Rory Stewart MP, Chair of the Defence Select Committee and Conservative MP for Penrith and The Border, delivered the 2015 Centre for Policy Studies Ruttenberg Lecture, Thursday 26 March 2015.
Is the UK ready for a world more dangerous and unstable than at any time since the end of the Cold War? On the one hand Russia – an advanced military nation – has challenged the European order. On the other hand the threats from failing states, with terrorist-links has expanded to cover Northern Nigeria, the Sahel, North Africa, the horn of Africa, Yemen, Iraq and Syria. These are real threats, which the UK a global power should engage with.
But planning has been based around the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq – interventions lasting many years and absorbing hundreds of thousands of troops. Such an approach cannot work across multiple concurrent conflicts.
We need radical reform of our force structures, and doctrine. We need to look at quite different models of intervention. But we cannot afford to lurch from engagement to isolation.
The Ruttenberg Lecture is one of three annual CPS Lectures (along with the Keith Joseph Memorial Lecture and the Margaret Thatcher Lecture). Previous speakers include Lord Hurd, Lord Guthrie, Henry Kissinger, Niall Ferguson, and Max Hastings.
Derald Ruttenberg was born in Indiana in 1916. He studied law at Yale and Harvard Business School which served as a basis for a highly successful business career. Ruttenberg was an enlightened philanthropist, being a substantial benefactor to the Yale Law School and to the Mount Sinai Hospital. He died in 2004. Ruttenberg was the living embodiment of the success of the special relationship spending six months a year in London and Scotland.