While much of the world continues to fret about a new cold war between the United States and Russia (or even a hot war for that matter), there are other nations making it onto Vladamir Putin’s naughty list. One of these is obviously Great Britain. Even if you look past the recent unpleasantness of the Russians poisoning some people on British soil, tensions have been building between the two nations.
That situation became more inflamed this weekend when Britain’s Defense Minister released a bold if unrealistic statement claiming that the Brits will be taking back some of their old imperial duties in the wake of Brexit. Under this vision, the British military would be playing a more prominent role in security around the globe.
Russia could take “retaliatory” actions if the United Kingdom builds new military installations around the world, a top diplomat warned.
“The intention to build up military presence in third countries are of counter-productive, destabilizing and frequently provocative nature,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Friday.
Zakharova’s rebuke followed a forecast from British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson, who revealed that the United Kingdom intends to play a more prominent national security role following the exit from the European Union. He has a goal of “creating a deterrent but also taking a British presence,” as he told British media two weeks ago.
“This is our moment to be that true global player once more – and I think the armed forces play a really important role as part of that,” Williamson said.
Of course, it’s a bit hypocritical of the Russians to complain about an expanded British military presence when they just announced that they’ll be deploying precision strike missiles in the North Atlantic. Then again, subtlety was never Vlad’s strong suit.
The response from Russia seems almost like unnecessary saber rattling if you ask me. Despite what the UK Defense Secretary is saying about reestablishing their global military presence, Brexit is currently forecast to leave the Brits in an economic slump. They already can’t pay for their national healthcare program. Where do they plan to get the money to launch a major new military expansion?
I very much appreciate all the contributions that Britain’s military has made to our efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. It’s one facet of the special relationship that we should never forget. While we’ve had our moments of diplomatic breakdowns from time to time, the Brits have been one of our most faithful allies ever since the end of the World Wars. But they really don’t seem to be in shape to suddenly turn back into a global, military superpower, so the Russians really shouldn’t have that much to lose sleep over.