2011-10-09-10.48.02-pmEditors' Note:

This issue is being released at a time when "conflict" is the one word that best describes the state of affairs in the world today. From Israel to Afghanistan, the world is at war. This state of conflict is not limited to bombs in caves and cafes, however; also at war are the very concepts that have defined and bound together the international system. The collapse of the Soviet Union, breakthroughs in advanced technology, and the processes of political and economic globalization have all contributed to the creation of a distinct dynamic in international affairs.

Ethical questions are at the core of this new dynamic. A year ago. the world was focused on the polemic debate about the ethics of genetic engineering. Now, after the traumatic events of September 11, and amid conflagrations in the Middle East and South Asia, the focus of the debate has shifted to the ethical questions of war and intervention in the twenty-first century. What are the ethical prerogatives of states when addressing international security threats? What are the implications of civilian casualties in conflict? How should non-state actors factor into our ethical calculations? What legal rights do these actors have?

Many thinkers have considered these questions in the past–but their answers are prisoners of that past. in many ways inadequate in addressing the problems of the world today. As the world writhes and twists in the throes of change, our framework for understanding ethical action must evolve in order to cope.

In this issue of the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs. We examine a broad range of perspectives on ethics in international politics. The state of conflict that defines the world today requires us to step back and grapple with ethical dilemmas whose ramifications will echo into the futile.

– Heidi Arola & Nikhil Patel


  • Ethics in Conflict Introduction by the Editors | Read  

As war erupts around the globe, questions of ethics in conflict have risen to the forefront of intellectual debate and foreign-policy decision making. The breakdown of order in parts of the world and the forces of globalization have rendered previous ethical perspectives ineffectuala new lens is needed.

Business & Finance

The administrator of the Panama Canal Authority discusses the fiscal, political, and security responsibilities of running the Canaland the challenges ahead.

Conflict & Security

  • Operation Enduring Freedom and the Future of NATO by Brian Collins | Read  

September 11 and NATO's invocation of Article 5 highlighted the changing nature of the alliance in the post-Cold War era.

  • China's Bluewater Ambitions: The Continental Realities of Chinese Naval Strategies by Christopher R. Bullock | Read  

China's geopolitical position favors a less agressive naval strategy than many fear.

Three experts spar over key nuclear issues for the twenty-first century.

Culture & Society

  • In Old Pera, New Challenges for Turkey by Paul Skoczylas | Read  

An examination of the changes in one Turkish city offers insight into the cultural struggle of Turkey as a whole.

  • Reflections on the Eroding Diversity of a Globalized Food Supply by K. Dun Gifford Read  

The globalization of "techno-foods" is affecting food culture throughout the world.

Law & Ethics

  • Spurring the Warhorse: International Law and the U.S. Response to Terrorism by Mark Gillespie | Read  

Should the laws of war or recent international criminal laws provide the guidelines for the U.S. response to terrorism?

Austria resolves restitution of assets to the victims of the Holocaust. But why so late?

Politics & Diplomacy

The United States must use the tools of marketing to promote America's image abroad.

  • Pakistani-U.S. Relations after 9/11: A Pakistani Perspective by Zamir Akram | Read  

A Pakistani diplomat outlines recommendations for the development of closer Pakistani-U.S. relations in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11.

Science & Technology

  • The Reverse Brain Drain and the Global Diffusion of Knowledge by Jean M. Johnson | Read  

Are foreign students "walking away with the store" or creating economic opportunities abroad for the United States?

  • The Digital Economy EDventure Interview with Esther Dyson by the Editors | Read  

The former chair of ICANN shares her views on issues related to emerging technologies in the world.


  • The Search for the Real Iran by Sanam F. Vakil | Read  

Sanam F. Vakil reviews Terence Ward's Searching for Hassan: An American Family's Journey Home to Iran.

View from the Ground

  • Uighuristan: Really Part of "One China"? by Rishi Kapoor | Read  

Contrary to the assertions of the Chinese government, the ethnic minorities of Xinjiang may not consider themselves part of "One China."

A Look Back

  • The Greatest Health Crisis of Our Time by Bill Frist |Read  

International and local leadership is needed to stop the scourge of HIV/AIDS in Africa.

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