Articles and analysis

Defence 'against external threats' is not only about classical defence but preserving western civilisation in the long term- over a span of a century or more. Europeans have failed to see the big picture - which is prerequisite to understanding what the plot is, writes David Heilbron Price. The potential rupture of UK and Continental European defence efforts is just one tear in the larger canvas. Who gains if UK and EU do not patch things up? Europe is presently war-wounded and in the sick bed. It is overspending trillions of Euros that will affect its future for a generation or more.

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The attitudes and beliefs of the Russian establishment are not hard to understand, at least for anyone with a minimal grasp of Russian history and culture. Moreover, the realism of Russian policymakers fits the mindset of many American security officials, writes Anatol Lieven.
The vital interests of Russia are adhered to by the Russian establishment as a whole. They consist chiefly of a belief that Russia must be one pole of a multipolar world — not a superpower, but a great power with real international influence. Also: that Russia must retain predominant influence on the territory of the former Soviet Union, that any rival alliance must be excluded, and that international order depends on the preservation of existing states. In addition, as with any political system, there is a commitment to the existing Russian political order and a determination that any change in it must not be directed from outside.
There are obvious tensions between some of these Russian interests and secondary U.S. interests, but on one issue — the danger from Sunni Islamist extremism and terrorism — a vital interest of Russia is completely identical with our own. Because of this danger, U.S. administrations, like the Russians, have often supported existing authoritarian Muslim states for fear that their overthrow would lead to chaos and the triumph of Islamist extremism.

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As we all know, by a relatively small margin and with a simple majority of those voting, the United Kingdom decided in 2016 to leave the European Union, writes Robert Walter. Two parliamentary elections and three prime ministers later, the UK finally withdrew from the EU on 31st January this year.

But Brexit is not done yet, because we are in the "transition period" and still trying to determine the nature of the future relationship. Most of the discussions have centred around the concept of a "level playing field" with the very real complications of Northern Ireland and the desire of what is now a third country seeking to minimise the disruption to existing trade patterns. The UK has appeared to want to "have its cake", freeing itself from the EU, "and eating it", retaining access to the single market.

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