Across every forum I have had the opportunity to speak on this subject, be it the Agile Business Conference in London, Digibury in Cantebury, Palace of Westminster, numerous technology camps across Eurasia or Starbucks (the usual rendezvous for the curious) the message has always been …security of our homeland begins abroad. It was hence reassuring to hear our Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Mr Philip Hammond utter those exact words this week during the 10th Manama Dialogue Regional Security Summit organised by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in the Bahraini capital Manama.
However Mr Hammond’s vision for its implementation is a Universe apart from our own, though Mr Hammond has got it right that the security of the “homeland” began abroad his means to achieve it as history has repeatedly proven are going to be ineffective. To protect Britain and British interests our foreign policy needs to pivot away from building military bases and putting our troops on the ground to prop up unpopular regimes.
Be it the Middle East, North Africa, Sahel, Afghanistan, Central or South Asia; every society is transforming from the bottom up and from the top down. The populous is seeking progressive change whilst the top is seeking ways to maintain the status quo, our foreign policy must embrace the transformation being driven from the bottom up for that is where the war for hearts and minds will be won or lost, that is where the 99% will see us as their friends or as the enemy that worked with their corrupt and oppressive regimes; prolonging the inevitable.
Middle Britain needs to think hard but not for too long. Do we want our taxes spent on the protection and preservation of unpopular regimes or do we want to contribute towards a future state where Britain is part of the solution and not the problem.
Security of the homeland will not come from the expansion of our military complex in distant lands, it will come from prosperity of the masses of those distant lands who remain disenfranchised.
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