Monday, 20 November 2017
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We mark the passing of those who have served this country. Contributions from comrades and families welcome.

As the European Union struggles under the reality and threat of countries or regions leaving it (as discussed in "Humpty Dumpty in slow motion"), it might be thought that the United States of America represents a haven of stability. But the Southern Confederacy was not the first or last word on secession, which history shows is as American as apple pie, writes Joseph E Fallon..

What manner of man is the new UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson? On the next page is an edited version of a profile by Andrew Gimson, published in Conservative Home just over a year ago when Williamson was appointed Conservative Chief Whip, a few days after his fortieth birthday, and after only six years as an MP.

The Catalan Referendum, regional pressures, the EU, and the “Ghosts” of Eastern Europe

By Joseph E. Fallon

What is happening in Catalonia is being repeated elsewhere in the EU in less bloody manner. Bavaria and Venice are examples of two of the larger regions/nations in Western Europe seeking greater autonomy from their State on the road to independence. While the EU is negotiating the secession of one of its members under Article 50, other pressure are building which may amount to an existential threat to the EU itself. How should it react to potential unilateral declarations of independence which, if unaccepted, may amount to unsettled borders for existing members and for new applicants – breaking a fundamental condition of EU membership? There has been little exploration of this topic, especially in the context of previous international commitments.

 

We mark the passing of those who have served this country. Contributions from comrades and families welcome.

This is an edited version of a presentation made by John Everard, UK Ambassador to North Korea (DPRK) 2006-2008, to a EURODEFENSE conference in London.

1. Conventional capabilities include supplies of gas such as Sarin (used to assassinate Kim Jong Nam in Singapore). The often-quoted artillery facing Seoul may be degraded, and troops are reportedly under-trained and under-armed as nuclear and missile programmes have drained cash from other areas of armed forces. Defectors report low morale in what is mostly a conscript army.

With the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S became the world's only "hyper power". A state defined as possessing such overwhelming economic, technological, political, and military powers and resources, it has no rivals. No individual state, nor any alliance of states are capable of challenging its global primacy. Washington can project its power anywhere across the globe at any time. Power so intimidating, it should fulfill the maxim of Sun Tzu, China's great military strategist: "The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting." Power that has, however, experienced unanticipated limitations, writes Joseph E Fallon.

A major theme of the US and Western commentariat in recent months has been the way in which so-called "grown-ups" from the Washington foreign and security policy establishment have stepped in to control the "reckless and irresponsible" President Trump. Given the record of that establishment over the past two decades, one might be pardoned for asking which of the parties to this arrangement is the more irresponsible, says Anatol Lieven.

Two things however are indubitably true: that for the past 12 years or so the US security establishment has acted severely to constrain the foreign policies of three successive presidents; and that more than ever before this security establishment is dominated by the US uniformed military. Today, not only the Secretary of Defense and the National Security Adviser but the White House Chief of Staff as well are all generals or ex-generals who reflect absolutely the consensus of the US military high command. Another general who defied that consensus – Mike Flynn - was rapidly removed, in part through behind-the scenes pressure from his former military colleagues.

The world's attention is currently focussed on developments on the Korean peninsula. This is due in large part because of the remarks made by US President Trump at the recent UN General Assembly (UNGA). North Korea has been a neuralgic problem since the end of hostilities in 1953. This week the London based Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) has published a paper 'Preparing for War in Korea'; a title which its author Professor Malcolm Chalmers, the Deputy Director General of RUSI, hastens to stress does not imply any inevitability, reports Nick Watts

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