Britain must be ready to fight wars without US assistance, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace warns

Posted On: 
12th January 2020

Britain must be prepared to fight conflicts abroad without the help of United States forces, the Defence Secretary has warned.

The warning comes amid growing concern over Donald Trump's isolantionist foreign policy agenda.

Ben Wallace issued the warning amid growing concern that Donald Trump's increasingly-isolationist foreign policy could leave the United Kingdom facing conflicts abroad without the support of its closest ally.

And his comments came as Boris Johnson vowed to undertake the "deepest review" of Britain's defence, security and foreign policy since the Cold War.

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Speaking to the Sunday Times, Mr Wallace admitted the prospect of America stepping back from its international commitments "keeps me awake at night".

"I worry if the United States withdraws from its leadership around the world," he said.

"That would be bad for the world and bad for us. We plan for the worst and hope for the best."

Meanwhile, the Defence Secretary told the paper he hoped an upcoming review of the UK's defence capabilities could make the British armed forces less reliant on the US.

"Over the last year we've had the US pull out from Syria, the statement by Donald Trump on Iraq where he said Nato should take over and do more in the Middle East," he added.

"The assumption of 2010 that we were always going to be part of a US coalition is really just not where we are going to be.

"We are very dependent on American air cover and American intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance assets. We need to diversify our assets."

Mr Wallace also warned that Britain, alongside other European countries like France and Germany, would continue to be targets for Islamist terrorism, "regardless of what the US does".

He added: "It means we are going to have to make decisions that allow us to stand with a range of allies, the Five Eyes [intelligence partnership with America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand] and our European allies where our interests converge."