Ethics and Foreign Policy: The Antinomies of New Labour's 'Third Way' in Sub-Saharan Africa

Rita Abrahamsen, Paul Williams

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34 Citations (SciVal)


This article explores how New Labour has attempted to implement its ideas about a 'third way' foreign policy in sub-Saharan Africa. Through an examination of British foreign policy practices, we explore whether New Labour has succeeded in finding a 'third way' between traditional views of socialism and capitalism in Africa. In particular, the article focuses on New Labour's attempts to build peace, prosperity and democracy on the African continent. We conclude that although New Labour's claims to add an 'ethical dimension' to foreign policy have succeeded in giving Britain a higher profile in the international arena, the implementation of such a policy is intrinsically difficult. These difficulties in turn arise from the antinomies embodied in New Labour's policy, or more specifically from the tension between the liberal internationalism of the third way and traditional concerns for the national interest, as well as the contradictions inherent in a commitment to both political and economic liberalism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-264
Number of pages16
JournalPolitical Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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