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Jim Hoge has been the editor of Foreign Affairs magazine since 1992.  He holds the Peter G. Peterson Chair at the Council on Foreign Relations, and is a director of[…]

Britain’s role in foreign affairs has been in decline for a long time, and that will continue unless the country joins with other European countries in a very sustained way.

Question: What does David Cameron’s recent victory mean for rnBritain’s role in the world?
rnJim Hoge: Britain’s role in the world regardless of who is in thern government has been in a declining state for a long time and still is. rn My opinion and that of a number of people sort of in the government, rnbut it’s my opinion, as long as they hold off becoming a part of Europe rnin a very sustained way across the whole border currency and everything rnthey’re going to continue to decline and will be more and more a small rnisland nation with a big past.  If they join Europe and we see an rninterest in reinvigorating the European American relationship to be sortrn of an entity at the top of the international system that is comparable rnin size both in terms of population and in terms of economics with a rncontinuingly rising China and a continually rising Indian and ultimatelyrn a continuing rising Brazil then they have a future, but it’s a rnmultilateral future.  It’s not an individual future.  If they don’t do rnthat, if they stick with the Tory Government’s idea that they should be rnhands off about Europe except for some things here and there I think rnthey’re a diminishing power in the world and the idea that there will bern a special relationship between the US and Britain will begin to fade.  rnThe more likely special relationship if there has to be one between us rnand just a nation in Europe is going to be between us and Germany.  rnGermany has once again by far the most powerful and prosperous and rnsuccessful country in Europe and we have to keep that in mind as we go rnforward.  Now as to does this coalition government represent something rnnew in British politics, they’ve had them before, but not in a long rntime.  I think it does represent something somewhat new.  The two old rnparties, labor and the Tories have lost a great deal of trust and rnallegiance from the British public.  The British public is ready for rnmore than a two party system.  They’re ready for a more European system rnof a number of parties and we may see that begin to flourish even more rnif this coalition government is successful.

Recorded May 28, 2010
Interviewed by Jessica Liebman