Defending the Realm … and the Defence Industry

  • Paul D. Williams


Traditionally, the UK’s defence establishment has doubted the virtues of abstract theorising in favour of allowing the proximate military commanders to develop pragmatic solutions to particular problems. Not surprisingly, therefore, and with the exception of Douglas Hurd’s idea that Britain should try and punch above its weight, there have been few attempts to analyse the role of ideas in shaping UK defence policy.1 This does not mean, however, that UK defence policies have been devoid of ideas, far from it. At the macro level, as in foreign policy more generally, the most important ideas have revolved around the questions of whether Britain is a global or European power and how best to engage with the US?2 Labour’s answer to the second question was discussed in detail in Chapter 2. Characteristically, its answer to the first question was to suggest the UK was both. As Geoff Hoon put it, Britain ‘is a regional power with extensive global interests’.3 These questions remained at the centre of Labour’s defence policies but especially after 9/11 greater emphasis was placed on the pragmatic issue of how best to project UK military power around the globe as part of the US-led ‘war on terrorism’.


Foreign Policy Armed Force Nuclear Weapon Defence Industry Nuclear Deterrent 
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Copyright information

© Paul D. Williams 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul D. Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BirminghamUK

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