Ethics matter. This is not only the tag line for the Carnegie Council. It is also the proposition of my work. Many writers take up ethical issues. But few have the vantage point of the Carnegie Council — a place where leaders from around the world come to share ideas, reflect on their experiences, and engage in public conversation.

Posted here are lectures, articles, and reviews reflecting my engagement with the Council’s activities. If there is a pattern, one might say it is opportunistic, seeking to add the ethical dimension to debates ongoing. One might also see a thread of realism. In my view, power and ethics are inseparable and are best considered together. …

Compromise and Rotten Compromises: A Reflection on the Iran Deal

Let’s give President Obama the benefit of the doubt. As the president has repeatedly asserted, the agreement insures that every pathway to a nuclear weapon will be cut off for at least the next decade and Iran will need to demonstrate compliance before it begins to receive sanctions relief. Yet even if these two things prove true, it is not certain if the deal will ultimately be a good compromise or a rotten one.

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Realism as Pragmatic Cooperation

I would like to begin my presentation by telling you a bit about the Carnegie Council—and specifically, the word “ethics” in our title. This simple word, “ethics,” informs our approach. It is my hope that will also add value to our discussion today.

By ethics, I do not mean simply compliance with law. Compliance is of course an essential part of ethics. But it is only a beginning. Compliance is a floor, a minimum upon which to build. Many actions in government, business, or private life comply with the law but are not optimal from an ethical perspective.

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