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States have recently agreed that there is a responsibility to protect populations threatened by genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. The international community, however, often lacks the resources and willingness to carry out a key part of this responsibility, that is, to undertake humanitarian intervention effectively when required. One potential solution to this problem is to outsource intervention to private military and security companies. In this article, I consider this option. In particular, I present a largely consequentialist argument which asserts that, when two conditions are met, using these companies to bolster the capacity to undertake humanitarian intervention might be morally justifiable overall.
I examine enforcement and capacity building in international cooperation. In a game-theoretic model, a wealthy donor gives foreign aid in exchange for policy implementation by a poor recipient. The recipient has limited capacity to comply with international agreements, so the donor is not sure if cooperation failure is caused by willful disobedience or unintended error. I show that if perceived cooperation failure prompts reciprocal suspension of cooperation, the donor and recipient have a common preference for capacity building. But when the donor can request compensation for perceived cooperation failure, it only chooses to build capacity if cooperation is otherwise impossible. Consequently, the choice of enforcement mechanism shapes capacity building. This result lays a foundation for a genuine synthesis between the enforcement and managerialist schools of compliance. It generates falsifiable hypotheses and explains why reciprocal enforcement, which unfortunately inflicts collateral damage on the victim, is often considered legitimate.
Commentary on the United Nations (UN) reform efforts of 2004–05 has broadly followed two different trajectories. International lawyers and political theorists have focused on the implications of reform for sovereignty as a fundamental principle of international law and international relations. International Relations (IR) scholars have discussed reform focusing on state power and the UN’s institutional authority. Against the background of these debates and drawing on Foucault’s political theory and related IR scholarship, this article argues that UN reform discourse indicates a biopolitical ‘reprogramming’ of contemporary sovereignty and global governance. The analysis ‘displaces’ the concerns with sovereignty, state power, and institutional authority by demonstrating that UN reform (also) constitutes the UN as a project of managing and regulating the global population through a variety of securitizing, economizing, and normalizing rationalities and techniques. The article illustrates this by pointing to the biopolitical rationales of reform conceptions of human security and collective security, and to (neo)liberal governmentalities of risk and responsibility, contractualism, benchmarking, and networks. It thereby challenges the conceptual and normative priority accorded to juridical sovereignty in international law, and to state- and institution-centric accounts in IR theorizations of UN-relayed global governance.
Recent revelations of Iran’s hitherto undisclosed uranium enrichment programs have once again incited western fears that Tehran seeks nuclear weapons’ capability. Their fears seem motivated by more than the concern for compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Rather, they seem strongly connected to the western moral assumptions about what kind of government or people can be trusted with a nuclear arsenal. In this paper, I critically examine the western assumptions of the immorality of contemporary nuclear proliferation from an international ethical stance that otherwise might be expected to give it unequivocal support – the stance of Kantian nonideal theory. In contrast to the uses of Kant that were prominent during the Cold War, I advance and apply a sketch of a Kantian nonideal theory that specifies the conditions (although strict conditions) under which nuclear proliferation for states like Iran is morally permissible even though the NPT forbids it.