Ethics in any policy area, including foreign policy, can be confusing to address because they occur in two different venues: one, stated policy content, and the other, enacted human behavior. Within policy content, ethics are actual or potential elements of the policy itself, including its internal provisions and any related external laws or conventions, whether national or international. Within human behavior, ethics are manifestations of more or less consolidated habits of thought and feeling, or cognition and emotion. These obtain within the actors who design, construe and apply the policy, and also those who experience it, whether empathetically, antithetically, intentionally, consensually or otherwise. Yet ethicality in one venue may differ from ethicality in the other, to the extent that policy content is disrupted, distorted, or redefined by human behavior. In the field of psychology, the gap between stated (institutional) values and actual (individual) practices is designated the “value-action gap.” It is akin to the pointed distinction made by Machiavelli, a philosopher of the Renaissance, between “ought” and “is” in human affairs. This article aims to address the discrepancy often found between positive policy statements of “vision, mission, and values” and negative, particularly corrupt human behavior “on the ground,” and the challenge this presents for the realization of ethics in foreign policy. The Antarctic Treaty of 1959, a case involving the fate of Antarctica in its ever-increasing exposure to humankind, illustrates the challenge.


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pp. 59-73
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