Friday, March 30, 2007

Iran and all that

The comic genius that is The Spine

Had a chat with my old prof from my International Law course yesterday about this, and we were both in agreement that even though it is a disputed territorial line, the fact that the Iranians came back with a second set of coordinates is highly suspicious and indicative of them being wrong.

I am just thankful that the UK still has a diplomatic corps to deal with this, although given that the EU are going full steam ahead with their EU embassies, how long will this go on for?

A point raised on Question Time last night by Nigel Farage asked why the UK were not on a higher state of alert after the Americans raised theirs? We are not arming our troops properly, the size of our armed forces is now below that of Eritrea and Burma and positioned at No. 28 in the world and yet we continue to fight wars that are unnecessary for the defence of our country, and are illegal.

The Los Angeles Times commented on the British strategy in the Middle East:

The tragedy is that he had to rob Peter to pay Paul because Britain can't maintain 7,000 troops in Iraq and 7,000 in Afghanistan. Those are hardly huge numbers for a country of 60 million with the fifth-largest national economy in the world. Yet even as Britain has continued to play a leading role in world affairs, it has allowed its defenses to molder.

The total size of its armed forces has shrunk from 305,800 in 1990 to 195,900 today. This downsizing has reduced the entire British army (107,000 soldiers) to almost half the size of the U.S. Marine Corps (175,000). Storied regiments such as the Black Watch and the Royal Scots, with histories stretching back centuries, have been eliminated.

Even worse hit is the Royal Navy, which is at its smallest size since the 1500s. Now, British newspapers report, of the remaining 44 warships, at least 13 and possibly as many as 19 will be mothballed. If these cuts go through, Britain's fleet will be about the same size as those of Indonesia and Turkey and smaller than that of its age-old rival, France.

I sincerely hope that we can solve this crisis through diplomatic means, because giving the Americans an excuse to go to war with Iran would be disastrous to all concerned.

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