Do Values Matter in International Relations?




What is it About?

The book project enlists diplomats and scholars from the West and Asia to examine the role of values in foreign policies of several important nations, from the USA to Japan. This is a largely unresearched topic so far; while much has been written and said about the value systems driving foreign policy in the West, the historical, religious and civilizational impulses of the formulation of foreign policy in the rest of the world has been neglected or overlooked. The project breaks new ground in exploring this landscape.

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From the Blog

Values and Foreign Policy

Most states with active foreign policies after the Second World War sought to promote their values internationally. This was not only a matter of hard power – the way in which the United States sought to promote free enterprise and democracy, in a sometimes ruthless fashion, that also opened markets to US corporations. It was

Values in Cultural Diplomacy

With the onset of the depression in 1929, and the strengthening of fascism in the 1930s, Britain began to think seriously about how to promote its own world-view. Nearly all other European powers already operated cultural institutes overseas; France had a network of overseas schools and there were American universities in Cairo and Beirut. But

Values in Diplomacy

I was much struck by a recent comment by Henry Kissinger in response to a question about his views on Vladimir Putin. Kissinger describes Mr Putin as someone who “comes out of Dostoevsky”. The reference to the great Russian author in an interview about foreign policy motivations highlights the importance of values in diplomacy. Values

America’s Values and Moral High Ground

America has had a fairly inscrutable history. Haven to the oppressed in the European continent, its early settlers, while relishing the fruits of freedom, pretty much exterminated its indigenous inhabitants. At the same time, as a reaction to absolutist monarchies elsewhere in the world it created pluralist institutions. In this ‘New World’ God did not

Investments as a Foreign Policy Asset

I recently read an article about executives of German companies in India who were detained and questioned during World War II by authorities of the then British Government in India. These executives, although worried and harassed about working in what had then become enemy territory, played an important role in building bridges and rebuilding bonds

Can America’s foreign policy values survive trump?

The current geopolitical moment is a fascinating and consequential one for the question of whether a state’s foreign policy can truly be values-based. For the past 70 years, the United States of America has loudly proclaimed its commitment to upholding the liberal world order that it played a leading role in creating. It has claimed


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