China has advanced a number of arguments to justify its decision to ignore the arbitral tribunal’s recent ruling on the South China Sea dispute. None of them make much legal sense, but all raise questions about China’s views of the international order.
From an American perspective, the United Kingdom is uniquely placed to complement US strategy and has a key role in upholding international security. The international community and Americans expect the UK and US to act in concert. Defence reviews on both sides of the Atlantic must be mindful of this consideration.
The on-going concern about the 'special relationship' is not about the Americans at all, but about Britain. However, the true debate is not about the merits of the alliance but Britain's position in the world.