Undercurrents: The End of Liberal Foreign Policy, and the Legacy of the Paris Peace Conference

This week Agnes and Ben interview two leading academics from the worlds of international relations and history.

Published 31 January 2019 Updated 8 July 2021 52 minute listen

Agnes Frimston

Deputy Editor, The World Today

John Mearsheimer (University of Chicago) discusses his new book, The Great Delusion, on the rise and fall of liberal foreign policy. With China’s rise and Russia’s resurgence the world has returned to a zero-sum balance of power political system.

John explains why he’s glad to see the back of an era of western interventions, and how the US should respond to the new geopolitical reality.

Margaret MacMillan (University of Toronto) is a renowned historian of the First World War, who gave the BBC Reith Lectures in 2018. A new special issue of International Affairs, guest-edited by Margaret, looks at the state of world politics today in comparison to the aftermath of the First World War and the Treaty of Versailles.

Ben and Agnes met with her to discuss why these comparisons can be useful, and how history is used and abused by politicians in the present.

Find the book: The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities

Read the International Affairs special issue: World Politics 100 Years After the Paris Peace Conference

Listen to the 2018 Reith Lectures: The Mark of Cain: War and Humanity