Following the vote to leave the European Union and the appointment of a new Conservative Government, the Bow Group reflects on its past foreign policy suggestions with the aspiration that they will influence future strategic thinking and debate on Britain's future.
The compilation features contributions from The Rt Hon. David Davis MP, James Gray MP, Bow Group Chairman Ben Harris-Quinney, Bow Group Research Fellow Hector Marchetti, Anna Kruglova and Harry Malins.
David Davis MP warns that the Conservative Party must be mindful of fulfilling its international obligations and defensive capabilities in order to engage with the world. James Gray MP considers the defence of the realm and what the priorities should be given the lack of a grand strategy. Bow Group Chairman Ben Harris-Quinney argues for an end to the neoliberal interventionist paradigm and to replace this with what Britain's priorities actually require.
Bow Group Research Fellow Hector Marchetti assesses the uncertain direction of Britain's role in the world and calls for greater engagement with the Commonwealth. Anna Kruglova argues that Britain should take the lead in addressing the inherent lack of democracy in the United Nations Security Council so as to allow regional powers greater participation. Harry Malins provides a research paper arguing that the next Strategic Defence and Security Review must give due consideration to national objectives, operational sovereignty, and the views of Britain's allies.
The Rt Hon. David Davis MP
"We must remember all that we have achieved by engaging with the wider world. Now is not the time to become insular. The UK has a long and proud history, and the global results are clear: widespread democracy, the rule of law, and free trade. A foreign policy based on these fundamentals will do much to address the Great Shrinking Britain myth."
What are we for in the world?
James Gray MP
"We really are not sure what Britain is for in the world. Are we the world’s policeman? Do we punch above our weight in global peacekeeping? Or are we simply guardians of our own peace and security? Do we just retreat to these shores, pull up the drawbridge and hope like heck? These and a great many questions like them lie unanswered (perhaps unasked) on the table of the National Security Council."
Good intentions aren't enough
"It is seen as backward, if not dangerous, to view the world through any other lens than that of neo-liberalism, and in foreign policy terms the panacea of neoliberal interventionism. There are, however, clear signs that this approach, and the foreign policy that has manifested from it, has failed to deliver either its stated aims or the will of the British people."
Squaring the Circles: The Future of Churchill's Foreign Legacy
"Britain needs its traditional allies. The United States and Europe will be steadfast. Yet, British foreign policy must now transition from Churchill’s three circles to focus on the Commonwealth. This new narrative must also explore bilateral relations across the world and use seats in intergovernmental institutions to advance these aims."
Britain is in a prime position to reform the UN Security Council
"The main problem inherent to the Security Council is therefore the lack of democracy in its organisation and in the decision-making process. What is usually suggested in order to overcome this problem is, first, expansion of the Council’s membership and, second, the reform of the veto power. These measures should help to create a more fair and democratic structure and provide states with more or less equal opportunity to participate in decision-making process."
Re-think the development of the SDSR
"The SDSR must be developed in the context of absolute clarity on the UK's national objectives. There should be an iterative discussion with the Treasury on resource requirements and availability – it isn't yet clear that the 2% of GDP allocated to defence will enhance military effectiveness, with the potential inclusion of new 'extras' such as war pensions meaning that defence spending is not really protected at all. It is also essential to understand the impact of any decisions made on our industrial base, and our long-term ability to maintain our technical skills base and operational sovereignty."