Obligations abroad : towards a just foreign policy
Author(s)Rothkin, Karen, 1966-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science.
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This dissertation considers three implications of collective self-government for just foreign policies in an imperfect world. Individuals are the appropriate moral unit of analysis, constrained to govern themselves justly, together with compatriots. First I derive limits to state autonomy that follow from states being mere aggregations of rights-bearing individuals: human rights constrain treatment of individuals, and government must include all citizens. States are governed well-enough that others should not interfere if all citizens have effective political powers without risking their dignity. These states are collectively self-determined. Second, the fact of citizenship constrains redistribution of wealth among countries. Shared wealth should presuppose shared governance, and if one wants to limit the latter, one should limit the former, to that needed for collective self- determination. Providing clear limits on aid, as well as interference, helps avoid abuse. While participation, representation and accountability do not guarantee good government, they are prerequisites; the primary international obligation is to develop well-ordered institutions. Third, I derive constraints on national autonomy that follow from the need to secure international cooperation. Reasonable disagreements about fairness are sometimes indistinguishable from rational-interest pursuit, giving others reason for distrust. Since collectively self-determined citizens put their interests first, how are countries to agree on a single cooperative solution? If they agree to follow a single course of action when new problems arise, before they know which countries will in fact benefit, and with the knowledge that risks, costs and benefits would be distributed fairly over(cont.) time, countries would find it reasonable to trust one another as long as they are all seen to comply. Citizens would find it rational to cooperate because long-term security is in their own long-term interests. Equivalently, countries could agree to join a transnational institution that is run democratically, with authority to issue binding decisions on problems over which it has jurisdiction. This limits what each country can decide for itself, while enabling greater cooperation and trust on sub-national and international levels. This encourages flexible, complex solutions to global collective-action dilemmas, and allows costs to be distributed among countries and over time.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Political Science, 2004.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 200-209).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Political Science
Massachusetts Institute of Technology