BFP Must-Reads 13.3-19.3: Integrated Review and AUKUS
About as packed a week in British foreign policy as they come. It means three sets of 10 British Foreign Policy Must-Reads covering: i) the Integrated Review Refresh; ii) the AUKUS deal; iii) the rest of Britain's international relations (UK-EU relations, Brexit, Rare earths, CPTPP, Anglosphere, Labour's foreign policy, Anglo-Irish Relations, and how the row about Gary Lineker's comments shows the UK refusing to tackle the big domestic and international issues facing it).
Integrated Review Refresh
HMG: Integrated Review Refresh 2023: Responding to a more contested and volatile world.
Chatham House: Bronwen Maddox and David Lawrence — UK is too tight on the money and too vague on China. The new UK Integrated Review fills gaps left by the last one but is dominated by defence. It needs more clarity on Europe, trade, and development – and more money.
RUSI: Veerle Nouwens and Ed Arnold — Unnecessary Delay: The Integrated Review Refresh 2023. The refresh to the UK’s Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy was directed to ‘ensure the UK’s diplomatic, military and security architecture is keeping pace with evolving threat posed by hostile nations'. The refresh provides a welcome comprehensive summary of UK foreign policy, but starves allies of the crucial detail of the UKs defence policy.
ECFR: Nick Witney — Sanity returns to British foreign policy. Rishi Sunak has reintroduced sensible pragmatism to British foreign policy – but the nature of today’s Tory party means he is not out of the woods yet.
BFPG: Evie Aspinall — The Refresh of the Integrated Review of UK Foreign Policy: 10 Key Insights
FT: Stephen Bush — Sunak adopts European mainstream with fresh language on defence. Integrated review highlights end of ‘peace dividend’, as extra cash for defence will have to come from other public services.
FT: Jasmine Cameron-Chileshe and John Paul Rathbone — Rishi Sunak promises to ‘fortify’ Britain against threats from Russia and China. Extra £5bn boost to military spending included in update to UK defence and foreign policy.
The Pinstriped Line: Integrated review Refresh — Initial Reaction.
The Economist: Britain takes a fresh look at its foreign policy. A new review sets out an ambitious if gloomy vision.
New York Times: Mark Lander — Sunak’s Pivot Away From ‘Global Britain’ Makes Friends on World Stage. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has dropped Boris Johnson’s bombastic approach to foreign policy, reflecting the new British leader’s personal style and the country’s changed global status.
HMG: UK, US AND Australia launch new security partnership. ‘AUKUS’ partnership will work to protect our people and support a peaceful and rules-based international order.
The Pinstriped Line: Down Under On Nuclear Power — AUKUS and its impact on the Royal Navy.
RUSI: Sidharth Kaushal — SSN-AUKUS: Opportunities, Risks and Implications. The planned development of Australia’s own nuclear attack submarine could benefit Canberra, London and Washington – but it is not without substantial risks.
UKICE: AUKUS – an Australian perspective. Ben Wellings and Richard Hayton analyse the AUKUS defence pact from an Australian perspective and the announcement that the UK and the US will provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines.
The Washington Post: David Ignatius — How the submarine deal fits into the complex U.S. strategy for the Pacific. Monday’s announcement of the AUKUS partnership is a “present at the creation” moment for U.S. strategy in the Indo-Pacific. But despite China’s fears, the agreement isn’t a NATO-style containment pact. It’s the hub of something more flexible and adaptive.
War on the Rocks: Christopher Preble, Zack Cooper, Melanie Marlowe — Is AUKUS Flawed By Design? Chris, Melanie, and Zack debate the AUKUS deal, particularly the newly announced plan for Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines. Is this the best way to get a critical capability in Australian hands? Does it make sense from a cost or capability perspective? And should the United States be worried about selling Virginia-class submarines in the 2030s, right at the moment of greatest need? In addition, Chris commends Europe for stepping up, Melanie critiques Biden’s execution of the CHIPS Act, and Zack warns about underinvestment in Asia.
ASPI: Patrick Triglavcanin and James Rogers — AUKUS binds Britain to Australia and a free and open Indo-Pacific.
The Economist: The AUKUS pact is a model for Western allies. Pooling talent and resources is the only way to match China’s heft.
Politico: Rosa Prince and Cristina Gallardo — Pacific heights: With AUKUS, Britain finds new place in the world at last. Multi-decade military partnership with the US and Australia shows Britain now focused on the rise of China
Naval Technology: AUKUS braces for a leap in industrial efforts. Building SSNs is one of the most complex, expensive and time-consuming projects a shipyard and navy can undertake.
Rest of Britain's International Relations
UK-EU ~ UKCIE: The Anglo-French summit: a modest advance in foreign, security and defence policy? Richard Whitman suggests that the first Anglo-French summit since 2018 signalled a move towards greater normalisation in the bilateral foreign, security and defence policy relationship between London and Paris, but that more generally the relationship may less significant than it once was.
Brexit ~ UKICE: Is the Brexit debate really over? Perhaps not. John Curtice analyses the latest Redfield and Wilton Strategies/UK in a Changing Europe Brexit tracker poll, examining whether the public think that Brexit is settled or not.
Rare earths ~ BFPG: Rebecca Harding — Rare Earths: A Case for Closer Trading Relations between the UK and Vietnam. In the current context, where China is seen by the UK government as a strategic competitor, and potentially a strategic threat, there are clear reasons for working with other powers in the region to reduce the UK’s supply chain dependencies on China. In the rare earth metal space, deepening the relationship between the UK and Vietnam would allow supply chain resilience to be enhanced for one party and investment opportunities to be realised for the other. This report sets out to explore the importance of the UK-Vietnam trade corridor, and highlights the key reasons for focusing on deepening the Free Trade Agreement that exists between the two countries.
Regulatory Diplomacy ~ Brookings: Tom Wheeler — The UK and EU establish positions as regulatory first movers while the US watches.
CPTPP ~ FT: Alan Beattie — Britain’s bumpy ride to the Asia-Pacific. UK’s drive to join CPTPP trade deal more about spin and poison pills than substance.
Anglosphere ~ FT: John Burn-Murdoch — The Anglosphere needs to learn to love apartment living. Housebuilding rates in English-speaking states have fallen behind the rest of the developed world. See also this piece by Katy Balls in The Times about Sunak and Starmer pin hopes on Aussie rules. Labour sees lessons down under on how to eject a tired government but Australia’s election also offers hope for Tories.
Labour's foreign policy ~ The Economist: David Lammy on bringing Britain back to the world stage. The Labour MP wants the country to work closely with America.
Anglo-Irish Relations ~ The Political Quarterly: The Future of Irish-UK Relations: Borders and Identities after Brexit: Introduction, by Barry Colfer and Patrick Diamond. It is apparent that the consociational framework established by the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement (B/GFA) is under threat, while the UK's withdrawal from the EU poses major challenges for maintaining peace, prosperity and social cohesion in Northern Ireland (NI). The contributions to this special collection examine key elements of the post-Brexit reality, with a particular focus on NI and the future of the intergovernmental bodies established by the B/GFA. The implications of the UK government's attempt unilaterally to disapply parts of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland are examined.
Anglo-Irish Relations ~ The Political Quarterly: Towards a New Ireland, by Neale Richmond. Despite all the contemporary difficulties that we face on the island of Ireland, twenty-four years on from the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, there is a clear sense of hope for a better future. We should be optimistic for our shared future, even if we do not agree on what form that should take. We cannot discuss Northern Ireland or its future without acknowledging that Brexit has significantly shifted the conversation. Not only has it brought Anglo-Irish relations to a low not seen in the past twenty-five years, but it has also damaged the reputation of the UK internationally and brought the topic of Irish unity back to the fore of our political discourse.
Gary Lineker ~ FT: Janan Ganesh — Britain embraces trivia because it is stuck on the big issues. The fuss over Gary Lineker distracts a nation with no good choices on Brexit, growth and other important questions.