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How to Turn ‘Global Britain’ from a Slogan to Reality


If the UK wants worldwide influence, and to retain the same level of global influence it enjoyed as an EU member, it has to invest in diplomacy.

Tough trade negotiations with the European Union (EU) may be over, but when it comes to Britain’s post-Brexit future, there is still a lot needs doing – especially when it comes to making sure British diplomacy is up to the monumental task of navigating the UK’s new geopolitical landscape.

'Global Britain' has become a catchy label for the government’s ambition to look beyond Europe for new commercial opportunities and pathways to global influence. But it will only be meaningful if the UK government recognizes extra investments are needed to make its vision a reality.

At a minimum, the UK needs to be an indispensable member of whatever team it joins – whether that is a coalition to tackle climate change, deter Russian political subversion, or balance China’s efforts to suffuse its state-first norms into international relations.

In this sense, a positive image of Global Britain must be earned, not declared. The government’s recent commitment of an additional £16 billion to the armed forces over the next four years is, in part, a recognition of this fact. But this sum will at best plug the shortfall for existing commitments to major platforms, such as making two aircraft carriers operational and modernizing the country’s nuclear deterrent.

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