Britain’s farewell to arms?


Or concern about the lowering of demand for armaments? 

The FT’s  Philip Stephens [Sept. 30th] writes disapprovingly: “Britain is stepping back from the world. David Cameron’s government had imagined a measured withdrawal, executed under the cover of fiscal prudence. This quiet shuffle, in the guise of a strategic review of defence spending, has descended into disorderly retreat.” 

Craven retreat from facing myriad risks? 

He cites the “myriad risks thrown up by nuclear proliferation, jihadi terrorism, cyber attacks, threatened sea lanes and rising disorder in failing states.” 

His conclusion: the coalition can decide that Britain remains a significant player on the global stage or it can adopt a ‘defensive crouch’. 

Use a diplomatic boathook to avoid collisions 

A far more  inviting and civilised parallel, drawn by some in Mr Cameron’s circle, according to Philp Stephens, is with the 19th century Tory statesman minister Lord Salisbury, a reluctant interventionist. The aim of foreign policy, he once said, was “to float lazily downstream, occasionally putting out a diplomatic boathook to avoid collisions”. 

Next: Correlli Barnett’s analysis


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