I welcome the new foreign policy

Our foreign policy priority must be to transfer responsibility for Afghan security to their local army and police as quickly as possible. Our wider foreign policy must embrace stronger links and more diplomatic interest in the emerging powers. I welcome today’s change of emphasis in foreign policy.

You could have read it here first. The following was a post from the second week of May:

“This morning we learn the new Foreign Secretary has been booked to go to Washington, and we are assured he will shortly thereafter be visiting Paris and Berlin.

If they wanted to show they understood how the world is changing, Foreign Office officials would buy him a ticket from Washington to Delhi,and then on to Beijing.

The UK needs to build a deeper and stronger friendship with India, the world’s largest democracy. It must be good news for the UK that India has a fast growing market of 1200 million people, in a country where English is the second language of many.

The Uk needs a good relationship with China, its bank manager and supplier of so many goods. As the Coalition government understandably plans to take time to cut the deficit it needs to know the views of the world’s main creditor who will be needed to buy some of the debt.

Economic power is shifting and will shift dramatically. There are 300 million consumers in Europe, in a very slow growing area of the world with substantial debt and currency problems. There are 2500 million consumers in India and China, with a combined growth rate of almost 10% per annum. China has $2 trillion in the bank. The UK’s commercial future lies more in Asia. If we are to earn our present living standards and grow them faster we need to go east. “

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13 Comments

  1. Iain Gill
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    my own prediction is that countries like Nigeria will be world leaders in 20 years time, as will Malaysia

    India sadly is more corrupt than either of these two countries, filled with internal divisions and race hatred

    We need to choose our friends wisely

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted July 1, 2010 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      Malaysia I can well believe, Nigeria I really can't

  2. Derek Duncan
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Staying for a moment with Afghanistan, the idea is that our forces will pull out when the local police and army are capable of maintaining order in the country.

    Considering that 40,000 US servicemen – and how ever many other IFOR troops are now there – can't control the Taliban, fat chance that stage will ever be reached!

  3. Derek Buxton
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    But we already were a global trading nation, and should be. But Foreign Relations are an EU competance and we can only trade outside the EU with their permission. That is why food prices are so high, import from poor countries to help them and we have to pay duty to Brussels. I am afraid that Hague is under a serious delusion if he thinks he can do as he maybe wishes. And I am not sure about the maybe. He gives every impression of backing the EU at the expense of his own, well our, Country.

    • waramess
      Posted July 2, 2010 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Perhaps he has every confidence in the diplomatic and negotiating skills of Baroness Ashton

  4. Acorn
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Iain; forget about choosing friends wisely. Choose them on the basis of how solid their currency is in the world trade arena. And; how strong their sovereign debt is; do they have a positive current account balance. The time for touchy-feely stuff is over. We still have banks that are stuffed full of toxic assets, some held by the BoE, that are worth pennies in the pound. These banks are currently operating on 6% margins, rebuilding their balance sheets at the savers and taxpayers expense; courtesy of the BoE..

    We are about to suffer a major hit on our currency along with other western nations; courtesy of the UN statement today. We are about to see a major hit on residential and commercial property prices; back to the point where gross rental income comes back to its proper market position of 6.3% for residential and 8% for commercial.

    Apologies for the above, I have just come back from a very liquid Broker reception.

  5. DennisA
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    If we were selling things to India, OK, but we are channeling millions of pounds there to fund their industrial development on the back of the UN Clean Development Mechanism, whilst our own industries are closed down.

  6. Kevin Peat
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    "Our foreign policy priority must be to transfer responsibility for Afghan security to their local army and police as quickly as possible."

    I take issue with 'as quickly as possible'. I infer from it that a successful transfer of responsibility is no longer a prerequisite, just a quick one. If this is so – and I would agree – why not make the withdrawal of our troops immediate ? Or is it a case that our lads must continue to lose lower limbs and genitals (a fate worse than death) while this charade goes on ?

    What a betrayal. How utterly wicked.

  7. christina sarginson
    Posted July 2, 2010 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    What we need to do (the UK that is) is make friends with everyone. There really is no need to be out of favour with any of the countries.

  8. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 3, 2010 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    For a capitalist and trading nation like Britain, it is only possible to have a really good relationship with countries that freely float their currency. India (I think) fits the bill. China does not.

  9. Conrad Jones
    Posted July 3, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Although the stench of failure lingers from a rightly defeated Labour "Government", there was one shining light that shone through the darkness of the last thirteen years – that light was Robin Cook and a prime argument to contest the belief that all Politicians are only interested in themselves and towing the Party Line. Despite the Tony Blair lies and Gordon Brown obsession with achieving his personal goal of being Prime Minister (be careful what you wish for Gordon), no one – it appeared – in the Labour (US Lead) Government – could withstand the pressures to go against Tony Blair and his exaggerated claims of WMD … He ignored the MI6 intelligence reports. Except Robin Cook. If we had listened to him, many, many lives would have been saved, many Billions of pounds would have also been saved. I believe that William Hague also has the same qualities of a Robin Cook. I'm very reassured that a man – such as him; is at the helm of the UK Foreign Policy. I wish him well.

  10. jedibeeftrix
    Posted July 7, 2010 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    I would argue that Brazil is a similarly important Foreign Policy target, particularly since we currently have such limited cultural links to what will be a future UNSC candidate

  11. Conrad Jones
    Posted July 9, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    William Hague has focused on the stoning in Iran this week, he should be aware that Stoning also occurs in Saudi Arabia, Sudan, UAE. Or is this a prelude to War?

    Why is the BBC focusing on Iran? Do they want us to go to War? Why not mention beheadings in Saudi Arabia and other medievil practices. Somalia and Sudan have far worse.

    "Human rights in Somalia are extremely poor and serious human rights violations are a problem due to the unstable political situation in the country. Somalia has not had a central government since President Mohamed Siad Barre fled the country in 1991. Even during the Siad Barre regime, civil rights violations and oppression had led directly to the Somali Civil War."

    Or is it that we don't want to upset the Saudi's and Somalia has nothing we want? Nothng to do with human rights.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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