When Strategic Foreign Policy Considerations Did Not Trump Economics: British Cold War Policies on East-West Trade
In the nineteenth century Britain became the modern trading nation par excellence and dominated the world’s industry and commerce for decades. Its championing of free trade had important implications for foreign policy, which was largely directed at keeping open world markets, world trade routes and communications with the empire. But within that dominant foreign policy culture there was an anomaly. When at war Britain used her naval dominance to starve opponents of war supplies: trade then was not free and strategic considerations trumped commercial principles and commercial gain regarding a narrow category of trade with direct war-making potential.
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