Donnelly CH 9- HR and Foreign Policy

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Political Science
Political Science 3388E
James S Quinn

Donnelly Chapter 9 Human Rights and Foreign Policy 1. Human Rights: A Legitimate Concern for Foreign Policy? Three standard arguments connecting HR with foreign policy: 1) Realists reject a concern for international HR because foreign policy (FP) ought to be about the national interests defined in terms of power 2) Statists (or legalists) consider an active concern for the HR practices of other states as inconsistent with the fundamental principle of state sovereignty. 3) Relativists (or pluralists) views international HR policies as moral imperialism A. The Realist Argument (Morgenthau) • For Morgenthau, FP must be about “national interests defined in terms of power.” Morality is appropriate to individual nations but not the relation of the state • Morgenthau, “the principle of the defense of HR cannot be consistently applied in foreign policy because it can and must come in conflict with other interests that may be more important than the defense of human rights in a particular circumstance.” • Interests are not reducible to power • Donnelly- in certain circumstances it may be unwise to pursue human rights, but that must be determined empirically, case by case. Realists are not entitled to categorically exclude HR as a legitimate goal of FP B. The Statist (Legalist) Argument • IR is structured around the principle of sovereignty. Sovereignty in turn implies nonintervention in the internal affairs of other states. The statist argues that HR must be excluded from FP because what a state does with respect to its own nationals on its own territory is a matter of sovereign national jurisdiction and thus of no legitimate concern of other states. • Donnelly- International law can be seen as a body of restrictions of the sovereignty that have been accepted by states through the mechanism of custom and treaty. HR have become legitimate subjects in IR because sovereign states have chosen to make them so. • The weakness of existing international implementation and enforcement mechanisms (Ch. 8) might allow statists to argue that incorporating HR into FP still contravenes the fundamental principle of non intervention, but numerous instruments of FP (eg, diplomatic representations and granting/ withdrawing preferential trade agreements) do not involve intervention. Such means may be used on behalf of HR as legitimately as they are used on behalf of other goals of HR. Illegitimate intervention involves strongly coercive, dictatorial means. C. The Relativist (Pluralist) Argument • A country’s social and political order should be, on its face, entirely a matter of domestic jurisdiction. • Within a certain range of freedom, the autonomous choices of a free people should be restricted. This stresses the positive value of cultural diversity and respect for the values of other peoples and cultures • Kennan argues that “there are no internationally accepted standards of morality to which the US government could appeal if it wished to act in the name of moral principles”… Donnelly argues that this is not true in the case of HR • Donnelly- To act on behalf of internationally recognized HR is not to impose one’s own values on other countries. It involves bringing the practices of governments in line with their own professed values (which we share) • There are authoritative int. HR norms. As long as HR policy is based on these norms, it does not reflect moral imperialism. • Certain acts, practices, and customs do not deserve our respect even if they are tradition. 2. International HR and National Identity States pursue HR in their FP for many reasons, but a significant reason is the HR are important to national identity. • If HR are paramount moral rights, they impose some sort of obligation on all people and not just on fellow nationals. • Legal realities of sovereignty may limit legitimate action of foreigners on behalf of HR to short intervention. Political realities of competing national self interests may further restrict international HR policies, but the moral realities of the pervasive violation of universal HR demands some active response. • Countries without HR in their founding myths have in recent decades increasingly incorporated HR into their national self conceptions (eg HR as central to South African national self- image after end of apartheid or emergence of HR in Britain in the post colonial era) • In a more evolutionary way, HR have been incorporated into national self identities. Participation in international HR regimes place national rights in a broader international perspective (Eg. Britain’s 1997 decision to incorporate the European Convention directly into British Law) 3. Trade-offs Human rights must sometimes be sacrificed to other interests and values. HR typically (but not always) lose out in conflicts with most (but not all) competing FP objectives. Visualize a simple FP model with 4 interests: security, economic, HR, and other. • There are little to no examples where states would sacrifice national security in the interest of human rights • States occasionally give HR priority over economic interests, but often not o Tiananmen Square 1989  Most states with substantial economic relations with China adopted aid, trade, or investment sanctions  India and Russia, however remained largely silent and supportive of China  Other examples: non intervention in Rwanda, t
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