1. From reader David Page:

    This article is excellent, alas I doubt anyone in the MoD, Treasury or elsewhere will read it. Yes there are funding issues, which both the MoD and Treasury appear to have ignored. Bravo to the National Audit Office once again.

    The deeper problem is political, what exactly is our national strategy today and in the next decade? Both main parties have either fudged the issue or ignored it. They have both preferred to state their intentions, often to help the ‘Special Relationship’ and moved onto other issues.

    For strategic reasons the UK has been desperate to maintain the ‘Special Relationship’ with the USA, let alone now we have President Trump in office. We have followed them into two wars, Afghanistan and Iraq; helped overthrow Gadafy in Libya and more smaller actions. Even before Trump the USA was critical publicly about our capabilities and commitment. With the “pivot” to Asia that was even more telling. How can we assist the USA there? Asia is a huge region.

    In effect the UK has without public debate, let alone a clear statement of purpose, returned to a ‘East of Suez’ commitment (which mainly ended in the 1970’s). Do we really have to be there? Are we as a nation ready to fight to defend Saudi Arabia or South Korea for two examples?

    So we end up with a weakened military, with too many commitments and neglect what is really in our national interest – as it has been for centuries – to defend the British Isles and exert our influence for good. Alongside avoiding wars.

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