Beyond Britannia
Reshaping UK Foreign Policy

The former head of the UK's Diplomatic Service considers what the future of Britain's foreign policy should   look like.

What should the future of British foreign policy look like? For too long successive governments have shied away from acknowledging uncomfortable truths about the decline of Britain’s military capabilities. As we approach the middle years of the twenty-first century a new set of urgent and daunting challenges – including climate change, technological developments and the rise of AI, and a growing threat from China – lie ahead, making the need for us to reconcile ourselves with our position in the world more acute.

In this persuasively argued book, Simon McDonald shows how the UK’s significant soft-power strengths can be harnessed to expand our international influence. Such a shift will only be possible, he says, if we first acknowledge the challenges of Brexit and the need to reduce our unrealistic hard-power ambitions. Excellence in areas that other countries care about will keep the UK internationally relevant in the second half of the century in a way that nostalgia for a lost pre-eminence will not.