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The high wire act: a comparison of British transatlantic foreign policies in the Second World War and the war in Iraq, 2001–2003

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Drawing upon ideas from critical geopolitics, this paper compares the role that the British government plays within the contemporary transatlantic alliance with that played by Churchill's government during the Second World War. It argues that the Blair government's approach to foreign policy has parallels with Churchill's – that it should act as a bridge between the US and European governments. From this basis the paper reflects upon geopolitical change since 1945, re-evaluating the reasons for foreign policy failures during the Iraq War. Belying the assumption that these were caused by Blair's failures at diplomacy, it argues that failure was the result of an outdated geopolitical strategy.

Keywords: British government; Second World War; critical geopolitics; foreign policy; transatlantic alliance; war in Iraq

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, Email:

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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