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06 December 2019


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I am grateful for your insights into UK defence policy. You say -

"While GB is quite subordinate to the USA, they believe that they are allies rather then vasalls which improves their willingness to invest resources)."

1. In the earlier cold war period we "invested resources" in defence to the extent that it seriously unbalanced our economy. That was because the UK establishment was still hooked on "East of Suez" nonsense. We also invested greater resources in NATO by far than the continental European countries. That was because we were scared of the Soviet Union. There was also the desire of the establishment to hold on to the illusion that a small country on the edge of Europe was one of the "Big Three".

Whether it was foolish or not to invest resources in that way is here beside the point. The point is that we did not do so because the Americans were twisting our arms. In fact a glance at the history shows that the Americans were opposed to that first reason given above and indifferent to the third.

Also worth noting is that during the Falklands War, behind all the diplomatic nonsense and political posturing, the Americans were solidly there when it came to logistic and other support. That contrasts with the attitude of the continental Europeans. It's at such times that one finds out who one's real friends are.

Also worth noting - ich hoffe, ich langweile Sie nicht - that the NATO alliance is voluntary and flexible. The incorporation of the British armed forces into the as yet non-existent "European Army" that Mrs May was rushing through and that Mr Johnson may well continue with will be neither. Nor is it likely to serve as an effective defensive alliance.

2. In any case you are seriously in error when you characterise the UK as an American vassal state. Close we are, and a damned good thing too, but our country is not run from Washington.

At present it is increasingly run from Brussels. You may have noticed that many English seek to remedy this state of affairs. For the moment this attempt is hampered by politicians who are either singularly inept or quislings. That will not last for ever and then we shall be vassals to none.

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