The announcement that a forthcoming US Air Force TacAir study will include an assessment of a new clean sheet design to replace the F-16 has led many to label the F-35 a failure. While it is certainly an important change in public messaging, the underlying dynamics do not support this interpretation.
While political and strategic considerations may push the UK to prioritise speed over substance when it comes to accession negotiations, this strategy may well pay off if joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership is seen as a starting point for greater commercial diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific.
Having failed to beat the EU to the Indo-Pacific, and with US–EU relations less than ideal ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration this month, the UK could carve out a niche in Asia by aligning with US policy.
It has become commonplace to suggest that British people today would not accept the levels of casualties suffered on the Western Front during the First World War. In Afghanistan the loss of 454 soldiers caused deep public unease. Yet already the UK has lost over 80,000 people to coronavirus and people have become accustomed to the tragic daily toll.
The UK has created one of the best tools for mitigating Huawei’s risks. Whether or not the UK Huawei ban stands, its Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre should receive increased funding and support to protect and enhance its interests at home and abroad.