According to British defence sources, Britain’s armed forces are no longer able to play a full role in NATO or defend the homeland due to years of cutbacks, with a senior American general warning London that it has a “barely tier two” force.
Multiple British defence sources have lamented Britain’s military decrepitude, with one warning that the armed forces will be “unable to protect the UK and our allies for a decade” despite extremely high tensions with Russia and increasingly tense relations with Communist China, particularly in the South China Sea, among other threats.
Other NATO members have been blunt with the British government, with a “high-ranking US general” reportedly telling British defence secretary Ben Wallace that Britain was no longer on the level of tier-one powers like America, China, and Russia, but was “barely tier two” — the level of countries like the defunct former Axis powers Germany and Italy.
“We have a wartime prime minister and a wartime chancellor,” said a British defence source, referring to Rishi Sunak and his de facto finance minister, Jeremy Hunt.
“History will look back on the choices they make in the coming weeks as crucial to whether this government truly believes that its primary duty is the defence of the realm or whether that is just a slogan to be given lip service,” they added.
Despite being traditionally viewed as the party of the armed forces and law and order, Britain’s governing Conservative Party has viewed the military and police, in particular, as easy targets for heavy government spending cuts since regaining office from the Labour Party in 2010, as their ability to strike and otherwise make life difficult for politicians is extremely limited compared to often institutionally leftist public sector institutions gaining from the public purse.
Defence has simply not been a priority for the ostensibly right-wing party, with the green agenda and foreign aid, for example, largely escaping the cuts imposed elsewhere in the name of fiscal discipline.