The following series of blogs has been extracted from my recent paper "A new model for Britain's Defence Forces". If you would like a free copy please contact email@example.com.
There are times in history where threats remain latent and a multiple scenario planning is applicable. However today, based on the thesis outlined in ‘Breaking the Code of History’, there are three very clear and present threats to Britain's national interest that dwarf all others and require the nation’s immediate attention. In ascending order they are ISIL, Russia and by far the greatest of all, China. These threats have manifested not just because of their internal drivers, but because of the long term decline in Western power that has created a vacuum of opportunity. Those in Europe who question the threat of Chinese military expansion, should ask the questions: “Why Australia is expanding its expenditure on defence, with a focus on China?” and “Why the USN is reconfiguring itself to contain the Chinese expansion?”.
There is no doubt that America is finding the role of global policeman exhausting with its debt burden. With limited resources, it will be forced to focus on the primary threat of China and withdraw forces from Europe which will give Putin greater leverage to threaten Europe. Meanwhile, under his presidency, Trump would no doubt demand quite rightly that Europe takes more responsibility for its own defence. Thus, the message to Britain is that it cannot rely on America to continue to defend our national interests by supporting our weakness.
Based on the cycle of empires in ‘Breaking the Code of History’, Britain has completed its new phase of regionalisation as marked by the vote to leave Europe. This manifestation of a new national energy and identity has been echoed in Britain’s sporting success in the Olympics and other fields. However, atypical of the cycle is that Britain has not maintained and enhanced its defence capabilities commensurate with its new path back to a global maritime nation.
Many would argue that the world today is different from the past, as the levels of communication and connections are so much more advanced and the world has never been so globalised. However, I would point out that this was also a common argument prior to the outbreak of WW1, but on a more relative basis. What really matters is that the basic behavioural patterns of expansive nations have not changed, as explicitly demonstrated by China's behaviour over the last decade and by the regional civil war across the Middle East. These two evolutions have taken place despite the increase process of globalisation and unprecedented levels of communication.
To compound this unrecognised threat, there is a general impression in the West and Britain that large-scale conventional warfare is a thing of the past. Only the foolish would believe that an aggressively expansive nation would not use the means to control the earth through force on a large scale. Whilst cyber warfare capabilities might add a new dimension to such a conflict, such a nation will never wield them as a primary means of war fighting. However, cyber warfare is a vital component of intelligence gathering that has powerful applications against network-centric warfare.
Lastly, there is the question of "Can we afford to spend on defence?". To which the immediate counterquestion is "Can we afford not to with the current threats on the horizon?". The reality is that the Quantitative Easing, otherwise known as the ‘printing of money’ has failed to compensate for the weakness across the Western economies. The only substitute will be a new version of direct investment similar to the USA’s New Deal during the 1930s. The natural place for this to start will be a government investment in the UK defence industry that will build capacity and create jobs. It will also reduce the unit costs of defence items as great numbers are built, bringing cost benefits.
With these key threat drivers and the additional impetus that Britain has left the EU, it is time for change, as once did The Parliamentarians of England during the Civil War, by creating a new model of defence policy that will protect the nation in the challenging times ahead.