The Role of Morality in the Diplomatic Activity of Selected Politicians in the 20th Century

  • Post category:Issue XXII

Karolina Cynk
Doctor of Social Sciences, Adjunct (Associate) Professor, Institute of Sociology, University of Rzeszów (Poland)
ORCID: 0000-0001-5644-3167

DOI: 10.37837/2707-7683-2021-38

Abstract. The purpose of article is to describe the role of ethics and morality in foreign policy and diplomacy. The article is theoretical. The introduction defines the concept of morality and presents the main research questions and hypotheses. The first part of this text presents general moral criteria for determining what human actions are right and what are wrong. Also presented are the types of motivations that most often affect politicians when making certain decisions in diplomatic activity. The second part of the article presents three profiles of famous politicians who in the 20th century acted in accordance with the voice of conscience and moral principles in their foreign policy. They are Mahatma Gandhi, India’s social leader in 1920–1948, Willy Brandt, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1969–1974, and Jimmy Carter, U.S. President in 1977–1981.
Using theoretical analysis, the generalisation of scientific facts and research findings, the author, on the basis of the reflection method, has described and analysed the motives that guided the three politicians in making difficult political decisions in specific historical situations. Understanding such motives is important because the measures adopted on the basis of them have had consequences not only for politicians but also for citizens and, sometimes, even for the entire world. As a result of the analysis, in the case of Gandhi, the following hypothesis has been confirmed: The voice of conscience to which politicians heed and its meaning are mostly associated with the historical and cultural context, unique for each country. In the case of Brandt and Carter, the author has verified the hypothesis that very often conscience and career motivation propose the same way of acting, which is why we cannot exclude career motivation in such a situation.
Keywords: morality, conscience, policy, diplomacy, foreign policy, sociology of morality.

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