Because, when you live in a dangerous world, what better thing to do?

The world is currently a place of roiling international tensions. The British Navy recently distinguished itself for being undistinguished in a confrontation with Iran that turned into a national humiliation for England. Under those circumstances, there’s really only one thing to do, right? Yup, destroy your Navy:

Ministers have drawn up confidential proposals to slash the number of ships in the Royal Navy, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.

The expected reductions follow a fierce row between Service chiefs and the Treasury over defence spending.

The Ministry of Defence has produced a plan to decommission five warships from next April, which would reduce the Navy’s capability to the level where it could carry out only “one small-scale operation”.

Separate documentation from inside the department suggests that the total number of ships in the Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary could fall from the present level of 103 to 76 in 2017 and only 50 in 2027 — a reduction of more than half.

The information has been supplied in an email from a whistleblowing official inside the MoD, who has given details of a row between senior officials in the department and Andy Burnham, the Treasury Chief Secretary, over the allocation of money to the MoD over the next three years.


In what is likely to be a “worst-case” scenario, with no further commissioning of ships, total numbers of what the MoD terms “platforms” is slated to fall steadily from 103 to 50 within 20 years.

The number of submarines would be cut from 13 to 11 in 2007-08 while there would be two aircraft carriers rather than the present three. Frigates would be cut from 17 to nine, while the number of destroyers would go up, from six to eight, but only because more have already been commissioned.

There would be no minesweepers or patrol ships, while the number of landing vessels would be cut from eight to six.

That high pitched spinning sound you hear is Nelson rolling at warp speed in his grave. At this rate, Great Britain couldn’t be a future ally even it wanted to be.

And by the way, haven’t I heard this song before, in the 20s and 30s, when both America and Britain decimated their Armed Forces, all the while watching slack jawed and uninterested as the Axis powers steadily increased their military capacities?  Had the Allies kept up their forces, it’s unlikely the Axis powers would ever have acted.  Even if they had been foolish enough to act, the war would almost certainly have ended swiftly, with the Allies having the ability to call what would have been, for the Axis powers, a big bluff.

As it was, for each country (the U.S. and Britain), its first full year of war was marked by desperately treading water as it tried to restock its own war machines.  That year was marked by hundreds of thousands of lost lives worldwide and, almost certainly, contributed to the war’s length.


9 Responses

  1. Dunno about that historical example – the French Army was five times the size of the German Army that invaded France to kick off WWII,and had a whole lot more tanks. Evidently the Germans weren’t bluffing, and din’tmuch worry about the numerical disparity.

    Of course, they were up against the French…

  2. I declared a hiatus on insulting the French once they elected Sarkozy, and his recent pronouncements about Iran keep me quiet. Nevertheless, it is a historic fact that in 1870-71, 1914-1918 and 1939/1945, despite enormous numbers of individual acts of bravery by French men and women (especially in WWII), the French did not acquit themselves well when the Germans came to war.

  3. Hello Bookworm,

    Victor Hanson wrote something a couple of months back that we need to review our list of allies, including Britain. Even if Britain wanted to she couldn’t be our ally because she isn’t able to generate any credible force to contribute to our international commitments.

    This means that Britain is, de facto, not our ally. She couldn’t even commit one frigate to our navy forces patrol the Korean Pennisula. I suspect that Iran was able to seize their sailors this past year because their weapons systems aboard their ships are no longer operable. A report earlier this year pointed to a systemic malfunction in their weapons system due to lack of maintenance.

    In a word, they are deliberately de-clawing themselves and rededicating their energies toward the continent.

    Thank you Tony Blair. Not only did he delete Britain’s culture on every level, in every sphere. He also gutted their military into nothing. He ordered Britain’s military to join ours in our War on Terror and his Parliament just didn’t think to fund any of it. The bottom line is the Royal Navy and other military branches of Britain is teetering on the edge of collapse, and I don’t know if they can recover.

  4. I agree with Thomas. ‘Tis sad but true, the Brits have already surrendered to EUrabia. No sense paying all that money for a navy that can’t and won’t fight. The good news is that, if threatened, they certainly know how to jaw, jaw, as Churchill put it. Sure will miss them, though.

  5. The idea that the British sailors were taken by Iran because the Brits’ weapon systems were inoperable is …(insert your own term for breathtaking disbelief tinged with a sense of betrayal)
    I must say that after the Sheffield was struck from the seaward side in the Fauklans war, I became concerned about the training the British military was getting. The captain apparently failed to remember a ship at sea can be attacked from any direction.
    If the maintenance issue is true, the only thing to do is to reduce your forces, and then make sure they are able to fight.
    Assuming that the bean counters in the Exchequer don’t try to further cut the budget because there are fewer ships.

  6. In point of fact the USA doesn’t have “allies” in the traditional, or use-of-the-word-as-it-is-commonly -understood, mold.

    We never have had. What we have is a bunch of overseas dependencies, who, without us and our protection, do not eat, do not live free, do not have emulative democracies – and would have been swallowed by their enemies long ago.

    You form an alliance with someone because they bring something to the table, and the two of you add up to something more than either would separately, even if both took the same viewpoint. (An alliance is thus something more than the sum of two parts. There should be a mutuality of benefits to the contracting parties.))

    So – with that in mind, precisely what do Germany, France, Italy, Spain, England, Belgium – really, all of Europe – have to bring to the table with us? In what way does having them around benefit us? What, may it fairly be said, do they contribute to our union?

    I can’t think of a damn thing. We’ve had the priivlege of defending them from the Soviet Union for 75 years, we’ve had the privilege of expending blood and treasure on their behalf – twice; and we’ve gotten damn-all in return – not even the thanks of a grateful nation. (Which wouldn’t exist at all if we didn’t guarantee it.)

    I’m at “write off Europe” point, personally.

  7. As it was, for each country (the U.S. and Britain), its first full year of war was marked by desperately treading water as it tried to restock its own war machines. That year was marked by hundreds of thousands of lost lives worldwide and, almost certainly, contributed to the war’s length.

    One of the problems of democracies and republics is that they really can’t maintain a useful and professional military force for long, without outside threats at least to maintain public opinion.

    So – with that in mind, precisely what do Germany, France, Italy, Spain, England, Belgium – really, all of Europe – have to bring to the table with us?

    They are going to bring the “gimme” to the table. Gimme political and international influence in your decisions and you’ll get some hot air from us.

    Part of US policy has always promoted the socialism model of military protection. Meaning, we protect you and provide you logistics and you (Europe, Japan, etc) provide basing and various other maintenance abilities which we (the US) pay for.

    This is socialistic rather than imperialistic, because socialism, like feudalism which it developed from, is built upon the premise that one group are adults and the other group is to be protected as children. In democratic socialism you have the group of a small elite cadre controlling a majority mob by providing the mob with socialist benefits.

    Socialism in the military sense has the same drawbacks as economic socialism. In effect, the “children” never grow up, no matter how long you provide for their welfare. Only a strict sense of national self-worth and independence, such as what Japan shows can ever produce any real kind of self-sufficiency. As with teenagers, self-sufficiency is learned through practice and emulation. Meaning, independence from the parent breeds self-sufficiency. France may wish to be independent and “their own” so to speak, but all their policies with subsidization of Airbus to outcompete Boeing simply puts them more behind the curve. Resentment breeds more resentment. France and others may wish to get “out” from the US protection envelope but they are not willing to do what it takes. Sarko may be willing to do so, but France itself is lacking in certain national characteristics that Japan has.

    The US tried the same thing in Afghanistan and Iraq. The SF handled Afghanistan by teaching the locals how to fight rather than fighting FOR the locals;they did this starting from day 1. This made it so that the “parent” didn’t need to do much cause the teenagers could take care of themselves mostly. Iraq, however, was done in the classic “America does everything cause that’s who you can count on”. That is true but the Army combined that with decades of combat inexperience, so there was a certain amount of naivete amongst military and civilian policy makers. It is why the Special Forces have a certain disdain for the mickey mouse routine in the Army.

    This all simply leads to a heavy dependence upon American Naval and Army forces to secure peace and prosperity in this world through enforcing law, order, and stability. War on the European continent was ended by American power, not anyone else’s. Not even the Soviet’s for their desire for more territory would have created more wars and more outbursts of rebellion eventually. However, once you end war, the energy just doesn’t disappear. It goes into somewhere else. KGB agents successfully redirected angst and hatred towards the Nazi occupiers against the American occupiers along the divide between Capitalistic West and Communist East. The energy used in warfare cannot be destroyed simply by ending war on the European continent. It has to be re-directed towards something else or someone else.

    Enter anti-Americanism. Enter decadence. Energy that can’t be put into warfare and competition can sure be put into totalitarian and socialist policies designed to secure power and dominance. The energy that once went into European warfare now goes into partying and drinking and social revolution. (gay movement, transgender, Anglican female Bishops, etc)

    In a sense, America is a victim of her success. If she hadn’t been able to protect Europe as well as she did, Europe would have become another Iraq and probably learned how to protect themselves using local security forces. So long as American forces were adequate for protection… why would Europe pay giga millions to develop their own? Remember that flaw in democracies and republics. Once Communism had fallen, the only “outside” enemy around was the United States.

  8. Only a policy based upon some kind of Imperialism will ever get the United States a quid pro quo system. Although Mercantilism, which China practices, also returns any security/economic investment. The US does not engage in imperialism or mercantilism however.

    An example of imperialism is the British recruitment of the Gurkhas in Nepal. The Gurkhas got economic benefits and the ability to live their life as honorable warriors, fighting in the Regiments. THe British got cadres of strong and fearsome recruits. In fact, the regiments Britain used in the War of 1812 had soldiers picked from across the British Empire.

    American destiny flow is inwards flowing rather than outwards expansionary. By that I mean people come to the US, become citizens, join the military, and then the military is sent out as a systematic and unified whole. Outwards expansionary would be sending the military, occupying the zone, and then recruiting locals from the zone to send to the military, and finally you repeat the cycle. You can easily replace “recruits” with other useful resources, such as tea, spice, etc. Theoretically the US cycle is supposed to be smooth and unified, but in the past it was given that blacks were segregated and banned from the Marine Corps in WWII. War, however, provides the lubricants for inter-racial, inter-cultural, and inter-national understanding and peace. War done well, provides the relationship and deal between Japan and America, for example.

    War is not just about who has the greater numbers and the greater hammer, as the Left thinks with their regressive aristocratic world view (that equates numbers with power, because votes are power).

    THe US expects gratitude because any parent would expect such a minimum standard. However, not every child of every parent feels gratitude or even any loyalty to their parent. Expectation is not enough.

    However, the socialism model or call it the “social security” model, since SS essentially models the global trends in existence, is not enough to sustain alliances of mutual interest. Meaning, America will always be alone in the socialist model of military security because socialism is not about bringing people up to your standard, rather socialism is about keeping people in a certain slot… for their own protection. It can be either true, in the case of the US global dynamic, or false as the case for the Democrat party in the US in how they treat blacks, whites, etc.

    The topic of the SS is a good visualization because essentially the US pays for the protection of Europe in the hopes that sometime in the future, a future generation of Europeans will repay America with… something. That model doesn’t work in economics dealing with humans, why would it work with security issues that deal with Europeans?

    True alliances are made upon mutual interest because both parties have something to benefit from in the NOW from each other, not some umteen generation into the future as with the SS model. Self-interest is what motivates people, dontcha know. Something the Founding Fathers took into effect and thus created a working system, that worked for longer than socialism or communism combined.

    Bookworm, on September 29th, 2007 at 8:00 pm Said:
    I declared a hiatus on insulting the French once they elected Sarkozy, and his recent pronouncements about Iran keep me quiet. Nevertheless, it is a historic fact that in 1870-71, 1914-1918 and 1939/1945, despite enormous numbers of individual acts of bravery by French men and women (especially in WWII), the French did not acquit themselves well when the Germans came to war.

    Did you know Book, that some Canadian I debated with across the internet, was trying to claim that Petain and the French couldn’t hold back the Germans in WWII and thus surrendered with honor?

  9. […] on October 2nd, 2007 at 11:15 am […]

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