Select Committee on International Relations
UK foreign policy in a shifting world order

5th Report of Session 2017-19 - published 18 December 2018 - HL Paper 250



Chapter 1: Introduction and current situation

Box 1: The rules-based international order

This report

Chapter 2: Disruption and change to the global balance of power

The US

UK–US relations


Figure 1: The Belt and Road Initiative

UK–China relations


UK–Russia relations

Regional powers

UK relations with India and other regional powers

Europe and other likeminded partners

Chapter 3: The transformative nature of new technologies

The proliferation of digital technologies

The nature of defence and security threats

Box 2: The NotPetya cyber-attack

The rising power of technology companies

The impact of technology on the balance of power

Technology’s impact on international relations

Technology’s impact on the conduct of diplomacy

The challenge of global cyber governance and regulation

Chapter 4: Multilateralism and the rules-based international order

Challenges facing established international organisations

The UN

Table 1: Vetoes at the UN Security Council 1990–present

Internal UN reform


Box 3: NATO’s Article 5

Box 4: The NATO 2% spending commitment

Global trade and the Bretton Woods institutions


The Bretton Woods institutions

New non-Western regional organisations and groupings

New financial institutions

Box 5: The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the New Development Bank

The Shanghai Co-operation Organisation

Box 6: The Shanghai Co-operation Organisation


The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (the Trans-Pacific Partnership)

The role of networks

The Commonwealth

Responding to these challenges and changes

Chapter 5: UK foreign policy—future capabilities

Whitehall structure

Box 7: The National Security Council

UK influence in international organisations

UK presence overseas

Posts in Europe

The wider diplomatic network

Funding for outward-facing departments

Defence spending

FCO funding

Development funding

FCO and wider-Whitehall skills

UK soft power resources

Box 8: Soft power

New technologies and UK diplomacy

Digital diplomacy and countering propaganda

Cyber capabilities, expertise and leadership

Domestic narrative on foreign policy


Summary of conclusions and recommendations

Appendix 1: List of Members and declarations of interest

Appendix 2: List of witnesses

Appendix 3: Call for evidence

Evidence is published online at and available for inspection at the Parliamentary Archives (020 7219 3074).

Q in footnotes refers to a question in oral evidence.

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