• Unit 7: National Security and Foreign Relations

    We begin this unit by exploring legal and ethical issues that arise during conventional conflicts, such as war. Next we examine legal and ethical issues that arise during nonconventional conflicts, such as espionage and terrorism.

    What are the justifications for war? Should we place ethical limits on practices of war and how we treat "the enemy"? For example, should we ban the use of chemical weapons, prohibit gross uses of military force, and forbid the use of torture? What do countries do when others fail to comply with the treaties they signed? What do domestic moral advocates do when the leaders of their own country fail to comply with these ethical guidelines?

    Should we allow women to serve in the military, granting them their individual right to serve their country as they wish, or should we impose limits on the roles they play in combat? What about transgender individuals?

    Next, we examine ethical issues that arise in foreign policy. What is America's ethical role in the world? Should it be the world's policeman and do we have an ethical duty to act multilaterally or unilaterally? If so, under what circumstances? What is America's duty to care for the poor, sick, or infirm outside of our borders? Should we place legal and ethical constraints on international trade? How do we balance moral obligations with national security realities and global financial realities? Finally, does the ethical rationale for military intervention supersede state sovereignty rights?

    Completing this unit should take you approximately 3 hours.

    • 7.1: Combat and Intelligence Operation Tactics

      Conventional combat refers to the type of war that existed for most of the big wars during the 19th and 20th centuries which featured typical armies and navies on each side. Later, asymmetric operations, which included one large traditional military force that fought against a much smaller, less traditional enemy came to dominate the world scene.

    • 7.2: Ethics and Foreign Relations

      Treaties, international norms, and the rules of specific countries govern how behaviors should correspond to ethical standards in the international arena. In this section we look at some ways policy makers have worked to increase ethical standards in international relations. Topics include guns, healthcare, women’s rights, environmental policy, and many others.

    • 7.3: Foreign Trade and Economic Development

      Economics is one of the most important arenas where ethics are concerned internationally. Questions such as who profits from raw materials, who decides which companies get contracts, and what is a fair wage for workers are all things that concern ethics in international development.

    • 7.4: Military Intervention

      The most direct way one country can intervene in the lives of citizens in another country is through a military excursion. You can probably think of several examples from recent history. Because of the immense power involved in launching a military operation there have been many attempts to create rules to govern how and when such operations should, and should not, take place.

    • Unit 7 Assessment