Max Boot And Company Lament British Realism

The days of British military power appear to be ending” Max Boot lamented in the Wall Street Journal. Another columnist at The Economist weighed in that Great Britain is at best managing its “relative decline

That was likely not the reception that U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron’s coalition government was hoping their new National Security Strategy would receive from such traditionally conservative outlets when it was released Oct. 18. Coupled with the Security and Comprehensive Spending Review released days later, the critics worried that these documents were merely written justifications of the end of Britain’s military footprint in the world.

Yet it is odd that a conservative government was lashed by fellow travelers for the very reason of making strategic decisions based on realism. That is, the security strategy, titled “A Strong Britain in an Age of Uncertainty,” can be read as a realistic blueprint for tough times, reflecting the priorities of a new government — chastened by what it says is the overreaching of its predecessors, but which nonetheless continues to endorse a global role for the U.K.

Even more, the documents may have some lessons for leaders on the other side of the Trans-Atlantic “special relationship.” As Cameron noted, “We have inherited a defense and security structure that is woefully unsuitable for the world we live in today. We are determined to learn from those mistakes, and make the changes needed.” Cameron’s statement was more than just putting a brave face on grim news. It was an illustration of what a government sometimes has to do when facing tough circumstances. And, given current circumstances and trends for the U.S., the British document may well provide some inkling for how an American president and defense secretary, Democratic or Republican, will likely respond in 2013 and beyond as the U.S. wrestles with its own “age of austerity” (emphasis added).

The rest.


  1. Hunter says

    “…the critics worried that these documents were merely written justifications of the end of Britain’s military footprint in the world.”
    How’s this for a written justification of the end of Britain’s (or, you know, whoever’s) military bootprint on the world: war is bad. Don’t start wars. When others try to start a war with you, don’t let them. If they happen to succeed in starting a war with you, end them, but only them. Not everyone who looks like them, speaks their language, prays to their god, or whatever. Just them. A few nukes on ICBMs, a few state-of-the-art subs, a decent air force (but no aircraft carriers to tempt you to deploy that air force outside your own airspace) should be sufficient. And cheap! Do that. Anything else and you’re probably a warmonger, or naive enough to think that power can be accreted without eventually being used, (nukes being the exception… so far).

  2. rkka says

    Indeed. His ilk care nothing for the well-being of the US, or British population, only for global Imperium.

    They obviously fear that the British example might trigger a similar outbreak of sanity in the US.

  3. Comment says

    Dial back a few years and you’ll see Brits were only important re Iraq symbolically to Max et al. Boot himself said Brits were irrelevant to the actual war and that war skeptics were being fatuous citing UK anti war sources.

    Yet – Boot laments UK cuts for the same reason he pined for war against a country he knew little about. He is just pro war and in favor of an imperial policy and a war like pose.

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