According to Rousseau, what ought to be the norms in international relations?the ought to be the norms in international relation according to the philosopher jean- jacques rousseau.if rousseau...

According to Rousseau, what ought to be the norms in international relations?

the ought to be the norms in international relation according to the philosopher jean- jacques rousseau.if rousseau donot have this idea please give the best answer that fit to the question.thanks

Asked on by mralex

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Most scholars of international relations identify Rousseau as a thinker who should be associated with the theory of realism.  Realism stresses that countries' actions towards each other are based not on morality but on self-interest and the desire for security.

Rousseau argued that nations exist in something like Thomas Hobbes's state of nature.  Among countries, there is no government to keep one country from taking things from another by force.  Rousseau thought that individual humans were once in a similar state but escaped by forming governments.  However, he did not think countries could come together to form governments that would be able to tell them what to do.

Therefore, most people think Rousseau is saying that every country has to defend itself and not rely on other countries to act morally.  That means that there really are no norms that countries ought to follow -- they are just going to watch out for their own interests and security.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The previous post's assertion about a nation's self interests driving policy is critically vital.  In Rousseau's thought, the goal of all policy and government is to create a realm of proper self love that acknowledges one's own self not in competition with others but in a full cooperation of self.  This "amour propre" is what should allow all nations to exist with itself and coexist with others.  However, Rousseau understands that individuals are filled with a type of self love that seeks to appropriate other elements in accordance to its own subjectivity because it sees itself through the eyes of others, not itself.  Individuals, and consequently nations, that are filled with this type of love, "amour de soi," will constantly seek to appropriate that which is accordance to its own subjectivity because it is viewing itself through the perpetually discontented eyes of itself.  At this point, individuals and nations are in competition with others, against one another, and immersed in a state of nation that is "brutish."  If nations can define themselves in accordance to amour propre, embracing a general will where all nations are able to enhance this proper self love away from an unhealthy individualistic and atomistic conception of self, foreign policy will work towards a greater good.  Bearing this in mind, it would be interesting to see if Rousseau would embrace collective governing bodies like the United Nations, that see foreign nations relations as a collective identity, where Rousseauian amour propre can be maximized and the individualistic and isolating amoour de soi can be removed.

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