Historian Arthur Herman on Britain's military impotence--and its consequences--in a timely New York Post op-ed.
Also recommended: Mr. Herman's January column in the Post, which noted how Tony Blair's planned budgetary cutbacks will decimate the Royal Navy. As he archly notes, the naval supremacy that France couldn't win at Trafalgar how now been gained at the bureaucrats' desks. Reductions in the Royal Navy will leave it smaller than the French Navy for the first time in 400 years, giving Britain a fleet that's roughly comparable (in size) to that of Belgium and Turkey.
spook, the Post article is bogus. The orders for the two 60,000-tonne carriers have not been canceled, the announcement of the procurement order has just been delayed. There were concerns expressed in Parliament on this issue last week.
Julian Lewis (New Forest East, Conservative)
Most of the 29 ships that have joined the fleet since this Government came into office were ordered under the previous Conservative Government. Is it not a fact that in the past five years the only warship order has been for a single, solitary offshore patrol vessel? When the order for the carriers eventually, and belatedly, comes through, will the Minister guarantee that it will not be used as cover for the cancellation of the seventh and eighth Type 45 destroyers, which the Navy says it needs to ensure that the carrier taskforces are properly protected?
Adam Ingram (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence)
As has been said many times from the Dispatch Box by previous Administrations as well as this one, there is a continuum in the defence of this country. It does not surprise me that ships that have been commissioned in the past 10 years were ordered in previous periods. The important aspect is that those orders were carried out because it was acknowledged that it is important to maintain the strength of the Royal Navy. On top of that, there is a projected£14 billion capital programme for the Royal Navy in the next decade. That includes carriers, Type 45s and other vessels for the Royal Navy. At the end of that, it will be a formidable Navy.
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