Saturday, June 28, 2003
Mini Me's Foreign Policy - 28th June 2003, 20.48

Geoff Hoon, in the Commons, quietly laid to rest the sole claim of Britain to military superiority over its European neighbours: the ability to fight an independent war.

Mr Hoon added: "Most importantly, it is highly unlikely that the United Kingdom would be engaged in large-scale combat operations without the United States, a judgment born of past experience, shared interest and our assessment of strategic trends".

Therefore, the autumn defence policy paper will focus upon how Britain can fit its forces into the needs of the United States, or unspoken, Europe. Hoon argued that Britain should institutionalise its role as America's figleaf.

Calling for a US-style strategic shift from tanks to modern technology, Mr Hoon implied it was Europe's responsibility to prevent the US going it alone in future combat.

"The issue is not whether the US decides to develop a unilateral or multilateral approach over the long term," the minister told a London conference. "Whether it finds itself in that position or not will depend on the role played, and on the persuasiveness, and ultimately the capabilities of its allies."

To this end, Britain will rationalise its armed forces, yet again, as the shortcomings of areas like logistics come to the fore. Hoon also stated that the number of men in your army is not a primary factor in strategic calculations:

Similarly, achieving a powerful army was "no longer a matter of simply generating high numbers of combat forces."

Nevertheless, after the massacre of six lightly-armed redcaps, the British army is calling for more troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.


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