Helene von Bismarck
In March 2016, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon confirmed during a trip to Oman that the British Government was considering the establishment of a permanent army training base there. It is the latest in a series of announcements indicating that Britain is extending and consolidating its military presence in the Persian Gulf.
This development started in 2010, when incoming Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron announced the ‘Gulf Initiative’, by which he meant a coordinated attempt to rekindle Britain’s formerly close relationships with the Gulf States. The implementation of this policy was delayed by the advent of the Arab Spring, but was kickstarted again in December 2014 when Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond confirmed that Britain would build a Royal Navy base in Bahrain. In November 2015, the Strategic Defence Review published by the British Government called for a ‘new Gulf strategy’ and ‘a permanent and more substantial UK military presence’ in the area.
Nor has the British Government shied away from invoking Britain’s imperial past in this context. The Strategic Defence Review stressed Britain’s ‘historic relationships’ with Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, and Mr. Hammond went as far as calling the project to build a base in Bahrain Britain’s ‘return East of Suez’. Continue reading “Britain’s ‘Return East of Suez’: A Historical Perspective”
From empire by collaboration to the rise of the global citizen, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history. Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”
Embassies in Crisis
British Academy, 9 June 2016
Embassies have long been integral to international diplomacy, their staff instrumental to inter-governmental dialogue, strategic partnerships, trading relationships and cultural exchange. But Embassies are also discrete political spaces. Notionally sovereign territory ‘immune’ from local jurisdiction, in moments of crisis Embassies have often been targets of protest and sites of confrontation. It is this aspect of Embassy experience that this conference explores.
The Embassies in Crisis conference will revisit flashpoints in the recent lives of Embassies overseas. Much of the focus will be on Britain’s Embassies, but several papers will also consider other instances of Embassies in crisis, whether British or otherwise. Serving and former British Ambassadors will be presenting as ‘witnesses’ alongside invited academics who have been invited to discuss dramatic instances of international confrontation or mass demonstration that placed particular nations, their capitals, and the Embassies they housed in the global spotlight.
What FDR and Reagan Had in Common
And What Might be Disappearing from American Foreign Policy
a Talk by
Professor H. W. Brands
When: 24 May, 2.00-3.30
Where: Laver LT6, University of Exeter
Abstract: Franklin Roosevelt epitomized liberalism in America in the 20th century, and Ronald Reagan conservatism. Yet while they disagreed on nearly everything in domestic affairs, they agreed on the need for the United States to play the leading role in world affairs. This consensus among liberals and conservatives is at risk from the mediocre performance of the U.S. economy since 2008 and from a questioning at both ends of the political spectrum of the value to the United States of trying to solve the world’s problems. Continue reading “What FDR and Reagan Had in Common – A Talk by H. W. Brands”