Kazakhstan, the newest member of the UN Security Council, faces a difficult test. It must balance relations with its two powerful neighbours – Russia and China – while maintaining sovereignty and also engaging with several partners.
Unlike the United States, British military operations in Iraq have not been extended into Syria. This distinction may not make sense at an operational level, but it reflects continuing uncertainty as to the direction of US policy towards the Assad regime
This week, UK Armed Forces formally ended combat operations in Helmand. British troops return from Afghanistan not with a victory, but a score draw away from home; a job well done in unpropitious circumstances.
Worrying reactor test results have prompted the Ministry of Defence to schedule an unexpected reactor replacement for the UK’s oldest nuclear-armed submarine, at a cost of £120 million. If forensic tests exacerbate these concerns, the financial costs of reactor replacement may not be the UK’s only worry.
Export controls for the US defence industry are being reformed. This is a strategic judgment by the Obama Administration where ‘higher fences around fewer items’ of very advanced technologies are designed to counter threats to the US from advanced states or near-peer competitors such as China.
China’s sudden declaration of an Air Defence Identification Zone covering the uninhabited Senkaku islands is not intended to extend Chinese airspace as part of an area-denial/anti-access strategy. China’s real aim is instead to strengthen their quasi-legal territory claims in the long term.