Monday, March 06, 2006

The UK is not a Great Power

This posting is transferred from my original blog

In 2003, the UK is not a Great Power.

It largely stopped being a Great Power following the Suez crisis in 1956. It is for instance noticeable that it is then that the summit meetings start to be head-to-heads between the USA and USSR.

The UK, alone, is not likely to be a Great Power again; 60 million people just don't have enough power to project.

So how could that be different, or how could it have been different?

This is really a combination of politics and alternate history, which is why I'm blogging it rather than posting on shwi or putting it in a more overtly political place.

I see there as being essentially four options.

1. Don't be a Great Power. Accept a smaller role in the world. You can then be an American client state, a wholly neutral country that doesn't get involved outside it's borders (e.g. Switzerland) or a minor power that can only really operate through alliances or the big multilateral institutions, like Canada. Britain has tended to wander between the first and last options, as well as the European Great Power option. Personally, I reject the lack of influence that this predicates; I do recognise that this is the option that really preserves our sovereignty - at the expense of power. And to a great extent, I regard only Great Powers as properly sovereign.

The other options are essentially to merge Britain into a larger Great Power in which we will be a minority (120 million, making Brits a bare majority would still be too small - see Japan). British domestic autonomy is preserved by that being a federation, but it would certainly need a single foreign policy and a single military.

So what are these options?

2. A federal Europe.

3. A very close association with the USA

4. A federated British Empire.

I'll explore them in separate blog postings because otherwise ths will be very long.

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