Transparency - the tool to counter Russia

  • 4 October 2018
  • From the section UK
GRU symbol reflected in an eye Image copyright Reuters

When Theresa May addressed MPs on 5 September - revealing the identities of two Russian agents suspected of the Salisbury poisoning - she said the UK and its allies would step up their collective efforts against the country's military intelligence agency, known as the GRU.

In particular, she promised to deploy what she called "the full range of tools from across our national security apparatus in order to counter the threat posed by the GRU."

Well, we now know what she means.

And the biggest tool in her box is what officials call the shining light of transparency.

The revelations about how the British and Dutch security agencies disrupted the operations of the GRU are astonishing in their detail and their openness.

Read full article Transparency - the tool to counter Russia

Islamic State 'Beatles' duo: Why is their handling significant?

  • 6 August 2018
  • From the section UK
Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Alexanda Kotey (left) and El Shafee Elsheikh were captured by Syrian Kurdish forces

Of all the violence meted out by the Islamic State group in Syria, the deeds laid at the door of a cell dubbed "The Beatles" by their hostages were of a particular brutality.

The torture and execution of Westerners was striking not just because it was carried out by men with British accents, but also because of the apparent relish with which the blood was shed in public and without remorse.

Read full article Islamic State 'Beatles' duo: Why is their handling significant?

Islamic State 'Beatles' duo: Why won't Britain block death penalty?

  • 23 July 2018
  • From the section UK
Sajid Javid Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Home Secretary Sajid Javid said Britain would not oppose the use of the death penalty if two alleged IS members were extradited to the US

Britain opposes the death penalty.

In its annual update on human rights and democracy around the world published last week, the Foreign Office said: "It is the long-standing policy of the UK to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle."

Read full article Islamic State 'Beatles' duo: Why won't Britain block death penalty?

What can we take from President Trump's UK visit?

  • 14 July 2018
  • From the section UK
The Queen welcomes Donald and Melania Trump to Windsor Castle Image copyright Reuters

This is how it works in Trump world. The US president arrives at a party, causes a fuss, breaks some crockery, and leaves everyone stunned.

Then as the dust settles, he declares what a good time he has had, how it's all been a great success, while offering a few words of apology for the disruption caused. So it was at the Nato summit, and so it was during his visit to Britain.

Read full article What can we take from President Trump's UK visit?

A possible future for British foreign policy?

  • 11 July 2018
  • From the section UK
Prince Charles speaks at a reception for EU and Balkan leaders in the gardens of St James's Palace in central London on 10 July 2018 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Prince Charles delivered a powerful and personal speech about the importance of reconciliation

Jeremy Hunt celebrated his appointment as secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs this week. But he might not have been quite so happy to spend his first day in office hosting a summit about an issue as complex as the western Balkans. Yet, at a high level reception to mark the end of the conference, Mr Hunt was given a few pointers about how to shape British foreign policy in the coming years.

Standing in the gardens of Clarence House, glass in hand, I was just a few feet from Chancellor Angela Merkel, of Germany, and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, of Greece.

Read full article A possible future for British foreign policy?

Jeremy Hunt: What are the challenges for new foreign secretary?

Jeremy Hunt Image copyright Getty Images

Such is the continuity of the British state that Boris Johnson had hardly left the Foreign Office before his successor, Jeremy Hunt, was being ushered in to meet senior officials and get his feet under the table.

He was even introduced to Palmerston, the office cat named after the former prime minister and statesman who built the grand Foreign Office buildings in King Charles Street that Mr Hunt will now occupy.

Read full article Jeremy Hunt: What are the challenges for new foreign secretary?

Boris Johnson: What did he achieve as foreign secretary?

Boris Johnson during the G7 foreign ministers' meeting in Toronto, Ontario Image copyright Getty Images

Boris Johnson's job as foreign secretary was to convince the world that Brexit did not mean Britain's withdrawal from global affairs. It is a task that few historians will conclude Mr Johnson achieved.

On Monday, he was supposed to be chairing a summit in London on the Western Balkans to show the UK's continuing commitment to European security.

Read full article Boris Johnson: What did he achieve as foreign secretary?

How Trump's UK visit will be different to those of other US presidents

  • 9 July 2018
  • From the section UK
Barack Obama arrives in his motorcade to visit Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on London's Southbank on 23 April 2016 Image copyright Getty Images

Donald Trump's trip to the UK will be the 12th by a US president. But this working, not state, visit is expected to be different to those that have gone before.

In 1977 Jimmy Carter came to Britain on his first overseas trip as president. His main aim was to attend the G7 summit in London, but he also chose to visit Newcastle.

Read full article How Trump's UK visit will be different to those of other US presidents

Donald Trump's highly personal style of diplomacy

Donald Trump in front of the US presidential seall Image copyright Reuters

Donald Trump began his presidency as a reluctant traveller but he seems to be getting a taste for it. After his squabbles with the G7 in Canada and his bromance with Kim Jong-un in Singapore, the US president will in a few weeks' time once more venture forth onto the world stage.

This time Air Force One will descend on Brussels for the four-yearly summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. And in many European capitals, ministers are already biting their nails.

Read full article Donald Trump's highly personal style of diplomacy

Has Trump broken the special relationship?

Donald Trump and Theresa May Image copyright Getty Images

In two months' time US President Donald Trump will finally make his long-delayed visit to Britain.

There will be discussion about how much time he spends with the Queen, whether he holds Theresa May's hand as firmly he did at the White House last year and where he plays a round of golf. Many column inches will be wasted on why he has yet to be granted a full state visit.

Read full article Has Trump broken the special relationship?