Trident Test Failure: Does it Undermine the UK Nuclear Deterrent?

The failed test of a Trident II D5 missile by the British Submarine, Vengeance, as reported in the Sunday Times on 22nd January, has re-opened the British nuclear deterrent debate. This debate was supposed to be settled in July, where a Parliamentary debate to affirm the UK’s commitment, interpreted as a greenlight to continue procurement and planning for the Dreadnought class of submarines, passed with a sizable majority. Opponents of Trident are now trying to hold the Prime Minister accountable for withholding the information from Parliament.

Continue reading

What might Trump mean for the Korean Peninsula?

Post by Rebecca Story, Research Intern at ICSA

Whilst President-elect Donald Trump’s plans for East Asia are still largely unknown, his lack of foreign-policy experience and  intentions to renegotiate trade and defence deals have led some to suggest that his presidency may contribute to destabilisation across the region, and particularly on the Korean Peninsula. Negative consequences for the Republic of Korea’s (ROK) economy, uncertainty over defence and heightened tensions with regards to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) are all possible features of the ROK’s post-Trump future.

During his election campaign, Trump asserted that he would decrease US defence spending in the ROK and demand a greater ROK contribution to the shared costs of defence against the DPRK threat. With the cost-sharing agreement between the ROK and the US up for renegotiation in 2017, these remarks raise concerns that a Trump presidency will lead to a weakening of the alliance between the two countries and exacerbate instability on the Korean Peninsula. Continue reading

The Strongman Bond: Trump and Erdogan

Post by Ed Roberts, Research Intern at ICSA

A Trump administration will likely see a warming of relations between the USA, Turkey, and Russia. With regards to Turkey, Trump has praised Erdogan, stating in an interview with the New York Times, that the suppression of the coup on July 15th was ‘quite impressive from the standpoint of existing government.’ Continue reading

Rhetoric and Reality: Trump and the Middle East

Post by Joakim Bjornestad, Research Intern at ICSA

The election of Donald Trump as leader of the ‘Free World’ leaves us with many questions and few answers. The uncertainty comes from Trump’s unclear, changing, or non-existent policies. Imagining what this uncertainty may look like can lend some analytical clarity.

One could say there are broadly two schools of thought concerning Trump’s foreign policy. The first literalist school takes Donald Trump for his word, believing he will follow through on his campaign promises based on largely illiberal values. This would logically include scrapping the Paris Agreement, pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, and perhaps allowing Japan to acquire nuclear weapons. The other more hopeful school, expounded by President Obama the day after Trump’s victory, Theresa May, and other Western heads of state, considers Trump’s election to be business as usual – and they assume Donald Trump will follow diplomatic etiquette and international norms.

Continue reading