• US policy on North Korea under President Trump is “better than under many of his predecessors”
• We must spend more on conventional weaponry now or face the earlier deployment of nuclear weapons in war in the future
• Macron “wrong and defeatist”: the US remains engaged overseas
Former Foreign Secretary David Owen will this evening deliver a speech to The Henry Jackson Society focused on British foreign policy in a post-Brexit world.
Dr Owen’s speech will hone in on three of the most dangerous potential crises on the international agenda: North Korea; Eastern Europe and Russia; and the Middle East.
Dr Owen will say:
“Suffice to say that American policy under President Trump on Korea has been far better than under many of his predecessors.
“It was a wise decision to ask President Xi to the US so early in his tenure in April 2017 and President Xi was farsighted in accepting that invitation … Many people in Europe and in the US who make justified criticisms of President Trump’s handling of foreign affairs should remember that secrecy is an extremely important part of international diplomacy, as is the clear and concise linkage between the use of force and the importance of negotiation.”
Eastern Europe and Russia
Dr Owen will say:
“For a post-Brexit Britain the challenge is abundantly clear. It is to make an urgent decision to increase our defence spending from NATO’s target figure of 2% of GDP to 2.5% …
“We are being advised by serious generals in the UK and in the US that on current spending policies NATO is not able to check a conventional arms attack on the Central Front in Europe without falling back earlier than ever on tactical nuclear weapons, something we have not even contemplated since the middle 1960s.
“That is not an acceptable alternative. Just as Russia has re-equipped itself very significantly over the last decade we in NATO on a multilateral basis must do the same.”
The US and multilateralism
Responding to French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech this week to the European Parliament, Dr Owen will say:
“The challenge … is to put the weight of our diplomatic and military effort into NATO and to show that the speech President Macron made to the European Parliament on 17 April is wrong and defeatist and that in opposing authoritarian powers Europe can rely on the United States …
“It is up to us in Europe to demonstrate to the US that we will match the NATO 2% GDP commitment and where possible will increase that amount. NATO is not a lost cause; it remains the best multilateral defence organisation in the world.”