Tuesday, 19 November 2019
logo
Up-to-the-minute perspectives on defence, security and peace
issues from and for policy makers and opinion leaders.
        



dv-header-dday
     |      View our Twitter page at twitter.com/defenceredbox     |     

nickwattsIMG 20170907 0924504International society is being atomised, according to the London based International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS). Launching the annual Strategic Survey, IISS notes that 'neither balance of power, nor international rules based governance serves as ordering principles'. It adds 'International institutions have been marginalised', reports Nick Watts.

IISS notes that the disruptors carry most of the advantage; those clinging to the status quo are losing their grip. 'The US is pricing itself out of alliance politics – complaining that...allies pay to little. China is advancing its agenda via its 'Belt and Road' initiative, which is intended to ensure that states stand with it, or are usefully neutral. Meanwhile Russia continues to insert itself into situations where it can, to its advantage. The advance of technology has an impact on the pace of development of sensors and weapon systems, as well as the dissemination of information.


All of these elements serve to present policy makers and their advisers with complex choices. Small states are more likely to conform to the wishes of the predominant power in their region, to ensure tranquillity. Those states looking to advance through development funding will find their way to friends and allies that do not impose conditionality on the support they receive. Likewise with those seeking investment and modernization of their technological base.


IISS further notes that 'a global rules based order may in time be re-established. That will only happen with the determined application of statecraft, rather than by the earnest convening of international summits. .... The questions are: whose rules will they be, and how many different orders will they govern?'


The dilemma for British policy makers, as they contemplate the opportunities of Global Britain, is how they play into this changing scene? The traditional affiliation to NATO, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, could become irrelevant if the US administration moves the needle more firmly towards an 'America first' policy. Disengagement from the EU will at the very least cement the Franco-German motor driving further integration in Europe. Both of these possibilities will need serious consideration by policy makers in London. In a world of disruptors and demagogues, smart power will be at a premium; so smart policies will be needed. The status quo is not on offer.

Nick Watts is Deputy Director General  of the U K Defence Forum and a freelance journalist.

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Cookies
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Defence Viewpoints website. However, if you would like to, you can modify your browser so that it notifies you when cookies are sent to it or you can refuse cookies altogether. You can also delete cookies that have already been set. You may wish to visit www.aboutcookies.org which contains comprehensive information on how to do this on a wide variety of desktop browsers. Please note that you will lose some features and functionality on this website if you choose to disable cookies. For example, you may not be able to link into our Twitter feed, which gives up to the minute perspectives on defence and security matters.