Lynne Rienner Publishers Logo

Strategic Moral Diplomacy: Understanding the Enemy’s Moral Universe

Lyn Boyd-Judson
Strategic Moral Diplomacy: Understanding the Enemy’s Moral Universe
ISBN: 978-1-56549-291-2
ISBN: 978-1-56549-290-5
2011/198 pages/LC: 2010048644
A Kumarian Press Book

"As Boyd-Judson suggests in four compelling case studies, just solutions to complex and dangerous conflicts are possible when antagonists are able to comprehend not only each other's vital interests but also the particular moral values behind those interests."—John Stremlau, Carter Center

"Boyd-Judson's vast policy experience coupled with her impeccable training in political science has produced a volume that is highly readable, pertinent, and academically sound. Scholars and practitioners alike will find tremendous food for thought in her work."—Frances T. Pilch, US Air Force Academy


Is it possible for nations to negotiate in the context of seemingly incompatible moral values? Lyn Boyd-Judson answers yes—and argues that it can be strategically useful, as well as ethical, to assume that an enemy has just moral concerns.

Boyd-Judson uses the US and UN negotiations with Iran, Libya, Zimbabwe, and Haiti to illustrate the practical application of strategic moral diplomacy. Drawing on personal interviews with negotiators and their colleagues, she unearths the complex moral positions held by those involved and arrives at workable suggestions for future diplomatic dilemmas.


Lyn Boyd-Judson is director of the Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics at the University of Southern California.


  • Introduction: Defining Strategic Moral Diplomacy.
  • Strategic Moral Diplomacy in Theory.
  • Exile of a King: Rules of Moral and Legal Salience.
  • The Lockerbie Negotiations: Granting the Enemy a Moral Universe.
  • Haiti's Generals: Reframing Fixed Conflict Situations.
  • Zimbabwe's Land Seizures: Just Claims and Avoidable Losses.
  • Conclusion.