IPPR held the launch of its interim report of the Commission on National Security in the 21st Century. The theme of nuclear proliferation was mentioned several times throughout the meeting but was never properly explored. The meeting was led by the two co-Chairs of the Commission, George Robertson and Paddy Ashdown.
Lord George Robertson (former Defence Secretary and NATO Secretary-General)
Lord George Robertson gave a short speech stressing the constant increasing importance of globalization, and the interconnectivity of the 21st century. He stressed the importance to look at a wider range of themes and topics when developing a national security plan, such as health, the economy and the social aspects of anti-social or terrorist groups.
Lord Robertson recommended a greater value to be placed on treaties and multilateral organisations. He brought forward the idea of the US, under Barack Obama, being more open and optimistic towards multilateral agreements as a means to national and international security.
Lord Paddy Ashdown (former leader of the Liberal Democrats)
Lord Ashdown focused on three main and related topics. One, the transfer of power; he explored the changing distribution of power, and mentioned the idea that the current economic crisis is, in part, a reflection of changing international power dynamics. The most important factor of the changes in international power dynamics was the rise of China, a failing America and a more assertive Russia. He focused heavily on the role of China in the future, predicting that China will aim for “rule-based order” in international relations, and will seek international/ multilateral agreements and treaties to solidify and secure international relations.
The second issue he raised was the globalization of power. The international or “global space” was considered a “lawless space”. This included transnational crime, terrorism and the World Wide Web. He stressed that the rule of law must be brought into this “global space” for every state to achieve national security.
Thirdly, he spoke about independence, or “everything will affect everything.” This idea focused on intervention and the need to protect weak and struggling states from becoming “failed states.” It was his belief that future threats to international security were more likely to come from failed states then open conflict.
The interim report
The report covers a wide range of topics and their relation to UK national security, including: globalization, poverty, climate change, the threat of pandemics, terrorism, transnational crime, energy security, and conflict prevention. Nuclear proliferation is mentioned on page 96. It gives a brief overview of nuclear proliferation in relation to the UK. Recommendations for the British nuclear security are mentioned in recommendations 14, 15, 16, 17, 19 and 20 at the end of the report (see first comment to this post).