LONDON – Britain wants to tie itself closer to the United States in a dangerous world, according to a long-awaited blueprint for its foreign policy after Brexit, which was announced on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson presented the document – which grew out of a lengthy review of security, defense, development and foreign policy – as an argument for how Britain would remain globally relevant. One way, he said, is to help Biden’s government meet challenges from Russia and China.
“In all our efforts, the United States will be our greatest ally and a unique close partner in defense, intelligence and security,” he said. Johnson said in parliament. “We will stand up for our values as well as for our interests.”
The Prime Minister and his allies have long argued that Brexit would liberate Britain to act as a nimble maritime force on the world stage – a concept they called ‘Global Britain’, in a language more suited to marketing as diplomacy. This 100-page report was an attempt to put meat on the draft.
But it was less remarkable to emphasize the opportunities that awaited Britain, than to prepare the necessity for a world of threats and enemies. Cybercrime, nuclear deterrence and pressure on China, Russia and other people who abuse human rights will all be inevitable in Britain’s future role, he said. Johnson said.
Among his specific commitments: a $ 32 billion increase in military spending, including raising the cap on the British nuclear arsenal from 180 nuclear warheads to 260, and a plan to deploy his new aircraft carrier, Queen Elizabeth, to Asia, where it will strengthen the United States. State Navy to send a deterrent message to China.
In the report, Britain characterizes China as a ‘systemic competitor’, a language no different from US officials. Russia has remained a threat, he said, three years after poisoning several people with a deadly nerve agent in Salisbury, England, causing a diplomatic setback.
“It is structurally inevitable, given our other relationships, that we will have to turn to America,” said Simon Fraser, a former head of the British Foreign Office. “This is a great opportunity for Biden.” Still, he added, the review was a “serious attempt to think through the risks and opportunities.”
Critics have said that some of Mr. Johnson’s initiatives look big for a country that is now essentially a medium-sized power on the coast of Europe. The deployment of the transporter to Asia, for example, hampered the British imperial past, as well as the government’s emphasis on rebuilding its presence in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Prime Minister took note of this criticism and insisted: ‘Global Britain is not a reflection of old commitments, much less a big gesture, but a necessity for the security and prosperity of the British people in the coming decades. ‘
His aides pointed out that the Indo-Pacific strategy is a tipping point, not a pivot, citing the United States’ strategic shift to Asia under President Barack Obama, which some analysts have never lived up to. not.
The government said Britain’s interest was not nostalgic but focused on the future. Mr. Johnson invited the leaders of Australia, India and South Korea to attend a summit meeting of the Group of 7 countries hosting Britain in Cornwall in June.
Mr. Johnson plans to travel to India next month, his first overseas trip since the pandemic hit. He also wants to join the comprehensive and progressive agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the trade treaty that the United States abandoned after former President Donald J. Trump took office.
The transition of mr. Trump after President Biden once posed a risk to Britain. Unlike mr. Trump, Mr. Biden opposed Brexit and showed little interest in pursuing a trade deal with Britain. Mr. Trump hung a trade deal with the United States as a reward for Brexit.
But Mr. Johnson worked hard to get Mr. Praying to cultivate, announcing climate change and global health policies, as well as military spending, in line with the new president’s priorities.
In November, Britain will host the United Nations Climate Change Summit in Glasgow, Scotland. This will Mr. Biden is expected to give a stage to showcase the renewed US commitment to the Paris climate agreement. Britain’s military spending is an addition to NATO at a time when Mr. Pray also hope to promote the alliance.
But there are still places where Britain and the United States can separate. The lack of emphasis on Britain’s relationship with the European Union will disappoint some in the Biden government, which is trying to revive international cooperation after the unilateral approach of the Trump years.
Britain’s decision to expand its nuclear arsenal could also cause tensions. In its last defense review in 2015, the government announced the number of missiles and chiefs it planned to launch submarines. In this review, Britain said it would no longer provide figures for its operational stock.
“The decision to reduce the level of transparency in the UK’s nuclear stockpile will not go down well with US officials who want to make public more progress on nuclear disarmament,” said Malcolm Chalmers, the deputy director general of the United Kingdom. Royal United Services Institute, said. , a think tank in London. “The British decision on this could be more easily sold to the Trump administration.”