Wasteful defense spending is a universal constant. Bad as we have it, though, we’re doing better than the Brits:
They were the Eurofighter project (£15-£20 billion), the new aircraft carriers (£4 billion) and their frigate escorts, and a replacement for the Trident missile and its submarines (£20 billion). These pet projects of the Royal Navy and RAF were protected so new Labour would not appear soft on defence. There was no consideration given to the equipment needs of Tony Blair’s more interventionist foreign policy. The government decided, in effect, to pretend that it was still fighting the Russians (and possibly the Germans)…
Nor do ministers dare to take painful decisions for them. Every cut is across the board. Gordon Brown has let it be known that there must be no talk of cancellations, only postponements. Carriers may be delayed, Astute-class submarines may be reduced from eight to four and Type 45 destroyers from 12 to six. The number of Eurofighter Typhoons on order may be slashed. Strategy can go to the wall but not politics. As one sceptic said last week, “The chiefs have planned to go on fighting the Russians, but to lose.”
Poor Britain. Of their two main political parties, one can’t afford to look weak on defense and the other just doesn’t seem to care.
Reminds me of America in the ’90s, when the Republicans went along with (or suggested) almost every cut suffered by the Army. All the while, George Bush Sr and Bill Clinton increased deployments and optempos.
Come to think of it, that’s not much different from George Jr. and Donald Rumsfeld.