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Britains Strategy

Britain controlled about one-fourth of the Earth's land surface and one-fifth of the world's
population in 1939. Fifty years later, its holdings outside the British Isles had become trivial,
and it even faced an insurgency in Northern Ireland.
Britain spent the intervening years developing strategies to cope with what poet Rudyard
Kipling called its "recessional," or the transient nature of Britain's imperial power. It has spent
the last 20 years defining its place not in the world in general but between continental
Europe and the United States in particular.

The Rise of Britain

Britain's rise to its once-extraordinary power represented an unintended gift from Napoleon.
It had global ambitions before the Napoleonic Wars, but its defeat in North America and
competition with other European navies meant Britain was by no means assured preeminence. In Napoleon's first phase, France eliminated navies that could have challenged
the British navy. The defeat of the French fleet at Trafalgar and the ultimate French defeat at
Waterloo then eliminated France as a significant naval challenger to Britain for several
This gave Britain dominance in the North Atlantic, the key to global power in the 19th century
that gave control over trade routes into the Indian and Pacific oceans.
This opportunity aligned with economic imperatives. Not only was Britain the dominant
political and military power, it also was emerging as the leader in the Industrial Revolution
then occurring in Europe. Napoleon's devastation of continental Europe, the collapse of
French power and the underdevelopment of the United States gave Britain an advantage and
an opportunity.
As a manufacturer, it needed raw materials available only abroad, markets to absorb British
production and trade routes supported by strategically located supply stations. The British
Empire was foremost a trading bloc. Britain resisted encroachment by integrating potential
adversaries into trade relationships with the empire that it viewed as beneficial. In addition,
the colonies, which saw the benefits of increased trade, would reinforce the defense of the
As empires go, Britain resembled Rome rather than Nazi Germany. Though Rome imposed
its will, key groups in colonial processions benefitted greatly from the relationship. Rome was
thus as much an alliance as it was an empire. Nazi Germany, by contrast, had a purely
exploitative relationship with subject countries as a result of war and ideology. Britain
understood that its empire could be secured only through Roman-style alliances. Britain also
benefitted from the Napoleonic Wars' having crippled most European powers. Britain was not

under military pressure for most of the century and was not forced into a singularly
exploitative relationship with its empire to support its wars. It thus avoided Hitler's trap.

The German and U.S. Challenges

This began to change in the late 19th century with two major shifts. The first was German
unification in 1871, an event that transformed the dynamics of Europe and the world. Once
unified, Germany became the most dynamic economy in Europe. Britain had not had to
compete for economic primacy since Waterloo, but Germany pressed Britain heavily,
underselling British goods with its more efficient production.
The second challenge came from the United States, which also was industrializing at a
dramatic pace a process ironically underwritten by investors from Britain seeking higher
returns than they could get at home. The U.S. industrial base created a navy that surpassed
the British navy in size early in the 20th century. The window of opportunity that had opened
with the defeat of Napoleon was closing as Germany and the United States pressed Britain,
even if in an uncoordinated fashion.
The German challenge culminated in World War I, a catastrophe for Britain and for the rest
of Europe. Apart from decimating a generation of men, the cost of the war undermined
Britain's economic base, subtly shifting London's relationship with its empire. Moreover,
British power no longer seemed inevitable, raising the question among those who had not
benefitted from British imperialism as to whether the empire could be broken. Britain became
more dependent on its empire, somewhat shifting the mutuality of relations. And the cost of
policing the empire became prohibitive relative to the benefits. Additionally, the United States
was emerging as a potential alternative partner for the components of the empire and the
German question was not closed.
World War II, the second round of the German war, broke Britain's power. Britain lost the war
not to Germany but to the United States. It might have been a benign defeat in the sense
that the United States, pursuing its own interests, saved Britain from being forced into an
accommodation with Germany. Nevertheless, the balance of power between the United
States and Britain completely shifted during the war. Britain emerged from the war vastly
weaker economically and militarily than the United States. Though it retained its empire, its
ability to hold it depended on the United States. Britain no longer could hold it unilaterally.
British strategy at the end of the war was to remain aligned with the United States and try to
find a foundation for the United States to underwrite the retention of the empire. But the
United States had no interest in this. It saw its primary strategic interest as blocking the
Soviet Union in what became known as the Cold War. Washington saw the empire as
undermining this effort, both fueling anti-Western sentiment and perpetuating an economic
bloc that had ceased to be self-sustaining.
From Suez to Special Relationship
The U.S. political intervention against the British, French and Israeli attack on Egypt in 1956,
which was designed to maintain British control of the Suez Canal, marked the empire's

breaking point. Thereafter, the British retreated strategically and psychologically from the
empire. They tried to maintain some semblance of enhanced ties with their former colonies
through the Commonwealth, but essentially they withdrew to the British Isles.
As it did during World War II, Britain recognized U.S. economic and military primacy, and it
recognized it no longer could retain its empire. As an alternative, the British aligned
themselves with the U.S.-dominated alliance system and the postwar financial arrangements
lumped together under the Bretton Woods system. The British, however, added a dimension
to this. Unable to match the United States militarily, they outstripped other American allies
both in the quantity of their military resources and in their willingness to use them at the
behest of the Americans.
We might call this the "lieutenant strategy." Britain could not be America's equal. However, it
could in effect be America's lieutenant, wielding a military force that outstripped in number
and technical sophistication the forces deployed by other European countries. The British
maintained a "full-spectrum" military force, smaller than the U.S. military but more capable
across the board than militaries of other U.S. allies.
The goal was to accept a subordinate position without being simply another U.S. ally. The
British used that relationship to extract special concessions and considerations other allies
did not receive. They also were able to influence U.S. policy in ways others couldn't. The
United States was not motivated to go along merely out of sentiment based on shared
history, although that played a part. Rather, like all great powers, the United States wanted to
engage in coalition warfare and near warfare along with burden sharing. Britain was
prepared to play this role more effectively than other countries, thereby maintaining a global
influence based on its ability to prompt the use of U.S. forces in its interest.
Much of this was covert, such as U.S. intelligence and security aid for Britain during the
Troubles in Northern Ireland. Other efforts were aimed at developing economic relationships
and partnerships that might have been questionable with other countries but that were
logical with Britain. A good example though not a very important one was London's
ability to recruit U.S. support in Britain's war against Argentina in the Falkland Islands, also
known as the Malvinas. The United States had no interests at stake, but given that Britain did
have an interest, the U.S. default setting was to support the British.
There were two dangers for the British in this relationship. The first was the cost of
maintaining the force relative to the benefits. In extremis, the potential benefits were great. In
normal times, the case easily could be made that the cost outstripped the benefit. The
second was the danger of being drawn so deeply into the U.S. orbit that Britain would lose its
own freedom of action, effectively becoming, as some warned, the 51st state.
Britain modified its strategy from maintaining the balance of power on the Continent to
maintaining a balance between the United States and Europe. This allowed it to follow its

U.S. strategy while maintaining leverage in that relationship beyond a wholesale willingness
to support U.S. policies and wars.
Britain has developed a strategy of being enmeshed in Europe without France's enthusiasm,
at the same time positioning itself as the single most important ally of the only global power.
There are costs on both sides of this, but Britain has been able to retain its options while
limiting its dependency on either side.
As Europe increased its unity, Britain participated in Europe, but with serious limits. It
exercised its autonomy and did not join the eurozone. While the United States remains
Britain's largest customer for exports if Europe is viewed as individual countries, Europe as a
whole is a bigger customer. Where others in Europe, particularly the Germans and French,
opposed the Iraq war, Britain participated in it. At the same time, when the French wanted to
intervene in Libya and the Americans were extremely reluctant, the British joined with the
French and helped draw in the Americans.
Keeping its Options Open
Britain has positioned itself superbly for a strategy of waiting, watching and retaining options
regardless of what happens. If the European Union fails and the European nation-states reemerge as primary institutions, Britain will be in a position to exploit the fragmentation of
Europe to its own economic and political advantage and have the United States available to
support its strategy. If the United States stumbles and Europe emerges more prominent,
Britain can modulate its relationship with Europe at will and serve as the Europeans'
interface with a weakened United States. If both Europe and the United States weaken,
Britain is in a position to chart whatever independent course it must.
The adjustment British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made in 1943 when it became
evident that the United States was going to be much more powerful than Britain remains in
place. Britain's willingness to undertake military burdens created by the United States over
the last 10 years allows one to see this strategy in action. Whatever the British thought of
Iraq, a strategy of remaining the most reliable ally of the United States dictated participation.
At the same time, the British participated deeply in the European Union while hedging their
bets. Britain continues to be maintaining its balance, this time not within Europe, but, to the
extent possible, between Europe and the United States.
The British strategy represents a classic case of a nation accepting reversal, retaining
autonomy, and accommodating itself to its environment while manipulating it. All the while
Britain waits, holding its options open, waiting to see how the game plays out and positioning
itself to take maximum advantage of its shifts in the environment.
It is a dangerous course, as Britain could lose its balance. But there are no safe courses for
Britain, as it learned centuries ago. Instead, the British buy time and wait for the next change
in history.

Britanska strategija
Britanija je kontrolisala oko jedne etvrtine zemaljske povrine I jednu petinu svjetske
populacije 1939. Pedeset godina kasnije, njen fond izvan Britanskih ostrva je postao
trivijalan, ak su se suoili i sa pobunom u Sjevernoj Irskoj.
Britanija je u meuvremenu provela godine razvijajui strategiju da izae na kraj sa tim to
pjesnik Rudyard Kipling nazvao zavrnom, ili prolaznom prirodom Britanske carske moi.
Provela je zadnjih dvadeset godina definiui ne samo mjesto u svijetu generalnonego i
izmeu kontinentalne Evrope i Ujedinjenih Drava.
Uspon Britanije
Britanski uspon do svoje izvanredne moi je bio Napoleonov nenamjeran poklon. Britanija je
imala globalne ambicije prije Napoleonovih ratova, ali poraz u Sjevernoj Americi i
konkurecija drugih evropskih vojski znailo je da Britanija nikako nema sigurnu nadmo. U
Napoleonovoj prvoj fazi Francuska je eliminisala vojske koje bi mogle biti prijetnja
britanskoj vojsci. Poraz francuske flote u Trafalgaru i poslednji francuski poraz kod Vaterloa
eliminisao je Francusku kao znaajnog mornarikog neprijatelja Britanije za nekoliko
Ovo je osiguralo Britaniji dominaciju na Sjevernom Atlantiku, koji je bio klju u
devetnaestom vijeku, za kontrolisanje trgovinskih ruta u Indijskom i Pacifikom okeanu.
Ova prilika je bila poravnanje za ekonomski imperativ. Ne samo da je Britanija bila
dominirajua politika i vojna sila, ona je bila i pokreta industrijske revolucije koja se
deavala u Evropi. Napoleonovo pustoenje kontinentalne Evrope, kolaps franuske moi i
nerazvijenost Sjedinjenih Drava dale su prednost i priliku Britaniji.
Kao proizvoa, trebala je sirovine dostupne samo u inostranstvu, trita za prodaju
britanskih proizvoda i trgovake rute koje su podravane od stanica za snadbjevanje.
Britansko carstvo je bilo prije svega trgovinski blok. Britanija se odupirala zadiranju
potencijalnih protivnika u trgovake veze koje je tada carstvo smatralo blagotvornim.
Kolonije koje su uvidjele beneficije poveanog trita, poveavale su odbranu carstva.

Ko carstvo Britanija je vie liila na Rim nego na nacistiku Njemaku. Iako je Rim
nametnuo svoju volju kljune grupe u procesu kolonizacije veoma su se obogatile. Rim je
vie bio savez nego carstvo. Suprotno tome nacistika Njemaka je imala isto
iskoritavajuu vezu sa glavnim zemljama kao rezultat rata i ideologije. Britanija je shvatila
da carstvo moe biti zatieno samo kao savezi u rimskom stilu. Britanija se takoe okoristila
iz Napoleonovih ratova zbog toga to je oteeno veina evropske moi. Britanija nije bila
pod vojnim pritiskom veinu vijeka i nije prisiljavana na pojedinano iskoritavanje iz svog
carstva zbog podravanja svojih ratova. Tako je izbjegla Hitlerovu zamku.

Njemaki i SAD izazovi

Ovo se poelo mjenjati krajem devetnaestog vijeka sa dvije velike izmjene. Prva je bila ujedinjenje
Njemake 1871., dogaaj koji je izmjenio dimnamiku Evrope i svijeta. Jednom ujedinjena Njemaka
je postala najdinaminija ekonomija u Evropi. Britanija se nije morala takmiiti za ekoomski primat
od Vaterlua ali Njemaka je sad teko pritiskala Britaniju, zamjenjujui britanske proizvode sa
Sljedei izazov je doao od SAD-a, koja se industrilizovala dramatinim tempom- proces je bio
zajemen od strane investitora iz Britanije koji su traili vee prinose nego to su imali kod
kue.Poetkom dvadesetog vijeka SAD-ova industrijska baza napravila je vojsku koja je premaila
britansku vojsku po veliini. Prozor prilika koji se otvorio sa porazom Napoleona se zatvarao kad su
Njemaka i SAD poele pritiskati Britaniju.
Njemaka je kulminirala u Prvom svjetskom ratu, koji je bio katastrofa za Britaniju i ostatak Evrope.
Na stranu desetkovanje generacija mukaraca, trokovi rata ugrozili su britansku ekonomsku bazu,
suptilno prebacujui londonsku vezu sa carstvom. tavie britanska mo nije vie izgledala
neizbjena, postavljajui se pitanje izmeu onih koji se nisu okoristili iz britanskog imperijalizma da
li e se carstvo sruiti. Britanija je bila zavisnija od svog carstva, donekle pomjerajui uzajamnosti
odnosa. I troak policije carstva je postao preveliki u odnosu na koristi. Dodatno, SAD je postajao
potencijalni alternativni partner komponentama carstva- i njemako pitanje nije bilo zatvoreno.
Drugi svjetski rat, druga runda njemakog rata slomila je britansku mo. Britanija je izgubila rat ne od
Njemake nego od SAD-a. Moda je to bio benigni poraz u smislu da su SAD nameui svoje
interese, sauvale Britaniju od Njemake. Ipak balans moi izmeu SAD-a i Britanije se kompletno
promjenio tokom rata. Britanija je izala iz rata mnogo slabija ekonomski i vojno nego SAD. Iako je
zadrala svoje carstvo, njena sposobnost da to zadri zavisi od SAD. Britanija nije vie mogla zadrati
Britanska strategija na kraju rata je bila da ostane poravnata sa SAD-om i pokua da nae temelj sa
SAD-om da osigura zadravanje carstva. Ali SAD nisu bile zainteresovane za to. Vidjele su kao svoj
primarni strateki interes blokiranje Sovjetskog saveza u Hladnom ratu. Vaington je uvidio da carstvo
potkopava ovaj trud, podstiui anti-Zapadna osjeanja i podstiui ekonomski blok koji je prestao
biti samoodriv.
Od Sueca do posebnog odnosa

Amerika politika intervencija protiv napada na Egipat od strane Britanaca, Francuza i

Izraelaca 1956. godine, koja je napravljena da odri kontrolu Sueckog kanala od strane
Britanaca, oznaila je prelomnu taku carstva. Poslije toga, Britanci su se povukli i strateki i
politiki iz carstva. Oni su pokuavali da odre neki privid poboljanih veza sa njihovim
bivim kolonijama preko Komonvelta, ali u sutini su se povukli na britanska ostrva.
Kao to je to bilo tokom Drugog svjestskog rata, britanci su prepoznali ameriki ekonomski i
vojni primat, i prepoznali kako vie nisu mogli da zadre svoju imperiju. Kao alternativu,
britanci su se uskladili sa dominantnim amerikim sistemom i nakon poslijeratnih finansijskih
ugovora spojili se unutar Bretton Woods-ovog sistema.Britanci su, meutim, dali svoj
doprinos tome. Iako nisu bili sposobni da pariraju vojno SAD-u, oni su prevazili druge
amerike saveznike i u broju vojnih resursa, kao i njihovoj spremnosti da ih koriste po nalogu
Ovo moemo nazvati porunikom strategije.Britanci ne mogu biti kao Amerika. Meutim,
mogu biti ameriki porunik, drei vojnu silu koja bi ih premaila u broju i tehnikom znanju,
kao i snagama rasporeenim po drugim evropskim zemljama. Britanci su odravali vojnu silu
punog spektra, manju nego kao kod amerike vojske, ali sposobniju nego to su to drugi
ameriki saveznici.
Cilj je bio da se prihvati podreena uloga da ne bi bili jo jedan saveznik SAD-a. Britanci su
koristili taj odnos da izvuku posebne ustupke i razmatranja koje ostali saveznici nisu dobijali.
Oni su takoe bili u mogunosti da utiu na politiku SAD-a na nain na koji drugi nisu mogli.
Sjedinjene drave nisu bile motivisane da igraju na kartu zajednike istorije, iako je to igralo
ulogu. Umjesto toga, kao sve velike sile, Sjedinjene drave su eljele da se prikljue
koalicionom ratovanju i pored rata zajednikoj podjeli tereta. Britanci su se spremali da
odigraju ulogu mnogo vie nego ostale drave, ime su odravali globalni uticaj na osnovu
njihove sposobnosti da podstakne upotrebu amerikih snaga u svom interesu.
Mnogo od ovoga su bile tajne, kao to su Sjedinjene drave pruale obavjetajnu i
bezbjedonosnu pomo britancima tokom nevolja u Sjevernoj Irskoj. Drudi napori su bili
usmjereni na razvijanje ekonomskih odnosa i partnerstava koja bi se mogla dovesti u pitanje
sa drugim zemljama, ali su bili logini sa britancima. Dobar primjer, ali ne tako vaan kao
jedan, bio je Londonska sposobnost da regrutuje podrku Sjedinjenih drava protiv
Argentine na Falklandskim ostrvima, poznatijim pod imenom Malvinas. Sjedinjene drave
nisu imale interesa da uestvuju, ali s obzirom da je Britanija imala interes, Sjedinjene
drave su podrazumijevale da prue podrku britancima.
Postojale su dvije opasnosti za britance u ovom odnosu. Prva je bila cijena odravanja
snaga u odnosu na koristi. U najboljem sluaju, potencijalne dobiti bi bile velike. U
normalnim sluajevima bi lako bilo da e cijena prijei dobit. Druga je bila opasnost da e se
uvui toliko duboko u orbitu Sjedinjenih drava da e izgubiti svoju slobodu djelovanja, i da
e postati, kako su neki upozoravali 51. drava.

Britanci su promijenili svoju strategiju od odravanja snage na kontinentu, do odravanja

balansa izmeu Sjedinjenih Drava i Evrope.To je omoguilo da se prati strategija
Sjedinjenih drava odravajui taj odnos dalje i da odri veliku spremnost dam
podri spremnost da pomogne dalje ratove Sjedinjenih drava.
Britanija je razvila strategiju upletenosti u Evropu bez francuskog entuzijazma,
samim time pozicionirajui samu sebe kao jednog od najvanijih saveznika na
globalnom nivou. Postoje trokovi na obje strane, ali Britanija je bila u stanju da
zadri svoje opcije, a ograniava svoju zavisnost na drugoj strani.
Kako je Evropa pojaala svoje jedinstvo, Britanija je uestvovala u Evropi, ali sa
opzbiljnim ogranienjima. Iskoristila je svoju autonomiju da ne pristupi evrozoni.
Dok su Sjedinjene drave i dalje bili najvei kupac za izvoz iz Evrope i smatrala se
za pojedinanu zemlju, Evropa kao cjelina je i dalje bila vei kupac. Dok su drugi
u Evropi, posebno njemci i francuzi bili protiv rata u Iraku, britanci su uestvovali
u njemu. U isto vrijeme, kad su francuzi htjeli da interveniu u Libiji, a amerikanci
to veoma nerado inili, britanci su se pridruili francuzima i pomogli zajedno
uvanje otvorenih opcija
Britanci su se pozicionirali superiorno na strategiju ekanja, gledajui i ekajui ta e se
desiti. Ako Evropska unija propadne i evropske nacije ponovo ujedine u primarne institucije,
Britanija e bii u poziciji da iskoristi fragmentaciju Evrope kao svoju ekonomsku i politiku
prednost i imae Sjedinjene drave slobodne da podre njihovu strategiju. Ako Sjedinjene
drave naiu na probleme, a Evropa nastupi izraenije, Britanija moe da regulie svoj
odnos s Evropom i moe da poslui kao veza Evropljana sa oslabljenim Sjedinjenim
dravama. Ako i Evropa i Sjedinjene drave oslabe, Britanija je u poziciji da ta god da se
desi mora da ide dalje.
Britanski premijer Winston Churchill se prilagodio 1943. godine kad je postalo oigledno da
e Sjedinjene drave biti mnogo moniji, ako Britanija ostane na mjesptu. Britanska
spremnost da preuzme vojni teret kreiran od strane Sjedinjenih drava vie od 10 godina,
dozvolila je da vidimo ovu strategiju u akciji. Bez obzira na to ta su britanci mislili o Iraku,
strategija preostalog saveznika je bila takva da su Sjedinjene drave diktirale uee.
Istovremeno, britanci su ve uveliko bili u Evropskoj uniji , gdje su titili rizik njihove uloge.
Britanija i dalje nastavlja da odrava ravnoteu, ovaj put ne u Evropi, ali, ako je mogue, da
bude izmeu Evrope i Sjedinjenih drava.
Britanska strategija predstavlja klasian sluaj kada jedna nacija prihvata preokret,
zadravanje autonomije, i prilagoavanjem na svoju okolinu dok manipuliu njome. Sve dok
Britanija eka, uvajui opcije otvorenim, gledajui kako se igra odigrava i pozicionirajui
sebe da iskoristi maksimum iz situacije i da preuzme primat u okruenju.

To je opasno, jer bi Britanija mogla da izgubi ravnoteu. Ali nema sigurnih kurseva za
Britaniju, kako smo nauili u vijekovima prije. Umjesto toga, britanci kupuju vrijeme i ekaju
sledeu promjenu u istoriji.