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Prospect Editor and political analyst Bronwen Maddox on UK politics, ISIS and the outlook for the West

Bronwen Maddox, former Foreign Affairs Editor of the Times and now Editor of London-based Prospect magazine analyses the nexus between finance, geopolitics and security.

Recently returned from the US where she interviewed former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (pictured above), Bronwen speaks to Chartwell’s Alex Hickman about the legacy of the Scottish referendum and the outlook for the UK 2015 General Election; the US-led coalition against ISIS and its prospects for success; and what ISIS and the situation in Ukraine means for global security and the global economy.

For more information on how to book Bronwen Maddox as a speaker for your conference or client event, please contact Alex Hickman at or call +44 (0) 20 7792 8004.

“Has the West gone soft?” asks Lord Powell, expert speaker on geo-politics

Charles Powell speakerWriting in today’s Telegraph newspaper, Lord Powell, one of the most influential foreign policy advisors of the Thatcher era, argues that the West has none of the moral sense that inspired foreign policy in the time of Margaret Thatcher. Moreover, he believes that “those who resent Western values will now feel encouraged to challenge our interests.”

This follows from the Margaret Thatcher Conference on Liberty yesterday, hosted by the Centre for Policy Studies, where Lord Powell put forward the question, “has the West gone soft?” He suggests that whilst it was unavoidable that the power and capability of our nation would fall, in relative terms, as others rose, “there has also been an avoidable decline in the West’s will to act – in short, our backbone.”

Lord Powell attributes a number of reasons for this, including the fact that is seems “notoriously hard to galvanise democratic societies to meet new threats in the wake of conflict.” More importantly, he adds, is that “the ability to convey a sense of the West’s destiny to lead in world affairs has evaporated.”

Click here to read the full article.

For information on Lord Powell’s speaking availability, please contact our Managing Partner, Leo von Bülow-Quirk, at or call +44 (0) 20 7792 8000

John Hulsman on “Europe’s infantilisation”

Following on from the highly rated (in both London and the US) western decline piece, Dr John Hulsman, senior columnist for London-based newspaper City A.M., points the finger squarely at Europe’s infantilisation as the primary culprit for this sorry state of current affairs.

John notes that popularity for a less activist foreign policy is soaring, as the U.S. public has had it with being the world’s policeman. He goes on to say that whilst this can be seen as a response to the mess made during the misguided presidency of George W Bush, “Europe’s seven-decade holiday from history is primarily to blame for the decline of the West. It has infantilised its elites, making them unable to understand even the rudiments of the power politics that still do and always will drive foreign policy.”

As such John calls for investors to beware; the fruitfulness of the transatlantic relationship may decline as the U.S. rethinks its foreign policy strategy, following the perception that Europe is no longer a force to be reckoned with.

Click here to read on.

For information on John’s speaking availability, please contact our Managing Partner, Leo von Bülow-Quirk, at or call +44 (0) 20 7792 8000

Dennis Ross: Obama Needs to Soothe the Saudis

In a recent op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, Dennis Ross, counsellor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, discussed President Obama’s trip to Saudi Arabia and what he needs to consider in order to affect Saudi behaviour.

Fundamentally, Dennis explains, the Saudis believe that America’s friends and interests are under threat, and the U.S. response has ranged from indifference to accommodation. Particular tensions have arisen because the Saudis claim that there is an Iranian effort to shift the balance of forces in the region dramatically in Tehran’s favour. Iran’s Quds Force encircling the surrounding region is thus perceived as an existential threat.

With regards to Iran’s nuclear disarmament, Dennis adds that Saudi leaders believe the U.S. is seeking détente with Iran and is turning a blind eye to Tehran’s troublemaking in the region. U.S. hesitancy in Syria, and the Saudis’ view of American policy toward Egypt adds to their sense of disquiet.

Dennis argues that none of this will mean that the Saudis will turn away from the United States; Saudi leaders know that only the U.S. can safeguard Saudi Arabia against external threats. However, as Dennis points out “insecurity often leads to self-destructive policies…given the depth of the Saudi doubts, the president will be unlikely to succeed if he offers only words of reassurance.”

Click here to read how Obama should tackle these concerns.

To find out more about Dennis Ross, or to book him as a geopolitical speaker for your conference or event, please contact Leo von Bülow-Quirk at or call 0044 (0) 20 7792 8000.

John Hulsman: a Goldilocks assessment of Putin

In his latest posting for City A.M., John Hulsman, a leading expert on political risk, argues that the Western weakness in responding to the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine comes from a failure to grasp Putin’s motives.

John shows that on the one hand there is Senator John McCain, the leading American neoconservative hawk who believes that Putin is another Adolf Hitler, and that the West must quickly wake up to this horrifying fact. However, as John points out, “every foreign policy challenge does not approximate 1939. Hitler alone was Hitler, with very few other problems posing such a clear cut distinction between good and evil.”

On the other hand, ex-British Army head Lord Dannatt suggests that British troops be retained in Germany to force the Kremlin to realise that the British mean business. Again, John points out that the present crisis does not signal a reversion to the Cold War; Russia is simply not strong enough, and the West’s level of commitment has fallen since 1991. John adds that under-reactions are just as dangerous as over-reactions – the predicament of Goldilocks.

John believes that NATO’s present command has the correct assessment of Putin; they are worried about the Russian-speaking areas which are not covered by the alliance’s security blanket, particularly eastern Moldova and eastern Ukraine. Based on this insight, Putin can be said to be “intent on restoring the perception of Russian national greatness, after two decades of Western encroachments into what he regards as his sphere of influence…[he is] intent on snatching up as much Russian-speaking territory adjoining his country as possible.”

What is the “just right” response that the West should take? Click here to find out.

Dennis Ross on Syria’s role in Israeli-Turkish relations

A scholar and diplomat with more than two decades of experience in Soviet and Middle East policy, Ambassador Dennis Ross is particularly well-known for his roles as foreign policy advisor to Clinton and Obama. He has recently co-written an interesting article with Moran Stern, a Lecturer on Jewish Civilization at Georgetown University and at American University’s Centre for Israel Studies.

Drawing on their areas of expertise, Dennis and Moran explore how past and current developments in Syria have affected Israeli-Turkish relations and suggest ways in which the two countries could reinstate their deep strategic cooperation.

In the 1990s Turkey and Israel had a particularly close and fruitful relationship, which weakened and fizzled out in the following years. Now Syria’s civil war has “posed a new set of challenges and opportunities for renewed Israeli-Turkish ties.” Dennis and Moran suggest that because the two countries have shared interests on Syria this may well encourage their cooperation on security, economic and humanitarian issues.

Using historical analysis the authors “attempt to explain the evolution of Israeli- Turkish relations through the prism of Syria” with the belief that understanding the background of this situation is key to developing a stable post-war Syria.

Click here to read the article in full

To find out more about Dennis Ross, or to book him as a geopolitical speaker for your conference or event, please contact Leo von Bülow-Quirk at or call 0044 (0) 20 7792 8000.

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