Britain’s Defense Cuts

by Andrew Stuttaford

Claire, you are right to imply that the Britain’s defense cuts could have some unpleasant consequences (although there is undoubtedly room for much more efficient equipment procurement). The cuts are, I am afraid, the inevitable consequence of the budgetary irresponsibility of the Blair/Brown years, a fact that is worth pondering as we consider the budgetary mess in this country.

The Argentine invasion of the Falklands, however, was less a consequence of general budgetary cuts than the result of the specific, and idiotic, decision by the British government to withdraw (for budgetary reasons) HMS Endurance, its lone naval presence in that part of the world. Throw in the fact that Britain had recently been “discussing” sovereignty with the Argentines (and had tried to mess with the islanders’ right to British nationality), and it’s possible to understand how the Argentine dictatorship thought that a quick smash ’n’ grab might work.

Defense cuts are not necessarily disastrous, but if they are poorly thought through . . .

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