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  • Author: Donald E. Abelson
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Before the ink on the Treaty of Versailles was dry, the idea of creating an organization dedicated to educating, informing and advising future leaders about the causes and consequences of war was already gaining traction. At 'a series of unofficial meetings held in Paris in 1919',1 Lionel Curtis, an Oxford professor and visionary with a reputation for possessing an impressive array of entrepreneurial skills, was spearheading efforts to establish an Anglo-American research institution where scholars could explore international problems and advocate policy solutions.2 This kind of organization appealed to Curtis and to those with whom he discussed it for several reasons, not the least of which was that it could provide a valuable forum for both policy-makers and prominent policy experts in the leading western powers to talk to one another about international affairs. It was also a concept with which several of the delegates attending the Paris peace talks had some familiarity. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries a number of institutions had already taken root in Great Britain and in the United States with the aim of helping policy-makers navigate their way through complex policy problems. They included the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (1831), founded by the first Duke of Wellington; London's Fabian Society (1884), home to a number of prominent scholars, including Sidney and Beatrice Webb, co-founders of the London School of Economics; the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (1910), established by the Scottish-American steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie; and the Institute for Government Research (1916), which merged with two other institutions to form the Brookings Institution in 1927.3 Curtis and his colleagues in Great Britain and the United States were also aware of the ground-breaking research that had been conducted at hundreds of settlement houses in their respective countries. It was at places such as London's Toynbee Hall (1884) and Chicago's Hull House, co-founded by Jane Addams in 1889, that sociologists and other university faculty with expertise in social welfare policy could study the working conditions of the poor.4 In short, proponents of establishing a foreign affairs research institution recognized the importance of encouraging a dialogue between leading social scientists and high-level policy-makers.
  • Topic: Government, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, America, Washington, Paris, London, Wellington
  • Author: Geraint Hughes
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: On 5 January 1974 a column of 150 British Army troops, supported by armoured vehicles, arrived at Heathrow airport in full battle order, and over the course of the following two weeks they patrolled its runways and the perimeter. These soldiers had been ordered in by Edward Heath's government in response to intelligence reports that the Palestinian fedayeen intended to use a portable anti-aircraft missile to shoot down a passenger jet, and the British authorities had already devised contingency plans (codenamed Operation Marmion) to deploy the army in order to deter a terrorist attack at the airport. Marmion was implemented on three further occasions in 1974—in June, July and September—and in each case the troop presence at Heathrow attracted considerable parliamentary and press comment. Some critics argued that in each case the British government was over- reacting to the threat at hand, and that the military patrols at Heathrow were essentially intended as a public relations exercise. However, Operation Marmion also had an effect which ministers and civil servants had not intended, as it fed contemporary fears that the British Army and right-wing extremists within the establishment and security services were preparing for a coup.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Britain, Palestine
  • Author: Malcolm Chalmers
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Britain's 2010 National Security Strategy, published shortly after the coalition government took office, was entitled 'A Strong Britain in an Age of Uncertainty'. It made no mention of the two existential challenges—the possible secession of Scotland from the United Kingdom, and the risk of a British withdrawal from the European Union. Yet either event would be a fundamental transformation in the very nature of the British state, with profound impact on its foreign and security policy.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: Britain, United Kingdom, Europe, Scotland
  • Author: Michael Binyon
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: A mountain-top airport is about to change island life forever
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Britain, South Africa, Island
  • Author: Robin Niblett
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Bad time to play call my bluff
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Britain, Germany
  • Author: Paul Cornish, Andrew M. Dorman
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The history of British defence reviews has been one of repeated disappointment: a cycle in which policy failure is followed by a period of inertia, giving way to an attempt at a new policy framework which is then misimplemented by the defence leadership. Each failed defence review therefore sows the seeds of its successor. With this in mind, in 2010 the new coalition government embarked upon an altogether more ambitious exercise: a strategy review comprising a National Security Strategy and a Strategic Defence and Security Review. This article suggests, nevertheless, not only that the 2010 strategy review looks likely to follow past performance, but also that it is coming unstuck at an unprecedented rate. This is a pity since the 2010 review had much to commend it, not least the adoption of a risk-based approach to security and defence policy-making. What is the explanation for this outcome? Is it that the British have, as some have suggested, lost the ability to 'do strategy', if ever they had it? The authors offer a more nuanced understanding of the policy process and argue that the coalition government in fact has a very clear and deliberate strategy—that of national economic recovery. Yet the coalition government cannot allow national defence and security to fail. The authors conclude with an assessment of the options open to the defence leadership as they seek to address the failing 2010 strategy review and suggest a variety of indicators which will demonstrate the intent and seriousness of the political, official and military leadership of the Ministry of Defence.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Britain
  • Author: Clara Marina O'Donnell
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The formation of a coalition government by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, combined with the need for important cuts to Britain's armed forces has raised significant uncertainties about Britain's attitude to defence cooperation within the European Union. Since taking office the coalition, while grappling with the implications of Britain's fiscal challenges, has shown an unprecedented interest in strengthening bilateral defence collaborations with certain European partners, not least France. However, budgetary constraints have not induced stronger support for defence cooperation at the EU level. On the contrary, under the new government, Britain has accelerated its withdrawal from the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). This article assesses the approach of the coalition to the CSDP. It argues that, from the perspective of British interests, the need for EU defence cooperation has increased over the last decade and that the UK's further withdrawal from EU efforts is having a negative impact. The coalition is undermining a framework which has demonstrated the ability to improve, albeit modestly, the military capabilities of other European countries. In addition, by sidelining the EU at a time when the UK is forced to resort more extensively to cost-saving synergies in developing and maintaining its own armed forces, David Cameron's government is depriving itself of the use of potentially helpful EU agencies and initiatives—which the UK itself helped set up. Against the background of deteriorating European military capabilities and shifts in US priorities, the article considers what drove Britain to support EU defence cooperation over a decade ago and how those pressures have since strengthened. It traces Britain's increasing neglect of the CSDP across the same period, the underlying reasons for this, and how the coalition's current stance of disengagement is damaging Britain's interests.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe, France