The headlines in Britain tomorrow will probably be dominated by the announcement of the results of the Strategic Defence Review. I wish it deserved the title “strategic”. Actually, the cuts in defence spending that will be announced tomorrow were agreed in a great hurry – and driven above all by budgetary imperatives, rather than any coherent strategic vision. By bringing British defence spending down below 2% of GDP they risk doing lasting damage to the country’s remaining aspirations to the status of “major power”.
Personally, I wouldn’t mind if Britain decided drastically to reduce its global pretensions, if this was a conscious decision – made after mature reflection and debate about Britain’s place in the world. But this exercise is nothing of the kind. It’s been a complete mess – rushed and incoherent – but with lasting consequences for the country. Read more