Reflections at 100: UK foreign policy

How has the Chatham House journal traced the transformation of Britain’s role in the world since the 1920s?

Audio Updated 31 August 2022 Published 18 March 2022 45 minute listen

What has been going on in UK foreign policy over the last century, and how have leading thinkers approached it? To mark the 100th anniversary of International Affairs, the journal of Chatham House, a new series of six archive collections will explore the past, present and future of current affairs issues. Each collection will be accompanied by an episode in this mini-series, where we consider what the research tells us about policy-making today. 

In this episode the team focus on the first archive collection, on UK foreign policy. Krisztina Csortea and Isabel Muttreja speak to the collection’s editor (and Undercurrents co-host) Ben Horton about the four themes that UK foreign policy-makers and analysts have been preoccupied with over the last century. 

Then, Isabel speaks to former Chatham House Director of Research William Wallace about how national identity continues to shape UK foreign policy-making, and how his 1990 article resonates in the post-Brexit context of Global Britain. Then Krisztina finds out about the UK’s accountability for acts of torture during the War on Terror, with Ruth Blakeley. 

International Affairs was started at Chatham House in 1922 to communicate research to members who could not attend in person. Over the last 100 years it has transformed into a journal that publishes academically rigorous and policy relevant research. It is published for Chatham House by Oxford University Press. Read the latest issue here.