Cover

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Abstract, Series page, Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xiv

In December 1962, former US secretary of state Dean Acheson caused a minor storm in US-UK relations when he told an audience at West Point Military Academy that Britain had “lost an empire and not yet found a role.” Britain’s attempt to play a world power role, “a role based on the Commonwealth...

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Foreword

Patrick Thaddeus Jackson

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pp. xv-xvi

In this book, David McCourt takes on a cutting-edge theoretical debate within IR constructivism about the role of “ideational” factors broadly (and somewhat imprecisely) conceived, addressing that debate both on the conceptual level and empirically by illustrating the explanatory productivity of...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-18

This is a book about British foreign policy since the end of the Second World War—about the adjustments UK policymakers have and have not made in response to Britain’s relative decline in power over the period.1 To that extent, it is a work of international history. It is also a book about how to...

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Chapter 1. The Roles Nations Play

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pp. 19-57

In this chapter, I present a role-based approach to the analysis of state action in international relations; I then use this approach in the remainder of the book to explain Britain’s puzzling maintenance of an expansive foreign policy orientation long after its decline from world power. I call this...

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Chapter 2. The Suez Crisis, 1956

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pp. 58-85

For many commentators, the Suez Crisis of 1956 represents the most significant episode in British foreign policy since 1945. Although Britain struggled on much diminished as an international political force after the war, the attempt of Anthony Eden’s government to use military means to...

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Chapter 3. The Skybolt Affair, 1962

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pp. 86-108

Acheson’s pronouncement that Britain had “lost an empire and not yet found a role” was not the only blot on the US-UK copybook in December 1962. Less than a week later, a transatlantic crisis broke that seemed to threaten the foundations of the special relationship, only recently repaired...

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Chapter 4. Britain’s Second Application to the EEC, 1964–1967

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pp. 109-137

Charles de Gaulle’s veto of Britain’s first application to the European Economic Community (EEC) did not settle the issue of the UK’s relations with Europe for long; indeed, the question of Western unity and Britain’s place in its institutional architecture remains to this day a prominent theme...

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Chapter 5. Britain’s Reinvasion of the Falklands, 1982

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pp. 138-165

Britain’s military and political readjustments of the late 1960s and early 1970s were based on the assumption that although the UK was not merely a “European” power, since it retained worldwide interests, it would not be required to defend those interests against a sophisticated enemy far from British...

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Conclusion

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pp. 166-175

In light of the foregoing investigations, it is now clear that former US secretary of state Dean Acheson’s assertion that Britain “had lost an empire and not yet found a role” was not a statement of fact to be proven or refuted. Rather, it was the expression of Acheson’s opinion about the appropriateness...

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Epilogue: Britain and World Power in the Twenty-First Century

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pp. 176-180

The continuity in the roles that have emerged for Britain since 1945 might lead the reader to misunderstand my argument as reaffirming the determinacy of structure in international politics. It seems to suggest that there is a set of expectations “out there” constitutive of the UK’s role in world politics...

Notes

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pp. 181-220

References

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pp. 221-244

Index

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pp. 245-253