British Defense Review Names China ‘Biggest State-Based Threat’ and Russia as ‘Urgent Threat’
March 16 , 2021 (EIRNS)—The government of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has released a new integrated defense and foreign policy review in which China is defined as the “biggest state-based threat” and “systemic challenge” to Britain’s economic security, prosperity, and values. Entitled “Global Britain in a Competitive Age: the Integrated Review of Security, Defense, Development and Foreign Policy,” the 114-page report, under Crown copyright, alleges that China presents an “increasing risk to U.K. interests,” due to China’s military modernization and increasing international influence in the Pacific region and elsewhere.
In what commentators say will irk the China hawks in Britain’s Conservative Party, the document does call for pursuing “a positive economic relationship” with China to develop “deeper trade links and more Chinese investment.” It also describes China as “an increasingly important partner in tackling global challenges like pandemic preparedness, biodiversity, and climate change.”
This was later reiterated in a press conference by Johnson in which he said: “There is no question that China will pose great challenges for an open society such as ours. But we will also work with China where that is consistent with our values and interests, including to build a stronger and positive economic relationship and address climate change.”
The report labels Russia an “acute threat to our security,” and that “until relations with its government improve, we will actively deter and defend against the full spectrum of threats emanating from Russia.” The review calls for increasing the U.K.’s stockpile of Trident nuclear warheads from 180 to 260, which was decided “in recognition of the evolving security environment, including the developing range of technological and doctrinal threats.”
In all of this, “the United States will remain the U.K.’s most important strategic ally and partner.”
The review stresses what is being called the “Indo-Pacific tilt,” arguing that the region is “the world’s growth engine: home to half the world’s people; 40% of global GDP” and is “the center of intensifying geopolitical competition with multiple potential flashpoints.”
It calls for the creation of a national cyber force to combine military and intelligence capabilities in offensive hacking, but does not explicitly link that to China or Russia. The expansion of Britain’s drone squadrons is part of this mix and other robotic technologies that raise questions about the role of humans in deciding when to shoot.
The review also emphasizes the need to develop science and technology, as they write there is a need to “incorporate science and technology as an integral element of our national security and international policy.”