TITLE

ETHICS APPROPRIATE FOR AN EMPIRE: A QUESTION WHOSE TIME HAS COME

AUTHOR(S)
Massaro, Thomas
PUB. DATE
July 2009
SOURCE
Political Theology;Jul2009, Vol. 10 Issue 3, p497
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
This article offers a Christian ethical commentary upon the debate over the contemporary "American Empire." While many decry unprecedented US global dominance based on various secular standpoints, few have articulated religiously-grounded perspectives on this new US relation to the world. The task of mustering religious objections to openly imperial ambitions looms particularly large in light of prominent unabashed defenses of US global hegemony. The paper has three parts: (1) preliminary clarifications regarding terminology and context; (2) a survey of policies (e.g., unilateralism in foreign policy, interventions, a doctrine of pre-emptive war, diminished regard for international institutions) that reflect imperial ambitions and conflict with mainstream Christian perspectives on global justice and self-determination; and (3) a tentative listing of seven criteria appropriate for the pursuit and exercise of power on the part of global hegemons, in light of Christian principles. The constructive task is aimed at offering ethical constraints, such as the judicious correlation of means and ends in foreign policy. We will evaluate the contributions of Catholic social thought and the school of Christian realism on key questions: Is the notion of empire ever morally acceptable? Is "benevolent hegemony" possible in our times? If so, on what terms?
ACCESSION #
43536715

 

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