What might be the historical geo-politics of British/European relations?



Splendid isolation is the term used at the time for the 19th-century British diplomatic practice of avoiding permanent alliances, particularly under the governments of Lord Salisbury between 1885 and 1902. The practice emerged as early as 1822 with Britain's exit from the post-1815 Concert of Europe and continued until the 1904 Entente Cordiale with France, when the division of Europe into two power blocs and Britain's isolation during the 18991902 Second Boer War led to a reversal of the policy.


Entente Cordiale was a series of agreements signed on 8 April 1904 between the Britain and the French Republic which saw a significant improvement in Anglo-French relations. Beyond the immediate concerns of colonial expansion addressed by the agreement, the signing of the Entente Cordiale marked the end of almost a thousand years of intermittent conflict between the two states and their predecessors

The agreement was a change for both countries. France had been isolated from the other European powers, mostly as a result of the efforts of German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck to estrange France from potential allies, as it was thought that France might seek revenge for its defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 187071. Britain had maintained a policy of "splendid isolation" on the European continent for nearly a century, intervening in continental affairs only when it was considered necessary to protect British interests and to maintain the continental balance of power. The situation for both countries changed in the last decade of the 19th century.

The change had its roots in a British loss of confidence after the Second Boer War, and a growing fear that the country was isolated in the face of a potentially aggressive Germany. The Scramble for Africa prevented the countries from coming to terms, however. On the initiative of Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain, there were three rounds of British-German talks between 1898 and 1901. Britain decided not to join the Triple Alliance, broke off the negotiations with Berlin, and revived the idea of a British-French alliance


How might a 'constructivist' approach to the very idea of one's nation create a sense of 'splendid isolation'?


How do myths and images of nationhood affect/produce, at the level of the popular, a sense of independence?


Does a myth of national identity obscure the economic imperatives of international trade and thus rule-making and taking as part of trading?


What in your opinion were the factors that brought about the Brexit vote in the UK?


'Populism' is partly blamed for the vote...but what is it?


Might it fuel the break up of the European project?


Is the European Union becoming a successful economic bloc but a failed political idea?


Is the EU a liberal democratic system?


Has the UK as a politico-governmental system broken down over Brexit?