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This year is the 80th anniversary of the Atlantic Charter. This document, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill, signified a new vision for American foreign policy and the wider world after the Second World War. This milestone committed the United States and the United Kingdom to tackling what they considered to be the most pressing threats on the international stage, making the defence of democracy, the strengthening of international institutions, the recognition of sovereignty and territorial integrity, supporting collective security, and reinforcing a rules-based economy the linchpin of American grand strategy. Yet in recent times, the presidency of Donald J. Trump has shown us how a rejection of the liberal international order and a liberal internationalist grand strategy can have crucial impacts on international affairs. As we take stock of where US foreign policy has been and where it might be headed as President Biden promises to ‘build back better’, this conference aims to place milestones and changes in American foreign policy in a wider historical and scholarly context.
Susan Colbourn is a diplomatic and international historian, interested in questions of strategy and security in the atomic age. She specialises in the history of the Cold War with a focus on NATO, the politics of European security, and the role of nuclear weapons in international politics and society.
Susan is Associate Director of the Triangle Institute for Security Studies (TISS) based at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.
She is author of ‘Euromissiles: A Transatlantic History’, forthcoming from Cornell University Press in 2022, which explores how NATO’s nuclear policies nearly destroyed it – and why the alliance narrowly escaped such a fate. She is also the editor, along with Timothy Andrews Sayle, of ‘The Nuclear North: Histories of Canada in the Atomic Age’, a collection of essays on Canadian nuclear history, published by University of British Columbia Press in autumn 2020.
Prior to joining TISS, Susan held postdoctoral fellowships at John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and International Security Studies at Yale University. She received her PhD in History from the University of Toronto.
More information for this conference roundtable will be provided soon, including the confirmation of speakers.