Chatham House Heralds Imperial Revival

by Scott Thompson

Printed in The Executive Intelligence Review, August 22, 1997.


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On March 29, 1995, the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House), in association with Her Majesty's government, sponsored a one-day conference, entitled ``Britain in the World,'' at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Center. The essence of the conference was summed up by commentator Dr. John Ashworth:

``I am afraid the British are getting more assertive because the 30- or 40-year political program which followed 1945, in which the British establishment, the political elite, set themselves the task of the orderly management of decline, has ended. We have had enough of that.''

Among the leading speakers at ``Britain in the World'' were: Prof. Sir Laurence Martin, director, the Royal Institute for International Affairs; former British Prime Minister John Major, Member of Parliament (MP), who had become ineffectual and was turned out of office by the monarchy and the Privy Council, of which Anthony Blair was a member-in-grooming; Sir Henry Kissinger, Knight Commander of St. Michael and St. George (KCMG), who had admitted in a May 10, 1982 Chatham House speech, entitled ``Reflections on a Partnership: British and American Attitudes to Postwar Foreign Policy,'' that he had served as a British agent within the Nixon and Ford administrations; Field Marshal Sir Peter Inge, Grand Cross of the Order of Bath (GCB), who was then Chief of the Defense Staff, Ministry of Defense; Gen. Sir Michael Rose, Knight Commander of the Order of Bath (KCB) and Commander of the British Empire (CBE); The Right Honorable The Baroness Chalker of Wallasey, then Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Minister of Overseas Development; Sir Crispin Tickell, Grand Cross of St. Michael and St. George (GCMG) and Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO); The Right Honorable Douglas Hurd, MP, then-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs; and, His Royal Highness, Charles, The Prince of Wales.


New strategies vs. the nation-state

The remarks at the conference by General Sir Rose, who recently retired as Adjutant General of the British Land Forces, were particularly revealing. Rose, a former commander of the Special Air Services, had just returned to Britain from a disastrous tour as head of the UN ``blue helmet'' force in Bosnia. In slightly veiled language, Rose called for the use of multinational ``peacekeeping forces'' as the instrument for dismantling the nation-state system:

``I think we are going to have to develop ... a whole set of new doctrines, new concepts, and new strategies to try and deal with this new form of world disorder, based on ethnic, religious, and national differences. The United Nations has made a considerable start in doing that....

``When I left my last job I suggested to the secretary general of the United Nations [then Boutros Boutros-Ghali] that a more efficient way of approaching these problems may be to use a regional military power, and subcontract the peacekeeping mission to that regional military power--in this case NATO. This would have all the advantages of a consistent coherent doctrine, an integrated C2, and a knowledge amongst the various peacekeepers which was absent when you have a Tower of Babel. He rejected this proposition out of hand....

``We should possibly learn to work better with aid organizations ... [i.e., especially non-governmental organizations] because very often those organizations see the military as the causes of all problems rather than the solutions to them....

``All I would say in conclusion is that I think the wider forms of peacekeeping that we are embarked upon in the United Nations is something which has been thought about considerably--and I will now change my hat to my old hat as Commandant of the Staff College--we thought about it enormously long and hard in the various Staff Colleges around Europe and in America; we have run seminars for the last five years between the Frunze Academy, the Air Ecole de Guerre, Leavenworth, and Camberley, and there is a new form of doctrine developing and Britain has taken a lead in it.''

Field Marshal Sir Peter Inge pointed out that at the time of the conference, the United Kingdom alone was involved in five UN-sponsored peace support operations. He said: ``The consequence is that more than 46,000 of our servicemen and women are deployed outside the U.K.; in the Falkland Islands [the Malvinas], Hongkong, Brunei, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Germany, the Middle East, the Caribbean.''

In fact, it was made clear at the conference that the Queen's imperial forces were active in some 40 countries, although many of these troop dispositions remain classified.


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The preceding article is a rough version of the article that appeared in The American Almanac. It is made available here with the permission of The New Federalist Newspaper. Any use of, or quotations from, this article must attribute them to The New Federalist, and The American Almanac.


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