Here's a rundown on what is being cut from Britain's defense budget. From the lede: "PM David Cameron said defence spending would fall by 8% over four years." Richard Norton-Taylor contends that the British defense review means no more "Iraq-scale military interventions":
Though defence chiefs said ... they will still have significant expeditionary forces, they will not be able to intervene on the scale of recent years. According to new defence planning assumptions, UK forces will be able to carry out one enduring brigade-level operation with up to 6,500 personnel, compared to the 10,000 now in Afghanistan, plus two smaller interventions, at any one time.
Alternatively, they will be able to mount a one-off, time-limited major intervention "with sufficient warning" of up to three brigades with about 30,000 personnel, which is two-thirds of the force deployed to Iraq in 2003.
Yglesias thinks the sort of cuts that the British are pursuing is bad news for America:
Cutting conventional military personnel while spending money on renewing Britain’s nuclear arsenal is more-or-less the worst case scenario from an American perspective. The UK’s ability to contribute to the “global public goods” functions of the Pentagon will be diminished more than is necessary to meet the monetary targets, and British possession of a nuclear second-strike capability accomplishes nothing whatsoever for America. What’s more, it doesn’t really accomplish anything for the United Kingdom eitherit’s just a way of hanging on to a bit of faded imperial glory.
Greg Scoblete shrugs:
I think it's useful to keep in mind that if we accept the fact that waging preventative wars followed by large-scale military occupation is not the proper way to combat terrorism, then fielding a smaller army is not necessarily a major setback to international security.
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