The military cooperation agreements announced last month with Algeria and Libya are part of UK 'energy diplomacy' aimed at securing access to strategic resources in North Africa. Both countries are identified in the UK Energy Security Strategy as producers of gas and oil which are important trading partners and hence countries which are important to the UK's energy security.
Diverse issues like instability in the Middle East, the financial crisis and climate change, all bear the footprint of the US. It is therefore incontrovertible that if we, here in the UK, wish to genuinely affect such issues, it is in our vital strategic interest to cement the 'special relationship.'
Our most recent occupation of Afghanistan has been marked, much like the others, by a directionless war that turns Afghans into enemies while getting bogged down in mud and blood. The growing occurrence of so called 'green on blue' attacks on allied forces are not simply a failure of security checks but a deeper sign that more Afghan's than ever are unconvinced that the 11 year occupation has been for their benefit. We should bring home the 9,000 British service men and women still stationed in Afghanistan, taking them out of harm's way.
It is certainly true that cuts to the British military would make retaking the Falklands more difficult should the islands be lost. It is also true that the discovery of significant hydrocarbon reserves in the waters around the Falklands has increased their strategic value, and that Argentine rhetoric on the Falklands has become increasingly bellicose. But does Argentina have the capability to seize the Falklands?
This week I visited Somalia's capital. Mogadishu is a city where people until recently were surviving, not really living. As its Mayor said to me, a 20-year-old Somali has never known anything other than violence and war... I left Somalia more convinced than ever that we have a responsibility to do our utmost to stem the decline of Somalia. Its people deserve a better future, and our own security requires their country to become more stable.