The Arab spring has irrevocably changed the security landscape. While many debate how the civilian surge started, no one knows where it will end and what the impact will be on the international balance of power, security and libertyNo, it hasn't. Even a rudimentary review of history will tell you that things arise on a regular basis that are best addressed with a robust expeditionary capability based on flexible platforms who can bring with them all they need to operate - and that nation needs a deep enough bench to replace initial forces with new forces on a rotational basis.
Our response must be integrated, internationalist and interventionist. Integrated so that defence priorities apply across government. Internationalist because we gain strength through our partnerships, and must deepen relations across Europe. And they must be interventionist by better co-ordinating defence and development policy as a means of conflict prevention.Did I just agree with The Guardian? Strange ... sure they are doing it mostly because the Tories are in power, but that doesn't mean it is wrong.
A full assessment of the impact of the Arab spring on UK security, the resultant threats we face, our response at home and abroad and the capabilities required should form a new chapter to the defence review. This is not about looking backwards, but about turning hindsight into foresight.
William Hague, the foreign secretary, has said that the Arab spring is as significant as 9/11. It is worth considering how the previous government responded then: a new chapter was added to the defence review in 2002, with a new strategy for fighting terror at home and overseas. Even Margaret Thatcher reopened the Nott review in 1982 as a result of the Falklands conflict.
This government is ignoring the tide of history. Our role in the world has become more complex and demanding and we have responsibilities beyond our borders that we cannot duck. It is not just resources that we need, but the right strategy.