This study has demonstrated, contrary to current theory, that distance does not decay naval power. For this reason navies enjoy the inherent attributes that make them the ideal means to exert influence at distance from home. UK politicians claim that they are determined to maintain the influence of the UK in a rapidly changing world. But influence to what end? To answer that question, we must determine just what kind of country the UK is. Politically the UK sits at the top of the table of all the world’s major organisations; economically it is at least the fifth wealthiest country in the world; militarily the UK maintains one of the world’s most technologically advanced, financially supported and highly trained military forces. There is no doubt that in relative terms the position of the UK has changed in regard to its power and status since the end of the Second World War, but for all that change the UK remains one of the world’s most important and influential countries. The problem is that many continue to contextualise the UK’s current situation by placing it in juxtaposition to its former imperial grandeur. This facilitates the argument of critics who represent this ambition to retain influence as a desperate attempt to retain atavistic status. Doubtless, many legacies of empire remain, all societies are a palimpsest, but the pace of global change has altered radically both the UK and the world around it, so much so that to continue to contextualise the UK as a former imperial power desperate to maintain an unjustified status ignores current reality. The UK, claim critics, should become a ‘normal’ state but what is a ‘normal’ state? Each and every state can only act according to the circumstances in which it finds itself and to act in a way that ignores that reality and the interests that follow is irrational. The UK is an island state that is also a maritime globalised state whose health, wealth and stability depend upon the health, wealth and stability of the maritime-based globalised economic and political order. This order is the primary interest of the UK today, and it is in the maintenance of this order that the UK requires most influence. The globalised maritime-based order will acquire even greater significance for humanity’s future development in the coming maritime century and the UK will need to maintain its influence at the heart of the system. The means to maintain influence are the UK’s maritime-based forces.


Wealthy Country Island State Maritime Security Imperial Power Maritime Century 
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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Law and PoliticsUniversity of Hull Law and PoliticsHullUK

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