Chapter

Old and new

Steven Kettell

in New Labour and the New World Order

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780719081361
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702499 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719081361.003.0002
Old and new

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British foreign policy after 1945 was intended to establish closer ties with the United States as a means of compensating for Britain's decline as an independent Great Power. Yet relations with both Europe and the United States remained variable during this time, and the problems of decolonisation and decline continued unabated. The coming to power of the New Labour government in 1997 portended a self-conscious attempt to resolve these issues. Framed as a transatlantic bridge strategy, the key aim of this was to elevate Britain's global influence by establishing mutually reinforcing ties with each side. Altering both the nature and the balance of power on the world stage, these changes proved to be crucial both for the success of the transatlantic bridge approach, as well as for the dynamics of the war on terror. This chapter explores the course of British foreign policy since 1945, considers the centrality of America's special relationship to New Labour's geopolitical strategy, and examines the utility of ‘new imperialism’ as a conceptual framework for analysing contemporary international affairs.

Keywords: Britain; foreign policy; United States; Europe; new imperialism; New Labour; geopolitical strategy; transatlantic bridge approach; war on terror; international affairs

Chapter.  8562 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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