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Edmond J Safra Lecture Theatre King's College London

Strand

London

WC2R 2LS

United Kingdom

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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

John Bew is Professor in History and Foreign Policy in the Department of War Studies (School of Security Studies), King’s College London. John joined King’s in 2010 from the University of Cambridge, becoming co-Director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence. John now leads a major new project in the Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy: the ‘Grand Strategy Programme’. This ground-breaking new programme, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, aims to bring more historical and strategic expertise to statecraft , diplomacy and foreign policy.

John is a contributing writer at the New Stateman and also currently writes for the Irish Times. He is the author of five books, the most recent of which is ‘Citizen Clem: A Life of Attlee’, which won the George Orwell Prize for books in 2017 and was named ‘Book of the Year’ by the Times, the Sunday Times, the New Statesman and the Evening Standard.

John Bew is leading an academic commission for the think tank, Policy Exchange, examining the question of ‘Britain in the World’. The commission was launched by the Secretary of State for Defence in May 2016 and aims to bring more academic expertise in policy-making.

Find out more about John Bew.

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Edmond J Safra Lecture Theatre King's College London

Strand

London

WC2R 2LS

United Kingdom

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