Post-Brexit UK ready to use ‘hard power’




LONDON: Britain will use military force to support its interests after Brexit, defence minister Gavin Williamson said on Monday, in a speech setting out a global role for the armed forces but with little detail on how to fund such ambitions in the long term.

Williamson outlined plans to send Britain’s new aircraft carrier to the Pacific, where London has been seeking to demonstrate its influence in relation to China, and invest his defence budget in new equipment and cyber capabilities. Citing Russia as a danger to the international order, Williamson called for a tougher military stance after Brexit.


“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,” he said. He said boundaries between peace and war were becoming “blurred” by the increasing use of technological warfare, subversion and propaganda, and that Britain and its allies had to be ready “to use hard power to support our global interests”.


The opposition Labour Party accused him of “sabre rattling”.


In his speech in London, Williamson did not announce any new funding beyond what was allocated at a 2018 budget. Britain spends around £36 billion ($46.45 billion) per year on defence, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. That budget is dwarfed by those at the top of the list, with the United States spending 13 times more and China spending five times more.


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