The New World Order and Britain’s Place in it | Curtis Vincent
The UK is really going to have to stand up for its interests in the world more. The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the fundamental flaws of our reliance on globalism for cheap goods and the risks a reliance on China poses for not only our national security, but our health and safety too. No longer can we have a status quo neoliberal consensus where we continue to prop up a communist dictatorship for the sake of cheaper products. Closer cooperation on every footing is going to be needed with allies like the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and japan. An Anglosphere alliance of sorts. Because Communist China is no friend of the West and its allies, and every year we are being reminded more and more why that is the case.
Britain’s imperial past is patchy, our legacy is loved by some and hated by others. But its undeniable in my view that a weak United Kingdom leads to a weaker and less secure world. Look at Hong Kong for example; the British Empire turned what was a relatively small fishing port, into a global economic hub, massively improving the quality of life and freedom of all those who lived in the colony. Contrast that with today, where Chinese rule has led to persecution of those who seek a democratic future, and most recently the arrest of major pro-democracy activists such as Martin Lee. Can we truly say that Hong Kong is better off now than before? The growing movement for return of the region’s sovereignty to the UK seem to think not. An unlikely proposition, but fascinating, nonetheless.
The UK was once a major superpower in the world, and as America begins to step back, shouldering less of the burden of being “global peacekeeper”, the UK (being the United States’ most important ally) is going to have to step up. No longer can we expect the US to be the seemingly lone soldier in stark opposition to China on the world stage. Leader of the free world they may be, but might there be room in the special relationship for us to become leaders of the free world together, along with some friends? I partly feel that a reason many commonwealth nations and ex-colonies don’t feel the same sense of partnership with us as they used to, is down to a feeling of abandonment. For too long the UK (out of convenience) looked to its closest neighbours in Europe, ignoring our past ties in favour of the European Union. Well thankfully that course has been corrected, and while many ex-colonies may not wish to see a return to empire, I fail to believe it is not in all of our interests to rekindle past ties to seek a better future not only for us, but for those nations as well.
The truth is that by closest allies I don’t mean the European Union. We get on well with them, but Europe has always had quite a different worldview and set of attitudes to us on an array of issues, more obvious today than ever. If the EU decide on further integration, let them do it, but let us have no part in it. Britain has always been a global nation. The world needs a Global Britain now more than ever, to countenance rapid Chinese neo-colonialism, in Africa especially. The USA as great as it is, just doesn’t have the same historical links and ties as we do to many other nations, and we have to tap in to those relationships before they die out and miss the opportunity to rebuild a truly global alliance against a growing Communist threat.
The neoliberal version of capitalism we’ve been used to for decades is dead. The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the threats that relying on a rapidly growing Communist power pose. Hundreds of thousands of items of PPE flown in from China to both the UK and our neighbours in Europe have been sub-par quality and therefore wholly unfit for use. In a time of crisis, it’s unacceptable that we have allowed this to happen. The West has for decades now been sleepwalking into this disaster; we must become more self-reliant, like we used to be. Non-essential goods and other essentials may increase in price, but it is either that, or we continue giving China further power and share of the world economy. Britain (before China) was once known as the workhouse of the world, manufacturing more than anyone else out there. We did it once, we can do it again, because it is paramount to our own security and well-being.
This leads me on to military spending. Be in no doubt, China is preparing for war. Its territorial expansion and creation of military bases in the South China Sea, control of the supply of much of the worlds rare earth metals and almost total self-reliance on production, means it is a threat, preparing for any conflict at any time. 2% of GDP spending on our military, frankly, just isn’t going to cut it anymore. It is great that we now once again have active super aircraft carriers, but the trend of declining military personnel numbers is alarming at best. If NATO is to go on, all member states are going to have to bolster their forces. It’s going to be a case of get serious about the situation the world is in or suffer the consequences down the line. The UK has the most professional and well-trained forces on Earth, but they need to be given the funding to do their jobs properly and protect us if that dreaded scenario comes about.
We can no longer delay the inevitable, and when the country lifts from lock down the government is going to have to decide what path the UK takes going forward. I hope we will regain some self-belief, be more proactive in world affairs, help shift our economic model and forge strong relationships with our oldest and closest allies. Pitiful economic growth in the last decade can not continue. We must remember who we are as a people, and what the British can achieve when we put our minds to it. Ultimately, it’s not just for our benefit, but for the free world’s too.
Photo by Diego Vicente on Unsplash.