Boris Johnson undersold his security review

It was the political equivalent of Halley’s comet. On Tuesday, Boris Johnson underestimated his own achievement. He claimed that the review of defence, security and foreign policy was the most wide-ranging study of those topics since the end of the Cold War. That was being too modest. It is the most important contribution since the Duncan Sandys Defence White Paper in 1957, which set out Britain’s strategy for the Cold War: rethinking and re-organising our capabilities and commitments in order to contain and counter the Russian threat. But the latest review is even more radical. The Sandys paper rested on one assumption which is, alas, no longer true: that Britain

Putin is finally waking up to Russia’s climate change problem

The snow is falling in Moscow, but that is after the warmest autumn there on record. Meanwhile, perhaps reflecting that with the arrival of vaccines, there is at least the prospect of an end to the Covid-19 crisis, the climate change debate is rekindling – and with a particular geopolitical angle. Much of the conventional wisdom is that it is a perverse boon to Russia. Representative of this perspective, for example, has been a recent study that led the New York Times to predict that Moscow will ‘win the climate crisis’ – while its partner, ProPublica, warned that ‘Russia could dominate a warming world.’ Stirring stuff, and no doubt music

Welcome to authoritarian Hong Kong

The national security law in Hong Kong has been passed for just over a month, but the scope of Beijing’s plans are now clear. This is a constitutional coup. The safeguards which have historically defended human rights in Hong Kong have been shattered. Rule of law has been replaced with rule by law – and the Communist Party’s word is law. Thursday 30 July brought home the reality of the new status quo. Hong Kongers woke up to the news that four young people aged between 16 and 21 years old – representing a small group of students who campaigned for Hong Kong independence last year – heard a midnight

Has France been naive in its handling of Huawei?

The controversy over the UK’s use of Huawei equipment in its 5G network has not abated, despite the government’s announcement that the Chinese manufacturer’s equipment will be stripped from the network by 2027. Conservative MPs continue to be unsatisfied by this half-way house, claiming that Britain will remain vulnerable to ‘back-door’ espionage by the Chinese state. They carry on threatening the government with an embarrassing, albeit symbolic, rebellion. But it is no secret that the real pressure to abandon Huawei equipment comes principally, and forcefully, from the UK’s ‘Five Eyes’ partners. The ‘Five Eyes’ network dates back to the Second World War and comprises the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia and