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  • Tim Oliver

British Foreign Policy 10: 29.8~4.9

Each week I bookmark a great many items - articles, blog posts, reports, videos and much more - on British foreign policy. Sometimes I get around to reading, listening or watching them all. More often I manage to focus on a select few, most of which end up in my Zotero database. Each weekend I’m going to pick from these select few to produce a blog post - and eventually a Twitter thread - of ten items on British Foreign Policy published in the previous week. For each I’ll add a brief comment giving some context or sometimes setting out my opinion.

With the new leader of the Conservative party, and therefore the next prime minister, to be announced on Monday, there’s inevitably been lots of discussion about... Liz Truss.


1. Truss faces immediate choices over UK-EU relations, not least the NIP. Mujtaba Rahman of Eurasia Group offers a helpful Twitter thread on what lies ahead, especially in relations with Eurosceptic Tory MPs: https://twitter.com/mij_europe/status/1565226530183282690?s=21&t=w-1HWqbGZQa3Etov-Xzekw


2. It's not just the EU Truss plans to take a hardline with. According to The Times she'll take a harder line on China than previous PMs: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/liz-truss-will-declare-china-an-official-threat-for-the-first-time-3bk7jwqjx


3. Mikhail Gorbachev’s death led to a number of articles about the late Soviet leader's close relations with Thatcher, who famously said of him that ‘we can do business together'. That business, of course, helped bring the Cold War to an end https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/08/30/mikhail-gorbachev-death-relationship-margaret-thatcher-became/


4. If you think Truss is ‘crackers’ (to quote Matthew Parris recently in The Times) then you’ll think much the same of Nile Gardiner, of the US think tank Heritage, after reading his piece about how Truss is viewed from the other side of the Atlantic: https://www.heritage.org/europe/commentary/liz-truss-can-be-powerful-leader-the-free-world


5. A more nuanced set of insights on UK-US relations under Truss is offered by The FT (which also quotes Gardiner), pointing to more difficult relations ahead: https://www.ft.com/content/9e523a7e-f98a-4dba-aaa4-7b0f4612ce63


6. How Truss performs as PM in foreign affairs will be but a small part of how she does overall as PM. One of the best takes I've read about what PM Truss could be like is from the veteran chronicler of prime ministers, Anthony Seldon: https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk-politics/2022/08/why-liz-truss-will-fail


7. Truss has said she'll raise defence spending to 3%. Malcolm Chalmers of RUSI provides the detailed analysis of what this will mean in practice: https://rusi.org/explore-our-research/publications/occasional-papers/famine-feast-implications-3-uk-defence-budget

With helpful twitter thread here: https://twitter.com/RUSI_org/status/1565603149104267264?s=20&t=prseaxeEnkBCVJYD1hibww


8. Tom Tugendhat, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee and someone who some think will join Truss’s cabinet, sets out his ideas of UK foreign policy in an increasingly multipolar world of great power competition: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/united-kingdom/tom-tugendhat-britain-after-ukraine


9. Best summary I read this week of Truss's foreign policy was in The Fathom Journal of the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre. Also provides a good take on Truss's philosemitism and how she'll approach Israel: https://fathomjournal.org/liz-trusss-world-view-and-its-implications-for-uk-israel-relations/


10. And finally... ever wondered what happened to the Festival of Brexit? Or was it the 'Carnival of Brexit'? Or 'Unboxed'? Whatever it was called, it wasn't a success: https://www.politicshome.com/thehouse/article/festival-of-brexit-120-million



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