By Marc Ramsingh
Is the United Kingdom still a world power?
The bottom line is yes, the United Kingdom has been a world superpower since its conception in 1922 — even as its former name Great Britain since 1707. Some form of the UK has been around and in power for what feels like every significant event in history.
While 2023 will most likely be a down year to be a citizen of the UK due to a looming recession and questions about military capability, it’s no question that the UK will bounce back in the coming years. The UK ranks as a top five world power according to the Global Fire Power Index, but the concern here is that the United States- an ally of the UK- questioned its military capabilities. For the UK to be called out so publically is concerning.
The UK is slipping from its status on the world stage, with events like Brexit costing the UK 100 billion dollars per year. It is plausible that the decision-makers in the UK have not been acting with all the options weighed properly. Brexit was the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, whose membership granted the UK unprecedented ease of access to business and collaboration between member countries.
What’s next for the UK?
The United Kingdom is in an interesting predicament. With the UK being one of the few western countries likely to enter a serious recession, it’s difficult to forecast the future.
One option is that somehow they hold out of a recession and pour capital into restoring a seemingly dwindling military which could reasonably be restored within the decade however on paper we wouldn’t notice any changes within reason to its ranking among other world powers.
Another scenario for the UK is that they fall into a recession, which would mean that temporary military and economic capabilities waiver. This would mean that the UK would rely more on its western allies including the unlikely possibility of them rejoining the EU to stimulate the economy.
A key gear that must be handled for the UK to handle any domestic or international issues is to find a consistent and constant Prime Minister. We’ve seen the likes of Boris Johnson step down due to sexual misconduct allegations, and Liz Truss step down frankly because she was unable to handle that position, citing that she went “too far and too fast”. The new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak could be the answer, given his initiative to bolster his economic plan.
Will the United States change its position toward the UK?
What we could expect from the US is to temporarily become less reliant on the UK as a military ally, and possibly bolster its military bases in the region to secure the area and NATO territory. It is important to note that these changes are temporary; Defense Secretary Ben Wallace was told privately by US generals that they simply didn’t have the capability of defending themselves or their allies. This analysis happens regularly between ally countries to send signals addressing your weakness; this is different in that the critiques went out to the public (and there was some truth to the criticism).
The United States and the UK will continue to be close allies and this is only a hiccup and a growth moment for the two nations. Publicly we won’t notice a change as the UK is still competent and the US will continue to support them.
Photo Courtesy // REUTERS, Thomas Mukoya //