Q+A with Rt Hon Baroness (Pauline) Neville-Jones DCMG

The Risk Institute is pleased to have Rt Hon Baroness (Pauline) Neville-Jones speak at this year’s Annual Conference on September 22nd and 23rd.  As a conservative peer in the UK House of Lords and National Security Strategy Joint Committee Member, she will offer a fascinating perspective on geopolitical risk.  She and Moderator Mark Policinski, CEO of the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments, will talk about how risk mitigation is now a way of life.  Read below for a preview of some of the topics that will be discussed. Don’t forget to register for the conference!

 

“Great Decoupling”: Current Geopolitical conversations speaks to the “Great Decoupling” where the US/Chinese tech sectors are disrupting the bilateral flow of technology, talent and investment. Can you speak from your experience on what appears to be a rapidly developing geopolitical risk and/or opportunity, depending upon perspective?

Baroness: The decoupling has gone beyond bilateral trade issues and is beginning to oblige third countries to take sides.  We are on the edge of a new political split in the world which will dominate the international scene for many decades.  Unlike the Soviet Union which competed effectively with the West only in defence and nuclear industries, China is very competitive economically and technologically and is willing to subsidise its exports to third countries.  She does not have much soft power attraction but plenty of hard power and will be a formidable challenger of Western democracies.  As risk escalates in the cyber world and the danger of physical conflict eg in the S China Sea or over Taiwan, increases, the US needs to develop a joint China strategy with her European and five Eyes Intelligence allies. It is short sighted to ignore them.

 

Multinational corporations (MNC’s) are facing greater pressure from political officials on issues ranging from cyber security challenges, slowing global growth and widening social inequality. Interested in your perspective from government on these areas. 

Baroness: COVID, slowing growth and widening inequality (partly the result of Chinese competition and – especially in the US – tax policies-) the role being played by big corporations is attracting attention from government.  In Europe the state is growing once again and paying for it and for COVID losses is likely at some point- not immediately- to result in increased corporate taxation and more progressive income tax.  The social and political role of the giant tech companies is also controversial and likely to result in more regulation.

 

Articles are appearing mentioning Geopolitical Europe as a framed discussion.  Some speak to that the EU should defend itself more aggressively against competing economic and political models. As someone who has more exposure than we do in this region, very interested in your perspective on regulation, trade rules enforcement and tariffs on certain tech products, especially technology. 

Baroness: European attitudes to economic competition can often be very defensive, betraying lack of confidence in European capabilities.  France in particular has a long history of protectionism where as the free trade tradition is much stronger in the UK and Germany.  The new element is the growing feeling that the US is no longer much of a friend politically or economically and the more the US acts alone in the world and does not offer inclusive leadership,  the more the EU sees itself as a separate entity with competing rather than cooperative territorial jurisdiction. In this climate cooperation on issues affecting data can get very difficult as priorities diverge.

 

Politics versus the economics of Climate change.  The world appears on a collision course between government, investors and society when choosing between ambitious investment to reduce emissions and corporate bottom lines. Especially true as global warming trends continue, frequency and intensity of storms grow, all coupled with the Covid-19 Pandemic.  How do we manage to accomplish all this in the shorter term? 

Baroness: European attitudes to economic competition can often be very defensive, betraying lack of confidence in European capabilities.  France in particular has a long history of protectionism whereas the free trade tradition is much stronger in the UK and Germany.  The new element is the growing feeling that the US is no longer much of a friend politically or economically and the more the US acts alone in the world and does not offer inclusive leadership, the more the EU sees itself as a separate entity with competing rather than cooperative territorial jurisdiction. In this climate cooperation on issues affecting data can get very difficult as priorities diverge.

 

Interested to hear your thoughts on the United Kingdom’s Geo-Strategic plans in the post-Brexit world.  Any thoughts on the UK’s hopes for US policy?

Baroness: I would feel more comfortable if I felt the UK government had worked out what it wanted to do in the world post Brexit.  Slogans like Global Britain are just that.  The commitment to free trade is genuine enough but the UK has to face the fact that trade agreements do not result in Christmas presents.  Relations with the EU are currently fraught with the increasing possibility of no agreement at the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.  The UK/Canada/Australia/NZ political and trading quadrilateral is set to grow.  And relations with Japan are developing well. The UK needs to make the most of our strength in services, in data technologies, the medical and bio sciences, in the quality of our universities.  We will retain a military and intelligence capability. The relationship with the US is very important to us but for all that the current Administration supports Brexit,  I do not think the bilateral relationship is on an especially sure foundation currently.  Trust is a commodity in short supply in the world.

 

Register here to hear from Baroness Neville-Jones on September 22nd!

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