Defence chiefs go to the Tower; Army waits for the axe. By Michael Clarke

Defence cuts are back in fashion and the Army is again in the Treasury’s sights. The Army is currently 74,000 strong. But that is the wrong number in any case. It will need to be either bigger or smaller to fit into a coherent defence strategy. Michael Clarke outlines the problem. Defence Chiefs went to …

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Britain can be picked off – even by its friends. By @MikeClarke2020s

A triple hit of weakness ‘Please believe these days will pass’, said David Hockney and other international artists as the world went into COVID-19 lockdown. Indeed, they will. But equally, when these days finally pass, they will also usher in a new political world, both at home and abroad. It will have changed a good …

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‘The Surveillance Pandemic’ by General Sir Richard Barrons KCB CBE

The following comment and analysis by General Sir Richard Barrons, Commander Joint Forces Command (2013-2016), now Co-Chairman of Universal Defence & Security Solutions, is published here too by the Global Security Forum of which General Barrons is an Advisory Board member. The Surveillance Pandemic All eyes are focused on the extraordinary effects of the COVID-19 …

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Time for Some Hard Thinking About Soft Power, by Michael Clarke

Most people talk about ‘soft power’ as somehow the opposite of military or coercive ‘hard power’. But it is much more complex than that. Britain has relied on its subtle soft power capabilities for a long time. But if it does not think more carefully about it very soon, there is a danger that complacency …

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A Call for Commentary: British ‘Soft Power’ in the 2020s

The concept of ‘Soft Power’ will be increasingly important to all European ‘middle powers’, and not least to Britain, in the troubled years to come, as the world deals with the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasingly antagonistic relations between the major powers. The western liberal democracies will have to rely …

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Vaccine Nationalism in the Age of Coronavirus, by Helen Ramscar

The following article was first published here by the RUSI (Royal United Services Institute) on Monday 19 May 2020. A scientific gold rush is underway for the first Covid-19 vaccine but, as the world is anxious and impatient for its arrival, medical protectionism and vaccine nationalism could rise considerably if unchecked. Outwardly, most governments recognise …

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COVID-19 and Britain’s Integrated Review: surveying the global environment

By Michael Clarke It’s inevitable that the government’s ‘Integrated Review’ of external relations has gone on hold during the COVID-19 crisis, not least because the international environment is being changed, perhaps fundamentally, by it. Michael Clarke addresses the government’s key challenge – to work out the difference between those existing trends that are being exacerbated …

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China and the WHO’s ‘Health Silk Road’ (健康丝绸之路)

by Helen Ramscar In March 2020, when Dr Aylward, Senior Advisor to the WHO Director-General, cut short a video interview rather than comment on, or even mention, Taiwan’s impressive response to the Covid-19 crisis, it appeared that offending China was too great a risk to countenance. His lack of candour appeared a sinister indication of …

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