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The UK in Multilateral Military-Political Structures
Analysis and Forecasting. IMEMO Journal

The UK in Multilateral Military-Political Structures

DOI: 10.20542/afij-2023-3-35-48
© Alexander A. ALESHIN, 2023
Received 04.09.2023.
Revised 15.10.2023.
Accepted 29.11.2023.
Alexander A. ALESHIN (, ORCID: 0000-0002-7872-3298,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation.
UK’s foreign policy interests are global in nature due to place the county has in the world economy and finance, science and technology, especially after its withdrawal from the EU. This country has retained deep economic and political ties with former colonies and it controls a number of strategic territories around the world. At the same time, in the context of the world order transformation and a more conflict-ridden international environment, the UK does not have sufficient potential to single-handedly defend certain allies or partners. In addition, significant restrictions on the country’s foreign policy capabilities are imposed by the asymmetrical ‘special relations’ with the US. As a result, the British leadership assigns a special role to multilateral military-political structures (MMPSs), which contribute to the collective increase in the defence potential of their participants. The article examines MMPSs with the UK participation, classifies them and examines their place in the structure of British foreign policy in a time of world order transformation. It is substantiated that multilateral formats allow the UK to achieve more influence than bilateral relations, to act beyond its capabilities and remain an active player not only in Europe, but also globally, relying on the ‘special relations’ with the US. MMPSs allow not only to use available resources more efficiently, but also to pursue a policy of containing competitors such as Russia and China, as well as to project ‘soft power’. The phenomenon of international relations has been studied from the point of view of the international relations theories. It is noted that the nature, essence and functions of MMPSs are explained differently in accordance with different theories. The basic characteristics of the main theoretical approaches are identified, the corresponding functions of the MMPSs are analyzed and applied to the British case. It is substantiated that the combination of theoretical approaches when studying MMPSs encounters serious inter-paradigmatic contradictions, and therefore the development of an appropriate middle-level theory seems to have potential.


About the author: Alexander A. ALESHIN, Cand. Sci. (Polit.), Senior Researcher, Sector for International Organizations and Global Political Governance, Department for International Political Problems. 
Competing interests: no potential competing financial or non-financial interest was reported by the author.
Funding: no funding was received for conducting this study.

For citation:

Aleshin A. The UK in Multilateral Military-Political Structures. Analysis & Forecasting. Journal of IMEMO, 2023, no 3, pp. 35-48.

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