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Rethinking A British Strategy For The New World: The Old-New (Castlereaghean-Blairite) Continentalism vs Britannia-ism

Recently, we dealt with the American Strategy, and constructed a revised doctrine, which recently became known as the Obama Doctrine, on how US can still be competitive in the face of global chaos, changes and Asian dragons. Today, we are going to discuss a need for a rethink in the British Strategic Doctrine; where we are, where we are going, and what to expect? Britain is, in short;

(a) no longer a key, or even second-rate, player of consideration or relevance in the international or even continental politics,
(b) disintegrated, unstable and in a state of socio-economic depravity at home, and
(c) militarily, unless one is a foolish-patriot, we have never been ”the best”, or of any real military effectiveness that is only made up of myths and legends of colonial-times.

Since the end of the Second World War, and the Loss of the Empire, there have been, in reality, only two directions that the state, Britain, could take in attempting to compete (not thinkable) with the rest, or even just have a presence of prestige (as G. Le Bon might put it), that of the Continental Policy, which will either see a complete integration into the new powerhouse of Europe, The EU, or the old Britannia First Policy, whereby, she can seek Lord Castlereagh Policy of a fragile-balancing act between either proto-isolationism, [neo-]colonialism or Atlanticism (post-Castlereagh).

Lets examine briefly these policy-approaches:

1. The Continental Model

This Approach looks more stable for Britain, a country that is obsessed with her own ‘special world power status’, even though at the present is nothing but pure-illusions. The policy, in a sense, will surely provides a free-ride platform, to which the country can still delude herself with ‘limited reality’ of her world power, status and role in the new world order, but only within a unified voice of Europe. This model does seem to be providing the only route and solution to British hopes and traditionalism, of world power status, especially, today, in the highly competitive world-politics market, where we have no real competitive advantage, as a result of either core competencies, or competitive resources, economies of scales, or anything of strategic significance.

As such, this trend, which started well before Blair years, of moving closer and closer towards continental politics and integration, does seem to be the wiser of the few options open to the country, for the domestic prosperity and global prestige. Myself, a pragmatist, by nature, will still highly recommend this approach, especially as a temporary solution to providing a ‘safe-haven’ against the seismic changes and chaotic global affairs, and power-wars, that are going on beyond public eyes and ears.

2. The Britannia Multi-Optional Model.

The Britannia Multi-Optional Model comes with three variations, for example;

1. The Semi-Isolation Policy, where the country, Britain, chooses to isolate herself, just about, and thus tacitly accepts her powerless status in the new world of power-politics.

This approach will see the state able to rebuild her internal society to new strength in time, and even possibly be able to compete later on down the line with the second, not first-rate, powers of the world. I myself, will highly not recommend this at the present global environment, where chaos reins, and the isolated, will be devoured, literally. I will however, recommend, a some sort of a return to semi-isolation policies, in terms of tax protections, tariffs, concentrating in rebuilding internal public welfare, society and economic sectors, before, we again, have regained the confidence to face the outside big beasts of the new global order.

2. The Neo-Colonialism, this Britain has attempted to apply since the time of post-old-imperial age, as with Thatcher and the Falklands, Blair with Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone etc, to the present in Libya, and the Greater Middle East, perhaps, the best glimpse of the policy can be found in an article written long time ago by one of the Blair Advisers, Robert Cooper, a proponent of the so-called new morally-inclined ”western neo-imperialism’, as can be, according to Mr. Cooper, observed via the Humanitarian Interventions policies of the west, and Human Rights, and the IMF/World Bank Structural reforms Funds, and so forth.

Anyway, the policy is unrealistic, and bound to failure, as a result of lack of resources to maintain a new colonial hubs, and also, the new society disinterest and distaste with Imperialism, just have a look at recent debacles in the Middle East, and soon perhaps, the another nightmare of the Eastern Question, for Europe. I will leave this here, with no recommendation for the policy.

3. Atlanticism, is that of breaking with Europe and move towards the ‘special relationship’ with the US, accepting fully subordinate role and position in the relations. This is unthinkable, though practised since WWII under Churchill, it is not acceptable in terms of full recognition and application of the theory. There biggest reason for the lack of applicability of this policy, is the lack of real trust between the two ‘close’ nations, and also, the ”elitism-mentality” (or what the Americans will refer to as ”snobbery’ of the Brits) of the British Nation towards others, and her ‘traditional illusions’ based on myths and legends, of once a great nation (that can not accept any second or third rate role in the global affairs).

Recommendation: Break fully, not half-hearted, with the American-dependency, and move towards the European Project, not only will this finally push the EU half-baked project into a fully-pledged reality, and a success (at least for a time being, as I argued before, the re-unification efforts of Europe will rather see a move towards the next big war in the region; we are already witnessing, the rise of neo-nationalism, racism, divisions, and so forth).

In Conclusion,

European Integration, is highly recommended, and is a necessity of the present global environment.

+ We can not, Britain, isolate ourselves, as the US could.
+ We can not go on deluding ourselves with past myths and legends of greatness
+ We need to go back to Realism school of thought
+ We have nothing to offer, and hence, nothing the world needs of us

Only Europe is our short-term salvation!



About s.s.salim: Geopolitical Analyst

Political & Strategy Defence & Security Intelligence & Communications


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