EVENT TRANSCRIPT: The Future of ‘Global Britain’ as a ‘Seapower State’
DATE: 1800 pm-1930pm 13th November 2018
VENUE: Committee Room 11, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
SPEAKER: Prof. Andrew Lambert, Elizabeth Braw, Dr. Alessio Patalano
EVENT CHAIR: James Rogers
Bob Seely MBE MP: Ladies and gentlemen, I will make a start because we are running a bit late, apparently the queue is getting in so we might be joined by a few more people. My name is Bob Seely, I am the Member of Parliament for the Isle of Wight which is a small Island attached to a bigger island. We like to think we have contributed to our seafaring state a little bit. We certainly had enough shipwrecks at the south coast of the island, near where I live. The future of global Britain as a sea-power state, potentially very fascinating subject and I have just been quizzing Professor Lambert about that now. What does Global Britain as a seafaring state look like or is it any different to the Britain we have at the moment? Or is it just another slogan which not necessarily amounts to a great deal. We have four speakers, I think professor Lambert is going to speak for 20 minutes and then everyone else is going to speak for 5 minutes and then we’ll have questions and discussions. Professor Lambert has is book ‘Sea-power State’ here, which sounds fascinating in the brief element that I have been talking about it, because we are slightly up against time constraints and sadly I need to go to another meeting in about 45 minutes, that’s all from me as in regards to intros. I may interrupt the speakers as they go, just to ask them questions if I haven’t understood something, but otherwise I would just like to introduce Professor Andrew Lambert, professor of history department of war studies Kings College. I still try to finish a PhD there 5 years on and member of the royal historical society, held previous posts Admiral navy college coast Greenwich and the royal military academy Sandhurst. I’ve been through Sandhurst and am very well aware of the extraordinary quality of academics at Sandhurst.
Prof. Lambert: Were you at Sandhurst?
Bob Seely MBE MP: Actually very recently, the year before last I was a sergeant until the last month and a half of my military career and then I got promoted. And the minute I got promoted I got selected as a candidate for here, but I’m technically still in the reserve. Anyway, enough about that, over to you Sir.
Prof. Lambert: Thank you very much, it’s a great honour to be here and to speak in this particular venue. Britain as a sea-power state. What do we mean by a sea-power state? So before I fill you in on how I think Britain is a sea-power state, I want to talk about what I mean. This book I’ve written is about a number of states which have been sea-powers and great powers, states which have – in many ways – to use that famous expression ‘punched above their weight in world affairs, throughout recorded history. Going back to ancient Athens and to the end of the British sea-power empire in the 1940s. Being a sea-power is about creating an identity which is remarkably alien. Men live upon the land, men as a species we live in family groups, we live in houses, we have tribes, we have religions, we have structures and they are all remarkably terrestrial. People work at sea, people do their business on the great waters but that is not their primary identity. Fishermen have houses, naval officers have houses, naval ratings have houses. This is an alien identity which is created as part of a process of reprogramming a state to see itself upon the seas rather than upon the land and it’s been going on for a very long time. It’s a cultural process, it involves all aspects of the state from political structures, sea-power states are invariably more progressive and inclusive politically than their terrestrial, continental rivals. Sea-powers are more curios because they have to understand the rest of the world because they’re trading with it. If you rule a great continental empire, like let’s say modern china, your external trade is not as important to you as if you live on a small island like Britain where you re importing a lot of your food, raw materials and other things and parlaying that for other forms of activity such as commercial services, investment and the like and sea-power states have always been doing that. From the dawn of time they have been involved in high-end trade. They’ve been involved in carriage of goods, transmission of capital, high-end processing. They’ve been particularly engaged in translating important materials into high-value good. So the British economy did very well out of cotton, which came in raw and went out as fabric or manufactured clothing. A great deal of value was added to that. So knowing the rest of the world is a sea-power trait. The first great book about the history of the world was written in Athens by Herodotus and it’s a history of everything someone in Greece would’ve been at least curios about in his era, and he sets out what a sea-power state is. Herodotus said that Athens was a sea-power. It focuses on the sea, it does business by sea, it has a great navy which is its primary strategic instrument. But the Athenian navy is only a 5th of the size of the Persian navy, but the Persians are not a sea-power. They’re a continental imperial power, that’s projecting its military across the sea using a navy. They are not interested in trade. They are interested in the projection of military power by sea and that’s model we see in the modern world exemplified by the United States navy, what Russian navy there still is and potentially in the future other navies. These are the navies of continental powers that use their navy to project military force. The object of which is further territorial acquisition. We see in the western pacific basin that the Chinese are creating artificial territory out of the sea to continentalise maritime space, to better control it from the land. So a sea-power is a curious state, relatively small against its peer group. It achieves great power status by maximising its engagement with the sea. If we look at the great wars between Athens and Sparta or the great foundations of how we understand the world. Thucydides is very clear about this, this is a different kind of state. The Athenians have taken the classic Greek model of a landed aristocratic, militaristic society and they’ve turned it into a democracy which is standing and sustaining a standing professional navy, which gives them an enormous advantage over other navies, which are not standing navies. The Athenians are good at sea-power because they put their money into keeping a regular, mobilized navy – in peace and in war. So when the Peloponnesian war breaks out, they literally row rings around the opposition because they have high grade professional skilled operators. That’s what sea-powers do. And when they go to war with Sparta they just hide behind the walls of Athens, which go all the way down to the Piraeus and they say ‘Now what are you going to do?’ and the Spartans have no answer. And the Athenians are winning the war and then they get the plague but that’s another story. But that book, Thucydides, is the foundation stone of the way we think about this dialogue between land and sea power, Athens and Sparta, fundamentally different within a tiny confined space, speaking roughly the same language and yet fundamentally different. The other states I’ve looked at in here which are great powers in their age: Ancient Carthage, early modern Venice, the Dutch republic for 20 years during 1650 and 1670, the period when it was not ruled by a military dynasty and focused on creating a large army and between 1688 and 1945 England, later Britain which learned from all of its precursors. This is a learning process, these states don’t invent the wheel, they reinvent the wheel and learn from those who have gone before. The Carthaginians knew all about the Athenians and so did the romans, which is why they rubbed them out. They were petrified of inclusive, democratic, trade based political systems, they were a static landed system focused on military power and they saw that Carthaginian model as a threat to the stability of their empire. So they destroyed it, literally and figuratively. They wiped out its buildings, they enslaved its people and they destroyed its history. They cast away the written record of Carthaginian history very deliberately and demonized the Carthaginians as well. They argued that the Carthaginians should be rubbed out because they sacrifice their children. There is no evidence for this but it’s a good story if you’re trying to make people look bad. I ll get back to the Carthaginians because they really are very important. Why is Britain a sea-power? We live on an island. Well of course this project was started by the English not the British and the English did not live on an island they shared it with other people.as late as 1588 the scots were sort of on the other side and if you ask anybody in Scotland what 1588 means they won’t have the faintest idea. It’s a constructed identity a conscious choice based on key decision about the economy, about strategy, about politics and about culture. And these debates are starting during the 100 years’ war. In 1432, an unknown English poet, although it’s likely that it’s one of the better ones of the period, wrote a book called ‘the label of English policy’ or ‘the little book of English policy’ 1432 iin English not in Latin and he said ‘we should abandon Europe. We should make sure our navy is strong. We should control the straits of Dover. We should tax all the trade flowing on it and we should use the army to finish the conquest of Ireland so we are secure, both against the continentals and …An unknown poet, probably William Lidgett in 1432 he was working at the court of henry duke of Gloucester, the younger brother of henry the 5th and the uncle of henry the 6th, one of the first humanist scholarship groups in England. So he said that we should complete the conquest of the British Isles, control the seas, tax the trade and we would be far more secure than if we dominated parts of France. And those ideas would swirl around in the English intellectual milieu for centuries. Samuel Pepys bought a copy of an original manuscript of this poem and its still in the library in (inaudible) college. Its one of these foundational texts that just keeps recirculating. This wasn’t possible in 1432, you couldn’t defend England with a navy, navies were just ships with soldiers on them. You needed a navy that could stay at sea for long periods, was relatively mobile and had ship killing weapons. The Athenians used a ram. By 1500 the English are building very large 3 masted sailing ships with heavy cannons, which can sink other ships. Henry the 7th builds 2 of them the Regent and the Sovereign and he builds castles at all the places where you would land an invasion army and his son follows up this program. He is beginning to shape the strategic mechanics of a sea-power state. So if you go to Portsmouth, the square tower at Portsmouth was built by henry the 7th. South sea castle, henry the 8th. This is a great place that you need to fortify against the French. In 1545 the French came to invade. It was a famous battle in which the ship, the Mary-Rose, sank but the French were driven off and defeated. And the following year the English took command of the channel and named it the ‘English channel’ for which it was known ever since, unless you re French, in which case it is known as ‘La Manche’.
Bob Seely MBE MP: Can I just point out one tiny footnote of history? The last attempted French invasion of Britain was on the Isle of Wight in the middle of the 16th century and our women fought them off with pitchforks. Sorry do carry on.
Prof. Lambert: I won’t cast any aspersion onto the women of the Isle of Wight, but they are clearly very formidable persons. That was the last attempt of the French to invade England, they did land in wales and several times in Ireland but always unsuccessful. What we are looking at here is an intellectual breakthrough around the early 16th century. A period in which Charles the 5th the holy roman emperor becomes a dominant force in Europe, France is becoming a very powerful nation-state, particularly with the inclusion of Brittany, which fell into the French crown around 1500. Henry the 7th tried to marry the heiress queen of Brittany but he failed and the French got that territory. This made France a dangerous rival, it was larger, more populous and quite a bit richer than England. We’re looking at the Habsburgs becoming a superpower and we’re looking at France becoming a very great power and the English at this point are depending entirely on selling their goods through, what is now Belgium. The markets in Brussels and Antwerp dominate British exports and those exports are primarily high-grade wool. In 1516 henry the 8th sends his leading minister cardinal Wolsey to negotiate with the Habsburgs and one of Wolsey’s entourage is Thomas Moore. You’ve all heard of Thomas More, he is a religious fanatic who got executed for opposing Henry’s religious policies. That’s a parody. Thomas More is a genius of the early English humanist period and he recognizes, as does Wolsey, that England is too small to compete with the Habsburgs, too small to play a part in Europe and if it doesn’t get out of Europe it will subsumed into a holy roman empire and it will become just another province. Just like some city state in central Germany. Henry the 8th is listening to this and he immediately puts an imperial top on his crown and declares himself and emperor, so he recognizes no secular authority above him. It’s a very clear decision and Shakespeare quotes from the manifesto where he says ‘England is an empire onto itself’. That’s Shakespeare quoting henry the 8th. He then breaks with the roman church, because that too is a universal European threat. The roman church could force the English to do things they didn’t want. More advises Henry the 8th to break out of Europe and find alternative worlds to engage with and he publishes his thinking in his great book ‘utopia’ which is not about an ideal society, it’s about an island on the south coast of America which has become very civilized by digging a 20mile wide ditch to separate itself from the continent. Do you begin to see what’s going on here? These people have recreated England on the other side of the Atlantic. It’s an idealised England, not an idealised society and these utopians very quickly pick up the habit of reading ancient Greek and printing books in movable Greek type, something what at this point is only happening in Venice where the Venetians have printed all of the great Greek classics in movable type around 1500. Thucydides 1502. More has read this book, because all the leading intellectuals in early 16th century England read Greek, this is the language of power in Elizabethan and Tudor England, even the queen has a good deal of Greek. And this is the resource from which you draw your ideas. So the English move out of Europe, they start to look at other worlds, and they have a vision of a different settlement. And they create a navy to make sure that the enemy cannot come. So the Tudor revolution creates and empire and it leaves the spiritual empire of Rome, the terrestrial empire of the Habsburgs and the people who are driving this process are humanist intellectuals and the merchants of the city of London. Delivery companies, the financiers, the bankers, the goldsmiths, they are the people that are pushing that process and they are pushing it in parliament. These men are in the house, they are debating these issues, they are voting on these issues and the government is borrowing money from them to fund this expensive navy. We are building a virtuous circle of connectivity here between the state, the navy, government and power. And it’s going to be permanent and it will be the foundation of the English state. So 1545 the defeat of the French invasion taking, command of the channel and from that point on it’s about using that money to open up new trade links. We sail around to archangel in northern Russia to trade with Ivan the terrible, we sail around the world and we increasingly gather a sense of ourselves as a global international trading state. Under Elizabeth, the queen is excommunicated by the pope and declared a heretic and therefore fair game for any catholic terrorists. The English response, the world’s best navy and the defeat of the superpower the Spanish armada in 1588. A heroic identity which will be celebrated in the old houses of parliament from 1660 to 1832 and the destruction of the building. When the house of lords was hung entirely with a set of tapestries displaying the defeat of the Spanish armada. Bravura, technicolour, thread of gold, high quality tapestries made in Brussels to celebrate the defeat of the Spanish armada. Every square inch of not just the walls but also the ceiling was covered in this and every speech in the house of lord between 1660 and 1832 had the opportunity to reference this point. When William Pitt the elder, earl of Chatham died, literally on the floor of the house, he was talking about these tapestries and pointing to them in 1779 and saying ‘we can still do what we did back then. We can defeat these fellas at sea’. So Venice is borrowed, Athens is borrowed and increasingly the French begin to understand that the English are doing something different. The revolution settlement in 1688 creates and even more immersed state. The governing oligarchy now is the city of London, the landed aristocracy and it’s all held together by the national depth which is serviced by the banks, invested in by the merchants, by the landowners, by the aristocracy. Everybody buys into the 1688 settlement with their money. It’s not a question of loyalty it’s a pragmatic question. If you’ve invested all of your funds in the national depth of the country you’re not going to get the old king back. The Jacobite’s only followers are those who have nothing to lose and they tend to be very poor people. So it’s a Dutch republican model that is brought in with William the 3rd, the city of London become increasingly important and by 1700 the so called royal navy belongs to the city of London and parliament tell the navy what to do and most of that is to defend out shipping at sea against the enemy. So the city of London is promoting trade but it’s also creating culture. So we see an endless supply of high grade art which turns being a sea-power state into a focus of display. The Tudor battle fleet fabulously decorated, there are tapestries of the armada, henry the 8th embarkation for the field of cloth of gold. And then in the late 17th century Charles the 2nd buys the two best marine artists on the planet Willem Van de Veldt the elder and the younger to turn his fleet of powerful ships into emblems of national identity. The English flagships are the way the country is represented abroad. It becomes a classic image, everybody knows that this picture is a picture of an English ship and this is the power of the English state. The great painted hall of Greenwich is constructed late in the 17th century and the decorations on the ceiling say “we are a great sea power” and we’ve defeated all comers, the French, the Spanish. The first thing George the 3rd saw when he opened the Hanoverian dynasty in London was Greenwich palace. He was taken in and shown the decorations and made to understand that he was not a German prince or a general, he was now the king of a sea-power state because this was the finest palace in London and it was full of worn-out sailors, not kings. Classical buildings, which ape the classical buildings of the past are very important. There is a ceremonial way, all the way from Greg’s end to the centre of London, so as you come into London you re overwhelmed by the sense of the power of the English state. You go past fortresses, dockyards, high-grade buildings, the tower of London, you come up past this collection here in the old days and you can go all the way up to Hampton court if you want to see William the 3rd. It’s an enormously important way of seeing power. The Venetians do this, the Athenians do it. Shakespeare on every other page a maritime reference. 1707 the Scots join with Ireland secure, we start to build an empire which is based on this model. An empire in which Europe is something that needs to be balanced and stable but is not something you wish to intervene in, in terms of acquiring European territory. At the end of the Great War with napoleon 2 things happen: napoleon spent the war calling the English the Carthaginians. He’s a well-read ancient historian and he s convinced that history repeats itself and that his eagle waving empire would repeat what the romans did: It will crush the Carthaginians. He did destroy Venice in 1797 and he made a bonfire of their sea-power identity and he planned to do the same here but he failed. The response to this comes from Turner, the artist of the British state and of sea-power. In 1815 he hung at the royal academy all the way through the waterloo campaign a picture called ‘the rise of the Carthaginian empire’ which showed Carthage rising to glory and it showed a small group of boys in the foreground playing with paper boats, they are the captains of the future Carthaginian sea-power empire. And he was saying, quite figuratively ‘Yes, we are the Carthaginians and history does not repeat itself. We won, you lost.’ Game over. And he would continue to paint Carthage for the rest of his life, it was the subject he painted more than any other subject. His last pictures were of Carthage. When the Great War in Europe ended in 1815, what did the British take? Heligoland, Malta and the Ionian islands. Sea-power states do not want territory, they want market access, they want ports, they want to open trade. They are not interested in having your territory, they want to open your market place. And the great enemies of the British empire in the 19th century were not other naval states, it were the states that wouldn’t trade. States with high tariff barriers, restrictive trade practices that barred access to the market. The first war with the Chinese in the 1840s it’s all about market access, some of the stuff they were selling was opium most of it was wool from the north of England. The other country we fought, the Russians, had very high tariff barriers and we fell out with the Americans for the same reasons. It’s a trading, ocean going, commercial identity and ultimately it turned, what was a small lightweight island off the margins of Europe into a very great power for nearly 300 years. So it was a very successful experiment but it did come to an end, as all sea-power states did, when an even greater hegemonic, continental power was able to build an even bigger navy and was able to bankrupt the state. The British state was not ended by defeat but by bankruptcy, 1945. Thank you very much.
Bob Seely MBE MP: Elizabeth should be next. Some Russian extremist thinkers like Dougan talk now about Carthage and Rome and the internal battle. You could see Russia as Rome land based and Carthage and the west as sea based. Or is that just a colourful analogy that is not worth a true debate?
Prof. Lambert: I think the cultural markers you choose to wave at other people are very significant. Russia sees itself and sees Moscow in particular as the 3rd Rome. After the fall of Rome, it moves to Byzantium and then it moves to Russia and there will be no other and the Russians won’t be around for much longer anyway. In their current guise I suspect that their system doesn’t work very well. Picking a fight with the Carthaginians is very ill-advised, the original Carthaginians were wiped out but their successors were remarkably successful. The Dutch managed to seal off Louis the 14th, the British saw off the Habsburgs and napoleon and this is a very powerful way of mobilizing strength if the Dutch republic, which is tiny can mobilize enough financial and military power to defeat louis the 14th in the late 17th century, there is something special about this sea-power identity. Because it’s inclusive, because it mashes together the interests of all of those in the country and focuses them in a way that you simply can’t do under an autocratic, totalitarian or authoritarian regime. So Rome was always an authoritarian, militarized power and so yes that is what the Russians are trying to do. And Carthage is a maritime trading nation and that is roughly what the west is. The weak and decadent thing is that it’s only relative. We might think we are weak and decadent but we are an awful lot stronger than they are.
Bob Seely MBE MP: So Elizabeth are you happy to speak next?
Elizabeth Braw: Yes I am.
Bob Seely MBE MP: Elizabeth Braw is a associate fellow at the royal united services institute and studied modern deterrence programs.
Elizabeth Braw: Yes that is right, I ran the new modern deterrence program at RUSI and you actually set us up perfectly for what I wanted to talk about which is sea-blindness. As we all heard now for the past 14-20 minutes the UK has been a seafaring and naval power for centuries but really most people living on this island haven’t really been aware of this fact and I would argue that it’s still the case and I started thinking about it a while ago when I attended an event by the navy exhibition team and it is really the royal navy that has teams composed of soldiers or sailors I should say and non-commissioned officers and officers who travel up and down the country. I don’t know, has anybody been to one of these naval presentation evenings? Yeah, you have. And they travel up and down the country and tell people about what the royal navy does and you would think that in a major seafaring and naval country like the UK it wouldn’t be necessary to tell people what the royal navy does but it clearly is necessary. and there is a good reason for the royal navy to make this effort to reach ordinary people and especially local decision makers and it’s that if people are not aware of the need for their own …our countries dependence on naval operations then they will also be unlikely to fund the royal navy in the way that it should be funded. And we see that for example in the debate around whether the UK should have aircraft carriers. A lot of people felt there is no need for them and I think that’s because of sea blindness and the fact that we don’t really realize what the royal navy does or even what the merchant navy does. Naval operations are not the closely related to ordinary citizen’s lives but merchant naval are. So for example does anybody know how much of global trade is transported by ships? 90% but it could be also 93 % but anyway, the vast majority of the world’s trade. And yet we ordinary never see the vessels that transport them or indeed most of us never visit the port where the cargo is unloaded. And if we think about the potential effects of a disruption of merchant navy operations or port operations…the virus attack on Maersk the shipping company recently was a very good example of this. Maersk, which is the world’s leading container shipping company, delivers…it has a vessel docking every 15 minutes, every day of the year and it was attacked by a virus and its service went down. The company only had one tiny server in operation and that was because somebody had forgotten to turn off his computer one evening. So for 6 days Maersk went dark and that’s a whole lot of ships that couldn’t dock or deliver or receive goods. And that virus was the NotPetya virus which a Russian hacker group affiliated with the kremlin had originally targeted at Ukrainian institutions where it then hit Maersk and Maersk’s operations went dark. If you consider what might happen if there is a larger attack or one that lasts longer or one that’s targets more companies…well we don’t need to guess what would happen to us ordinary citizens or indeed the daily operations of our countries. But I think this is why we really need to pay attention to navies and as we just heard there has been the case for centuries in this country that we have been dependent on global trade and that will of course remain the case regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations because for example when it comes to food the UK imports 50% of its food. So this is just to wrap up, since my 5minutes are already over. Even if we don’t care about potential naval battles and there potential clash points for example in the arctic where the UK would square off against Russia, in the Baltic sea where it’s the same situation involving several countries that are located on the Baltic sea. In the South China Sea where china of course has been building islands out of nothing to take this territory and also the black sea where NATO borders Russia but we don’t think about it. We think about the Baltic States…well the Romanian navy would square off against the Russian navy and since it’s a Romanian navy by extension it would be NATO. So it’s easy to neglect the sea as we heard earlier because we don’t see it. Most of us have never seen a ship. Many of us have seen soldiers we have seen military vehicles but we haven’t seen naval ships and we haven’t seen cargo ships and out of sight out of mind. But what I would on with everybody that speaks tonight is that we disregard or forget about naval operations both military and civilian, at our peril because our daily lives, literally our daily lives depend on it. Thank you.
Bob Seely MBE MP: Thank you Elizabeth. Now Alessio Patalano, reader on East-Asian maritime security, does that include china?
Dr. Alessio Patalano: It does.
Bob Seely MBE MP: Wonderful. In the department of war studies, also at King’s. I look forward listening to you. Previously at the Italian war college in Venice, which is the very outpost for a naval war college.
Dr. Alessio Patalano: Thank you very much. First of all thank you very much to James for inviting me to join this distinguished panel and also for throwing me a life-line here. I was in a very difficult position, because one thing you know when you are a PhD student, you should never be in the same panel as your supervisor and it just so happens that my supervisor is sitting on my left. So he threw me a life line literally because asked me not to talk about the book which would have been incestuous in many ways but he asked me to talk about where the book ends in a way. To connect to the relevance of the idea of sea-power states to present dynamics and to particularly focus my remarks on china. Because as you heard, as Andrew already eluded to there is a moment of question as to what extent the emergence of new international powers at sea is changing in a way the dynamics at sea and the fundamental principles underpinning the international maritime order, as Britain has contributed to establish it. So today I will talk about this decade long process of maritime modernisation and empowerment which I would argue focuses on three core pillars as far as Beijing is concerned. One, building up capabilities as you’ve heard from Andrew, is one of the core elements of ensuring that your maritime voice is heard is possessing a sufficient amount of power. Secondly I would say that is the mobilisation of specific legal and political narratives to highlight the importance of Chinese maritime security interests to justify the use of coalition (unclear) to achieve that, and this is something very different and in a way raises a very important question. Andrew’s book is very much about the link of being a sea power state, being a liberal state but one of the interesting phenomena today is that authoritarian regimes are actually emerging as major maritime powers. Which effect does that have? Lastly, this creation of a sense of maritime destiny which would confirm sort of Andrews views that if you want to become a maritime power, if not a sea power state, if you want to develop power muscles from the sea, you need to tell a story to convince your people that that’s the right way to go about it.
Bob Seely MBE MP: Can I ask a quick question? Don’t you need to tell a story anyway? Because you’re saying the sea is a narrative. It is but you’re using the sea to do something. In henry the 8ths case to pull out of the European union of its day, the Habsburg empire and you could say no doubt the same with Venice and other states and you could say the same, no doubt with Athens, With which they justify as a narrative afterwards.
Dr. Alessio Patalano: Precisely. But at the same time authoritarian regimes come from a very different place and in this case, what I find extremely interesting is how the narrative in china is not very much about creating a consciousness among the Chinese people per se but to justify why this is important but to justify the political legitimacy and the strategic ambitions. So it’s a very different story. It’s not about the sea, what the sea means when china is becoming an international power, recognized in its status and how that goes back to reinforce the rulers of the country itself. So I’ll just spend a couple of minutes on each of these pillars and then draw a couple of conclusions leading to what I was asked to talk about in the beginning which is connected to these questions about global Britain. Capabilities, I’m sure that all of you are very much aware of that it has been recently calculated that with an average of 9 new surface combatants commissioned every year since 2010 there is little doubt to the fact that the Chinese navy is becoming establishes as a major military actor. These are major surface combatants, on average about 4-5thousand tons, we’re not talking about a small thing. In the Chinese maritime landscape however it would be hasty to discount the fact that PLA is not the only actor in town which has been systematically supported and funded by the state. You have the Chinese coastguard, which at the moment stands as the single largest coastguard in the world, larger than the US coastguard which, if you haven’t seen it is not a small thing. And the people forces armed maritime militia, which have been all undergoing significant upgrades and transformations and their capabilities built up. On the coastguard side of things what is interesting is that the standard model for the coastguard (coughing, inaudible) in china is about 3000 tons and it comes with 76 millimetre guns (inaudible – too fast) which basically squarely put it to your average navy in the world. This empowerment also involved an incredible increase in capabilities and equipment that have increased the ability of the state to project power at sea from land. Land based missile capabilities as much as passive measures such as the construction of shore based infrastructure for military use, the so called artificial islands – I hate that term because they’re not actually island they are outposts in the middle of the ocean with a bit of extra facilities to support them and the people that live on it. When you re tasked to be in the middle of nowhere in the ocean, you really want to have a cinema or a supermarket because otherwise it gets really boring there quickly. So in terms of capabilities what we are talking about there was also an effort to increase projection at sea and from the sea beyond the immediate shores of china and this is being pursued. This projection of capabilities is a sign that china is not a sea power state but as the leadership of Beijing put it, the Chinese are on the way of becoming a maritime power and they are pretty keen to continue to do so. These capabilities have largely contributed to two forms of coercion, precisely two: enable the Chinese government to project their will at sea and from the oceans. These two coercions are metric coercion, designed to achieve strategic objectives and increasing china’s ability to project hard power in specific theatres …first and foremost the eastern South China Sea which corresponds to the broader island chain and constable coercion which is a narrower type of coercion in which objectives are the control of parts of the ocean. And in the South China Sea, the Chinese have two types of disputes first how you define your (inaudible) and territorial disputes which are about the passion of island features, reefs, shores and whatever else. Now the interesting thing about it is that Beijing has mobilized political and legal rhetoric to support the country’s military and constable coercion in two ways one, the official rhetoric is to down play china’s capabilities essentially to deter other actors and to compel and acquiesce to the Chinese position. Second to present the Chinese action as a measure to respond to a situation created by others in this respect an example are the artificial islands themselves are a form of passive military coercion in which most of the coverage by Chinese military officials was that these are not military outposts with a projection capacity but rather these are goods for the public consumption of the international community, they have a lighthouse, they will prevent ships from getting shipwrecked and at the same time they are provided with interesting things and features like restaurants, ATM machines, teashops for the ones who obviously want to do some tea shopping apparently the outpost in the middle of the south china sea are the places to go, go figure. These efforts are further compounded by attempts to present the military deployment of capabilities as measured incremental and reactive in nature and in turn presented to external regional actors, conducting actor’s actions to push back in regards of these military developments as attempts to militarize the environment. But why do the Chinese have these behaviours? What about this idea of a consciousness and indeed linking the maritime development to the process of wider rejuvenation of the Chinese state? There is no shortage of statements and official papers that the navy and maritime empowerment of china has an essential role in enforcing the legitimacy of the communist party to remain in its place. A defence paper published in 2014 clearly set out naval missions which were set to expand encompassing sea-lanes and enforce security in addition to protect the sovereignty and core interest. Indeed as of 2015 open seas protection has been a fundamental new task entrusted to Chinese navy. This idea however that I want to stop for a second and reflect upon is the constant (hard to understand) maritime interest (interruption) Legal management and the subsequent effective political draw of areas of the oceans claimed by china, disclaims in term are basically a combination of present and historical rights and customary rules about ocean conduct. All of this to say what…there is an interesting way of connecting this idea of maritime empowerment not just to the ambition of having a powerful navy to protect the Chinese status and ambition as a world power to be reckoned with but also to legitimately pursue economic interest as well as maritime rights that unfolded from claims in the south china sea. So what are the implications of all of this in the world and the future of the system that wars are created by sea power states like Britain a couple of hundreds of years ago. The conclusions I would take from the Chinese case of maritime emergence. First is without doubt that the power balance in the indo pacific is shifting in favour of regional actors and in terms of their capabilities. The Chinese state may be young in terms of its arsenal, may not have a sea power state identity but make no mistake its arsenal is vast and is one that is generated and geared towards projection of power at sea. Uprooting this part of the world therefore become more difficult and external powers such as the UK will have to think long and hard the levels of capabilities to deploy in the region and what sort of presence they wish to pursue. In this context the key question is the ability to mobilize alliances and partnerships to extend and enhance whatever capabilities might be available. This leads to a second conclusion, for actors like the UK there is a great need to re-engage what being global actually means. In a world where the centres of power widen and some of them, like in the Chinese case, can come from different military and political experiences, which requires a greater engagement with such experiences. China might not be a sea power state but it is and is likely to remain a significant maritime power. Both within the UK higher education and military research centres the know-how to develop a global strategy that ensures that this phenomenon is duly dissected and examined remained crucially limited. That’s why it’s so important to do so and that’s my 3rd conclusion. Chinese coercion is aimed at altering the balance of in the South China Sea and possibly down to the West Indian Ocean. In the process it will also significantly affect the norms of maritime customs and dos regulating the freedom of navigation in all of these parts. How can the UK engage with this questions? As a founding contributor of the maritime order that exists today, the UK has a clear pathway charted and the recent deployment of (inaudible) in the South China Sea would suggest as much. But how to balance Chinese behaviour and objectives against Chinese economic importance internationally is a key challenge and here it is the first time that an authoritarian regime is going at the sea on the basis of a fully interdependent world economy. How does this change where one draws the lines? Distinguishing continental from maritime state actors, sea power states from continental ones. The UK’s emergence as a sea power state in the past, creating a modern words has made this country a global powerhouse. Today, as the centres have changed pivot to other parts of the world how do you make inferences from past decisions to respond to these challenges is consequently where a global sea power will be defined. Thank you very much.
James Rogers: So I get to take over the chairmanship and I also have a few words to say myself. Unfortunately bob had to leave us for something else but we have the next 40 minutes or so for me to present a few ideas and then we can have a general discussion so do prepare and think about your questions. So Andrew I believe believes that the age of great sea power states has probably come to an end, the last one was of course the UK and that terminated in 1945. And then we had the rise of the soviet union and the united states as great maritime powers in the late 1940s and of course the soviet union dropped out of the race but the united states remained and in the 1990s it became even more powerful relative to the rest of the world and probably more powerful than the rest of the world, at least from a maritime perspective put together. Allesio has explained how china’s rise may further compound this trend expect that the power move alone from the united states will be complimented by the rise of china as a powerful maritime state and also what Andrew described in his book, and I like this term a lot, is continentialization or continentialization of the sea not least in the south china sea and western pacific has the potential, if china continues to push its revisionist policy creating a crisis that is perhaps not unlike those that lead to the major wars, even world wars in the past. The volatility in this region and the way in which the way in which china and other actors particularly the united states but also the united kingdom, France, japan Australia and so on are interacting in the south china sea has the potential to escalate and spill over in ways that we cannot currently perhaps imagine. So if this is ongoing , this continentalization of the sea, what future can the united kingdom a wealthy and innovative small and remote island off the fringe of north-western Europe, which is no longer…the north Atlantic being no longer the centre of global geo politics which is moving towards the indo-pacific and south china sea in particular. What kind of role can we hope to play, engaging if this is the case? I would argue that as we leave the EU and embark on a new destiny we need to focus our energies on making the concept of global Britain a reality. Now a lot of people in the parliamentary committees have asked, the one bob sits on, have asked what exactly does global Britain mean? Because it’s not entirely clear what it means and its not been fully focused on by the British government. I would say that global Britain doesn’t necessarily need to be seen as an alternative to Europe, the UK is after all a European country even if it is qualitatively different to most other European countries, having a sea power state identity drawing back into the distant past and in some ways draws that out and extracts it into its modern self. So I would say we need to think about the emergence of the construction of global Britain in the same way that we saw the emergence of a sea power state of Britain emerge in the past. One whereby we embrace our new future as a new form of sea power nation. Now this combines to some extent with geo political changes some of which we already identified i.e. the rise of china but also perhaps changes on the European mainland. For much of history Britain had to confront a potential European hegemon, a hegemon that potentially is not very friendly nor satisfied with Britain’s own perspective. It seems to me today that this is very much different, that it is a very different situation. Europe, to no small extent of the world is at peace and the role of both NATO and the European union ensures that the countries of the European union remain relatively stable, prosperous, democratic and potentially, primarily inward looking because it’s the UK that suffers from sea-blindness, the countries from mainland Europe suffer from sea-blindness but it’s almost like a disease. So we need to overcome our sea-blindness as a nation, as the UK in order for this to be achieved of course but in no small regard I think it’s also connected to the fact that we are changing. We are changing from being a Europeanised state and we were strategically Europeanised because of Germany and Russia in the 20th century and in the late 19th century but so far this threat is now gone or at least it’s being reduced. Russia is not the Soviet Union or even the czarist empire. We are now able to pursue a more maritime destiny. So how exactly could we do this? Well I think it’s also related to something called “the rule based system” or what the Americans sometimes describe as “the liberal international order”. So as we‘ve already heard the UK has been instrumental in the construction of this order and it in no small way mirrors Britain’s open and liberal, open and to some extent expansive culture as well as the idea that rules and contracts should be defined by not only personal interaction but also international interaction above and beyond the use of intimidation, power and force. so if we throw our naval power, which is still quite significant behind this agenda, behind the idea of global Britain and if we can mobilized our allies, both within Europe and outside Europe, then it seems possible that we have the potential to prevent those who seek to continentalized the sea and moreover revise the rules of the international system or be iit gradually but nevertheless forcefully and to potentially assert the freedom of navigation as well as openness more generally quite profoundly. So the British government said repetitively in recent years how important it is to uphold the law of the sea as well as the rules of the international system, indeed during the commission of the HMS Queen Elizabeth the supercarrier, our only potential supercarrier to date an evidence we have not completely gone sea blind or shrivelled as a sea power state. The prime minister has explained the following, I shall just quote a few words: Britain can be proud of this ship and what it represents. It sends a clear signal that Britain forges a new confident role for ourselves on the world stage in the years ahead we are determined to remain a fully engaged global power working closely with our friends and allies around the world. Britain has an enduring responsibility to help to sustain the international rules based order and to defend the liberal values which underpin it. End of quote. So there you can see that the two have been drawn together, not only the idea of global Britain but also the idea of the rules based order and the role global Britain can play in upholding that specific order. But I would argue that in order for us to do this, to prevent the continentalization of the sea and also to prevent the destruction or the degrading of the rules based order, the UK needs to do three things: first it needs to re-acquire its strategic purpose, so as the idea of a global Britain takes shape, it should be woven into the fabric of the rules-based order, which then in turn should define Britain’s strategy and identity so in a way its mirroring the sea power state into the global system and then mirror it back onto Britain, so the two are strengthened simultaneously. Secondly Britain needs to refined or develop its portfolio of allies it’s one thing that Britain needs to help to ensure that its European-NATO allies step up and do more to defend Europe so that it and in some respects the united states can play a lesser role there but at the same time it needs to expand the portfolio of its allies, so for example countries such as France, Italy and the Netherlands could play a wider role in adding to this rules-based system from a maritime perspective. And also the UK faces new opportunities with japan, South Korea, Canada but also Australia in the indo-pacific region, potentially also countries such as India. So it’s about expanding and consolidating the existing alliances and partners and weaving them into the idea of not only global Britain but also into the rules-based systems which in turn defines the structure of the wider world. And thirdly the main thing is that the UK needs to focus on a re-invigorated and indeed I think larger royal navy. The royal navy is the essence of our strength and the representative of our determination and we need to make sure that we are funding it adequately and making it relevant to the tasks at hand. And in so far as the world is becoming a more dangerous place, I think it’s fair to say that we need to think again on how we are structuring and allocating our own forces and in particular the royal navy. So it is time that we changed our reluctance to fund a military and a navy in particular that is actually capable. So this brings me to the final point I will make and that is that the notion of decline is hanging around us like a chain and a ball and I think to some extent that is being exacerbated by the decision that Britain is taking to leave the European Union. I think some of our brightest thinkers have become mesmerized by what my college and John Hemmings describe as Eoryism, a kind of gloomy cant-do attitude which is completely antithetical to the construction of Britain as a sea-power state in the past. The point therefore becomes that if we have no confidence, that we as the UK have no confidence then what about everyone else? And one of the sanctities of the rules-based order is that security is dependent on our trade and all the rest of it and if we don’t have the willingness to uphold this then others will try to degrade it. So we need to think hard about where we stand and where we are going in the next few years. That’s all from me, so I think we can now open up to some questions and discussions. So if you would raise your hand to ask a question and also if you would give your affiliation and at least your name. Thank you.
Speaker 1: Name is Richard Gardner, thank you it was very interesting what you brought up. A million questions but to Andrew Sea power, the UK was… I like the term sea blind …with the building of the new aircraft carrier somehow now the navy seems to have come back into view again, but something happened a few weeks ago, the French and English fishermen had a clash. The navy doesn’t have enough support vessels, it might have a big aircraft carrier but it doesn’t have enough support vessels to actually project its strength because I mean that aircraft carrier is vulnerable without support. Which way do you see the navy going and will sea power be projected again or are we just paddling in a big pond but not getting anywhere?
Prof. Lambert: Thank you very much for that. Let’s address sea-blindness first it’s some that has been pushed around very often as something that just sort of happened. Sea power identity is not natural it’s not normal, we live on the land, we think about terrestrial things. We go to sea for pleasure and intermittently unless we are one of the very rare professional mariners on the open seas. Sea blindness is when you stop telling yourself the stories that created the sea power state. It’s when you stop saying 1588 is a very important date, you stop remembering just how important Trafalgar is in the creation of our national identity. You stop realizing that J.M.W. Turner is the greatest British artist because he told us who we were and half his pictures have ships in them and quite a lot of those are pictures of Carthage. We’ve forgotten to tell ourselves who we are. We’ve been so wrapped in not being who we are that we’ve ended up getting very confused about our identity. And a lot of people, and this is a very good week to ask this question, have absolutely no idea how we got involved in the First World War. They all been told some story of something that happened in Sarajevo and it sort of snowballed from there. We didn’t go into the war because we were upset about something that happened in Sarajevo, because if you check, the terrorists who killed the Austrian archduke came from a country that we supported. We went into that war to keep the Germans out of Belgium. It’s really very, very simple because from Belgium you can invade England. The British created Belgium to stop people from invading England through that country and initially to keep the French out, later the Germans and after 1945 the Russians. So our view of Europe is based on that and the construction of a global order and all of the global communication systems that held it together, like steam ships, submarine telegraph cables, wireless, the whole banking and international shipping and financial services. Britain created all of those because it was in the national interest to do so. We didn’t create them as an act of charity, the rules-based order isn’t a nice thing, it’s a very nice thing if it serves your purposes. The people who attack the rules based order are those who don’t like its consequences. The greatest enemy of world trade is of course radical Islam. Unable to attack the tools of sea control, they attacked the world trade centre. Not accidentally, not just because it was a big building, there are other big buildings in New York that you could fly into but world trade is the enemy of intolerant, closed regimes. The great weapon of sea power states historically is not navies but it’s democracies, its liberalism, its freedom, it’s the spread of ideas. In the 19th century Britain’s greatest enemy is Russia and the Russians are petrified of democracy. Even the kind of half-hearted sort the British had in the 19th century they are terrified. Any Russian that has been abroad is locked up and interrogated just to make sure they haven’t brought a virus home called liberalism. Nicolas the first sent half the aristocracy to Siberia when they asked for a constitution. That’s what the Athenians terrified the Spartans with, not their navy, you can’t get to Sparta in a warship, they were frightened of democracy and liberalism because the Spartan economy was driven by slave labour. If the helots got their freedom Sparta collapsed and all those professional Spartan soldiers would have to dig their own cabbage patches. So the great weapon of democracy is the ideas we hold sacred, particularly in this building. This building represents the thing what terrifies autocratic, authoritarian and totalitarian regimes. The idea that we all have a right to decide out future. But if we are going to do that we have to be much better informed, we have to tell those stories, we need to make sure people understand where food comes from. If to liquefied natural gas carriers don’t turn up in Milford haven the lights go out… oh and the fridge goes off and all of that frozen food, you can throw that away too. So we are living in a “just in time” kind of world. Our ancestors back in the two world wars understood, they had food stocks. They got down to seven weeks of supplies and thought that was terrible. We have no supply of food, the food you’re going to eat next week is not in the country now and it won’t be in the country until a day or it arrives on the supermarket shelves. We are unbelievably vulnerable to the interruption of global trade. The moment there isn’t a classic threat in the Atlantic world but if you were a resource dependent island nation like …shall we say japan you would probably think that you were now in a bit of a threat because there were at least two actors in your region who just might decide that they’d fancy interfering with your trade. So we need to be very clear about getting a sense of who we are and how we got here. That’s the narrative we ve lost. The whole debate of the last two and a half years was a debate without any sense to how we arrived in 2016. What were we talking about in 2016? We were talking about the future with no notion how we got to this point in time. We didn’t emerge in 2016 not to be certain if we wanted to remain part of Europe. We’ve always been uncertain about this. If like me you would have been old enough to have voted to join the European Economic Community, you never had a say in whether we’d join the European Union and when we got one, you decided the other way. So I’ve lived to vote both ways on Europe and as a former lawyer it’s on principle, not on gut reaction. So we need to be very clear on how we got here and we talk about our history a lot and we make a lot of it in many different ways but we don’t instil it into the people who really matter that’s ourselves. So if you go and look at the a-level curriculum today you ll find that you’re a-level students are studying Hitler and Stalin, not one of whom was in the least interested in sea power unless it was to destroy it and they were petrified of everything we stood for. So we need to teach our people our own history and we need to make sure to teach it properly, not the rather dull old stuff but the really interesting stuff. How it is that this country has populations of people from around the world. People of Chinese heritage, south Asian heritage, afro-Caribbean heritage. How so many of us have relatives on the other side of the world, how so many British people have austral-Asian relatives, how many British people have relatives not in Europe but outside Europe or in other parts of the world. We are a global society, multiculturalism I can take or leave but the fact that we are globally engaged at a personal level is absolutely axiomatic as to why we are who we are and we can’t even change that. That’s reality and it’s not going to change. So we need to use that if we want to find people who have knowledge of the rest of the world …they’re already here, we don’t need to import anybody from outside, we have that expertise here. We know more about the rest of the world than anybody else. Let’s build on that. Let’s be confident about this. The deal is already done … well not that deal but we’ve made the decision let’s get on with it and let’s be very positive. Henry the 8th didn’t say “I’m not sure if it was a good idea to leave Europe.” He went for it, totally and it worked. It’s better to go down with the flags flying and being bold than it is to whimper out and collapse. Let’s see how all of this turns out. We must be way more confident about this and we must understand that the thing we’re engaged in is something that we created. This global, international, commercial, legal system, we built that so we have a responsibility to remain engaged, to provide an example for other countries who are learning these rules and it would be very useful if Britain is able to assist them to understand that there are some behaviours that really aren’t going to work in a positive way. Trying to break the international system is not going to end well for those who try it and there’s a lot of history on that.
James Rogers: Alright I will take two questions at a time so maybe the lady over there.
Speaker 2: Elena Karaczova. May I ask about the Russian illegal actions in the crisis in the Ukraine and [difficult to understand– heavy accent] and all these developments, where could it lead us from a global perspective and how do we respond to the threat?
James Rogers: Ok thank you and this gentleman here.
Speaker 3: in your description about the history of sea power especially concerning England you haven’t mentioned the Vikings, how do you estimate them in the general picture the influence, et cetera, et cetera…
Prof. Lambert: Excellent question. I will start on that one and I will start on the second question because it’s a little bit easier for me to answer. I am myself a Viking descent and it’s obviously enormously important. All of us fellas from Norfolk are …All the best Englishmen come from Norfolk …there is one in Trafalgar square that you need to be aware of …he too was probably a Viking descent. I’m often confused for a local when I go to Norway which is both charming and slightly worrying. So the Vikings are important because they not only added a powerful maritime dimension to our culture and they created many of the things that we do and without them our language wouldn’t be what it is today. Scandinavian lone words in the English language are enormously important. That’s the thing that makes English so easy to use, it’s a seafarer’s language it’s easy to communicate with, it’s not a bureaucratic language written in strange characters, it’s not hieroglyphic. It’s a language that’s designed to use to transport goods and property and to command and sail ships. That’s a good language to go to sea with and English and its relation to the Scandinavian languages is highly important. So we underestimate the Vikings at our peril as they have given us a very powerful kick in terms of seafaring and we continue to reflect that. When nelson fought the Danes at Copenhagen he said that the Danes are the brothers of the English and he wasn’t wrong. Russia and the Ukraine in the black sea, Russian behaviour in the black sea …Ah sea of Azov, yeah that’s even worse. The Russians have been rather aggressive in the Azov sea since peter the greats time and they always had the view that they’d rather have it for themselves. And the Russian states has always been one to think that power is more important than right, so if it has the power and people are not able to resist it, it will get its own way. In the 19th century a very great Englishman who was the prime minister of this country, henry john temple 3rd said like this, he said ‘Russia is always the same, like a vast gauntly giant stretching its aching fingers to grab other people’s possessions and unless you stamp on them frequently they will continue to do so.’ And I offer you that as the only answer to the problem. The Russian do not understand a rules-based order or indeed international law or indeed legality. Any state that thinks it’s perfectly ok to use time-expired nerve agents to try and kill people in this country and then make a bit of a joke of it, is clearly beyond the rules-based order and needs to be hauled into line quite quickly. The problem we have of course is that the Russians do have some advantages, if they get really annoyed all the lights in western Europe will probably go out which would be a problem but we must deal with that, we must harden our energy supplies and make sure that we are not dependent on countries who’s regimes we find intolerable, for anything and we must ramp up the weapon which has always worked against the Russians which is not buying their stuff. You’ll all know about a thing called the Crimean war it wasn’t won by the charge of the light brigade, it was won by an economic blockade which stopped the Russians selling their primary Belki-produce to other countries. In six months Russia went from a war-fighting state to a bankrupt state and they had to surrender. That’s how you deal with Russia. Don’t fight them, they’re good at it, don’t march on Moscow, that’s hopeless, destroy their economy and you can bring them to order much easier. Think about that, not the military end of things, that’s the game they would want you to play. So don’t engage them militarily, engage them where they’re weak, not where they’re strong and that’s probably Sun Tzu rather than Clausewitz. However, the more you put sanctions on Russia, the more you strengthen their regime. Let’s understand who the Russians are: Russia is a state that was created regionally by the Vikings as a trading network between Scandinavia, the black sea and the byzantine empire and indeed the Muslim lands of the middle east and then it was destroyed by Genghis khan’s grandson and for 200 years the Mongols sat on top of Russia and destroyed it. And to get the Mongols out, they had to have somebody even worse than even the Mongol khan and he was called Ivan the terrible, for very obvious reasons and they rather liked that kind of leadership ever since because there are very few countries in the world that haven’t invaded Russia. Let’s be quite clear, the Russians do have something to worry about, who hasn’t invaded Russia? Switzerland, almost everybody else, the Spanish sent troops in the 1940s, the Americans landed in Russia in 1919, japan several times, china quite often, they have a long history of getting attacked by the near-broad. So it’s very easy for Putin to wrap himself in the nationalist flag and say ‘they’re all out to get us’ and most people in Russia don’t realize just how badly Russia is behaving internationally. So getting Russia back in the rules-based order would be difficult but it is essential otherwise we will continue to see the kind of behaviours that we have seen recently, whether it’s in the sea of Azov or indeed in Salisbury.
James Rogers: Ok. Let’s take three questions. Yes?
Speaker 4: I have a point for Alessio. In 1979 when I was sent out to Hong Kong between patrols I didn’t realize that the Chinese have been putting their [inaudible] and what I’ve noticed was the sheer number of Chinese merchant ships. Even then they didn’t have a maritime narrative, they just built their merchant service and it is absolutely massive.
James Rogers: Ok. Thank you. And the gentleman next to you.
Speaker 5: Peter [inaudible], spearhead advisor. Professor, in your original presentation it was almost a throw-away comment about the Russians and saying they aren’t going to be around in their current form much longer. I would be grateful if you could give us an insight as to why you think that? And to what they would evolve into and if you could stretch it into a time-frame?
James Rogers: ok thank you, and the gentleman here in the red tie.
Speaker 6: Two questions briefly. Both for professor Lambert. First of all forgive but you I had no idea that Spain invaded Russia, just a couple of sentences so that would save me time googling it. And the second question, personal question, feel free to not answer it, I can possibly guess but which way did you vote in the referendum?
Prof. Lambert: I’ve already said. I’ve voted both ways in the referenda we had on this question this positively and then negatively. I voted to leave, essentially on legal constitutional grounds. The Spanish invaded Russia in 1942 when they sent a legion to join the Nazi invasion of Russia along with several other nazi movements in Western Europe that took part alongside the Germans. There were also Spanish troops with napoleon in 1812 although not many I suspect they suffered from frostbite rather. About 10000 troops. A significant but not substantial force. Russia’s future. On current projections, Russia doesn’t have a future, its economy is collapsing, its population is collapsing and aging, the life expectancy of the average Russian is declining and the whole regime is being held together by gangsters. This is not a recipe for long-term success and the only way around this is by getting back into that international rules-based order which the current Russian regime is violently striving to undermine and damage. So they are writing their own obituary at the moment. The only question is how long it takes and whether they will do something truly unpleasant before they go. The last dying knockings of this regime might be unpleasant so we need to be conscious of that. But the idea that Russia has a future based on what’s happening at the moment is simply inconceivable.
Speaker 5: If I may ask, what are the indicators for nuclear material disappearing?
Prof. Lambert: absolutely. When the Soviet Union broke up there was a lot of material around and there still is a lot of material around and they are remarkably irresponsible as they’ve demonstrated. So we need to be acutely conscious about how dangerous Russia is. That’s not dangerous and powerful, that’s dangerous and incompetent. There’s a lot of things out there which may fall into the wrong hands and this regime doesn’t strike me as one that is overly bothered, so we need to keep a close eye on this problem. It’s ever been us. Murdering dissidents in London isn’t something the Russians were shy in doing during the czarist period, so they have a long history of breaking norms and the questions is how robust we are in dealing with that and responding to it, because if we don’t it will happen again. The Litvinenko case was not handled particularly effectively and I’m not saying that led to …but it certainly set a tone that the Russians may have expected to be agreeable to continue doing these things. The fact that they didn’t have some decent nerve-agent to kill these people with made it all the worse really.
James Rogers: Alright, I’ll take one last round of questions as we are running a little bit short on time now. Yes, the gentleman at the back.
Speaker 7: [inaudible – distance from microphone, unclear speech] But a country that contradicts these coercions is japan because that opened itself up in the 19th century and became a naval power but all it was trying to do is create a localized closed economy the moment it came up against a bigger sea power such as the united states and had its navy destroyed it became a sea power state and so it does slightly contradict your thesis a bit. What are your thoughts on that?
Prof. Lambert: Thank you for that. Maritime and naval interaction is the hallmark of a true sea power state, it’s a state where the men who drive the economy also drive national naval policy. So in 1707 the house of commons passes an act that says that 25% of all royal navy warships will be put on convoy escort duty to protect the trade that ‘we’ parliamentarians have invested in. now that’s a proper use of democracy, well it’s not democracy its oligarchy but it’s the proper use of an integrated sea power state. What happens in imperial japan, you’re absolutely right. They build a powerful navy and many in Britain think because it’s an island off the continent it must be a kind of Asian-Britain, but imperial japan isn’t an Asian Britain it’s an Asian-Prussia but they just need a navy to get their troops to conquer the mainland. There ambition is not oceanic, its continental. Conquer Korea, conquer Manchuria, let’s have a go at the rest of china. So japan in the imperial age has a constitution based on the German constitution before the first world war, one driven by military needs and so that connection between maritime and naval activity which is so central to Britain, to the Dutch, too the Phoenicians, the Athenians and so on is not present. Iti is now, you’re absolutely right the salutary experience of nearly being starved to death in 1945 has changed the way japan sees the sea and the modern day Japanese maritime defence force is very much focused on those issues and japan today is a sea power in a sense that it never was in the imperial age. So the culture there has changed. This identity can shift, the united states was founded as a sea power but within 30 years it had become a continental military power and it has remained a purely military power ever since. The United States navy for example doesn’t train its officers to enforce the law, it trains them to drive engines and nuclear power plants but it doesn’t train them to enforce the law. So they have to have the coast guard to enforce the law when they’re arresting drug smugglers or people breaking the blockade of Iraq in 1991. The United States navy is a war navy, it’s not a defensive trade navy. The royal navy is primarily about securing sea lanes for the free movement of goods, the United States navy delegates that to other navies including the Japanese, the British, the Dutch, the Danes who are still a small sea power state. That company Maersk, headquarters – Copenhagen, right opposite the Danish navy yard. The Danes are very much a seafaring nation, so the Norwegians, the Dutch still have that as well. So its not a case of us and them, there are many European countries that do see the sea, there are a lot more that don’t but there are many that do and they are the ones we will have the closest relations with in the future. If any Europeans are going to come and support those operations to maintain the rules-based system it will be those, the same guys that turned up at Somalia with the pirate crisis. That’s the batting order. The Americans were there but they didn’t do piracy, they were doing anti-terrorist, all of their operations were on land against al-Shabaab terrorist organisation, they weren’t interested in piracy until an American flagship was pirated and then very briefly they got quite interested and then they got their ship back and it was over. So there were two separate operations going on off the coast of Somalia and only one of them is maritime security, the other one is very different.
Dr. Alessio Patalano: Thank you for raising this point and also thank you for your question. I think one of the key concepts one needs to rattle with is that national identities are not monolithic entities, they shift and that they are a composite picture and the larger and the bigger the country is, probably the more elements tom their identity you will find. You’re right, if you go off the coast of china, the Chinese coast goes from places like Tianjin which are great ports but have no real maritime tradition history to places like shanghai which is all about the maritime identity which is very different to that they have in Hong Kong and Macau. And how much of those global identities have contributed to the shaping of a national identity? That depends very much on how governments take control of the narrative, right? What kind of elements get in, what kind of elements stay out. Imperial japan was a continental state but it also had the seeds of this dual dimension on one end it was genuinely liberal forces that argued that japan was going to be part of this liberal order as it was created and indeed there was a push before the emperor’s alliance to go against Russia to join the Grande alliance the UK was leading at the time
. They were overtake after 1905 when the Japanese realized that to keep everyone else out of Korea, they need to stay in Korea. So to go back to Andrews point, Belgium became an independent state and you know after 1815 everyone was happy and content. But Korea was the Belgium of japan in that sense and in 1905 once they had to find a solution to the problem by staying in Korea so it would become integrated into the empire that created sort of conditions for those continentalist in nature to take over and move int Manchuria and then into china. So one has to be careful about cherry-picking particular points in time and then assume that the whole national identity is built around them. These things as Andrew was saying are shifting are moving are different elements to them. So for example Hong Kong is a very different place to say Beijing, in fact when from Hong Kong you fly into Beijing you don’t go through domestic flights actually you go through international flights or special flights. So control is one key thing that in my view is something to look for when you are trying to explore a sense of national identity and when a government tries to project a sense of [unclear speech] and what elements are in it but we are always cherry picking for what is in it and what is not. And second I think what also needs to be discussed is how you balance …for a sea power state there is a question of balancing power and right against norms and frame works. You see the greatest advancements of the last 40 years is the coming into force of the laws, the united nations conventions and the law of the sea which was a bit of a blow to the power of major nations such as Britain and the united states who for a long time were supporters of the idea of the [unclear speech] and everything else would be high seas. Eventually the argument was lost and the international laws came into force and it became the victory of the little guy, the guy with no power whatsoever who now had the law on his side to protect his economic terms and whatever else was in the law. And I think today the real problem of revisionist states is that … it goes back to the point about Russia that was made earlier. In a maritime context what they are doing has fundamentally eroded this greatest achievement that we ve had in which force and power at sea and from the sea are not the only sort of elements that define how order goes about. Norms and frameworks are also there and in my mind and in a maritime context the greatest challenge for the maritime order as a liberal order is really this element of trying to go back to a time where power was the primary and only driver of settling how balance at sea and from the sea are projected and I think that really is at stake because the rules-based order is this symptom of this fundamental change which is not so much about a territorialisation or contintalisation of the oceans but the founding fathers of this system wanted to protect the sanctity of the high seas but they also wanted to have coastal states to have a greater sense of consciousness to protect the oceans right? So in that sense I think the two elements today are the idea of who takes control of the narrative of defining a maritime state and sense of statehood and on the other hand how you strike a balance between norms and power. These are really two defining features of the debate as we move forward as to what is the maritime order and whether it will survive or not.
James Rogers: Ok I’m conscious that we are running a little over time and we actually have to vacate this room soon otherwise we will get thrown out. So I think I’ll have to close it there but thank you very much for coming and I hope you found it a very interesting and illuminating debate. And this book, although we don’t have any to sell here I believe is available online and in good book shops where you can buy it and I recommend you do. So thank you for coming and thank you to my fellow panellists.