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Ethics & International Affairs is pleased to present a special collection of "Editors' Picks" from its 30th Anniversary Volume. The 2016 volume included essays and articles that help close the gap between theory and practice on a diverse array of topics, including drones, immigration, gender, and climate change. This collection features contributions from such senior figures as Amitai Etzioni, David Miller, and Richard Ned Lebow as well as leading younger scholars. The Editors welcome you to explore this selection available free for a limited time.
“Defining down sovereignty” refers to the normative thesis that sovereignty should not grant a state absolute protection against armed intervention in its internal affairs by other states, and that instead the international community should condition such immunity on states living up to particular standards. This essay suggests two modifications to this thesis. First, the international community should spell out the kinds of failures to protect civilians that can justify armed interventions by other states, as well as which agency has the authority to determine when such failures have occurred. In other words, the international community should determine how low to set the bar for intervention, and who makes the rules. Second, the international community needs to establish an additional international responsibility, namely, a responsibility to prevent international terrorism. The essay treats both of these modifications as shared international normative understandings; it does not attempt to translate these changes into international law.
Hans Morgenthau's The Purpose of American Politics was published in 1960, at the end of the Eisenhower administration and on the eve of the civil rights movement and military intervention in Vietnam. It is Morgenthau's first attempt to author a book primarily about the United States, exploring opposing American political traditions and their implications for foreign policy. In the process, he comments on past and present domestic and foreign crises and the ways they are refracted by Hamiltonian and Jeffersonian understandings of the national purpose. Morgenthau is drawn to the Hamiltonian approach, which is realist in its assumptions; but he is nevertheless sympathetic to the Jeffersonian emphasis on freedom, which differentiates America, in his view, from other countries. The book represents Morgenthau's coming to terms with America, lauding the purposes for which the country was founded, but the overall argument is pessimistic. Morgenthau contends that America has lost its sense of purpose, on the home front and abroad. When read next to his Scientific Man vs. Power Politics, published in 1946, the book reveals a significant shift in his intellectual and political orientations.
What comes to mind when we hear the word “drone”? For many of us, it is the image of a General Atomics MQ-1B Predator drone launching a Hellfire missile at a suspected militant target. But is this picture beginning to change? Should this picture change?
Democracies and the Power to Revoke Citizenship: Three Views
What first caught my eye when reading Patti Lenard's clear and carefully argued critique of citizenship revocation was a claim at the end of her first paragraph: the power to revoke citizenship, she says, “is incompatible with democracy.” That is quite a strong claim, and my thoughts turned immediately to the fons et origo of democracy, ancient Greece. Weren't the Greek city-states notorious for the readiness with which they disenfranchised, banished, exiled, even outlawed some among their own citizens? And in the case of Athens especially, wasn't this in part because it was a democracy (at least for those who qualified for citizenship), and expulsion from the demos was one of the devices used to protect it?
Belonging. The subject conjures up a realm of emotions. In today's world, where increasing numbers of people are on the move, whether voluntarily or forced, it captures the nostalgia one feels for a home left behind or the yearning one has for acceptance in a new community. It can produce feelings of joy or loss even from a distance, as when one follows political, sporting, or family events from afar. It encompasses sentiments of anguish, fear, and resentment when those who wish to belong are rejected or when those within a group feel threatened by those from without. For all the talk today of an interconnected, globalizing world where borders are “not just permeable, but . . . shot through with large holes,” most of us still expect our national borders—the borders of the state where we belong—to be impenetrable, except through the preapproved legal channels.