Africa was a key focus of Britain’s foreign policy under Tony Blair. Military intervention in Sierra Leone, increases in aid and debt relief, and grand initiatives such as the Commission for Africa established the continent as a place in which Britain could ‘do good’. Britain and Africa under Blair: in pursuit of the good state critically explores Britain’s fascination with Africa. It argues that, under New Labour, Africa represented an area of policy that appeared to transcend politics. Gradually, it came to embody an ideal state activity around which politicians, officials and the wider public could coalesce, leaving behind more contentious domestic and international issues. Building on the story of Britain and Africa under Blair, the book draws wider conclusions about the role of ‘good’ and idealism in foreign policy. In particular, it discusses how international relationships provide opportunities to create and pursue ideals, and why they are essential for the wellbeing of political communities. It argues that state actors project the idea of ‘good’ onto idealised, distant objects, in order to restore a sense of the ‘good state’. The book makes a distinctive and original contribution to debates about the role of ethics in international relations and will be of particular interest to academics, policy-makers and students of international relations, Africa and British foreign policy, and to anyone interested in ethics in international affairs.
Subjects: Political Science
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