On Saturday 7 April came reports that chemical weapons (CW) were used in Douma, Syria. In the very early hours of Saturday 14 April the US, France and the UK launched 105 cruise and air-to-surface missiles against a CW research centre and two CW storage facilities. US President Donald J Trump tweeted “Mission Accomplished!” But what was the mission? Continue reading
Impressions from Moscow – MCIS 2018
The seventh Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS) was on Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 April. Listening to the speeches and chatting with various people during and after it, my first thoughts concern three related issues: the growing confidence of Russian policy; soft power; and shared concern about the increasing risks in global politics, together with deep differences about where those risks come from. Continue reading
UK’s European policy – already broken? or magician’s distraction?
I finished my first post-Brexit post by noting the “exquisitely sharp dilemma” Britain’s new Prime Minister has to manage. That was before she seemingly decided to sharpen the dilemma by appointing Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary. But some of Theresa May‘s other new Cabinet appointments may give more reason for serious reflection. Continue reading
Brexit breaks it – but the UK’s number one foreign policy objective remains Europe
Still reeling from Brexit? You should be. Europe is. Britain will be for years. On all fronts. The ones who manufactured Britain’s new impasse have all left the stage. The second woman and 76th person to be Britain’s Prime Minister was not a Brexiter though some expected her to be. She faces quite some challenge in reconstructing Britain’s relationship to Europe.
England’s riots: If the UK were a fragile state…
Last week, rioting and looting gripped England. At a time when many people are feeling in one way or another bad about our country, it seemed salient (and perhaps inevitable) to ask, if the UK were a fragile state, how would we approach the events of last week, their aftermath and the future? Continue reading