world is on the move. The dynamics are changing. Europe is drifting away from the
has to be said that under Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s leadership he
is shifting to Trump’s Washington, both in style and content.
superpower upon whom we relied; the US is pushing a different agenda
from us. They are making disruptive unilateral
decisions which impact on us all.
to the UK are becoming more acute.
In truth There is an erosion of a rules based international order.
sense seems to be giving way to distrust, distancing from partners and
this with the migratory movement across the world – estimated to be 60m
fleeing economic crisis, deprivation, terrorism, conflict,
war. All adding to a sense of unreality.
we took for granted have shifted.
post Brexit, the United Kingdom is having to straddle a shifting deck
to find our role.
The US. Traditionally the champion and guardian of world
view on the world has created a minor earthquake. America
First has meant there is less room for allies to have a
role. His overseas policies can be decidedly
erratic – starts an initiative then jumps the other way.
is no longer the norm. And an increasing use of a
new weapon – sanctions.
In the last
year we have seen President Trump unilaterally withdrawing the U.S from
the Intermediate Nuclear Arms Treaty with Russia.
He wants a
new Treaty which includes China.
NATO allies consulted?
Not surprisingly Russia has pushed back and become more aggressive.
unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear agreement with Iran despite the
fact Iran had honoured its obligations.
surprisingly the Iranians are restarting their enrichment of uranium
war with China impacts on us all. It has affected the world
Add to that
the threats from terrorism, and cyber attacks,
For us in
the UK the erosion of the international rules-based order supersedes
all other threats.
It is worth recalling, as Sir Mark Lyall Grant, our former National
Security Adviser told us a few months ago that, when the victors of WW2
set up new organisations such as UN, NATO, IMF/World Bank, WTO, the
universal declaration of human rights, WE DID SO, in our own image.
vision based on shared values of open trade, the rule of law, common
security, and human rights.
It is hard
to over-estimate the benefit that the UK – as the sixth biggest
economy, as a democratic, open trading nation gets
from a rules based order.
It is as
Sir Mark rightly said, ‘the sea in which we swim and we have invested
more heavily than most in it.’ But now
that rock of order is being shaken. It is under
severe threat. After the ending of the
Cold War, and a genuine rising warmth in relations (don’t forget how
Reagan and Gorbachev, moved into a new golden period, much
facilitated by Margaret Thatcher who said of the Russian Leader, ‘this
is a man we can do business with’.
how moving it was when Gorbachev arrived at Reagan’s Lying in
State, went up to the coffin, and laid his hand on it in a very
personal way signifying a friend with whom together
they had created a new world order.
have seen a systematic push back against this liberal international
In hindsight new reflections about military intervention on
sovereign states, be it Iraq, Libya,
Afghanistan. Promoting regime change is none of our
business but that was the effective message.
Financial Crisis in 2008 undermined public faith in elite’s ability to
manage global capitalism. Sup prime in the US
caused an economic flu elsewhere.
Most fundamentally, geopolitical shifts have been
significant, especially the rise of China. This has
caught us on the hop. They used soft power to move
across the globe. Number 2 economy and growing fast, despite
a slow down. In any case a different culture, language, different
political system have made them seemingly unfathomable.
Add to all
this, blatant violations of the international order, such as Russian
annexation of Crimea, and China’s militarisation of disputed islands in
the South China sea.
and indeed even in the UK, we see a rise in populism which is
distorting the norms of democracy. Brexit fever may have
stunned us, but nationalism is on the rise everywhere including Europe
– And to cap
it all, the once champion of the liberal
international order the United States with the Trump regime has
overturned it all. Trump was quite open at the UN last year, he
attacked the ‘ideology of globalisation’.
American out of the TransPacific Partnership, the Paris agreement on
Climate Change, blocked the appointment of judges to the World Trade
Organization (important for the UK as this is the model we will be
working to) and now recognised Israel’s illegal occupation of the Golan
Heights and West Bank developments.
the strategic level, Trump has made it
clear he will challenge China in every corner,
military, economic and technological fronts, hence attacks on
Huawei. The US see them as a tool of the Chinese
government. Theresa May approved the G5
equipment. Boris Johnson is likely to reverse this
and take the US position.
war also impacts on the UK, handling a trade deal with Trump’s
administration whose priority is protecting their own market,
and using tariffs as their instrument of enforcement.
Depending on how you look at it, unless the UK outside the EU
can be more agile, it will lack the leverage to be taken seriously.
leads me to life after Brexit
James Everard, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander for Europe at NATO, told
us that while the UK remains an honoured and trusted
member of the NATO alliance, at the same time, leaving the EU
has cast us in another
mould. We will be very much on our own.
We will be
free to decide our own economic destiny, and will do so. But in reality
the world does not operate in isolation. We work with people
and alliances. We will not have the luxury of being
part of a trading block to support us.
It is true
that our international standing does not depend on our
membership of the EU. What is
important is maintaining the supremacy of the City
of London, our economic weight, history, democracy, culture, English
language, the excellent of our institutions, armed forces
professionalism, universities, innovative technology. All these and
indeed the Royal Family have a role in our Soft Power.
true to say that outside Europe our identity is not solely
linked, but we have been the bridge to the EU. BUT, AND
THIS IS IMPORTANT, our influence and standing cannot be taken
It needs to
be nurtured more than ever. The slogan ‘Global Britain’ must
ring true. As I have travelled all over the world, and seen our trading
ability, much needs to be done to make ‘Global Britain’ a reality.
need Government resource, backing, action. Just back from a
business trip to Algeria I see how the Governments of France, Germany,
Korea fund soft power in business and education.
Hence ascendency over us in contracts.
We have to
strengthen our international links, not reduce them. Take a lead with
the G7 and G20. Not leave that to Macron who brought in the Iranian
Foreign Minister to the sidelines at the Biarritz meeting.
We must be
clear minded as to our role and destiny.
I do not
want to see a repeat of the UK trailing behind flawed decisions by the
US to invade Iraq, and indeed Libya, let alone Afghanistan.
remember the days of Harold Wilson who was pressed by the US to send
troops to Vietnam. He refused. That did not break the
‘Special Relationship’. Certainly not. Friends should be
honest with each other. It was not in our interest to take part either
there or as later it turned out, elsewhere.
‘Global Britain’ should be independent minded
news is that today’s government has pledged another £2b to
defence. This will raise our spending to 2.5
percent of our GDP, well above the sum decreed as the norm for NATO
countries but largely not met.
I am uneasy
about our £14b allocated to overseas aid. Nearly half our
defence budget. In my view this should be reassessed
vigorously. Rwanda does not need to spend
£60,000 a year on empowering women. Far too much of
it goes into the corrupt pockets of local chiefs.
however desperately need help and at last British frigates have arrived
to deliver food and water. For a
Global Britain, we should divert resources to developing trade in
markets all over the world from developed economies to frontier and
empower countries with professional and technical training thus
enabling them to be more self-sufficient. We should
certainly use the budget to fund UK UN peacekeeping troops – and
increase the numbers there.
interested to hear reports of plans to expand our diplomatic network.
But they must be properly funded and staffed.
I trust we
will take a lead in bridging differences with perceived enemies.
always be open to meet and hear perspectives of other regimes and not
be dictated the US. We should
not shut the doors to dialogue as has happened in the past year with
Russia. Boris Johnson, while Foreign
Secretary refused to meet the Russian ambassador on the
grounds there is nothing to discuss following the Salisbury poisoning.
in protest against annexation of Crimea and occupation of the Donbas
region of Ukraine.
This is exactly the time to meet and talk.
There is a serious danger of miscalculation and misunderstanding.
frankly and honestly is not giving into a point of view we are opposed
The former Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov addressed DSF a few
months ago. He recalled
the years of the Cold War when the Foreign Minister could lift the
phone to his counterparts in the West. They could
meet, as diplomats should. Today they cannot do so,
either with London or Washington.
years the aim is to try to reach mutually acceptable solutions. And
when proved impossible, to at least minimize the impact on each other.
In Syria the US and Russia have co-ordinated. At other times
the lack of political will to reach out is dangerous and serious.
accusations as against searching for solutions should be the answer.
On the UN
Security Council we have the US and Russia diametrically opposed to
It is true that Russia is flexing its muscles. But as General
Everard said, ‘they are more of an irritant than a real
threat. For all that we should remain firm with them, yes
place more armed forces in the Baltics and Poland, but still maintain a
cannot Britain take a lead in being the honest broker?
In my view
we should resurrect the NATO Russia Council.
many issues when we should give leadership. Take Turkey for example.
an awkward member of NATO. Matters complicated by their
purchase of the Russian anti-missile defence system, the
out of the US refusing to supply Patriot missiles.
tat. The US is now refusing to supply fighter
planes, and plan sanctions.
consequence is that Turkey is shifting its relationship
closer to Russia and in turn China. This is
undoubtedly stretching the NATO’S patience but my contacts tell me it
is better to keep Turkey within the alliance, they make
excellent fighters, they have a strategic position, and weather this
finally plays its role. Hence the decision for a prisoner
exchange between Ukraine and Russia. Hardly palatable after
the downing of the Malaysian aircraft killing all 300 on board, or a
realistic move to decrease tensions?
Sometimes difficult decisions
have to be made.
entered a world of heightened security risks, on all levels.
Technological threats mean that a cyber war can close down entire
national systems. These are very real. Cyber attacks hitting our NHS,
or power resources.
attacks on two Saudi oil installations is a potent of things to come.
This has to
of Terrorism needs allies to share intelligence.
life after Brexit. We need to plan and work for it.
show wisdom, independence of spirit and intellect.
we are respected and trusted.
Global Britain, means playing a role on the world platform.
Demonstrating the ability to work on joint projects, maintaining close
relationships with our European friends and allies – brokering new
be confident that with the right ambition and leadership, we enhance
our influence in the world.
the Annual Subscription Form to join the
open Acrobat PDF documents, you need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader