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The Rt. Hon. Dominic Raab
UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)
President and CEO, Atlantic Council
Executive Vice President, Atlantic Council
FREDERICK KEMPE: Welcome, everyone, across a myriad of platforms, digital platforms in the United States, in the UK, Europe, and around the world. My name is Fred Kempe. I’m president and CEO of the Atlantic Council. And welcome to Atlantic Council Front Page—if you’re a twitterati, hashtag #ACFrontPage—the Atlantic Council’s premier ideas platform for global leaders.
Atlantic Council Front Page harnesses the convening power and expertise of the Council’s fourteen programs and centers to spotlight the world’s most prominent leaders and the most compelling issues and ideas across all their sectors. Today we are delighted to welcome the Right Honorable Dominic Raab, the UK secretary of state for the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office, to the program.
It’s fitting, Mr. Secretary, that you follow US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was on this platform just two days ago. Indeed, it’s at times of heightened geopolitical turbulence and uncertainty that the US-UK relationship always gains even higher importance than it has in just normal times, precisely because it has always been at the heart of the transatlantic relationship and transatlantic cooperation, which has been at the cornerstone of US engagement in the world. While we continue to combat a global pandemic, economic downturn, social and political unrest, and new global systemic rivals, a strong and robust UK-US bilateral relationship and a united transatlantic community is as essential as ever.
Secretary Raab is leading the newly-established Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office during a time of transition, as the UK formalizes its changed position after leaving the EU as of January 31. Indeed, the UK has now developed a concept called Global Britain within which it is pursuing ambitious and active engagement with allies, partners, and international organizations, including through its relationships with the US and also in its ongoing negotiations with the EU. The UK is a key leader in NATO and the United Nations. It will take over the G7 and COP-26 presidencies in 2021. The secretary’s values agenda prioritizes democracy, human rights, international development, and climate change in UK foreign policy, encouraging pragmatic and positive changes at the heart of this diplomatic agenda.
Secretary Raab, it is an honor to host you today and to continue working with you and the UK’s remarkable ambassador to the US, Dame Karen Pierce. As has always and very often been the case with the United Kingdom, you seem to send Washington your best and your brightest. Mr. Secretary, we look forward to hearing about your trip to Washington, the progress of the Global Britain initiative, how the US and UK continue to work closely to construct a more secure and prosperous future.
Now it’s my pleasure to turn to Damon Wilson, executive vice president of the Atlantic Council, to kick off this discussion.
DAMON WILSON: Thank you very much, Fred.
Mr. Secretary, it is a pleasure to welcome you to Washington. Welcome to the Atlantic Council AC Front Page.
You’ve been here for the past two days on a pretty remarkable visit. You’ve seen everyone from Secretary Pompeo to Speaker Pelosi. So what can you tell us about the visit? What were you trying to achieve with this visit?
DOMINIC RAAB: Well, look, it’s a febrile political time here. I remember what that was like. We’ve had elections nonstop last few years, plus referendums.
But come what may, the strength of the British relationship with the US is incredibly important, not just given all the challenges we face but actually all the opportunities. So we’re talking about the free trade deal. We’re excited about that. I could give some reassurance to those that are nervous about the Brexit negotiations. There’s a whole range of other things, from climate change, where, as the introductory remarks kindly pointed out, we’re hosting the global climate change talks, COP-26, next year; and also things that really matter to us and to my prime minister. We’re talking to your USAID folk about our campaign so that every young girl around the world in the poorest countries gets twelve years’ quality education. There’s so much we can do together, and we are much stronger in our impact when we do so.
DAMON WILSON: There’s a very broad agenda. I want to pick up some of these issues.
DOMINIC RAAB: Of course.
DAMON WILSON: You made announcements from Yemen to Belarus while you were here. We’ll unpack some of that news on this trip. But let me first back up a little bit.
DOMINIC RAAB: Sure.
DAMON WILSON: And as Fred mentioned in the opening, you and the prime minister have been talking a lot about this vision of a Global Britain. And at the Atlantic Council, this is kind of how we see our job, how to look beyond Brexit negotiations of today that still are in the news and really think about what the relationship with the UK’s going to be going forward.
So about a year ago, shortly after you took over this role, you wrote in the Sunday Telegraph pretty eloquently about we want to be good European neighbors and buccaneering global free traders, but Global Britain is more than Brexit or even free trade; it’s about Britain’s role in the world as a good global citizen. And even yesterday with Mike Pompeo, you mentioned wanting to see Britain as a force for good. Can you speak to—kind of spell out what is that vision for Global Britain and what does it mean practically?
DOMINIC RAAB: Well, look, you summarized it really well, and there are three real pillars to it.
We want to leave the EU, but be even better neighbors and friends. My father was a Czech refugee. I feel no less European. We’re leaving a political club; we’re not leaving Europe. I think geographically that’s pretty fixed.
We want to be a global free trade champion. We believe in global free trade. We think the world needs it—whether it’s in the WTO, whether it’s doing a bilateral deal with the US, or indeed the first deal we’ve done is with Japan. And I think you’ll see, as well as all the existing relationships which we cherish, including obviously the incredibly close one with the US, but you’ll see a tilt towards the Indo-Pacific region.
When we’re talking about being a force for good, which is this third leg, it’s everything from climate change, girls’ education. And what we’re doing today, I mean, you—we’ve seen the rigged elections in Belarus. We believe in standing up for our values. I don’t think we should be ashamed of doing so. So with, I think, over twenty partners in the OSCE, we have now triggered the so-called Moscow Mechanism. We’ll have an independent investigation into both the vote-rigging in Belarus, but also the abuse of human rights. That’s the kind of thing that matters to us.
DAMON WILSON: I’m going to come back to some of those issues, but there is a little bit of return drama on the Brexit side of the equation. You’ve talked about that a lot during this trip. And on the one hand, Her Majesty’s government introduced the Internal Market Bill to prevent regulatory barriers across the Irish Sea, between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, but you’ve seen the reaction from European friends and the knock-on reaction here in Washington about concerns about the impact on the Good Friday accords, all of that.
DOMINIC RAAB: Sure.
DAMON WILSON: How did you navigate that? Explain where we are with the Brexit process and how the Good Friday accords are not threatened by the current legislation.
DOMINIC RAAB: Well, I think it’s really important to listen. So I’ve come out here and I’ve listened to Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi, to [US Representative] Richard Neal. This is the third time I’ve seen Richard Neal. So this is an ongoing process. It’s not something—we understood that the Irish caucus on the Hill, the Irish communities, they would be conscious and concerned about this, so it’s really important to reach out.
But fundamentally, it’s also important to make our case, and it’s a positive case. In relation to the internal market legislation, we’ve undertaken and committed to all of the things we said we would do in the withdrawal agreement. There are, of course, obligations that go the other way in terms of protecting not just the single market of the EU, but the internal market of the United Kingdom, the trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain. That was clearly written in, as was protecting the Good Friday Agreement.
What we can’t have is the EU trying to press on this political what they, I think, perceive as a point of vulnerability with the UK in order to erect a regulatory border down the Irish Sea. So we’ve taken a reserve power. It’s a defensive power. It’s proportionate, but it’s precautionary only. I hope we don’t need it. But we cannot allow—I don’t think any democracy would—the EU to politicize in this way.
And I’ve been very candid to my—all of my friends out here on whichever side of the political aisle. We’ve been really clear. We’ve given the absolute, unconditional commitment no hard border, no extra infrastructure that will be erected on the Northern Ireland-Republic border. You haven’t heard that from the EU. So I’ve just encouraged—first of all, made our case, but also encouraged our friends here to ask the same question of the EU because I think we could alleviate all of that uncertainty in a—in the blink of an eye if the EU made the same unilateral commitment that the UK has made.
DAMON WILSON: I think that clarity is helpful.
Let me—we’re at a think tank. We look beyond the current issues. So let me ask you about the UK thinking about its relationship with the European Union once you’re through all this.
DOMINIC RAAB: Yeah.
DAMON WILSON: Von der Leyen gave her State of the Union remarks this week and really sort of laid out her vision on a global platform, you know, representing this view that she wanted the EU to be a geopolitical force. You were talking about Britain as a global—a global player. How do you see your interests in working with the EU once you’re through Brexit? Obviously, a trade deal is first and foremost there, but what beyond that?
DOMINIC RAAB: Well, look, I think—let’s take a half-step back. Of course the US, China matter, the EU matters. But I think there’s a little bit of a risk, including myself and the UK, just looking at the world in terms of the three big blocs. And actually, the world’s much more nuanced. We believe in lots of agile coalitions of the likeminded, particularly where they share our values. I think India’s important. I think Japan’s important, particularly with fresh leadership. I think Korea, Israel are important. Lots – Canada, we do a lot of work with Canada. So I think we need to think in broader terms.
In terms of our European friends, I mean, just last week I hosted the E3, so my French and German opposite numbers, in Chevening in the UK We’re going to continue all of that good work on—I mean, in fact, the triggering of the Moscow Mechanism, the work we’re doing on Belarus, the work we’re doing on Alexey Navalny and the poisoning, none of that would happen without the strong relationship that will persist with our European friends. But ultimately, we want to be masters of our own destiny not just domestically, but in terms of the approach we forge internationally.
DAMON WILSON: Well, you’re here in Washington and a lot of us care quite a bit about the special relationship. And in your meeting with Secretary Pompeo, afterwards he actually kicked off the press conference by referring to the US-UK trade deal. I think we’re starting the fourth round of negotiations. He was bullish. He was optimistic. But trade deals are never easy. So what’s your sense of what comes next on the US-UK agenda, specifically with this trade deal? What do you see as the big issues, the timing around that?
DOMINIC RAAB: So the advantage we’ve got, the reason why this is a great opportunity for the United States, as well as the UK, is, in a way, if you look at our economies, they’re very complementary. You can see the wins for the US. You can see the wins for the UK. We’re very clear on our side we’re not going to reduce in any way our regulatory standards. But I think if you look at the economies as a whole, they complement. And a great political opportunity—it’s a strategic opportunity—to show the world with the wave of protectionism that we’ve seen from various quarters, actually, there are these free trade deals that can still be done.
I spoke to Liz Truss, our trade secretary, before coming out. She says that we have a great relationship with Secretary (sic) Lighthizer and starting, as you said, the—I think it’s the fourth round of negotiations. They’re making great progress. Whether we can get this done in time for the election may be a stretch, but let’s see. Let’s go for it. And I loved Mike Pompeo’s attitude: Let’s get it done. And funny enough, he and I take a quite similar view. We’re there to provide a bit of political muscle, but let’s let the trade negotiators do their thing. There’s obviously a good dynamic there. And I think we can get this over the line.
DAMON WILSON: Well, for the United States, the UK has always been a critical partner in a lot of security issues, military issues within NATO but globally as well. The prime minister announced this integrated review—an integrated review looking at security, defense, development altogether, and doing that in parallel with a government spending review. On the one hand, the vision of this is pretty inspiring for someone like me who looks at the possibilities of a Global Britain saying that we want a distinctively open and Global Britain working with our allies as a problem-solving and burden-sharing nation. How do you see this integrated review sort of developing your strategy for the coming years where some in the United States are a bit concerned that matching resources and ambition might mean a little bit less of the UK on some of the security and military cooperation we depend on?
DOMINIC RAAB: Yeah. Look, we can give the reassurance we’re going to be a stalwart friend/ally. If I take the IR, it’s looking at a—at least a ten-year horizon, possibly longer, and key things coming out in science. The great comparative advantage we have, we’re seeing it a little bit with the coronavirus vaccine research that’s happening in Imperial and Oxford University. That’s important from a public-health point of view. But also, tech and—the technical advantage we have in science, that’s a great commercial US—(inaudible) —the UK moving forward. But we also know it ought to be linked up with the security and the defensive paradigms that we have, whether it’s cyber, whether it’s countering misinformation and propaganda, or indeed our conventional weaponry.
So I think an interesting—I mean, Israel does this very well. India does as well. Singapore’s kind of got an interesting paradigm. We want to learn from the very best and form a distinct identity in the world. Science is one of those areas.
I think one of the things we do quite well is problem solving, conflict stabilization with the Center for Dispute Resolution in London one of the centers. But how do you bring all that together?
And so you’re right, we’re trying to articulate a distinct post-Brexit identity, global—a buccaneering approach to free trade, but all these other elements and bringing them together. And we’ve got these three things running in tandem: the integrated review, the spending review—which is the money, three years—and we’ve—as you just—as was said in the introduction, we’re bringing together our aid and our diplomatic leverage in the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. And our message to our citizens, but also to the world, is we want to get more bang for taxpayers’ money. We also want to have greater impact. That’s partly about what we do, but it’s also about being more integrated with our closest partners, particularly the ones like the US who share our values.
DAMON WILSON: I’m not sure many of our viewers sort of appreciate, as Fred mentioned, as you just referred to, at the beginning of I think this month you just brought together the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with the Development Office, all under your remit. And I think during your visit you’ve announced new support for Yemen, for Belarus. What is the significance of bringing together your development portfolio with your foreign policy portfolio under your Cabinet office?
DOMINIC RAAB: So we’re already committed to being a force for good in the world and our aid budget is enormous. The possibility for having impact in conflict situations like Yemen, which is suffering the triple whammy if you like of COVID, conflict, and now potentially an acute famine. I think if I look at Africa, particularly some of those particularly vulnerable and troubled war-torn countries, our aid—our aid role is really important.
But I do think it ought to be linked to our values and I do think it ought to be linked long term to the UK national interest. So we want to get the most value, have the greatest impact, but also link it to strategy.
I think there was a view amongst the aid world—in the last few years you could see it, but it goes back a lot longer—that what you do with your aid is somehow a moral dimension that is separate from your national interest. I think that’s a mistake. And funny enough with COVID, take our—we hosted the recent Global—GAVI, Global Vaccine Summit. We smashed the target, right, won $8 billion worth of funding. Now, why would we do that? Why does that matter? Well, it matters because we want to vaccinate our own people. That’s really important. The number-one thing elected democratic governments are responsible for is that. But we also see much the moral responsibility of making sure the most vulnerable countries get access to the vaccine. But if we’re going to stop a second wave of dominoes reaching back into the UK and the blowback of a global second wave, we want to do it too.
So I’m very keen to push back on this idea that our moral and our more gritty, if I can put it that way, national interest are somehow dislocated. Now, this merger is a good way of bringing the two together.
DAMON WILSON: Interesting.
We need to come to China. That’s a big issue here, big topic in Washington. When we had Secretary Pompeo on this program earlier this week, he really drove home the concerns about China. You’ve been outspoken on Uighurs in Xinjiang. You’ve been outspoken on Hong Kong. In fact, it’s pretty remarkable in the wake of the Chinese legislation sort of tightening its grip on Hong Kong the offer the UK has made for almost 40 percent of those that live in Hong Kong to find a pathway to the UK How did this play out in your discussions with the United States? How are you thinking about actions that you can actually do to shape Chinese decisions in places like Hong Kong or Xinjiang?
DOMINIC RAAB: Well, the most important thing is to be able to act in concert with our closest friends and also then broaden out the—if you like, the coalition or the consensus of likeminded countries that share the values, because China is massive. It’s here to stay, in my view. And there are some positives. I mean, you look at the climate change issue, China is the biggest net emitter. It’s also the biggest investor in renewables. So China’s—if you’re going to shift the dial on climate change, China’s going to be part of that.
At the same time, we want to be eyes wide open about all the risks. Mike is a terrific interlocutor and friend. We listen very carefully on 5G, on our supply chains.
And I think for us, Hong Kong obviously has a specific not just historic resonance, but a really—I mean, if you look at the British Cabinet, the number of children of immigrants like me around the Cabinet table, this stuff matters to us. So when we saw the national security legislation came in, it was something we took nine months to prepare for. We prepared to something we feared, but we were ready for it—not just on the offer to British national overseas citizens, but what we’ve done on suspending extradition relations, extending the arms embargo to Hong Kong.
So, look—and your question, what influence does it have, what impact does it have, who knows the extent to which it will mitigate their behavior, at the end, at the margins. We wait to see how the national security legislation is enforced in practice. But we will always stand up for our values.
And you know what, Mike’s been a great interlocutor. I pay tribute to what the US has done on this. I also said the same to Speaker Pelosi, thank you to what Congress has done with some legislation that’s passed. And again, we’re in the business of bringing countries together to stand up for our values, and I think it’s really important that China knows that we won’t just turn a blind eye whether it’s Hong Kong or Xinjiang.
And I think we’ve got that message across, and I think what’s most important is it isn’t just Britain and the US or the Five Eyes or even the US, the UK, the EU. We broaden that coalition of likeminded countries. That’s the way you’ll maximize your impact and your positive influence.
DAMON WILSON: In that context, broadening the coalition, your government, you’ve talked about a potential D-10, a grouping of 10 democracies to deal with this issue of technology. I mean, how are you navigating 5G, where there was a gap a little bit between Washington and London? You’ve made some changes in your policies to ban this from your 5G networks by 2027, Huawei equipment. How do you think about navigating the technology issue? Is this D-10 an opportunity to organize democracies around a more coherent approach?
DOMINIC RAAB: I think it is. I think it’s a great opportunity to do just that.
Look, on 5G, I don’t think there’s any difference between any of us as countries in the Five Eyes or the UK and the US in relation to the problem. The question of how you address it is. But we’ve got ourselves, as free-market-loving democracies, in a situation where we were overly reliant on one high-risk vendor. And we’ve taken the decision—we thought about it very carefully—we were going to reduce, over time, Huawei’s role even before, but we—now that’s, obviously, been expedited.
But actually, the real question is how do we build up a caucus—a bigger, diversified supply chain of high-trust vendors? And if you think about what that involves, not just businesses and reliance on the free market but the D-10 or whatever the group of likeminded democracies coming together, you know what—the market didn’t work on this; we need to step in and provide some kind of encouragement and concert to allow us to build up, particularly in the telecom sector, but actually supply chains elsewhere. I mean, we’ve seen it with PPE during the coronavirus. We were all very reliant on China. I think it’s healthy to build up the high-trust vendors, whether it’s in 5G, whether it’s in PPE, and there are other areas, so that we don’t find ourselves in that invidious position again.
DAMON WILSON: Right. Well, let me come closer to home for you, another problematic country, Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Just a couple weeks ago you summoned the Russian ambassador in London and had some very strong words on the poisoning of Navalny, coming two years after Salisbury Novichok, an attempted—assassination attempt in the UK, and the British statement that it’s very difficult to see any plausible alternative explanation to this being carried out by the Russian intelligence services. After Salisbury, there was a set of coordinated actions among democracies, NATO allies. What’s the nature of your conversations with Berlin, the Germans, other allies, the United States on how to respond to this?
DOMINIC RAAB: Well, first of all, it’s really important that those likeminded democracies on both sides of the—of the pond stand up for what’s right. The targeted assassination—the attempted assassination with Novichok is totally wrong. It’s also—any use of chemical weapons is a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, and it’s important to work together within the OPCW. We heard today that the evidence suggests the poisoning took place in the hotel; not on the plane or later.
And I think it’s very difficult—in our experience of dealing with Novichok—it’s very difficult to see any plausible alternative, and not just that this happened in Russia and by some Russian group, but that it was the Russian state. And I think the case to answer is now firmly in the Russian government’s court. And if they can’t—if they can’t answer that question, they can’t come up with a plausible alternative, I think we need to make sure there is a cost because, if there isn’t a cost, what we’re seeing is that the Kremlin will just keep doing it. And then it will be not just some dissident targeted or former members of the Russian intelligence service—could be one of our citizens. Now at that point, I think our people would ask, why didn’t you act sooner? So we must have some accountability. We must apply a cost to that kind of behavior which crosses all of the international lines.
DAMON WILSON: And do you think you have the tools? You’ve said that—seeing the British government’s statements—that once you leave the European Union, you want to be able to tighten your own sanctions legislation. You want to deal with the idea of money laundering in the city of London. Do you think you’ve got the tools and instruments to inflict some of those costs and push back on perhaps some of the illicit financing of some of these things, as well?
DOMINIC RAAB: Look, we’ve—we’ll keep coordinating with the US, Canada, Australia, the other Five Eyes. Whilst we’re still in the transition period, we’ll adopt the EU sanctions as well.
But one of the things we learnt from you guys—and from particular a bipartisan approach from the Cardin-McCain Magnitsky sanctions—was the opportunity—particularly for something like a human rights violation—is to apply asset freezes and visa bans on individuals where you’ve got the evidence. I think we can indeed, and I’m intending by Christmas to back that up with similar sanctions on those involved in corruption.
But what will really matter is not just what the UK does, or indeed what the US does, but the extent to which we have a swelling group of likeminded countries—whether it’s the D-10 or whatever the format is—who are willing to take action. The more that way with China when it behaves badly, or Russia with its nefarious actions, you will apply a cost which is more likely to change behavior.
DAMON WILSON: I want to bring in one of the questions that has come in from our viewers on the same theme, but next door in Belarus.
DOMINIC RAAB: Yeah.
DAMON WILSON: You mentioned invoking the Moscow Mechanism, and I think you’ve announced some additional aid to civil society in Belarus while you’ve been here.
Do you see—the question is do you see a way for the international community of allies to act in a way that Lukashenko could stand down without Russia moving in—what does this look like in Belarus?
DOMINIC RAAB: I feel this—you know, I think there is a vanishing window here where Lukashenko and President Putin will just try and sit this out. I think that’s the game plan. And what we need to try and do is apply a cost and apply some pressure so that that doesn’t happen. I also think ultimately the robust accountability needs to be coupled with space or dialogue and a transition, but fundamentally by what we’ve done today with our partners, including the US, and we’ve got a whole range of countries signed up. The trick of the Moscow Mechanism is we’ve got an independent international investigation, under the OSCE, which will look at the vote rigging and will look at the human rights abuses. And I think when we’ve got answers from that, under that independent auspices, I think it will be very hard for Lukashenko just to carry on as normal. They’ll try, I suspect. And the crucial thing at that point is the action the international community takes. So I think that there needs to be a combination of tough and tender, if you like. There are room for dialogue, whether it’s under the OSCE auspices or however it may take place, coupled with a really clear cost if the regimes in Moscow and in Belarus just do not move.
DAMON WILSON: I welcome that; a policy of tough and tender together.
In our few minutes remaining—
DOMINIC RAAB: Sure.
DAMON WILSON:—you came to Washington during a week when the Middle East was the big story, obviously, with the peace accords between Israel, UAE, Bahrain—the normalization of those relations, but Iran has loomed front and center in the conversations. And that’s one of the areas where there have been some gaps between Washington and London.
You spoke, I’m sure, about this quite extensively here, but there’s a common commitment to preventing a nuclear-armed Iran, but differences on how to get there—
DOMINIC RAAB: Yeah.
DAMON WILSON: —especially as we go into snapback, especially as there is concern about secondary US sanctions. How did you close the gap, the approach to Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons during the visit this week?
DOMINIC RAAB: Well, first of all, I attribute to the administration, the president, Jared Kushner’s brilliant work on the normalization. I think that’s really important, and it can really change the dynamic in the Middle East.
But you are right that the central challenge and problems emanate from Tehran, and we agree with our US friends, and indeed, the Five Eyes and our European colleagues, that we cannot tolerate Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. We’re very open—we’ve supported President Trump’s plan. We were sympathetic with the Macron Initiative to broaden that so that it’s more effective on the nuclear front; that it carries, and encapsulates, and brings in all of the other nefarious and destabilizing activities that Iran does right across the region.
I think our feeling—and Mike and I, you know, have shared discussions on this before—it’s very—look, we’re not going to junk the JCPOA—that’s not our view—until we’ve got something better to put in its place.
That’s a shade of difference around means. On the ends, on the objectives, we are absolutely united and we’ll actually be shoulder to shoulder with the US
DAMON WILSON: Mr. Secretary, I’m going to take a last question from our audience here about sort of—it asks about how you think about—you’re headed into taking over the G-7 and presidency next year, we’ve got a pandemic—COVID—you’ve got climate as a major priority. How are you going to use Britain’s leadership of the G-7, the question asks, to tackle sort of its two signature issues of how to get out and deal with this pandemic, and how do we deal with climate, because I think you are hosting your rescheduled climate summit next year.
DOMINIC RAAB: Yes. On COVID, I—you know, joining up all the different elements from the vaccine to the PPE, keeping supply chains open, keeping trade routes open so we deal with the pandemic, but we don’t allow the medicine to knock the economy for six. That’s really important. Bringing all of that together—whether it’s in the G-7 format or more broadly—is really important. And you know, I think there is huge scope to do it.
Obviously, the thing that would be the game-changer is the vaccine. So we’re going to really push and show the leadership on research, but also make sure we’ve got the mechanisms so that we can have a proper distribution of it across the world—not out of some sort of altruism, but actually hard-headed realism that if we want to see the back of this pandemic we’re going to have to work together and prop up the most vulnerable countries.
On COP-26, look, I think we need to change the conversation about this. Climate change is a massive risk to us all, to our children, but I think—and I see this particularly strongly here in the US—we’ve got to turn this around. The opportunity to use tech, our comparative advantage in the US, the UK, other countries, at driving innovation, which makes this a positive force for good; commercially because it will create green jobs, but also a force for good in terms of showing the next generation that we left our planet and our environment in a better place, and our custodianship was a responsible one.
DAMON WILSON: Mr. Foreign Secretary, thank you so much for this conversation. Thank you for your time. We’re delighted that you are ending your visit to Washington with this conversation. I’m really struck by this sort of vision of a more catalytic power of Great Britain, and we want to be part of seeing this burden-sharing, problem-solving ethos as we work on our own Global Britain Initiative at the Atlantic Council.
So thank you for coming, for the conversation, and best of luck as you return back to the UK. There are many, many other questions that came in where—when can we travel and get back. There are—
DOMINIC RAAB: As soon as possible.
DAMON WILSON: Yeah, I know there’s a wanderlust among many of our viewers to get back across the pond.
DOMINIC RAAB: We look forward to seeing them. Thank you so much for hosting.
DAMON WILSON: My pleasure. My pleasure.
Thank you. Thank you all for joining us for this edition of the Atlantic Council Front Page and be back here for our next one. Thank you.