"Britain punches above its weight"
November 1, 2009 8:44 AM Subscribe
posted by Petrot (71 comments total)
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Britain: the birthplace of globalisation in the 19th century; ruler of a worldwide empire. But why, over a century later, is the UK still appearing as a major player on the political world stage
? Its entire population of around 60m is comparable only with the population of California and Texas combined. Geographically it is a smaller size than Texas, and cut off from the larger and potentially more-politically-influential Eurozone
. Is it relying on its history as a superpower,
or on its current relations with superpowers
Britain's Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, still sees Britain as having a vital international role
, "Our role in Europe magnifies the power of our ideas, and strengthens our international clout in Washington, Beijing and Moscow"
The "Special Relationship" between Britain and the US is something British politicians try to maximise
, although many in Britain see it as a one-sided arrangement, with Britain loyally following in its master's footsteps. "The concept of a special relationship with the UK is of little relevance or interest to most Americans. It is rarely a topic raised or discussed by the media or political analysts. British support for US foreign policy, if discussed at all, is largely assumed. On the other side of the Atlantic, the special relationship generates significant debate and is often a source of controversy,"
( James K Wither, U.S. Army War College.
Michael Codner, head of military sciences at the Royal United Services Institute
, believes Britain still has a taste for being a world power
, with the British Armed Forces playing a significant part, although "our perception of the nation as a great power was pretty undermined - we really were starting to see ourselves as rather a footling nation."
However a lesser role in Iraq and Afghanistan, compared to the US, is no minor initiative for Britain, who aim to do things their own way
Special relationship or not, the economic downfall affects us both. Britain, although a world-class financial hub
, is being left behind.
, militarily, financially, Britain manages to be far more influential (although not necessarily successfully) than its diminutive stature suggests. But is it due to its own prowess
, or due to hanging onto the coattails of others