The United Kingdom is among the world’s most powerful countries. It covers areas such as Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales. The nation has a strong military and is the European Union’s second-largest economy (Davis, Hartoonian, Van Scotter, & White 2007). The United Kingdom has the greater share of territorial occupation of colonies in colonial history and still retains considerable power over the countries under its colonial administration. English, for example, is one of the most commonly spoken languages in and around the world. However, the recent events in the country such as the Brexit, the desire for full autonomy of some regions such as Northern Ireland, recent military defeats in Afghanistan and Iran are some of the most significant weaknesses and challenges that the country has had (Hazell, & Morris 2017). Therefore, this paper analyses the United Kingdom as a power of historical influence, unity, economy, military power as well as global ideological influence.
The UK’s strategic geographical location was vital in enhancing influence over a large territory. For instance, being an island, it had an advantage of grabbing ideas from Europe but seemed far away from the control of the European army (Davis, Hartoonian, Van Scotter, & White 2007). As such, it stood at a unique position that made it avoid military invasions from Europe. Portugal was invaded by Spain making it lose colonies. France had invasions during the era of Napoleon causing it to lose Brazil as a colony. The inversions and attacks were due to ease of access by their neighbors.
The United Kingdom had internal upheavals but managed to maintain peace. There were no external invasions that could interfere with its operations. Therefore, it became possible for the country to take over colonies that were built by other colonial empires. As an island, it had great opportunity of trade with other kingdoms such as Ottoman Empire, and developed remarkable economy (Davis, Hartoonian, Van Scotter, & White 2007). Nonetheless, it created effective shipbuilding technology to enable them to access their territories through the Pacific.
History during the Victorian Age
The United Kingdom had significant influence on the world during the Victorian age. The British Empire expanded to occupy about one-quarter of the world (Brown 2013). The colonial territories acquisition did not come as an accident, Britain had developed an extensive army and economic power that made it possible to successfully wage wars of conquest. Industrialization had increased, and Victoria ensured markets and favorable conditions for commerce. Nonetheless, the country had high novel power that gave them more competitive advantage over other European countries concerning the territorial acquisition. In fact, the United Kingdom was the largest in navy in the world
The Victorian era was marked by quality political debate and influence about the country and the world. The United Kingdom during this age could be considered the world’s most powerful and influential nation (Brown 2013). The empire under Britain had rapidly expanded to include most parts of the United States, Africa Middle East and India. However, the influence of Britain seems to be declining from 20th century especially with the emergence of other world powers such as Germany and Russia and the United States (Brown 2013). Besides, there are internal disunity with regions such as Northern Ireland threatening to be given full autonomy and control of the region.
The Economic Power
Having emerged as a military victor of the Second World War, Britain started serious economic recovery. The process proceeded slowly, but by 1990s, the economy of the UK was compared favorably to other top economies of the world (Hazell, & Morris 2017). The UK has an international trade economy. The United States and Japan are significant investors of local productions in the country. Britain is the second largest economy of the European Union. The state has a large energy resource that includes oil, coal and natural gas more than any other European member country.
The United Kingdom has well-developed market-oriented economy. Going by national growth domestic product, the UK is ranked the fifth biggest national economy worldwide. England has the biggest economy among the four kingdoms that constitute the United Kingdom. The country has a GDP of $2.629 with a growth rate of 0.4%.in fact, 80% of the GDP is contributed by the service sector (Hazell, & Morris 2017).
Military and geopolitical influence of a country is the primary indicators used in the classification of countries’ military strength. The United States was classified as world superpower while the United Kingdom is a global power due to its influence in parts of the world such as Africa South Asia, Middle East, and some parts of South America (Sampson 2017). The British military comprises of the royal navy, the blue water navy, the marine, army and the principal land warfare force. The country retains significance economic, political and military influence in many regions of the world to date.
Britain has been a member of the united nation security council since it was formed. As such, the country has been called upon to give military assistance where necessary around the world (Taylor 2009). For instance, the country recently involved in the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as Balkans and Cyprus. However, the country majorly deploys the use of soft power to attract and appeal to situations instead of military combat. Comparatively, the UK has more military power and global influence compared to countries like China, France, Germany, India, Russia and Australia that are still considered as regional powers (Taylor 2009).
The political disunity and desire of some kingdoms to disintegrate have not affected the operations and the unity of the United Kingdom’s military. The defeat of the British army in Iraq was due to miscalculations of the commanders and the ministry of defense and cannot be blamed on the unity of the soldiers.
Monarchy has been practiced for a long time in the UK and performs crucial role such as uniting various kingdoms of the state. The monarch gives a sense of belonging and stability. Meaning, it makes the people of United Kingdom to identify as one people irrespective of where they hail from. The queen is the head of state but has limited constitutional roles (Taylor 2009). The policy issues that influence the lives of the people of the UK is discussed in consultation with the queen. However, some people have opposed the monarch saying that it enhances inequality and discourages awards through merit. Conversely, religion also influences internal relation in the UK. The country is dominantly a Christian country, peace and stability and respect of God experienced in the United Kingdom is due to the influence of the teachings of Christian doctrine. Monarchy and religion have been source of unity and control in various aspect lives of the people of the UK.
Strengths of United Kingdom
The United Kingdom has influenced the world in many aspects. The regions that have significantly been impacted by the influence are the former colonies. For instance, English language has its origin in Britain but is currently the world’s most spoken language. In fact, the language has been categorized under global international language. The influence is enormous not only to former British colonies but also to the best parts of the world. Some countries such as the United States have established English as a mother tongue. The worldwide acceptance and use of English language and the influence it brings to the world represent cultural importance that the United Kingdom has impacted to the world.
Nations that were colonized by the United Kingdom have come together to form an organization called the Commonwealth of Nations. The body is headed by the queen of England. A total of 52 countries across the world are members of the commonwealth. The organization is based on certain values and principles that are outlined in the commonwealth charter and enforced by queen of England. Commonwealth is a British foreign policy that has be skillfully executed. The main a gender is to improve the economic status of member countries through trade.
The good relationship that Britain has with the United States is essential in stabilizing its global position. The association is enhanced by the common interest that the two countries share concerning the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The United Kingdom and United States long relationship has enhanced sharing in military, cultural and trading issues. For instance, the US has allowed the UK to access their military information and, assists them in with the manufacture of their nuclear weapons. Besides, the US has established military bases in the UK for joint military training with the UK.
Weaknesses of the United Kingdom
The major weakness of United Kingdom is the disunity that is created by the feeling of inequality and political dominance by certain people regions of the kingdom. As such, the unity of the Great Britain is threatened, Scotland and the people of Wales have made it known that they wish not to be part of the Great Britain. On the other hand, Northern Ireland wants to be fully autonomous. The historical unity will soon be destroyed if the rising cases disintegration is not fully addressed.
The country has voted to exit the European Union that should take effect in 2019. However, it is still uncertain how its relationship with members of the European Union will be. Moreover, major questions such as the Northern Ireland border and the fate of the UK citizens living in EU countries are still yet to be discussed (Warford-Johnston 2016). Primarily, Brexit is likely to negatively affect the economy of the United Kingdom when it is finally implemented. Brexit was also a point of disunity since some regions voted against for it while some areas voted for it. Many prominent leaders such as Teresa May were against Brexit but had no options since the people had voted to exit the European Union.
Challenges of the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is facing a defficult political time especially with other regions threatening to pull out of the Great Britain. The difference created by the Brexit voted has resulted in new political heat. Scotland London and Northern Ireland voted to maintain the status quo while the rest of England such as Wales voted to exit the Union (Lomas & McLeod 2017). The Brexit difference has created new political challenge in the country. The vote has plunged the country into one of the deepest political crisis since WW II. As such, the government has a hard time to identify itself as a united nation in the global platform (Warford-Johnston 2016).
The economic stability of the country is also threatened with the Brexit vote. Most economists say that the relationship that the UK holds with the members of the European Union is very important for the economic development of the region. As such, the UK is likely to experience decline in economic growth when Brexit is fully implemented (Lomas & McLeod 2017).
The United Kingdom comprises of four main regions, namely, Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland. The country has been very influential globally since the era of colonization. The Victorian age saw an expansion of the territorial regions of UK to include parts of South America, India, East Africa, Middle East and South Asia. Great Britain is the second biggest economy in the European Union with well-developed military. The UK has influenced the world greatly (Lomas & McLeod 2017). English language that originates in England is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. The United Kingdom is facing political challenges especially with other regions such as Scotland and Northern Ireland threatening to exit. Nonetheless, the Brexit vote has led to political division among those who voted for status quo and those who wanted to exit the Union. Economists have warned that the exit could lead to serious economic consequence to the country and therefore must be handled carefully.
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