Amid sneers over Brexit, we are told that our nation is living off past glories and we are essentially irrelevant when it comes to the big issues which concern global power and strategy.
Those who push such a view always reveal far more about their own misguided, miserabilist outlook than they do about the reality of Britain’s place in the world. But Wednesday night’s joint announcement by President Biden, Boris Johnson and Australian PM Scott Morrison ought finally to have put paid to the idea that we have no serious role.
The past few weeks have seen two hugely significant developments. In its own very different way, the news that the US, UK and Australia are to co-operate in building nuclear-powered submarines as part of a recalibrated strategic alliance is as important as last month’s pullout from Afghanistan.
While that was an ignominious defeat for the West – and a sign of the US’s increasingly inward outlook – this week’s move is the opposite: a welcome and vital move. The key to understanding both of these developments is China.
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