Russia was beginning to look outwards again. This was demonstrated in the Dogger Bank incident of October , when boats from the Baltic Fleet wrongly identified British fishing vessels as Japanese warships and fired upon them. Both sides agreed to refer the matter to international arbitration and further escalation was avoided. Aside from this incident, the likelihood of Britain and Russia declaring war against one another was low.
The greater risk lay in the possibility of a proxy war or a crisis in another country escalating, with the entrance of other countries creating a large scale war. Under this agreement, neither Britain nor France would obstruct the other in Morocco or Egypt, and would maintain the status quo there.
The Great Game - Wikipedia
There were a number of key individuals who were instrumental in furthering the understanding between Britain and Russia. The Russian Foreign Secretary, Alexander Petrovich Izvolsy, worked with his allies in government to promote the agreement. He supported the entente, despite domestic opposition, and in succeeded in introducing an agreement with Japan.
The turning point in British commitment came with the election of the Liberal Government in and the appointment of Sir Edward Grey as Foreign Secretary. International agreements did not mean that the agreeing nations were automatically allies, although these understandings made wider cooperation more likely, nor were they always reflections of mutual trust and values.
Treaties were a diplomatic means of reducing the risk of war, by identifying potential flashpoints and agreeing the division of interests. Ultimately the entente reduced tension between Britain and Russia at a critical point. Many countries in Asia were covered by such agreements, with the colonial powers marking their interests through them, but this type of approach was not just limited to far away countries.
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