British Foreign Policy under New Labour

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The British had built up a very large worldwide British Empire , which peaked in size in , after more than half a century of unchallenged global supremacy. The cumulative costs of fighting two world wars, however, placed a heavy burden upon the UK economy, and after the British Empire gradually began to disintegrate, with many territories granted independence. By the mid-to-late s, the UK's status as a superpower had been largely diminished by the rise of the United States and the Soviet Union. Many former colonial territories joined the "Commonwealth of Nations," an organisation of fully independent nations now with equal status to the UK.

Practically all the colonies became independent. Britain reduced its involvements in the Middle east, with the humiliating Suez Crisis of marking the end of its status as a superpower. After years of debate and rebuffs , Britain joined the Common Market in ; it is now the European Union. Foreign policy initiatives of UK governments since the s have included military intervention in conflicts and for peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance programmes and increased aid spending, support for establishment of the International criminal court , debt relief for developing countries, prioritisation of initiatives to address climate change , and promotion of free trade.

Lunn et al. In , the government of David Cameron described its approach to foreign policy by saying: [27]. The Strategic Defence and Security Review highlighted a range of foreign policy initiatives of the UK government. He points out that Britain's December agreement to open a permanent naval base in Bahrain underlines its gradual re-commitment east of Suez.

The UK has varied relationships with the countries that make up the Commonwealth of Nations which originated from the British Empire. Those that retain the Queen as head of state are called Commonwealth realms. Over time several countries have been suspended from the Commonwealth for various reasons. Zimbabwe was suspended because of the authoritarian rule of its President [43] and so too was Pakistan, but it has since returned. Countries which become republics are still eligible for membership of the Commonwealth so long as they are deemed democratic.

Commonwealth nations such as Malaysia enjoyed no export duties in trade with the UK before the UK concentrated its economic relationship with EU member states. The UK was once a dominant colonial power in many countries on the continent of Africa and its multinationals remain large investors in sub-Saharan Africa. Nowadays the UK, as a leading member of the Commonwealth of Nations , seeks to influence Africa through its foreign policies. Current UK disputes are with Zimbabwe over human rights violations. Tony Blair set up the Africa Commission and urged rich countries to cease demanding developing countries repay their large debts.

Relationships with developed often former dominion nations are strong with numerous cultural, social and political links, mass inter-migration trade links as well as calls for Commonwealth free trade. From , the Windrush scandal occurred, where the UK deported a number British Citizens with Commonwealth heritage back to their Commonwealth country on claims they were "illegal immigrants".

The UK's European diplomatic strategy

According to some accounts, in the beginning of the 13th century King John of England — sent an embassy to the Almohad Sultan Muhammad al-Nasir — , requesting military support and an alliance against France. The embassy of three was led by Bishop Roger, and King John supposedly offered to convert to Islam and pay a tribute to al-Nasir in exchange for his help. Al-Nasir apparently dismissed the proposal.

Nigeria, formerly a colony, gained independence from Britain in The British government played an important role in resolving the Nigerian Civil War. Trade and investment between the two countries are strong, many British multinational companies are active in Nigeria, especially Shell in oil and gas production. As one of the first English colonies , the initial permanent European settlement took place in the early seventeenth century by English settlers.

Barbados thereafter remained as a territory until it negotiated independence in In recent years, increasing numbers of British nationals have purchased secondary homes in Barbados, [49] and the islands ranked as the Caribbean regions' fourth largest export market of the United Kingdom. Both nations enjoy a cooperative and intimate contact; the two countries are related through history, the Commonwealth of Nations , and their sharing of the same Head of State and monarch. Winston Churchill said Canada was the "linchpin of the English-speaking world", as it connects two other anglophone countries: the US and the UK.

These three countries were the first to share the knowledge of the atom bomb with each other, as all three worked on the Manhattan Project together. Despite this shared history, the UK and Canada have grown apart economically. The UK was Canada's largest trade partner in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but is now well down the list.

However relations are still strong, with large migration between the two countries, as well as Canada having the highest favourable public opinion of the UK in the world.

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Chile provided some assistance to Britain during the Falklands War since it was itself at risk of possible war with Argentina regarding the boundary between the two nations in the Beagle Channel. In , relations came under strain when Julian Assange , founder of the WikiLeaks website, entered the Ecuadorian embassy in London and sought asylum; Assange had recently lost a legal case against his extradition to Sweden on charges of sexual assault and rape, but when within the embassy he was on diplomatic territory and beyond the reach of the British police. Also, relations improved when Mexico joined the British alongside the Allies to fight the Japanese forces in the Pacific War.

Diplomatic relations between both countries were established on 4 March , with the signing of a treaty of Friendship, Trade and Navigation. A dominant view in Paraguay and significant in all the Southern Cone is that the interests of the British Empire played a considerable role during the Paraguayan War. The United Kingdom and the United States are close military allies. The two countries share cultural similarities, as well as military research and intelligence facilities. Harrier Jump Jet. Bush , and the often like-minded Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Present British policy is that The United Kingdom's relationship with the United States represents Britain's "most important bilateral relationship".

In , Brunei became a British protectorate, gaining its independence from British rule less than years later in The UK and Brunei have a long-standing and strong bilateral relationship, particularly on defence co-operation, trade and education. The UK continues to play a strong role in developing Brunei's oil and gas sector, and the Brunei Investment Agency is a significant investor in the UK, with their largest overseas operations in the City of London.

The UK remains the destination of choice for Bruneian students, with about 1, of them enrolled in higher education in the UK in Both countries are full members of the Commonwealth of Nations. British India was a former colony of the British Empire. India has a high commission in London and two consulates-general in Birmingham and Edinburgh. This is in part due to the significant number of people of Indian origin living in the UK.

The Asian population in the UK results in steady travel and communication between the two countries. The English language, the railways, the legal and parliamentary systems and cricket have been warmly adopted. Indian cuisines are popular in the UK. Economically the relationship between Britain and India is also strong.

India is also the fourth [78] largest investor in Britain after the US. Iran, which was known as Persia before , has had political relations with England since the late Ilkhanate period 13th century when King Edward I of England sent Geoffrey de Langley to the Ilkhanid court to seek an alliance. Sanctions against Iraq from to prevented any form of economic relations with the United Kingdom and any other country for thirteen years. Ties between London and Baghdad are slowly progressing. During the Sakoku period — there were no relations.

The treaty of saw the resumption of ties which, despite the hiatus of the Second World War, remain very strong in the present day. See also: Counter-terrorism in Kazakhstan. Over British companies do business in Kazakhstan. Malaysia is a strong partner of Britain in the Far East.

Britain has made numerous military sacrifices in guaranteeing a stable independent Malaysia, for example the Malaysian Emergency and the protection of the country during high tensions with Indonesia- Konfrontasi. The relations between the United Kingdom and Oman are strong and strategic. As well as work on the Middle East Peace Process and other political issues, the consulate also promotes trade between the UK and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and manages an extensive programme of aid and development work.

Singapore and the United Kingdom share a friendly relationship since Singapore became independent from the United Kingdom in Singapore retained the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as the final court of appeal up till fully abolished in due to political reasons. The United Kingdom is the second biggest importer of goods from Turkey, after Germany. The UK is also a signatory to a treaty with Greece and Turkey concerning the independence of Cyprus, the Treaty of Guarantee , which maintains that Britain is a "guarantor power" of the island's independence.

After years of dispute with France it joined the European Economic Community in , which eventually evolved into the European Union through the Maastricht Treaty twenty years later. However the United Kingdom has been referred to as a "peculiar" member of the EU, due to its occasional disputes relations with the organisation and differences through geography, history and opt-outs and polls have found that, of the 28 nationalities in the European Union, British people feel the least European. The United Kingdom and Austria continue these relations.

Both countries are full members of the European Union. The two countries have trading links going back to the 10th century, especially wool trade from England to the County of Flanders. The UK maintains two sovereign area military bases on the island of Cyprus. With the English Reformation , diplomatic links between London and the Holy See, which had been established in , were interrupted in and again, after a brief restoration in , in Formal diplomatic ties between the United Kingdom and the Holy See were restored in and raised to ambassadorial level in Despite a long history of conflict from English Tudor plantation in Ireland to the Irish War of independence, the UK presently works closely with the government of the Republic of Ireland in areas concerning the peace process in Northern Ireland as well as on many security issues.

In the Irish Houses of Parliament passed the Republic of Ireland Act, making the Republic of Ireland officially fully independent; the country withdrew from the Commonwealth. Under the Ireland Act Irish citizens are treated as though they are Commonwealth citizens and not aliens for the purposes of law.

Until , the Republic of Ireland claimed Northern Ireland, but this was rescinded under the Belfast Agreement through an amendment of the Irish Constitution, which now states an aspiration to peaceful unity. There is an ongoing dispute that also involves Denmark and Iceland , over the status of the ocean floor surrounding Rockall.

However, this is for the most part a trivial issue that rarely makes it onto British-Irish meeting agendas. Both countries are members of the European Union. Between 4 and 5 million British tourists visit Italy every year, while 1 million Italian tourists visit the UK.

When Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia on 17 February , the United Kingdom became one of the first countries to officially announce recognition of sovereign Kosovo on 18 February There are around , Lithuanians living in the United Kingdom. In the s and s, serious consideration was given in both countries to the idea of a political union between the United Kingdom and Malta. However, this plan for "Integration with Britain" foundered, and Malta gained its independence from the United Kingdom in There is a small Maltese community in the United Kingdom.

In addition, the British overseas territory of Gibraltar has been influenced by significant 18th and 19th Century immigration from Malta see " History of the Maltese in Gibraltar ". Malta is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The number of British and Moldovan citizens in Moldova and the United Kingdom respectively is insignificant. When visiting Moldova no visa obligation exists for British citizens for stays in Moldova less than 90 days, otherwise a visa is required.

For Moldovan citizens a visa is required for any border crossing, except for transfer passengers. In the s and s democratic Poland has maintained close relations with Britain; both in defence matters and within the EU; Britain being one of only a few countries allowing equal rights to Polish workers upon their accession in Spanning nearly five centuries, the relationship has often switched from a state of alliance to rivalry.

Presently there is a diplomatic row going on over extraditions. Following the end of the war, frosty relations continued between the two states until the end of the Franco era and the democratisation of Spain. Australia—United Kingdom relations are close, marked by shared history, culture, institutions and language, extensive people-to-people links, aligned security interests, and vibrant trade and investment cooperation.

The long-standing relationship formally began in when the six British Crown colonies in Australia federated, and the Commonwealth of Australia was formed as a Dominion of the British Empire. Andrew Fisher , Australian prime minister from to , declared that Australia would defend the United Kingdom "to the last man and the last shilling. The final constitutional ties between United Kingdom and Australia ended in with the passing of the Australia Act Furthermore, investment and trade between the two countries are still important.

The Nauruan government maintains an Hon. Consul, Martin W I Weston. Up to about the s, New Zealand also had extremely close economic relations with the United Kingdom, especially considering the distance at which trade took place. As an example, in , Britain took They have had relations since when Papua New Guinea gained independence from Australia then still a British Dominion. The United Kingdom is a member of the following international organisations: [].

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Overview of relations. United Kingdom. The Crown. British Monarchy. HM Government. Privy Council. Parliament 57th Parliament. House of Lords. House of Commons. Supreme Court. Joint Ministerial Committee Legislative consent motions Scotland. Northern Ireland. Administrative geography. European Parliament Elections. Crown Dependencies.

Overseas Territories. Foreign relations. Other countries Atlas. Main article: History of the foreign relations of the United Kingdom. Further information: International relations of the Great Powers — This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.


This section is empty. You can help by adding to it. December See also: Foreign relations of Hungary. See also: United Kingdom and the United Nations. Northedge, The troubled giant: Britain among the great powers, Britain and the Treaty of Locarno. Cohrs, The unfinished peace after world war 1: America, Britain and the stabilization of Europe, Britain and Europe. Oxford Research Group. Retrieved 22 May UK Military Deployment to the Gulf".

Royal United Services Institute. April Retrieved 1 July Archived from the original on 2 July Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 28 October Hoboken: Wiley. Oxford University Press. The new rules placed humanitarian intervention above the principle of sovereignty. Blair stated that this 'would become the basis of an approach to future conflict'. House Commons Library. July Retrieved 21 November November Retrieved 23 November Gresham College.

Britain in Africa - African Arguments

Retrieved 26 November Retrieved 7 July BBC News. Retrieved 2 May The Guardian. Retrieved 28 May History of Islam Vol 3. The Independent. Retrieved 5 June Archived from the original on 23 November Retrieved 28 December Barbados is the UK's fourth largest export market in the Caribbean. Traditionally the UK has maintained close trading links with Barbados despite strong competition from the United States, Canada and Japan. Barbados is a small market in global terms yet remains a key one for UK companies in the region. Invisibles such as banking, insurance and consultancy are of considerable importance.

Archived from the original on 3 May Retrieved 17 July Archived from the original on 27 November Retrieved 29 November Official web site of the British Monarchy. Retrieved 8 April Retrieved 9 October The Paraguayan War Institute of Latin American Studies. London, UK". Retrieved 22 December Archived from the original on 2 September Archived from the original on 3 June Retrieved 16 November The Economic Times.

25 years of failed British Foreign Policy in the Middle East

Retrieved 6 November Archived from the original on 17 October Retrieved Ministry Of Commerce, Government of India. Archived from the original PDF on 15 March Eternal Iran. Archived from the original on 6 November Archived from the original on 21 October Archived from the original on 8 February Retrieved 11 June Retrieved 30 December Retrieved 24 October Archived from the original on 14 September Retrieved 27 August Archived from the original on 5 December Archived from the original on 13 May Diplomatic Missions and Consular Offices of Croatia.

Retrieved 30 November Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Archived from the original on 27 September Retrieved 17 September Formal diplomatic links between the United Kingdom and the Holy See were first established in when John Shirwood was appointed as the first resident Ambassador. Shirwood was also the first English Ambassador to serve abroad, making the embassy to the Holy See the oldest embassy in the UK diplomatic service. Archived from the original on 12 December Archived from the original on 31 March Retrieved 20 November Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Republic of Kosovo.

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Archived from the original on 5 September Archived from the original on 3 September Archived from the original on 21 February Retrieved 20 February Archived from the original on 1 May Statistics New Zealand. June Archived from the original on 15 May Retrieved 15 June Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 10 March From the mid th century onwards, it also allowed them to buy off the working class with either material gains or what W.

The short word for that is imperialism. Sovereignty, for that elite, has undergone three mutations. It was absolute in the 19 thcentury: we could sail a warship anywhere in the world, point its guns at the palace of the ruler and secure a trade treaty. From onwards, sovereignty was constrained by the rising power of the US, chaos in Europe, and the existence of the League of Nations and other multilateral agreements, including the Gold Standard. In the post-war era, and especially during the consolidation of the EU, Britain has existed within a firmly multilateral environment.

They are quite happy to see British automobile manufacturing go down the tubes, so long as Maseratis can still be imported. If they ever get their way, it would be like Tudor England having its foreign policy dictated by the Hanseatic League. So whatever the outcome of the Brexit crisis, one of the most meaningful contributions a left government could make to foreign policy would be to re-embrace multilateralism.

This means we have to engage positively with European defence and security policy; to invest in a defence industrial strategy that would allow the 2 per cent of GDP allocated to military spending to create positive multipliers at home, and to be scaled above 2 per cent in time of need; and, as Thornberry suggests, to use our influence as a nuclear-armed power to press for disarmament, not re-armament.

It was the Fabian intellectual Leonard Woolf, scribbling away in the back offices of this magazine, who first outlined a plan for what would become the League of Nations. In International Government Woolf argues not only that traditional concepts of sovereignty must be abandoned, but that modern life in a relatively globalised economy renders them meaningless. Yes, Ramsay Macdonald! Multilateralism, for the left in Britain, has always gone alongside a critique of the colonialist and racist ambitions of the right; with a non-nationalist view of sovereignty; and an ambition to mobilise the power of the working poor, across borders, to constrain the power and predatory instincts of national elites.

The question for Labour today is, how do we turn that into action, in a world where the internationalist instincts of the working poor are being eroded and destroyed, and where global institutions are being hollowed out by an emergent Great Power system. The first thing is to start expressing our commitments clearly. It means the reform of NATO, into a defensive alliance whose aim is to stabilise its relationship with Russia, and eschewing expeditionary and proxy warfare. It means the revival of the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament process — if necessary with the European democracies taking the lead.

It means fighting for democracy in Eastern Europe, and capacity building among democratic and progressive forces in Russia, Belarus and Central Asia. It means calling out the dupes of Putin inside the British Labour movement as clearly as Thornberry called out the anti-Semites in her September speech. It means clear proposals to stop arming and supporting the professional murderers and torturers who run Saudi Arabia.

And, in an era where America is trying to kill the peace process between Israel and Palestine, it means defending it. All of which leads us back the issue de nos jours , and in fact nos jours infinis du futur : Brexit.