Can Historians help shape foreign policy?

Can Historians help shape foreign policy?



Last night we were guests of Chatham House to debate this question in the wake of Theresa May's Lancaster House speech in which she shared a post Brexit vision where Britain's relationships with European and global partners would be driven by its 'profoundly internationalist history and culture'. Is this a harking back to the days of empire? And if so, are Britain’s partners around the world willing to engage with her in this spirit or will they take a more pragmatic approach, pursuing the geopolitical and trading relationships that best serve their national interests? These were some of the questions considered during a wide ranging debate.

One point that concerned us was a sense from the panel that the current generation of politicians takes less heed of the significance and lessons of history when making decisions at home and abroad. If we are to forge Britain’s future on our profoundly internationalist history and culture, surely our leaders need to be well versed in precisely that, and have minds that are open to understanding the history, culture and future direction of other nations too.


By: Emma

1 of 18