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Cruel and Unusual: Should Capital Punishment Hurt?
A painful execution, which can be regarded as torture, damages the nation's international reputation.
The death penalty reduces America's soft power in the form of attractiveness abroad and the use of torture makes America look hypocritical (
Nye, p. 267
The US has signed the
UN Convention against Torture
, which prohibits the use of torture.
As part of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the United States stands behind the
that capital punishment should "inflict the minimum possible suffering".
If the US is seen as torturing its own citizens, then enemy nations and terrorist groups have cover for torturing US citizens (civilians or military personnel).
Policy making in the United States is and should be, first and foremost, made based on the popular will, not based on considerations about how these policies might affect the state's reputation abroad.
A total of
helped the US carry out its rendition program, which has been linked to torture, among them some of the US' closest allies. It is therefore unlikely that it will damage the relationship of the US with these states.
Even though the United States used torture and practices the death penalty, most Western countries have a more
than unfavorable view of the country.
International relations depend more on mutual tangible benefits rather than on vague "reputation".