With the arrival of each new US president, the incumbent UK prime minster hopes to revitalise the UK–US ‘special relationship’ in defence and security. It has largely been missing in action since the heady days of the Reagan–Thatcher relationship.
The agreement governing future relations between the UK and the EU has addressed only some of the serious questions about future security cooperation. Many challenges lie ahead, and goodwill, as well as attention to detail will be required by both sides.
As the UK considers an engagement strategy with the Indo-Pacific after Brexit, the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative offers a chance to build a free-trade bloc amongst ‘like-minded nations’ and deepen strategic ties in the region.
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.
Israel, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Iraq will be looking to influence the Biden administration’s Iran policy. Maintaining access to and engagement with these influencers will be important for the UK’s regional ties.
The Ministry of Defence has published a new version of its operating model – ‘How Defence Works’ – its first update for almost five years. Given the major changes to Defence ways of working in that time, and the forthcoming Integrated Review’s potential for further disruption, is it, and how long will it remain, fit for purpose?