Dreaming of Empire? UK foreign policy post-Brexit

November 2016

A new briefing outlines a gradually emerging picture of what kind of policies the current government is likely to pursue in a post-Brexit world, gleaned from a series of speeches, interviews and meetings of senior political and military figures.
 
'Dreaming of Empire? UK foreign policy post-Brexit' identifies four key trends of Britain’s post-Brexit policy, warning that it will:

  • embed an extreme version of free trade that pushes developing countries to open their markets;
  • increasingly privatise development aid to the benefit of big corporate interests;
  • develop closer ties with authoritarian regimes, including expanding arms sales;
  • use its military power to secure its financial and economic interests.

The briefing argues that such policies are, “are based on an outdated vision of empire, previously marginal to British political debate, which contains deeply worrying implications for the battle against poverty, inequality, climate change and war.”
 
Nick Dearden, the director of campaign group Global Justice Now said:
 
“However they voted in the EU referendum, we continue to believe that most people in Britain want to live in a peaceful and humane world, where a more equally shared prosperity is based upon mutual exchange with other countries. This government’s post-Brexit vision sees trade as an act of violence, looking back to a time when our gunships forced open markets, when our firms sold weapons to the world’s worst tyrants, when our aid was used to cajole and bribe. A purely backward-looking vision of a Britain that grew rich from the exploitation and impoverishment of others. We don’t have to accept this vision – we can fight for a better country in a more equal world.”
 
The briefing was commissioned by Global Justice Now and written by researcher Mark Curtis.

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