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Coffee House

National security priorities: your say

10 July 2009

5:27 PM

10 July 2009

5:27 PM

Watch out: it’s security review season. The Brown government is about to issue a second version of its National Security Strategy. You can expect Pauline Neville-Jones to put out a revised version of the paper she did for the Tories a while ago. The Obama administration is set to launch a new "Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review," to be headed up by Deputy Secretary of State Jacob "Jack" Lew and Policy Planning chief Anne-Marie Slaughter. While NATO has just begun work on its Strategic Concept, and Russia recently updated its National Security Strategy. Oh, and the EU disseminated a new Security Strategy under the French EU Presidency, which also saw the French government issue its Livre Blanc, a national security-type document.

So there are plenty of official documents out there. But what do you think an updated UK National Security Strategy should say?


Going off the comments to my earlier post, many of you don’t agree with me that NATO’s Afghan mission is a national security priority. Austin Barry calls is “a deadly, pointless sideshow.” To Rod Jones, the “threat to Britain already comes from within”. Chris Lancashire looks like he would agree with Messrs Barry and Jones. But Ruairidh thinks it is "a crucial theatre of war," with a "direct effect on the national security of the UK". Hysteria is in agreement.

But what do you think the security focus should be? Is flooding the new threat? Or climate change? Or world poverty? Or swine flu? Or nuclear non-proliferation? Or perhaps even global warming? I recently heard Mohamed ElBaradei give a talk – he clearly thinks nuclear terrorism is the biggest concern. With club-wielding police officers on the streets from Tehran to Urumqi in China, should assisting the development of law-abiding, prosperous, open and eventually democratic societies be a key priority?

To make it easy -– and “collatable” – could I ask you to list, in order of importance, the three main threats to Britain and a short line explaining each of your choices. The most convincing set of choices will win the usual bottle of Coffee House champagne.


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