The AAPA welcomed back an old friend on April 7 when veteran diplomat Lord Peter Ricketts, a life peer in the UK House of Lords (and Ambassador in Paris from 2012 to 2016) joined us on Zoom to discuss Britain Post-Brexit in a discussion moderated by AAPA VP Shellie Karabell.

He admitted he was “surprised by how ill-prepared the government was” for Brexit and wondered how the country would achieve the findings of the Government Integrated Review touting Britain’s future as “tech power” world leader, adding that it seemed as though the Johnson government had no sense of priority regarding the order in which problems and opportunities could be tackled.

But he acknowledged that the country’s handling of vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic has given the Johnson government its own shot in the arm, and turned the mood in the country more positive.

Other topics drew on Lord Ricketts’ 40-year diplomatic background in foreign and security/defense affairs.
– on European defense, a strong link between France and the UK in mutual defense;
– on trade, UK would probably side with Europe in relations with China on trade rather than with the US, and will keep monitoring ma. rights issues in China;
– on unilateral trade and business: despite continued attempts at forging closer ties with India, efforts with the former empire’s “jewel in the crown” have not produced lasting results;
– on the “special relationship” between the UK & US…probably more in the mind of the UK than the US; he expects some difficulties with the US regarding the Irish border post-Brexit, but also expects improved UK-US relations with the Biden Presidency;
– on Russia, the UK is less interested in closer ties than other European nations (i.e, France), given the Kremlin’s use of London as a poisoning theatre;
– and the question the UK will have to face is what role it wants to play in the world?

Answers to be found in his new book, Hard Choices, due out on May 13!