Applying a historical perspective, the British conception of state identity, sovereignty, and national interests has fairly consistently played itself out among four different nodes: (1) the United Kingdom (UK) as a composite state – that is, the perspective of internal colonization and shifting power relations between England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland; (2) the UK as a (post-/neo-)colonial power – that is, the perspective of British colonial relations, both in the classical age of imperialism and during and after decolonization; (3) the UK’s ‘special relationship’ with the United States (US) after the Second World War – that is, the UK as the US’s hegemonic lieutenant and a ‘third force’ in global affairs after the imperial decline; and (4) the UK’s difficult and often strained relations with Europe – that is, Britain as the ‘island nation’, cut off from the Continent and happily situated in the mid-Atlantic as an Anglo-Saxon bridge to North America.