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The grinding reality of Realpolitik : current and future directions in the UK, USA and Europe.

Davies, P. and Dumbrell, J. and Meehan, E. and Hames, T. and Williams, S. (2006) 'The grinding reality of Realpolitik : current and future directions in the UK, USA and Europe.', 21st century society : journal of the Academy of the Social Sciences., 1 (1). pp. 73-98.


This paper reports on a debate about The Current and Future Directions of the political relations between the UK, USA and Europe held in March 2005 for the Academy of the Social Sciences. A panel of four social science practitioners and academics, chaired by Philip Davies, addressed the question of the real nature of these relations and their written comments are presented with a commentary by Davies. Dumbrell explored the way that 'both the US-UK "Special Relationship" and the entire Atlantic alliance were struggling to come to terms with the removal of the cold war, "common fate" glue, much less the Great Rift over Iraq'. Meehan drew attention to 'a flurry of efforts on both sides of the Atlantic to repair the relationship between the EU and the US and, hence, the UK's relationship with European partners', concluding that 'the good intentions to understand common real interests and act upon them through common Enlightenment values may yet pave the road to hell'. In revising her analysis for publication she moderated her earlier scepticism 'about the strength of good intentions on both sides not to allow such continuing differences to stand in the way of the co-operative pursuit of real interests'. Hames argued that Britain should be more relaxed about its relations 'rather than hands being wrung about whether we are insufficiently "pro-European" or not close enough to becoming the 51st state of the United States, those interested in maintaining or extending British power should ask themselves what we need to do to keep our present privileged position'. Williams made the case for a more sophisticated understanding of the domestic political dynamics of the USA by those on the European side of the Atlantic, and for a greater recognition 'that the political achievement of the European Union is a staggering one'. In all, the debate acknowledged the 'grinding reality of realpolitik'.

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Record Created:28 Jan 2008
Last Modified:18 Aug 2010 11:01

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