Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The big problem with moral capital is that there is no real international consensus: the differing reportage and pre-existing prejudices in different countries will lead to the same action being reported differently in different countries

The international consensus most widely cited is the UN. Both the US and Israel can't ignore how things are perceived and acted on there. Both these countries are mainly acting on domestic democratic pressures. There is a balancing act between these pressures and good strategy in general. The leaders of these countries at times seem to be slaves to their voting constituencies, ignoring the consequences in the UN (and various other groupings). Both their roles and positions in the world depend on preserving moral capital somewhat.

Moral capital also devalues with frightening rapidity, thanks to the world's short memory...

I would argue that for example, the holocaust and 9/11, moral capital hasn't devalued - it has been spent. Recalling the memory of the holocaust still gives Israel latent moral capital. 9/11 hasn't been forgotten by the world - the world thinks US has exhausted its moral authority.

1 comment:

Dr. Clam said...

I believe the U.N. is 'unrepresentative swill', to quote a minor Australian political figure whose name escapes me. Look at its record as an Israel-bashing club. Even when Israel tried to defend itself in an entiely passive, non-violent way it was condemned. The only nations that have any decency, and hence have an opinion that should be listened to when it comes to moral capital, are those that voted against the fence resolution: Australia, the U.S., and those former U.S. colonies in the north Pacific (Micronesia, Belau, and the Marshall Islands).

[Actually I am not sure about Belau or the Marshall Islands, but I thought I would give them the benefit of the doubt.]