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Johnson’s vision of global Britain greeted with scepticism

9th Apr 2021

Hamed Chapman

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s long-awaited blueprint of his post-Brexit foreign policy that makes the UK even more dependent upon the US has been greeted with much scepticism.

“In all our endeavours, the United States will be our greatest ally and a uniquely close partner in defence, intelligence and security,” Johnson told Parliament as he presented an integrated 114-page review of ‘Global Britain in a competitive age.’

At the centre were plans to renege on the pursuit of non-proliferation in recent decades by revealing an increase in the number of Trident warhead stockpile by more than 40 per cent to align Britain’s status as a nuclear power with Washington.

Other announcements included a new counter-terror operations centre to link up spies, police and prosecutors in combating the threat from both violent extremists and hostile states, namely, Russia.

“We will stand up for our values as well as for our interests,” the premier said though backed down on confrontation with China, which he preferred to describe as posing “a great challenge for an open society.”

After rejecting the European Union, the strategy highlighted a shift in focus towards Indo-Pacific countries, which was described as the world’s “growth engine.” Johnson said he would “work with China where that is consistent with our values and interests”.
In Parliament, criticism was not only voiced by Labour leader Keir Starmer but also by Conservative Chair of the Defense Committee, Tobias Ellwood, who said he was hoping the Government would stand up to China.

Shadow Foreign Secretary, Lisa Nandy, said there was a “yawning chasm” between the Government’s words and its actions. “It wants to uphold international law but repeatedly breaks it,” she reminded Johnson.

“It lauds the importance of conflict resolution and counter-terrorism while cutting those programmes in Syria and Iraq. It preaches peace in Yemen but sells arms to Saudi. It wants to build alliances but antagonises our allies. It wants to lead on climate change but has no plan for net-zero”.

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