Britain Bows Out of the Security Game

Posted on October 21, 2010

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The DoD press secretary released a statement on Wednesday hoping to dampen concerns about British defense spending cuts, “We are confident that the U.K. will continue to have the capacity to provide top-tier fighting forces in Afghanistan and other future missions in defense of our shared interests and security.”

“We are pleased that the U.K. clearly intends to maintain its historical role as a leading nation that shapes global security, and the fourth largest military budget in the world”

Really?

Wall Street Journal
October 21, 2010
Pg. 15

Britain Bows Out Of The Security Game

New defense cuts will leave the U.K. unable to support even its current deployment in Afghanistan.

By Max Boot

The Strategic Defense and Security Review released this week by Prime Minister David Cameron is bad news for anyone who believes that a strong Britain is a vital bulwark of liberty. Granted, the news isn’t as bad as it could have been. The government will cut “only” 8% from the defense budget over the next four years—not the 10% to 20% that had been rumored. Britain will continue to spend at least 2% of GDP on defense—far less than the U.S. (nearly 5%) but more than most members of the European Union.

In announcing the cutbacks, Mr. Cameron promised that Britain would still “punch above its weight.” His words ring hollow.

Which has led to strange bedfellows…

The Economist

France and Britain think the unthinkable on defence

Oct 19th 2010, 22:05 by Bagehot

DAVID Cameron headed to the House of Commons today to unveil the new shape of Britain’s armed forces. For an hour and a half he fielded questions from MPs about planned cuts to the three services, vowing to all comers that Britain would still be able to project power across the world. It was a deft performance, but the truly startling part for me was hearing a Conservative prime minister say, not once but repeatedly, that Britain’s future clout lay in working with its two closest allies, “the United States and France.” Playing down the fact that from now until 2019 the cuts mean that Britain will not be able to fly fighter jets off an aircraft carrier, Mr Cameron specifically noted that at least one of two new aircraft carriers under construction would be redesigned with catapults so that it could take American and French aircraft.

Asked by an MP what had changed to make Britain so keen to work with France, the prime minister said that (a) President Nicolas Sarkozy was very keen on this planned cooperation, (b) Mr Sarkozy had shown willing by putting France back into the military command structures of NATO and (c) that France and Britain were both determined to maintain and enhance their defence capabilities. To translate these cautious words into plain English, Mr Cameron was telling MPs: (a) France is a serious military power, indeed the only other serious military power in Europe (b) Mr Sarkozy is a radical pragmatist whose decision to rejoin NATO’s military structures buried decades of Gaullist anti-Americanism and (c) like Britain, France is broke.

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