The authors articulate a global public standard for the normative legitimacy of global governance institutions. This standard can provide the basis for principled criticism of global governance institutions and guide reform efforts in circumstances in which people disagree deeply about the demands of global justice and the role that global governance institutions should play in meeting them.
Preventive use of force may be defined as the initiation of military action in anticipation of harmful actions that are neither presently occurring nor imminent. This essay explores the permissibility of preventive war from a cosmopolitan normative perspective, one that recognizes the basic human rights of all persons, not just citizens of a particular country or countries. It argues that preventive war can only be justified if it is undertaken within an appropriate rule-governed, institutional framework that is designed to help (...) protect vulnerable countries against unjustified interventions while also avoiding unacceptable risks of the costs of inaction. The key to ensuring the fairness of rules governing the preventive use of force is accountability.This essay proposes a scheme that would make those promoting and those rejecting the preventive use of force more accountable. The proposal contains the following crucial features:States proposing preventive war are required to enter into a contract with a diverse body of states as a condition for authorization of their actions;Prior to taking preventive action, states must make an evidence-based case to the UN Security Council, and agree in advance to submit themselves to an evaluation by an impartial body after the preventive action occurred;Both proponents of action and those opposing it will be held accountable ex post for the accuracy of their prior statements and the proportionality of their actions;Sanctions will be imposed against intervening states or states that opposed preventive action, respectively, depending on the findings of the ex post evaluation.If preventive action were blocked in the Security Council, states seeking to engage in preventive action could then present their case in a different body–a coalition of democratic states–with its own ex post and ex ante accountability procedures. (shrink)
Communication by scientists with policy makers and attentive publics raises ethical issues. Scientists need to decide how to communicate knowledge effectively in a way that nonscientists can understand and use, while remaining honest scientists and presenting estimates of the uncertainty of their inferences. They need to understand their own ethical choices in using scientific information to communicate to audiences. These issues were salient in the Fourth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change with respect to possible sea level rise (...) from disintegration of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets. Due to uncertainty, the reported values of projected sea level rise were incomplete, potentially leading some relevant audiences to underestimate future risk. Such judgments should be made in a principled rather than an ad hoc manner. Five principles for scientific communication under such conditions are important: honesty, precision, audience relevance, process transparency, and specification of uncertainty about conclusions. Some of these principles are of intrinsic importance while others are merely instrumental and subject to trade-offs among them. Scientists engaged in assessments under uncertainty should understand these principles and which trade-offs are acceptable. (shrink)
As global governance institutions proliferate and become more powerful, their legitimacy is subject to ever sharper scrutiny. Yet what legitimacy means in this context and how it is to be ascertained are often unclear. In a previous paper in this journal, we offered a general account of the legitimacy of such institutions and a set of standards for determining when they are legitimate. In this paper we focus on the legitimacy of the UN Security Council as an institution for making (...) decisions concerning the use of military force across state borders. The context for this topic has changed over the last decade as a result of the ongoing development of the responsibility to protect (RtoP) doctrine and extensive discussions about it in the United Nations. Yet the mostly widely accepted proposals for RtoP still require Security Council authorization for forceful intervention, and strictly limit the conditions under which such intervention may take place. (shrink)
'The genocide in Rwanda showed us how terrible the consequences of inaction can be in the face of mass murder. But the conflict in Kosovo raised equally important questions about the consequences of action without international consensus and clear legal authority. On the one hand, is it legitimate for a regional organization to use force without a UN mandate? On the other, is it permissible to let gross and systematic violations of human rights, with grave humanitarian consequences, continue unchecked?'. This (...) book is a comprehensive, integrated discussion of 'the dilemma' of humanitarian intervention. Written by leading analysts of international politics, ethics, and law, it seeks, among other things, to identify strategies that may, if not resolve, at least reduce the current tension between human rights and state sovereignty. This volume is an invaluable contribution to the debate on all aspects of this vital global issue. (shrink)
In their article “Just War and Unjust Soldiers: American Public Opinion on the Moral Equality of Combatants,” Scott Sagan and Benjamin Valentino argue that the American public evaluates soldiers’ wartime actions more according to whether the war they are fighting was initiated justly, than on their actions during warfare. In this respect, their views are more similar to those of revisionist philosophers than to those of traditional just war theorists. Before leaping to broad conclusions from their survey, it should be (...) replicated. If the findings hold in the replication, intriguing questions could be asked about comparative cross-national attitudes and about the relationship between democracy and war. (shrink)