4.3.5 International Moral Influence

International moral influence is exerted by people acting on behalf of causes that they believe in, sometimes by pressurising politicians.

People express concern about what is happening in other countries.  For example, the international aid agency Oxfam issued a press release describing public responses to a natural disaster:

“The unprecedented generosity of publics around the world to help people hit by the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 saved lives and gave affected people the means to make genuine long-term recoveries”.

People want to affect what is going on in other countries for many reasons, as described in the following sub-sections:

●  People can offer humanitarian assistance to other countries ( They can make individual charitable donations or put pressure on politicians to give aid.

●  People can participate in human rights activism ( They can join protests, criticise other governments, buy fair-trade products, or even urge military interventions to punish or deter rights abuses.

●  Environmental activists are trying to persuade people and politicians to act to save the planet ( This is for the benefit of everyone in the world, now and for future generations.

●  International moral influence can be exerted by missionary activity and colonialism ( This may be very unwelcome if it involves the use of force.  And colonisation was usually driven by economic considerations.

●  Governments should apply ‘just-war’ criteria before taking military action (, to satisfy the concerns of their own populations and the attitudes of people in other countries. The international community does not support countries engaging in unjust wars.

● Politicians can influence other countries by setting a moral example ( They can encourage them or apply political pressure to persuade them to behave differently.  They can also try to attract support by being respected.



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This page is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition04/435a.htm