Integrated Review - What alternatives to following Allies?

Following the recent US talks with the Taliban and the impending Reduction of Violence agreement, Foreign Policy has pushed out this opinion piece

As well as highlighting some of the missed opportunities and mis-handling of regional allies, near the end there is this:
All of which suggests, Kilcullen said, that the so-called war on terror that began with 9/11 may well have resulted in the worst strategic mistake made by any major world leader since Adolf Hitler decided, on the cusp of total victory over Europe and Great Britain, to turn and invade the Soviet Union—a decision that most historians agree cost the Nazi dictator World War II.
“Hitler thinks England was just going to fall on its own, and then he launches into what he thinks is going to be a cakewalk” against the Soviet Union, Kilcullen said. “That is literally what happened to us with Afghanistan and Iraq. While the battle of Tora Bora [the mountain redoubt where a fleeing bin Laden was said to be holed up] was still going on, the Bush administration was already starting the planning process for Iraq.”


Most of the people quoted in the article are on record as being critical of the pivot to Iraq, so it wasn't a decision that was taken in a vacuum.

Why is this of relevance to the UK?

In the upcoming Integrated Review, unless a genuine new strategic direction is articulated (i.e Defence positioning to enable UK's surviving/thriving in turbulent world; Support and sustain novel/nascent economic directions, enable trade, etc etc), chances are the default line of "US's best ally of choice" will be wheeled out again*.

As this has involved the UK in 2 major campaigns that haven't exactly enriched it and perhaps even damaged its international standing and overseas interests, one's hopes that BoJo will come up with something to counter @alfred_the_great 's MOD/FCO blob

Given the UK seems to be about to do a copy/paste of support to France's dark crock of shite, pain and suffering that is Mali & the Sahel, hopes are not high...

Broadly, there seems to be a split between Defence used for national direct self interest (wars of necessity?) and poroducing benefits from supporting wider alliance/atruistic ends (wars of choice?)

RUSI brought out some interesting papers recently on both sides of this divide:

The Integrated Review: Rebuilding the UK’s Hard Power proposes a framework UK led Joint Expeditionary Force that other nations slot into and go off and do good things with around the world.

Taking Control: Rediscovering the Centrality of National Interest in UK Foreign and Security Policy aims Defence closer to home with a focus on making European defence work

Given the UK GDP is 80% service sector, how does Defence best support this? or should UK/MoD look at a more John Hawkwood based model as suggested by the EU? UK must get post-Brexit 'defence privileges', says German minister




* 'British Generals in Blair's War' and 'High Command' | The Cove
[Elliot] notes that, during this period, British grand strategy ‘was to support the USA whatever, since America had been underwriting security of the UK for at least half a century’.[24] As Prime Minister Tony Blair advised to the US Congress on 12 July 2002, ‘our job is to be there with you’, this meant that ‘if the US went to war, the UK would go to war’’.[25]
 
I just can’t believe the Taliban are going to surrender when if they waited a year the US would probably walk away.
 
Who (beyond the US administration) says they're "surrendering"?
 
Who (beyond the US administration) says they're "surrendering"?
Well they aren’t - Warfare is slightly more complex than that nowadays unfortunately.

But they are agreeing to stop fighting and negotiate with a government which they apparently don’t believe exists or has any legitimacy.

Like I said the US - under Trump - would likely walk away. But the Taliban have decided to come to the table.
 
Anyway...

The problem with any Review (defence, security or integrated) is that we are unwilling to actually make hard choices and follow them through. Regardless of where you start (ways, ends or means), "taking risk" is much easier and politically attractive than actually doing anything.
 

Truxx

LE
Anyway...

The problem with any Review (defence, security or integrated) is that we are unwilling to actually make hard choices and follow them through. Regardless of where you start (ways, ends or means), "taking risk" is much easier and politically attractive than actually doing anything.
Very good point. When the cold war ended there was a massive debate about "what next"? I recall the debate coalesced around two "views" imaginatively entitled "view 1" and "view 2"

I cant remember which was which, but one favoured heavy metal whilst the other was more fire fighting and a bit of humanitarian shit.

The inevitable fudge came about when we were structured and equipped for the latter (expeditionary warfare anyone?) whilst continuing to try and operate like the former.

It was bollox then, and it's bollox now.
 
Very good point. When the cold war ended there was a massive debate about "what next"? I recall the debate coalesced around two "views" imaginatively entitled "view 1" and "view 2"

I cant remember which was which, but one favoured heavy metal whilst the other was more fire fighting and a bit of humanitarian shit.

The inevitable fudge came about when we were structured and equipped for the latter (expeditionary warfare anyone?) whilst continuing to try and operate like the former.

It was bollox then, and it's bollox now.
The politician's choice of being able to do everything badly rather than deciding a strategy which identifies 'core business', and structuring/equipping to do that well.
 

Truxx

LE
The politician's choice of being able to do everything badly rather than deciding a strategy which identifies 'core business', and structuring/equipping to do that well.
Except in this case it was rather too much influenced by those who might previously have been classed as "out of area" but had risen on a post CORPORATE tide. Obviously though it suited the bean counters.
 

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