Whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, the UK will retain its capacity to act as a global power. Over the past year alone the Royal Navy has deployed three warships to the Pacific Ocean to support the rules-based international order and its regional allies – the United States, Australia, Japan and South Korea.
While there have always been potentially powerful countries, very few have really managed to spread their influence over long distances to shape the ideas and preferences of the wider world. The ability to influence the world – or specific regions – is not necessarily related to size and mass: the largest, most populous or wealthiest countries are not always the most powerful or dominant.
Influence results from a country’s ability to push its “culminating point” far away from its capital city. The term was popularised by Carl von Clausewitz to describe the maximum distance a military force can operate without becoming over-extended.
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