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A nation must think before it acts.
Theresa May promised a new role for the United Kingdom in the world, dubbed “Global Britain.” But what challenges arise from supposedly being more open to the world while decoupling from the European Union? This article explores how much the UK can meet the expectations stemming from a new, unabashedly global posture. Examining the rhetoric of British foreign policy since 1945 is juxtaposed against the emerging language of global openness after Brexit to illustrate what the UK’s partners might expect for trade, security, and global governance. In evaluating the strategic benefits of using the rhetoric of globalism after EU withdrawal, this article examines the British state’s capacity to find the administrative resources, public expenditure, and elite consensus necessary to redefine the country’s position in world affairs. While the political expediency of devising a new role cannot be faulted, the strategic value of “Global Britain” appears limited in light of this analysis.