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Cover UK Politics

13. The UK and the outside world  

This chapter starts by asking what are the things that a community regards as fundamental to the well-being of its citizens? They could be economic prosperity, security, or a stable environment. However, a state doesn’t exist in isolation. There is an outside world with which it has to interact with. This chapter explains how both the decisions that the UK takes about external policy and the way in which it takes them are subjects of intense interest and sometimes even controversy. They have consequences for the outside world as well as for the UK. These are two spheres that cannot be totally separated. An important question related to this discussion is: how far should external policy involve the self-interest of the UK? How far should we take into account our wider responsibilities as members of the global community? What powers can the UK wield internationally? To what extend is external policy subject to democratic accountability?