David Cameron's coalition announced plans to pare back defense spending as part of a wide-ranging effort to eliminate the country's deficit. The video above provides a good overview of both the strategic rationale behind Cameron's defense review and the possible pitfalls of how Britain is arraying her military forces.
The U.S. reaction to this is horror:
While Cameron pledges to safeguard funding for British forces in Afghanistan, the U.S. has already raised worries that cuts could leave its key ally unable to take on a major role in military missions in the future.
"This is not a time where you can forget about defense or you don't reinvest your savings as best you can in defense," said Jim Townsend, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for Europe and NATO. "This is not a time where you can slacken in the need to keep strong and to invest in your military."
Last week, U.S. Gen. David Petraeus visited London for talks and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used a stop in Europe to emphasize that NATO members must be able to make "appropriate contributions," despite pressures on national budgets.
And if they don't? If I you were a NATO member looking at crippling debt loads and the urgent need to slash government expenditures and you knew you had the world's most powerful military obligated by treaty to ride to your rescue, where would you make cuts?
There's apparently some worry that the U.S. will "give up" on Britain now that she's proposed to build aircraft carriers without aircraft (seriously) but that strikes me as misunderstanding what the alliance was about.