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By Hartmut Behr

Modern thought of foreign politics faces a twofold challenge: the severe engagement with legacies of nationwide strength politics in connection to twentieth Century diplomacy and the regeneration of notions of humanity. This publication contributes to this engagement by means of a family tree of strategies on conflict, peace, and ethics.

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He seems especially influenced and impressed by Plato whom he admires as the greatest philosopher. Consequently, it is less a philosophical groundwork which raises our interest in Cicero here, but his conceptual framework of some major notions, such as reason and law, and especially his political conclusions gained from that framework. The relevance of these conclusions for an international politics perspective may be anticipated here in order to target and provide the structure of the following discussions: Cicero realizes and admits that there is no natural relationship and legal status between nations (and, due to that, no natural justice in the international realm); however, from this assumption, he concludes neither a natural state of war or ‘anarchy’ (as a neo-realist perspective would do), nor the necessity to establish interstate (international) political and legal institutions (a more Thucydidean or, as we would say today, liberal solution), but the erection of an empire in order to create an ‘international Greek and Roman Antiquity 37 commonwealth’.

The war(s) depended for the most part less on determined reasons than on contigent outcome of negotiations, on assumptions of justice and injustice, and on ethical positions with which the parties were endowed. Withal Thucydides does not concede, and accept, the pure ‘factualism’ that treaties are weak, promises not kept, human nature bellicose, and so on, but instead argues in favour of universal ethical orientations which should guide men’s actions. Antithetically he ‘teaches’ with the History what happens when, and if, common ethical grounds and political virtue decay and become lost.

He seems especially influenced and impressed by Plato whom he admires as the greatest philosopher. Consequently, it is less a philosophical groundwork which raises our interest in Cicero here, but his conceptual framework of some major notions, such as reason and law, and especially his political conclusions gained from that framework. The relevance of these conclusions for an international politics perspective may be anticipated here in order to target and provide the structure of the following discussions: Cicero realizes and admits that there is no natural relationship and legal status between nations (and, due to that, no natural justice in the international realm); however, from this assumption, he concludes neither a natural state of war or ‘anarchy’ (as a neo-realist perspective would do), nor the necessity to establish interstate (international) political and legal institutions (a more Thucydidean or, as we would say today, liberal solution), but the erection of an empire in order to create an ‘international Greek and Roman Antiquity 37 commonwealth’.

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