British Foreign and Defence Policy

Topics: United Kingdom, British Empire, European Union Pages: 10 (3082 words) Published: April 17, 2012
The foreign policy of England covers the concerted efforts and policies that are made by the British government to form and maintain political, social, economical and military relations with other recognized states. British foreign policy is dispensed through the use of diplomacy, foreign aid, economic sanctions, political coercion, covert action and military intervention.

The main objectives of British foreign policies are to protect its citizens, to advance its economic and other national interests through bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation, to enhance global understanding of British values, to ensure its cordial co-existence with its neighbours and to form mutually beneficial relations with its strategic partners around the world and to pursue common values through regional and multilateral organizations.

A whole host of factors determine the drafting of British foreign policy, these include the size of the country and its population. The climatic conditions of the country, the quality of the country's human resources, the strength and power of its military, the system of governance, and the ideology of the government or party in power.

The decision making system of British foreign policy is highly coordinated and effective. There is a clear hierarchy involved in the decision making process with the Prime Minster reigning over the drafting and approval of the foreign policy. The Prime Minister is supported by relevant Ministers and other diplomatic advisers of the British government.

Other factors which influence the decision making system of British foreign policy the the want to be consistent in its interactions with members of the EU, NATO and the UN. Changes and challenges in the international system also influence the policy making process.

The defence policy of Britain however is the strategies that are being pursued by the British government in order to ensure its national security. The traditional understanding of British national security is the protection of territorial integrity and the sovereignty of the state and the British defence policy is drafter based on these key wants.

However in recent times, the British defence policy has not been restricted solely to the paradigm of national security in the sense of using military force against external aggression, it has now evolved from the maintaining of territorial integrity, sovereignty and national core values from the attack of hostile external forces to include issues of human development such as education, health and environmental protection, the advancement of communal values and culture as well as the provision of basic human needs like shelter, food and the preservation of ethical, moral, religious and historical values.

British defence policy is determined and heavily influenced by threat perceptions, its history, national interests and the realities of global politics. The orientation of British foreign policy heavily influences its defence policy. The foreign policy acts as a means to ascertain the correct magnitude of threats towards the state as well as the state's ability to respond. The relationship between allies, enemies and neutral nations (through diplomacy) are key components taken into consideration when drafting the defence policy of Britain.

The economic performance of the state and the availability of other resources needed to fund its defence ambitions also effect British defence policy. National security does not depend solely upon the natural resources of a country but also on its economic, scientific and technological base. The pace of technological development has increased so much so that a country which misses the boat is sure to jeopardize its national security, without ever engaging in military combat.

The existence of effective intelligence gathering mechanisms on threats are required before proper defence policies can be drafted. All decision in strategic and security planning requires...
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