Britain In The World
Does the presence of an Indian Prime Minister after several years of absence, Brexit and a return to great power politics offer a new role for the Commonwealth?
US Army officer T.S. Allen discusses the launch of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (Pesco) at last month’s European Council summit. While there may be benefits in terms of improvements in capabilities, there is a danger that Pesco represents a trend towards de-linking European defence from NATO in search of EU ‘strategic autonomy’.
Reviewing Lt Gen McMaster’s keynote speech at Policy Exchange’s Anglo-American conference, Professor John Bew highlights how the new American National Security Strategy will refocus on ‘competitive engagement’, providing support for friendly countries on America’s security frontier while requesting greater ‘reciprocity’ from US allies. Professor Bew also suggests how this should be interpreted by the UK’s ongoing Capability Review.
Two of Policy Exchange’s leading experts on Irish Affairs, former Irish diplomat Ray Bassett and former Special Adviser to the First Minister of Northern Ireland Dr Graham Gudgin, evaluate the Stage 1 Brexit Agreement published last week. Although welcome progress has been made, key issues remain outstanding and have the capacity to present difficultly if not resolved.
Beware excessive “declinism” – we’re putting more money into UK defence but American warnings must also be heeded
Policy Exchange’s Gabriel Elefteriu warns that we should beware the declinist narrative that too often pervades discussion of UK defence capability. He cautions this can too often verge on a self-fulfilling prophesy and we should acknowledge that the Government is now increasing defence spending. Equally, it is important that American warnings are headed, particularly on the retention of specific capabilities.
Last week, Chuka Umunna spoke to Chatham House in a much-needed intervention on the state of British foreign policy.
In recent years, the British foreign policy debate has not kept up with the pace of global political and economic change. For that reason alone, there was much to commend in Umunna’s sense of urgency. To adapt to the challenges of the twenty-first century, as he put it, “we need to look ahead and develop a proper national strategy on the basis of a clear understanding of what our interests are”.
National Security Fellow Gabriel Elefteriu responds to the launch of the Government’s new paper on UK-EU security and defence cooperation after Brexit. The paper is a welcome starting point in efforts to improve the “mood music”, given recent acrimony in Brexit negotiations. It is right to stress areas of common interest with the EU27 and the UK’s vital role in European security, which is likely to continue for many years. However, there are still questions to answer about the proposed “deep and special relationship” with the EU, and how this is to be squared with renewed efforts to reinvigorate the NATO alliance.
Britain in the World Research Fellow Gabriel Elefteriu discusses further implications of the North Korea crisis, noting that there is “no historical precedent for the present crisis, and attempting to apply ‘lessons’ from the past is extremely dangerous in these circumstances.” War “could be catastrophic in material and geopolitical terms, with incalculable evolutions and consequences” but the crisis is likely to force the US to devote even more resources to the Pacific, with consequences for its strategic posture in other parts of the world.
Ray Bassett – Policy Exchange’s Senior Fellow on EU Affairs – argues that the economic interests of Ireland are more closely aligned with the UK than the EU. As such Ireland should consider leaving the EU too.