Britain must prepare to fight wars without America, the defence secretary has warned, amid concerns that President Donald Trump will pursue an ever more isolationist foreign policy.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, Ben Wallace admitted that the prospect of America withdrawing from the world “keeps me awake at night”.
He said the government needed to rethink military assumptions, in place since 2010, that the UK would always be fighting alongside the Americans — and should use the upcoming defence review to buy new kit to ensure that the armed forces do not have to rely on US air cover and spy planes in future conflicts.
“I worry if the United States withdraws from its leadership around the world,” he said. “That would be bad for the world and bad for us. We plan for the worst and hope for the best.”
In the most pointed comments by a minister about the Trump administration, Wallace said: “Over the last year we’ve had the US pullout from Syria, the statement by Donald Trump on Iraq where he said Nato should take over and do more in the Middle East. The assumptions of 2010 that we were always going to be part of a US coalition is really just not where we are going to be.
“We are very dependent on American air cover and American intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets. We need to diversify our assets.”
With Britain about to embark on a sweeping review of foreign policy, defence and security, Wallace has concerns that recent events in the Middle East mean the UK needs to reconfigure its armed forces. (end of excerpt)
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