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Author: Stuart Rock
Written on: 18 January 2021
Last updated: 27 January 2021

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Trade, foreign aid, soft power, defence, diplomacy
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Global Britain: room with a Bew


The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy (the Integrated Review) is due to be published soon.

It has a pretty ambitious scope: to "define the Government’s vision for the UK’s role in the world over the next decade" and "to set the long-term strategic aims of our international policy and national security, rooted in our national interests, so that our activity overseas delivers for the British people. The Review will cover all aspects of international and national security policy, such as defence, diplomacy, development and national resilience."

Leading the review is Belfast-born historian (and son of two historians), the 40-year-old biographer of Clement Attlee and expert in realpolitik, John Bew. He's the subject of this interesting profile on Politico by Charlie Cooper.

Currently a director of Kings College London’s “Centre for Grand Strategy,” Bew reckons that "British strategic thinking has been next to nonexistent" since 1960. Now he leads the work to give intellectual and practical substance to the concept of Global Britain.

Cooper quotes someone "familiar with Bew’s strategic approach": “For the last 300 years every time the world has been in flux there has been a British voice and very often a British fist or pen on the table controling the next turn of the wheel...This could be the first time in 300 years that’s not true. Will we be a hegemonic power like China or America? No. But if we invest properly can we be the convener of, say, the next 10 largest powers?”

We'll be following this with great interest.

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