By Naman Habtom
On the 12th September 2017 the Henry Jackson Society’s own James Rogers launched his report, ‘The Audit of Geopolitical Capability’ as well as his paper ‘Towards a Global Britain’. Rogers is a founding member of the Henry Jackson Society and the Director of our ‘Global Britain’ Programme. He holds expertise in British grand strategy, European geopolitics, and Baltic security as well as European influence in the Indo-Pacific region. He has held a number of positions, including Acting Dean at the Baltic Defence College as well as Associate Fellow at the European Institute for Security Studies in Paris.
After being introduced by Tom Tugendhat MP, who noted the importance and relevance of the reports, Rogers acknowledged that with the ongoing Brexit negotiation, as well as an increasingly assertive Russia and China and an economically rising India, that a narrative of Western decline has taken hold. However, he affirms the continued ascendancy of the Western liberal democracies, most notably the US, the UK, France, and Germany. By examining the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and three additional powers (Germany, Japan, and India), Rogers highlights the relative strengths and weaknesses of the eight nations.
In his presentation, Rogers explains how by looking at a range of variables, such as geographic integration and diplomatic leverage, which go beyond traditional metrics such as land mass and total population can illuminate when assessing the current standing of some of the world’s most powerful nature. While acknowledging the limitations of the reports, such as lack of available data in certain countries, Rogers still makes a strong case against the decline narrative that is increasingly prevalent. This assessment, backed up by looking relative military strength (coupled with international reach and capability), technological prowess, etc. demonstrates that ‘decline is not preordained’.
In his ‘Global Britain’ paper, Roger emphasises the various advantages that the United Kingdom maintains. Most notably, the UK possesses a notable cultural advantage against most nations due to its language, number of think tanks, prestigious universities, etc. While encouraging increased research spending, Roger paints a generally optimistic picture for the future of the United Kingdom, if it seizes upon the opportunity.