In This Review

The Shoeblack And The Sovereign: Reflections On Ethics And Foreign Policy
The Shoeblack And The Sovereign: Reflections On Ethics And Foreign Policy
By George Walden
St. Martin's, 1988, 176 pp.

A learned, literate and sprightly disquisition on a subject that is well worn but will never be exhausted. Walden, a British diplomat, makes a sharp distinction between morality and moralism in foreign policy. The latter, in the hands of the realists or idealists (in Walden's terms, brutalists and pietists), can be a real menace, as when it gives its cue to the unbridled cold warrior or passionate nuclear pacifist. As for morality, it will inevitably be present as a standard, heeded or not, as governments and peoples are faced with decisions on such matters as arms sales, foreign aid and immigration policy. Yet we have no sure guidance on how to define, measure and apply it. Walden suggests, among other things, using common sense and the salutary experience of history.