Christian Wolf


The contents of this paper is an analysis of the current security-political strategy of the United Kingdom as well as its backgrounds, because the consequences of the decisions made in Whitehall still influence the common security and defence policy of the EU. This fact leads to the question how the current security strategy of the United Kingdom presents itself, how it is influenced, and which security-political consequences can be derived from it. Thus, the focus of this examination is the document „A Strong Britain in an Age of Uncertainty: The National Security Strategy“, in short NSS2010, which was published in October 2010, the constant factors of the British political system which have effect on it, and the implications of the NSS2010 concerning the relationships to the USA and the EU. The NSS2010 takes up the national interests of Great Britain beyond day-to-day politics, and makes it the basis of all objectives pursued by Great Britain. These, and further relevant constant factors of the British political system represent the strategic framework and, at the same time, the meta-level of Great Britain’s security policy. These parameters guarantee that any change of policy has a faintly evolutionary rather than a revolutionary character, even if new ways and priorities have been suggested by the change of government. The difficult situation of the nation and the diktat of empty public purses, however, are the real political factors which have coined the guidelines and statements of the NSS2010 to a far higher extent than the change of government. The analysis of the strategy paper further has proved that - despite the national pride often evoked - Whitehall is very much aware of the merits of its partnerships and alliances. On the other hand, this does not mean that Downing Street Nr. 10 will not try to get a special status for Great Britain within the EU whenever this is possible in future. Thus, the NSS2010 represents the political-strategic framework in which the British foreign and security policy will range in the foreseeable future. The subordinated SDSR2010 is a military-strategical fundamental document converting the security-political instructions and guidelines of the NSS2010 into a doctrine applicable for the military. In this connection one can observe that Great Britain - within financially affordable limitations - will stick to maintaining efficient armed forces capable of interventions all over the world. It is an indisputable fact that the excellent and historically established relations of the country all over the world, if they are used reasonably as a global network, can be a great advantage for strengthening Britain’s status. Great Britain also forms Europe’s strongest link in the Trans-Atlantic security system. The English language as the global mouthpiece of the UK also is the lingua franca of the information age. On the other hand, however, the cross-linked world of the 21st century as described in the NSS2010 is moving to the rhythm of globalisation and will not take historical significance into account any longer. Thus, the Union Jack has lost much of its former glory and dominating status, although new squalls from Downing Street Nr. 10 are supposed to make it wave proudly and magnificently over Great Britain and beyond it.