The last three months have seen a huge shake-up in British foreign and national security policy. The Chilcot report, requiring the government to carefully reflect on the findings, the renewal of Trident and Britain's vote to leave the EU, have all brought fears that the UK could find itself isolated and even shy away from taking an active role in foreign policy, a Policy Exchange report released on Wednesday (July 20) had found.
NEW PUBLICATION: Making Sense of British Foreign Policy After Brexit https://t.co/s3EvBSHA67— Policy Exchange (@Policy_Exchange) July 20, 2016
The report titled, "Making sense of British foreign policy after Brexit," encourages Britain to stand at the forefront of foreign policy and avoid taking a backseat. It says that the Prime Minister should commit to holding a further defense review within 12 months and increasing defense spending above the two percent target. The report also warns that Brexit cannot be allowed to become the latest instalment of a narrative of decline in Britain's influence on the world stage which has been building up in recent years.
Britain needs a vision for a new foreign policy, which will secure the longer-term interests, security and prosperity in a changing and dynamic world, according to Policy Exchange.
"We remain masters of our own destiny, though with increased independence comes the realisation that we must take more responsibility. There are a number of potential risks, dangers and downsides to Brexit. But there are also potential opportunities and benefits," the report reads.
"What is beyond doubt is that bold thinking and swift action are needed in order to mitigate risks, seize opportunities, and set a new course. It is vital that the nettle is grasped, and some broad guiding principles for future British foreign policy are established."
Henry Kissinger — as mentioned in the report — said the outcome of the EU referendum result, "is not anguish or recrimination; it should be to transform setback into opportunity." In that spirit, the UK's overriding aim must now be to make a success of Brexit.
The report gives several areas in which Britain can still maintain its powerful presence on the world stage, maintaining formal relationships with the UN, G7 and NATO.
A further suggestion mentioned in report is about ensuring a successful negotiation being developed between Britain and the EU. The UK must avoid harsh terms being imposed upon it in a spirit of recrimination and maintain mutual economic interests between the EU and the UK that already exists by default.
Brexit can be a unique opportunity, the report states, one that would and could benefit the UK greatly, if they harness and maintain the right relationships — for example, bringing forward the scheduled 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting to autumn 2017 and focus it specifically on trade, as well as seeking a meeting with the next President of the United States, to establish an Anglo-American trade deal.