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Observer ‘s view on the role of’ global Britain ‘| Observer Editorial opinion

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Tit Global Britain the mantra was adopted by Theresa May at the 2016 Conservative party conference in an effort to define post-Brexit countries’ relations with the world. According to the Foreign Office, this means investing in our relations, upholding the rule-based international order, and demonstrating that the UK is open, outward-looking and secure on the world stage.

The fact that this is what post-war Britain has always done, or tried to do, has not prevented Boris Johnson from claiming it is a new idea. Yet his government has repeatedly failed to articulate coherent strategies to achieve these laudable goals. An example is the still-delayed integrated defense and foreign policy review. At a time when key relations with the US, Europe and China are facing major tensions, this lack of vision and direction is very damaging.

The parliaments’ foreign affairs committee highlighted the problem in a harsh recent report. UK international policy has been weak. It lacked clarity. More than four years after the sound of sound was first used to encapsulate the UK’s international role … many of them [the committees] contributors still told us they did not know what global Britain stood for. Addressing this movement without the steering wheel had been made more urgent by the pandemic, she said.

The quarrel over a projected cut of ALL 4 billion for the foreign aid budget perfectly illustrates the lack of united thinking. As former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron have warned, such budget vandalism would seriously undermine the soft power and international influence of the British while shattering solemn commitments to less fortunate people and countries.

Johnson, chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and stubborn Tory MPs who previously questioned the legally binding commitment to spend 0.7% of GDP on overseas aid should heed their warnings and those of 187 charities and British aid. When 115 million people appear to be pushed back into extreme poverty, now is the time for an international, cooperative response to Covid-19, they said in an open letter published last week.

Speaking of spotter Today, Canterbury Archbishop Justin Welby echoes these concerns as he makes a broader point: Maintaining our commitment to aid is a strong signal that the UK is a reliable partner for long-term economic, social, environmental and educational progress in across the globe. Credibility is essential to Britain’s global message. Does Johnson really want the G7 leaders he will be hosting next year to worry about if the UK can be trusted?

The chronic lack of thought-out strategy is also evident in the defense announcement of recent weeks, filled with Johnsonian grandiose claims and catchy title whistles. It makes sense to update Britain’s cyber defense, but whether Britain needs its space command, imitating Donald Trumps, is more open to debate.

It is irresponsible to allocate a large amount of 16.5 billion for protection, at the top of the annual budget protected by inflation of 41.5 billion ALL, without explaining how this makes citizens safer, or how they will be financed. It is offensive to anyone who measures security with the ability of our society, for example, to provide free school meals, reduce poverty, provide decent education and housing, stop the Britains Covid-19 nightmare, and keep its promises. of foreign aid.

Protecting the sphere should come first, Johnson declared pompously, using language reminiscent of the 19th century. Does he predict the Nelsonian naval battles against the invading French fishermen and Sudanese migrants after January 1? At Johnson, strategic vision and common sense are equally lacking. Despite what he says, it really does not matter whether or not the United Kingdom remains Europe ‘s main military power. It is not a competition. Those days are over.

Global Britain does not mean Britain against the world. In a complex international arena, the focus should be on shared values, cooperation, alliances, soft power and integration, especially with the EU. In pronouncing about the future, Johnson shows that he is stuck in the past.

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