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Why moral therapeutic deism and geopolitics don’t mix

A system of ethics that depends on being “good, nice, and fair to each other”  is questionable at the best of times. And becomes truly silly when applied to geopolitics.

Let’s kick off with Syria. President Assad (who is bad) is a nasty guy with a bad moustache who only got the job because his Dad had it before, but then he got so nasty that his people rebelled and the Rebels (who are good) started winning. (Hurrah!) This is despite the dorky Assad having a rather dishy British wife who was universally believed to be good, until she spent too much on shoes and stuff and became generally considered to be bad.

Moral philosophy needs to extend further than ‘be nice’. And geopolitics isn’t about ‘being nice’ either. It’s about balancing the competing interests of Westphalian nation-states, which are still with us – much as we cosmopolitans can dream otherwise.

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