In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Brown goes into battle with billions for defence

Posted by seumasach on February 2, 2010

Bankrupt or not, Britain seems intent on reaffirming itself as a military-imperial power whatever the cost. We continue to fail to see that the game is up for the cause of full spectrum dominance and that the London-Washington-Tel Aviv axis is doomed to defeat. We need now , as a matter of urgency, a movement for imperial retreat and the dismantling of the MIC. Britain needs to reduce its military to that of an average nation and seek to rebuild friendly relations with the rest of the world especially our creditors. Only in this way can we find the funds and continued capital inflows to finance a programme of national civil reconstruction which can prevent us becoming a failed state.

Times

1st February, 2010

Gordon Brown will put two new aircraft carriers at the heart of his vision for the military this week as he commits Labour to billions of pounds of extra defence spending.

At the same time, defence chiefs are exploring how closer military links with France and the potential benefits of an entente cordiale could tackle future dangers with limited resources.

The Prime Minister will use the launch of a Green Paper on the future of the Armed Forces to promise a new generation of warships and fast jets over the coming decade. He will also guarantee an extra £1.5 billion for the war in Afghanistan, and promise to safeguard defence spending from any cuts next year.

His pledges will include:

• going ahead with two 65,000-tonne aircraft carriers at a cost of £5 billion;

• maintaining troop numbers in the Army at more than 100,000; and

• committing a future government to the Joint Strike Fighter, costing £10 billion, and completing the £20 billion Typhoon programme.

The list will prompt questions about how an incoming government could afford such sums at a time of deep spending cuts across Whitehall. A government source said there would have to be “tough decisions elsewhere”.

The Green Paper, which paves the way for a strategic defence review after the election, will examine the nature of future threats and conflicts and Britain’s ability to respond. “It recognises that no country with the possible exception of the United States can do all this by itself,” said a source who has seen the report.

Britain’s partnership with the US will remain an important factor but France is also seen as a main ally, particularly in delivering joint leadership on defence in Europe. “We are like an old married couple who bicker a lot but we know that we can’t live without each other,” the source said.

He added that the outgoing French Chief of the Defence Staff held meetings in London last week in which he highlighted the need to work together.

Liam Fox, the Shadow Defence Secretary, said that Paris and Washington would be the two main strategic partners for a Conservative government. But he said there would have to be difficult decisions about spending, and procurement projects in particular.George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, has not given a commitment to the aircraft carrier programme. Both the aircraft carriers and jets that would operate from them have been subjected to delays and huge cost increases. Some analysts say that much of the planned hardware is no longer the best way of countering the most likely future threats of insurgency-style warfare, nuclear proliferation and international terrorist attacks.

A government source said the Ministry of Defence would look to cut up to 10,000 extra civilian jobs, without waiting for the Strategic Defence Review.

Britain and France, both nuclear powers, are the only two countries in the European Union that spend more than 2 per cent of national income on defence. They also face similar financial problems, making collaboration an attractive option, even though attempts in the past, such as a joint Frigate project in the 1980s and 1990s, failed to get off the ground.

Mr Brown aims to display Labour commitment to the military while also forcing the Conservatives to say whether they would match such spending.

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