Between Idealism and Realism: Britain, the UN, and NATO

Nigel D. White

in Democracy goes to War

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780199218592
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191705595 | DOI:
 Between Idealism and Realism: Britain, the UN, and NATO

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The government's decisions to deploy troops since 1945 have been increasingly made within international institutional frameworks. The UK, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, and as an original party to the NATO Treaty of 1949, is both a member of a deficient arguably idealist global security system (the UN), and party to a discretionary realist regional defence alliance (NATO) that has its historical roots in the 19th century balance-of-power system. The end of the Cold War saw both the re-vitalization of the UN system and the reinvention of NATO, so that both organizations now claim to operate within similar legal and political contexts. The changing functions of both organizations and Britain's role within them are key features examined in this chapter in that they are essential for understanding the decisions to go to war or to deploy troops under international authority.

Keywords: charter negotiations; permanent membership; veto; British military contribution; NATO negotiations; regionalism; collective defence

Chapter.  12039 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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