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Open Access (free)
Rhiannon Vickers

Vic00 10/23/03 3:53 PM Page 1 Introduction Labour’s election victory in May 1997 was closely followed by the new Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, launching his department’s mission statement in which he made a commitment to an ‘ethical dimension’ to British foreign policy. Cook declared that he was going to implement a new kind of foreign policy, which ‘recognises that the national interest cannot be defined only by narrow realpolitik’. The aim was ‘to make Britain once again a force for good in the world.’1 This sparked a debate on the nature of Labour

in The Labour Party and the world, volume 1
Open Access (free)
Rhiannon Vickers

world was being replaced by the United States, and that Britain was, whether it really wanted to or not, retreating from its previous imperial position. Vic07 10/15/03 2:11 PM Page 161 THE ATTLEE GOVERNMENTS 161 The great power manoeuvring of the European states was being replaced by the burgeoning contest between the Soviet Union and the USA, the Cold War, in which British foreign policy was to play a more minor, but still significant, role. There are two main approaches in the extensive literature on the Labour governments’ foreign policy between 1945 and

in The Labour Party and the world, volume 1
Open Access (free)
The emergence of the British Labour Party
Rhiannon Vickers

influences on the development of the Labour Party’s attitudes towards international affairs and British foreign policy. However, first it is necessary to highlight some of the aspects of the party’s structure that affected the making of policy. The structure of the party meant that party activists had a voice at conference, which, while not necessarily deciding policy, certainly acted as a Vic01 10/15/03 2:09 PM Page 23 THE EMERGENCE OF THE BRITISH LABOUR PARTY 23 constraint on policy. It is worth considering this in a little depth, as the structure and ethos of the

in The Labour Party and the world, volume 1
Open Access (free)
Thomas Robb

, the US had learned that by utilising a number of tactics, including the temporary cancellation of nuclear and intelligence cooperation, they had managed to ensure that the British would, if forced, operate bilaterally with the US in opposition to Heath’s desire to formulate common EEC political and foreign policies. As shown in Chapter 3, US bilateral pressure on British interests could have profound effects upon the direction of British foreign policy. It is the coercive elements in US diplomacy towards its British ally that are currently omitted from existing

in A strained partnership?
Rhiannon Vickers

the merits of the case advanced by any capitalist government, and the other either out-and-out pacifist or working for peace by negotiation, but opposed to any attempt to invoke revolutionary violence as a means of ending the war by international working-class revolution.26 The ILP, led by Ramsay MacDonald, formed the centre of the opposition to British foreign policy and the war, and was criticised by the Labour Party and the TUC for doing so.27 It was argued that, had events been left to the ILP, ‘the Germans would be here now.’28 While there was no great public

in The Labour Party and the world, volume 1
Open Access (free)
Rhiannon Vickers

alternative to the traditional, power politics or realist approach of British foreign policy, which had stressed national self-interest. This alternative was internationalism, which stressed cooperation and interdependence, and a concern with the international as well as the national interest. In this, the most important influence on Labour’s foreign policy were liberal views of international relations, but Labour’s internationalism also arises from certain meta-principles of Labour’s ideology, which have influenced Labour’s external principles and policies as much as its

in The Labour Party and the world, volume 1
A political–cultural approach
Lisbeth Aggestam

of other member states or a European dimension. These words of a senior British foreign policy-maker reflect the experience of foreign policy cooperation between member states of the European Union for more than a quarter of a century. 1 Over the years, the level of ambition to speak with ‘one voice’ in foreign affairs has steadily increased to include even security and

in Rethinking European Union Foreign Policy
Open Access (free)
Thomas Robb

relations. Likewise, for Henry Kissinger, ‘international relations cannot be conducted without an awareness of power relationships’.37 Edward Heath was equally frank in articulating that ‘realism’ had to be the bedrock of any British foreign policy.38 The following chapters, therefore, provide an analysis of the key political engagements between the two countries. 01_Strained_partnership_001-023.indd 13 06/11/2013 12:43 14 A strained partnership? The context for US–UK relations The Nixon presidency has long fascinated historians, political scientists, journalists and

in A strained partnership?
Thomas Robb

-assessing foreign policy 25 such arguments. The Nixon administration’s indifference towards the special relationship coupled with a British foreign policy pursuing a more European path resulted in the special relationship becoming near redundant. It was only once the consequences of the global economic and energy crisis of 1973–74 became apparent that the special relationship became prevalent again.6 Central in many of these accounts is the role played by certain individual policy-makers. Henry Kissinger, in particular, is seen to have had a malevolent effect upon US

in A strained partnership?
Rhiannon Vickers

relationship with the USA as part of the post-war settlement, arguing that Britain would be unable to meet all its possible European and imperial commitments without military support from the USA, particularly within the context of an expansionist Soviet Union. During the last few months of the war, Attlee and the Labour ministers became increasingly involved in the development of the postwar international settlement. For Labour Party members, their expectations of change in both British foreign policy and in international relations intensified as victory, and the prospect

in The Labour Party and the world, volume 1