Labour's Lammy Outlines Approach to China's Growing Security Threats

David Lammy, UK Labour's shadow foreign secretary, outlines a 'progressive realism' foreign policy to address China's rising power and support for Russia, while balancing economic ties and human rights. Critics call it 'deluded and naive'.

author-image
Trim Correspondents
New Update
Labour's Lammy Outlines Approach to China's Growing Security Threats

Labour's Lammy Outlines Approach to China's Growing Security Threats

David Lammy, the shadow foreign secretary for the UK Labour Party, has outlined his vision for a 'progressive realism' foreign policy that would address the security threats posed by China's expanding military power and support for Russia's invasion of Ukraine. In a recent essay, Lammy acknowledged that the global order has fundamentally changed since Labour last held power, with China's rise as a superpower and the UK's relative decline on the world stage.

Under a Labour government led by Keir Starmer, Lammy stated that the party would recognize the real security challenges presented by the Chinese Communist Party. He pointed to China's growing military capabilities, including the world's largest navy, and its backing of Russia's aggression in Europe as key concerns. At the same time, Lammy emphasized the importance of China to the British economy and the need for a nuanced approach that challenges, competes against, and cooperates with China as appropriate.

The shadow foreign secretary's proposed 'progressive realism' strategy aims to combine practical realism with an ethical foreign policy focused on human rights, climate change, and international aid. Restoring the UK's international standing is a key priority for Lammy, including forging closer ties with the European Union through economic deals and security cooperation. He also sees engaging with the Global South as critical, recognizing their reasons for shunning the West due to the Conservatives' mismanagement of development programs and offensive rhetoric.

However, some critics have labeled Lammy's approach as 'deluded and naive', highlighting apparent inconsistencies in his stances on issues like nuclear weapons and the Iraq war. They argue that his policy towards China and the EU remains unclear and that his 'well-meaning waffle' about 'progressive realism' is unlikely to impress Britain's enemies if he becomes foreign secretary.

In response to these criticisms, Lammy maintains that his plan aims to boost the UK's soft power, pivot towards Europe, and build a foreign policy suited for a more dangerous world. He believes it reflects the fundamental shifts in Britain's global position and the need to adapt to the evolving geopolitical terrain.

In the Labour Party's ongoing efforts to refine its foreign policy platform before the next general election, Lammy's vision of 'progressive realism' and his approach to addressing China's growing security threats will likely face further scrutiny and debate. The shadow foreign secretary will need to provide more clarity and consistency in his positions to convince both his critics and the British public that Labour is prepared to navigate the complex challenges of the modern world.

Key Takeaways

  • David Lammy outlines 'progressive realism' foreign policy for Labour
  • Recognizes China's security threats, but emphasizes economic ties
  • Aims to restore UK's global standing, forge closer EU ties
  • Engages Global South, critical of Conservatives' development policies
  • Faces criticism over policy inconsistencies, lack of clarity