In a period of significant change in Britain, Clarke and Ramscar have outlined some of the key security challenges facing the United Kingdom in the coming decades. The questions raised in this book, as well as the authors’ call for a new emphasis on long-term strategic thought, merit our attention.
Henry A. Kissinger
The world is unstable and dangerous. Yet the UK’s sense of future purpose and direction is unclear. There is little consensus, indeed the country is divided. This exceptional book makes a compelling and in some respects surprising case for a strategic surge, an innovative national strategy to guide us through the post-Brexit era. The UK must find a route through a gathering storm, and fast. To do this we need some statesmen and some old-fashioned honest statecraft. If those who have our future in their hands are uncertain about what to do, it’s easy. Hire Mike Clarke and Helen Ramscar, fast.
General The Lord Richards of Herstmonceux GCB, CBE, DSO, Chief of the Defence Staff, 2010-2013
The authors brilliantly chart the road ahead to the Tipping Point: the Brexit end of a United Europe just as America’s “moral leadership” becomes a void, and China fills the gap. They tell us with striking insight how to survive and get to the other side.
Lord Saatchi, Former Conservative Party Chairman
‘Tipping Point’ captures the core dilemma that faces Britain today: we once thought we knew who we were, how the world worked and our place in it – even if there were lean as well as better times – but now we have to understand that we are adrift and in peril. The political thinking, the instruments of power, and the alliances that kept Britain afloat for decades either no longer work or are running on fumes, and what lies ahead jeopardizes our security and prosperity unless major action is taken. Brexit is the prism through which this will be viewed, but Brexit is neither the cause nor the solution. Unless Britain now understands and accepts some uncomfortable truths, sets aside outmoded policy, capability and method, and invests leadership, energy and resources in resetting how it acts at home and on the world stage the prospects are poor. This book explains why and points to what must now be done.
General Sir Richard Barrons, KCB CBE, Former Commander, Joint Forces Command and one of the Chiefs of Staff leading UK Armed Forces.
‘It’s a good time to be a policy analyst, not so good to be a policy maker’; so said Professor Michael Clarke, just before he ended his tenure as Director General of the Royal United Services Institute in 2015. With this book he and his co-author Helen Ramscar, have taken a deep dive into the whirlpool of contemporary British policy making and come up with a real pearl…
See here for the full review by Nick Watts, published in Defence Viewpoints.
For, as Professor Michael Clarke and Helen Ramscar, two of Britain’s leading thinkers on defence strategy, argue in their new book Tipping Point: Britain, Brexit and Security in the 2020s, ‘a decade of public expenditure cuts…have left Britain talking a better international game than it plays’.
See here for the full column by Con Coughlin, published in the Daily Telegraph.
For many of us who operate global enterprises out of the United States, we have long looked to London as a gateway to Europe. With the recent election confirming that Boris Johnson will lead Britain out of Europe early in 2020, that once dependable pathway will be blocked and the future of American business’ relationship with Britain will hang in the balance. Tipping Point clearly explains the forces at play and the challenges facing Britain today. This understanding of global economic pressures, social forces and security vulnerabilities provides an valuable guide. Tipping Point is a must read for business leaders who seek to understand an evolving, and potentially, deteriorating Britain.
Thankfully, in layman’s language, experts Michael Clarke and Helen Ramscar have written a prescription for a restored, revitalized Britain. They call for the creation of a “strategic surge” in resources and the political will to stabilize Britain and give it the chance to return as a trusted partner in the wider world. I certainly hope Tipping Point is widely read by government leaders, business executives and anyone who wishes to understand Brexit, Britain and the future of European stability. More importantly, I hope the recommendations offered by Clarke and Ramscar are adopted. Much depends on it.
Sally Susman, Executive Vice President, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Pfizer Inc
Clarke and Ramscar provide a strong grounding on which to understand Britain’s security futures and also to understand the challenges that face Britain well beyond Brexit. Looking at both the national and the global as well as the historical and the emergent, this book is written for both the scholar and the lay reader to inform and suggest the challenges that Britain faces and what it takes to find vigor in the face of them.
Professor David Galbreath, Faculty Dean of Social Science, Professor of International Security, University of Bath
Two London-based policy analysts study the challenges and opportunities facing British foreign policy … They tally national assets and capabilities and conclude that the United Kingdom can and will ally with the Europeans on most military and diplomatic initiatives, but that the British can still play an outsize role by exploiting their robust nonmilitary instruments of power: global networks of foreign aid, strong intelligence capacities, diplomatic expertise, world-class financial and educational sectors—and the soft power created by the British monarchy, the BBC, and soccer’s Premier League. To bolster the country’s status, they recommend a “strategic surge” of spending, focused primarily on these nonmilitary policy instruments.
See here for the full review by Andrew Moravscik published in Foreign Affairs.
Of all the issues yet to be resolved in the divorce proceedings, that of security is perhaps the most pressing and in Clarke and Ramscar’s new volume, Tipping Point, the authors try to evaluate Britain’s security prospects by linking the legacies of the immediate past with the emerging trends of the future. They forecast that some uncomfortably new thinking will be required if Britain’s leaders are to navigate the country to a reasonably secure status in a decade that shows all the signs of being unpredictable and turbulent. ‘The convergence of a number of longer-term trends will turn British security into something of a high-wire act, the Brexit process having whipped away the safety net’ (p.2).
The authors’ theme is that for a country as ‘globalised’ as the UK, security challenges cover a wide spectrum – from terrorism, international crime and cyber- crime to the prospect of war in its own continent, they claim that the UK’s departure has turned the current period into a political tipping point from which there is no hiding. However, it should be said that much of the book was researched and written before the most recent, decisive exit process had been achieved and this means that many of the doubts and question marks are, if not removed, then scheduled for negotiation during the detailed uncoupling now in hand. The way forward is clearer and problems clarified which will allow the country to get through the 2020s with better prospects than for many a decade. This book’s concentration on the immediate and long-term challenges, from security and foreign policy to the crisis of liberal democracy – and the immaculate pedigree of both distinguished authors suggest Tipping Point will be on many desks in Whitehall and Brussels.
See here for the the full review by Derek Hawes in the Journal of Contemporary European Studies.