NEW: GSF opinion piece by Lord Lothian – ‘The Integrated Review Of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy: The Moment For Common Sense?’

We are delighted to publish the 26th in our series of expert comment and analysis, by GSF’s Chairman, Lord Lothian PC QC. As always, the views expressed are those of the author and not of GSF unless otherwise stated. The full version of Lord Lothian’s article is now available to download: The Integrated Review…The Moment For Common Sense

One thought on “NEW: GSF opinion piece by Lord Lothian – ‘The Integrated Review Of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy: The Moment For Common Sense?’

  1. Yet again, a perceptive and valuable piece from Lord Lothian from whose thinking I learn a great deal. As I cannot pass on my Irish citizenship through my step children to my grandchildren it is important that UK gets it right, and that I find an escape route for them if not.

    He is indeed correct that “The first objective of a foreign policy must be the
    defence of and promotion of the national interest” As he says the difficulty lies in defining “National Interest” “We need more fully to understand what the
    limits of an acceptable national interest are. Presumably they must not be overtly partisan. This is not a simple debate and it is to be very much desired that this Review should address this question.”

    Herein lies the difficulty. Hobsbawm, whose writing I am avidly reading because of its relevance calls England “a state dedicated to the proposition that the maximisation of private profit was the foundation of government policy” This of course leads us to the Highland Clearances where sheep were more profitable than people, and the associated suggestion by some theorists that the Celtic population were less hard-working than those of Anglo-Saxon stock (i.e. Lowlanders and, in some instances, English), so giving an economic element to a racial theory. James Hunter quotes a contemporary Lowland newspaper: ‘Ethnologically the Celtic race is an inferior one and, attempt to disguise it as we may, there is … no getting rid of the great cosmical fact that it is destined to give way … before the higher capabilities of the Anglo-Saxon.’ These views were held by people like Patrick Sellar, the factor employed by the Countess of Sutherland to put her plans into effect, who often wrote of his support for these ideas.

    There is a striking similarity between these views and those of the Political Pygmies lurking in the cabinet and published in their manifesto. “Once they enter the workplace, the British are among the worst idlers in the world. We work among the lowest hours, we retire early and our productivity is poor… we must stop bailing out the reckless, avoiding all risk, and rewarding laziness.”

    This opinion drives a wedge in any notion of a single nation and contributes to the movement for Scottish Independence and Irish Reunification. Both these nations are already or will be welcomed into the EU with open arms.

    Britain was gelded by the experience of Suez in 1956 leading Dean Acheson to quip “Great Britain has lost an empire and has not yet found a role”. The collapse of Military Power was accompanied by a weak economy and a continuing nostalgia for Empire. Harold Wilson’s moves to rationalise the economy were confronted with planning for a coup.

    France by contrast found salvation in the return of the Great General de Gaulle who recognising the writing on the wall, abandoned the vestiges of overt Empire, and concentrate his efforts on reforming the governance and economy of Metropolitan France in cooperation with the Wirtschaftswunder in Germany, leading to the “Trente Gloriuse” years.

    He rebuffed the efforts of the British to join the Common Market on the grounds that they would simply be a Trojan Horse for the Americans (as they turned out to be). De Gaulle’s principle of Strategic Autonomy allowed him to preserve his independence of action and keep the American Empire at bay.

    President Macron’s thinking appears to follow along the same lines, to my great satisfaction.

    The EU’s reluctance to actively take part in Foreign Affairs has much to do with Germany’s legacy of getting involved in and losing two shooting wars in the 20th century with enormous civil damage, and human loss, and occupation of much of its historic territory. A role of getting peacefully rich suited everyone.

    Now that 75 years have passed and they are successfully reunified, they can contemplate playing their proper role in world affairs, in conjunction with the replacement of the outdated United Nations as a body. The criticism of the concept of the victor nations of 1945 having a veto over actually doing anything worthwhile is in fact correct. However the qualification for membership of the Security Council of a successor nation cannot just be possession of nuclear weapons as this brings in, Israel, Pakistan, North Korea, India, Saudi Arabia, Iran and still omits the German Economic Supermacht.

    Now that France and Germany are shoulder to shoulder we can then can revisit the idea of reintegrating Russia in the European Economy. Russia suffers from so many demographic problems that they have no option but to bring in European trained experts to exploit their natural resources and form a bridge to China. Russian, German and French finance can drive the development and integration of Africa. They will be enormously wary of allowing American ‘Experts’ to make Economic Mistakes as they did in the 1990s that allowed the Vory to plunder the state.

    As Sir Richard Barrons continues to state, the advent of Industrie 4.0 has a devastating effect on manufacturing employment, and devastates cities in the Midlands, reducing the Bourgeoisie to penury.

    This is accompanied by the effect of Big Data on professional employment where machines and algorithms can replace hordes of lawyers and accountants, other professions which depend on being able to read things, collate them, and draw inference from them, and shift traditional roles in medicine from Expensive Doctors to Surgeon Nurse Practitioners.

    Taxation and raising revenue in such a situation becomes challenging, particularly as the Pygmies have managed to arrange to not have any Trade Agreements with anyone by the end of 2020.

    Countries that cannot raise revenue to support their military adventures inevitably collapse like the Soviet Union in 1990 worn down by the all consuming costs of a war in Afghanistan.

    The fallacy of the Thatcher-Blair economic mistake of playing in the American Finance game got found out in 2008.

    The neocolonialist option favoured by the present temporary occupant of the office of Prime Minister won’t work, as it did in the time of Queen Elizabeth and the later Victorians, as the African nations have too may well trained and well read literate people who will say like Gamal Abdul Nasser “Those resources are ours. Why should you have them just because you passed a law in your Parliament or Senate?” Any President or Prime Minister who tries a repeat of Suez deserves everything he gets.

    The First Task of the IR will be to visualise an economic future for my grandchildren and decide who the solution will benefit and what their interests are. Then people can start thinking of the military means to achieve and protect it.

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