(2019) Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy. Volume 22(4). First Online November 2017.
On the global stage, states are agents that wage wars, negotiate trade agreements, and sign treaties. Much of this action is neutral or mutually beneficial, yet many state actions perpetuate global inequality and injustice. While proponents of the relational view often restrict the scope of justice, I argue that the view ought to be applied to the interactions between states-as-agents. The argument has two main steps. Firstly, I examine the relational view and argue that, properly construed, relational views rely on underlying principles of justice and the nature and aims of the practice in determining what duties arise. Drawing on this insight, I turn to an analogy between state interaction and domestic citizen relations. While relations between citizens ostensibly differ from those between states, these practices share an underlying principle of formal equality and the nature and aims of being long term, mutually dependent, formalized, and with valuable ends at stake. This similarity points to duties that are similar in kind: the international stage is often characterized by principles of mutual advantage yet this analysis supports broadly egalitarian principles between states that participate in shared, long term and mutually dependent practices.