World facing ‘extraordinary and profound’ geopolitical crises, says UK armed forces chief

Britain should not look the other way, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said in Royal United Services Institute speech

Chief of Defence Admiral Sir Tony Radakin. PA
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The head of Britain's armed forces has warned the world is seeing a “generational struggle for the future of the global order”.

With tension rising between the West and Russia, Iran, North Korea and China, “these are extraordinarily dangerous times”, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said.

“As 2022 draws to a close, we have a world in which four separate geopolitical crises are unfolding in parallel," he said during a speech at the Royal United Services Institute in London on Wednesday.

“Whether it’s [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s sense of impunity, Iran’s meddlesome and destabilising behaviour, North Korea’s outright belligerence or an increasingly authoritarian China.

“None of these challenges exist in isolation.

“Each is connected. Each represents a test of the rules that have guaranteed global security and enabled the spread of prosperity and opportunity throughout our lifetimes, and in aggregate, are extraordinary and profound.”

Despite the gloomy assessment, Admiral Radakin said the UK and the West “can take confidence from the response”.

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In his bid to divide the world, Mr Putin “has unintentionally assembled an extraordinary coalition of democracies against him”.

“The result is Russia is losing. And the world is winning," Admiral Radakin said.

“Russia has failed — and will continue to fail — in all its war aims. Russia is diminished on the world stage.”

He said Russia faced a “critical shortage of artillery munitions”, meaning the ability of its forces to conduct successful ground offences “is rapidly diminishing”.

“The biggest lesson from the past year is to recognise that we are part of a generational struggle for the future of the global order,” Admiral Radakin said.

He advised Britain not to “look the other way”.

“We’ve seen what happens when countries look away. Authoritarians are emboldened. Rules get broken, economic turmoil and global insecurity follow. And we all pay the price.”

Updated: December 15, 2022, 12:48 AM