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.
SIMON MCDONALD was the British ambassador to Germany and later permanent under-secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and head of Diplomatic Service. He sits in the House of Lords as a crossbencher and, as of September 2022, is master of Christ’s College, Cambridge. His first book, Leadership: Lessons from a Life in Diplomacy, was shortlisted for the Parliamentary Book Awards 2022.
Follow Simon on Twitter @SimonMcDonaldUK
© Haus Publishing Ltd. 2022