Sunday, 04 December 2016
Up-to-the-minute perspectives on defence, security and peace
issues from and for policy makers and opinion leaders.

     |      View our Twitter page at     |     

In February 1946 the State Department, at the request of the Treasury Department, asked the US Embassy in Moscow to explain the 'incomprehensible Soviet unwillingness' to adhere to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Ambassador Averell Harriman already had left and the Deputy Chief of Mission, George Kennan, replied with the longest telegram in history, some 19 pages. A single brief message would, he felt, be a dangerous degree of over-simplification. Kennan had already tendered his resignation in frustration over much incomprehension in Washington, but had to wait till the new ambassador would arrive. The telegram gave him as No. 2 the unusual opportunity to summarise his experience of two postings in Moscow. He used it to explain the background and main features of the Soviet post-war outlook and their projection not only on official policy but also on policy implemented through 'front' organisations and stooges of all sorts. Willem van Eeklen revisits it as an object lesson for the 21st century.

Washington's relationship with Iran went from limited interaction to a central component of U.S. foreign policy, both when they were allies and since 1979 when they become adversaries. In seeking the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Washington's actions have been counter-productive and have further destabilized the Middle East, writes Joseph Fallon. (more on the next page)

The Silent Deep by (Lord) Hennessy & (Dr) Jinks (Allen Lane 2015) is the 2016 winner of RUSI's annual prize recognising the best book that "makes a notable and original contribution to the study of international or national security or the military professions" It was reviewed by Dr. Jeffrey Bradford Research Director, UK Defence Forum, when it was first published. That review is reprinted on the next page.

Nehad Ismail, who has spent a career connected to the oil business reviews 'Out of the Desert: My Journey from Nomadic Bedouin to the Heart of Global Oil' by Ali Al-Naimi

NU BookAli Al-Naimi is the former Saudi oil minister between August 1995 and May 2016. Besieged by journalists before and after every OPEC meeting in Vienna and elsewhere his remarks moved markets and were dissected by oil experts.

Al-Naimi was born in a humble desert tent in 1935. He was brought up as a nomadic Bedouin. He was 3 and Saudi Arabia was only 5 years old when vast quantities of oil were being discovered by American companies.

Described by Alan Greenspan the ex US Fed chairman as 'the most powerful man you've never heard of'. Al-Naimi's incredible journey proves that anyone can make it - even a poor Bedouin shepherd boy.

We mark the passing of those who have served this country. (This list first published on 11th November, Remembrance Day. Pictured is a Bluet de France - which commemorates the 1.5 million French killed in combat in two World Wars. Not as widely worn as the poppy. The UK is not the only one with lost generations, and while we spend the NATO target and participate in international operations, we never forget there's a butcher's bill to be paid too.

bLUETIMG 20161109 113604In War: Resolution,

In Defeat: Defiance,
In Victory: Magnanimity
In Peace: Good Will
- Winston S Churchill)

Two weeks ago, two top Republican advisers on the military to the Trump campaign talked to reporters from Defense News to provide some insight into what a Trump election might mean for defense and Trump's plans for the Pentagon. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has been widely mentioned as the leading candidate to become secretary of defense. Rep. Randy Forbes of Virginia, chairman of the House Seapower Subcommittee, will be out of a job in January, having been defeated in his primary election. But Forbes is widely respected for his knowledge of naval affairs and could be a contender to become secretary of the Navy. Highlights from the interviews are on the next page

The Forgotten Country: The British Protectorate of the Miskito Kingdom*

Joseph E. Fallon writes that prior to 1894 and the “Great Rapprochement”, which grew into the “Special Relationship” that defines contemporary British-American relations, Washington viewed London as “the enemy”. The objective of U.S. foreign policy throughout the Nineteenth Century was in the words of Thomas Jefferson “…the final expulsion of England from the American continent.” To that end, the U.S. declared war on the British Empire in 1812, and threatened war in 1839, 1844-1848, 1849-1850, 1852, 1854, 1856, 1859, and 1894. Washington failed to expel the British from Canada, but succeeded in ejecting the British from much of Central America. Washington achieved this by abolishing the British Protectorate of the Miskito Kingdom.

Since the fall of Saddam Hussein in the spring of 2003, Iraq has been unstable. It will remain unstable for years to come irrespective of what happens in Mosul, believes Nehad Ismail.

The main source of instability is the sectarian struggle inside Iraq itself. The meddling of Iran in Iraqi affairs has made a bad situation much worse and the regional rivalry between Shi’a Iran on one side and the Sunni states of Saudi Arabia and Turkey contributed to Iraq’s instability. Unless the three powers agree to work together to resolve all their differences, Iraq will continue to be a victim.

After the Saudi-led airstrikes on Sanaa, Yemen's capital, on October 8, pressure on Western nations selling weapons to Saudi Arabia will be mounting. Recently, the United States Congress passed into law the Justice Against State Sponsors of Terrorism (JASTA) bill, aimed at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). These are two of the latest signs that the KSA is becoming a little more isolated and losing some crucial allies, writes Olivier Guitta on the next page.

More Articles...

Latest from the Ministry of Defence

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Defence Viewpoints website. However, if you would like to, you can modify your browser so that it notifies you when cookies are sent to it or you can refuse cookies altogether. You can also delete cookies that have already been set. You may wish to visit which contains comprehensive information on how to do this on a wide variety of desktop browsers. Please note that you will lose some features and functionality on this website if you choose to disable cookies. For example, you may not be able to link into our Twitter feed, which gives up to the minute perspectives on defence and security matters.