International Politics and Morality in Part IV of Peace and War by Aron
Part IV of Peace and War reveals the dominant positions discussed by Raymond Aron in relation to his own position of realism school of thought regarding morality in international relations. The debate surrounds the notion that the Western intellectuals think in the future perfect with the lens of popularized Marxism that devalues the need to underscore the purpose of historical movement and embrace the emerging institutions as real. This means that those advocating Soviet totalitarianism do not consider it a tragedy, and their opinion is based on the argument that totalitarianism anchors on the ideological position of honor that helps in economic planning without fear of posterity. In other words, the totalitarian faith will finally fade away. In my view, I concur with Arons position of realism, when it comes to morality in international relations as discussed in the subsequent paragraphs.
To start with, the author observes that unlike the Soviet bloc, the West does not proscribe those against it or who join its enemies openly. In addition, competition does not sway the West except for some few nations, and this manifests in their tendency of not imitating their rivals. Moreover, the West does not impose laws and restrictions on its citizens in a manner that deprives them of their liberty as seen in the Soviet bloc. In the latter, such impositions that deny citizens their liberty are indispensable and regarded as normal. Another significant difference is that the West speaks a variety of voices as opposed to the Soviet bloc that speaks only one voice. The Soviet bloc, in addition, imposes threats on its subjects and at the same time, issues promises although no one will coordinate all the methods employed. The asymmetry between the Soviet bloc and the West further manifests on matters pertaining to strategy and war because the political group and leaders of the Soviet bloc still employ Marxist theories with the aim of inclining the world to the direction of communism from capitalism (Aron 672). The author also poses a question on the essence of accepting the communism as a concept or bringing it down. Defeating communism implies relying on the fortuitous situations such as revolution, internal erosion, or application of efforts to achieve the objective.
Aron discusses three major issues concerning international peace in this section of his book. The first thing he mentions here is peace through law (Aron 703). Arons position in international relations is that all nations reckon international politics as power politics, although this position is different in the current international political setup since concepts intoxicate the jurists or sometimes, they suffocate the reality with dreams of idealist origin (703). There is an obligation on the jurists to legalize or overlook war, and the moralists have invaded the core of diplomatic-strategic behavior. The problem is that such a behavior refers to the likelihood of war even in times when peace prevails. This happens because of violence and coercion. The dismissal of power politics came in the twentieth century because of horrors of war coupled with the looming threats of thermonuclear attacks. It did not only come as an actuality but also as a matter of compulsion and dire urgency since blood conflicts could not keep on punctuating history in the life of humanity internationally. This proportion seemed tragic and striking due to the numerous inter-state conflicts and perpetual wars.
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The second thing that Aron mentions in this section is peace from the League of Nations covenant to the United Nations charter (709). Arons position in international relations is that the international law does not prohibit the nations from resorting to force in a case where such recourse aims to safeguard their sovereignty (709). He says that the League of Nations has failed in fostering peace in the international frontiers as one of its functions. The pillars that defined the League of Nations included the recognition of the particular obligations that forbad war and the creation of transparent international relations anchored on honor and justice. The conformist propensity of the international law came to existence due to the will of the warring states. It was further accentuated by the obscurity between respect due to territorial position and the respect due to international law. The confusion resulted from the forces of the Allies and the related powers. The aim of the victors that created it was to increase the authority of the treaties although it was later weakened due to the caution exercised by the vanquished that favored those that applied force like the Allies.
The third thing that Aron mentions in this section is the essential imperfection of international law (717). Other than the application of force outside the situations defined in the law, there are other reasons for failure of international law. Arons position in international relations is that there is a possibility that the international jurists consider the differentiation of judicial view from any pacifist propensity while handling questions pertinent to the tribunals and the place of law within the international community. The author argues that peace is a legal hypothesis and is metaphorically a judicial postulation of the unity of legal system that goes beyond the confines of morality to enshrine security and stability at the expense of justice (Aron 717). The author goes on to argue that although human relations do not entail violence since they are subject to law, the involvement of violence in human relations takes place in the service of law that opposes the action of the violator or as decided by the legal authority. It is difficult for the jurists to acknowledge the difference between a norm and a fact since neo-Kantianism and positivist beliefs influence their ideology. It implies that the pure law theoreticians encumbered himself in the development of a system of norms that compares to the national systems without envisaging the insurmountable hurdles because of the interpretation of reprisals and wars as sanctions.
Personally, I do concur with Arons views as satisfactory regarding the peace through law and the fact that international politics is power politics. I concur with his position concerning international relations that international law does not hinder countries from employing force in an attempt to safeguard their own homeland sovereignty. I also concur with Aron that international politics is power politics even though this view faced criticisms in the 20th century.