Storbritannia og NATO. Urealistisk realisme? Britisk selvbilde og betydningen av fortid, tradisjoner og ambisjoner
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The study reviews Britain’s key role both as an important founding member of NATO and as an influential ally. NATO’s importance to the United Kingdom is discussed in light of Britain’s imperial history, and core security interests which have always been informed by the situation on the European continent, from which London has traditionally distanced itself politically. As a result of the Second World War, the former European-based global system was succeeded by a new order dominated by two superpowers. The UK had to adapt while attempting to retain as much infl uence on the world stage as possible. The British played a key role as the United States’ commitment to transatlantic security was secured through the establishment of NATO. The “special relationship”, originating from the close Second World War cooperation between the UK and the US, was developed further, thanks to NATO, enabling the British to continue to play a role internationally and assisting Britain in coming to terms with its relative “decline” and loss of empire. NATO formalised Britain’s role as the US’ closest, most able and willing ally. NATO also served to uphold British identity and the perception in that Britain has to be involved if international challenges are to be successfully resolved. As developments unfolded after the Cold War, NATO no longer was able to ensure that Britain’s traditional status as a great power could be retained. NATO’s continued importance to the UK is subject both to Britain’s and Europe’s dwindling importance to American security and, to the changing relevance of military power, traditionally Britain’s foremost “currency”. The question then is how realistic current UK policy is.