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How Europe can defend itself Washington will soon have to prioritise Taiwan

The sun is setting on the Western alliance (Peter Turnley/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

The sun is setting on the Western alliance (Peter Turnley/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)


April 27, 2023   5 mins

Consider a very British scenario. A beloved monarch has just died, and the stability they embodied is starting to fade. At home, there is growing industrial conflict between capital and labour, and growing constitutional conflict between secessionism and Unionism. Externally, too, the world is becoming increasingly hostile, defined by escalating rivalries and rearmament in Europe and Asia. A recent Russian war demonstrates the possibility of an era of armed conflict. Faced with these competing demands, the British state starts to groan. Suddenly, everything is at stake.

This was the reality for Britain at the close of the Edwardian era, and it echoes our fraught position now. The Edwardians responded, as Aaron Friedberg has noted, by trying “everything they could think of” to “shore up their position without forcing them to spend more money”. A touch of Edwardian prudence would be similarly helpful today.

Across Europe, a strategic shock lies dormant in the shifting structure of world politics — namely, a partial US withdrawal from Britain’s wider region, and the realisation that locals must shoulder most of the security burden themselves. Faced with such a predicament, the British Government should revive a strategy that dates back more than a century: an Entente Cordiale with the other leading military states of Europe, such as France and Poland.

In some ways, circumstances today are milder than at the turn of the 20th Century. There is no equivalent of the German Kaiserreich, threatening to seize hegemony over the region, while Britain then was close to civil war over Ireland and the constitution. In other ways, however, the situation is worse. Nuclear weapons make even a depleted, thwarted Russia an enduring problem, a giant North Korea on Nato’s frontiers. Britain is also no longer the world’s leading state, measured in naval reach or financial sinew. It lacks the imperial resource base and the reserve currency of a century ago. And there are now forces loose in the world, shifts of wealth and power, that Britain cannot extinguish.

In turn, this means the United States will be increasingly unable and unwilling to do the heavy lifting as Europe’s security provider. British defence planning, like its statecraft, long worked on the assumption that the American colossus would underwrite it. A US forward presence in the form of continental garrisoning was a given, as was the ultimate assurance of extended nuclear deterrence under an American “umbrella”. The issues that divided strategic minds — the balance between continental and domestic commitments; the division of labour within Nato; the trade-offs between flexibility and specialism — rested on the assumption that America would stand sentry.

But as China’s bid for primacy in Asia forces Washington to focus on one theatre above others, this assumption has become increasingly unsound. Even if American politics is led by European-friendly primacists for the next generation, and even with a rear-guard effort by the foreign policy establishment to resist, new realities will bear down upon Washington and force it to prioritise the largest, richest near-peer adversary in its history.

This won’t be immediate. The prospect of a drawdown is clouded by Washington’s recent partial re-pivot to Europe following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But the contest for primacy in Asia is intensifying, and will soon assert itself at the top of America’s agenda. Only this month, China conducted the largest simulation of a naval blockade against Taiwan, the epicentre of the US-China struggle. This is part of a wider escalating rivalry, with Washington legislating to kneecap China’s microchip imports.

The scale of the challenge to America’s pre-eminence in the Indo-Pacific region is likely to exert a near-gravitational pull on its attention. It will increase the demand on its diplomacy, its military power, its industrial base and presidential time. Americans will be increasingly reluctant to maintain a global posture. Something will have to “give”. And the likeliest candidate will be America’s commitment to wealthy allies in a region where its competitor is 10 times smaller in GDP terms than China, and cannot hope to overrun or dominate the continent. While the US is likely to retain a balancing “hand” in Europe, it will become averse to playing Uncle Sucker.

Faced with this change in priorities, it would be foolish for British or European policymakers to just muddle through and wish away the problem. Even within alleged “special” transatlantic relationships, Washington, like all great powers in history, has unilaterally imposed ruthless policy change, to its allies’ disfavour, with little warning. Recall President Harry Truman’s about-face in the early post-war period, terminating the Lend-Lease Act which transferred war supplies to any nation vital to America’s defence, ending talks over nuclear cooperation, and imposing fixed dollar-pound convertibility, which caused a currency and dollar/gold reserves crisis in Britain.

It would also be imprudent to imagine that the US will delay its withdrawal because the proxy war in Ukraine is comparatively “cheap”. A diversion of 20,000 military personnel into Europe is not cheap, strategically, especially as it also diverts precious air, naval, logistics, surveillance and reconnaissance assets. Neither is it cheap to deplete weapons and munitions stocks to the point where it exceeds capacity to reproduce it.

Instead, given the difficulty of its senior ally sustaining commitments in two theatres at once, it would be wiser to anticipate the shock, and enter into a form of security cooperation, recast from history. This would be an informal channel of cooperation between the leading military states of the region — Britain, France and Poland — that would collectively negotiate the strengthening of capability in the neighbourhood independent of the United States. It would proceed on the common assumption that European powers will soon be forced to shoulder far more of the burden of their own defence, and will have to develop the ability to operate independently of their traditional guarantor. It would work both on a diplomatic level and between military staffs.

Ententes have the benefit of offering the advantages of informality and flexibility. A new formal organisation would be too long and complex to set up, raise anxieties about the supplanting of existing institutions, such as the EU, and impose credibility pressures to live up to. A less conspicuous Entente, by contrast, away from the glare of summits, would facilitate bargaining over hard capabilities, intelligence, interoperability and defence resilience in general (including cyber, stocks of materiel and supply chains). It would be austere in its political focus, centred on a common concern, countering any hostile attempt to weaken Nato or dominate the region while steering clear of ideological differences over liberal values that could strain ties.

In political terms, this should all be achievable. A new Entente would align with and give shape to France’s call for “strategic autonomy”, but in a more practical and less performative fashion. It would soften the message of autonomy, shifting it towards burden shifting, but with the welcome benefit that it would give France a greater say in European defence. In Warsaw, meanwhile, the country most anxious about the impact of American drawdown, it would shift the focus away from France’s dalliance with neutralism over China, and towards hard commitments towards defending Europe. And for Britain, an Entente would mitigate the security disadvantages of Brexit, by inserting it more centrally into a dialogue over collective defence that does not presuppose common EU membership.

Perhaps most important, with joint military planning the Entente, like its precedent, would help its members neutralise wider points of friction. While in the Edwardian era that was an imperial bargain over respective spheres in Africa and the Middle East, now it would focus on easing post-Brexit quarrel where the three countries most collide, namely over the division of labour over borders and migration.

Of course, this new Entente would probably create friction with the United States. That friction, however, would surely be a price worth paying for all sides. It would meet America’s traditional request that its allies shoulder more of the security burden. And as the US becomes increasingly preoccupied with the Indo-Pacific, it will find the Entente actually facilitates its efforts in the Asian theatre; it will free up its people, money and equipment to concentrate power where it matters most. As America prepares to downgrade its European profile — for the sake of the entire Western alliance, Europe should be ready.


Patrick Porter is Professor of International Relations at the University of Birmingham and Adjunct Scholar at the Cato Institute.
PatPorter76

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Steve White
SW
Steve White
11 months ago

I am certainly no military expert, but it seems to me that there are two types of military experts out there today. Ones that are political and ones that are realists. The ones owned by and subservient to political ends are the ones that will say and do unrealistic things, and then the realists say things like “we don’t have enough ammo to even defend our own nation for more than 1 week”. The realists however aren’t in control of anything to do with this Russian and Ukrainian war.
The realists that I have heard say things like “you win the war of today 10 years ago”, meaning that you put all the evolving tactics into place, you have the proper military hardware, and the size of military that you need to win the war of today in place before hand, because it takes years to train your military properly, and you need real professional military leadership in place in your officers. Otherwise you just have bodies to throw at a meat grinder like you see in Ukraine today. You also need to have something other than a just in time supply chain of materials, and you need to not buy into neoliberal globalism and hollow out your own nations ability to manufacture things like rockets, and artillery, at an advanced rate where they could fire about 50K to 100K rounds of artillery and rockets per day (like Russia is) and not run out, verses the 5K to 7K that Ukraine fires per day with all of the American and European nations depleting their own stockpiles to provide them with that much.
You also need to be able to have things like hypersonic missiles (which we and the US don’t) and you need the ability to manufacture your own missiles without a 18 to 23 month lead time to get it replaced (the way it currently is now). In other words to win a large ground war it takes proper logistics, and the political side of our nations to not tell the people to make bricks without straw.
Sadly, the political leadership in the West are idiots, and they are writing checks in world events that we the people who live in the West can’t afford to pay. The anti-humanity movement that devalues us all into things to be used, carbon footprints to be reduced, our humanity to be starved, frozen, or made into mentally unstable, self mutilating political agents of chaos, seems to not mind if we’re all dead in a war that should have and could have been over months ago. This seems to be a better political option in their minds than talking about things like peace, and trade. 
Meanwhile the US flies military planes with CNN crews on them far out of their way to provoke a confrontation with Chinese military, and then reports it as if China was the aggressor. In other words, these are wars of choice. There are warmongers, and people who make lots of money by forever wars, but this time it seems different. This time with Russia and China teaming up, Europe should, if its leaders had any sense at all, try and make peace. Even if the US blows up your main energy pipeline and bring chaos and seek to overthrow things with the most radical in your nation propped up with money through CIA involved NGOs to destabilize your nation. The US can’t do that forever. Everyone is starting to see and understand.

Peter B
PB
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve White

That’s right – the US and the West are the warmongers here. They must have been the ones who invaded Ukraine then …
You are clearly not – just as you say – a military expert. You do seem to be stuck on that awkward part of the Dunning-Kruger curve where you think you know rather more about all this than you actually do. Case in point – your implication that Russia and China have secure supply chains for building high tech weapons and missiles. They do not. They are critically dependent on advanced technologies – principally silicon chips – which they are incapable of producing themselves. The Chinese have some capability. The Russians are nowhere.
Nice rant though. Perhaps a bit long.

P Branagan
PB
P Branagan
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Peter B clearly knows absolutely nothing about what kind of microchips are required for the most ‘advanced’ weapons. Hint: cutting edge sub 5-10nm chips are NOT necessary for advanced weaponry. In fact they’d be worse than useless because of EMP and other electromagnetic interference issues.

We, of course, would welcome his comments on the other type of chips – those made from potatoes.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  P Branagan

Aha! Humour from Swampsville, Missouri, thank you Branagan.

For once you seem to know what you are talking about, although I maybe mistaken.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  P Branagan

Aha! Humour from Swampsville, Missouri, thank you Branagan.

For once you seem to know what you are talking about, although I maybe mistaken.

Carl Valentine
CV
Carl Valentine
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Oh Peter… that was harsh, you are usually far more considered, I thinlk Steve raised some important issues, you didn’t need to ‘shoot him down’… (say sorry)

P Branagan
PB
P Branagan
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Peter B clearly knows absolutely nothing about what kind of microchips are required for the most ‘advanced’ weapons. Hint: cutting edge sub 5-10nm chips are NOT necessary for advanced weaponry. In fact they’d be worse than useless because of EMP and other electromagnetic interference issues.

We, of course, would welcome his comments on the other type of chips – those made from potatoes.

Carl Valentine
CV
Carl Valentine
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Oh Peter… that was harsh, you are usually far more considered, I thinlk Steve raised some important issues, you didn’t need to ‘shoot him down’… (say sorry)

Warren Trees
WT
Warren Trees
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve White

From a U.S. military perspective, the main question for Europe’s citizens to ask of their political leaders, in this new era of geopolitical turmoil, is whether their military officers have sufficient guidelines in place to ensure the safety and morale of the looming massive wave of transgendered recruits.

Last edited 11 months ago by Warren Trees
Carl Valentine
CV
Carl Valentine
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve White

Well said Steve, the US is a self absorbed, deceitful bully, I am in two minds whether China wouldn’t be a better world leading power. We keep hearing through our biased media about its poor human rights record, yet America’s is far worse. Biden and his son Hunter have precipitated the Russia-Ukraine conflict at the West’s expense, we are being impoverished by Biden’s desire to cripple Russia and maintain its Hegemonic status. Also Chinese food is better than pizza and hot dogs, n’est pas? 🙂

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

The Chinese do eat a phenomenal amount of dogs, or so I am told.
However, how many people did the Chinks kill in their Civil War. Was it 50 or 100 million? (1945-50.)
Then there was ‘The Great Leap Forward’ (1959-62) which you may recall? Another 50 million there, with quite a bit of cannibalism to boot. And finally the infamous Cultural Revolution (c1968) and its ridiculous little ‘Red Book’, only 2 million here, a rather slovenly performance if I may say so.

So perhaps it is a little premature to give up on that “deceitful bully”, as you call her, the USA.

Steve White
SW
Steve White
11 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

Carl, I respectfully disagree with the point that China would be a better world leading power. I think that this is the US unilateralism mindset dominating the idea of the way the world needs to be.
It is my understanding that based on the rest of the world seeing the sanctions, the EU being coerced, and the bowing up of the German pipeline, the fact that the great experiment of central bank hyper-financialization of business is coming to an end. It appears that world is seeking to abandon the US dollar as a standard with other options to Swift being created, that the future will not be guaranteed by China or the US, in their own chosen rules-based order to maintain an economic hegemon. but that China and BRICS nations are simply currently facilitating that transformation.
The fact that peace is breaking out in the Middle East is a big deal, and it is telling that the US wants nothing to do with peace with anyone. I think that the best thing the EU nations have going for them right now is that they are not the US.
China is going to lose trade with the US, and I think it desperately wants this conflict in Ukraine to end, because it wants to shift much of that lost trade to Europe. This is why that huge train track across Eurasia as part of the Belt-and-Road initiative is being built.
This of course is something America does not want, not at all. If Europe and China were to have robust trade (with Russia cheaply providing Europe its vast commodity resources), this would be considered a huge disaster for the US. They would have to be relegated to one nation among many, playing by global rules that they don’t get to define anymore. This keeps them up at night. This will not be tolerated, and this is something that is impossible to separate from the Russia/Ukraine issue, and the China/Tiawan issue. The US was not and is not a passive actor in any of what happened there, or what is happening with the Tiawan issue. They want to create a wedge between Europe and Russia, and Europe and China. This is the top priority in all that is going on.
Any of these people who think that or speak like Russia just woke up one day and thought it would invade Ukraine is not dealing with the issues honestly. We have to incorporate US economic hegemony into the worlds events or we are not going to understand them correctly. 

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve White
Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

The Chinese do eat a phenomenal amount of dogs, or so I am told.
However, how many people did the Chinks kill in their Civil War. Was it 50 or 100 million? (1945-50.)
Then there was ‘The Great Leap Forward’ (1959-62) which you may recall? Another 50 million there, with quite a bit of cannibalism to boot. And finally the infamous Cultural Revolution (c1968) and its ridiculous little ‘Red Book’, only 2 million here, a rather slovenly performance if I may say so.

So perhaps it is a little premature to give up on that “deceitful bully”, as you call her, the USA.

Steve White
SW
Steve White
11 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

Carl, I respectfully disagree with the point that China would be a better world leading power. I think that this is the US unilateralism mindset dominating the idea of the way the world needs to be.
It is my understanding that based on the rest of the world seeing the sanctions, the EU being coerced, and the bowing up of the German pipeline, the fact that the great experiment of central bank hyper-financialization of business is coming to an end. It appears that world is seeking to abandon the US dollar as a standard with other options to Swift being created, that the future will not be guaranteed by China or the US, in their own chosen rules-based order to maintain an economic hegemon. but that China and BRICS nations are simply currently facilitating that transformation.
The fact that peace is breaking out in the Middle East is a big deal, and it is telling that the US wants nothing to do with peace with anyone. I think that the best thing the EU nations have going for them right now is that they are not the US.
China is going to lose trade with the US, and I think it desperately wants this conflict in Ukraine to end, because it wants to shift much of that lost trade to Europe. This is why that huge train track across Eurasia as part of the Belt-and-Road initiative is being built.
This of course is something America does not want, not at all. If Europe and China were to have robust trade (with Russia cheaply providing Europe its vast commodity resources), this would be considered a huge disaster for the US. They would have to be relegated to one nation among many, playing by global rules that they don’t get to define anymore. This keeps them up at night. This will not be tolerated, and this is something that is impossible to separate from the Russia/Ukraine issue, and the China/Tiawan issue. The US was not and is not a passive actor in any of what happened there, or what is happening with the Tiawan issue. They want to create a wedge between Europe and Russia, and Europe and China. This is the top priority in all that is going on.
Any of these people who think that or speak like Russia just woke up one day and thought it would invade Ukraine is not dealing with the issues honestly. We have to incorporate US economic hegemony into the worlds events or we are not going to understand them correctly. 

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve White
Rupert Steel
RS
Rupert Steel
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve White

‘This time with Russia and China teaming up, Europe should, if its leaders had any sense at all, try and make peace.’
Seriously? Have you no understanding of the post-Soviet nostalgia that motivates Putin? Or the desire to avenge ‘the century of humiliation’ that motivates Xi? Both these ageing boomers are on a mission. They seek to restore past glories and return their nations to what they perceive to be their rightful place in the world. Peace would be a Roman peace.

Last edited 11 months ago by Rupert Steel
Steve White
SW
Steve White
11 months ago
Reply to  Rupert Steel

Rupert, I don’t agree that it is post-Soviet nostalgia that motivates Putin, and I don’t think that avenging humiliation that drives China. Claiming to know the secret motives of nations leaders, and that they are the worst-case scenario motives doesn’t sound like a winning intellectual argument to me. 

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve White
Rupert Steel
RS
Rupert Steel
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve White

There’s nothing secret about the motives that I have posted, they’re on the public record. Putin has declared the collapse of the Soviet Union is the greatest geo-political catastrophe of the age. He seeks to rebuild the buffer zone to Russia’s west. In a speech dated October 2014, Xi proclaimed his ambition for China to become ‘the central nation’. Look it up. It’s all there. When they speak to their own constituencies, the autocrats tell the truth as they see it. Problem is, it usually doesn’t align with Western intellectual pretensions.

Николай Смирнов
Николай Смирнов
11 months ago
Reply to  Rupert Steel

How to identify a person who has a TV for a place head. Check a person for knowledge of Putin’s phrase about the USSR. If he quotes only HALF of the phrase, which is an introduction to the semantic part, it means that there is no person here, there is only a TV. If anything, Putin’s phrase spoke about the Tragedy of the Russian people, who became the most divided people on planet Earth due to the collapse of the USSR, because now the once united people found themselves in different geographical and administrative borders. But you didn’t pass the test. Know, you, mentally, are no more than a BOT. 1010101010101010101010101010

Николай Смирнов
Николай Смирнов
11 months ago
Reply to  Rupert Steel

How to identify a person who has a TV for a place head. Check a person for knowledge of Putin’s phrase about the USSR. If he quotes only HALF of the phrase, which is an introduction to the semantic part, it means that there is no person here, there is only a TV. If anything, Putin’s phrase spoke about the Tragedy of the Russian people, who became the most divided people on planet Earth due to the collapse of the USSR, because now the once united people found themselves in different geographical and administrative borders. But you didn’t pass the test.

Николай Смирнов
Николай Смирнов
11 months ago
Reply to  Rupert Steel

How to identify a person who has a TV for a place head. Check a person for knowledge of Putin’s phrase about the USSR. If he quotes only HALF of the phrase, which is an introduction to the semantic part, it means that there is no person here, there is only a TV. If anything, Putin’s phrase spoke about the Tragedy of the Russian people, who became the most divided people on planet Earth due to the collapse of the USSR, because now the once united people found themselves in different geographical and administrative borders. But you didn’t pass the test. Know, you, mentally, are no more than a BOT. 1010101010101010101010101010

Николай Смирнов
Николай Смирнов
11 months ago
Reply to  Rupert Steel

How to identify a person who has a TV for a place head. Check a person for knowledge of Putin’s phrase about the USSR. If he quotes only HALF of the phrase, which is an introduction to the semantic part, it means that there is no person here, there is only a TV. If anything, Putin’s phrase spoke about the Tragedy of the Russian people, who became the most divided people on planet Earth due to the collapse of the USSR, because now the once united people found themselves in different geographical and administrative borders. But you didn’t pass the test.

Rupert Steel
RS
Rupert Steel
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve White

There’s nothing secret about the motives that I have posted, they’re on the public record. Putin has declared the collapse of the Soviet Union is the greatest geo-political catastrophe of the age. He seeks to rebuild the buffer zone to Russia’s west. In a speech dated October 2014, Xi proclaimed his ambition for China to become ‘the central nation’. Look it up. It’s all there. When they speak to their own constituencies, the autocrats tell the truth as they see it. Problem is, it usually doesn’t align with Western intellectual pretensions.

Steve White
SW
Steve White
11 months ago
Reply to  Rupert Steel

Rupert, I don’t agree that it is post-Soviet nostalgia that motivates Putin, and I don’t think that avenging humiliation that drives China. Claiming to know the secret motives of nations leaders, and that they are the worst-case scenario motives doesn’t sound like a winning intellectual argument to me. 

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve White
Peter B
PB
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve White

That’s right – the US and the West are the warmongers here. They must have been the ones who invaded Ukraine then …
You are clearly not – just as you say – a military expert. You do seem to be stuck on that awkward part of the Dunning-Kruger curve where you think you know rather more about all this than you actually do. Case in point – your implication that Russia and China have secure supply chains for building high tech weapons and missiles. They do not. They are critically dependent on advanced technologies – principally silicon chips – which they are incapable of producing themselves. The Chinese have some capability. The Russians are nowhere.
Nice rant though. Perhaps a bit long.

Warren Trees
WT
Warren Trees
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve White

From a U.S. military perspective, the main question for Europe’s citizens to ask of their political leaders, in this new era of geopolitical turmoil, is whether their military officers have sufficient guidelines in place to ensure the safety and morale of the looming massive wave of transgendered recruits.

Last edited 11 months ago by Warren Trees
Carl Valentine
CV
Carl Valentine
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve White

Well said Steve, the US is a self absorbed, deceitful bully, I am in two minds whether China wouldn’t be a better world leading power. We keep hearing through our biased media about its poor human rights record, yet America’s is far worse. Biden and his son Hunter have precipitated the Russia-Ukraine conflict at the West’s expense, we are being impoverished by Biden’s desire to cripple Russia and maintain its Hegemonic status. Also Chinese food is better than pizza and hot dogs, n’est pas? 🙂

Rupert Steel
RS
Rupert Steel
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve White

‘This time with Russia and China teaming up, Europe should, if its leaders had any sense at all, try and make peace.’
Seriously? Have you no understanding of the post-Soviet nostalgia that motivates Putin? Or the desire to avenge ‘the century of humiliation’ that motivates Xi? Both these ageing boomers are on a mission. They seek to restore past glories and return their nations to what they perceive to be their rightful place in the world. Peace would be a Roman peace.

Last edited 11 months ago by Rupert Steel
Steve White
SW
Steve White
11 months ago

I am certainly no military expert, but it seems to me that there are two types of military experts out there today. Ones that are political and ones that are realists. The ones owned by and subservient to political ends are the ones that will say and do unrealistic things, and then the realists say things like “we don’t have enough ammo to even defend our own nation for more than 1 week”. The realists however aren’t in control of anything to do with this Russian and Ukrainian war.
The realists that I have heard say things like “you win the war of today 10 years ago”, meaning that you put all the evolving tactics into place, you have the proper military hardware, and the size of military that you need to win the war of today in place before hand, because it takes years to train your military properly, and you need real professional military leadership in place in your officers. Otherwise you just have bodies to throw at a meat grinder like you see in Ukraine today. You also need to have something other than a just in time supply chain of materials, and you need to not buy into neoliberal globalism and hollow out your own nations ability to manufacture things like rockets, and artillery, at an advanced rate where they could fire about 50K to 100K rounds of artillery and rockets per day (like Russia is) and not run out, verses the 5K to 7K that Ukraine fires per day with all of the American and European nations depleting their own stockpiles to provide them with that much.
You also need to be able to have things like hypersonic missiles (which we and the US don’t) and you need the ability to manufacture your own missiles without a 18 to 23 month lead time to get it replaced (the way it currently is now). In other words to win a large ground war it takes proper logistics, and the political side of our nations to not tell the people to make bricks without straw.
Sadly, the political leadership in the West are idiots, and they are writing checks in world events that we the people who live in the West can’t afford to pay. The anti-humanity movement that devalues us all into things to be used, carbon footprints to be reduced, our humanity to be starved, frozen, or made into mentally unstable, self mutilating political agents of chaos, seems to not mind if we’re all dead in a war that should have and could have been over months ago. This seems to be a better political option in their minds than talking about things like peace, and trade. 
Meanwhile the US flies military planes with CNN crews on them far out of their way to provoke a confrontation with Chinese military, and then reports it as if China was the aggressor. In other words, these are wars of choice. There are warmongers, and people who make lots of money by forever wars, but this time it seems different. This time with Russia and China teaming up, Europe should, if its leaders had any sense at all, try and make peace. Even if the US blows up your main energy pipeline and bring chaos and seek to overthrow things with the most radical in your nation propped up with money through CIA involved NGOs to destabilize your nation. The US can’t do that forever. Everyone is starting to see and understand.

John Dewhirst
JD
John Dewhirst
11 months ago

Reliance upon France as a military and diplomatic ally is easier said than done.

Peter B
PB
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  John Dewhirst

Quite. France has an explicit anti-US agenda here. As well as a desire to dominate the EU. While the UK is far more comfortable with and closer to the US. And always pursued a policy of supporting a balance of power in Europe. Some of this is historic, some cultural, some just French jealousy of US success.
It is no accident that the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are the “Five Eyes” grouping that trust each other with the most sensitive security and intelligence. And that France is not a member.
I’m not aiming to be anti-French in saying this. They are free to pursue whatever policies they choose. I just don’t think French policies work well in practice and are certainly not something we need to align with.
Bottom line: we have far more trust and cultural alignment with Anglosphere countries than France. Which shouldn’t really be a surprise. Besides which, USA, Canada, Aus and NZ are all still successful and growing countries and economies and will outperform EU countries over the next decades.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

At the end of the War, when Free French General Philipe Leclerc was interrogating French prisoners of the Waffen SS Charlemagne Division, he asked one of them : “Why are wearing the uniform of the enemy”? To which the prisoner replied “Why are you”?*

(*He was shot soon afterwards.)

Andrew F
AF
Andrew F
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

That was my main problem with proposed new Entante.
How can anyone take French claims to leadership in defending Europe seriously, when France was (with Germany) the main appeaser of Russia?
Ukraine would be already lost without USA.
Europe has perfectly good security framework in NATO.
Problem is most members refuse to pay properly for it and expecting USA to do it.
Then there is basic issue of lack of military capability as a result of not spending enough.
If USA really withdraws from Europe militarily, then countries like Poland Finland and Sweden need to go nuclear.
You just can not trust France and Germany in deterring Russian aggression…

Carl Valentine
CV
Carl Valentine
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Russia are not the aggressor, the puppet Biden is… wake up! What has China done militarily in the last 40 years, nothing, what has USA done?

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

“What has China done militarily in the last 40 years.”

Ethnically cleansed Tibet and repopulated with Han.
Currently doing the same to the Uyghurs.
Destroyed any hint of democracy in Hong Kong and Macao.
Killed countless numbers of its own citizens!*

(*Something that they really excel at.)

Andrew Holmes
AH
Andrew Holmes
11 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

As one of those annoying Americans, I prefer a longer perspective. I will grant legitimate grievances with some US actions and policies. Which nation hasn’t?

On the other hand, the US made its priority Europe rather than Japan when attacked by Japan. At the end of WWII, Western Europe was assisted with the Marshall Plan while the USSR swallowed Eastern Europe. Major expenditures were spent from then to now defending Western Europe, as was the case in Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia had time and a stabilizing presence for some of independent (not subordinate) countries to evolve economically and politically into democracies.

Please consider that in the recent past, China reportedly loaned $9 to $1 in aid while the US reverses that ratio. Naming any countries nurtured into stable independence by China is beyond me.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

“What has China done militarily in the last 40 years.”

Ethnically cleansed Tibet and repopulated with Han.
Currently doing the same to the Uyghurs.
Destroyed any hint of democracy in Hong Kong and Macao.
Killed countless numbers of its own citizens!*

(*Something that they really excel at.)

Andrew Holmes
AH
Andrew Holmes
11 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

As one of those annoying Americans, I prefer a longer perspective. I will grant legitimate grievances with some US actions and policies. Which nation hasn’t?

On the other hand, the US made its priority Europe rather than Japan when attacked by Japan. At the end of WWII, Western Europe was assisted with the Marshall Plan while the USSR swallowed Eastern Europe. Major expenditures were spent from then to now defending Western Europe, as was the case in Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia had time and a stabilizing presence for some of independent (not subordinate) countries to evolve economically and politically into democracies.

Please consider that in the recent past, China reportedly loaned $9 to $1 in aid while the US reverses that ratio. Naming any countries nurtured into stable independence by China is beyond me.

Carl Valentine
CV
Carl Valentine
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Russia are not the aggressor, the puppet Biden is… wake up! What has China done militarily in the last 40 years, nothing, what has USA done?

Philip May
PM
Philip May
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

I wouldn’t count on Canada.
My country haw a sclerotic military thanks to the Trudeau regime. Case in point: Until recently the Canadian army was using WWII vintage sidearms. Our procurement process verges on the criminal and our feckless Prime Minister has admitted that we will never achieve the modest 2% to GDP ratio on defence. We were excluded from AUKUS (with good reason) and we can’t even evacuate our citizens from Khartoum.
“Canada is back” said Trudeau the Younger. Perhaps we will be allowed to cater lunches for NATO. That would seem to be the extent of our abilities.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

At the end of the War, when Free French General Philipe Leclerc was interrogating French prisoners of the Waffen SS Charlemagne Division, he asked one of them : “Why are wearing the uniform of the enemy”? To which the prisoner replied “Why are you”?*

(*He was shot soon afterwards.)

Andrew F
AF
Andrew F
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

That was my main problem with proposed new Entante.
How can anyone take French claims to leadership in defending Europe seriously, when France was (with Germany) the main appeaser of Russia?
Ukraine would be already lost without USA.
Europe has perfectly good security framework in NATO.
Problem is most members refuse to pay properly for it and expecting USA to do it.
Then there is basic issue of lack of military capability as a result of not spending enough.
If USA really withdraws from Europe militarily, then countries like Poland Finland and Sweden need to go nuclear.
You just can not trust France and Germany in deterring Russian aggression…

Philip May
PM
Philip May
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

I wouldn’t count on Canada.
My country haw a sclerotic military thanks to the Trudeau regime. Case in point: Until recently the Canadian army was using WWII vintage sidearms. Our procurement process verges on the criminal and our feckless Prime Minister has admitted that we will never achieve the modest 2% to GDP ratio on defence. We were excluded from AUKUS (with good reason) and we can’t even evacuate our citizens from Khartoum.
“Canada is back” said Trudeau the Younger. Perhaps we will be allowed to cater lunches for NATO. That would seem to be the extent of our abilities.

Mike Doyle
MD
Mike Doyle
11 months ago
Reply to  John Dewhirst

As others have noted about the French: they’ll always be there, when they need you.

Susan Grabston
SG
Susan Grabston
11 months ago
Reply to  John Dewhirst

Indeed. France has its own views of its exceptionalism with some justification.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Susan Grabston

Unlike our good selves, could France unilaterally ‘use’ its Bomb, or would/could the US intervene?

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Susan Grabston

Unlike our good selves, could France unilaterally ‘use’ its Bomb, or would/could the US intervene?

Peter B
PB
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  John Dewhirst

Quite. France has an explicit anti-US agenda here. As well as a desire to dominate the EU. While the UK is far more comfortable with and closer to the US. And always pursued a policy of supporting a balance of power in Europe. Some of this is historic, some cultural, some just French jealousy of US success.
It is no accident that the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are the “Five Eyes” grouping that trust each other with the most sensitive security and intelligence. And that France is not a member.
I’m not aiming to be anti-French in saying this. They are free to pursue whatever policies they choose. I just don’t think French policies work well in practice and are certainly not something we need to align with.
Bottom line: we have far more trust and cultural alignment with Anglosphere countries than France. Which shouldn’t really be a surprise. Besides which, USA, Canada, Aus and NZ are all still successful and growing countries and economies and will outperform EU countries over the next decades.

Mike Doyle
MD
Mike Doyle
11 months ago
Reply to  John Dewhirst

As others have noted about the French: they’ll always be there, when they need you.

Susan Grabston
SG
Susan Grabston
11 months ago
Reply to  John Dewhirst

Indeed. France has its own views of its exceptionalism with some justification.

John Dewhirst
JD
John Dewhirst
11 months ago

Reliance upon France as a military and diplomatic ally is easier said than done.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago

“an Entente Cordiale with the other leading military states of Europe, such as France and Poland.”

Really? That insane policy dragged us into a lunatic war in 1914, resulting in a catastrophic Pyrrhic victory, repeating it in 1939 resulted in our loss of Great Power status, along with the destruction of the British Empire.Bravo!

Ironically it is the ‘losers’, on both occasions, Germany who seem to have triumphed.
‘Deutschland Über Alles, as they say.

Steve Murray
LL
Steve Murray
11 months ago

I think you’re right about the first Great War, but not the second.
Germany would’ve tried to cross the Channel eventually, just as they invaded Soviet Russia after the initial pact with Stalin.
Of course, a different outcome to WW1 would’ve ensued had we not got involved, or at least a very different post-war settlement to the one which eventually led to WW2.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

You are not alone in believing that.
However I think the evidence shows that the chances of the vaunted ‘Operation Sea Lion ‘succeeding were almost zero, even if ‘they’ had gained some form of air superiority.

Additionally, and rather embarrassingly, Adolph was a bit of an unreconstructed Anglophile, and as such we just weren’t on his Menu! Unlike the wretched Soviet Union.

Off course we didn’t cover ourselves in glory by our rather deceitful guarantee to Poland on the 31st March, 1939…..the infamous ‘blank cheque’.

Last edited 11 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Andrew F
AF
Andrew F
11 months ago

You might be right about Hitler not invading Britain.
But after Germany conqured Europe, what would Britain be?
Vassal of 3rd Reich?

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

A Client State, in fact just as we are today to the USA.
Who would have proved to be the better Master is hard to tell.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

A Client State, in fact just as we are today to the USA.
Who would have proved to be the better Master is hard to tell.

Steve Murray
LL
Steve Murray
11 months ago

Hmmm… there’s a Gothic-style town hall not far from where i live that plans were found in Berlin for transporting stone-by-stone to Germany!

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Astonishing! When Germany has a plethora of magnificent Town Halls (Rathaus) such as Bremen, Coburg, Augsburg, and Hamburg for example.

Your one must be truly exceptional, as most English examples are decidedly provincial, although not without interest.

Of course there was also the infamous ‘Black Book’ of ‘undesirables’ whom the Gestapo wished to exterminate. (mainly in London NW.)

One can never accuse the Germans of NOT planning ahead, as the recent Diesel-gate scandal showed! However in the case of WWII much of it was wishful thinking.

Steve Murray
LL
Steve Murray
11 months ago

Rochdale Town Hall – Wikipedia
Currently being restored to its original condition, with experts in stained-glass usually employed at York Minster called in to provide their skills.

Steve Murray
LL
Steve Murray
11 months ago

Rochdale Town Hall – Wikipedia
Currently being restored to its original condition, with experts in stained-glass usually employed at York Minster called in to provide their skills.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Astonishing! When Germany has a plethora of magnificent Town Halls (Rathaus) such as Bremen, Coburg, Augsburg, and Hamburg for example.

Your one must be truly exceptional, as most English examples are decidedly provincial, although not without interest.

Of course there was also the infamous ‘Black Book’ of ‘undesirables’ whom the Gestapo wished to exterminate. (mainly in London NW.)

One can never accuse the Germans of NOT planning ahead, as the recent Diesel-gate scandal showed! However in the case of WWII much of it was wishful thinking.

Andrew F
AF
Andrew F
11 months ago

You might be right about Hitler not invading Britain.
But after Germany conqured Europe, what would Britain be?
Vassal of 3rd Reich?

Steve Murray
LL
Steve Murray
11 months ago

Hmmm… there’s a Gothic-style town hall not far from where i live that plans were found in Berlin for transporting stone-by-stone to Germany!

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

You are not alone in believing that.
However I think the evidence shows that the chances of the vaunted ‘Operation Sea Lion ‘succeeding were almost zero, even if ‘they’ had gained some form of air superiority.

Additionally, and rather embarrassingly, Adolph was a bit of an unreconstructed Anglophile, and as such we just weren’t on his Menu! Unlike the wretched Soviet Union.

Off course we didn’t cover ourselves in glory by our rather deceitful guarantee to Poland on the 31st March, 1939…..the infamous ‘blank cheque’.

Last edited 11 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Steve Murray
LL
Steve Murray
11 months ago

I think you’re right about the first Great War, but not the second.
Germany would’ve tried to cross the Channel eventually, just as they invaded Soviet Russia after the initial pact with Stalin.
Of course, a different outcome to WW1 would’ve ensued had we not got involved, or at least a very different post-war settlement to the one which eventually led to WW2.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago

“an Entente Cordiale with the other leading military states of Europe, such as France and Poland.”

Really? That insane policy dragged us into a lunatic war in 1914, resulting in a catastrophic Pyrrhic victory, repeating it in 1939 resulted in our loss of Great Power status, along with the destruction of the British Empire.Bravo!

Ironically it is the ‘losers’, on both occasions, Germany who seem to have triumphed.
‘Deutschland Über Alles, as they say.

Christopher Barclay
CB
Christopher Barclay
11 months ago

” … the United States will be increasingly unable and unwilling to do the heavy lifting as Europe’s security provider.” In which case why did the US support a coup in Ukraine in 2014? Why was the US government so delighted by Putin’s (unjustified) invasion? Why is the US government keen to drive the Russian armed forces out of Crimea?

Andrew F
AF
Andrew F
11 months ago

Well, because they occupy Ukrainian territory?
And weakening Russia is always good policy.
Anyway, why Soviets wanted USA out of Vietnam?
For the same reason.
There was no coup in Ukraine, Yanukowich switched sides under Russian pressure to stop EU cooperation agreement voted in by Ukrainian Parliament.
Since then there were 2 free elections in Ukraine.
You can hardly say that about Russia with Navalny in a gulag.

Peter B
PB
Peter B
11 months ago

Hold on – what evidence do you actually have that the US want Ukraine to actually take back Crimea ? I very much doubt they actually consider that a practical and stable outcome – suspect they would settle for Ukraine minus Crimea and eastern Russian speaking regions, provided this results in a stable and lasting settlement.

stephen archer
SA
stephen archer
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

“stable and lasting settlement” – nigh impossible, more likely if Ukraine joins NATO but probably not even then. What happens to Russia in the medium to long term will be a greater factor.

stephen archer
SA
stephen archer
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

“stable and lasting settlement” – nigh impossible, more likely if Ukraine joins NATO but probably not even then. What happens to Russia in the medium to long term will be a greater factor.

Andrew F
AF
Andrew F
11 months ago

Well, because they occupy Ukrainian territory?
And weakening Russia is always good policy.
Anyway, why Soviets wanted USA out of Vietnam?
For the same reason.
There was no coup in Ukraine, Yanukowich switched sides under Russian pressure to stop EU cooperation agreement voted in by Ukrainian Parliament.
Since then there were 2 free elections in Ukraine.
You can hardly say that about Russia with Navalny in a gulag.

Peter B
PB
Peter B
11 months ago

Hold on – what evidence do you actually have that the US want Ukraine to actually take back Crimea ? I very much doubt they actually consider that a practical and stable outcome – suspect they would settle for Ukraine minus Crimea and eastern Russian speaking regions, provided this results in a stable and lasting settlement.

Christopher Barclay
CB
Christopher Barclay
11 months ago

” … the United States will be increasingly unable and unwilling to do the heavy lifting as Europe’s security provider.” In which case why did the US support a coup in Ukraine in 2014? Why was the US government so delighted by Putin’s (unjustified) invasion? Why is the US government keen to drive the Russian armed forces out of Crimea?

Lee Wood
LW
Lee Wood
11 months ago

Incredible ! How can this writer discuss euro-american relations without a mention of the nordstream sobotage ??
Barely a question of america not being motivated to help us – europe will soon be patrolling against invasion !

Lee Wood
LW
Lee Wood
11 months ago

Incredible ! How can this writer discuss euro-american relations without a mention of the nordstream sobotage ??
Barely a question of america not being motivated to help us – europe will soon be patrolling against invasion !

R Wright
RW
R Wright
11 months ago

Any attempt to break our puppet status in the American sphere would result in massive financial retaliation. A plan like this would not be feasible for several decades when the U.S has broken down economically due to civil strife and political paralysis.

TheElephant InTheRoom
TI
TheElephant InTheRoom
11 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

Maybe Britain can join the BRICS +++

Peter B
PB
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

Puerile fantasy. That – this supposed breakdown of the USA – is not going to happen. I very much doubt that the armchair critics of the US have spent any significant time there or have much real understanding of that country.

R Wright
RW
R Wright
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Decline is inevitable. The average civilisation only lasts three centuries and hegemony mere decades. I am not suggesting the U.S is going to cease existing as a state, just that it won’t be in a position to fund hundreds of overseas military installations.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

Rome did far, far, better, it must be said.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

Rome did far, far, better, it must be said.

R Wright
RW
R Wright
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Decline is inevitable. The average civilisation only lasts three centuries and hegemony mere decades. I am not suggesting the U.S is going to cease existing as a state, just that it won’t be in a position to fund hundreds of overseas military installations.

TheElephant InTheRoom
TI
TheElephant InTheRoom
11 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

Maybe Britain can join the BRICS +++

Peter B
PB
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

Puerile fantasy. That – this supposed breakdown of the USA – is not going to happen. I very much doubt that the armchair critics of the US have spent any significant time there or have much real understanding of that country.

R Wright
RW
R Wright
11 months ago

Any attempt to break our puppet status in the American sphere would result in massive financial retaliation. A plan like this would not be feasible for several decades when the U.S has broken down economically due to civil strife and political paralysis.

Martin Johnson
MJ
Martin Johnson
11 months ago

And what do you do with NATO? Just pretend it doesn’t exist?

Martin Johnson
MJ
Martin Johnson
11 months ago

And what do you do with NATO? Just pretend it doesn’t exist?

Gordon Arta
GA
Gordon Arta
11 months ago

The biggest barrier to developing an effective European defensive alliance is France, and its overweening need to be seen strutting around as if it owns the continent. The answer is simple; a beefed up NATO in which France assumes all ceremonial roles, parades, guards of honour, etc, while the rest of the members get on with strengthening their front line forces, joint planning, interoperability, exercising, and so on. Let the French army march up the Champs Elysee and liberate Paris at the end of a conflict, or just once a year, and they’ll be happy.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Gordon Arta

Astonishing after 1814,1815, 1870 & 1940!*

(* Most fortuitously recorded on film for eternity.)

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Gordon Arta

Astonishing after 1814,1815, 1870 & 1940!*

(* Most fortuitously recorded on film for eternity.)

Gordon Arta
GA
Gordon Arta
11 months ago

The biggest barrier to developing an effective European defensive alliance is France, and its overweening need to be seen strutting around as if it owns the continent. The answer is simple; a beefed up NATO in which France assumes all ceremonial roles, parades, guards of honour, etc, while the rest of the members get on with strengthening their front line forces, joint planning, interoperability, exercising, and so on. Let the French army march up the Champs Elysee and liberate Paris at the end of a conflict, or just once a year, and they’ll be happy.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago

Duplication due to slovenly censorship.

Last edited 11 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago

Duplication due to slovenly censorship.

Last edited 11 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Justin Clark
Justin Clark
11 months ago

America was attacked by Japan yet still pursued Germany first.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Justin Clark

Hitler idiotically DECLARED war first!
Would the USA have intervened, had he not done so?

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Justin Clark

Hitler idiotically DECLARED war first!
Would the USA have intervened, had he not done so?

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
11 months ago

America was attacked by Japan yet still pursued Germany first.

Allison Barrows
AB
Allison Barrows
11 months ago

Surely, when the beloved monarch died, he embodied stability. If he thought he was was more than one person, he was himself unstable.

Allison Barrows
AB
Allison Barrows
11 months ago

Surely, when the beloved monarch died, he embodied stability. If he thought he was was more than one person, he was himself unstable.

Danny Edwinson
DE
Danny Edwinson
11 months ago

Many years ago , there were some thinkers in America, Asia and Europe who proposed an Alliance to the United the Democracies. What standards meet the level of a democracy is open for discussion, but perhaps some evolution of such an idea has merit now. The “Golden Arches of Prosperity” and “The End of History” are no longer viable concepts for a stable and prosperous world.

Ri Bradach
RB
Ri Bradach
11 months ago

There is no way that Britain should take any further interest in defending Europe.

Europe made clear its profound antipathy toward Britain clear in 2016 and every year since.

As a descendent of families that sacrificed hugely in both wars, I cannot ever again justify having our people die for our enemies.

Especially when those enemies do nothing whatsoever to defend themselves, Poland apart.

The writer is correct that the USA is not a friend to anyone – not even itself these days – but it at least isn’t hostile to Britain.

Meanwhile, there is a rich and deep history that has been ignored since 1973 when Britain joined the EEC: the commonwealth.

Britain needs to focus on building deep and open trade channels with the commonwealth. Real free trade, free movement of goods and services, even people. An economic alliance of mutual respect, not top down administrative control.

Ri Bradach
RB
Ri Bradach
11 months ago

There is no way that Britain should take any further interest in defending Europe.

Europe made clear its profound antipathy toward Britain clear in 2016 and every year since.

As a descendent of families that sacrificed hugely in both wars, I cannot ever again justify having our people die for our enemies.

Especially when those enemies do nothing whatsoever to defend themselves, Poland apart.

The writer is correct that the USA is not a friend to anyone – not even itself these days – but it at least isn’t hostile to Britain.

Meanwhile, there is a rich and deep history that has been ignored since 1973 when Britain joined the EEC: the commonwealth.

Britain needs to focus on building deep and open trade channels with the commonwealth. Real free trade, free movement of goods and services, even people. An economic alliance of mutual respect, not top down administrative control.

Robbie K
RK
Robbie K
11 months ago

This was the reality for Britain at the close of the Edwardian era, and it echoes our fraught position now.

Fraught?
Britain isn’t in any kind of ‘fraught’ position as suggested. It’s an interesting and creative set of narratives, but mostly entirely fictional. Sounds like the kind of thing military brass cook up when they are threatened with a budget cut.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Don’t worry “it’ll be all over by Christmas “.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Don’t worry “it’ll be all over by Christmas “.

Robbie K
RK
Robbie K
11 months ago

This was the reality for Britain at the close of the Edwardian era, and it echoes our fraught position now.

Fraught?
Britain isn’t in any kind of ‘fraught’ position as suggested. It’s an interesting and creative set of narratives, but mostly entirely fictional. Sounds like the kind of thing military brass cook up when they are threatened with a budget cut.

j watson
JW
j watson
11 months ago

US won’t withdraw suddenly from Europe. It’s well aware the message that would send to all ‘neutrals’ and also well aware the power of the West comes from unity and together massively can outweigh the threats from the Totalitarians. Fact is most of Europe a sleeping giant – good in so many ways – peace-loving etc – but Putin certainly woken us up, especially the border States.
US also knows a withdrawal would result in rapid Nuclear proliferation. Obviously to more stable regimes in Europe, but not something it’d want to encourage.
China’s basic geography means it can be constrained in different ways. You don’t need millions of troops. You can bottle them up in other ways. Staying ahead on the technology critical of course, but tanks can’t roll down the road quite the same way. The Sino-India tension acts as a big brake on China too.
Nonetheless we are due a fundamental Defence review and whilst AUKUS shows we want to contribute in other regions we can only afford so much. Thus partnership in Europe vital. Such a shame we ceded the European leadership that we’d have been so well placed to acquire before Brexit. Let’s hope not too late and we can find a way into this via NATO

Last edited 11 months ago by j watson
Peter B
PB
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

You seriously think that we had a realistic shot at “European leadership” and that the French would have allowed that ? Influence yes, leadership – I don’t think so. And we still maintain some influence today. And are arguably showing far more leadership on Ukraine than Germany or France.

j watson
JW
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

I think so yes, esp as we’d have been made more natural leader for the Poles and more east Europeans bordering Russia. We are the other Security Council member and our Intelligence services more highly thought of. France always had a more historical friendship with Russia which does not help them now in this.
Of course who Germany leaned with key, but they’ve just learnt a v hard lesson.
Obviously Brexit removed that chance up so it’s purely theoretical and regardless of what we do now we’ve positioned ourselves poorly regarding European leadership for a generation. Within NATO we have some influence but only really on coat-tails of the US and echo’ing them. On our own v little. Such a shame and probably a point that’ll be in the history our grandchildren read

Peter B
PB
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Sadly, I’m not convinced that any lessons have been learned about Russia in either France or Germany and that they’ll happily go back to “business as usual” as though nothing had happened if allowed to. France had significant military contracts to supply Russia – rather as they were compromised in Iraq.
Remember this – two of the biggest industries in France are luxury goods and defence equipment.

j watson
JW
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

I think lessons have been learned, whether sufficient and to the degree we’d hope probably still playing out. I think though this ambivalence is why we could have been the leader and been listened to more.

j watson
JW
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

I think lessons have been learned, whether sufficient and to the degree we’d hope probably still playing out. I think though this ambivalence is why we could have been the leader and been listened to more.

Peter B
PB
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Sadly, I’m not convinced that any lessons have been learned about Russia in either France or Germany and that they’ll happily go back to “business as usual” as though nothing had happened if allowed to. France had significant military contracts to supply Russia – rather as they were compromised in Iraq.
Remember this – two of the biggest industries in France are luxury goods and defence equipment.

j watson
JW
j watson
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

I think so yes, esp as we’d have been made more natural leader for the Poles and more east Europeans bordering Russia. We are the other Security Council member and our Intelligence services more highly thought of. France always had a more historical friendship with Russia which does not help them now in this.
Of course who Germany leaned with key, but they’ve just learnt a v hard lesson.
Obviously Brexit removed that chance up so it’s purely theoretical and regardless of what we do now we’ve positioned ourselves poorly regarding European leadership for a generation. Within NATO we have some influence but only really on coat-tails of the US and echo’ing them. On our own v little. Such a shame and probably a point that’ll be in the history our grandchildren read

Peter B
PB
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

You seriously think that we had a realistic shot at “European leadership” and that the French would have allowed that ? Influence yes, leadership – I don’t think so. And we still maintain some influence today. And are arguably showing far more leadership on Ukraine than Germany or France.

j watson
JW
j watson
11 months ago

US won’t withdraw suddenly from Europe. It’s well aware the message that would send to all ‘neutrals’ and also well aware the power of the West comes from unity and together massively can outweigh the threats from the Totalitarians. Fact is most of Europe a sleeping giant – good in so many ways – peace-loving etc – but Putin certainly woken us up, especially the border States.
US also knows a withdrawal would result in rapid Nuclear proliferation. Obviously to more stable regimes in Europe, but not something it’d want to encourage.
China’s basic geography means it can be constrained in different ways. You don’t need millions of troops. You can bottle them up in other ways. Staying ahead on the technology critical of course, but tanks can’t roll down the road quite the same way. The Sino-India tension acts as a big brake on China too.
Nonetheless we are due a fundamental Defence review and whilst AUKUS shows we want to contribute in other regions we can only afford so much. Thus partnership in Europe vital. Such a shame we ceded the European leadership that we’d have been so well placed to acquire before Brexit. Let’s hope not too late and we can find a way into this via NATO

Last edited 11 months ago by j watson