🌎 Just had a chance to read @BorisJohnson’s speech at Munich Security Conference @MunSecConf in full. Conference isn’t widely covered in UK but is, in my opinion, most valuable transatlantic security forum of the year - buy-in at highest levels in DC & EU. Some takeaways... 👇
🇺🇸 Very punchy in respect of welcoming US return to multilateralism. Some have tried (and failed) to tie the PM to the Trump world view but speech was explicit in welcoming US return to Paris agreement and a clear, pro-NATO position. That’ll play well in Brussels and DC.
🌳 An optimistic tone about COP summit in Glasgow. Clear that @AlokSharma_RDG has PM’s backing to work w/ John Kerry to secure a meaningful outcome (and, by extension, a big UK diplo triumph). UK to shepherd “Net Zero by 2050” initiative. Key global leadership role possible.
💉 An clear internationalist tone re: #coronavirus and UK leadership in sharing vaccines globally. UK championing of COVAX delivery system to the developing world & suggestion of new global mechanism for scientific collaboration on emerging diseases shows clear UK aid commitment.
🇷🇺 No backing down on sanctions on murderous Putin regime. PM praised “immovable rock of trans-Atlantic solidarity, sanctions and coordinated diplomatic expulsions” and an outstanding act of collective security” post-Salisbury. Alignment between UK-US-EU here seems strong.
🤝 Govt has, under @DominicRaab, been outspoken on human rights. PM didn’t engage in diplomatic niceties in this speech - clear condemnation of China human rights abuses against Uighurs & #HongKong, against coup in #Burma & in favour of sanctions against Lukashenko in #Belarus.
🇭🇰 Comments on #HongKong represented arguably the biggest statement of intention. Worth quoting directly: “China broke a treaty and imposed a repressive national security law”. Language and actions in confronting Beijing seem a world away from toadying Cam-Osborne stances.
🛩 Restatement of £24 billion defence budget rise & 2% spending commitment places UK at forefront of discussion on military spending inside NATO. Leadership position. Mention of US F35 jets using British QE aircraft carrier shows UK govt priority to boost US-UK defence coop.
🇪🇺 Plenty of language/positions in speech that’ll please EU countries though. In particular, PM restated UK support for NATO missions on EU’s eastern frontiers with Russia. UK-EU *political* separation is complete but NATO provides solid forum for close defence/diplo cooperation.
🇮🇷 Mention of the France, Germany & the US security quad and cooperation on the challenge of #Iran is significant. Under Trump, UK’s position on dialogue with Iran was aligned with the EU’s, not US - rare London-DC schism. Now, western security positions are aligned re: dialogue.
🌏 Conference focuses on transatlantic security yet PM right to use speech to champion “global Britain” agenda. S Korea, Australia & India to join UK’s G7 summit in June. Inside @MunSecConf UK now a force for broadening perspectives away from EU-US focus to more global outlook.
🌟 Speech didn’t once mention Brexit or the UK leaving the EU. A relief to all, no doubt - but a recognition that UK relations with mainland Europe and broader transatlantic security/trade apparatus have far more to them than this issue. This reality seems to be hitting home.
🥩 Critics have attacked “global Britain” narrative as an empty one - but PM put clear meat on the bones. Can be defined by multilateralism, uncompromising principles when it comes to human rights, free trade & a *genuinely* global outlook. Huge opportunities for 🇬🇧 ahead. 🚀

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More from @danielrhamilton

2 Aug 20
The bravery on show here is incredible. It’ll be fascinating to see how Lukashanko responds to this. Even being the dictator he is, he overplayed his hand in jailing Tsikhanouskaya’s husband and has inadvertently created the first real mass opposition mvmt since 1994.
While I prefer to focus on Lukashenko’s dictatorial impulses, he’s shown a pragmatic (self-interested?) side at times - usually on foreign policy, where he’s deviated from fealty to Putin (refusing to recognise Crimea annexation) to warm up relations with the EU & secure visa lib
While Lukashenko’s goons will no doubt do their worst to frustrate Tsikhanouskaya’s ability to compete - slashing tyres on campaign cars, ballot stuffing etc. - his recent silence suggest he’ll avoid further punitive measures on her personally.
Read 5 tweets
21 Jul 20
I've now had the chance to read the entire #RussiaReport. Some interesting observations for all with an interest in international security policy and tackling Russian misinformation campaigns. Some thoughts:
Key finding: "a continuing international consensus is needed against Russian aggressive action". This is no surprise and extends further than simply electoral interference/cyber attacks. There can be no question of revisiting of sanctions imposed after Crimea annexation.
Repeatedly, the report emphasises the threats posed by Russia, China, Iran and North Korea. No surprise in this sense. Pleasing to impact of specific Russian attacks on allies in Ukraine (Crimea) and Montenegro reinforced. UK must keep a close eye on emerging threats to partners.
Read 12 tweets
19 Jul 20
Russian Ambassador to UK Andrey Kelin’s interview on #Marr this morning was one lie after the other, littered with coded threats of retaliation over Magnitsky sanctions and ongoing investigations into Salisbury killings. @RussianEmbassy focussed on smears and misinformation.
Claim: “We do not interfere... in elections”. Fact: runs directly contrary to clear evidence published by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre and US Federal Bureau of Investigation. Russia has offered no counter-evidence. Other clear examples in Ukraine, Moldova, Germany etc.
Claim: “We do not know what happened [in Salisbury]”. Fact: yes, we do. Defence Science and Technology Laboratory traced Novichok directly to state actors, w/ clear evidence agents were sent to UK from RU’s Main Intelligence Directorate. Russia has offered no counter-evidence.
Read 4 tweets
15 Jul 20
#Macedonia election today. Polls tight. PM Zaev has been gutsy in office - NATO accession a real achievement. But he overreached & raised hopes for EU accession too high - & they were dashed by France’s veto. Rightist VMRO painting him as weak/gullible. theguardian.com/world/2020/jul… 🇲🇰
The ultimate outcome will come down to minority Albanian parties. Zaev delivered in their long-cherished aim of giving Alb language parity. VMRO‘s recent rhetoric doesn’t sit well w/ country’s minorities but they’ve struck deals in the past. Whoever offers most will form govt.
Worth mentioning that it’s impossible to actually know how many ppl live in Macedonia or what its true ethnic breakdown with. No census has taken place since 2002. Likely to have seen a growth in Albanian population. Will a census be their price for joining a coalition?
Read 4 tweets
21 Jun 20
#Serbia Cesid-Ipsos exit poll 🇷🇸

SNS (Vučić, c-right) 63.4% (+15)
Socalists (Dačić) 13.3 (+2)
SPAS (c-right) 3.9% (-)
POKS (monarchists) 2.8% (-)
M20 (c-right) 2.4% (-3)
Radicals (Šešelj, far-right) 2.2% (-6)
As predicted, a blowout landslide for Pres. Vučić and the SNS. Including SNS’s coalition partners, the Socialists, the incumbent government has received roughly 75% of the vote. This victory was expected, particularly given boycott of the poll by some of govt’s loudest critics.
Fortunately, it appears as if Vojislav Šešelj/Radicals have lost all their seats in Parliament. Few will mourn that. But it’s hardly encouraging for Serbian democracy that the only opposition to SNS is likely to be a small block of SPAS MPs & MPs representing national minorities.
Read 5 tweets
11 Jun 20
I’ve just learned about a crack-handed Soviet plan to assassinate former Yugoslavian President Tito using biological weapons. It reads like something out of a cheap airport paperback. Here’s how the story goes...
The Soviet agent I.R. Grigulevich was placed into Italy using a false Costa Rican passport and renamed “Max”. He became a well-known figure in local LatAm embassy circles and was appointed a roving Ambassador for Costa Rica in Yugoslavia and Italy.
In 1952, he visited Yugoslavia and was a hit with Tito’s advisors who promised to organise for him to have a personal audience with the President himself. “Max” excitedly reported this back to his Soviet handlers. An assassination plot was hatched.
Read 6 tweets

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