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Amit Rathee asked: What are the ethical issues in international relations?

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  • Ashok Kumar Behuria replies: A basic issue in international politics is how to reconcile one’s interests with values one professes. Most nations claim their commitment to universal values and try their best to conform to them. On many occasions, states find it difficult to conduct their behaviour as per their values. While most countries pledge their commitment to non-interference and peaceful conduct of foreign policy, in reality, their national interests are defined in realist terms that hurtles them in the path of power maximisation and pits them against their co-aspirants. In certain cases, some states are compelled to put aside their values in their quest for survival and dignity. India’s pursuit of nuclear power in spite of its commitment to non-violence and peace could be cited as an example here. The balance-of-power politics around the world, born out of mutual distrust and sense of insecurity, make it often difficult for nations to strictly adhere to values they profess.