Alphen, Netherlands. 7 April. In an act of shameful and shameless self-promotion this blog is devoted to five-star reviews of my latest, and very reasonably-priced, book “Little Britain: Twenty-First Strategy for a Middling European Power” (amazon.co.uk). One former German defence minister described the book as a “first-class example of the difference between strategy and politics”. Enjoy! I did.
Professor Simon Serfaty, Professor and Eminent Scholar, Old Dominion University & Zbigniuew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy, CSIS, Washington DC
“One thing is sure: there is no room in the consensual bandwagon for Julian Lindley-French. But he, in turn, has no time for and little patience with those people whose most daring thought is to jump in it. I have known, heard, and read him for many years: he never stopped challenging his interlocutors, and having read his most recent book on Little Britain, I am now totally sure he never will either. Two immediate consequences follow from this condition. First, few, if any, will or can agree with everything he writes. That would be too much to expect from the reader and more than what Professor Lindley-French wants. Second, most, if not all, readers will gain from his writing, either by strengthening or challenging their own thinking. So, whether a scholar, a pundit, or a policymaker – whatever your status – hurry up and have a look at this book. It’s worth your time.
But it is also worthy of the moment, set in the broad strategic landscape, as well as in a transatlantic and European context. A world that is being recast, an America that seems adrift, and a European Union that is fading cannot afford a Little Britain that stands passively on the sidelines: “a big country” that “acts like a little one” – a “Belgium with nukes,” too proud to withdraw but too weak to lead and not strong enough to matter.
Relative to the United States especially, the need now is not merely for allies that are or sound willing but also are and remain militarily capable, politically relevant, and broadly compatible. Compatibility will always be there, but capabilities are dwindling and relevance is fading. As I write these lines I have in mind two recent Washington Post and New York Times reports published in successive days last month on Britain’s military decline (March 13 and 14 respectively). Absent Britain, as happened in Minsk when a dubious accord over Ukraine was negotiated by France and Germany with Russia, America’s faith in Europe is significantly diminished. Remember: Obama gave up on his idea of “unbelievably small” strikes against Syria after Parliament voted down David Cameron’s intention to be part of those strikes. Seemingly, the idea of being left alone with the French did not prove appealing to the current U.S, president. Credibility matters and France remains short on this side of the Atlantic.
Go read this action-oriented book – you’ll enjoy and learn from it”
Professor Paul Cornish, RAND, Cambridge
“Julian Lindley-French is one of the most knowledgeable, trenchant and provocative commentators on UK, European and international security and defence. Little Britain is his most recent book and is a tour de force. This is far more than a plea for more defence spending; Lindley-French argues for structural change within the UK defence and security establishment. Rather than call for more more warships, more armoured vehicles, more aircraft and so on, Little Britain points to the urgent need in Britain for national strategic vision, confidence and competence. With the next Strategic Defence and Security Review due to begin in the UK soon after the May general election (whichever party or parties is in government), Little Britain will be essential reading for policy-makers, journalists and the concerned general public”.
L. J. Hartman
“Bringing the original up to date since the Crimea/Ukraine and ISIS happenings. A good book remains good and worth a read if you are interested in current affairs, world politics & potential resolutions”.
“In the run-up towards the 2015 election this book is a timely reminder of where the UK stands within the wider world and what the future may hold. The efficiency of narrative isn't to be underestimated, rivalling Stephen Holmes 'The Matador's Cape' in its ability to present an insightful well defended series of arguments while educating the reader. This book should not be the province of the academic alone but for the concerned citizen who wants to understand what is happening behind the news. Here then, is not only a devastatingly accurate assessment of the state of the Kingdom in early 2015 but a warning of what is to come. The solutions and choices outlined by Professor Lindley-French offer some hope that we are still a power to be reckoned with and will continue to find our way in the wider world if we have the courage to take the lead”.