“America is back”, said President Joe Biden, ushering in a new era of US foreign policy. There is a lot in his in-tray. Having announced an end to US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, he faces a coup in Myanmar, Russia’s election meddling and the “very credible case” of genocide against the Uighurs in China. There has been a sense for some time that liberal democracy is in retreat, politically, morally and perhaps also militarily. The result, according to some, is that we have become toothless in holding aggressive actors and rogue regimes to account. David Miliband, CEO of the International Rescue Committee, has described this as the ‘Age of Impunity’, where “war crimes go unpunished” and “militaries, militias, and mercenaries in conflicts around the world believe they can get away with anything”. Others might argue we have short memories, and the last century is full of tyrants we neglected to confront, atrocities we failed to prevent and conflicts we made worse through our morally-motivated interventions. If the US is resetting the global democratic order, recommitting to alliances and international agreements, what should be its guiding principles? Is there a place for morality in global affairs, or has it always been about realpolitik and enlightened self-interest? As a nation and as a group of nations, is it time to assert strong moral values on the global stage, whatever the consequences, or is it better to be pragmatic and honest about the problems we can and can’t solve? With David Miliband, Dr Joseph Nye, Prof Adrian Pabst and Prof Patrick Porter.

Producer: Dan Tierney.

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