UDC 327:341.31
Biblid: 0025-8555, 74(2022)
Vol. 74, No 4, pp. 583-609
DOI: https://doi.org/10.2298/MEDJP2204583S

Review
Received: 21 Jul 2022
Accepted: 12 Sep 2022
CC BY-SA 4.0

ON THE IDEA OF EVIL IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

STEKIĆ Nenad (Naučni saradnik, Institut za međunarodnu politiku i privredu, Beograd), nenad.stekic@diplomacy.bg.ac.rs
KORAĆ Srđan T. (Viši naučni saradnik, Institut za političke studije, Beograd), srdjan.korac@ips.ac.rs

The study discusses how the concept of evil is positioned in the current theoretical discussion in international relations and how it is discursively misapplied in the imperial practice of preserving and advancing liberal peace in the early twenty-first century. The authors first present the fundamental assumptions embedded in the notion and typology of evil, and then delve into how Rousseau’s and Kant’s conception of the origin of moral evil has indirectly affected the differentiation of epistemological approaches in the study of the dark side of international relations. In terms of the situational legitimization of evil actions, the significance of a group acting evil, the relativization of empathic reactions, and the imperial tactics of utilizing ethical arguments against the so-called illiberal states, the analysis focuses on the contradictions that arise in the process of evaluating evil in the whirlwind of world politics. The authors also present some viewpoints that are to explain the ways and encourage the overcoming of Otherness in world politics through self-transformation and the transformation of relations with Others. The authors conclude that the idea of evil, as interpreted in the optics of the prevailing positivist epistemology in the International Relations discipline, equally in (neo)realism and liberal institutionalism, still provides a (pseudo)legitimation basis for the politics of liberal interventionism of post-industrial democracies against the “rogue” countries from the global periphery.

Keywords: international relations, world politics, evil, ethics, cosmopolitanism, violence, warfare