National Security Worldwide
Valerie M. Hudson, Donna Lee Bowen, and Perpetua Lynne Nielsen
Review by Shirley Graham
The authors argue that the fate of a nation is tied to the status of its women. The book explores and clearly delineates how the first political order, that of the relationship between a husband and wife in the home, and how women are treated within this relationship, is reflected in the political order that has developed in that society and influences the degree of stability, wealth, and peacefulness of the nation-state.

Political Theology of International Order
William Bain
Review by Aaron McKeil
What does order in international affairs mean? Political Theology of International Order shows how predominant modern ideas of ordering power politics are contingent on medieval ideas of a higher ordering power.

Undocumented Nationals: Between Statelessness and Citizenship
Wendy Hunter
Review by Kelly Staples
In Undocumented Nationals, Wendy Hunter sets out to call attention to the "grey zone" or "in-between status" of people who "cannot exercise full citizenship owing to evidentiary deficiencies." Drawing on a range of examples from different countries, Hunter considers the general causes and consequences of being undocumented, as well as the more specific situation of those whom she refers to as "undocumented nationals."

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