The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: Geopolitical profile
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a country in the north western part of Europe, situated on the British Isles. The UK includes the island of Great Britain (the name of which is also loosely applied to the whole country), the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. The center of the greatest colonial empire in the past, today the UK has the following Overseas territories (British colonies): Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Indian Ocean Territory, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Pitcairn Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, and the Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus. The UK also has crown territories subordinated directly to the British monarchy: The Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey in the English Channel, and the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea.
The UK has territorial claims over some parts of the Antarctic, but they are not universally recognized. The British Government refers to it as the British Antarctic Territory. Former colonies of the UK take part in the Commonwealth of Nations (British Commonwealth).
Due to its insular territorial composition, the UK historically for centuries was the global Atlanticist pole and the main Atlanticist power. After a dramatic retreat from the colonies in the second half of 20th century, it translated its maritime mission to the USA and became the most loyal US ally in Europe. Alongside France, they are two only nuclear powers in Europe.
1. Position on the geopolitical map:
Outer Crescent. Pure Atlanticism. Sea Power. Thalassocracy. Great Britain became a major Athlanticist power in the second half of 17th century after the three subsequent Anglo-Dutch wars, when Dutch maritime hegemony and trade Empire was replaced by with an English one. Since that time its maritime mission and global role became a part of the British identity.
2. Geopolitical balance:
100% Atlanticist. Continentalist trends were more widely present in the cultural sphere, where conservative tendencies led some authors to reject Atlanticist capitalism (pre-Rafaelites, Chesterton, Inklings).
Сontinentalism is marginal in political life. The most Continentalist stance usually has regionalist and separatist parties (Shinn Feign, Plaid Cymru, SNP – before 2012).
3. Main geopolitical allies:
NATO countries (special relations with the USA), Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arabian Emirates, Pakistan, Poland, Baltic states, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Turkey, Nigeria, and Brunei.
Russia, India, South Africa, Brazil, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Equator, Iran, Syria, and North Korea.
China, Africa, South-Eastern Asia, Central Asia, and Oceania
6. Sphere of national interest (main zones):
Europe, Eastern Europe, Baltic, Africa, Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Overseas territories are the UK’s main zones of interest. However, according to “National Security Strategy and Strategic Defense and Security Review 2015”, the UK believes itself to be a global power with global interest.
The UK plays the role of an American “Trojan horse” within the EU. Traditionally, Great Britain insisted on specific relations with Brussels, with an exclusion from EU rules. Britain’s stance weakened the EU and does not give it the chance to become coherent and independent from the US Continental geopolitical pole.
The UK plays a significant role in the strategic deterrence of Russia in Europe, especially in Eastern-European countries. It promotes anti-Russian agenda in the frame of the European Union alongside Sweden and Poland. In the Middle East it is participating in all American military campaigns. Special attention is allocated to Libya, where British troops are participating in combat activities to take control on the country’s oil, and Syria, where Britain supports pro-American terrorists.
Contrary to the American one, the British position towards China is more differentiated. Despite the American criticism, the UK is participating in China’s Asian Bank of Infrastructural Investments. The Rothschild family, which has a lot of influence on the British establishment today, is approaching China and relocating a part of their financial empire. The British garrison in Brunei and influence over Malaysia and Singapore demonstrate the importance of the Malay Archipelago for British interests.
In Sub-Saharan Africa the main zone of interest is the former British colonies, especially Nigeria, with its oil, and South Africa.
Britain wants to strengthen its influence in South Africa, which increased after the collapse of the apartheid regime in 1994. Today it is a major force behind the disturbances in the country, which are aimed at ousting the current President Jacob Zuma.
The British government uses means of soft power, such as the British Council and the BBC, to project influence.
7. International disputes:
• Promotion of color revolutions throughout the world in spheres of specific interest.
• Application of controlled chaos strategy throughout the world (as well as the USA).
• Military involvement in the Syrian conflict, supporting the anti-governmental forces.
• Self-declared war on ISIS in Syria.
• Military presence in Iraq and implication in the Iraqi civil war. Supplies of ammo and intelligence cooperation with the legal government of Iraq, supporting Iraq in its war against ISIS. Also the US is accused of secretly creating and supporting ISIS.
• Supplies of ammo and financial and intelligence support to Ukraine in its proxy war with Russia and the irredentist republics of Eastern Ukraine.
• Conflict with Russia over Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. The US is the initiator of a sanctions war on Russia.
• Military presence in Afghanistan and participation in the war against the Taliban.
• Participation in the military conflict in Libya against the Tripoli government and ISIS (intelligence and ground forces).
The UK and Argentina both claim their sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) in the Southern Atlantic.
Mauritius repeatedly asserts that the governed by British Chagos Archipelago is part of its territory. The Archipelago, with the island Diego Garcia, is known as a strategical point to control the Indian Ocean, where one of the largest US naval bases is installed.
Gibraltar, which controls the gates of Mediterranean Sea, is claimed by Spain.
The common name for all British citizens is British. The major native peoples are English, Scots, Welsh, and Irish. Since the 1950’s, emigrants from former British colonies started settling en masse on the British isles (predominantly from the West Indies, India, Pakistan, Africa).
77% - English
8% - Scots
4.5% - Welsh
2.7% - Irish
5% - non-European origin
English (common), Scottish (about 30% of the population of Scotland), Scottish Gaelic (about 60,000 in Scotland), Welsh (about 20% of the population of Wales), Irish (about 10% of the population of Northern Ireland), Cornish (some 2,000 to 3,000 in Cornwall).
Christian (includes Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist) 59.5%, Muslim 4.4%, Hindu 1.3%, other 2%.
Political Ideology (Deep politics)
The Liberal ideology dominates British political life. Officially, the country is a monarchy with broad prerogatives of sovereignty. He (or she) is a commander in chief of the British armed forces. It is the prerogative of the monarch to summon and prorogue Parliament. Dissolution of Parliament (by request of Prime-minister or unilateral) as well as appointment of prime minister and his Cabinet is also a royal prerogative.
However, it is believed that the monarchy exercises all the prerogatives with the consent of the Prime minister and Parliament. British sovereignty is bound by traditions and unwritten rules as well as by laws. They all in an “unwritten” form in the constitution of the Kingdom.
The UK has de-facto a two-party political system with both major parties, Conservative and Labor, being liberal with some nuances (Labor are left-liberals, Conservatives are conservative liberals).
The specifics of the British electoral system (first past-the-post system) results in the elimination of anti-system forces from the political process. For example, Eurosceptic United Kingdom Independence party received 12,7% of popular vote at the General Elections in 2015, and was the third party by popular vote, but it received only 2 seats in Parliament.
Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland each have their own government or executive, led by a First Minister (or, in the case of Northern Ireland, a diarchal First Minister and deputy First Minister), and a devolved unicameral legislature. England, the largest country of the United Kingdom, has no such devolved executive or legislature and is administered and legislated for directly by the UK government and parliament on all issues.
The specifics of Celtic nationalist parties (Sinn Fein, Plaid Cymru and Scottish National Party) are than they combine nationalism, socialism, and left-wing cultural policy (rights of sodomites, migrants, and other minorities), anti-Atlanticism (exception being the SNP after 2012, when the party adopted a pro-NATO and pro-EU stance.)
The UK today, in terms of values of ordinary Europeans, is a secularized state. The British committal to “Tradition” mostly concerns every day habits, monarchial political institutions, and old customs, but not religion or adherence to pre-Modernist social order. Britain was the avant-garde of Enlightenment and Modernity, and today is one of the most modernized societies in the world.
State of the core in terms of world system theory. The first world. The United Kingdom has the fifth-largest national economy (and second-largest in the EU) measured by nominal GDP, and the ninth largest in the world. The City of London is the world largest financial center. The UK economy is dominated by the service sector (financial service industry in London).
The UK does not intend to join the Eurozone and abolish its own currency – Pound Sterling.
Main security threats:
- Islamic terrorism
- Northern Ireland related terrorism
- Mass migration
- Activity of international criminal networks
- Cyber terrorism
- Russia’s challenge to the unipolar world order
UN (founder, permanent member of Security Council) International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Commonwealth f Nations, European Union, Council of Europe, OSCE, NATO, G7, G20, and WTO.