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Reports of RUSI events
Britain's global and domestic strategy: the Afghan question
With this month's focus on the UK troop contributions to the Afghanistan campaign, Michael Codner, head of RUSI's Military Sciences department has discussed options for British military strategy. Whether the UK government wishes its forces to be at the forefront of international operations or to take a smaller role and decrease its involvement to that of lesser European powers, Codner urges extensive planning and clear decision-making. RUSI's Malcolm Chalmers suggests that progress in Afghanistan is not linked directly to troop numbers in the region.
In the midst of increased thinking on the British military's international role, the UK defence community is also considering criticism published in a report for RUSI by Major Patrick Little earlier this year, which assessed internal problems within its Armed Forces.
Added to discussions of UK involvement in Afghanistan is the question of the campaign's success and whether it will impact the threat of domestic terrorism. RUSI's chairman, Sir Paul Lever, maintained that terrorism was 'principally a home-grown phenomenon', and that Britain was in the 'front line' of the fight against it. Links between homeland security and the Afghan campaign are being debated heavily this month.
This debate contextualises speculation on Gordon Brown's pledge later this month to send 500 more troops into Afghanistan. RUSI's Michael Clarke then estimated that, though 'a guess at the moment', NATO combined forces would likely 'be coming up with perhaps 3,000 or 3,500 troops'.
Re-training in Afghanistan
With the recent deaths of five British soldiers at the hands of a 'rogue' Afghan policeman in Helmand this month, experts are questioning the role of UK service personnel in training Afghan police forces. RUSI's Amyas Godfrey noted that, although this incident is tragic, the role of the RMP is important to advise new Afghan security forces and promote their self-sufficiency. Their role is to 'make sure they're following set procedures', Godfrey notes, and this is crucial in empowering Afghanistan's existing security forces to work independently.
As crucial as Afghanistan's police force will be to the future secturity of the state, Ian Kearns, a fellow of RUSI, has urged thinking on ways to limit corruption in the country's government itself. He notes that 'you can't win a counter insurgency if the government is illegitimate and corrupt'. The real problem, contends RUSI's Malcolm Chalmers, is that 'the international community doesn't have an alternative to the government they're dealing with. And Karzai is well aware of that'.
Professor Michael Clarke, RUSI's director, chaired the seminar this month held by the committee conducting an investigation into the Iraq war. With the motives of Blair's government for the war being heavily contested, Clarke suggested that a second UN resolution (or similar display of international cohesion) 'might have engineered, if not regime change immediately, a pause in the dynamic towards war'.
'Sarko the freedom fighter?'
This month, RUSI's Jonathan Eyal published an article accusing French President, Nicholas Sarkozy of holding Eastern Europe in contempt. Sarkozy's European policy, Eyal argues, treats these former communist countries as 'a gaggle of unruly children, who must be told how to behave'. Eyal urges a 'dialogue between equals and an understanding - particularly from France and Germany - that Eastern European fears about Russia are both understandable and largely justified'. Another article on the recent controversy that Germany's new foreign minister blocked an appointment by the lobby of Germans expelled from Eastern Europe after World War II, Eyal continues. 'There is a feeling in Eastern Europe that the Germans, who exercise so much care and attention on reconciliation with France, have never bothered to make the same kind of effort with the Poles and the Czechs.'
Coverage: Wall Street Journal
Threat of Cold War between China and India?
Speculation is growing over recent tensions between two of Asia's largest states. As India this month prepares to re-open a disused Cold War outpost to store army and intelligence capabilities, the country looks postured in defence against China's increasingly outward-looking military capacities. Alexander Neil, head of RUSI's Asia Programme, noted that, 'It doesn't have the same proportions as the Cold War, but there is potential for this to spiral out of control'. He urges that 'allies of both countries need to think carefully about the consequences of this rivalry'.
Nelson Mandela Africa Lecture: UN Peacekeeping in the Democratic Republic of Congo
On 11 November, RUSI held a conference to discuss the challenges of ending conflict and building peace in Congo, which is a country vital to the stability of its region.
For more on the event, click here.
This month, RUSI held a high profile public conference called, 'Olympic and Paralympic Safety and Security'. With over 14,500 athletes competing, 20,000 members of the world's media expected to attend and some nine million tickets to be sold, the 2012 Games and preparations for them are an unprecedented organisational challenge for the UK. The conference was held to discuss the challenges of the UK Government in the delivery of its promise of a 'safe and secure Games, in keeping with the Olympic culture and spirit'.
For more on the event, click here.