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Way back in the Colonial Era… it seemed a fine thing that a tiny cohort of middle-aged white men born in the United Kingdom could determine the fate of millions of people around the world… and the UK had plenty to offer the world at the time, bringing unheard-of mechanization to countries trying to improve the lives of their respective citizens. So it wasn’t all bad. But…
NEWSFLASH! Those days are over. The Royal Navy no longer rules the waves and the United Kingdom no longer consists of an Empire upon which the Sun never sets. And in no way should UK politicians be trying to roll the clock backward by empowering those who aren’t happy the world has changed.
In 1997, the UK government signed an agreement to return Hong Kong to China by the year 2000 — an agreement signed in good faith by both parties. And now that a small number of UK politicians, a tiny number of U.S. citizens (by the way, the U.S. was never a signatory of the treaty that returned Hong Kong to China) and several hundred thousand professional protesters from Hong Kong have decided they don’t like the deal, they think they have the right to overturn that good faith agreement.
Well, that just doesn’t cut it. So-called ‘seller’s remorse’ doesn’t present sufficient excuse to overturn a bilateral treaty signed between the UK and China. And that’s that. There’s no ambiguity in the treaty, therefore, there’s no room for debate, nor can there by any justification for failing to adhere to the terms and spirit of the treaty.
If you don’t like it that’s just too bad. Life isn’t fair and nobody ever said it was. So suck it up, people. An international treaty was signed in good faith — and both sides will keep their end of the bargain or chaos will ensue — as has been the case since time began. Check your Grade 12 history textbooks kids, because all the wars ever fought occurred because one side or the other didn’t adhere to the terms of an international treaty signed in good faith.
Thinking of Bringing Your HK Protest Movement to the UK?
Although I’m a supporter of Boris Johnson and his government, offering to host millions of Hong Kong residents in the United Kingdom wouldn’t be my first choice. It may be popular with certain American neocons specifically and China-haters around the world generally, it certainly isn’t the best thing for the average British citizen, the UK economy, future UK trade prospects in Asia, or for Britain’s reputation in the world as a country that abides by both the letter and spirit of international agreements.
Somebody should ask Nigel Farage what he thinks about the UK government offering UK citizenship to millions of Hong Kong protestors so they can simply relocate their violent protests to London. Stand well back, because you’re likely to receive a robust answer.
Not only Nigel Farage, of course. Millions of Britons might not want thousands of Hong Kong residents to suddenly appear in the UK, be granted UK citizenship, and be found protesting (perhaps violently) on behalf of HK issues every weekend in London, Brighton, Manchester or Glasgow.
Something to think about.
A sea-change is upon the United Kingdom whether some have come to that full realization or not
The relationship between the UK and the rest of the world is beginning to change as the UK exits the European Union. Not only that, but the relationship between the UK and the other Commonwealth countries is changing. And while all of that is occurring, it is also a time of change in the postwar international order.
These changes are coming and we have no ability to stop them. What we do have though, is the ability to choose whether these changes are ultimately negative or positive for Britain.
The days of ‘Win-Lose’ politics are over
When every second country (seemingly) has WMD weapons, suddenly Win-Lose doesn’t work anymore. Do we really want to solve every issue between nations with nuclear weapons? Because eventually, that’s what it will come to.
It’s great if you ‘Win’. But then you ‘Lose’ because the fallout from large nuclear explosions travel around the Earth a few times per season and nuclear particles continue to exist in the environment for decades (some isotopes linger for 20,000 years) and as everyone needs to breathe the air, eventually you will inhale and, well, (do I really have to tell you this?) your lungs will filter the radioactive isotopes out of the air.
The ‘Winners’ of a WMD conflict will also become ‘Losers’ of that conflict within months. It’s nonsensical to consider nuclear war in the 21st-century.
All of which means, that in the final analysis, international hot points must henceforth be solved by the cool hand of diplomacy.
The days of fighting for Market Share are over
More than any other country, fighting for market share no longer makes economic sense for the UK, because every other country/corporation is likewise fighting for market share.
Larger countries with serious export expertise and fully developed and long-term foreign client relationships have a distinct advantage over a born-again United Kingdom re-entering the exporting world. Fighting for market share against far superior marketing superpowers like Germany and China is like paddling upriver in a hurricane, and good luck with that.
Rather than fighting for Britain’s slice of the pie, the UK should be the one country in the world that works to make the pie bigger for everyone! wherever free markets exist.
In that way, whatever global growth occurs will benefit all exporters equally — including Britain’s born-again export economy, because the UK will have as good a chance as any to capture some of that growing pie — as opposed to fighting companies well entrenched in foreign markets and trying to steal tiny percentages of their total market share. See the difference?
“Don’t fight a battle if you don’t gain anything by winning.” — Erwin Rommel
Rommel was right. And to adapt his truth to Britain’s new place in the world, fighting for market share in countries that are already well-served by European and Chinese exporters will gain British exporters very little and could create trade frictions between Britain and the European Union which is still the UK’s largest trading partner in the 21st-century. We don’t want that.
‘Win-Win and Growing the Market vs. ‘Win-Lose’ and fighting for Market Share
Win-Win political thinking and growing the global market is the best prescription for Britain’s economic future.
Countries with rapidly growing economies like the BRICS countries and many Commonwealth nations are the best places for Britain to concentrate its export efforts. By helping those countries to succeed more than they would have without the UK’s assistance, Britain can grow its export base by selling to people in rapidly growing developing nations enjoying their newfound discretionary income.
It’s all about rising Disposable Income in Developing Nations
The example of India is most poignant, because in that country the average discretionary income of citizens is doubling every five years; All Britain’s leaders must do now, is to work respectfully with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ministers to the end that British exports to India are welcome and that Indian exports to the UK are just as welcome. (It helps if both countries aren’t manufacturing and selling the same items, of course) If India sells toasters in both countries then Britain should sell kettles in both countries, if you take my meaning. The less overlap, the better.
A few years from now, when a larger percentage of India’s 1.5 billion population can afford to buy a new car, perhaps Indian companies will offer tuk-tuks, small cars and farm trucks for sale in India and the UK, while the UK sells family sedans and Landrovers in India and the UK.
Any other method of working to each country’s strengths — without stepping on each other’s toes — would also be profitable for companies of both countries. What matters is that whatever method is chosen works for companies in both countries.
With the right approach to rapidly growing countries and some standardized and respectful trade rules, the UK could help to grow the global pie, dramatically increase its own exports, keep good relations with exporting superpowers in Europe, China, and America, and be seen as a ‘White Knight’ to developing nations by playing a pivotal and ongoing role in helping them to build their economies.
That future is so much better than bickering over fractions of market share with other (and economically superior) exporting nations — the very countries that Britain depends upon in many ways.
Here’s to ‘Win-Win’ paradigms and growing the global economic pie; A plan that will work for the United Kingdom more than almost any other country — while preventing harm to Britain’s present and important trade relationships.
by John Brian Shannon | August 5, 2016
British Foreign Policy post-Brexit
Now that Britain is delinking itself from the European Union’s foreign policy construct, the country is again free to chart its own course, instead of a foreign policy based on literally hundreds of compromises made to appease EU government and corporate leaders, and EU citizens.
The United Kingdom has an incredibly clean slate having shed its colonial power and responsibilities in the 20th century, and is presently shedding the EU construct early in the 21st century.
Windows of opportunity as large as the sky abound.
Of course, Brexit is a recent development, so we’re in early days yet.
But the possibilities are almost limitless from a foreign policy perspective. The British government could follow any existing foreign policy model or choose to create something novel and fine-tune it over time.
Central to any nation’s well-being is robust international trade. Gone are the days when a nation could survive on domestic trade alone. Today’s world requires an economy that fires on all cylinders — and that means foreign trade.
Nations with a heavy commitment to international trade also have thriving economies. Therefore, it’s mandatory that foreign policy be designed to attract the greatest number of businesses.
However, ‘doing what everyone else does’ in the foreign policy department just doesn’t cut it. Today, foreign policy leaders and bureaucrats must innovate policies that match the strengths of their particular country and sell it on its merits.
I: Strengthening the Business Case for Transnational Corporations to Headquarter in Britain
II: Working to the Strengths of British Industry and thereby Facilitating Massive Trade Surpluses
Convincing transnational corporations to relocate their headquarters (or even a branch operation) to Britain is one thing (and a very desirable thing) but it’s only half the story. The other half of the story is helping to create a massive export-driven economy, exporting billions of pounds worth of goods each month.
If Britain, post-Brexit is to be a success, it will be largely due to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office succeeding at strengthening Britain’s international trade relationships.
And if Britain’s economy fails in the post-Brexit years, most of the blame will land at the Foreign Office.
Another pillar of post-Brexit foreign policy success is by necessity, security.
Again, the new government of Theresa May has a clean slate upon which to write any policy it chooses. That is a very fine thing, but change for necessity’s sake is good, while change for change’s sake usually involves wasted effort.
III: Continuing the NATO Commitment at the Approved 2% of GDP Level (unlike some NATO partners who typically miss that low target)
IV: Continuing to Support MI4 (GCHQ), MI5 and MI6 at a Robust Level
V: Creation of a British Homeland Security organization parallel to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
For an island nation located in the North Atlantic Ocean, leaving NATO would be the about worst single thing that Britain could do from a security standpoint. Therefore, foreign policy must be directed towards maintaining and improving that institution keeping in mind that it’s a dynamic beast, not some static entity that we throw money at in order to feel safe.
Rather, Britain, as a charter member of NATO must play a lead role in improving that organization, recognizing at once it’s strengths and it’s weaknesses. Proactive leadership within NATO is the best way for Britain to remain a stable, democratic, and secure nation.
GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 are needed now more than ever if Britain is to survive and thrive, and they have proven their worth countless times. These organizations operate in a constantly changing, threat-driven world. The government must proactively support these institutions and recognize that the intelligence business changes every day of the year, decade after decade. It never stops — and it never stops changing. Treating these as static operations would be a terrible blunder.
GCHQ monitors all manner of communications and operates parallel to the United States’ NSA, intercepting suspicious communications and routing them to the appropriate channels, while MI5 maintains a silent presence in the UK in the counter-intelligence environment similar to the FBI in America. The agency of James Bond, MI6, operates everywhere in the world — except the United Kingdom.
But nowhere in the United Kingdom is one super-agency responsible for security where the threat doesn’t come from foreign spies employed by a foreign government.
Back in the day, the local Royal Mail post office was informally charged with reporting incidents that occurred in the public domain, to whichever service it deemed appropriate. Even prior to WWII, each Postmaster or Postmistress in every county had a designated number to call in case of suspicious persons or events.
Now that the Royal Mail is a private company, there won’t be much of that.
All of the security bases in the United Kingdom are covered, except one.
New Scotland Yard for policing and investigations. GCHQ for communications. MI5 to monitor, track, and apprehend foreign (professional) spies and agents provocateurs. MI6 to handle foreign operations.
As truly awesome as all of that is, a gaping hole remains in Britain’s security. Millions of refugees and economic migrants, non-professional agents provocateurs, and even visitors to the United Kingdom (all of them legally allowed into the UK) could stage a multi-county or multi-city or other mega-event far, far, beyond the ability of the local constabulary to prevent or handle.
Mega Attacks, Mega Theft, or Terror Attacks Originating Inside the UK by Non-Professional Agents
We saw how unprepared and vulnerable the United States was during the September 2001 attacks in New York City — a country with a defence budget larger than the next 10 countries combined, and an intelligence budget bigger than many countries’ GDP.
This proposed organization needs a strong military command structure, yet it would operate in the public domain, inside the UK only. All other UK security issues are covered so it’s simply a case of having a Minister in charge (preferably one with a Royal Air Force command background) with a clear and powerful mandate “Protect the United Kingdom from domestic terror and other crimes not easily handled by other police and security agencies”
Each UK military base would need to designate at least 2 armed fighter jets, and a squadron of armed helicopters, and at least 100 personnel per base, on permanent standby. ‘Ready to move within one minute.’
It would also need a strong legal mandate giving it instant and powerful emergency powers, to do such things as; instantly close airports across the country, force aircraft to land anywhere, stop trains anywhere, detain ships entering UK waters, detain and question non-state actors and witnesses. And so much more.
In short, it would be the emergency headquarters for all of Britain.
During times of war, the Prime Minister calls the Minister of Defence.
During times of hooliganism or crime, the public calls the Constabulary.
“But who do we call, when people are flying aircraft into buildings? Who do we call, when people are planning mass attacks somewhere (anywhere) along the country’s transportation corridors? Who do we call when people in large numbers are taking control of entire counties and the police are several thousand officers short-staffed of being able to handle the job? Who do we call when sophisticated, mobile, and country-wide organizations are operating with impunity and the police just don’t have the resources or expertise to handle the onslaught? How many police can scramble and fly a fighter jet or assault helicopter to shoot down an aircraft with a stolen nuclear bomb on board heading towards a major city?”
Who do we call, when the matter is much larger than a policing issue, smaller than a war between nations, and doesn’t involve professional agents from a foreign country?
In today’s world, every UK citizen, non-citizen resident and visitor, must know an easily memorized phone number like #UKSECURITY to call in case of suspicious activity, terrorist or criminal acts — that instantly links the caller to the Department of UK Security where the information can be received, fighter jets instantly scrambled, etc.
Post-9/11, the Americans recognized the need for a Department of Homeland Security and it’s been a proactive and moderate force for good in the United States.
The UK must not wait until after a major event occurs; A parallel agency to DHS must be set up within one year to protect Britons and visitors from at-scale domestic events — events above the level of regular police and outside the mandate of GCHQ or MI5.
Renewing the Anglosphere
Brexit is the time for Britain to lead the re-creation of the Anglosphere as it was originally intended to be prior to WWI, WWII, and the Cold War.
Due to some history happening the Anglosphere did not continue to evolve, instead, an artificial construct has evolved.
Now is the time to get that destiny back on track, a destiny where all English-speaking nations work together at creating a free trade and immigration zone within the Anglo nations — combining their strengths to compete with the world’s new economic tigers.
It’s imperative that the UK initiate this move to dramatically step up all kinds of links between the Anglo nations, and to put a recognizable ‘brand’ on it.
The world is changing, and Britain has a unique opportunity to mould the United Kingdom into the kind of country it was originally destined to be, and for Britain to become an even more positive force in the world.
A world where anyone would be proud to live.
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