Front Page Titles (by Subject) Walzer on International Morality - Literature of Liberty, Summer 1980, vol. 3, No. 2
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Walzer on International Morality - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, Summer 1980, vol. 3, No. 2 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Walzer on International Morality
“Walzer's Theory of Morality in International Relations.” Philosophy and Public Affairs 8(Fall 1978): 3–26.
In Just and Unjust Wars, a major concern of Michael Walzer is to develop a theory of international aggression by means of a “legalist paradigm” within which states have rights and duties. Walzer is aware of certain problems, for the rights of states are difficult to determine, and in justifying the use of (or resistence to) force, what are the rights of individuals? In his view, for example, state sovereignty exists independently of the form of its political institutions. Foreign intervention can be justified, however, in three cases: humanitarian, to prevent a massacre or resettlement of the population; counterintervention, in which some other state has already intervened in the situation; and, secession, in which one political community coercively attempts to prevent the peaceful secession of another political community nearby.
The paradox inherent in Walzer's view leads to two questions. Why should unfree states be treated as possessing moral rights of political sovereignty; and “In what conceivable sense do such rights ‘derive ultimately from the rights of individuals?’” Walzer argues that a majority is not justified in asking for outside help in a despotism where that might improve the chance of success against the better armed forces of the regime. Doppelt suggests that this error stems from attempting to equate state sovereignty with individual rights.
For Walzer an established political community's right to self-determination is based upon consent, community, and collective rights. Thus, the citizens should defend this government to which they have given their consent and which protects their community and common life. But this notion of consent is very close to that argued by Thomas Hobbes. And what if the government is tyrannical though it does maintain a degree of order?
The term “community” raises question about just what constitutes this evasive entity. In the liberal tradition this has meant an essential equality under law, but Walzer does not devote much attention to such matters, nor does he clarify what he means by “free.” The major thrust of Walzer's whole argument reveals a conservative bias toward “de facto governments as the cornerstone of international morality.”
Consent is difficult to define because of the ambiguities of most social orders, and the attitude of many may be neither loyalty on the one hand, or outright opposition on the other. Unless there is respect for the rights of individuals, the term “consent” loses any real meaning.