British NATO Policy

The Next Five Years

by Phil Williams


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This Note is one of a series of seven that analyze the potential alternative short-run NATO policies of major member nations. Since the late 1940s, British security policy has exhibited a remarkable consistency of purpose and continuity of design. This enduring policy framework has been based on a balance of three elements — the structure of basic political arrangements of the post-World War II era, a strategy that relied primarily on maintaining an independent nuclear deterrent, and a dialogue to seek accommodation and agreement. With the recent changes in the policy environment, this equilibrium will be difficult to maintain. The 1990s may be a time for fundamental decisionmaking unparalleled since the late 1940s. The main determinants for policy choices are likely to be budgetary stringency, progress in arms control, and moves toward greater West European defense cooperation. Military priorities and domestic political developments will also play a role in establishing the course of British security policy.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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