The Organized Hypocrisy of Ethical Foreign Policy: Human Rights, Democracy and Western Arms Sales
Geoforum, Vol. 41, No. 2, pp. 247-256, 2010
43 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2008 Last revised: 22 Feb 2010
Date Written: July 15, 2009
Over the past two decades, Western political leaders have scripted a more ethical foreign policy, wherein far greater weight is given to protecting the rights and freedoms of extra-territorial citizens. Using the example of arms exports to developing countries, the present paper exposes the organized hypocrisy underlying countries’ self-declared ethical turn. We show that the major Western arms supplying states – France, Germany, the UK and the US – have generally not exercised export controls so as to discriminate against human rights abusing or autocratic countries during the post-Cold War period. Rather, we uncover ongoing territorial egoism, in that arms have been exported to countries which serve supplying states’ domestic economic and security interests.
Keywords: Arms, human rights, democracy, ethical, foreign policy, geopolitics
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