100 years of Chatham House: Top ten articles from the 2000s

Editorial Team

After seeing our picks for the 1990s here are our top ten articles for the 2000s. In the first decade of the new millennium International Affairs further broadened the range of topics it covered in a way that reflected the mainstreaming of previously marginalized theoretical approaches and sub-disciplines taking place within IR at the time. From engaging with debates on the politics of food security to work on the role of colonial nationalisms in accelerating the Rwandan Genocide, the 2000s saw International Affairs widen its remit beyond the relatively Cold War-oriented work of previous decades.

1) Lori Ann Thrupp on agriculture and food security

Wind turbines near Pamplona, Spain, 2006. Photo: Getty Images

Lori Ann Thrupp is an academic specializing in the study of agriculture and food systems. Throughout her career Thrupp has worked on food justice, food systems and international agriculture; holding leadership positions in academic, non-governmental and policy institutions. She is a former Executive Director of the Berkeley Food Institute, has worked as a policy analyst for the US Environmental Protection Agency and consulted with a wide range of private and third sector organizations on agricultural practices.

In 2002 Thrupp wrote in International Affairs on the relationship between food security and agricultural biodiversity.

From the article:

The need to overcome conflicts and build complementarities between agriculture and biodiversity poses a major challenge to humanity.

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2) Jagdish Bhagwati on the World Trade Organization after Seattle

Protesters demonstrate against the World Trade Organization gathering, Seattle, 1999. Photo: Getty Images

Jagadish Natwarlal Bhagwati is an economist and free trade advocate. Bhagwati has taught at numerous institutions globally and has won multiple awards for his work on the economics of globalization and international trade theory. He has worked with numerous international organizations and has advised the director generals of both the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the World Trade Organization. He currently serves on the academic advisory board of Human Rights Watch and was a special advisor on globalization to the UN.

In 2001 Bhagwati wrote in International Affairs on the collapse of the Seattle round of World Trade Organization negotiations and the future of the organization.

From the article:

The multilateral trading system at the millennium finds itself in the dizzying aftermath of a rollercoaster ride, with bad and good news coming at us in tandem and in spades.

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3) Ngaire Woods on accountability in the IMF

Demonstrators outside the World Bank/IMF spring meetings in Washington DC, 29 April 2001. Photo: Getty Images

Ngaire Woods is an academic and policy advisor specializing in global economic governance. As an academic, Woods has held teaching at research positions at a variety of institutions and is currently Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford. Woods has worked as an advisor to numerous international institutions including the IMF, World Economic Forum and the Commonwealth Heads of Government. Her work focuses primarily on globalization, international institutions and global governance.

In 2002 Woods wrote in International Affairs on the need to improve the accountability of the IMF.

From the article:

As the activities of both IFIs expand to embrace wider and deeper conditionalities, the accountability deficit is further widened. This is because, just as the activities of the Fund and Bank are widening, so too are the categories of affected groups who might legitimately claim to be stakeholders in the institutions and therefore to have some right to hold them to account.

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4) Mahmood Mamdani on colonialism and the Rwandan genocide

Preparations for a funeral ceremony at the Nyanza Genocide Memorial in Kigali, Rwanda, 2019. Photo: Getty Images

Mahmood Mamdani is an academic, author and political commentator. Throughout his career Mamdani has focused on drawing connections between colonial rule, the politics of postcolonial states and decolonizing processes of knowledge production. Mamdani has taught at multiple universities globally and won numerous awards for his work on contemporary legacies of colonialism. He has also been a notable advocate for the decolonization of universities as institutions and for decolonial curricula.

In 2002 Mamdani wrote in International Affairs on the politics of citizenship and the events surrounding the Rwandan genocide, in a written version of a workshop initially delivered to the Ugandan parliament.

From the article:

Instead of idealizing civil society and democracy, we need to reflect on undemocratic outcomes of majority –driven processes, such as the Rwandan revolution of 1959, the Ugandan parliament that followed guerrilla victory in Luwero, the national conference in Congo in 1991 and, particularly, the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

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5) Nana K. Poku on poverty, structural adjustment and HIV/AIDS in Africa

South Africans march through Cape Town to demand that the government and pharmaceutical companies allow the importation of generic medicines for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, 2001. Photo: Getty Images

Nana K. Poku is a leading expert on the role of institutions in health provision in Africa specializing in the political economy of poverty in relation HIV/AIDS. As a policymaker, Poku has worked with the United Nations Commission on HIV/Aids and Governance in Africa and the Economic Commission for Africa between 2003 and 2006 as well as numerous other International organizations and national development agencies. He is currently Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Executive Director of HEARD.

In 2002 Poku wrote in International Affairs on the impact of structural adjustment on African states’ ability to respond to HIV/AIDS.

From the article:

At a time when up to 70 per cent of adults in some hospitals are suffering from AIDS-related illnesses — placing extreme pressure on health services — many African countries have had to cut their health expenditure to satisfy IMF and World Bank Conditionalities. Such circumstances make it almost impossible to treat those with the virus effectively.

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6) Timothy Garden on the invasion of Iraq

Soldiers of Royal Irish Regiment guard Iraqi prisoners of war, Iraq, 2003. Photo: Getty Images

Timothy Garden (1944–2007) was a British Air Marshal, policy scholar and Liberal Democrat politician. During his military career from 1965–1996, Garden held a range of operational, training and command positions rising to become Assistant Chief of the Air Staff. In an academic capacity, Garden was Director of Defence Studies for the Royal Air Force, a Visiting Professor at Kings College London and was a Director of Chatham House. After leaving the military, Garden became a Liberal Democrat politician and activist, playing a key role in developing Liberal Democratic defence policy from 2003–2006 and being appointed to the House of Lords as a life peer in 2004.

In 2003, in the immediate aftermath of the US-led invasion of Iraq, Garden attempted to assess its military implications.

From the article:

There is a tendency to examine military lessons as they apply to the combat phase. It is already clear that the post-conflict work is just as important as the fighting. Any lessons from this campaign will need to address both aspects.

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7) Martin Ravallion on poverty and international development

ActionAid organization members demonstrate in front of Rome’ Colisseum on the eve of the World Food Summit, 2009. Photo: Getty Images

Martin Ravallion is a development economist. Over the course his academic career, Ravallion has contributed significantly to understandings of poverty in international institutions. In this capacity, he played an important role in producing definitions of the poverty line around one dollar in the 1990s and working to formulate what would become the UN Development Goal of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030. He currently holds the inaugural Edmond D. Villani Chair of Economics at Georgetown University and was Director of the World Bank’s research department until 2013.

In 2003 Ravallion wrote in International Affairs on the importance of consistently measuring poverty despite how politically contested definitions of it can be.

From the article:

Redressing the antecedent inequalities of opportunity within developing countries as they open up to external trade is crucial to realizing the poverty-reducing potential of globalization. That is the real challenge facing policymakers striving for pro-poor growth.

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8) Strobe Talbott on the invasion of Iraq and America’s relationship with the UN system

US soldiers guard the compound of the United Nations headquarters at the Canal Hotel in eastern Baghdad, Iraq, 2003. Photo: Getty Images

Strobe Talbott is a foreign policy analyst and policymaker. As a policymaker, Talbott served as Deputy Secretary of State in the Clinton administration from 1994–2001 where he specialized in handling the ongoing consequences of the break-up of the Soviet Union. After leaving government, Talbott served as Director of the Yale Centre for the Study of Globalization before becoming Director of the Brookings Institution from 2002–2017. He is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and sits on the advisory board of America Abroad Media.

In 2003 Talbott wrote in International Affairs on the Iraq war and the fraying US relationship with international institutions.

From the article:

A restoration of civility is essential if the US is going to come out of this period stronger than before. For that to happen, there must be a renewed, bipartisan recognition that America’s strength depends on the strength of the institutions America has, along with its key international partners, put in place over the last 50 years — and that those institutions can be strong only if America wants them to be strong.

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9) Cynthia Enloe on the study of masculinities

Members of feminist group ‘Non Una di Meno’ take part in a protest march during the World Congress of Families conference in Verona, 2019. Photo: Getty Images

Cynthia Enloe is a feminist IR scholar. Throughout her career, Enloe has played a central role in the development of contemporary feminist international relations, addressing a range of areas from the gendered politics of globalized factory labour to the role of masculinities and femininities in contemporary militarisms. Enloe is well known for her role in the development of ‘feminist curiosity’, an approach to research that foregrounds the politics of the everyday and links the personal to the international in ways that highlight voices silenced by mainstream IR. She is currently a research professor at Clark University and a member of the editorial and advisory boards of numerous journals including Signs, Security Dialogue and the International Feminist Journal of Politics.

In 2004 Enloe highlighted the importance of studying masculinities in IR in ways that avoid further marginalizing the knowledge and experiences of women.

From the article:

A feminist consciousness is what keeps one taking seriously — staying intellectually curious about — the experiences, actions and ideas of women and girls. Take away an explicit interest in femininities, and it will be impossible to develop a reliable analysis of masculinity.

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10) Zbigniew Brzezinski on the foreign policy challenges facing the Obama administration

US President Barack Obama listens during a meeting with aides on Air Force One en route to Beijing, China, 2009. Photo: Getty Images

Zbigniew Brzezinski (1928–2017) was a Polish-American policymaker and academic. Brzezinski is most well-known for his time as US National Security Advisor (1977–1981), where he was at the centre of the Carter administration’s response to the Iranian Revolution and subsequent hostage crisis. In this role he also had a significant impact in the signature of the SALT II, further normalized US-China Relations and was an important figure in the development of the Carter doctrine. As an academic, Brzezinski wrote as a realist on geostrategy as well as on the Soviet Union and communism in international politics.

In November 2008 Brzezinski delivered the John C. Whitehead lecture at Chatham House on the foreign policy challenges facing the new Obama administration, which was published in International Affairs the following year.

From the article:

America will have an intelligent foreign policy when we have an intelligent American president, and in this regard there is reason to be optimistic because we have just chosen one. But that is not enough.

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We hope you enjoyed this post in our series, ‘100 years of Chatham House’. Every month throughout 2020, the editorial team of International Affairs will be publishing some of the highlights from each decade since the founding of the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

Read more from the series here.

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