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

See all articles by Richard Perkins

Richard Perkins

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Eric Neumayer

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Date Written: July 15, 2009

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Perkins, Richard and Neumayer, Eric, The Organized Hypocrisy of Ethical Foreign Policy: Human Rights, Democracy and Western Arms Sales (July 15, 2009). Geoforum, Vol. 41, No. 2, pp. 247-256, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1092933

Richard Perkins (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Eric Neumayer

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+44 207 955 7598 (Phone)
+44 207 955 7412 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://personal.lse.ac.uk/neumayer

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