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UK Irrelevant in World Affairs

Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
#24
Powell isn't entirely wrong though he lays the blame in the wrong place.

The foreign office was confidently reassuring it's various hosts that brexit would never happen, that the EU was the only place to be and the referendum a done deal for the remain side.

Hence come June 24th every government and international body around the world suddenly realised that the smug and condescending department charged with understanding political developments in their countries had no clue about their own country.

Which.... was embarrassing for them.

Even in the 50s the FCO was excluded from government policy, particularly over Suez, as it had it's own agenda. It chewed up ministers over the intervening decades who had the choice of going native or being embarrassed by little failures until out of office. Even Maggie Thatcher couldn't tame them, hence she often embarked on her own diplomacy and foreign policy.

Seems that little has changed.

Course Boris being put in charge of them didn't help things. His mere appointment saw diplomats around the world break out into barely suppressed laughter. Writing limericks about statesmen being ******* is possibly the highlight of his skills.

Now I can't say that I know any ambassadors. I'm not a fan of ferrero rocher anyway.

If the Permanent Undersecretary of State for the FCO appoints them in his own image though...


I really can't comprehend any way in which the UK's interests and influence could possibly be worse served.

Smarmy, arrogant, elitist and devious are just a few of the words that spring to mind, but this is our shop window to the UK for the rest of the world.

Course we have lots of money to give away, in order to buy influence. Foreign aid, overseas development and the like.

Which to me represents little else bar having to tie a big fat pork chop around our diplomat's necks in order to get a labrador to play with them.

Your mileage may vary, could be you think a public schoolboy tosspot who enjoys the possibility he might be connected to MI6 is the right and proper image we should portray. There is after all the odd rupert on these boards.

Still Powell's snowflake remainerism still highlights a problem in government which predates most of us. Namely that the Foreign Office has a large budget and access to whatever talent it may require and yet still fails miserably, probably even counterproductively, in achieving any useful influence in the world.

Which curiously enough is pretty much their job.
 
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Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
#26
I wouldn't suggest ignoring Powell.

Whilst a new Labour apparatchik he was probably one of the most capable of their number. Their back office team was far superior to their front benches or leadership.
 
#27
I wouldn't suggest ignoring Powell.

Whilst a new Labour apparatchik he was probably one of the most capable of their number. Their back office team was far superior to their front benches or leadership.
If he honestly believes the UK, Germany and France are small nations then I am somewhat suspicious that he's deliberately spouting crap sound bites to push an agenda, or not as bright as he should be.
 

Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
#28
Yes he is spouting an agenda, though there is also some truth in what he says.

His brother performed a similar function under Thatcher, hence there is thirty odd years of backroom experience ( and the secrets behind the headlines no doubt) to back up what he says.

Shame he's chosen to highlight it in a partial and typically snowflakey way.
 

Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
#29
For instance..

Opinion | No One Knows What Britain Is Anymore

"But Britain is now but a modest-size ship on the global ocean. Having voted to leave the European Union, it is unmoored, heading to nowhere, while on deck, fire has broken out and the captain — poor Theresa May — is lashed to the mast, without the authority to decide whether to turn to port or to starboard, let alone do what one imagines she knows would be best, which is to turn around and head back to shore."

Now yes you can take this as a foreign snowflaker's whinge fest. And in may places it is.

But again there is some truth in what is said, or at least some truth in the confusion felt by many who are connected to Britain's diplomacy and image abroad.

As I pointed out above the narrative spun over decades by the foreign office has been consistent. It wasn't deal with us because we are powerful but rather deal with us because we have a powerful voice at the heart of Europe.

Foreign journalists, diplomats and dignitaries don't go for a poke around the Shires, they go to London. London of course being some half crazed and self entitled country within a country.

Rectifying this situation is going to become a political necessity before long. I doubt many within the bubble are even all that aware of it at present.
 
#30
Let's put this all into perspective. The U.K. is:

- 5th strongest economy in the world (out of 195)
- Still classed as a "Great Power" (along with China, France, Russia, Germany, Japan, USA).
- as a "Great Power" it still influences the world
- is a permanent member of the UN Security Council (along with China, Russia, France, USA)
- has a blue water navy
- has the ability to enforce its power globally
- has the biggest stick in the yard when it comes to knocking seven barrels of manure out of any other country (and the deterrent includes keeping the US and Russia orf our land!)

Of course, citing the above shows we are punching above our weight....... Bloody snowflake guardianista journalist doom seeking naysayers. I shit 'em.

And people are still shitting themselves over Brexit! Why?! We can still hold our own. The above shows that.

As for the earlier statement of leaving NATO, I personally think we should. Let's put our stake in the ground and tell Europe that at the next party, you can sort yourselves out. France can take the lead role. And we'll supply the weapons (lend lease) to all sides (IMHO of course).
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#31
We still have a lot more say & influence than any one of the EU states and when shove comes to push probably the whole corrupt edifice of the EU.
There is a whole generation of tired '60s former hippies who love to push the
' Let's face it - we're sh1t aren't we?' line.

It's a very popular/populist stance amongst the Baby Boomer generation who still think they are Citizen Smith - with less hair.



You will know Britain has no influence in world affairs when the US President of the hour stops asking us to join any more " Coalitions of the Willing".

When the de facto leaders of the Western world start looking to China, India and Brazil to provide blood and treasure for peacekeeping missions in numerous far-flung sh1tholes.

And here is the weary conundrum....whilst we remain in hock to the tired and misleading 'Special Relationship' we will continue to be dragged into extended extreme camping trips in far off places.

The inhabitants of which for the most part, would much rather that we had stayed at home.
 
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#32
I'd agree. Stop mucking about in foreign parts wasting lives and money. Anyone who fancies a bash at being the enforcer of western morality can fill their boots. We'll buy popcorn and watch. Keeps us for being "morally obliged" to every Mo, Abdul and Khalid who turns up claiming our actions made them refugees.
Not that I'd wish to come across as imperialist, but sort of makes you wonder... If certain countries wanted stability, law, order and free trade then perhaps they shouldn't have rushed out of the British empire?

Giving freedom to everyone as per the Ameircan's wishes may be fine and dandy, but not if the country in question is too backward, tribal and corrupt. Unfortunately mentioning that sort of thing in public will have you marked down as a white supremo and cause local government types to have a stroke.
 
#33
Why should we give a shite?

Seriously? Why? Just walk quietly in the dark and carry a big stick. Stop shouting our mouths off and just get on with being thoroughly professional and ready to dole out beatings far in excess of our "importance".

Let's do that rather than megaphoning to all and bastard sundry. Get on with being good, and if we aren't, keep improving til we are.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#34
I've been following articles re 'American Isolationism' for the last 15 years.

Try Googling the phrase - I guarantee you will find ...oh..491,000 results.

What price a bit of British Isolationism ?

We have often, in Harold Macmillan’s phrase, played Greeks to the Americans’ Romans – or, as one Foreign Official put it in 1940, made “use of American power for the purposes which we regard as good”. However, by failing to provide support to the most cosmopolitan and unobtrusive US president in recent memory – in one of the least morally objectionable, most justifiable interventions in modern history – we have momentarily abdicated this terrain. The question now is whether we are content to retreat from positioning to posturing; or to become, in the words of Richard Haass, “more parochial, focused mostly on matters of governance and economic policy”.
 
#36
Not that I'd wish to come across as imperialist, but sort of makes you wonder... If certain countries wanted stability, law, order and free trade then perhaps they shouldn't have rushed out of the British empire?

Giving freedom to everyone as per the Ameircan's wishes may be fine and dandy, but not if the country in question is too backward, tribal and corrupt. Unfortunately mentioning that sort of thing in public will have you marked down as a white supremo and cause local government types to have a stroke.
I think you may be needed over on the Brexit thread. :)
 
#37
I've been following articles re 'American Isolationism' for the last 15 years.

Try Googling the phrase - I guarantee you will find ...oh..491,000 results.

What price a bit of British Isolationism ?

We have often, in Harold Macmillan’s phrase, played Greeks to the Americans’ Romans – or, as one Foreign Official put it in 1940, made “use of American power for the purposes which we regard as good”. However, by failing to provide support to the most cosmopolitan and unobtrusive US president in recent memory – in one of the least morally objectionable, most justifiable interventions in modern history – we have momentarily abdicated this terrain. The question now is whether we are content to retreat from positioning to posturing; or to become, in the words of Richard Haass, “more parochial, focused mostly on matters of governance and economic policy”.

Although we did vote against intervention in Syria, and the rest of the world followed our call. That's fairly impressive for an insignificant little island.
 
#39
Obviously it depends on what survey you look at or what the articles writers point of view is.

These rankings are from a USA Website.

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries

Best Country Overall List

Switzerland

#1 in Best Countries Overall

Not Previously Ranked

Switzerland, officially called the Swiss Federation, is a small country in Central Europe made up of 16,000 square miles of glacier-carved Alps, lakes and valleys. It’s one of the world’s wealthiest countries, and has been well-known for centuries for its neutrality.

The Swiss Confederation was initially founded in 1291 as a defensive alliance among cantons. In 1499, the Confederation became independent from the Holy Roman Empire. In 1848, a new constitution turned the Confederation into a centralized federal government, ending a period of conflict. Since then, the country has enjoyed relative tranquility.

more

$701.0 billion
GDP

8.3 million
POPULATION

$58,647
GDP PER CAPITA, PPP
Canada

#2 in Best Countries Overall

No Change in Rank from 2016

Canada takes up about two-fifths of the North American continent, making it the second-largest country in the world after Russia. The country is sparsely populated, with most of its 35.5 million residents living within 125 miles of the U.S. border. Canada’s expansive wilderness to the north plays a large role in Canadian identity, as does the country’s reputation of welcoming immigrants.

Although the Norse briefly settled in Canada during the 10th century, European exploration accelerated in the 1500s. France and Britain angled for control over the region, with the British cementing their dominance in 1763. The country was a collection of British colonies until it became a self-governing dominion in 1867.

more

$1.8 trillion
GDP

35.9 million
POPULATION

$45,602
GDP PER CAPITA, PPP
United Kingdom

#3 in Best Countries Overall

No Change in Rank from 2016

The United Kingdom is a highly developed nation that exerts considerable international economic, political, scientific and cultural influence. Located off the northwest corner of Europe, the country includes the island of Great Britain – which contains England, Scotland and Wales – and the northern portion of the island of Ireland.

The year 2017 ushered in anxiety about the country’s role on the global stage, due to the public voting in the summer of 2016 to leave the European Union. The vote raises questions about the European Union, as well as thepolicies supporting the eurozone.

more

$3.0 trillion
GDP

65.1 million
POPULATION

$41,499
GDP PER CAPITA, PPP

Germany

#4 in Best Countries Overall

#1 out of 60 in 2016

Germany, the most populous nation in the European Union, possesses one of the largest economies in the world and has seen its role in the international community grow steadily since reunification. The Central European country borders nine nations, and its landscape varies, from the northern plains that reach to the North and Baltic seas to the Bavarian Alps in the south.

more

$3.9 trillion
GDP

81.4 million
POPULATION

$46,974
GDP PER CAPITA, PPP
Japan

#5 in Best Countries Overall

#7 out of 60 in 2016

Japan, one of the world’s most literate and technically advanced nations, is an East Asian country made up of four main islands. While most of Japan is covered by mountains and heavily wooded areas, the country’s roughly 126 million people lead a distinctly urban lifestyle. Long culturally influenced by its neighbors, today the country blends its ancient traditions with aspects of Western life.

more

$4.6 trillion
GDP

127.0 million
POPULATION

$38,142
GDP PER CAPITA, PPP

...................................................................................................................................................
Most influential Countries List

The Most Influential Countries scored highest in a compilation of five country attributes: a leader, connected to the rest of the world, has an influential culture, politically influential and strong international alliances.


The rankings, formed in partnership with global marketing communications company Y&R’s brand strategy firm, BAV Consulting, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, aim to gauge global perceptions of the world’s biggest economies in terms of specific attributes associated with countries.

United States

#1 in Most Influential Countries

#7 in Best Countries

The United States of America is a North American nation that is the world’s most dominant economic and military power. Likewise, its cultural imprint spans the world, led in large part by its popular culture expressed in music, movies and television. In 2016 the country elected Donald Trump president, whose campaign rhetoric raised questions around the world, including from the country’s closest allies, about the nation’s future course on the global stage.

Following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. launched its War on Terror, including the Iraq War, the ongoing war in Afghanistan and other military strikes, including the 2011 killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. The war has had wide-reaching effects on the country’s politics, economy and global alliances that resonate to this day.

more

$17.4 trillion
GDP

321.4 million
POPULATION

$56,084
GDP PER CAPITA, PPP
Russia

#2 in Most Influential Countries

#27 in Best Countries

The scale of Russia is difficult to imagine. It is the world’s largest country by land mass – nearly twice as big as Canada, the world’s second-largest nation – and covers all of northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe. It shares land borders with more than a dozen countries, and shares sea borders with Japan and the United States.

more

$1.9 trillion
GDP

144.1 million
POPULATION

$25,965
GDP PER CAPITA, PPP
China

#3 in Most Influential Countries

#20 in Best Countries

Home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations, China has been ruled by the Communist Party since 1949, when the nation was established as the People’s Republic of China. The country is the world’s most populous and is considered the second-largest by land mass.

more

$10.4 trillion
GDP

1.4 billion
POPULATION

$14,340
GDP PER CAPITA, PPP

United Kingdom

#4 in Most Influential Countries

#3 in Best Countries

The United Kingdom is a highly developed nation that exerts considerable international economic, political, scientific and cultural influence. Located off the northwest corner of Europe, the country includes the island of Great Britain – which contains England, Scotland and Wales – and the northern portion of the island of Ireland.

The year 2017 ushered in anxiety about the country’s role on the global stage, due to the public voting in the summer of 2016 to leave the European Union. The vote raises questions about the European Union, as well as thepolicies supporting the eurozone.

more

$3.0 trillion
GDP

65.1 million
POPULATION

$41,499
GDP PER CAPITA, PPP
Germany

#5 in Most Influential Countries

#4 in Best Countries

Germany, the most populous nation in the European Union, possesses one of the largest economies in the world and has seen its role in the international community grow steadily since reunification. The Central European country borders nine nations, and its landscape varies, from the northern plains that reach to the North and Baltic seas to the Bavarian Alps in the south.

more

$3.9 trillion
GDP

81.4 million
POPULATION

$46,974
GDP PER CAPITA, PPP
France

#6 in Most Influential Countries

#9 in Best Countries

It is difficult to overstate the influence France has on the world, both in the past and today. Located in Western Europe, France is one of the world’s oldest countries, and its reach extends around the globe through science, politics, economics and perhaps above all, culture.

Starting in the Middle Ages, France evolved through kingdom, empire and finally, into a republic. It was one of the first nations to champion the rights of the individual. France today is a democracy with a separation of power falling between executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.


..........................................................................................................................................

There are many similar websites pertaining to Global importance including Economic, Military, and Political Influence. Great Britain is consistently in the TOP TEN and more often in the TOP FIVE.

Individual opinions on the web vary from, "yes they are", "they used to be", and "not anymore". of course these depend on their own Political or Personal views.
 
#40
Powell isn't entirely wrong though he lays the blame in the wrong place.

The foreign office was confidently reassuring it's various hosts that brexit would never happen, that the EU was the only place to be and the referendum a done deal for the remain side.

Hence come June 24th every government and international body around the world suddenly realised that the smug and condescending department charged with understanding political developments in their countries had no clue about their own country.

Which.... was embarrassing for them.

Even in the 50s the FCO was excluded from government policy, particularly over Suez, as it had it's own agenda. It chewed up ministers over the intervening decades who had the choice of going native or being embarrassed by little failures until out of office. Even Maggie Thatcher couldn't tame them, hence she often embarked on her own diplomacy and foreign policy.

Seems that little has changed.

Course Boris being put in charge of them didn't help things. His mere appointment saw diplomats around the world break out into barely suppressed laughter. Writing limericks about statesmen being ******* is possibly the highlight of his skills.

Now I can't say that I know any ambassadors. I'm not a fan of ferrero rocher anyway.

If the Permanent Undersecretary of State for the FCO appoints them in his own image though...


I really can't comprehend any way in which the UK's interests and influence could possibly be worse served.

Smarmy, arrogant, elitist and devious are just a few of the words that spring to mind, but this is our shop window to the UK for the rest of the world.

Course we have lots of money to give away, in order to buy influence. Foreign aid, overseas development and the like.

Which to me represents little else bar having to tie a big fat pork chop around our diplomat's necks in order to get a labrador to play with them.

Your mileage may vary, could be you think a public schoolboy tosspot who enjoys the possibility he might be connected to MI6 is the right and proper image we should portray. There is after all the odd rupert on these boards.

Still Powell's snowflake remainerism still highlights a problem in government which predates most of us. Namely that the Foreign Office has a large budget and access to whatever talent it may require and yet still fails miserably, probably even counterproductively, in achieving any useful influence in the world.

Which curiously enough is pretty much their job.
How do you form your opinion? Have you spent any time in KCS or at a Mission (Embassy, High Commission etc)? I don't recognise a single element of your post after a number of years with the FCO at two overseas missions - both 'front line' posts.
 
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