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  • Writer's pictureTim Oliver

British Foreign Policy Must-Reads 28 Aug-10 Sep: G20, China, India, Horizon, Music, and 'woke' Bond

A two-week end of summer (not that the weather has noticed) collection of British foreign policy must-reads. Everything from Sunak at the G20 through to tensions with China, India trade deals (not soon) through to national service, UK rejoins Horizon while UK music struggles with Brexit, and is UK politics pragmatic again and did America make Bond 'woke'?

  1. G20—BFPG: Sunak at G20: What would Success Look Like? This morning (Friday 8th September) Rishi Sunak lands in New Delhi ahead of tomorrow’s Group of 20 (G20) Summit. His first trip to India as Prime Minister for the meeting of the world’s 20 largest economies will be an important diplomatic moment in his premiership. The Summit comes at a time of rising tensions between world powers and in which consensus is increasingly hard to forge. But how important is the summit? And what are Sunak’s prospects for success?

  2. Indo-Pacific tilt—House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee: Tilting horizons: the Integrated Review and the Indo-Pacific.

  3. China—FT: British policy on China lacks clarity and coherence, say MPs. Report urges foreign secretary to publish more details of strategy as he prepares for talks in Beijing.

  4. Taiwan—Politico: UK parliament calls Taiwan ‘independent country’ as Cleverly visits China.‘ Taiwan possesses all the qualifications for statehood,’ a parliamentary committee report says.

  5. China—Politico: Cleverly says UK ‘clear-eyed’ over China disagreements. The UK foreign secretary insists ‘diplomacy makes a difference.’

  6. China—FT: UK foreign secretary hits back at Tory critics of China policy. James Cleverly says a failure to engage with Beijing and seek investment would be a sign of ‘weakness’

  7. China—Guardian: Cleverly’s humiliating China visit was the perfect symbol of isolated, ill-led ‘global Britain’. The foreign minister set off with the aim of both ‘standing up for our values’ and securing profitable trade. He failed at both.

  8. China—Politico: UK’s Sunak raises ‘strong concerns’ over alleged China spy in parliament. British prime minister discusses case with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at G20 summit in India.

  9. India—Politico: Rishi Sunak in India for G20 summit with post-Brexit trade deal in sight. Slimmed-down UK-India agreement set to be signed by the end of 2023.

  10. India—Spectator: India’s century: Sunak’s plan for a new Indo-Pacific alliance.

  11. East Asia—Telegraph: Brexit Britain has set its foreign policy direction: it is heading East. The UK is not a small or unimportant nation. It is establishing itself as a key player on the world stage.

  12. Defence—UKICE: Security, defence and foreign affairs challenges facing the UK. As Rishi Sunak heads to the G20 in India, Malcolm Chalmers considers the security, defence and foreign affairs challenges the UK faces, the immediate and longer-term issues politicians will need to address, and the potential implications of the choices they might make. This piece is taken from our new report with Full Fact ‘Policy landscape 2023’.

  13. Army—UK Defence Journal: British Army strength reduction confirmed for 2025. Despite recent media speculation about a potential increase, the Ministry of Defence has again officially confirmed that the full-time strength of the British Army will indeed reduce to 73,000 by 2025.

  14. Maritime Security—RUSI: Admiral Sir Ben Key on the Utility of Maritime Power in Global Security. Admiral Key will share his insights on the fallout of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its implications for the Royal Navy. He will focus on the importance of maritime power as means to promote peace, security, and prosperity. Held since 2001, the annual Gallipoli Memorial Lecture aims to illustrate how the contribution and sacrifices of Australian and New Zealand forces more than a century ago can inspire countries today to use their military instruments to best effectiveness.

  15. National service—Onward: Great British National Service. How national service could develop skills, improve mental wellbeing, and increase a sense of belonging among Britain’s youth.

  16. UK-EU Border Checks—Bloomberg: UK Confirms Three-Month Delay to Post-Brexit Border Checks.

  17. Brexit and Music—UK Music: Eight Out of Ten Brexit-hit Music Creators Say Their Earnings Have Plunged Since UK Left EU – UK Music Survey Reveals. The devastating impact of the UK’s departure from the European Union is laid bare in a new survey of music creators by UK Music, the collective voice of the UK music industry.

  18. Brexit and EVs—Politico: EU split over post-Brexit electric car tariffs gives Britain hope. EU trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis favors UK calls to extend deadline but faces opposition from internal market supremo Thierry Breton, say sources.

  19. Rejoining the EU—FT: Rejoining the EU remains a very distant dream. Even returning to the single market or customs union is a hard argument for an electorate queasy about reopening divisions.

  20. Labour and the TCA—CER: What approach should Labour take to the 2026 TCA review? A Labour government will want to reshape relations with the EU. The 2026 review of the trade deal offers only limited scope for change – but that should not constrain Labour’s ambitions.

  21. Horizon—UKICE: The Horizon deal is a success, but also a warning. Joël Reland dissects the news that the UK and EU have reached an agreement on the UK’s re-entry into Horizon Europe. He argues that although the Horizon deal is a success, the difficulty reaching an agreement – despite mutual interest – highlights how challenging it is to build a closer relationship with the EU.

  22. Euratom—Euractiv: UK sets out nuclear research plans after rejecting Euratom membership. The UK has set out plans to invest up to £650 million to support domestic nuclear fusion research programmes running until 2027, after confirming earlier this week that it would not join the EU’s Euratom nuclear energy research scheme.

  23. Public opinion—UKICE: What do voters think about foreign policy post-Brexit? Using data from UK in a Changing Europe’s regular public opinion tracker with Redfield and Wilton, Sophie Stowers highlights five key trends in attitudes towards foreign policy and Britain’s place on the world stage.

  24. Africa—BFPG: UK-Africa Relations, a Renewed Focus for ‘Patient Diplomacy’? On July 31st, Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, touched down in Ghana to begin his third visit to the African continent since his appointment. With Africa a growing epicentre for investment from both allies and rivals alike, Cleverly’s sought to use his four-day journey across the continent, which included visits to Zambia and Nigeria, as well as Ghana, as an opportunity to cultivate forward-looking partnerships with nations that haven’t historically been top of the UK’s priority list. During his travels, the Foreign Secretary made a number of new announcements, including a new UK-Zambia clean energy partnership, a programme to tackle illicit flows in illegal gold, and pledged £40 million in funding through BII to support small businesses in Ghana. But what will the lasting impact of the trip be? And what does this renewed focus on UK-Africa relations say about wider UK foreign policy?

  25. East Africa—RUSI: Furthering Global Britain? Reviewing the Foreign Policy Effect of UK Engagement in East Africa. This paper provides background on recent UK policy towards East Africa, summarises the research findings for RUSI's project 'Furthering Global Britain? Reviewing the Foreign Policy Effect of UK Engagement in East Africa’ and offers recommendations for the UK government with relevance both to the region and to an integrated foreign policy globally.

  26. Afghanistan—RUSI: Afghanistan: A Final British Betrayal? Two years ago, on 28 August 2021, the final British evacuation flight took off from Kabul airport. Thus ended 20 years of British endeavour in Afghanistan. Some was ineffectual, but some inspirational. This is the story of a major success, but with a decidedly bitter aftertaste.

  27. Asylum Policy—Bright Blue: Alternative policies for the UK’s asylum system. This report analyses UK public attitudes towards the principles and policies of the asylum system in the UK. The findings provide a strong case to – and policy advice for – this Conservative Government for reforming the asylum system.

  28. Food security—NationalWorld: Farmers 'frustrated and worried' about government attitude with UK's food security at risk.

  29. Climate change—Chatham House: Making climate an election issue risks undermining the UK’s international role. The views of voters are uncertain, while the damage to UK relations – and the climate – is inevitable.

  30. ECT—Politico: UK weighing exit from controversial energy treaty. Ministers say ECT must be ‘modernized as quickly as possible’ — or UK will consider leaving.

  31. British pragmatism—FT: The UK is becoming a pragmatic country again. Britain has turned against radical politics faster than other rich nations because it has lost more from it.

  32. No British pragmatism—The Critic: The fantasy politics of pragmatism. Janan Ganesh is wrong about radical politics.

  33. USA—FT: US allies need to wake up to the Trump question. The implications for global institutions, international law and order and the predictability of a world superpower are stark.

  34. James Bond—NYT: How American Made James Bond ‘Woke.’

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