The governmental obsession with Russia took a new, giant leap this week when the hapless head of Britain’s three military arms outlined what he – as a former businessman – has decided is the biggest threat to UK security.
Naturally, it’s Russia.
The same Russia which has seen bombings and attacks on public transport by the same enemy Britain is facing.
Williamson’s declaration could spark a significant shift in security policy which will focus on the Kremlin over proven killers.
The secretary put Moscow in the same boat as Pyongyang, North Korea – equating unfounded fears over Russia with a nation which has genuinely threatened, almost weekly, to unleash nuclear war.
“We would highlight state-based threats as the top priority and . . . the speed with which they are escalating. But within a hair[‘s breadth] it is followed by the terrorism threat,” he told the Defence Select Committee. “We have probably all got to look at how we have got to invest more to deal with this threat that we have not had to deal with for the last 25 years.”
Mark Francois, a Conservative member of the select committee and a former defence minister, spotted the staggering change and questioned Williamson on his willingness to change the focus of the military. He said the move puts the forces at readiness for war.
“Yes it does,” Williamson replied.
The cabinet chief said Britain had been “caught napping” and insisted state-on-state conflict is something the military must invest in.
The latest pang of paranoia from Williamson, who was catapulted into limelight from the shadows of the chief whip’s office, follows on from ramblings on Russia in January, when he bizarrely claimed it would take out deep-sea communications cables.
Apparently viewing Moscow as a self-mutilating monster, Williamson decided the order would be given to cut Britain’s electricity interconnectors to Europe, damaging international relations irrevocably.
Now, as part of a defense review, former potter Williamson is focusing hard on state-led threat. But he has at least backed up his notions.
Due to the Russians’ presence in the Mediterranean region and the Kremlin’s “increased assertiveness,” it is time Britain gets stronger, he said.
This comes just a week after Britain ordered ships to pass the disputed South China Sea, much closer to the Chinese coast than the white cliffs of Dover. In a move which naturally caused international tensions.
The government appears to be bringing back the Rule Britannia mentality, but God forbid another nation should bolster its own international security arrangements. That, according to Williamson, is almost an outright declaration of war.
Williamson has been playing soldier since he took the office with zero military knowledge and is starting to turn things around.
“But then you are seeing new nations that are starting to play a greater role in the world, such as China. You are seeing the challenges that we face in terms of North Korea,” he told the committee.
“If you do not respond to these threats you are leaving our country a lot less safe than it should be.”
Interestingly there is another nation doing exactly the same. The USA.
Washington has been directly threatened by North Korea and has listed state tensions as being a priority – naturally.
Williamson’s hawkish rhetoric comes coincidently at a time when the military must plug an estimated £30 billion (US$41.7 billion) funding gap.
There are currently plans to scrap marines, warships and postpone war tech projects to save the cash – although the Ministry of Defence (MoD) isn’t exactly admitting it.
An internal defense review, born from outraged calls for one from the Whitehall-wide review of security capability, will consider the future shape and size of the navy, army, air force and Joint Forces Command. Most of whose manpower is dropping to record lows.