New Labour: doing good in Africa

Julia Gallagher

in Britain and Africa Under Blair

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780719085000
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702253 | DOI:
New Labour: doing good in Africa

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New Labour's was an era of the language of idealism in foreign policy, beginning with Robin Cook's ‘ethical element’, and continuing through Tony Blair's ‘humanitarian wars’. It is at best questionable how far British subjectivity under New Labour was enhanced by war. Blair's wars—among them interventions in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq—had a mixed record in terms of creating the ‘Dunkirk Spirit’ effect that Chris Brown suggests is the essence of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's ‘cleansing feature of war’. Blair's approach to Africa, however, grounded in utopian and cosmopolitan ideas and highly idealised, in a different way offered a grand, heroic identity for Britain. This book provides an account of how New Labour's interest in Africa grew between 1997 and 2007. To understand Britain's approach to Africa, it considers two international relations (IR) debates. The first is the traditional utopianism/realism debate which held sway through most of the twentieth century. The second is contemporary IR theory on cosmopolitanism and communitarianism.

Keywords: New Labour; foreign policy; Tony Blair; Britain; Sierra Leone; Kosovo; Africa; international relations; cosmopolitanism; communitarianism

Chapter.  12727 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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