Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The sun sets

The sun has finally set on the British Empire. When it comes to being a serious world power, you have to pay to play. You can't talk that talk, even with a plum in your mouth, if you can't walk that walk.

Britain's armed forces will have to seek French help to fight a war
Britain's armed forces will have to seek French help to fight a war The review all but ruled out the possibility of Britain ever mounting a major independent operation again, saying that future wars will be fought alongside allies. It said Britain must "intensify" its cooperation with France.

At the heart of the review is a new policy on military operations that limits the size of the force Britain will be able to send to the front line -- 30,000 on short-term deployment, well below the 45,000 sent into Iraq in 2003.

For "enduring operations" over several years, Britain will be able to sustain a force of only 6,500 troops. There are 10,000 British personnel in Afghanistan.

Read more:

U.K. slashes military budget but seeks to protect place on world stage
Instead, Britain will invest in its much admired special forces and develop expertise on cyber threats to secure the country's status as a major global power, Cameron said.

Cameron said the overhaul wasn't just aimed at cutting the military budget — saying he was breaking decisively with the strategy of predecessors Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

He criticized the previous government's decision to sign contracts for two new aircraft carriers — explaining that cancelling the program would have cost more than building the vessels. "That is the legacy we inherited, an appalling legacy the British people have every right to be angry about," he said.

Late Monday, the British leader shared details with President Barack Obama in a phone call, hoping to assure the White House that Britain will still be equipped to fight alongside the U.S. on missions overseas.

"Britain has punched above its weight in the world, and we should have no less ambition for our country in the decades to come," Cameron told the House of Commons.

Lt. Gen. Graeme Lamb, a former adviser to U.S Gen. Stanley McChrystal and formerly director of Britain's special forces, said the cuts would not leave the military weakened.

"It's a bit like poker — you never get the hand you want, you get the hand you're given.

The art form is to play it well," said Lamb, whom Cameron has asked to review the use of reserve forces.

Tut, tut. Oh yes, that. Keep the stiff upper lip.



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