Amrita Narlikar / Daniel Drezner

International relations: the ‘how not to’ guide – Introduction to the International Affairs centenary special issue

  • Abstract

    In the century of International Affairs' existence, there have been a lot of catastrophic critical junctures when a different policy decision, underpinned by an alternative epistemic framing, might have led to a more peaceful and prosperous world. In this special issue, we consider the well-intentioned efforts of humanity over the past century that turned out badly. Much of foreign policy analysis seeks to replicate successes; we humbly ask whether it might make more sense to examine how to avoid disastrous failure. In this introductory article we develop a concrete definition of policy failure and provide a motivation for why the study of failures is relevant for the coming century. We suggest a Hippocratic Oath for policy-minded scholars, and advance guidelines to help go beyond Barack Obama's ‘Don't do stupid shit’ injunction and also guard against potential policy paralysis. Finally, we offer conclusions derived from the other articles in this special issue that are relevant for both the study and practice of international relations. Armed with these insights, practitioners—and the researchers who advise them—may stand a better chance of avoiding some of the worst pitfalls of international relations; occasionally, together, we may even get some things right.


    International Affairs







    International Affairs | 09.2022

    How not to negotiate: the case of trade multilateralism

    The WTO has become an almost perfect example of how not to negotiate. In this article, GIGA President Prof. Narlikar identifies three broad categories of bargaining failures and explores the impact of narratives on the course of events, giving us a clear list of dos and don’ts for international negotiation.

    International Affairs | Oxford University Press | 09.2022

    International relations: the ‘how not to’ guide

    The International Affairs centenary special issue, edited by GIGA President Prof. Narlikar and Prof. Drezner, is a ‘how not to’ guide for international relations. It brings together 14 experts examining historic failures and how policy practitioners and researchers can get it right together.

    Prof. Dr. Daniel W. Drezner


    How not to negotiate: the Case of Trade Multilateralism

    Auf Einladung von Prof. Dr. Ulrike Grote teilte Prof. Narlikar ihre Analyse zu Handelsverhandlungen mit Studenten der Leibniz Universität Hannover. Ihr Vortrag basiert auf der von ihr in Zusammenarbeit mit Prof. Daniel Drezner in Kürze erscheinenden Sonderausgabe von International Affairs zum Thema "The How-Not-To Guide for International Relations".


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