BFP10: 14.11-20.11 This is going to hurt
It was a week of global summits, stray missiles that could have started global war, and in Britain a budget that will make Britons worlds a lot poorer. The G20 at least was a step back to normal international relations as world leaders pressed the flesh. They even managed to agree that the war in Ukraine is exactly that: a war. The mood in Westminster was distinctly sombre, almost funeral-like, as Jeremy Hunt announced tax rises and spending cuts. They mean Britain faces an unprecedented collapse in living standards over the next few years. The standard of the UK's international relations, already damaged by years of arguments and uncertainty over Brexit, won't be immune to this.
Here then are my British Foreign Policy 10 from the week when the Chancellor announced £25 billion of tax rises to rectify the mess caused 55 days before by his predecessor’s £30 billion of tax cuts: 10 of the best reports, podcasts, twitter threads speeches etc. that I’ve added to my Zotero database this past week.
‘However much we may wish it to be, Brexit is not done.’ Alan Catzeflis addresses the issue that goes to the heart of Britain's politics, political economy, international standing, society, identity… but which too many British politicians dare not touch. ‘Brexit, Trump and the twilight of populism’
Anand Menon, writing for Foreign Affairs, sums up the dire state of the UK’s foreign policy in one headline and sub-headline: How Britain Stumbled: Brexit, Tory Incompetence, and the Hard Road Ahead
The Paris stock exchange overtaking London was one of several headlines this week connecting events to the long-run damage Brexit is having on the UK economy. Other headlines included ministerial regrets at the trade deal with Australia, a former member of the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee claiming Brexit had permanently damaged the UK’s potential economic output, and the continued need to use the European CE safety marking symbol because the UKCA symbol has been delayed. Paris overtakes London as Europe's biggest stock exchange.
‘Britain mulls Swiss-style ties with Brussels’, declared The Times. The Government quickly distanced itself from the claim, while commentators quickly identified it as another example of ‘cakeism.’ Daniel Henig offers a better take on where UK-EU relations currently are and what might become of them in future: A new dawn for UK-EU relations?
RUSI published a paper looking at the current state of Tempest, the proposed multi-role sixth-generation fighter aircraft announced by the MoD in 2018. The Tempest Programme: Assessing Advances and Risks Across Multiple Fronts. They look at capability requirements; technology; government–industry relations; international partnerships; and cost control and digitisation.
Staying with RUSI but returning to Brexit, Isabella Antinozzi takes a look at UK–EU Defence Cooperation and PESCO’s Military Mobility Project. She demystifies some of the claims, showing how UK involvement is no betrayal of Brexit but 'precisely the type of arrangement envisaged under Brexit: the UK liaising with European states where it is mutually advantageous to do so, and on issues critical to European security – to which the UK has been consistently and exceptionally committed.'
UK-Chinese relations look set to remain difficult, despite Sunak’s hopes. 'He wants to take the UK back to an earlier, less confrontational era of UK-China relations. But events and forces outside his control mean that he is going to struggle.’ Frosty UK-China relations are here to stay
Cross-channel relations are, at least, softening thanks to a deal over cross-channel migration. According to the FT, this has been possible because relations began to soften under Truss. Her trip to the EPC in October being described as not only a gesture well received in Paris but also, one French diplomat quipped, “the happiest moment” of Truss’s 44-day premiership. Cross-Channel deal marks thaw in Anglo-French relations
Two former prime ministers offered their views on international relations this week. Writing in The Guardian, Gordon Brown made clear that Nationalism is the ideology of our age. No wonder the world is in crisis. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson, speaking in Singapore, made clear his views on China. One guest at the Singapore dinner told The Guardian: “Boris was typically funny and charming but he was also pretty belligerent in his criticism of a bunch of foreign governments, especially China and Russia, which he described as coercive autocracies. In Britain it would have been absolutely fine to single out China. But in Asia it wasn’t.” Mike Bloomberg forced to apologise after Boris Johnson speech criticising China
And finally… Fortnum & Mason, home to some of Britain’s most elegant food, hasn’t sent its goods to most EU countries since January as a result of the bureaucracy and complications created by... yes, of course, Brexit. Brexit Red Tape Stifles Exports Despite Years of Preparations.