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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UK needs new role in world politics, say defence experts

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, April 22, IRNA -- The UK needs a ‘radical reassessment’ of the position it wants to play, and is able to play, in world politics, according to majority of the country’s defence and security community.

A survey carried out by the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) also found that 58 per cent still believed the UK’s best interests were served by maintaining a special relationship with the US, ahead of other strategic partners.

Less than 6 percent disagreed that the UK needed a new role in the world, while 88 percent agreed that a "radical reassessment" was needed now, believing the country was approaching a big moment for the UK’s foreign and defence policy.

“With the forthcoming defence review it has been generally accepted that the ‘role in the world’ question is the most fundamental and yet is not easy to frame, still less to generate a public debate around,” Rusi said.

On security priorities for the next government, just over 80% believed tackling terrorism would remain the most pressing task of its role in world politics.

But opinion among members of the defence and security community was more divided on whether the Afghan war plays “an intrinsic part in maintaining the UK’s security,” with 57 percent agreeing and 34 percent disagreeing.

“The rationale of the Afghan operation has been controversial from 2005 when the present build-up began,” said Rusi, which is the world’s oldest defence institution, dating back to 1831.

There was also a similar difference of views on whether security and political benefits to the UK of the Trident nuclear deterrent system clearly outweigh its diplomatic and economic costs.

Although the specialised defence and security community has tended to endorse the utility of the Trident system fairly strongly, Rusi said that this is “less obviously” the case in its, pointing out the having a nuclear deterrent has “also tended to polarise opinion.”

On Wednesday, four former army commanders Wednesday added their voice to growing calls for a review of the government’s controversial plans to replace Britain’s nuclear missiles, questioning if it was value for money.

Former chief of general staff General Sir Richard Dannatt also suggested in February that the US-led drive for global disarmament could mean the UK does not need a nuclear deterrent in five years.

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End News / IRNA / News Code 1072008



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