New Wine and Old Bottles: International Politics and Ethical Discourse

Overview

Jean Bethke Elshtain challenges a powerful strand in western political thinking that separates the political and ethical realms. This is manifest above all in the claim that although the rule of justice might pertain between citizens, force is the ultimate arbiter between states and would-be states. But this claim fails to capture the many complex ways that political bodies deal with one another through norms and rules and not simply by force. Elshtain captures this alternative dimension by examining two dominant...
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1998 Trade paperback New. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 104 p. Notre Dame Studies on International Peace. Oversized softcover trade paperback, Fine Condition (Brand new ... book! ), Front Shelf. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Jean Bethke Elshtain challenges a powerful strand in western political thinking that separates the political and ethical realms. This is manifest above all in the claim that although the rule of justice might pertain between citizens, force is the ultimate arbiter between states and would-be states. But this claim fails to capture the many complex ways that political bodies deal with one another through norms and rules and not simply by force. Elshtain captures this alternative dimension by examining two dominant currents in international politics: sovereignty and nationalism. She shows the ways in which the historic understanding of sovereignty was deeply dependent on theological concepts, and demonstrates that much of contemporary life is marked by the mapping of concepts of sovereignty onto our understanding, not just of states but of persons. Over the years, many experts predicted confidently that the power of nationalism would abate as "rationalism" and "internationalism" spread. Elshtain explains why this prediction was flawed and accounts for the emergence of today's "new nationalism," the political passion of our time. She asks, Knowing the terrible cost of nationalistic excess, is there a defensible version of national identity and loyalty? With the late Sir Isaiah Berlin, Elshtain argues "yes." In her provocative epilogue, Elshtain asks whether there is room for forgiveness in international politics, and concludes on the speculative and hopeful note that ways might be found to break repetitive cycles of vengeance.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Contributors
Foreword: Sovereignty and Nationalism in a New Key
New Wine and Old Bottles: International Politics and Ethical Discourse
Prologue: What's Ethical about Public Policy? 3
1 Sovereignty at Century's End 6
2 Reflections on the New Nationalism 25
Epilogue: Is There Room for Forgiveness in International Politics? 40
Notes 46
Ethics and the Limits of Politics: Comments on Elshtain 53
Forgiveness, despite the Pressures of Sovereignty and Nationalism 72
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