Today, we formulated our essential questions for the project, and I feel that I was able to synthesize and connect the (previously) seemingly fractured questions. After having written the questions, which are as follows:
Is it the duty of a nation to obey its political system or its moral system?
Should/can nations be philosophically consistent? How do you measure this?
Are some philosophies more effective in achieving certain ends, like conquest, economic success, equality, etc? Is it possible to exist in a society with complete freedom?
What does it mean for a country to be in/ maintain power?
First, what is the national philosophy of a nation, how do they implement it, etc.
Then, after establishing/researching what these are or what they are said to be, how do these philosophies affect international relations? And in our current international order, is the US uniquely positioned to be permanently in power, or are we more so in the place of powerful nations that were in advantageous roles during the Peace of Westphalia? This process of thinking is important because I think that understanding what political/moral philosophies nations have is alone a great question, but I think that also looking at the international implications of such philosophy would then answer the question of global order in reference to different cultures. Can nations with fundamentally different ideas truly cooperate? To answer that question, we must first ask what these exact philosophies are. But if it is instead that some countries are not fundamentally different, but that they are in fact just on different stages of a progression to the same political system(Liberalism), then the responsibility of "progressed" nations would inherently change to try and propel less developed nations into political modernity.
Another aspect of these questions is also how our collective philosophy is reflected in our laws. Many people in the US assume that their beliefs are their own, and that in many ways, they prefer freedom over the implementation of moral laws(at least in the case of the moderate). But the issue with this idea is the assumption that some laws are moral and some are not, which is an assumption that misunderstands the premises of all laws. For example, speed limits are an agreed upon stricture, and most see them as common sense with no real ethical implication. But the true philosophy behind that law is that life is valuable, and that we should not be allowed to endanger both our own or others' lives. This may seem like a basic and unanimously agreed upon idea, but instead, it is often challenged with views of American libertarians, like Robert Nozick(see Anarchy, State, and Utopia).
Overall, all laws have philosophy behind them, and I want to see if there are common threads in the US or other nations, and if they don't exist, should/can these thread exist? And further, how do these common threads of philosophy affect international interaction? I look forward to continuing on this process of discovery.