At the juncture of military spending and pandemic, Britain is seeking global influence after Brexit
London, November 19th (International Observation) At the juncture of the pandemic, military spending soars, Britain seeks global influence after “Brexit”
British Prime Minister Johnson announced on the 19th that despite the huge financial difficulties caused by coronavirus pandemic, the British government still plans to add a total of 16.5 billion pounds to the Ministry of Defense in the next four years. Cyber defense and artificial intelligence field.
This is the largest defense investment by the British government since the end of the Cold War. Analysts believe that the British government’s move can create jobs internally through new defense projects, and externally, it aims to consolidate Britain’s status as the “most favored military partner of the United States” and seek to increase Britain’s global influence after Brexit.
Pay attention to the “potential future battlefield”
Johnson officially announced the plan to the lower house of parliament on the same day, said that this additional military expenditure will be invested in the form of about 4 billion pounds a year, mainly for investment in cutting-edge technology, to build the UK’s global leader in cyber and space defense, and make up for it. Weaknesses in the defense system.
In order to achieve the above goals, the United Kingdom will establish a new artificial intelligence agency, a national cyber force, and a space command.
The British “Times” reported that the initial goal of Space Command is to upgrade Britain’s satellite defense system to respond to other countries’ attacks on British navigation satellite signals, and strive to launch Britain’s first rocket in 2022.
Johnson said that the defense project driven by this investment is expected to add nearly 10,000 jobs to the UK every year.
In an interview with Xinhua News Agency, Professor Ian Berger of the Institute of European Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science said that it is not difficult to see from the focus of Johnson’s defense investment plan that the network and space are “potential future battlefields” that the British government attaches importance to.
Anthony Gris, a professor at the University of Buckingham in the United Kingdom and an expert on European security issues, pointed out that Johnson’s emphasis on space and cyber fields shows that the United Kingdom hopes to get rid of its dependence on the EU’s space program as soon as possible.
Create a “reliable ally”
The British government said in a statement that the increase in military spending will consolidate Britain’s position as Europe’s largest and NATO’s second-largest defense spending country.
According to the analysis of The Times, this will undoubtedly increase the chance that Britain will lead France and continue to maintain its position as the “most favored military partner of the United States.”
The British government stated that in addition to protecting territorial security and creating jobs, the defense investment plan can also “show to our allies that they can always count on Britain.”
When announcing the plan, Johnson also said that since the end of the Cold War, the current international situation is “more dangerous and more competitive than ever.” Britain needs to stand with its allies and must therefore fully upgrade its defense capabilities.
Analysts believe that this substantial increase in defense spending will enable the United Kingdom to maintain its influence over the United States and NATO allies. Berg said that this move by the United Kingdom is bound to be welcomed by allies, and it also adds an important bargaining chip for the United Kingdom to continue to seek global influence after the “Brexit” transition period that expires at the end of this year.
Huge expenditure “match ambition”?
The British Secretary of Defense, Ben Wallace, greatly welcomed the aforementioned defense investment plan. In an interview with British media, he said that in the past 20 to 30 years, the British Ministry of Defense’s “ambitions” have never matched the defense funding, even though the British government’s defense budget in recent years has been around 40 billion pounds.
British media quoted the Labour Party’s shadow cabinet defense minister John Healy as saying that since 2010, the size of the British armed forces has been reduced by a quarter, defense spending has been reduced by 8 billion pounds, and the defense budget has a “black hole” of 13 billion pounds. .
However, such a large increase in military spending has also caused widespread concern among British defense analysts. The Times quoted an analyst from the Royal Military Institute as saying that in the context of the pandemic severely depleting the country’s economy and all departments are “reaching out for money” from the government, national defense can play a role in public health, education, and other pandemic. The strong win in the competition for funds in related fields and the four-year budget is enough to prove that the Johnson administration attaches importance to the development of national defense, but “this investment is more generous than expected, which is shocking.”
Gris said that the transitional period of Britain’s “Brexit” is coming to an end, and the possibility of no agreement “Brexit” will increase. As a result, the logistics and cooperation between the United Kingdom and the European continent will be affected, and the British defense sector will also face new difficulties and difficulties. frustration. “Is the post-Brexit Britain really ready for the adventure of a globalized Britain?”