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Quick Review of the 6 articles-UK Foreign Policy History From 1948 till 2020 articles

The below quick review comes from the hereafter articles / opinions / essays uploaded on the FP bloc webpage documents and put by Chronological order:


-How strong is Britain – April 1948

-Britain in World Strategy – April 1951

-Realism in British Foreign Policy – October 1969

-Litler England - November/December 2015

-Britain Adrift – May / June 2021

-How to make “Global Britain” slogan a reality – January 11, 2021

As of January 1, 2021 the Brexit transition period is over, completing a process that began four and a half years ago when the British electorate voted to leave the European Union. Now, core elements of British foreign policy—the country’s relationships with Europe and the United States—are “clouded by uncertainty,” and the government is “stressing independence as a virtue in itself,” Lawrence Freedman wrote in Foreign Affairs last year. “But it has yet to answer the question of whether this independence will enable the United Kingdom to be less involved with the world’s problems or more.”

Similar questions about the United Kingdom’s global role emerged from the collapse of the British Empire in the middle of the twentieth century. In 1948, Bernard Brodie argued that while the country’s decline was “undeniable,” its ties to Europe and to the British Commonwealth made its cooperation on matters of global security “indispensable.” Writing in 1951, former British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden highlighted the “supreme importance of Anglo-American unity” in maintaining that security. But by 1960, Michael Howard warned the United Kingdom was “courting disaster by assuming responsibilities far beyond her capacity to sustain.”

Meanwhile, the nations of continental Europe had begun to integrate their economies in the 1950s. It took more than two decades and one failed attempt for a wary United Kingdom to join them, despite a growing view that, as William Diebold, Jr., put it, “Britain will be better off in the new Europe now taking shape than outside it.” Unity and cooperation were not just idealistic goals but policies “based on a realistic assessment of British interests,” Edward Heath argued in 1969. Four years later, during Heath’s term as prime minister, the United Kingdom finally entered the European Economic Community.

For decades, the United Kingdom’s role in Europe and relationship to the United States seemed stable. But by 2015, according to Anand Menon, “factors including fatigue following the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, a recession, and a prime minister with little apparent interest in foreign affairs have conspired to render the British increasingly insular.” The approaching Brexit referendum would “determine whether the country’s retreat will continue unchecked.”

What will British foreign policy look like now? Brexit betrays the centuries-old tradition of remaining “deeply involved in European affairs,” David Reynolds notes. But Freedman argues that a modest strategy based on “problem-solving and burden-sharing” offers a viable alternative. “The United Kingdom has much to contribute,” he writes, “so long as it accepts the limits of independence and, above all, abandons the quest for a unique, exceptional role.”

What about the “Global Britain” slogan after Brexit? Robin Niblett writes that there’s still a lot that needs doing — especially when it comes to making sure British diplomacy is up to the monumental task of navigating the U.K.’s new geopolitical landscape. The missing piece of the puzzle remains British diplomacy, where spending will need to rise significantly to promote U.K. interests in a highly competitive global marketplace dominated by the United States, China and the EU — or, more to the point, to retain the same level of global influence the U.K. enjoyed when it was an EU member.