Executive Intelligence Review


U.K. Defense Secretary Says after Brexit Britain Can Expand Its Global Power and ‘Lethality’

Feb. 11, 2019 (EIRNS)—Her Majesty’s Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson gave a speech today at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London on how Great Britain will increase its “lethality” after Brexit, which includes sending its new aircraft carrier, the Queen Elizabeth II, to the South China Sea (if they send it before 2021, it will not have its air squadrons but only helicopters). But according to some reactions, the only casualty in the speech, was that he shot himself in the foot.

“Brexit has brought us to a great moment in our history. A moment when we must strengthen our global presence, enhance our lethality, and increase our mass,”

Williamson said, reported Sputnik.

“We can build new alliances, rekindle old ones and most importantly make it clear that we are the country that will act when required. And, a nation that people can turn to when the world needs leadership,”

Williamson said.

Williamson announced that the first mission of the HMS Queen Elizabeth will include tours in the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Pacific, with the vessel carrying two squadrons of British and U.S. F-35 jets (but not until 2021).

The speech sounded like Anthony Eden on the eve of the 1956 Suez crisis, saying Britain must stand up to alleged Russian “provocations.” “Such action from Russia must come at a cost,” he demanded and claiming that the cost to Britain of non-intervention has often been “unacceptably high” and that “to talk but fail to act risks our nation being seen as little more than a paper tiger.”

Following the speech, the Guardian’s Simon Jenkins wrote in an op-ed:

“The defense secretary’s brain has gone absent without leave.... If history teaches us anything, it is that vanity defense procurements merely incite ministers to reckless interventions, afterwards bitterly regretted. Williamson’s speech reads like the pompous rantings of a 1950s Tory on the make. It cannot conceivably have been cleared with colleagues, let alone the Treasury. It is best forgotten.”

The former Labour Party shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Chris Leslie also ridiculed the speech, warning,

“In fact the economic damage that Brexit threatens is what will most quickly weaken our forces. The Treasury’s own forecast is that Brexit will leave us £100 billion worse off and the experience of recent years is that the Treasury is never slow to pick on defense when it is looking for cuts. In the economic mess that will follow Brexit, hopes of East of Suez could be the first to go.”