Steve Davies writes for BBC News

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander has said the UK must avoid “knee-jerk interventionism” and “knee-jerk isolationism”, during a discussion about the future global role of the UK at Labour’s conference on Monday. What should that role be?

Mr Alexander said Britain was both weary and wary of foreign interventions, while adding that the UK’s status in the world was strengthened by its role in Europe.

At the end of August, Prime Minister David Cameron lost a vote in Parliament approving military action in Syria to deter use of chemical weapons.

That Commons defeat prompted Chancellor George Osborne to tell Radio 4’s Today programme that there would now be “national soul-searching about our role in the world”.

What should that global role be? Experts give their view below.

Dr Steve Davies, education director at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA)

The UK’s future global role should be as a major trading nation following a policy of radical openness (unilateral free trade, openness to foreign investment and also investment overseas, welcoming people from other parts of the world) and building on and developing historic links both personal and economic with all parts of the world but in particular the new developing economies such as China, India, Brazil and much of Africa and East Asia.

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