Ideas of the good and the political

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:
Ideas of the good and the political

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What made New Labour want to do good in Africa in contrast to a more conventional, interest-based foreign policy? We have seen how Robin Cook announced the ‘ethical element’ to foreign policy within days of New Labour's election. What made him do it, what made it such a widely applauded approach, and why has its appeal persisted in the form of the government's approach towards Africa? This chapter explores why a state might attempt to ‘do good’ abroad, focusing on how ‘the good’ and ‘the political’ in foreign policy might be viewed as both different from, and related to, each other. It discusses how the separation of the good and the political has been conceived in European thought, and how different approaches have fed into forms of utopianism. After discussing the concepts of the good and the political in international relations, the chapter concludes by analysing the utopianisation of Africa by Britain.

Keywords: New Labour; foreign policy; Africa; Britain; good; political; Europe; utopianism; international relations

Chapter.  6596 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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