Liz Truss is set to announce a new review of Britain’s defense and foreign policy on Wednesday, less than 18 months after the last one was completed, to take into account the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the threat from authoritarian regimes.
In a speech at the United Nations in New York, Truss will urge democracies to “priority economic growth and security” and argue that they must develop a strategy to “curb authoritarianism”.
She will also commit her government to increasing UK defense spending to 3 percent of gross domestic product by 2030 to counter new military threats and urge the West to stand firm against Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine.
When asked if Putin had a way back onto the international scene, she suggested that Russia should be forced to pay reparations for the devastation he caused.
“First Russia needs to leave Ukraine and we need to make sure there is proper compensation for what happened in Ukraine and we need to make sure Russia can never again threaten countries on its border,” she said.
In March 2021, Boris Johnson’s government released an integrated review of security, defense and foreign policies, widely dubbed the “Asia bias,” but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has forced a rethink.
Truss has ordered an update to the review, which Downing Street said would “ensure that the UK’s diplomatic, military and security architecture keeps pace with evolving threats from hostile nations”.
Professor John Bew, the Prime Minister’s special adviser on foreign affairs and defence, will lead a process at Downing Street to update the review, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
In her speech to the UN General Assembly, Truss will attempt to link her right-wing economic reforms, including tax cuts and deregulation, to a broader call for the West to build its economic resilience.
“The free world needs this economic strength and resilience to resist authoritarian aggression and win this new era of strategic competition,” she will say.
“We will no longer be strategically dependent on those trying to arm the global economy.”
In her first major speech on the world stage, Truss repeated some of Margaret Thatcher’s Cold War rhetoric, in which the former British Prime Minister claimed that the free world would prevail over the Soviet Union.
“The story of 2022 could have been that of an authoritarian state rolling its tanks across a peaceful neighbor’s border and subjugating its people,” Truss will say.
“Instead, it’s the story of freedom fighting back. But this must not remain an isolated case. Together with our friends and allies around the world, we will continue to stand up for freedom, sovereignty and democracy.”