Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Strategy in London

After some days of work in Stockholm I'm heading off to London for the rest of the week.

It's primarily for a meeting of the Council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies that is headquartered there.

We normally meet twice a year or so to review and plan the activities of the Institute. I think it's fair to say that it is considered one of the most respected - if not the most respected - in this area in the world.

The IISS is perhaps best known for its flagship publications in the form of the annual Military Balance and its sister publication Strategic Review. There are also a stream of interesting so called Adelphi Papers. One launched tomorrow by Professor Lawrence Freedom promises to be interesting.

But then there are the highly significant major meetings that the IISS is running.

For decades there has been an annual conference. These are now called Global Strategic Review, and will this year be held in Geneva in September.

In more recent years, two major new conference series have started.

The first was theso called Shangri-La Dialogues. They are held in Singapore, and is really the only occasion where senior defense and security officials from all parts of the region as well as from the United States are sitting down for informal discussions.

The 5th conference in this series will be held in Singapore in June.

Then there has been started a Gulf Dialogue along the same lines, centered aroundthe Arabian or Persian Gulf and all the security challenges there. It has obviously got far more topical, and promises to become even more so.

The next Gulf Dialogue will be held in Bahrain in December.

So it's fair to say that the IISS is keeping itself at the centre of some of the most critical of the strategic issues of our times.

This we will certainly discuss. But in the usual way I believe we Council members will spend some time in informal discussions on the issues most topical on the global agenda. And it's not too difficult to guess which one that would be - Iran.

But then I'm home in Stockholm over the weekend before proceeding early next week to Washington for a more than week-long stay in that area.