How not to do foreign policy

How can policymakers learn from mistakes?

Members event, Panel Recording
21 September 2022 — 6:00PM TO 7:00PM
Chatham House and Online

How not to do Foreign Policy

The history of international affairs is littered with catastrophic decisions at key moments. Different policy decisions and actions taken at the time might have led to a more peaceful and prosperous world. While foreign policy analysis, discussions and debates seek to replicate successes, this event asks how to avoid catastrophic failure.

Are there learnings from past failures? From the use of economic sanctions, which have emerged as a ‘go-to’ tool of diplomacy, to failures of negotiations, the panel answers this key question by exploring prominent historic case studies.

Questions discussed include:

  • Why do policymakers pursue decisions regardless of past results?

  • Would a ‘Hippocratic Oath’ for policy-minded professionals act as a buffer against bad decision-making?

  • How do policymakers go beyond this minimum ‘do no harm’ requirement?

  • What would constitute more effective interventions in the current international relations climate?

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