Contrary to popular opinion, ethics is more than “gut reactions” or intuitions, but it’s about drawing out and applying broader principles that ought to guide our actions, such as maximizing happiness, respecting autonomy, doing no harm, or treating others as you’d want to be treated. Policy, in contrast, often takes a more pragmatic or realist approach, giving much weight to broader effects with an eye toward achieving certain goals; and so policy could diverge from ethics. And law is about complying with rules established and enforced by governments, under penalty of punishment. (As incomplete as these definitions are, they should be enough for our purposes here.)
In the following scenarios of future warfare, circa year 2025, I will tease out tensions among the three areas.
By Patrick Lin. Cross-posted from The Atlantic.