Strategy Prospects

The Pattern of Ethical Problematic in International Relations

February 1, 2022
By Dr. Salam Al Rabadi.
The complexities and questions about the philosophical dialectis associated with the normative value pattern that must be adopted in global politics are increasing. This is based on the momentum of the repercussions of the recognition of ethical principles on the level of trends that revolve around:
1- Sustainable development and the gap between the rich and the poor.
2- The phenomenon of terrorism and the clash of civilizations.
3- The dilemmas of artificial intelligence.
4- Cyber security threats.
5- Developments of genetic engineering and the biotechnical revolution.
6- Growing trend of trade protectionism and economic nationalism.
7- The challenges of the environmental issue and climate change. 8-
Question marks related to the “Covid_19” pandemic at all levels. Logically, these trends come within the framework of emphasizing the need for international relations to have a normative element. Unfortunately, however, the attempt to study the ethical standards of behavior that countries should adopt is still an issue of no value at present. As academic studies in international relations specialized in philosophy and ethics are currently (to some extent) rare and disappointing or subject to traditional intellectual patterns derived from theocratic (religious) or derived from literary philosophical.
Moreover, the standards of political behavior in light of modern economic and cultural transformations are no longer based on legal and philosophical frameworks and principles, but rather on the principle that “everything is permitted, unless it is clearly and directly prohibited. The language of the market has become infiltrated into all concepts and standards of thought. Thus, it becomes clear how far the current value system is far from the core ethical standards. This reality raises the dilemma of the extent to which it is possible to establish an ethical science capable of deriving a new (political, economic and technological) value system, as well as whether that system will remain contingent on the following questions:
- What standards produce values and whether they are ethical or not? What are the bodies entrusted with deciding this: societal custom, law, politics, science, or cultural reality? - What rational patterns can be relied upon in order to determine an ethical principle that everyone can adhere to? What are the rational criteria that govern the relationship between political reality and moral thought?
- What are the implications of scientific knowledge that can be relied upon in order to determine ethical principles?
- Are current codes of conduct sufficient, or should a new global ethical code or constitution be established?

It is still too early to provide clear answers to these questions in light of the current intellectual reality. Also, those questions related to what can be called “a science of metaethics”, which may drop us into the trap of the vortex of logic ​(Epstemology), as answering these questions is much more difficult than one might imagine. As it will move us to the farthest extent that can be reached at the level of determining the nature of knowledge and understanding what it is, not to mention how the mind and senses are used in critical research on political ideas, their themes and hypotheses, in order to highlight their logic and objective value. Hence, these questions are specific to the political thought of the post-humanity world and what it contains of a new critical scientific philosophy, not to the classical thought that is still hostage to theology. In this context, if ethical standards are characterized by being vague problematic of a philosophical nature and represent complex issues, but nevertheless, they should be recognized as being of their essential importance.
Where, ethical standards remain an essential element in understanding and evaluating policies and the relationships between states, societies and individuals. Accordingly, there is an urgent need for a critical political and cultural system based on the study of ethical thought (which is indispensable in global politics) in order to find logical approaches to many political, economic, cultural, technological and environmental challenges and difficulties (current and future), including:
1- Establishing ethical rules for evaluating scientific developments.
2- Facing the highly complex political and cultural repercussions associated with the artificial intelligence revolution.
3- Discovering the dialectical relationship between man and the environment.
4- Determining the criteria that govern the relationship between science, politics and knowledge.
In general, regardless of the methodology of critical questions that have a philosophical roots, that cannot be answered easily, it must be emphasized that it remains an urgent necessity for understanding and framing modern problems in the turbulent world of international relations. Where, contemporary issues express a new intellectual pattern, and what is required is to find an ethical philosophy from a purely human perspective other than the traditional perspective based on rationality in international relations. It is not necessary, for example, that rationality literature based on security, political and economic dimensions leads to global peace and stability, but may lead to an increase in the spread of nuclear weapons, environmental pollution and terrorism...etc.. Logically, the ethical issue will remain a source of philosophical, political, legal, economic, and cultural debate at the level of concepts, methods, tools and implementation.
Thus, the methodology of the ethical philosophical approach may be able to bridge the gap between the various sciences in addition to creating multi-dimensional visions that enable us to form theories and define concepts and terms, which today have become a wealth in themselves in an era that is based on knowledge. In this context, and in order to understand, interpret and approach the pattern of global changes and challenges, there is a need to:
1- Not relying on the tools of classical theorizing to understand and frame the accelerating global variables.
2- Dealing with knowledge as a dynamic process without end, limits or taboos.
3- Giving more attention to what is cultural as opposed to what is purely economic and political.
4- Formulating a new pattern in the analysis and interpretation of international relations, including its ethical complexities.
In light of the foregoing, and based on the recognition of the reality of the absence of normative values and the spread of intellectual currents based on propositions of the end or death of morals, it can be said that political thought (in era of the post-truth or post-humanity era) is no longer able to explain itself or determine its direction. Therefore, this inevitably requires asking many political questions about the priorities associated with me:
- The problem of contradiction or the imminent collision between technology and humanity, which is inevitably coming, especially at the level of all developments related to artificial intelligence and the biotechnical revolution.
- The dialectic of ethical standards through which priorities can be set, especially in light of the conflict between the ideology of the inevitability of technological development and theories of humanization of international relations.
Certainly, defining these priorities requires, in the first place, a discussion of the reasons for the differences in standards according to the nature of society, culture and actors, not to mention the reasons why ethics remains a field of conflict between science and philosophy. Perhaps the first of these priorities lies in the importance of the commitment of scholars (i.e. science) to the limits of material facts, leaving the task of establishing and analyzing moral values to philosophers and thinkers (i.e. philosophy and thought).
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