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Abstract

This book is an effort to describe and analyse Britain’s changing international position since the Second World War, especially in the Atlantic region. Inevitably, it is a chronicle of decline. Reflecting the diminution of power which has occurred, it has been customary in a great deal of academic as well as more popular literature to criticise strongly the nation’s specific foreign policies and general approach to international affairs during this period. By contrast, a central thesis of the study which follows is that such attitudes should be balanced by more positive and optimistic considerations. British foreign policy over the last three decades has contained serious blunders and errors of judgement. At the same time, there have been equally striking examples of foresight, sensible flexibility, moderation and shrewd calculation. Viewed most generally, Britain’s decline has been an inevitable result of economic, geographical and military factors largely beyond her control. Faced with a dramatic reduction in power and influence, British leadership has adjusted to the new situation with a minimum of trauma and strain.

Keywords

Foreign Policy International Affair European Economic Community International Position American Foreign Policy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    For a useful discussion of the development of the Anglo-American alliance, which argues that it has strong historical roots, see Coral Bell, The Debatable Alliance (London: Oxford University Press, 1964), passim and especially pp. 1–23.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
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  3. 3.
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  4. 4.
    See for example F. H. Hinsley, Power and the Pursuit of Peace (Cambridge: The University Press, 1963), pp. 256ff. In 1891, the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria and Italy was extended for twelve years, and the following year France and Russia agreed to continue their military alliance for the duration of the Triple Alliance. Before this, alliances had been made for shorter periods of three to five years. Britain resisted this trend, but found herself sucked in; in the 1887 Mediterranean Agreements, a long-term commitment was undertaken.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    In Walter Bagehot’s The English Constitution (London: Collins, 1963) see especially the contrast in chapter 1 between Cabinet and Presidential government.Google Scholar
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    See Winston Churchill, The Gathering Storm (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1948), chapter 4.Google Scholar
  13. 12.
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Copyright information

© Arthur Cyr 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arthur Cyr

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