As part of our Government worth having series we asked a few friends of ConservativeHome to offer 100 word thoughts on how the Conservatives might make some ground on foreign policy.
Alan Mendoza, Executive Director of The Henry Jackson Society: With Labour heading down the route of international irrelevance, Conservatives should have the courage to explore where to stand on:
- ‘Hard’ and ‘soft’ power – As Joseph Nye, author of Soft Power, acknowledges, both variants should be used in tandem. We must therefore be prepared to move beyond diplomacy if it fails to deliver results, and to equip our armed services for such endeavours.
- Idealism versus realism – William Hague has stressed ideas such as human rights and democracy, but it unclear whether these or other goals outlined, such as improving relations with autocratic allies in the Middle East, will dominate.
- Traditional multilateralism or coalitions of the willing – The UN has repeatedly failed to resolve major international crises. A Conservative government should therefore be in the vanguard of coalitions circumventing the vetoes of non-democracies shielding dictators and rogue regimes.
Gary Streeter MP, former Chairman of the Party's International Office: Whilst remaining a steadying whisper in the ear of Uncle Sam, we should carve out our unique British brand of soft power with a hard edge. We should make the promotion of good governance and democracy building the centre ground of our policy. Diplomacy, aid and know-how, backed up by the excellence of our armed forces, should be our instruments.
We should shift at least £100 million from the aid budget to pour into robust democracy building programmes, especially in the Commonwealth. British aid should be more closely linked to foreign policy and should be withdrawn where a recipient country government falls short. We should be champions for the reform of multi-lateral organisations including the EU and UN.