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  • Author: Julie Smith
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: European integration is a cross-cutting political issue that has divided British political parties for over half a century. When Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath sought to take Britain into the then Common Market, he relied on the votes of 69 pro-European rebel Labour MPs to get the European Communities Bill through the House of Commons in 1971—an early sign of the divisive impact membership of the European Union would have on British party politics. Barely a decade after accession, the Labour Party had sought to renegotiate the UK's terms of membership, held a referendum on whether the UK should remain in the Common Market, split in part over the issue and finally fought an election in which it called for withdrawal. Fast forward another three decades and the Labour position was broadly pro-European, while Tory rebels, alongside a party established to oppose membership, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), were advocating withdrawal from the Union. And if withdrawal was not the official Conservative position, Euroscepticism has certainly become prevalent in that party, leading one Conservative parliamentarian to claim: 'The dividing line in the Conservative Party is now in/out.'
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, England
  • Author: Sven Biscop
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The problem of European defence is that it does not work with the United Kingdom, but would not work without it either. Unlike in other policy areas, in defence the issue is not British resistance to Brussels directives. Populist outcries against a mythical 'Euro-Army' notwith-standing, British sovereignty is not under threat. The real issue is that other European countries are not doing enough in spite of being urged from both sides of Brussels—by the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). 'Too many countries are failing to meet their financial responsibilities to NATO, and so failing to maintain appropriate and proportionate capabilities. Too many are opting out of operations or contributing but a fraction of what they should be capable of ', in the words of Defence Secretary Philip Hammond. Britain, on the contrary, is the leading European military power, accounting for 22.4 per cent of defence expenditure and 11.8 per cent of armed forces, and it is more willing than most to deploy those forces (providing 20.8 per cent of the average number of troops deployed), including for combat operations. Its military clout enables the UK to lead the others—any scheme for European defence without it would indeed be severely handicapped. But does Britain want to lead? The paradox is that while the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) would not have come into being without British leadership, it would be much more effective without British reluctance to make full use of it. In contrast to most European countries, the UK has never stopped seeing European defence and the continued assurance of transatlantic partnership (in the shape of its special relationship with the United States and the NATO alliance) as a zero-sum game.
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe, North Atlantic
  • Author: N. Piers Ludlow
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Recent trends in both Britain and Continental Europe have made the question of the United Kingdom's position as a fully fledged member of the European Union more contentious than it has been for decades. The almost unchecked rise of Euroscepticism among both the British political elite—especially within the governing Conservative Party—and the media means that the possibility of British withdrawal from the Union, or at very least the renegotiation of its position within it, is discussed more openly and in more mainstream political circles than at any time since the 1970s. On the other side of the Channel, meanwhile, the perceived need to address the weaknesses of the single currency by increasing integration, whether across the EU as a whole or simply among those countries that share the euro, has helped create a situation in which many of the key decisions are taken in forums within which the British are either not represented at all or are marginal players at best. Few European governments openly aspire to a situation in which the United Kingdom moves away from the core European decision-making system, and several have publicly deplored the possibility. But faced with the need to press ahead, and the ever decreasing likelihood of the British being able to follow any such advance, European governments are being forced to contemplate the prospect of a core Europe without Britain.
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
24. Letters
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom
  • Author: Jamie Gaskarth
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The global war on terrorism gives rise to a range of legal, political and ethical problems. One major concern for UK policy-makers is the extent to which the government may be held responsible for the illegal and/or unethical behaviour of allies in intelligence gathering—the subject of the forthcoming Gibson inquiry. The UK government has been criticized by NGOs, parliamentary committees and the media for cooperating with states that are alleged to use cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (CIDT) or torture to gain information about possible terrorist threats. Many commentators argue that the UK's intelligence sharing arrangements leave it open to charges of complicity with such behaviour. Some even suggest the UK should refuse to share intelligence with countries that torture. This article refutes this latter view by exploring the legal understanding of complicity in the common law system and comparing its more limited view of responsibility—especially the 'merchant's defence'—with the wider definition implied in political commentary. The legal view, it is argued, offers a more practical guide for policy-makers seeking to discourage torture while still protecting their citizens from terrorist threats. It also provides a fuller framework for assessing the complicity of policy-makers and officials. Legal commentary considers complicity in relation to five key points: identifying blame; weighing the contribution made; evaluating the level of intent; establishing knowledge; or, where the latter is uncertain, positing recklessness. Using this schema, the article indicates ways in which the UK has arguably been complicit in torture, or at least CIDT, based on the information publicly available. However, it concludes that the UK was justified in maintaining intelligence cooperation with transgressing states due to the overriding public interest in preventing terrorist attacks.
  • Topic: Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom
  • Author: Anthony Richards
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This article questions the utility of the term 'radicalization' as a focus for counterterrorism response in the UK. It argues that the lack of clarity as to who the radicalized are has helped to facilitate a 'Prevent' strand of counterterrorism strategy that has confusingly oscillated between tackling violent extremism, in particular, to promoting community cohesion and 'shared values' more broadly. The article suggests that the focus of counterterrorism strategy should be on countering terrorism and not on the broader remit implied by wider conceptions of radicalization. This is not to diminish the importance of contextual or 'root cause' factors behind terrorism, but, if it is terrorism that is to be understood and countered, then such factors should be viewed within the terrorism–counterterrorism discourse and not a radicalization–counter-radicalization one. The article goes on to consider the characterization of those presenting a terrorist threat to the UK as being 'vulnerable' to violent extremism. While it argues that the notion of vulnerable individuals and communities also lends itself to a wider 'Prevent' remit, it cautions that the impetus towards viewing terrorism as the product of vulnerability should not deflect us from what has generally been agreed in terrorism studies—that terrorism involves the perpetration of rational and calculated acts of violence.
  • Topic: Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom
  • Author: Geoffrey Warner
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The Cambridge history of the Cold War is a three-volume work by 75 contributors, mostly from the United States and the United Kingdom, and is intended as 'a substantial work of reference' on the subject. The bulk of the text deals, in frequently overlapping chapters, with the main protagonists of the conflict—viz. the United States, the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China—and the areas in which they clashed. At the same time, it aims to go 'far beyond the narrow boundaries of diplomatic affairs', although it is not always successful in doing so. In analysing the origins of the Cold War, the contributors pay perhaps too much attention to ideology as opposed to geopolitics, a flaw which is made easier by the absence of sufficient historical background. On the other hand, the duration of the conflict and the failure of various attempts at détente is more successfully explained in terms of the zero-sum game nature of the conflict and its progressive extension from Europe across the rest of the world. When it comes to the end of the Cold War, the overall conclusion is that this came about through both a shift in the international balance of power following the Sino-Soviet split and the political and economic problems of the Soviet bloc. It is generally agreed that Mikhail Gorbachev's willingness to abandon old shibboleths both at home and abroad was a major factor in bringing about the end of the conflict. The three volumes, while not always an easy read, are the outcome of considerable research and expertise in both primary and secondary sources and will repay careful study.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, China, United Kingdom, Europe, Soviet Union
  • Author: Stuart Griffin
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan have had profound effects on both the British and US militaries. Among the most important is the way in which they have challenged traditional assumptions about the character of unconventional conflict and the role of the military within comprehensive strategies for encouraging sustainable peace. In the UK, the most important doctrinal response has been JDP 3-40 Security and Stabilisation: the military contribution. Security and Stabilisation is an ambitious attempt to synthesize elements of counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, peace support and state-building within a single doctrine that reflects the lessons learned from recent British operational experience. This article examines the purpose, impact and potential value of this important innovation in British doctrine. To do so, the article explores the genesis of Stabilization; analyses its impact upon extant British doctrine for counterinsurgency and peace support; discusses its relationship with the most important related US doctrines, FM 3-24: the counterinsurgency field manual and FM 3-07: the stability operations field manual; and debates the function of doctrine more broadly. It concludes by summarizing the primary challenges Security and Stabilisation must overcome if it is to make a serious contribution to the theory and practice of such complex interventions.
  • Topic: Security, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, United Kingdom
  • Author: Nick Ritchie
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: In 2010 the coalition government conducted a major review of defence and security policy. This article explores the review process from a critical perspective by examining and challenging the state-centrism of prevailing conceptions of current policy reflected in the quest to define and perform a particular 'national role' in contrast to a human-centric framework focused on the UK citizen. It argues that shifting the focus of policy to the individual makes a qualitative difference to how we think about requirements for the UK's armed forces and challenges ingrained assumptions about defence and security in relation to military operations of choice and attendant expensive, expeditionary war-fighting capabilities. In particular, it confronts the prevailing narrative that UK national security-as-global risk management must be met by securing the state against pervasive multidimensional risk through military force, that military power projection capabilities are a vital source of international influence and national prestige and that the exercise of UK military power constitutes a 'force for good' for the long-term human security needs of citizens in both the intervened and intervening state.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom
  • Author: John Heathershaw, Nick Megoran
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Western geopolitical discourse misrepresents and constructs Central Asia as an inherently and essentially dangerous place. This pervasive 'discourse of danger' obscures knowledge of the region, deforms scholarship and, because it has policy implications, actually endangers Central Asia. This article identifies how the region is made knowable to a US-UK audience through three mutually reinforcing dimensions of endangerment: Central Asia as obscure, oriental, and fractious. This is evidenced in the writings of conflict resolution and security analysts, the practices of governments, the activities of international aid agencies and numerous lurid films, documentaries and novels.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Central Asia