UK censures US naval shift to Asia
Posted by seumasach on June 6, 2012
Having marginalised ourselves in Europe we are now in a difficult position as the USA engages with China. Britain’s only realistic course is a constructive engagement with Europe but we prefer to dream the Atlanticist dream to the last.
6th June, 2012
British Armed Forces Minister Nick Harvey has launched a veiled criticism of the US for shifting naval capacity to Asia saying the move undermines the Atlantic security.
Harvey told The Times at the venue of a high-level inter-government security forum in Singapore that Washington’s naval redeployment to Asia creates military gaps in NATO’s capability in the Atlantic region, which Britain and other crisis-hit European countries cannot fill at the moment.
Harvey called on Washington to slow down the process of redeployment to Asia to allow for European countries, including Britain, to play a more active role in the security of the Atlantic step by step.
“If it’s part of US long-term thinking that Europe can handle more than is the case presently, I’d observe that there is a way to go in developing capacity, and the Americans will want to take things a step at a time,” Harvey said at the Shangri-La Dialogue.
“When we’re back in the carrier strike game we could pull more weight, [but] if Europe is to take more responsibility, we’ve got some way to go,” he added.
Harvey’s criticism comes after US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said at the forum, held by the British International Institute for Strategic Studies, that Washington wants 60 percent of its naval fleet to deploy in the Pacific region by 2020.
“By 2020, the navy will reposture its forces from today’s roughly 50-50 percent split between the Pacific and the Atlantic to about a 60-40 split between those oceans,” Panetta said.