Defence and Security Forum
Defence and Security Issues Discussed in the 21st Century
Home About the DSF Committee Diary Dates DSF News Media Coverage Contact us
The DSF's Co-founder, Lady Olga Maitland
Welcome to The Defence and Security Forum

The Defence and Security Forum was founded by Lady Olga Maitland in 1983. It was originally a campaigning organisation known as Families for Defence launched to challenge the anti-nuclear protest movements such as CND. Families for Defence’s remit was to promote the NATO case for multilateral nuclear disarmament. In the course of doing so the purpose was to focus on the importance of a proper provision for the defence of the United Kingdom.
Major General Patrick Cordingley, our Chairman Our Keynote Topics

  • International Relations
  • Economics
  • Politics
  • Defence and Security

Lady Olga Mailtland - China: Stability Redefined
Booking forms

The big elephant  in the room is China.

British government yesterday did a ‘U’ turn on Huawei and  cancelled the agreement for Huawei  to take part in the building of 5G telecom masts.
US pressure has been key.
Admittedly there has been a revised security assessment which brought about  commercial constraints.

The Huawei decision will bring an expensive backlash, as we have seen experienced by Australia or Canada.  We can ill afford this post Covid and post Brexit.


Huawei decision is the end of the line of a whole range of issues.
What is the smart way to stand up to China’s bullying? Their aggressions are well documented.   But the fact is China is not going away.   A  major superpower. It is there.

We should drop the megaphone diplomacy  and work quietly with our allies to manage Beijing’s growing assertiveness and indeed aggressive confidence.
Our weakness is that we have not worked out how to respond.

From a European and indeed, I guess, the Middle East point of view, we are caught between the US and China playing hard ball.   A supreme wrestling match of super powers with very different cultures  and political systems.
I ask  the question: Are we at war with China?  Answer is no.

I would like to see  firm and courteous diplomatic language in  public, and in private, a quiet, steely , relentless national  and international  resolve to show the Chinese leadership what they risk by straying from the norms of civilised behaviour.

On our part, yelling at them may only harden popular opinion in China against an apparently hateful outside world.

Trade by all means, but move with care. We should make a much greater common cause with other nations such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Australia and so on, have a   voice of our own, independent of the US.
Above all,  We need realistic,  clear – eyed Constructive engagement. We need each other.   

The other panellists were
Ambassador Ryan Crocker,
Mohamed Dayri, former Libyan Foreign Minister
Prof. Irina Izvyagelskaya,Primakov Institute, Moscow

Download the Annual Subscription Form to join the DSF.

To open Acrobat PDF documents, you need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader from here.

A DSF speaker. Lady Olga Maitland talking to delegates. A DSF speaker
Delegates enjoying the debate. Lady Olga Maitland chatting to a delegate. Cordingley

Content: All Copyrights Reserved by the Defence and Security Forum 2009 Designed by Media-Insert Communications