A wake up call to the EU (and US): Britain is ready to seize its international future

In November 2013, an article was published in the magazine for the Joint Training Force Centre, a body within NATO. Unusually for such a body, it pretty much endorses Brexit. It’s not often a NATO centre publishes an article in its quarterly that so brazenly endorses a politician and a political line.

You can read the full article here.

The author, Mr Christopher Charles McKeating, drew attention to clear signs that a dramatic shift in Britain’s world attitude is nearly complete. 

Since the shattering failure of Suez, Britain has been characterised by a slightly bearish, introverted attitude, dependent on the US and European neighbours for alliances, trade and foreign policy support. However, the logical basis for this attitude has long passed. Soon Britain will reach a crossroads. Advantageous demographic change, a surging economy, a powerful military budget, sustained influence at the world’s top tables (such as the UN Security Council) and an expertise in so many areas of technology and education, place it in good stead to push ahead in the world, shrugging off the inadequacies of current arrangements and seizing that global vocation that historically has been Britain’s place in the world.

And the blueprint for this change? The author points towards the London that grew up under Boris Johnson’s leadership: an economic powerhouse, a dynamic, ultramodern metropolis whose connections are global, transcending race, creed, colour and even the bounds of the state it finds itself in.

A Britain led by a similar man, would have no limit to what it could do. Today’s Britain is a country that is inherently international, inherently global and inherently a sea-power. It has been built upon layer upon layer of soft power – a century of business relationships that transcend politics and a network that is people-driven, entrepreneurial and young. This vision is not about reviving the past or entertaining vain-glorious thoughts of Empire. This vision sees the the present day extended into the future.

In fact, the writer argues, this is already happening. Exports to Britain’s historic partners, the Commonwealth countries, have been rising. Pacts with Commonwealth embassies have been struck by this very Government. With one in ten British soldiers being from the Commonwealth, even the armed forces have been internationalized. The opportunities are obvious: the Commonwealth has a population estimated at 2.245 billion and a GDP of $10 trillion. Increasing co-operation between the English speaking countries and the other 50 countries of the Commonwealth makes more sense today than at any other time. 

In the words of the author, soon the EU and the US may find they encounter a Britain with itchy feet, ready to go out into the world:

“The US and the EU need to take note: be it in their best interests or not, the British might well just hoist their flag and set sail without them.”