Speaking today at the House of Commons, British Prime Minister David Cameron conceded that the major cuts in military spending meant that the nation could no longer engage in massive Iraq-style occupations.
At the same time, Britain does not appear to be going the non-interventionist route, as the new military funding is based on the assumption of the nation still engaging in three simultaneous military occupations at any given time.
One of these occupations could be “brigade-level,” involving 6,500 troops, while they could also launch two smaller occupations at the same time. The reports also indicate that the military can engage in a single 30,000 soldier occupation, but only for a limited time and with significant advanced notice.
During the campaign, Cameron made much of ensuring Britain’s ability to launch major wars abroad, but the realities of the nation’s budget crisis have forced him to back off this position and agree to cuts once thought unthinkable. The US has also warned Britain against cuts.
Incredible as it may seem, Britain’s status as a major military aggressor seems to be coming to an end in the wake of the election of a hawkish new prime minister, and based pretty much exclusively on the sheer unaffordability of its imperial ambitions.