Missing the point of military cooperation with France

Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, ventures forth in the Sunday Telegraph today to set out his view that a closer alliance with France will be good for Britain. In doing so he intentionally attempts to mislead the public about the long term direction of Britain’s defence policy.

But his derisory effort to give the impression that Britain’s interests come first, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, is worthy of scorn. It is a disgraceful attempt to deceive the British public. If you are not sure what I mean, try to make sense of Fox’s opening sentence:

Too often, the debate on defence within Europe has been focused on what the EU should or should not do. Yet it has always been my view that defence must be a sovereign, and therefore an inter-governmental issue.

The visions are mutally exclusive. You cannot have sovereign defence and make defence an inter-governmental issue. Fox continues:

When nations can benefit from co-operation without losing sovereignty, they should aim to do so – which is why this week will mark the beginning of a long-term commitment to closer defence and security links with France.

This is delusional rubbish. It doesn’t stand up to even cursory scrutiny. Any national defence capability that is dependent on the active cooperation and involvement of another nation before it can be deployed is, by definition, not sovereign. The Fox rationale of ‘cooperation’ being important in saving money is a red herring. The problem with our defence spending has not been the amount spent, but how it has been wasted on the procurement of the wrong equipment, usually at grossly inflated prices.

Let us be clear, Fox is not talking about international cooperation – a good example of which is NATO. Cooperation equates to the sovereign and independent defence capabilities of a number of countries coming together to achieve specific operational goals of mutual interest. What Fox is describing is interdependence – where the military force of a country (in this case Britain) is incapable of acting unilaterally and can only be deployed if another country provides the missing elements required to conduct operations.

This is not good for Britain.

As a number of people commenting on Fox’s Telegraph piece point out, everyone can think of conflicts in recent years where France would have refused to allow its assets to be deployed to enable British operations, because involvement in such actions would have a negative impact on French trade or financial interests. We know that even the closest of friends and allies sometimes oppose actions undertaken in our self interest – America during the Suez crisis anyone? We know that the interests of our friends and allies often conflict with our own wishes – France selling warships to Russia anyone?

But the observations of nearly all the commentators on Fox’s essay fail to make the final step on their journey. For any number of reasons they fail to recognise what the end game really is, perhaps because the destination is such anathema to them they could not conceive our government would work towards such an outcome… namely that defence is being readied to become an EU responsibility.

The goal is that the defence of the United Kingdom will cease to be the sovereign responsibility of the British government and that it will be, at some point in the future, managed by the EU. The goal that the most essential pillar of self determination of a nation state will be removed as a part of the objective of ever closer union on the path to full federal governance from Brussels.

No matter how close our friends and allies might be the United Kingdom absolutely must maintain an independent and sovereign military capability that can be deployed unilaterally to protect this country and defend this country’s interests overseas. Liam Fox, David Cameron, the coalition government and the rest of the political class are not serving Britain’s interests, but serving the wishes of the EU. And yes, the Tories with their weasel words and attempts to wrap themselves in the flag are complicit in this and have actively driven this forward.

Without being melodramatic there is only one word for such behaviour and that is treachery. When are people going to shake themselves out of their slumber and stand up against the dismantling of this country? How fitting it is that the word treachery comes from the Old French trecherie, from trechier, meaning to cheat, compare or trick.

10 Responses to “Missing the point of military cooperation with France”


  1. 1 Shirley 31/10/2010 at 11:17 am

    If you accept being in the EU then the Fox quote at the start of your piece makes sense, as it is in juxtaposition to defence being a supra-governmental issue.

  2. 2 Barry 31/10/2010 at 11:40 am

    “This is not good for Britain.”

    So long as the media refuse to ask the Government ‘How is this good for Britain?’ we will not see an honest report about it.

    The SDSR really does step up the pace of integration. Removing C-130Js a decade earlier than planned to give the A400M a boost. Scrapping Nimrod without a replacement and thereby relying on French maritime patrol aircraft to watch our nuclear deterrent and synchronise patrols with the French. It wouldn’t be so bad if there was a Nimrod replacement in the pipeline but there isn’t.(Though, ominously, Airbus have a couple of designs on the drawing board) Search and Rescue operations will be impacted amongst other things.

    I’ve no problem with co-operation on a NATO type footing. As the agreement for the European Aircraft Carrier group makes clear the intention (in the words at least if not in deeds) was for contributing nations to retain their existing capabilities rather than scale down their forces to just what the carrier group requires.

    Perhaps it is a roundabout way of reducing the waste at the MoD (as they seem incapable of spinning so many plates at once (though in no small part due to a lack of guidance from the politicians)) *and* ensuring that never again can Britain jump when the US barks. It will rein in US operations a tad I would think, and our own by a substantial amount. Yet the answer to those issues is just to have a political leadership with a spine – one who can credibly say no to the US if appropriate, a Government prepared to make sensible decisions about what the MoD needs to be equipped for and to ensure the MoD stop playing their silly inter service games.

  3. 3 jameshigham 31/10/2010 at 6:54 pm

    This is delusional rubbish. It doesn’t stand up to even cursory scrutiny. Any national defence capability that is dependent on the active cooperation and involvement of another nation before it can be deployed is, by definition, not sovereign.

    It certainly doesn’t stand up. Under the guise of austerity, our nation is being EUized. Who came up with that brilliant plan?

  4. 4 Robert 31/10/2010 at 9:34 pm

    Apart from all the agreements about a European defence force this is a process of saving France’s aircraft industry. Having spent vast sums on developing a modern jet fighter, it is so expensive that no one can afford to buy the Rafale. Even those countries which do not want to buy from the US cannot afford them. They also make a carrier version. This is where Dave comes in. We use French planes on our carrier and save the French aircraft industry. It also helps out the French as they don’t have a carrier that can put to sea, so all the current carrier class Rafales are land based.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1325269/French-aircraft-carrier-set-defend-Britain-breaks-down.html

  5. 6 Subrosa 01/11/2010 at 11:25 am

    From tomorrow our armed forces will never be the same again as they will no longer be independent. So many lives lost over decades to ensure we have an independent military yet tomorrow Cameron will wipe that out with one speech.

    According to some the tories have been in talks with the French about this for a couple of years.

    Once we lose the total independence of our military we really have nothing left. Inter-dependence will severely weaken our position.

  6. 7 Cassandra King 01/11/2010 at 4:31 pm

    The actions and aims of the coalition all about deception and misdirection, we have managed to elect the most dishonest manipulative government since newlabour, quite an achievement eh? The coalition is acting illegally, they have no right to hand our sovereignty because is it not theirs to give in the fist place, until the British people decide to surrender and live as a supplicant region of a greater EU Reich then all the fake treaties and agreements the traitors engage in and sign mean nothing.

    Using the cloak of austerity and saving money they not only manage to end up spending even more money we do not have but we are spending that borrowed money on things that have no ultimate benefit for the sovereign UK in either financial or political terms.

    The biggest fraud that there is not the money available to properly defend the UK independently of others is a blatant lie, there is more than enough money flooding the MOD to create and run a very powerful sovereign UK armed forces and even were there a temporary shortfall then the foreign despot and dictator aid funding could fill any gap handsomely, what is missing is the political will.

    In our desperation to rid ourselves of a sad maniacal idiot we have managed to elect a far more dangerous enemy than Brown and his circus of freaks, the enemy now in charge of our nation is in fact an implacable, cunning and dedicated enemy of Great Britain and the British people. The coalition are determined to deny the British people a say in the political subjugation and enslavement of the UK and the handing over of our ancient sovereign state to a hostile anti democratic foreign occupier.

    The coalition has become the enemy within, our enemies have decided that they cannot breach our mighty walls so they have simply bought off traitors within to open the city gates while we slept! Our nation does not go down in a blaze of glory and desperate courage fighting them on the beaches and in the hills, rather our sovereign nation simply dissolves and disappears in the most shameful and heartbreaking way imaginable?. No no no they shall not win.

    Our own government has become our greatest enemy, they have freely chosen to betray their own nation and people, they have freely chosen to betray us. The life of a traitor has no value, their petty baubles and rewards turn to dust before their eyes, they have become the lowest of the low and despicable in the eyes of decent normal people. Well, traitors such as these will be judged for their crimes in the end, their lives from now on will be always drenched in the utter shame of what they have done and it will eat them alive if a vengeful mob does not get to them first.

    Prepare for the fight to save our great nation, it will be the hardest fight of the last thousand years and the odds are against us but win we will, win we must.

  7. 8 Rossa 01/11/2010 at 4:40 pm

    The Charles de Gaulle carrier has broken down 6 times in the 18 months since she was launched.

    So we build a couple of carriers for the French and they use them for their planes. Oh and the maintenance for the new carriers is to be done by…the French!

    Quelle Surprise!

  8. 9 Scooper 01/11/2010 at 4:54 pm

    “It certainly doesn’t stand up. Under the guise of austerity, our nation is being EUized. Who came up with that brilliant plan?”

    This is standard EU practice. They like to manufacture a crisis and then force through changes as if that is the only option to solve the problem. All major steps towards a federal Europe have taken place after some emergency action needed to be taken and it’s always happens in full view. These bastards get away with it every single time because the majority of people are not really bothered about these things. As long as they get a new car every 2 years, a foreign 4 star holiday and get to watch X Factor every week the average Brit doesn’t seem to care.

    Whether the credit crunch was manufactured in order to force through sweeping world wide changes in government probably leans towards a conspiracy theory too far for me, but if you follow the money it normally reveals the answer.

  9. 10 TomTom 02/11/2010 at 5:57 am

    Ever since 1904 France has had Britain dance to its tune – two wars with Germany, Suez, Concorde, EU, Britain has gone steadily downhill to promote France.

    The natural ally in Europe is Germany just as Prussia was under Frederick The Great and when Bluecher saved Wellington at Waterloo. Just how did Britain become a vassal of France paying for French Gloire ?


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