We are living in dangerous and interesting times. I, along with many others, thought that Brexit was a step back and it would be difficult for Britain to find a new role in the world but a Spanish colleague told me that only a country like Britain could make Brexit work. There is still plenty of work to be done, especially on the domestic front, but on the world stage Britain does appear to be finding a new role with new alliances with old friends.
The security pact, signed between Australia, Britain and the U.S., is a clear example of how Britain is moving away from Europe and setting its sight on the Pacific and Indian Ocean. Britain and the U.S. will share their nuclear submarine secrets with Australia who in turn will build a fleet of submarines which will fire a warning shot across the bows of China. This deal was thrashed out during the G7 meeting in Cornwall earlier this year which was allegedly dominated by the spat with the European Union over sausages. Not so.
The EU may have been talking sausages but Britain and the U.S. were talking nuclear secrets. For France this deal is a slap in the face. Not only have they lost a deal for 12 submarines for the Australian Navy, they are not part of the deal, either, despite France having extensive nuclear submarine expertise. It does appear that Britain is carving a new role for itself, as a limited global player instead of one focused on Europe.
French leader Charles De Gaulle famously said that Britain would never be a true member of the European family because of the Commonwealth and the U.S. This week he has probably been proved right. Not only has Britain left the European Union it has now joined forces with old friends. France has been left out in the cold without a lucrative submarine deal and with egg on its face.