SOMEONE ELSE’S EMPIRE dispels the myth of a ‘Global Britain’ that punches above its weight in the world. The reality, argues Tom Stevenson, is that Britain lacks even the barest outline of an independent foreign policy. The impetus for so many policy decisions, from Iraq to AUKUS, comes from a supine desire to maintain lieutenant rank in the Washington hierarchy, whatever the consequences.
Nostalgia for global influence has produced a compulsive Atlanticism and a reflexive resort to military actions that the UK is near incapable of actually performing. The net effect of Brexit has been an increase in vassalage. Yet for what must ultimately be psychological reasons, British leaders and national security clerks have tended to dislike seeing Britain framed by American power. Someone Else’s Empire looks at the infrastructure of a US world order re-energised by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and fits the UK into the picture without the usual euphemisms. It is one thing to station military forces around the world to maintain your empire, but quite another to do so for someone else’s.