Donald Trump got elected by promising to leave NATO. Now, like his promises not to engage in foreign conflicts & to build a wall between the USA and Mexico, Trump has u turned. His previous lack of commitment to NATO has been replaced by the feeling that it is now “no longer obsolete”.
Originally, the USA created NATO as an act of national security against the Communist Bloc, as a means of fighting the cold war, using sea lane domination to ‘strangle the commies’. The cold war ended 30 years ago. NATO is still here. Trumps change of heart ensures the future for an organisation set up to defend us from the USSR.
As the third largest Military spending nation behind the USA & China, we in the UK should check the record of Theresa May’s Conservative government when it comes to Military spending, a record riddled with dodgy deals and mis-spending. First we bought Navy aircraft carriers that were set to be sold after three years – and never carry jets. Each one cost £3 billion – half a billion more than the NHS deficit. The excuse from the government?
“This is not a perfect set of circumstances. There is no political benefit for us but it is the right thing for the country. It would have been more expensive to cancel than build the aircraft carrier.”
Then, at the start of the year, all of our Navy Submarine Destroyers were in port at the same time, a scandal which left the waters of the UK exposed. Then it was revealed by a leak from the Ministry of Defence that there is a £10 billion hole in our defence budget.
The recent terrorist attack on the UK Parliament, in which MET police officer PC Keith Palmer died, showed that the emergency services took 10 minutes to respond to the incident, and allowed a delivery man into the House of Commons during the incident.
As Home Secretary to David Cameron, Theresa May oversaw our police forces. During that period they have had a 22% budget cut, losing 32, 000 staff including 20,000 front line officers. Theresa May replaced them with PCSOs and Private Security personnel. She cannot claim that she inherited this mess when she actually created it herself.
For seven years the Conservatives government have fallen short – showing themselves incapable of defending our country, and planning our defence strategy.
The French Police forces can deploy more officers than our entire Army. Our soldiers are paid peanuts and kitted out with sub standard kit. When their service is over, they are provided with sub standard after care and they are then abandoned to the streets to live homeless with PTSD. Or they will come back from the warzones our politicians send them to, and we will send the soldiers, and not the politicians, to court to answer for their actions.
All of this incompetent budget management is allowed because the government can throw Tax Payer money to private vested interests, in which the Conservatives themselves often have a stake. This bumbling larceny leave us without a defence strategy that actually defends the Islands on which we live.
Those worrying about the Syrian Civil War, or alleged Russian hacking of Hillary Clinton, should bear in mind that not being able to monitor our own waters is a stunning failure of strategic planning. Someone needs to remind Theresa May & the Conservatives that the primary role of government since ancient times has been “the defence of the realm”.
In a dangerous world where the most powerful person is the unpredictable Donald J Trump, getting our strategy & spending right is very, very important. Theresa May’s Conservatives are failing.