1: Interstate Leadership, Moral Realism, and their Critics

Authors: and

The study of international leadership gained momentum when Donald Trump became the president of the United States in 2017. Consequently, international relations (IR) moral realism benefited greatly from those studies. There is a growing consensus that interstate leadership plays a central role in preserving international stability and prosperity even though scholars define leadership through different aspects, such as power, social contracts, and influence. The nine contributors to this book differ in how they define morality and on the methodology of analysing the effects of morality in relation to environmental constraints; nonetheless, they all believe it is important to incorporate the study of morality into IR analysis. I argue for an instrumental definition of leadership morality inspired by the traditional Chinese belief of dedao duozhu, shidao guazhu (a just cause enjoys abundant support while an unjust cause finds meagre support). The other eight authors contribute liberalist, neoliberalist, constructivist, Confucianist, neoclassical realist, institutionalist, and political psychology critiques.

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