The Pursuit of World Order in Anglo-American Statecraft
Registration from 18.00, for a prompt 18.30 start.
The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception to which all registered delegates are invited.
Today, it is often said that there is a “crisis of world order” but few people stop to ask where this idea comes from and what it means in practice.
The pursuit of world order has been an almost ever-present feature of Western — more specifically, American and British — statecraft for over a century. It is embedded in a discourse about international affairs that can be traced back to the late 19th century, when Britain became increasingly conscious of the fragility of its empire, and the United States began to recognise the full extent of its potential power.
Since that time, “world order” has been used as shorthand for a vast range of potential scenarios: from a unified “world state,” governed by a single supranational institution (envisaged by H.G. Wells), to a balance of power between different civilisational blocs (an idea more commonly associated with Henry Kissinger).
Either way, the historical record suggests that one’s view of world order is inseparable from one’s worldview. It reveals the beholder’s hope for how the world should or could be, rather than simply how it is. Viewed over the long-term, as Professor Bew will argue, the yearning for world order has provided a sense of higher purpose and an explanatory spine to the story of American and British foreign policy.
About Professor John Bew
Find out more about the speaker, Professor John Bew, Department of War Studies (School of Security Studies).