What Liz Truss didn’t say

As the big winner of the reshuffle, Liz Truss’s appointment as Foreign Secretary set the cat among the pigeons. Truss is the first Conservative woman to take on the brief and cuts a rather different figure to her predecessor Dominic Raab who was, by comparison, publicity shy. Since her promotion, there has been a non-stop stream of Twitter and Instagram posts documenting her meetings in New York, Mexico and Westminster. Today in Manchester, Truss gave her first speech to a domestic audience on what she wants to achieve. Truss is the first conservative woman to take on the brief and cuts a rather different figure to her predecessor Dominic Raab The former

Emmanuel Macron and the art of tantrum diplomacy

France’s fit of pique following Australia’s cancelled submarine contract – and the signing of the Aukus pact – is a sulk that keeps on giving. After recalling its ambassadors to Australia and the US, Paris cancelled last week’s scheduled bilateral Franco-British defence summit. France is also reported to be seeking to delay the EU-Australia trade deal whose twelfth meeting was organised for next month. The French are all the more bruised for the major powers in the Indo Pacific – Japan and India – welcoming the Pact while Paris has received only muted support from EU members. France is even extending her sulk retrospectively to others who recently declined French defence

The case against Aukus

Just weeks after the denouement of the West’s misadventure in Afghanistan, Boris Johnson is again committing Britain to a risky international venture. Aukus, the naval partnership between the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom, appears to tie Britain to an Indo-Pacific strategy that is militarily and geopolitically flawed. In December 1941, the catastrophic sinking of the then imperious new battleship HMS Prince of Wales along with the battlecruiser HMS Repulse off the coast of Malaya led to the loss of Singapore and brought the curtains down on Britain’s Asian Empire. Britain was over-stretched and unable to commit resources to the defence of the Pacific. History rarely repeats itself exactly.

The EU should keep out of France’s spat with Australia

Ursula von der Leyen has demanded a full investigation. EU officials are considering pulling out of technology talks with the US. And negotiations over a trade deal with Australia have been put in doubt.  Over the last 24 hours, the full might of the European Union has been deployed on the side of France in the row over a cancelled submarine contract and the creation of the Australian-US-UK defence pact.  But hold on. Why exactly is the EU getting behind what is, after all, just an export order for a French arms manufacturer? There is no mistaking French fury over Australia’s decision to cancel the £40 billion order for submarines,

The real reason France was excluded from Aukus

The fallout from Australia’s cancellation of its submarine contract with France and the new trilateral Indo-Pacific security pact between Australia, the US and the UK continues. France has recalled its ambassadors from Canberra and Washington (though significantly not from London) for ‘immediate consultations’; the well-worn diplomatic gesture of discontent. This is the first occasion ever in over two centuries of Franco-American friendship.  Last night in another outburst of petulance, the French embassy in Washington cancelled the gala to celebrate Franco-American friendship. The festivities were to mark the 240th anniversary of the crucial Battle of the Capes when the French navy defeated its British counterpart in defence of American independence.  Compared

Australia and the new special relationship

The awkwardly-named AUKUS agreement reflects Washington’s escalating concern about China’s dominance in the Indo-Pacific. It signals London’s determination to be more, not less, involved in the global community after Brexit and the retreat from Afghanistan. Ultimately, however, this deal is about Australia. Few countries are as pivotal to regional security yet so poorly understood as such, at home and abroad, among commentators, politicians and policymakers. Australia’s standing in security terms is intimately linked to its alliance with the United States, but this relationship is not as one directional as some Australian critics believe. In defence and global security terms, Australia is a country with something to offer — quite a

What the Aukus pact says about Britain’s foreign policy

While the foreign secretary changed in the last 24 hours, the most important announcement regarding the direction of UK foreign policy yesterday came outside of the reshuffle. Overnight, the UK, US and Australia announced a new defence arrangement – known as the Aukus pact – in the Asia pacific, which will see Australia build nuclear-powered submarines using US technology as well as collaborate on other technologies.  The Chinese government has been quick to criticise the move The purpose of this new arrangement? While the respective governments have not specifically said it, it’s viewed as a counter to China that will see the three countries team up against Chinese aggression in the