As missile defence becomes a central feature of many states’ security postures, it is attendant to frame the enterprise in a wider strategic context to understand its importance. The classic geopolitical dichotomy between Heartland and Rimland states outlined by Halford Mackinder and Nicholas Spykman might help us understand the geopolitical significance of global allied missile defences.
A British naval presence in the South China Sea strengthens global security and Britain’s global role. But it must be matched with a more systematic approach to the region, and to China’s defiance of legal norms.
Officials from the US and China put on brave faces at the recently concluded US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Tensions in the maritime and cyber realms, however, are threatening to send the relationship into a downward spiral.
With news of regular tragedies involving migrants awash on Europe’s shores, the European Union is promising to respond to these through military means. But the political will just does not exist in Europe; neither can the hurdles be overcome easily.
Last week saw governments making statements about their values, intent and national interest through the medium of the sea. Distracted by emergency response in Nepal and elections at home, the United Kingdom was largely absent from this global maritime conversation.
To meet the threats from China and North Korea, Japan is cooperating with its allies in the region, particularly by selling, lending or gifting them naval and maritime assets. But Tokyo is also building up its own fleet, despite its pacifist constitution, and this has put Japan’s shipbuilders into the spotlight.