A remarkable document has been produced by our good friends at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), the leading forum in the United Kingdom for national and international Defence and Security, founded in 1831 by the Duke of Wellington. So pointed and soaring are its words and concepts we are surprised we did not author it ourselves. In fact we did, in so many words. But as many seem apt to regard the word of high ranking British officials weightier than that of a 108 year old blogging parrot, we shall defer, for their clout and experience more than warrant it. We advise, in particular, our American cousins to consider this essay’s observations carefully, as you are less than a year away from deciding whether to follow Britain further down the path of surrender under President Obama/Clinton, or continuing the fight under President McCain.
“Security is the primary function of the state,” declares the RUSI essay Risk, Threat, and Security: The Case of the United Kingdom, “for without it, there can be no state, and no rule of law.”
“The United Kingdom presents itself as a target, as a fragmenting, post-Christian society, increasingly divided about interpretations of its history, about its national aims, its values and in its political identity.”
This statement encapsulates what makes this RUSI report so remarkable to us. British defence officials have made plain their objection to governmental mismanagement and under-funding of the military before. But never can we recall this level of officialdom publicly decrying the erosion of the national character and the perils inherent therein. We and others throughout the blogosphere have been screaming this point for years. Now that it is echoed by Privy Councillors, Vice Admirals, Generals, and Field Marshals will any one listen?
“The confidence and loyalty of the people are the wellspring from which flows the power with which all threats to defence and security are ultimately met,” they rightly remind us.
And diminishment of that flow is inversely proportional to increase in vulnerability. “Our loss of cultural self-confidence weakens our ability to develop new means to provide for our security in the face of new risks. Our uncertainty incubates the embryonic threats these risks represent. We look like a soft touch. We are indeed a soft touch, from within and without.”
This is a crisis we can scarcely afford, particularly in our present circumstances.
“The country’s lack of self-confidence is in stark contrast to the implacability of its islamist terrorist enemy, within and without. … The jihadists deploy the power of conviction that comes from a sectarian understanding of religion. They also surf the internet and use it to their advantage and our peril. They are not state-bound, but can take over part or all of a state, as has happened in Afghanistan and Somalia, and as could happen in Pakistan.”
The report lists other risks as well, none of which the authors feel, Britain is particularly well suited to address at present. These include the vanishing Royal Navy, the emerging superpowers of China and India, the politics of climate, the re-emergence or Russia, and Britain’s messy love triangle with Washington and Brussels.
A bleak assessment to be sure. But equally certain is that there is hope. We need look no further than our own history.
“History and experience have been neglected in favour of ‘group think’ and enthusiasm for ideological projects. Public expenditure has been directed in correspondingly perverse ways with clear consequences for our defence and security. All this has contributed to a more severe erosion of the links between the British people, their government, and Britain’s security and defence forces, than for many years.
What is needed is to reverse the vicious circle and turn it into a virtuous one. Fortunately, our history and experience suggest tried and reliable tools for doing this.
We need to remind ourselves of the first principles which govern priorities in liberal democracies. Defence and security must be restored as the first duty of government."
Various strategies are proposed for accomplishing this. One of particular interest is the formation of a Cabinet Committee not dissimilar to The United States’ Department of Homeland Security. This committee would “draw together all the threads of government relating to defence and security whether at home or abroad. It would be ‘somewhere for anyone to go’ in raising concerns.”
This would come as welcome news to those left to fight Britain’s Street Jihad on their own, with no government assistance, only harassment.
Lastly the authors advocate that Britain reclaim her sovereignty from failing multilateral institutions (if you’re thinking the United Nations, The European Union , and NATO you’re tracking nicely) and place her trust in more proven alliances.
“What are the essential features of alliances worthy of that name? Shared essential values; shared culture, and especially military culture; shared interests; and, most basic of all, trust – trust enough to permit the special intelligence relationships enjoyed by the UK for the last sixty years with Australia, Canada, the US and New Zealand.”
Ladies and gentlemen – the Anglosphere.
“Foul weather friends are to be preferred to fair weather friends; and the British people know precisely which are which. The English-speaking world – manifestly close friends – and, less openly, those with interests common to ours, emerge as our main diplomatic resource.”
The echoes of Sir Winston are unmistakable. However, the Britain of his day differs from that of today in that his contemporaries – with a bit of prodding - knew who they were and from whence they came. Such self-knowledge is essential, the report points out, if alliances are to be of any real consequence.
“In making our choices, however, we need to know who we are ourselves and what we stand for. How else should we ourselves be reliable allies to others? Once we know these things and admit them, we can restore our divided house to harmony and thence to security.”
As dismal a portrait this report paints of Britain in her current state, it brings great joy to our heart that such has been compiled and put forth by those who have done it. The nexus of the Queen’s Privy Councillor and Lionheart, of the people and their proud history, of Britain and her true allies is the point at which our “supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour,” begins, that we might, “arise again and take our stand for freedom as in olden time."