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Playing the long game : UK secret intelligence and its relationship with chemical and biological weapons related foreign policy

By Mark Wilkinson


This thesis considers the influence of secret intelligence on UK chemical and biological warfare related foreign policy. Using the Butler Report, published in the wake of the 2003 Iraq War as a reference, a model of intelligence and foreign policy interaction will be constructed. This model will then be used as a baseline against which to compare the interaction of intelligence and foreign policy relating to chemical and / or biological weapons from three case studies; the Soviet Union, South Africa and Libya. Specifically, this thesis will consider how, in each of the three case studies: intelligence linked to foreign policy, what role intelligence had in the termination / exposure of those programmes, what factors might be seen to affect that relationship, and whether intelligence might be seen to be representative of state power. The thesis will argue that the 2003 Iraq War, as described by Butler, marked a paradigm shift in terms of the relationship between intelligence and foreign policy. In particular, it will be argued that the lead up to that war marks a transition in the function of intelligence from something that had always worked to gather information to inform foreign policy to hunting for information to directly support or justify a foreign policy decision that has already been taken. Each of the three case studies will also show the intelligence and foreign policy relationship is further influenced by other factors including personalities, organisational structures and cultures as well as the perceived importance of that case study as a political issue. The thesis will conclude by suggesting that the case studies examined provide several policy recommendations; that HUMINT is essential in counterproliferation efforts, that the development of technical specialists with UK intelligence agencies is vital to prevent future proliferation crises, and that pre-emptive war places such rigorous demands on the intelligence agencies it seems they are at present unable to respond quickly enough – this requires urgent action if UK foreign policy is to continue to purse counter-proliferation as a key objective

Topics: JZ, U1
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