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The Future of British Foreign Policy: Security and Diplomacy in a World after Brexit




The Future of British Foreign Policy: Security and Diplomacy in a World after Brexit

Christopher Hill

ISBN: 978-1-509-52465-5 March 2019 Polity 256 Pages



Since 1945, Britain has had to cope with a slow descent from international primacy. The decline in global influence was intended to be offset by the United Kingdom’s entry into Europe in 1975, with the result that national foreign policy came to rest on the two pillars of the Atlantic alliance and the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the EU.  Yet, with Brexit, one of these pillars is now being removed, leaving Britain facing some serious challenges arising from the prospect of independence.

In this incisive book, Christopher Hill explores what lies ahead for British foreign policy in the shadows of Brexit and a more distant and protectionist America under Donald Trump.  While there is much talk of a renewed global profile for the UK, Hill cautions that this is going to be difficult to turn into practical reality. Geography, history and limited resources mean that Britain is doomed to seek a continued foreign policy partnership with the Member States of the Union – only now it will be from outside the room looking in. As a result, there is the distinct possibility that both British and European foreign policies will end up worse off as the result of their divorce.

Preface and acknowledgements

List of abbreviations

Chapter 1: Brexit and UK Foreign Policy

Chapter 2: Falling back on Europe

Chapter 3: Does Britain need European foreign policy?

Chapter 4: Britain’s à la Carte Menu

Chapter 5: Regional or Global?

Chapter 6: A tale of two special relationships Ð Paris and Washington

Chapter 7: Nothing good out of Europe?

Further Reading

"This is a timely and thoughtful contribution from an acknowledged expert in the field: Christopher Hill makes a powerful argument about the interconnection of Brexit and the UK’s wider international ambition and role, to strong effect. Drawing on a wide range of examples, Hill paints a vivid picture of the choices confronting the country."
Simon Usherwood, Reader in Politics, University of Surrey, and Deputy Director, “UK in a Changing Europe” programme

‘A fascinating and important book by one of the leading authorities in the field addressing the foreign policy dimension of Britain’s relationship with its European partners.’
Anand Menon, King’s College London

‘The UK’s departure from the European Union represents the most significant challenge to UK foreign policy since the Second World War period. Hill, one of the most astute observers of the UK’s foreign policy, draws on decades of scholarship to offer a wealth of insight into the possibilities and pitfalls faced by a post-Brexit UK.’
Richard Whitman, University of Kent