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  • Author: David Blagden
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The international system is returning to multipolarity—a situation of multiple Great Powers—drawing the post-Cold War 'unipolar moment' of comprehensive US political, economic and military dominance to an end. The rise of new Great Powers, namely the 'BRICs'—Brazil, Russia, India, and most importantly, China—and the return of multipolarity at the global level in turn carries security implications for western Europe. While peaceful political relations within the European Union have attained a remarkable level of strategic, institutional and normative embeddedness, there are five factors associated with a return of Great Power competition in the wider world that may negatively impact on the western European strategic environment: the resurgence of an increasingly belligerent Russia; the erosion of the US military commitment to Europe; the risk of international military crises with the potential to embroil European states; the elevated incentive for states to acquire nuclear weapons; and the vulnerability of economically vital European sea lines and supply chains. These five factors must, in turn, be reflected in European states' strategic behaviour. In particular, for the United Kingdom—one of western Europe's two principal military powers, and its only insular (offshore) power—the return of Great Power competition at the global level suggests that a return to offshore balancing would be a more appropriate choice than an ongoing commitment to direct military interventions of the kind that have characterized post-2001 British strategy.
  • Topic: Security, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Brazil
  • Author: Mark Webber, Ellen Hallams, Martin A. Smith
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: When NATO heads of state and government convene in Newport, Wales, in September 2014, it will be their first meeting in the UK since the London summit of July 1990. A quarter of a century ago, NATO was reborn. The London Declaration on a Transformed Alliance was NATO's keynote statement of renewed purpose, issued in 1990 as the Cold War was drawing to a close. In it we find the beginnings of the tasks which would come to define the alliance in the post- Cold War period, along with an appreciation of a fundamentally altered strategic landscape. Europe had 'entered a new, promising era', one in which it was thought the continent's tragic cycle of war and peace might well be over. The 2014 summit communiqué is unlikely to reflect such optimism, but what it surely needs to do is to recapture the spirit of enterprise that NATO has on occasion been able to articulate in demanding times.
  • Topic: NATO, Cold War
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, London