Britain In The World

A Policy Exchange Project
Commonwealth flag

Commonwealth Summit – A new opportunity for an old institution?

Does the presence of an Indian Prime Minister after several years of absence, Brexit and a return to great power politics offer a new role for the Commonwealth?
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NATO

The collective action to Russia was in part a result of the UK’s firm unilateral response

Policy Exchange's Professor John Bew, whose essay on the Skripal affair was discussed on the Today programme, argues that the UK's initial response to Russian aggression paved the way to wider, collective action.
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The signing of the North Atlantic Treaty

An American perspective on Pesco: The dangers of de-linking EU defence from NATO

US Army officer T.S. Allen discusses the launch of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (Pesco) at last month’s European Council summit. While there may be benefits in terms of improvements in capabilities, there is a danger that Pesco represents a trend towards de-linking European defence from NATO in search of EU 'strategic autonomy’.
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Washington Conference

The new US National Security Strategy: implications for UK National Security Policy

Reviewing Lt Gen McMaster’s keynote speech at Policy Exchange’s Anglo-American conference, Professor John Bew highlights how the new American National Security Strategy will refocus on ‘competitive engagement’, providing support for friendly countries on America’s security frontier while requesting greater ‘reciprocity’ from US allies. Professor Bew also suggests how this should be interpreted by the UK’s ongoing Capability Review.
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Ireland and Northern Ireland map

Perspectives on the Irish Border and Brexit negotiations

Two of Policy Exchange’s leading experts on Irish Affairs, former Irish diplomat Ray Bassett and former Special Adviser to the First Minister of Northern Ireland Dr Graham Gudgin, evaluate the Stage 1 Brexit Agreement published last week. Although welcome progress has been made, key issues remain outstanding and have the capacity to present difficultly if not resolved.
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HMS Queen Elizabeth

Beware excessive “declinism” – we’re putting more money into UK defence but American warnings must also be heeded

Policy Exchange’s Gabriel Elefteriu warns that we should beware the declinist narrative that too often pervades discussion of UK defence capability. He cautions this can too often verge on a self-fulfilling prophesy and we should acknowledge that the Government is now increasing defence spending. Equally, it is important that American warnings are headed, particularly on the retention of specific capabilities.
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NATO

The return of the internationalists? Unpacking Labour’s position on foreign policy.

Last week, Chuka Umunna spoke to Chatham House in a much-needed intervention on the state of British foreign policy. In recent years, the British foreign policy debate has not kept up with the pace of global political and economic change. For that reason alone, there was much to commend in Umunna’s sense of urgency. To adapt to the challenges of the twenty-first century, as he put it, “we need to look ahead and develop a proper national strategy on the basis of a clear understanding of what our interests are”.
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DExEU’s paper on post-Brexit UK-EU security and defence cooperation: a question of influence

National Security Fellow Gabriel Elefteriu responds to the launch of the Government’s new paper on UK-EU security and defence cooperation after Brexit. The paper is a welcome starting point in efforts to improve the “mood music”, given recent acrimony in Brexit negotiations. It is right to stress areas of common interest with the EU27 and the UK’s vital role in European security, which is likely to continue for many years. However, there are still questions to answer about the proposed “deep and special relationship” with the EU, and how this is to be squared with renewed efforts to reinvigorate the NATO alliance.
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After the North Korean crisis

Britain in the World Research Fellow Gabriel Elefteriu discusses further implications of the North Korea crisis, noting that there is “no historical precedent for the present crisis, and attempting to apply ‘lessons’ from the past is extremely dangerous in these circumstances.” War “could be catastrophic in material and geopolitical terms, with incalculable evolutions and consequences” but the crisis is likely to force the US to devote even more resources to the Pacific, with consequences for its strategic posture in other parts of the world.
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The EU is becoming less hospitable for Ireland – it’s time it joined Britain in leaving

Ray Bassett – Policy Exchange’s Senior Fellow on EU Affairs – argues that the economic interests of Ireland are more closely aligned with the UK than the EU. As such Ireland should consider leaving the EU too.
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Latest Publications

The Cost of Doing Nothing: The Price of Inaction in the Face of Mass Atrocities

The Cost of Doing Nothing: The Price of Inaction in the Face of Mass Atrocities

This report is based on work begun by Jo Cox MP (1974-2016) and Tom Tugendhat MP. It was completed by Alison McGovern MP and Tom Tugendhat MP

“There are few more complex questions than when to intervene overseas. Jo Cox was an inspirational humanitarian who cared deeply about preventing violence and protecting people around the world. It is a fitting part of Jo’s legacy that this paper will challenge politicians of all parties to consider how we can put such considerations at the heart of the decisions we take.” (Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Prime Minister.

After Iraq: When to go to war?

After Iraq: When to go to war?

This lecture by Professor Nigel Biggar was delivered at Policy Exchange on 31 January 2017. The lecture reflects on some of the moral lessons we should and should not learn from the recent history of British military interventions abroad, in view of the challenges and dilemmas Britain is likely continue to face in the future. After Iraq, it asks, what are the circumstances in which Britain should go to war?

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Latest Blogs

The return of the internationalists? Unpacking Labour’s position on foreign policy.

The return of the internationalists? Unpacking Labour’s position on foreign policy.

Last week, Chuka Umunna spoke to Chatham House in a much-needed intervention on the state of British foreign policy.

In recent years, the British foreign policy debate has not kept up with the pace of global political and economic change. For that reason alone, there was much to commend in Umunna’s sense of urgency. To adapt to the challenges of the twenty-first century, as he put it, “we need to look ahead and develop a proper national strategy on the basis of a clear understanding of what our interests are”.

DExEU’s paper on post-Brexit UK-EU security and defence cooperation: a question of influence

DExEU’s paper on post-Brexit UK-EU security and defence cooperation: a question of influence

National Security Fellow Gabriel Elefteriu responds to the launch of the Government’s new paper on UK-EU security and defence cooperation after Brexit. The paper is a welcome starting point in efforts to improve the “mood music”, given recent acrimony in Brexit negotiations. It is right to stress areas of common interest with the EU27 and the UK’s vital role in European security, which is likely to continue for many years. However, there are still questions to answer about the proposed “deep and special relationship” with the EU, and how this is to be squared with renewed efforts to reinvigorate the NATO alliance.

After the North Korean crisis

After the North Korean crisis

Britain in the World Research Fellow Gabriel Elefteriu discusses further implications of the North Korea crisis, noting that there is “no historical precedent for the present crisis, and attempting to apply ‘lessons’ from the past is extremely dangerous in these circumstances.” War “could be catastrophic in material and geopolitical terms, with incalculable evolutions and consequences” but the crisis is likely to force the US to devote even more resources to the Pacific, with consequences for its strategic posture in other parts of the world.

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Latest News

New Anglo-American project launched with high-level conference in Washington

New Anglo-American project launched with high-level conference in Washington

Policy Exchange launched our new Anglo-American project with a high level conference in Washington to debate US-UK Relations in a Changing World. Both the US National Security Adviser Lt Gen HR McMaster and the National Security Adviser to the British Prime Minister, Mark Sedwill CMG, spoke at the event – the first time the two holders of these positions have appeared together in public. The event attracted widespread media coverage including from Bloomberg, Newsweek, ABC News, Voice of America, Washington Times, The National, Mail Online and the New York Times.

Niall Ferguson compares balance of power to Congress of Vienna at Policy Exchange’s Anglo-American conference

Niall Ferguson compares balance of power to Congress of Vienna at Policy Exchange’s Anglo-American conference

Professor Niall Ferguson, who spoke at the launch of Policy Exchange’s new Anglo-American project, argued that the best historical analogy for the current balance of powers is with the pentarchy of five great powers that dominated European (and hence world) affairs for a century after the Congress of Vienna of 1814-15. A modern pentarchy was created in the form of the permanent members of the UN Security Council. Professor Ferguson argues that “Whether or not these five great powers can make common cause once again is the great geopolitical question of our time.”

Policy Exchange welcomes Hon James Mattis

Policy Exchange welcomes Hon James Mattis

Policy Exchange was delighted to welcome Hon James Mattis, US Secretary of Defense, to our offices. Secretary Mattis discussed the current global situation, a situation which includes the threats posed by North Korea and a Russia seeking to challenge the territorial integrity of its neighbours. He also spoke of the enduring importance of the UK–US Alliance and of Britain’s continued moral voice on the world stage, as Policy Exchange argued for in The Cost of Doing Nothing. He also praised Policy Exchange’s record of thought leadership in making the case for a Global Britain’s continued commitment to NATO.

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Latest Events

Australian Defence Industry and the United Kingdom

Australian Defence Industry and the United Kingdom

Dec 12, 2016

On Monday 12 December, Hon. Christopher Pyne MP — Australia’s Minister for Defence Industry and Leader of the House of Representatives — spoke at Policy Exchange about how, ‘as the rules-based global order faces increased challenges, [our] common values and our shared commitment to defend them are only strengthened’

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