To some political commentators
As long ago as the white rebellion in Southern Rhodesia, now
Those of us old enough to have witnessed the rapid decline and fall of the British Empire after the Second World War – a process that involved the commitment of military resources on a scale that we could ill afford, and much spilling of civilian blood – did so with relief rather than regret. The myth persists that
But still commentators seem to bemoan our reduced standing on the world stage. Con Coughlin, in the Daily Telegraph, writes of, “….the humiliating revelation that our policy for confronting Vladimir Putin’s Crimean land grab is to do … precisely nothing”.
One wonders what he expects us to do. Send in troops? The number of Russian troops gathered on
Coughlin concludes his lament with this: “The Prime Minister has only himself to blame for this disastrous state of affairs – for he has encouraged the likes of Mr. Powell (his national security advisor) to reconfigure Britain’s global ambitions to a level more suited to Scandinavia than to a leading world power. The result is that, far from playing a prominent role in efforts to bring Mr. Putin to his senses,
Quite right, too, I say. How big would our army, navy and air force have to be in order to deter Mr. Putin from his adventure? More than we can afford, is the answer, and more – far more – than we ought to contemplate ever spending again.
And by the way, I would happily exchange the British standard of living for that enjoyed by any one of our three northern neighbours, none of which has given a moment’s thought to restoring historical military glories.
Mr. Putin may be wrong. He may be a Stalinesque monster consumed by yearnings for a reversion to Soviet-style hegemony in the region. But our inability to mount an effective military response is not a matter for regret. It is a matter of reality.
The reality is that
Britons should be no more regretful about this state of affairs than the citizens of
Incidentally, what are the Americans, with their vast arsenal and manpower resources going to do? Nothing is my guess.