By Ewen Stewart, Director of Global Britain.
Global Britain is pleased to publish a major paper by David Murrin Now or Never – UK Strategic Defence Review 2020. You can find the paper on our Reports page here.
David Murrin’s paper is a major contribution to the debate on Britain’s future role in the world from an observer with an outstanding insight into the strategic and military challenges this nation and more generally the West faces. While Britain’s Soft Power has flourished our Hard Power has been neglected and if Britain is to regain its place, post Brexit, as a major global force within the western nations this decline must be abated.
As David puts it
‘In a world consumed by the pandemic and its self-imposed economic impact, you might wonder why defence is such a critical issue. Whilst struggling to optimise our response to the pandemic, we risk being distracted from a much greater existential threat to our Nation.
We have all experienced or observed the behaviour of bullies. Aggressive opportunists who seek to intimidate with words and jibes, that diminish and control, much like we see in a playground. These bullies may also choose to escalate their hold by suggesting, or using physical violence. Most importantly, all bullies are predators and as such will exploit any weakness, but avoid the strong, who might defend themselves and inflict harm upon then in return. In the geopolitical world, words and jibes equate to cyber-attacks, manipulation of social media, and physical intimidation and attacks to open warfare. Playgrounds gangs are very similar to defence and security alliances.
Putin is a classic bully. Russia is not overtly expansive, due to its negative demographics, but Putin is aggressive and opportunistic. As such, British and Western weakness will be punished at a moment of friction, unless we raise our awareness and strengthen our defences.
China, however, is a super bully: strong, fast, increasingly powerful, and until now patient, who will take on even the strongest nations, in time seeking total global domination. Only maximised national strength coupled with strong alliances will be able to stand up to this super bully. Thus Britain faces a critical moment of decision. A now or never moment.
In response to this clear threat, I hope that you will join my call to arms by taking the time to read this report and commend it to your friends and colleagues.
To respond to the accelerating threat posed by Russia and China we must deploy a full-spectrum deterrent by 2025. Spending £100bn per year on defence that will stimulate significant economic growth. This is the ‘now or never’ moment for Britain to make our shores secure. We are in the pre-phases of war; cyber threats and the military adventurism of both China and Russia, sleepwalking into the risk of the destruction and/or subjugation of our nation. Our British Democracy has been bequeathed to us by previous generations, who, have fought two World wars for its continuance. If we are to learn from their sacrifices, it is that the only way to avoid war initiated by an aggressive protagonist is to invest in our Armed Forces to create a genuine deterrent’
We hope you find the paper of interest – please feel free to share it to others that you think might be interested.