On 31 January, the United Kingdom officially withdrew from the European Union. Although negotiations for trade arrangements are still in full swing, we could speculate as to how Britain will change after Brexit. During the Brexit campaign, the idea of Global Britain popped up, but how realistic is this post-Brexit pledge? More generally, how should we imagine Britain after Brexit?
What does this mean?
Global Britain is not merely a nostalgic yearning for a greater past. It is the strategy the UK must fall back on when it leaves the EU common market. We have already seen the first signs of what Global Britain will look like. The UK is strengthening commercial ties to former Commonwealth countries. A few weeks ago, Boris Johnson invited 13 African leaders to discuss finance, infrastructure, clean energy and agriculture. However, Global Britain will not only reorient the British economy: the UK is looking to reassert its military power in the Indian Ocean (for which Oman is an important partner), as the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier will make the British navy stronger than at any time since the 1950s.
In the coming years, aside from domestic tensions, the most important goal for the UK is finding new partners. Although it may sound counter-intuitive now (the UK refused to align with the U.S. in banning Huawei’s 5G), the UK will strengthen its relationship with the U.S., both militarily and economically. The UK will also strengthen ties to non-western regions. Although Global Britain seems overly ambitious, we should not disregard the potential of British industry, finance and soft power to transform the British economy post-Brexit.