Monday, April 23rd, 2018

…For a post-Brexit Britain the challenge is abundantly clear. It is to make an urgent decision – I am surprised it has not already been made by this Government – to increase our defence spending from 2% to, at the very least, 2.5% and as soon as possible up to 3%.

Lord Owen speaking in the House Of Lords debate on the National Security situation, Thursday 19 April 2018

The full text is here: 19.4.18HL

“There are three dangerous potential military crises on the international agenda: North Koreannuclear weapons; eastern Europe, focused on Ukraine; and the Middle East, focused on Syria. Any or all of these could bubble over into serious military conflict.

“… Churchill did not say that jaw-jaw is better than war-war. He said: “Meeting jaw to jaw is better than war”, which is a far more toughly worded explanation of why we must always be open to negotiation while preparing for war.

“… For a post-Brexit Britain the challenge is abundantly clear. It is to make an urgent decision – I am surprised it has not already been made by this Government – to increase our defence spending from 2% to, at the very least, 2.5% and as soon as possible up to 3%.

“… It is up to us in Europe to demonstrate to the US that we will match its NATO commitment. On this Britain should take a lead, and urgently.

“… There is a strong case for considering the establishment of a NATO-EU permanent joint council—a PJC—of NATO non-EU members and NATO EU members.

“… This is a troubled and difficult time. This debate is well timed. There needs to be great thought about how we proceed, but we should not underrate the importance of Putin and Trump meeting very soon. The trade-offs in Syria have to come with benefit to Russia. The trade-offs in Ukraine have to come with benefit to the United States.”

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