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Symptomatic of this failure is the June 2018 Defence Committee Report: Indispensable Allies: US, Nato and UK Defence Relations. 

There are five Labour Party members on this committee, together with four Conservatives, one Democratic Unionist and one Scottish Nationalist. The Labour members are:

Graham Jones (Hyndburn)
Madeleine Moon (Bridgend)
Ruth Smeeth (Stoke on Trent North)
John Spellar (Warley)
Phil Wilson (Sedgefield)

I first became aware of the report after hearing it enthusiastically promoted on the radio by Madeleine Moon.

Its main recommendation (para 85) is a substantial increase in defence spending to 3% of GDP:  'an increase to 2.5% of GDP to be spent on Defence would comfortably fill the 'black hole' in the existing MoD budget. (1) To reverse the loss of capacity referred to by Secretary Mattis however a higher target is needed. Accordingly, we recommend that the Government work towards an eventual goal of raising defence spending to 3% of GDP - as it was in the mid 1990s.' 

(1)  I think the 'black hole' in question is a funding gap of c £20.8 billion identified by the National Audit Office between the MoD's equipment plan and the means available to pay for it.

The views of Jim Mattis - the man responsible for the siege and destruction of Fallujah - were given in para 82: 'At the publication of the US National Defence Strategy, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said that he would usually prioritise capability but that capacity had its own value. He suggested that one of the US’s allies had cut capacity to the point that it could no longer speak with strength. When we were in Washington D.C. we were told that this was directed at the United Kingdom.'

There was no sign of dissent from any of the Labour members of the Committee and indeed this main conclusion was endorsed by Labour Defence spokesperson Nia Griffiths in the ensuing debate in the House of Commons:

'We must lead by example. The simple fact is that the UK is barely scraping over the line when it comes to our own levels of defence spending. The latest Treasury figures for the year 2015-16 show that the Government spent 1.9% of GDP on defence. The International Institute for Strategic Studies has also concluded that UK defence spending is not reaching 2% of GDP. 

'The reality is that the UK only appears to meet the 2% in its NATO return because it includes items such as pensions that do not contribute to our defence capabilities, which Labour did not include when we were in government. Whichever way we look at it, the truth is that the deep cuts that were imposed in 2010 and the implementation by the Conservative party of those cuts in the years following mean that the defence budget is now worth far less than it was when Labour left office. Defence spending was cut by nearly £10 billion in real terms between 2010 and 2017, and our purchasing power has been cut dramatically owing to the sharp fall in the value of the pound. 

'I note that the Minister for Defence People, (2) the right hon. Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood), who is no longer in his place, has said recently that he would like to see defence spending rise north of 2.5%. I would be grateful if the Secretary of State could clarify whether this is, in fact, now Government policy, or whether it is simply another plea, which will, doubtless, be rebuffed by the Chancellor.'

(2)   Tobias Ellwood is the 'Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Defence People and Veterans'

The overall rationale for an increase 'north of 2.5%' is explained in the Defence Committee's introductory summary: 'Analysis we commissioned has demonstrated that at current spending levels, the Ministry of Defence will not be able to maintain UK military capacity and capability. Diminished capacity reduces the UK’s usefulness to the US and our influence within NATO. The Government must not allow this to happen.'

The emphasis is on our 'usefulness to the US.' There is very little on any distinct interest the UK might have in its own defence. The US is treated in its own estimation as being the 'indispensable nation' (the phrase used by President Clinton's Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, echoed in the title of the report - 'Indispensable Allies'). The Report is strangely revealing on the subject of the precise importance of the US/UK relationship to NATO - of the way in which we are useful. Thus US Congressman Michael Turner told the committee (para 61) that 'Unlike any other ally, we have conversations with the UK on what we should do ...' One wonders if there was an expectation that none of the US's 29 other NATO allies would be reading the report. But the impression of something suspect is confirmed when we read that Dr David Blagden, Lecturer in International Security and Strategy, University of Exeter (para 74) described the US-UK relationship 'as vital to the operation of NATO and the only thing that "lends anything to the façade that this is an alliance of equals."' It is interesting to turn to the actual discussion and see the full context: 'With our most cynical hats on, it is the only bit of the relationship that lends anything to the façade that this is an alliance of equals. It is the only bit that makes the pretence that this is not just American security provision to a bunch of weakling dependants look plausible. UK interoperability, a combination of capability and the willingness to deploy and operate independent logistical lift capabilities—all these are what make it seem and function like an alliance instead of just straightforwardly a big brother with a bunch of little kids clustered around his ankles.' 

So we're spending all that money in order to disguise the fact that Europe is little more than a US protectorate. Which poses the question - what is the US policy? I shall try to act as Devil's advocate, using as a starting point a quotation I remember from the behaviourist psychologist, B.F.Skinner, once fashionable author of Beyond Freedom and Dignity and Walden II: 'To refuse to control is to leave control to other parts of the human and non-human environment.'