foreign policy

  • Created by: meryemb12
  • Created on: 10-05-21 16:24

foreign policy strategy

Foreign secretary, Ronin Cook :

  • making Britain a leading player in Europe
  • fostering a 'people's diplomacy' to increase respect, understanding and goodwill for Britain 
  • ensuring there was an ethical element to foreign policy 
  • making Britain a leading partner in a world community of nations 
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Britains positive role in Europe

  • Blair's personal prestige and relationships with other EU leaders such as Angela Merkel of Germany and Nicolas Sarkozy in France 
  • opting back into the Social Chapter
  • Britain's leading role in negotiating EU expansion and Treaty of Nice 2001
  • Blair's enthusiasm for the single currency 
  • Blair's drive to strengthen the role of the EU in world affairs eg climate change, world trade, African aid 
  • Blair's attempts to make Britain a bridge between Europe and the US, especially over Iraq and Israel/Palestine issue 
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tensions over Britain's role in Europe

  • Brown's conditions for joining the single currency were so stringent that Britain was unlikely to join 
  • the expansion of the EU meant that the 'New Europe', the former communist states, were becoming more important 
  • the expansion also meant an attempt to create new structures through firstly a new constitution, and then the Treaty of Lisbon, which proved extremely controversial and intensified Eurosceptic concerns in Britain 
  • progress on issues like climate change and African aid was slow 
  • Blair's failure to persuade most EU countries o support the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 
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special relationship with the USA -strong

  • Blair and New Labour had much in common with US President Bill Clinton and the democratic party. They had both been influenced by 'third-way' ideas and New Labour had forged links between the democrats to learn lessons about electoral success before 1997
  • Blair and Clinton had a strong personal relationship and they worked closely on issues such as Northern Ireland 
  • Blair's experience of seeing UN and EU failure in Yugoslavia and the importance of US intervention meant that he was determined to keep the USA engaged in world affairs 
  • after 2000, Blair enjoyed a close relationship with the New President, George W. Bush. Although Bush was a Republican they both shared a similar attitude to how new threats from global terrorism should be met 
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military intervention

The Blair Doctrine of liberal interventionism was set out in a speech in Chicago in 1999.-The belief that countries should intervene in other countries in support of liberal aims; protecting, human rights, and preventing massacres and ethnic cleansing 

Led to interventions in ;


  • when Serbia started to attack Kosovo in 1999, Blair persuaded Clinton to back military action against Serbia. The subsequent bombing campaign forced Serbia to pull out of Kosovo.

Sierra Leone 

  • in 2000 rebel forces in the civil war in Sierra Leone threatened the capital, Freetown. Britain sent in armed forces, initially to evacuate foreigners but the troops ended up supporting UN peacekeepers in securing the capital and bringing an end to the civil war.
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The war on terror

-Began after the Al-Qaeda attack on the US on 11th September 2001 when four civilian airliners were hijacked, two were flown into the World Trade Centre in New York, one into the Pentagon and one crashed. This led to military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq.


  • the Taliban government in Afghanistan had allowed Al-Qaeda to use the country as a base so in response to 9/11, on 7 October, NATO forces, including the US and Britain, attacked Afghanistan 
  • aim was to overthrow the Taliban, expel Al-Qaeda and support Afganistan's development into a modern democratic state, supported by the UN 
  • aims were difficult to achieve; the leaders of Taliban and Al-Qaeda escaped, economic and political development was slow and the new democratic state was unstable 


  • after the first Gulf War in 1990-91, Saddam Hussein had been constrained by economic sanctions and 'no-fly zones' enforced by NATO 
  • fears in 2002 that Iraq could pose a threat; Iraq could become the new base, believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction eg nuclear, chemical or biological weapons 
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threat of Iraq

Nov 2002- UN resolution forced Hussein to accept UN weapon inspectors into Iraq but in early 2003 the USA argued that Hussein was not cooperating with the inspectors 

The USA believed that the first resolution meant Hussein's failure to cooperate was grounds enough for military intervention. Other countries, especially the EU argued that a second resolution was needed to make the military action legal 

Blair tried to ensure that a second resolution was passed so that Britain's allies in Europe were united with the USA-failed 

Blair's critics argued that he knew Bush would invade Iraq and agreed with the aim of regime change so his attempts to get a second resolution was a way of persuading Europe to go along Blair's defenders argued that Blair was genuinely fearful of Iraq's capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and that he was driven by a belief that the US needed to be kept part of the international community rather than act unilaterally or retreat into isolationism

split in the international community meant the invasion of Iraq was led by US forces, supposedly by a 'coalition of the willing' including Britain, Poland and Italy.By April 2003 Hussein had been overthrown but the military struggle to pacify Iraq was harder and it was only in 2006 that security showed signs of improvement and stability.

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Controversial Iraq War

  • four ministers resigned, including the Former Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook 
  • a 'Stop the War' march through London in February 2003 attraction more than a million people 
  • failure to find weapons of mass destruction heightened criticism and the government was accused of exaggerating the threat 
  • there were allegation of mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by British and US soldiers.
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Impact of the Iraq War

  • the demise of the dictator Saddam Hussein 
  • importance of the 'special relationship'
  • Britain's influence in world affairs obvious 
  • opened up divisions with European allies 
  • the inability of Blair/Britain to be seen as independent in the Palestine/Israeli situation
  • Britain's capacity and willingness to take military action demonstrated 
  • liberal interventionism discredited 
  • the possibility of a stable democratic Iraq 
  • accusation that British foreign policy was dominated by US interest 
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controversial Iraq War

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