Britain needs a post-Brexit foreign policy

Britain needs a post-Brexit foreign policy

It may well be hard to find

“Got a feeling ‘21 is going to be a good year,” the stepfather in “Tommy”, a rock opera by The Who, tells his family. The British government is trying to give a similar impression of optimism. After its year of post-Brexit transition, and with a last-minute trade deal that staves off some of the worst effects of leaving the European Union, the new year offers the country a number of opportunities to cut a dash on the world stage. It will take the presidency of the g7 club of big rich democracies, allowing it not just to set the agenda for the group’s annual summit, but also to invite Australia, India and South Korea to come along—an invitation that might be the groundwork for a “d10” of democracies. In November the most important diplomatic event of the year, the cop26 climate conference, will open in Glasgow.

Within weeks Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, will be visiting India, where on January 26th he will be Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s guest of honour for Republic Day. His visit will be part of a much-touted “tilt to the Indo-Pacific”. Britain has opened discussions on joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade area of 11 countries. The foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, is pushing for it also to become a “dialogue partner” of the Association of South-East Asian Nations. The Royal Navy’s flagship, the spanking new aircraft-carrier hms Queen Elizabeth, will soon be Asia bound.