Britain, America and NATO: Commons Select Committee

On 18 April, I was lucky enough to appear before the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, along with my colleague Dr David Blagden. We were assisting its current inquiry into the relationship between Britain, NATO and the United States.

The transcript is here, and the footage is here:

http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/fc4e6d81-48ff-458e-a801-f0045a86d8c8

The discussion focussed on the future of the Atlantic alliance, the problems of overreliance and member contributions, and Britain’s relative strategic priorities between Europe and Asia.

While American abandonment of the continental commitment is unlikely even under the present administration, there are still risks of mutual distrust and fragmentation. Tensions persist in America’s strategic vision, demanding that European states support American primacy by rearming in ways that could accelerate the coming of multipolarity.

Given the  pressure on scarce resources and the limits on the state’s ability to ‘cut’ protected budgets, Britain needs to make painful choices about its ‘internal’ and ‘external’ balancing: internally, the size and shape of its tax base, and externally, exploiting the possibilities of Anglo-French collaboration, a strengthened ‘quadrilateral’ dialogue with the US, UK, France and Germany, and a welcome revival of ‘red teaming’ to prepare decision-makers for undesired crisis scenarios.

In making these suggestions, we drew on our current research projects on the embedded assumptions of British and American ‘grand strategy.’

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