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Morality, Power and International Organizations

America draws its motivation from a desire to defend its

values . . . Even when an American involvement is partly

based on . . . self-interest, the more high-minded goals

are the ones that tend to be publicly emphasized."8

The League of Nations and the Abyssinian Crisis

As Wilson originally envisaged it, the League of Nations

would enforce peace in cases involving conflict between the

great powers; however, its incapacity to do so was partially

impaired at its outset by the failure of the United States

Senate to ratify the League Covenant. In October, 1935, Fascist

Italy launched an unprovoked invasion of Abyssinia, a member

state, and conquered it in less than a year. Article 16 of the

Covenant provided that "should any member . . . resort to war in

disregard of the covenant . . . it shall ipso facto be deemed to

have committed an act of war against all members."9 The League

condemned the invasion and authorized the League of Nations

Committee to draw up sanctions against Italy. The export of

war materials to Italy was banned, but not oil, which Italy

lacked. As Winston Churchill said, "the League of Nations,

therefore, proceeded onto the rescue of Abyssinia on the basis

that nothing must be done to hamper the invading Italian

armies."10 While the British and French Foreign Secretaries

(Hoare and Laval) secretly agreed to partition Abyssinia, Mosely

said that "the Italians bluffed the British into keeping their

own [war]ships in harbor. Britain could have closed the Suez

Britain and France had reasons for not wishing to challenge

the Italians, but by saying one thing and doing another, Lichthen

said that they exposed "the League of Nations for the hollow sham

it was."12 Gilbert concluded that "the League showed itself to

be a false guardian of European security. Potential aggressors

saw they could flout it with impunity."13 Taylor said, "this...

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Morality, Power and International Organizations. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 15:27, August 17, 2017, from
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