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The Future of ‘Global Britain’ as a ‘Seapower State’

13th November 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Prof. Andrew Lambert’s new book, Seapower States examines how Britain and four other seapowers used their special identities to inform their decision-making, enabling them to achieve success disproportionate to their size. Lambert shows how creating maritime identities made these states more dynamic, open, and inclusive than their lumbering continental rivals. He argues that it was only when they forgot this aspect of their identity that these nations begin to decline.

By kind invitation of Bob Seely MBE MP, the Henry Jackson Society invites you to this panel discussion, where Prof. Lambert will be joined by Ms. Elisabeth Braw, Dr. Alessio Patalano and Mr. James Rogers. Together they will review the United Kingdom’s unique position and culture as a “Seapower State”, while asking how this perspective might inform the nation’s future as “Global Britain”.




Prof. Andrew Lambert is a Professor of Naval History in the Department of War Studies, King’s College, London and a fellow at the Royal Historical Society. He has held previous posts at the Royal Naval College Greenwich and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He is the author of numerous books, including ‘Nelson: Britannia’s God of War and Admirals: The Naval Commanders Who Made Britain Great’.

Elisabeth Braw is an Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, where she directs the Modern Deterrence programme. Previously, she worked at Control Risks, following a career as a journalist where she reported from the United States, Germany, Italy and other countries.

Dr. Alessio Patalano is a Senior Lecturer on East Asian Maritime Security in the Department of War Studies, King’s College, London and a Visiting Lecturer in Naval Strategy and East Asian Security at the Italian Naval War College, Venice. He has previously been a visiting scholar at Aoyama Gakuin University and at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Tokyo.

James Rogers is Director of the ‘Global Britain’ Programme at the Henry Jackson Society, of which he is a founding member. Formerly, he held a number of positions at the Baltic Defence College in Estonia and has worked at the European Union Institute for Security Studies in Paris.




On November the 13th the Henry Jackson Society hosted a panel of experts to discuss the future of ‘global Britain’ as a ‘sea power state’. The panel consisted of Prof. Andrew Lambert, professor for naval history at Kings College London, Ms. Elisabeth Braw, Research fellow at the royal united services institute, Dr. Alessio Patalano, Senior Lecturer for East Asian Maritime at Kings College London and Mr. James Roger, director of the Global Britain program at the Henry Jackson Society.

Prof. Lambert started the presentation by giving an introduction to what is meant by a sea power state and followed up with a historical insight into different sea power states and the importance of their identity. He then explained how sea power states, who highly invest into the engagement with the sea through trade and business as well as a standing navy, in contrast continental states, who mainly use their navy to achieve territorial gain which is then controlled from the mainland.

Our guest offered examples of such a states that were historically considered sea powers such as, Athens, Carthage, early modern Venice and the Dutch republic and lastly England. Prof. Lambert followed up on the example of England and its history as a sea power state, how it developed its capabilities as a sea power from initially being focused on trade with other countries via sea, to having a powerful navy and how it used other previous sea powers as examples to do so. He concluded his presentation by explaining how the Brits were able to retain their position as sea power state historically and how it was ultimately bankruptcy that ended the British state.

Elisabeth Braw then continued the presentation explaining how it is important that people continue to be reminded of the significance and the dependence of the country on the royal navy so that funding can continue. Adding to this she explained that this strongly relates to the idea of sea blindness and the danger that the importance of civilian, trade and military operations on sea get overlooked, which could have detrimental consequences for the country.

Dr. Alessio Patalano followed up with the establishment of new international powers at sea,  using the example of China and how it bases it maritime development on three pillars: building up capabilities, the mobilisation of political and legal narratives of the importance of Chinese maritime security interests and lastly the creation of a sense of maritime destiny by using a narrative that convinces internal and external actors that becoming a sea power reflects national and international progression as a country. He concludes that if Britain wishes to go ‘global’ it will need to develop a strategy to evaluate and strategically adapt towards the Chinese maritime expansion.

Finally James Rogers discussed the future of Britain as a global sea power and how this will be affected by the rise of China and its exit from the European Union. He highlighted the importance of the overcoming of Britain’s sea-blindness and how it will be able to pursue a maritime destiny and promote its identity as a sea power, using its naval power and relations to close allies within the EU and NATO to achieve this objective.

The Henry Jackson Society would like to take this opportunity to thank Prof. Lambert, Elisabeth Braw, Dr. Alessio Patalano and James Rogers for their insights and opinions on this topic.



13th November 2018
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


Committee Room 11, House of Commons
London, SW1A 0AA United Kingdom


Henry Jackson Society
+44 (0) 20 7340 4520


Prof. Andrew Lambert


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