As the US Secretary for Defence Mark Esper met with his opposite number here in London, Ben Wallace, last week on the steps of Horse Guards, the two nations reflected upon the central role each has played in the continued defence of Europe over the past century.

This opinion piece was submitted to us by Rob Clark (@RobertClark87), a Postgrad Researcher and British Army veteran and is not necessarily the opinion of the UK Defence Journal. Our aim is to promote discussion in defence and we do this by presenting opinions.

This year marks two significant anniversaries which serve to highlight this contribution which the US and the UK make; the 75th Anniversary of Operation Overlord, the allied invasion and subsequent liberation of occupied Europe; and the 70th Anniversary of the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), which has maintained peace and prosperity on the continent ever since.

Britain’s place at the forefront of NATO has been the cornerstone of the country’s defence interests for the last 70 years, directing international defence engagement and cooperation with allies; none more important than with the US. The strategic partnership which Britain shares with the US cannot be overstated, and must be sustained going forward as the UK is set to leave the EU.

However, whilst Parliament and the government continue to tussle over setting the timeline for this to happen, in addition to a ‘no-deal’ scenario now seeming remote, it is worth noting that the current withdrawal agreement, as it is set by the previous government, contains numerous provisions which are highly detrimental to UK defence and security interests.

Under Clause 104 of the Political Declaration of Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement, under Article 184, Britain is locked into various EU structures created in order to establish control of Europe’s defence by the EU Commission – these include the European Defence Fund (EDF), the European Defence Agency (EDA) and the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) mechanism.

That the UK financed the PESCO initiative known as Galileo, the satellite navigation system, by approximately 15% (irrecoverable costs, as stated by Brussels), highlights how in fact the reality of Clause 104 is to serve the needs of Brussels, not London, in a one-sided defence relationship.

As it turns out, incidentally, the Galileo system has seen repeated set-backs, and is now relying upon the US’ GPS system; which ironically Galileo was designed to avoid such a dependence upon. Instead, the UK is turning to a potential alliance with its ‘Five Eyes’ partners; a foreign policy decision which increasingly sets the tone for the UK’s Global Britain approach post-Brexit.

In addition to PESCO, a parochial system which will bind UK defence to Brussels even after leaving the EU, the EDF further detriments the UK’s ability to hold sovereign power over its own defence and security policies.

The EDF is the central pillar of the EU’s structures for defence. With a budget of 13 billion euros, it works by leveraging nations’ resources through policy compliance – members having to agree to abide by the EU’s rules – in addition to making grants to encourage sovereign nations to make changes to their defence budgets which further align them to the EU Commission.

This is evidenced by the degree of control which the Commission has superseding sovereign member states; the Coordination Board, in charge of setting both defence research and defence industrial development programmes, is appointed by the EU, which in turn appoints independent experts not published by Brussels.

This lack of transparency and accountability in the EDF is far-reaching. In April this year, MEPs voted with over a 100 majority to relinquish European Parliamentary oversight to the Commission for control of the EDF’s budget. Reinhard Bütikofer MEP, defence spokesperson and shadow rapporteur for the Greens/EFA group stated that “It is scandalous that the European Parliament has refused to supervise this expenditure”.

With PESCO initiatives seeking to serve only the EU and not the UK going forwards, and the EDF being wholly unaccountable to sovereign European member states, potentially duplicating defence projects and threatening NATO objectives, the UK is bound to these projects through EU law, as worded in Clause 104 of the Political Declaration. Stating that “the parties agree to enable to the extent possible under the conditions of Union law”. Thereby, EU law supersedes UK sovereignty in being able to determine its own defence and security policies.

This situation is entirely unacceptable, and is a product of the disastrous previous government under Theresa May and her negotiating team. Having failed to play the UK’s strengths in defence early on in the negotiating process, the previous government allowed London to become subservient to Brussels.

Fortunately for the UK, this situation is beginning to be reversed. Despite the lateness of the hour, last week Boris Johnson’s EU envoy David Frost met in Brussels with Commission negotiators, seeking a looser level of defence cooperation than is currently on offer under the withdrawal agreement.

Although this firmer position is on the right tracks, it still lacks a robust message, which those in Brussels have failed to properly grasp. Whilst the government are now insisting, finally, that “any future deal must contain structures that will maintain British sovereign control over how its defence assets are used”, some in Europe are mistaking this for a form of leverage to be used in the wider negotiating process.

Philippe Lamberts MEP who sits on the European Parliament’s Brexit steering group, said Johnson was “mistaken if he believed the UK could use its military strength to blackmail the EU”. The issue is not one of using the UK’s defence capabilities, Europe’s most powerful, as a bargaining chip in negotiations – the time for that has been and gone – the issue is making it plain for Brussels that the current defence structures in place, specifically Clause 104 of the Political Declaration, undermine UK sovereignty and are deeply detrimental to British national interests. There is no bargaining or leverage on this issue.

Going forwards, the Prime Minister and his EU envoy David Frost must make this message plainly and clearly to those in Brussels who still see UK defence as entwined with the unaccountable and bureaucratic EU defence infrastructure, and be left in no doubt whatsoever that it is NATO and the strategic partnership with the US which the UK should continue to champion, not the defence policies of an unelectable trading bloc of which the UK is soon-to-be no longer a member of.

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Steve
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Steve

An interesting but very biased article.

Ultimately reliance on the US does not come free, with it there are expectations on us that we have to meet, which works against the idea of Brexit, which in theory was to bring back power to Westminster (I realise irony of closing government to force it through).

Whether you are pro or anti brexit, we need to also consider the costs of getting further in bed with the US, it’s not as simple as releasing ourselves from one and getting free stuff from the other.

Dern
Guest
Dern

Effectively it’s: Be a leading member of the EU, or be a US satellite state/colony. But it’s never viewed that way because ultimately a) a lot of people don’t realise that or b) they don’t care because it’s ultimately about hating the EU and they don’t hate the US.

dave12
Guest
dave12

Spot on!!!

Joe
Guest
Joe

Now if only Britain was a leading member of the EU.

Alas, it isn’t and never was.

Steve
Guest
Steve

That is by our own choice, for better or worse we decided not to take a leadership position and instead preferred to stay in but not in on a number of topics.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Leave or remain, a simple truth was we had a unequal ( better ) set of membership rights than any other EU nations. This was because we were always the nation that needed the most bribing to stay in and we are a nation the EU really needed being the second biggest economy, leading military power and most politically important EU power on the world stage. Within a couple of decades we will also be the biggest EU economy and definitely first amongst equals ( instead of one of the big three, as we have now). It will hurt the… Read more »

Mike
Guest
Mike

No it isn’t. We don’t need to choose between the two. We are an advanced independent country with one of the world’s biggest economies. We can shape our alliances the way we want.

Sean
Guest
Sean

Better partnering with a democracy like the USA than being taken-over by the undemocratic EU. Certainly there is give and take, pluses and minuses to all partnerships, but it always beats serfdom.

HF
Guest
HF

Not sure where you get the idea of ‘serfdom’ and the UK not being a leading member of the EU from. Still, as a rule of thumb if Putin & Trump thinks something’s a good idea for the UK I’d say that it’s more likely to be a bad one.

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

Thought provoking article but we are where we are. We have a Oct 31 Brexit deadline. Johnson is trying to negotiate a withdrawal deal based on Theresa May’s deal but with the ‘backstop’ removed in favour of an all Ireland arrangement, probably covering agriculture and electricity, which would put a customs border in the Irish sea.
As I understand things the political declaration is different from the withdrawal agreement and is still embryonic; everything to play for regarding defence and security.

Joe16
Guest
Joe16

This is the kind of solution I see, however my understanding was that the DUP wouldn’t abide by it because they won’t accept any deal that makes any distinction between the mainland UK and Northern Ireland. Even if, as I would expect this approach does, Northern Ireland would actually benefit.
I guess, now that the Tories have no majority anyway, they’re somewhat less reliant on the DUP?

Steve Martin
Guest
Steve Martin

Pretty much. I think the ship has sailed for a Tory/DUP Brexit. Now it will have to be a deal a sufficient number of Labour MP’s see as acceptable. If they pass May’s deal they all need locking up for wasting our time and money when they could have passed it in March.

Joe16
Guest
Joe16

Agreed. Whether it had been looked at before or not, I kind of feel that they should have been locked up anyway, as it delivered nothing that anyone wanted- Remainer or Brexiteer. Being honest with the British population and the EU and recognising the complexity of disentangling us from 4 decades of policy would have been a better approach; meaning a longer, smoother transition out of the EU’s processes as we establish our own. Just claiming we can cut and run, yet still have an awesome trade deal with the EU and everywhere else in the world on Brexit Day… Read more »

HF
Guest
HF

When the result of the referendum showed such a division the correct approach should have been a consultation exercise to try to address the concerns of both sides. Unfortunately Mrs May put the unity of the tories before country. All but the most hardline leavers didn’t want to leave without some sort of deal so this call to leave on 31st October whatever has no legitimacy.

Joe16
Guest
Joe16

I would agree, that some form of pause to consider options would have been even better. Robotically stating “leave means leave” is not a really much of a plan…

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

It will be interesting to see if Johnson can pull it off. Its a paragmatic solution. I see the EU have appointed an Irishman and former agriculture minister as their next commissioner for trade. I interpret this as indicating they are open to the idea provided the Irish are happy. In a referendum ( which will not happen) I have no doubt the population of NI on all sides would back it. They want to move on. Its only the recidivist Orange war lords who maintain the inflexible unionist, stance through the DUP. Sinn Fein could go for it as… Read more »

Joe16
Guest
Joe16

Quite, I know the man isn’t an idiot so I hope that is what he has in mind. I truly don’t understand why he feels he needs to keep parliament in the dark and go ahead with the prorogue if that’s the case though. As you say, it would likely find a lot of cross-party support.
I’ll admit to being concerned (but not hugely knowledgeable) about the issues raised in the article above though, hopefully they’ll be addressed also.

Paul.P
Guest
Paul.P

When push comes to shove no international agreement will stop this country defending itself. What we need to focus on is building well equipped , well motivated and manned armed forces sufficient for the job.These are within our control and there’s lots to do !

Joe16
Guest
Joe16

I would agree in broad terms; our participation in all of these EU projects and institutions hasn’t prevented us from protecting ourselves and doing what we want to with our armed forces yet, and won’t in the future. I think there is a lot of misunderstanding about what our membership of these entails. I was more concerned with regards to financial obligation and opportunity loss from not being able to participate in anything else. As you say, we have a lot to do to keep our armed forces where they are and regain abilities that have become strained or even… Read more »

David
Guest
David

Steve, no partner ship is free. Ideally both sides gain something from it and if a rock solid guarantee from the USA to defend the UK is given then obviously there is a price attached. It’s weighing up the pros and cons of any arrangements. If it ever came to a full on shooting match I know who id prefer in our corner.

American is a more reliable military partner.

Dern
Guest
Dern

Is it? The US supplied the IRA for years, they wanted us to abandon the Falklands, they stabbed us in the back during Suez, while we’ve helped them in their wars over and over again. The US always acts first and foremost in it’s own interest and will not risk itself for us unless it sees profit in it.

HF
Guest
HF

‘The US supplied the IRA for years’ – the US government ? Of course not.
‘they wanted us to abandon the Falklands’ – no they didn’t. They wanted some sort of agreement with Argentina, whose junta they wanted to ‘police’ South America but were completely on the UK’s side when push came to shove. Suez – true but a long time ago. You are right that what is in the USA’s interests they will generally do, just like most countries. The biggest thing they wanted the UK to do was Viet Nam – never happened.

Ian
Guest
Ian

Stop Trolling, Dern! The U.S. Government never once supplied the IRA with anything. It was funding from NORAID that went to buy explosives and arms, supplied mainly by the Libyan Government! The U.S. Dep of Justice tried to ban NORAID, arguing that the IRA was its Foreign Principle. Neither were they (The U.S.) ever going to “Abandon Us” regarding the Falklands, regardless of Jean Kirkpatrick’s protestations! I can’t recall us helping the USA in Vietnam, not with any real significance anyway, maybe the odd SAS ‘observer’ role. I also recall it was “they” who helped us in our European Wars!… Read more »

Steve
Guest
Steve

Not directly supplying them I agree, not turning a blind eye whilst billions of dollars flowed there, and doing nothing about it…

Life is never black and white.

Ian
Guest
Ian

Exactly the same applied to Islamic relief organisations in the U.K.
Mainly Pakistani, it is estimated that millions of pounds went to Muslim Terror Groups. Still, the U.K. government was not complicit in funding terror.

Like you say, “never black and white”.

Elliott
Guest
Elliott

Life actually often is black and white. The US did not back the IRA. Had it done it would have made Belfast look like Beirut, Basra, or Mosul.

Steve
Guest
Steve

@Elliott. Yeah they did. Prior to 9/11 the US position was they were freedom fighters not terrorists, which meant they allowed and knew about large volumes of cash flowing to them, even though the UK gov asked the US gov to stop it. 9/11 occurs and they were added to the US terror list and the money stopped. This is all now past history but it happened.

I’m not saying an alliance with the US is bad, I’m just saying that over reliance on them is misplaced as they can’t be fully trusted as an ally.

Joe
Guest
Joe

No, the US government *never* supplied the IRA, not even for 1 second.

Don’t lie.

Sean
Guest
Sean

The USA supplied the UK with air to air missiles and satellite intelligence during the Falklands. Our EU ‘mates’ across the Channel were more than happy selling more Exocets to the Argentines: it’s just fortunate that the middle-men were MI6 agents.

Steve
Guest
Steve

France activaly blocked Exocet sales and helped us in blocking the black market sales.

The US only helped with missiles etc after pushing for us to give up the Falklands in the UN and it was very close to not supporting us, took their sec def to change minds.

In fact US were pushing the UN to vote to US peace keepers to be based in falklands, effectively taking the islands for themselves.

Rudeboy
Guest
Rudeboy

France gets a bad rap, when in reality they gave us as much practical help as the US.

Incidentally the satelltite intelligence arrived too late to be of any use. And the US missiles (9L’s) didn’t actually go into combat. All Sidewinders that went south were UK owned missiles, from our own stockpiles. The US merely topped up the NATO stockpile in Europe from their own stockpile to replace British missiles that were withdrawn.

The main US help was far more important but less well known. It was the supply of aviation fuel at Ascension Island.

Mr Bell
Guest
Mr Bell

Rudeboy and Steve, please check your facts. France conveniently forgot that they had Dassault maintenace personnel in Argentina throughout the Falklands war that helped with the integration and targetting systems for the 6 Super Ettenards Argentina had just purchased. The Argies could not integrate exocet with the Agar radar set without these Dassault experts being present. Thus Atlantic Conveyor and, HMS Sheffield losses of both ships and crew are firmly within the responsibilty of France’s actions. For the French this was a convenient way for them to advertise and sell their missiles. To qoute an arms report in 1982 “for… Read more »

Steve
Guest
Steve

Never read anything about that, will read up. However France did help us stop further missile sales, which ultimately saved a lot of lives.

Steve
Guest
Steve

The issue with the US partnership is it’s not one of equals, so it is a partnership based on US interests. Flip side is they are the world’s most powerful nation, and so we are in theory safer with their partnership than without although history puts that partially into question, from ww1, ww2, Falklands, Suez, ireland, libya etc etc where they differed about supporting us. Europe on the flip side (slipping EU from Europe allies) is equally non supportative and I wouldn’t trust them to be there if we needed it (Spain and gib for example). Saint europe isnt a… Read more »

Ian
Guest
Ian

It is a mammoth task for any nations leader to a persuade a population, not in immediate threat, to fight a foreign war. Unless you’re Tony (Machiavelli) Blair, were you simply lie. Roosevelt was supportive of Churchill from the start, he simply had a difficult time persuading the house, until Pearl Harbour that was. But we mustn’t ignore that with his lend lease decision he consciously broke neutrality. As for the Falklands, the USA had to show diplomacy, after all it did affect the Americas, putting Chile and Argentina at further odds with each other…Jean Kirkpatrick was never going to… Read more »

Joe16
Guest
Joe16

Militarily, yes, I have no problem with military alliances with the US.
On trade though, it’s a different matter. UK institutions and industries stand to lose out big time; particularly if we come out of the EU without a deal because the US negotiators will know that we’ll be over a barrel. I’m not necessarily against coming out of the EU, but it’s got to be done right and UK industry is shaky enough as it is…

HF
Guest
HF

very well said. Only have to believe what Trump says – ‘USA first’.

Joe16
Guest
Joe16

Quite, and fair play to him!

Steve
Guest
Steve

These things are tied. If we don’t accept a trade deal with their standards we will find ourselves less relevent and therefore less special. Happened not that long ago when France found it self more useful and the UK started being seen as less relevent.

Joe16
Guest
Joe16

I think that goes two ways; Our standards are what makes us special, and what allows British produced products (from agricultural to military) to charge a premium over others- it needs to be that way because of the high cost of living. Reducing our production standards for vehicles and food produce (probably the biggest two when it comes to a US trade deal) would be self defeating, because people are going to be unwilling to pay the price for a product which is no better than a domestic one. That’s why I find it difficult to believe certain MPs and… Read more »

Martin
Guest
Martin

Political narrative like this is hard to read with any sense of context and reads like Brexit Party ideology

HF
Guest
HF

They have an ideology ?

Cam
Guest
Cam

We need to play our part on the defence of the globe. Your 10 years too late America! Some of our millitary capability’s have almost been halved since then. And some of it without the nation even knowing! We should be more powerful than we are! We are a world power after all! and have a huge economy… One thing that annoys me is they are building our new dreadnoughts with 12 silos 4 less than vanguard and still they are only putting 8 missiles onboard max! If we are spending all the dam money on it and will only… Read more »

pkcasimir
Guest
pkcasimir

What in the world does “Your 10 years too late America” mean and what possible relevance could it have to this article?

By the way, all of those missiles on UK subs are leased from the US; and the US is under no treaty obligation to continue to lease them to the UK.

Sean
Guest
Sean

The UK developed and supplies its own nuclear warheads. The Trident missiles themselves are not leased. The U.K. owns 58 missiles from a shared pool of Trident missiles based in the US. The U.K. can withdraw its missiles from the pool at any time.

pkcasimir
Guest
pkcasimir

The UK does not own these missiles. They are owned by the United States and they can be recalled at anytime. Do you have any idea what the term “lease” means? Obviously, not.

HF
Guest
HF
Sean
Guest
Sean

Well the warheads have to sit on the same missile as the US ones and there’s no sense in coming up with independent design just for the sake of it.
The nuclear material comes from U.K. reactors and the warheads made in the U.K. but increasingly for cost reasons it makes sense to pool; such as the common missile compartment being used on both the new Dreadnought and the USA’s new subs.

HF
Guest
HF

Fair enough. There’s lots of confusion about the whole set up. So many people think that the USA has to agree, physically allow, a launch (God forbid it ever happens). Some of them are just trying to muddy the waters but I’ll bet some people are still thinking of the dual key arrangements for ‘tactical’ weapons or the Thor missiles in the 60’s.

Ian
Guest
Ian

They are in effect leased and serviced by the U.S. But as you point out, the warheads are British and in the extreme (hens tooth) scenario of the U.S. threatening to pull the plug, we could develop our own ICBM delivery system, but that’s not going to happen any time soon!
We also have autonomy over the trigger, also giro nav…

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

Who says our capability is halved? Our planes our missiles our ships and other weapons are improved. We have carriers we have AA destroyers. We are actively invved in NATO. In short our equipment is hugely expensive than previously and it’s capabilities are better.

We definitely do not want to be part of any EU military aliance.

pete
Guest
pete

Hyper sonic missiles can sink the carrier, they fly too fast for current defence systems, both Russia and China have them. When a T2 armoured vehicle headlight cost thousands and regenerative NBC systems stupid money its easy to see why costs are so high now!

Johnno
Guest
Johnno

All this talk of NATO/USA being desirable for the UK over any form of EU defence co-operation, yet no mention of the fact most of those supposedly untrustworthy, unreliable EU countries ARE members of NATO – pledged to come to Britain’s (and the USA’s) aid under Article 5 of the alliance’s treaty if attacked??

As Trump himself would say – sad!

maurice10
Guest
maurice10

The Devil is always in the detail or small print. Extracting the UK from some programmes will take years no matter how the initial phase of withdrawal goes, and we all need to be patient. Close integration will, for the most part, remain and as time passes the gravity of commerce will ensure a close relationship with EU defence companies. I’m sure the same gravity will apply to many fields of trade too!

Ian
Guest
Ian

Amazing! Someone who simply applies flux to a situation, rather than banging on about a Britain without the ability to move on…

pete
Guest
pete

We could charge the EU big money for using the Falklands and other islands for the GPS up-links necessary for an accurate system?

Dan
Guest
Dan

Isn’t the Political Declaration the bit that sets out a possible framework for the future relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom? As far as I’m aware, this is not legally binding – unlike the Withdrawal Agreement itself.

Julian
Guest
Julian

That’s my understanding too. It’s my biggest problem with the May deal. The Withdrawal agreement contains quite a few what could be characterised as concessions on the part of the UK (e.g. the exit payments) which would be legally binding on signature whereas the political declaration contains many of the benefits that the UK hopes to ultimately get from the negotiations yet is not legally binding, it is simply a set of supposedly shared aspirations for how subsequent negotiations will go and is essentially meaningless. I’m left wondering whatever happened to “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”. For a… Read more »

Dan
Guest
Dan

Julian, the EU made it clear from the outset that it wouldn’t talk about any future trading relationship until the terms of the UK’s withdrawal were settled. The government knew this before it triggered Article 50. I think there has been an attitude of denial over the sheer length of time it was going to take to sort it all out.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

At last! Someone states the fact ignored by the BBC, ITV, CH4, SKY, The Guardian, and every MP from Labour to the SNP. ( With exceptions like Kate H ) “it wouldn’t talk about any future trading relationship until the terms of the UK’s withdrawal were settled” And as Julian says “it is the EU’s insistence that it will not enter into trade talks with the UK until the UK is legally a third country (e.g. within a transition period) that does not seem at all helpful and had that point been addressed and resolved at the very beginning we… Read more »

Joe
Guest
Joe

This is extremely inaccurate. I would expect a decomposition of the text in a manner which would support the argument, this wasn’t provided because it isn’t possible.

This is a thinly veiled political piece from a biased individual with no legal, or other, expertise.

Please revise with a decomposition of the legal text + references. If you wish to get your postgraduate degree your supervisors will insist you do this in future attempts at publication (assuming you are a PhD student, if an mPhil/MA student – who cares).

Barry Larking
Guest
Barry Larking

Like any marriage, our relationship with the Yanks is up and down, both ways. But when push comes to shove, we have more common interests and a history bar none of co-operation, indeed friendship, to match. As the ‘cousins’ say “It’s the only game in town”.

Quite apart from all that, the deal stinks. As Varoufakis said “It’s something a country would sign if they had lost a war”.

Sean
Guest
Sean

May’s deal was an abject surrender.

Martin
Guest
Martin

Its a political deceleration not a treaty, it has little if any bearing on the future. Britain’s future security lies in not letting its nearest and most powerful neighbor breaking apart under a flood to follow the UK out of the door.

geoff
Guest
geoff

Interesting article but essentially a minor side issue compared to the Brexit Elephant in the room. In all my 70 years on this planet I have never been so saddened or conflicted by an issue such as this- the dreadful situation that has engulfed and damaged the UK following the 2016 Referendum. Looking at the evidence on both sides I could not make a clear call for either,nor can I see a clean way forward. The simple facts are that the best deal available is the one we have by remaining. The EU will NEVER give us anything substantially better… Read more »

Dean
Guest
Dean

you will hardly be stateless Geoff, the united kingdom is still essentially 4 countries, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, your state is one of these

geoff
Guest
geoff

Hi Dean-not so. There are many of us who regard ourselves as British and British only. Others consider themselves British and also either E,I,W and S. The point I am trying to make is that there has been a distinct British Identity that started with the Union of the Crowns in 1606 so is now 400 years old-older in fact than the idea of an American identity established 170 years later. To give you an idea of what I am saying-my son has parents born in England. On my side his Grandparents are both Ulster Scots. On his Mum’s side… Read more »

geoff
Guest
geoff

Sorry-American identity is 243 years old!

Steve Martin
Guest
Steve Martin

Whilst I don’t think we’re in any danger of having our defence policy dictated by the EU, there are some interesting points raised, not least of which is that they are indeed pursuing an “EU army”, despite promises to the contrary by esteemed politicians such as Nick Clegg. I would like to point out that we are already in a huge military partnership with the US and others, it’s called NATO. Yes, we may want to work more closely in theatres such as the Pacific to sweeten a trade deal for example but that’s called diplomacy, it is not subservience.… Read more »

Barry Larking
Guest
Barry Larking

The test is always reality. Our European partners will not assist in protecting the Straits of Hormuz, not ever. Germany wants a deal with Iran in order to sell it manufactures; France because it wants to reverse its political decline in the region and to do deals over oil. The others, perhaps with the exception of Poland, would not defend Ostend. A man with many faults, nevertheless President Trump is the most pro-British President since Eisenhower (who could have been consulted over Suez but was not; Dulles was in favour). No one is completely ‘independent’ these days, not even the… Read more »

HF
Guest
HF

Trump is ‘pro – USA’, which to him normally means pro Trump. Did you see the report of the CIA asset in Russia having to be extracted because Trump was schmoozing with Putin and revealed intelligence which put the CIA’s man at risk ? The man is a walking disaster zone.

Frank C.
Guest
Frank C.

The arguments in this article are lifted straight out of Veterans For Brexit. VFB do a commendable job in keeping to warn us of the dangers of EU defence policy to this country’s sovereignty. But the problem with VFB (and implicitly this article) is that they cannot actually point to any concrete example or scenario in which UK sovereign decision-making in questions of UK defence policy would be impaired by this agreement. “Entanglement” with EU defence policy and its various mechanisms is a very vague notion. Is it being suggested that UK troops will be sent into action by Brussels… Read more »

Russjm
Guest
Russjm

I had to read this – I’m not sure what you’d call it to be honest – essay maybe? Twice. It seemed to me there was lots of I don’t likes but nothing that was actually relevant to the defence of the uk. So, I farmed it around to various naval and marine types here in Portsmouth and none thought it relevant in reality of fact. Most just queried it. One called it a “ stocking filler, a surgical stocking filler” – good for a marine. Another said “It was a diatribe so imbalanced in nature it made itself unusable… Read more »

Ed Davies
Guest
Ed Davies

Not sure this is article is completely impartial and meets the UKDJ normally high standards. My questions to the author would be: 1. Does the UK not gain any benefit from being involved with these EU initiatives? Or more widely from how these contribute to peace, security and capability in Europe? (I would reference EU military operations in the Balkans as an example) 2. As the author rightly pointed out, NATO forms the bedrock of European defence, with PESCO, EDF and EDA looking to promote cooperation, new initiatives and develop Europe’s defence capability I would argue their influence over the… Read more »

Johnno
Guest
Johnno

All this talk in so many comments here of NATO/USA being desirable for the UK over any form of EU defence co-operation, yet no mention of the fact most of those supposedly untrustworthy, unreliable EU countries ARE ALSO members of NATO, whose individual governments, to a greater or lesser extent, see few to no problems being both – and are thus also pledged to come to Britain’s (and the USA’s) aid under the NATO’s Article 5 if attacked…not forgetting also that the current US president has openly cast doubt on whether he would even respond militarily if a European alliance… Read more »