Democracy in retreat worldwide, warns UK foreign minister Raab

·2-min read
Britain's Foreign Affairs Secretary Dominic Raab walks outside Downing Street in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Democracy is in retreat around the world, British foreign minister Dominic Raab will warn on Wednesday in a speech setting out the danger that autocratic regimes pose to global stability and prosperity.

Britain this week announced an overhaul of its foreign and defence policy to prioritise influence in the Indo-Pacific as a way to help moderate the expanding power and assertiveness of China's Communist Party leadership.

Speaking to the U.S. Aspen Security Forum to project that new agenda beyond a domestic audience, Raab will sum up the foreign policy review as a mission to be a "force for good in the world", saying that global democratic institutions are under their greatest threat since the end of the Cold War in 1989-90.

"Democracy is in retreat," he will say, adding that data showed that this decade the combined economic output of autocratic regimes is expected to exceed the combined output of the world’s democracies.

"Tyranny is richer than freedom, and that matters to us here at home because stable, freedom-respecting democracies are much less likely to go to war, house terrorists or trigger large scale flows of migrants," Raab said.

"They are generally, not always, but generally easier to trade with, and easier to cooperate with to solve our shared problems."

Since its 2016 vote to leave the European Union, Britain have been searching for a new role on the global stage which lives up to the promise made by Brexit campaigners - namely that, outside the EU, British influence would be projected around the world and bring greater economic prosperity.

Raab's speech will try to show that Britain, although dwarfed economically and militarily by China and the United States, now has a strategy to meet those expectations.

Central to that plan is finding a leading role in protecting democracies and building a new international system based on democratic values.

"Without power, without economic, military, diplomatic, cultural clout, we can do nothing," Raab will say.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Mark Heinrich)