Guardian: "The UK's World Role: GB's Greatest Fixation"

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by soleil, Jan 25, 2010.

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  1. jockpopeye

    jockpopeye Badgeman Book Reviewer

    Interesting blend of opinion and left wing drivel normally found in the Guardian.

    Britain does have an important place as we are with the USA on foreign policy and closer to Europe economically. We walk the tightrope to maintain a balance of power that suits us between the alll mighty USA and the French / German European hegemon. These two groups that we have a part of then have to work to maintain balance against a growing China, a resurgent Russia and an upstart India.

    If anyone tells you that balance of power politics are redundant in a globalised world they are misguided.

    No carriers would mean that we would have a loss of independance and have to rely on one group more than the other.
  2. The article understates just how bad the economic future for the UK is. It lists the UK as the world's 6th largest economy but neglects to add that as recently as 2005 the UK was the 4th largest economy and that by 2015 the UK will be outside the world's top ten economies; overtaken by Russia / Spain / Brazil and level with Mexico.

    The UK is ranked 13th in the world for competitiveness but has the 3rd largest deficit in the world, running at 150% of GDP. The UK recovery is lagging behind all major economies and the IMF has already warned that because of the level of borrowing the UK risks entering a double-dip recession. The recent bank rescue fiasco added 3000 pounds of debt for every man, woman and child in UK but not many people were paying attention to that one.

    Huge unemployment, a bloated public-sector and borrowing running at 150 billion a year. This is all unsustainable and when the next government enters office there will be huge cuts.

    As GDP declines then so will the defence budget even if it remains at it's present percentage of GDP which is unlikely.

    Aircraft carriers?? Not a chance.

  3. If only UKplc concentrated on defending itself rather than "projecting power", our defence spending might be closer to our requirements. The time is long gone when we should expect our Forces to do the job currently required of them.
  5. Some people strive to run/own the best hotel in town. Others just strive to be best paid and tipped waiter. I suspect that the author of that article thinks like a waiter.
  7. Without trying to sound too gloomy, what we are experiencing here is the End of Empire. WW2 was the coup-de-grace for the British Empire and we've been struggling to find a world role ever since. The empire is lost and now the very core of the Union is on it's way out - devolution for Scotland and Wales is just another step in this process. It may have been 60 years since the end of the war but from a historical context that's a very rapid recline from empire - and it was exactly thus for every other empire in history, centuries of empire and then bang - gone! Replaced with something else.

    My problem is with Britain is, why do we struggle so hard to maintain a role in the world? Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, France - all these European nations have had a empirical past, and each of their empires has had it's role to play in world history. But they have just accepted that they no longer hold any sway (France excepted due it's Permanent UN seat), and are getting on with it, normally by upholding their own genuine national interests.

    We just need to grow up and move on.
  8. No, we don't.
    We are not Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium or France - we are Great Britain and we still have a place in the world which is greater than our size suggests we perhaps should. I am shocked at the willingness of some to forget our traditions and our history and welcome in a new era of irrelevance.

    The nature of power projection and methods of exerting influence are changing, we should ensure our defence strategy takes that into account and maintains that capability at it's core. Anyone who thinks ensuring our defence and security and maintaining our economic and trade position can still be done with a military designed specifically for narrowly focused border security roles and an intervention capability modelled solely on current conflicts is worryingly mistaken.

    This is why the SDR is so important, if we go down the seemingly likely route that the Army-centric powers that be want to take us and we might have no choice in whether we become an irrelevance or not.
  9. The one inescapable FACT is, we are an Island and are dependant on the sea. So if we have to rethink our role and priorities, why not downsize the Army to secure our borders and coastline.
    Re jig the RAF to find a niche role.
    Then as we all would wish re establish the RN back to a level and size able to safeguard our trade and therfore our prosperity.
    The booties could be incresed in size in case we needed boots on the ground in a foreign land.
    Oh and reduce the welfare budget, because its that and that alone which is bleedin the defence budget.

  10. No it's not. It is simply one of many factors.

    The economy is in crisis and private sector unemployment has increased.

    This has reduced the tax base and increased welfare requirements. It has also dramatically reduced GDP to which defence spend is linked.

    The public-sector has not decreased so the shrinking private-sector [the wealth producers] have to pay for the out-of-work private sector plus the public-sector wage requirements.

    The cost of two wars has been funded primarily by borrowing and a corollary of this has been a devaluation of sterling - which in turn means that the wars become more expensive and interest payments on the billions borrowed increases.

    Your grand-children will still be paying off these debts in 30 years time and the kitty is empty for any meaningful defence review that puts the real defence of the UK as a primacy. It's no good banging drums about how great we once were. We were great because we had the money to spend - no longer the case I'm afraid.

  11. A lot of the posts on this topic seem to be pushing for some form of isolationism as if pulling up the drawbridge and thinking happy thoughts would make all the bad men go away. This once again highlights the reason history is taught (though clearly not well enough) at school. The entire Second World War is an example of how fcuking wrong the international scene can go if everyones only interested in their own national interest. Had the US or the British/French alliance moved forcefully against Japan when it invaded China in 1937 they would never would have had the resources to build up their military for the arsekicking they gave the West in 1941/42. It was the failure of the Western Allies to look beyond their narrow self interest that caused them to make concession after concession to Italy and Germany for peace at any cost losing themselves numerous potential allies and giving Hitler time (and plundered resources) to turn the Wehrmacht into the most powerful army in the world. And no before anyone says it I'm not comparing Iraq in 2003 to Germany in 1939. The point of my argument is that we need to maintain a robust foreign policy along side a willingness to, if necessary, spend blood and treasure in foreign fields so that the molotov never comes through the lounge window.
  12. Also I'll eat my left hand if Russia will economically overtake us in my lifetime with their endemic alcoholism, more abortions than live births, rampent corruption (which would make our MPs cum in their pants), massive organised crime, rising fascism and political repression all set to keep them down for a while yet. No doubt anyone of these studies based on figures that have no bearing in the real world like the one I saw last year that claimed the French will have died out by 2350 because they're not having enough kids right now.
  13. OK, I'll bite...

    I'm not saying we should be isolationists. I think what I was getting at is that perhaps, as bitter a pill as it might be to swallow, our genuine national interests lie in becoming an influencial European Union member rather than playing "EU-lite" and getting regularly fcuked-over by France and Germany who don't think we're taking the EU seriously. Lets face it, practically ever major war in history has been caused between warring European nations.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn't it?

    One could argue that perhaps it was in the interest of the world not to repeat the horror of 1914-18. It was the failure of the Treaty of Versaille for laying the blame for WWI firmly at Germany's feet that ultimately led to German demands for "lebensraum". Not a Nazi sympathiser by any means, but Germany was hammered by France and the UK and the carving up of Germany in 1919 gave Hitler a cause celebre.

    I love a healthy debate :D
  14. You are correct - the projections are being made by inconsequential organizations like the OECD, World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

    In 2005, the UK was the 4th largest economy in the world. China overtook in 2006, France in 2008 and Italy in 2009. So now the official figures
    suggest that we have dropped to No.7

    Projecting forward, economic growth will allow Brazil and Russia to overtake us sometime soon, perhaps late 2011 to early 2012.

    India will overtake as well, though probably not till 2015.

    RM :thumbleft:
  15. Bergen mate,

    I never once made the point that we shud be spending money we dont have on the Navy.
    But I am fed up seeing the country bled dry.
    If this country was a person it would have a warning marker as a habitual self harmer!!
    The public sector issue is more about too many chiefs with overpaid salaries, be that Police,Armed Forces,NHS,Councils,Quangos or whatever.
  16. Hindsight is exactly the point of history so that we can see the similarities of the present with historical events and make sure we don't repeat the fcuk ups. Read Andrew Robert's 'A History of the English Speaking Peoples since 1900'. Gives a very nice concise argument showing how the First World War was Germany's fault as Kaiser Wilhelm wanted it to dominate Europe (I also learnt from it that he was a massive anti-semitic cnut who was chatting about gassing them in 1912 beating Hitler by 29 years) and actively encouraged the Austrians to force Serbia into telling them to fcuk off so that they could declare war. The Austrians would never had gone to war with Serbia in 1914 (as they knew Russia would declare war on them) unless they had German support. It was only in the 1960s when West Germany was our ally and a new generation of liberal historians had come about that this idea of an innocent Germany gained any traction.
    Back to the present I'm all in favour of being matey with Europe and am in favour of Britain leading a primarily eastern european bloc to counter the German-French-Low Countries domination. But considering the rather lacklustre approach taken by the French, German (who are just hiding behind the post-war caveats now, as I doubt Poland or Russia would be overly fcuked off if they started hunting Taliban) and Italian militaries in Afghanistan I'd rather stick with the USA, Canada and Australia bloc for defence purposes.
  17. Can't argue with that matey :)
  18. BV - I share your frustration. The country has been ill-governed for a long while. Part of that ill-governance is the buying off of public opinion by creating an underclass supported by the public purse. Nearly as bad is the bloating of the public-sector which you identify. The NuLiebour government has been particularly adept at this but the Tories have been almost as bad.

    Until this disinterested and uninvolved electorate can be engaged then nothing will change.

    Voting should be an obligation that is enforced and the entire benefits system overhauled to prevent the safety net becoming a way of life.

    Regards Mate

  19. Ah yes; the freedom we should truly value.

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