Last week I was in the United States for a range of meetings in Washington DC and New York with the Foreign Affairs select committee. We have been examining the ‘special relationship’ in the context of the fallout of the US and UK’s humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan, as well as areas of close cooperation with more positive ramifications.
We met the UN Secretary General, Congressmen, Permanent Representatives based in the US from Ukraine, India, France, Indonesia, Australia, Japan and the Philippines, the National Security Council and held multiple meetings with thinktanks, finance, legal and cryptocurrency leads on tackling corruption and illicit finance.
The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has focused international opinion and caused greater unity than Putin expected. Our meetings saw a more common focus and a growing desire to tackle the malign influence of authoritarian regimes, as well as boost investment in environmental measures for the long-term.
Our visit also took us to the UK Ambassador’s home in Washington where it was great to see Tower Bridge featured on the wall – a nice reminder of home! I was in New York when the horrific Supreme Court ruling was announced, resulting in abortion healthcare being banned in several states, and I saw the anger felt at such a shocking decision at a rally in Manhattan. The US are still a beacon for freedom for so many millions of people across the world but also faces its own challenges with such a highly politicised Supreme Court and the malign influence of Trump still felt across the political system.