Browsing All Posts filed under »SDSR«

No permanent threats, only permanent interests

November 6, 2012


A conceptual problem with British defence policy is that it is too focused on deterring threats, not on safeguarding interests – a problem unintentionally highlighted by The Telegraph today. It reports that the United Kingdom may increase its military presence in the Persian Gulf region ‘to counter the growing threat from Iran’, not to protect […]

David Cameron can avoid a war with Argentina by preparing for one

February 2, 2012


It sometimes feels like the Cameron premiership has so far been a replay of the early Thatcher one what with the cuts, the riots, bust-ups with France, and backbench discontent over the direction of the government. This sense of de jà vu is heightened by tensions over the Falkland Islands a month before the 30th […]

Afghanistan: A timeline

August 12, 2011


I was surprised to discover recently that there is no comprehensive, publicly available timeline of the war in Afghanistan. This was also annoying, as it meant I had to construct my own. Here is what I have so far, but will continue to build it and hope others will contribute too. My aim is cover […]

Where is the Special Relationship going?

May 24, 2011


President Obama begins his state visit to the United Kingdom today, so, understandably, there has been a lot of focus on the Special Relationship; much of it typically pessimistic. I haven’t helped with my latest piece for Egremont criticising the new US-UK National Security Board (NSB). The board is supposed to keep officials on each […]

Afghanistan, David Cameron and British grand strategy

May 17, 2011


Yesterday, the Daily Telegraph reported that David Cameron has told the military to draw up plans for an early exit from Afghanistan. American commanders are alarmed by this and they are putting pressure on their British counterparts, as it might hasten an early US withdrawal. The story also ties into concerns the United States supposedly […]

Failed states and their threat to our country

April 21, 2011


Why does David Cameron support the war in Afghanistan? This is the title of a speech I’m giving soon, in which I examine his stated reasons for backing our involvement and explore possible ones. “Our forces are in Afghanistan to prevent Afghan territory from again being used by al-Qaeda as a base from which to […]

Afghanistan, the Conservatives and the Special Relationship

January 26, 2011


Why does David Cameron support the war in Afghanistan? I have touched on this here and here, but one reason not yet addressed is the importance of the United States. Though not crucial to them, the Special Relationship is vital for us; and Hew Strachan believes this is the reason for our involvement in the […]

Crispin Burke and Courtney Messerschmidt: Shi Lang!

January 19, 2011


The rise of China and its implication on security in East Asia is conspicuously missing from the blog, but this guest post by Crispin Burke and Courtney Messerschmidt begins to correct this. It puts concerns about Chinese military technology into a more critical perspective, especially its new aircraft carrier. Crispin is a US Army captain […]

Go for growth! A narrative for British grand strategy

December 17, 2010


If work is getting you down, and you feel frustrated intellectually, then the answer is Hew Strachan. My afternoon yesterday was spent reading his 2009 essay ‘The Strategic Gap in British Defence Policy’, which puts succinctly many of the problems I’ve been struggling with for months. As well as the internationalisation of national security and […]

The dearth in Conservative foreign policy thinking

December 11, 2010


The editor of ConservativeHome, Tim Montgomerie, started an interesting debate this week about the future of Conservatism in Britain. His contention is that there are two brands on offer to the Party, ‘liberal’ and ‘mainstream’. David Cameron and the coalition government are the former, and Montgomerie worries they have taken the Party too far to […]

Mark Sutherland: Reflections on the Reserves

December 8, 2010


As I’m still working on my Afghanistan paper, I haven’t had the time to write as many considered posts as I would like to or the ones I have planned. To keep the love alive between the reader and me, I’ve asked talented and learned friends of mine to guest post on the blog and […]

Making grand strategy

November 11, 2010


How do we make grand strategy? Jason Fritz wrote a piece on this yesterday, asking if good grand strategy needs an enemy. He uses Winston Churchill as inspiration, who argued in his memoirs that a theme throughout British history is focusing our efforts on resisting great existential threats. That has become ‘somewhat useless’ as a […]

The hidden Blairism in David Cameron’s worldview

November 5, 2010


As pundits focused on the defence cuts last month, Iain Martin at the Wall Street Journal pointed out the government had put an end to the Blair Doctrine with its new National Security Strategy. ‘Britain is out of Iraq, heading for the exit in Afghanistan and scaling back its ambitions to more modest levels.’ The […]