Core assumptions and British strategic policy


This report from the UK think tank The Henry Jackson Society reviews the 15 core assumptions of British foreign policy.

The “principles that Number 10, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the Ministry of Defence are guided by” have been branded “progressively obsolete”, by the former Defence and Foreign Secretary, Sir Malcolm Rifkind. The stark warning comes in a report which concludes that 15 core assumptions of British foreign policy are outdated and no longer apply to the world we live in. The report’s assessments – backed by Sir Malcolm – are that the assumptions are either outdated, inaccurate or wholly erroneous. It warns that each of them of them require urgent re-evaluation. The proposals come as the Government conducts the “deepest review of Britain’s security, defence, and foreign policy since the end of the Cold War”. The core assumptions studied are those the author, James Rogers, Director of the Global Britain Programme, claims lie at the heart of British foreign policy that have lost relevance or accuracy in the past 20 years. Sir Malcolm’s remarks are included within the foreword to the report, in which he also says that “unlike Japan or Germany” the UK will remain a “global power” as China continues its rise. Britain’s supposed foreign policy drift on the enduring influence of “globalisation” beyond its applicability, which Julian Lewis MP (Former Chairman of the Defence Select Committee) blames in an endorsement to the report for the “weakness of our current posture”. However, the report warns that a detour to either ‘compensationism’ or ‘isolationism’ is equally inadvisable.

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