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US regrets reduced UK military capabiility for foreign intervention – the rest of us don’t

Blair and bushIn recent days Westminster has been convulsed with debate and discussion about general election debates, but there are more substantial issues bubbling away just below the surface.

Amazingly the United States army Chief of Staff has seen fit to complain about British defence spending. There has not been much comment on how extra-ordinary this is. It has long been the protocol that public servants of one country do not comment publically on the internal politics of another. But when it comes to the American military/industrial complex normal rules do not apply. The multibillion economic nexus, thinks nothing of interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign nations. Which raises the question of how much sovereignty a country like the UK really has.

The Chief of Staff said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph “I would be lying to you if I did not say that I am very concerned about GDP investment in the UK.” His concern is the cuts in defence spending that the coalition government has quietly implemented. The British army has already had a round of cuts reducing the army from 100,000 to just over 80,000. And the intention is to scale it down even further. As well as American generals some Tory MPs are grumbling quietly about cuts in defence spending.

The Americans are lamenting that this would mean that the British army would no longer be able to contribute to a US coalition as it did in Iraq and Afghanistan.  But whilst American generals might be worried about this,  the rest of us will be relieved. Neither deployment was one of the British Army’s finest hours. I voted against the Iraq war and it gives me no pleasure to say that it was the disaster many of us prophesied it would be. Five hundred thousand Iraqi people perished as a result of the Iraq war and one hundred and seventy nine British service men and service women also died. And in Afghanistan twenty one thousand civilians died as did four hundred and fifty three British soldiers. Even worse than the death toll, Iraq and adjoining countries in the Middle East are more blood-stained and unstable than ever with the emergence of Al Qaeda and Isis. So, if Britain will no longer have the troops to play at being a world policemen in lock step with the United States, this must be a good thing.

The truth is that Britain is still the fifth biggest spender on defence in the world. Maybe it is time for Britain to stop maintaining the pretence that is still a major world military power and scale down its defence spending accordingly. The time to talk about putting up spending on defence is, when we are able to fund the NHS properly, give all our people decent housing, and reverse some of the cuts in welfare. So American generals need to stop sticking their noses into Britain’s defence spending. The American military industrial complex does not get to decide levels of defence spending in this country, the British electorate does.


  1. David Ellis says:

    Western imperialism has been on the retreat from its post-Cold War mission of getting behind America’s mission to become the world’s only super power since the Iraq fiasco and the 2008 Financial Collapse which proved that this effort on top of winning the Cold War had actually bankrupted the West. Under Obama America has settled for encouraging regional powers to share the burden of policing the world whilst America of course remains at least the first among equals. The consequences of this retreat, including the reduced spending on armaments, has not been world peace as Abbott suggests it should be with her clap trap about disarmament, but the rise of regional imperialisms that have moved into the vacuum left by the West’s retreat. Putin, for instance, is not reacting to NATO pressure in Ukraine but taking advantage of its absence to make himself look big on the world stage to prop up a vile, dangerous but weak regime at home. The retreat from globalisation is proving to be a very bloody process which threatens the restoration of inter-imperialist rivalry, world conflagration and a New Dark Ages. It seems the process of drawing back from US-sponsored globalisation will be ten times more violent than the one that got us here and that was very violent indeed. You would have to say to the likes of Diane Abbott and her neo-Stalinist chums: `be careful what you wish for because you might just get it’. So does that mean we support the return to a neo-Con agenda in the West. Obviously not as that will indeed signal the beginning of said world conflagration. But we certainly do not accept the disarming of the European working classes in the teeth of potential external threats. To imperialism whether it is on the retreat or on the advance we juxtapose world socialist revolution. Only this can transcend imperialist globalisation and create a global commonwealth of socialist nations. The alternative is to tail end the process of degeneration and end up cheer leading for the Assads, Khameinis and Putins of this world whilst disarming the proletariat. Abbott offers nothing but the politics of the Ostrich which willl end up with the working classes getting mown down by the truck they never saw coming.

  2. James Martin says:

    The disaster of the illegal war on Iraq has had a profound effect not least in the vote to oppose intervention in Syria – although unfortunately it didn’t help Libya that we have now thanks to the mass bombing and taking sides in a civil war (on the side of the Islamists of course) turned into a very dangerous failed state. But the warmongers are fighting back, witness the rantings of Liam Fox who by the day resembles one of the idiotic ‘experts’ on Fox News in his rantings about Russia.

    Diane makes a lot of good points about the economic arms industry basis to much of this, but misses out the most important one. It is time to start once again campaigning loudly and without qualification for the UK out of NATO and NATO out of the UK alongside our campaigning against Trident renewal.

    1. Robert says:

      Totally agree with you…

  3. John.P reid says:

    Excluding the headline, saying the rest of us don’t, do the rest of us regret the cuts in the forces, for our own protection, not necessarily for defence, but for use, if there was a terror attack, or a national emergency, the cuts to the military are criminal,,and laughing at this,may come back to haunt us if we need them,

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