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UK to Significantly Cut Its Military, Become Less Hated, Live More Prosperously


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Britain announces major military cutbacks

By Anthony Faiola, Washington Post

LONDON - Washington's closest ally unveiled its deepest military cuts since the end of the Cold War, with a cash-strapped Britain announcing Tuesday that it will withdraw thousands of troops from continental Europe, decommission warships, mothball an entire class of fighter jets and delay upgrading its nuclear arsenal.

The cutbacks would not affect the war in Afghanistan, where British troops make up the second-largest contingent after the United States. Britain said it would invest in more helicopters and armored vehicles to aid military operations there. By also committing to boost combat-ready special forces, officials here are seeking to reassure the Pentagon that Britain will still retain its global role as deputy to Washington's sheriff.

Nevertheless, Britain's most sweeping military review in more than a decade is set to further diminish this nation's military might, particularly as a maritime power. For Washington, the moves amount to a tactical scaling down of military ambition by the one European ally consistently willing to back the United States with firepower in international conflicts, and comes at a time when other NATO members including Germany are also making substantial military cuts.

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For Washington, the moves amount to a tactical scaling down of military ambition by the one European ally consistently willing to back the United States with firepower in international conflicts, ....

When is the Wa. Post going to learn to write truthfully and only truthfully? The U.S. is never involved in "international conflicts". Instead, the U.S. is always committing wars of aggression, putting tyranical dictatorships in place and using them as proxy forces, acting against legitimate democracies, and so on. The U.S. is the lead cause of conflicts through crimes of aggression and the many crimes that come along with aggression.

Update: It's not "international conflicts". It's [creation] of "international conflicts"; as well as creation and escalation (covertly) of national conflicts, which the U.S. is also "good" at doing.

The following is an article that includes an audio-recorded discussion, analysis. And, btw, there's more to this government budget cutting than only cutting the military budget.

"Tories accused of turning back on Wales again over St Athan" (22:08)

by Tomos Livingstone, Western Mail, Oct. 20th, 2010

www.walesonline.co.uk/news/welsh-politics/welsh-politics-news/2010/10/20...

A MULTI-BILLION-POUND Defence Training College in South Wales is to be scrapped as Ministers look for big savings in the Armed Forces budgets, the Ministry of Defence announced yesterday.

The announcement was made by the MoD as Prime Minister David Cameron announced severe military cutbacks that he said would prevent Britain operating military operations on the scale of the 2003 invasion of Iraq or the more recent deployment in Afghanistan’s troubled Helmand province.

The MoD had hoped to centralise training for all three armed services at St Athan in a £14bn private finance initiative (PFI) deal.

More than 2,500 jobs would have transferred to the area under the contract – first awarded to St Athan three and a half years ago – and a further 1,500 jobs would have been created in the region.

(snip)

Listen to our experts' reaction to the spending review on our podcast

(snip)

The announcement came as Mr Cameron unveiled the details of the Government’s Strategic Defence Review, which will:

Cut the MoD budget by 8%, with the department cutting 25,000 jobs by 2015;

reduce Army numbers by 7,000 and the RAF and Navy by 5,000 each;

cancel the Nimrod spy plane and retire the Harrier jump jet;

bring all UK troops back from Germany by 2020.

(snip)

Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan said St Athan still had a good future, with the possibility that a similar project could be brought to the site.

(snip)

The audio-recorded discussion in the above article also mentions other public sector cuts in the UK, planned cuts anyway, and based on the first 12 minutes that I've listened to, so far, it's certainly more interesting than the article. It goes on about UK politics and I tuned out, but it's worth listening to some of the discussion.

Maybe some cuts are not yet absolutely definite or certain, but nevertheless are evidently very likely.

Other UK cuts:

"Major cuts throughout Britain’s National Health Service"
by Julie Hyland, Oct. 20th, 2010

wsws.org/articles/2010/oct2010/nhs-o20.shtml

Major cuts are being made in health care, many of them the result of measures put in place under the previous Labour government of Gordon Brown. People are being denied essential treatments, condemning many to unnecessary suffering and even death.

According to figures collated by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), 15,000 jobs have been lost in the National Health Service, and several hospital wards closed or severely reduced services since the start of the year.

Emergency budgets were being drawn up prior to May’s general election, after Labour claimed that the recession would force a freeze in health spending. With a funding shortfall of £20 billion, 10 strategic health authorities (SHAs) began putting in place plans for large-scale job losses, ward closures and reductions in the availability of certain treatments.

This was despite a pledge by all the official parties to “ring-fence” health care from austerity measures that they all agreed were necessary. (snip) But in March, the Telegraph revealed an internal document was being circulated within the South East Coast SHA setting out secret preparations for cutbacks in key services. (snip)

This is confirmed by the RCN’s figures, and other reports. In addition to the sizeable job losses already implemented, the cutbacks include:

(snip)

Many other cuts are going through, and there are reports of treatments being withdrawn. (snip)

These reductions are underway prior to today’s unveiling of the Conservative/Liberal Democrat government’s Comprehensive Spending Review. The coalition had pledged to exempt the £100 billion annual budget for the NHS—one-fifth of public spending—from its austerity package, and said health care would even receive an increase in funds over the next three years. But .... (snip)

(snip)

Lots of cutting in health care.

"UK arts funding faces savage cuts"
by Jackie Warren, Oct. 20th, 2010

wsws.org/articles/2010/oct2010/arts-o20.shtml

The future of hundreds of local groups and organizations around the UK involved with literature, performing and visual arts and museums is threatened by the government’s cuts programme.

(snip)

"Tory multimillionaire witch-hunts welfare claimants"
by Robert Stevens, Oct. 20th, 2010

wsws.org/articles/2010/oct2010/osbo-o20.shtml

Britain’s Chancellor George Osborne has announced legislation that will penalise and force into destitution hundreds of thousands of the poorest people in Britain, who are dependent on welfare benefits.

Announcing the attacks on Sunday’s Andrew Marr Show ahead of today’s Comprehensive Spending review, he declared, “A cheat is no different from someone who comes up and robs you in the street. It’s your money. You’re leaving the house at seven in the morning or whatever to go to work and paying your taxes — and then the person down the street is defrauding the welfare system.”

(snip)

He, based on what he claims, is apparently talking only about people who commit welfare fraud and not everyone who receives welfare benefits, but it also evidently will increase poverty and he and ilk are apparently not being truthful. I don't care about minor welfare fraud, because welfare leaves many recipients extremely poor, but non-minor fraud should not be committed. However, he and ilk are apparently lying.

These measures, alongside those announced in the last few weeks, will result in a return to social conditions for the poorest that have not existed in Britain since the “Hungry Thirties”.

The issue of “welfare fraud” has been highlighted in the most sensationalist way for years by the right-wing media in order to scapegoat the poorest layers. It has been pursued in order to create a climate in which vast cuts in public spending can be imposed.

The media has routinely employed lies, half-truths and distortions in order to manipulate and defraud the public. Even the most basic facts about the welfare budget and the actual level of fraud have been concealed. The extent of welfare benefit “fraud” is far smaller than the headline figure of £5.2 billion emblazoned on the front pages of the Daily Mail, Daily Express, The Sun and Daily Mirror. Department of Work and Pensions figures for 2009/2010 account for only £1.5 billion of the £5.2 billion said to be fraudulently claimed. Even this is misleading. According to the statistics, £1 billion of this is welfare benefit fraud and £0.5 billion is fraud related to the tax credit system.

This is a minuscule amount, when considering the overall welfare benefits budget is more than £190 billion. (snip)

(snip)

"Government announces massive cuts ahead of UK public spending review"
by Julie Hyland, Oct. 19th, 2010

wsws.org/articles/2010/oct2010/cuts-o19.shtml

Announcements of the “reform” of university funding and public sector pensions and abolition of government quangos have been made in the run-up to the Conservative/Liberal Democrat government’s October 20 Comprehensive Spending Review.

The government intends to set out spending cuts of 25 percent and more across most departments. The announcements it has made are attempts to prepare the ground beforehand and take the sting out of the full package when it becomes known Wednesday.

Last Thursday, what was described as the “largest shake-up” of the civil service in a generation was announced. Some 192 quangos — quasi-non-governmental organisations financed by the state and linked to the civil service — are to be scrapped, and 118 others merged. Tens of thousands of job losses are expected. The Independent reported, “Within minutes of the cuts being announced by the Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, its website had crashed under the scale of hits from worried civil servants”.

Precise details of the changes and their impact are still sketchy. Forty bodies are to be axed outright, including the Audit Commission, the Youth Justice Board, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the Human Genetics Commission and the Human Tissue Authority. A further 150 will have at least some of their functions transferred to Whitehall. The Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission are amongst those to be merged, while several bodies, including British Waterways, will be turned into charities.

The measures have been criticised by Labour and sections of the media, however, on the grounds that the cuts are not “cost-effective”, not least in terms of the severance pay involved. Such complaints deliberately evade the real purpose of the civil service “reform”. It sets a benchmark for the scorched-earth policy of austerity measures that are expected to result in up to 600,000 job losses in the public sector alone.

Earlier in the week, the commission into university funding chaired by Lord Browne reported. The report will not only mean students having to pay significantly increased tuition fees and higher interest rates on any loans they borrow, but the scrapping of courses considered economically unviable and the bankrupting of entire institutions.

The move was proclaimed as the answer to a growing funding gap, but within days it was revealed that universities in England face funding cuts of £4.2 billion in the coming Spending Review. (snip)

(snip)

Hutton’s interim report was delivered as millions took to the streets in France against a similar assault on pension provision by President Nicholas Sarkozy. Across Europe, governments are utilising the recession to radically restructure wages and social provision at workers’ expense.

Bob Crow, leader of Rail Maritime and Transport union, threatened “French-style protests” in the UK should Hutton’s recommendations go through. In truth, the mass protests in France are taking place despite the intentions of the trade unions and the Socialist Party, which are working to politically limit opposition to the austerity measures.

Crow’s rhetoric notwithstanding, the trade unions are collaborating with the government to achieve its ends. (snip)

(snip)

"UK housing benefit cuts threaten thousands with homelessness"
by Dennis Moore, Oct. 13th, 2010

wsws.org/articles/2010/oct2010/hous-o13.shtml

Cuts to the housing benefit will have a devastating impact on 1 million claimants in the private sector market.

A report by the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research, “How will changes to Local Housing Allowance affect low-income tenants in private rented housing?,” paints a stark picture. In June, the Conservative/Liberal Democrat government announced major cuts to the welfare budget. The government has estimated this will result in a reduction of approximately £12 a week for each claimant. However, the overall impact of these changes will be impoverishment and rising homelessness.

(snip)

These figures include 21,000 elderly households and 72,000 households including families with children. It is estimated that between 27,000 and 54,000 dependent children will be pushed into severe poverty. Between 136,000 and 269,000 households will not be able to meet their rent payments, and up to half of these will have to move home or be evicted.

(snip)

Re. the G20 summit, I made a few posts on Oct. 18th here in the following page about this topic, posts #1 and 2, which presently are the only posts made for the page. The posts are for links to TRNN (TheRealNew) video reports on the G20 summit, but some of these are not relevant for this page on the UK cuts in military spending and other sectors, so I'll specify the titles for some of the relevant videos or reports following the link for the page.

http://warisacrime.org/content/national-guard-advert-metrodome-proposed-...

Relevant TRNN reports:

Post #1:

"TORONTO G20 - THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME"

"G20 commits itself to more "neoliberalism"

Post #2:

"THE MISSING WORDS AT THE G20"

The video report for "G20 Exposes Ontario 'Martial Law'" in post #1 may also be possibly considered relevant, for it illustrates how serious the elites are about their economic plans; bad for us, profitable for them.

Europe, now:

For what's presently going on in Europe, check the following index.

wsws.org/category/europe.shtml

I'll include links for one or two articles.

"Millions march in France against pension cuts"
by Alex Lantier, Oct. 20th, 2010

www.wsws.org/articles/2010/oct2010/fran-o20.shtml

An estimated 3.5 million workers and students marched nationwide in France yesterday in a day of action called to oppose pension cuts demanded by President Nicolas Sarkozy. Though the most critical provisions of the pension “reform” have been passed — a two-year increase in the retirement age and a corresponding increase in the pay-in period — the law has yet to be formally voted on by the Senate.

(snip)

The strikes have spread to oil refineries, oil depots, ports and trucking firms, resulting in a growing gasoline shortage across France. The response of prominent union leaders to the upsurge in working class militancy and the widening economic impact of the strike wave — and opinion polls showing more than 70 percent of the population supporting the strikes — has been to indicate that the mass movement should be ended once the Senate has passed the pension bill.

The union leadership has from the onset sought to use the strikes and protests as a lever to obtain some cosmetic concessions from the government, while accepting the major cuts in the “reform.” They have rejected any struggle to bring down the Sarkozy government, insisting that the movement be limited to applying pressure on the president and the parliament.

They hoped that repeated one-day protests would wear down and exhaust the opposition of workers and students, but to date the intensity of the movement has only increased.

(snip)

Smaller regional trade union federations are pushing for broader strike action. In the Ardennes, the all trade union alliance passed a resolution calling for a renewable general strike “in all sectors of economic activity,” with rail workers and Peugeot auto workers voting in large numbers for the resolution.

(snip)

Student protests were at record levels, according to statistics provided by high school student unions. The FIDL (Independent and Democratic High School Student Union) said 1,200 of France’s 4,302 high schools were on strike, with 850 schools blockaded. At ten universities students met in general assemblies and voted to blockade their institutions. Youth marching in demonstrations chanted: “Unemployed at 25, exploited at 67, no, no, no!”

Police clashed with demonstrators across the country. (snip)

The administration of Université Lyon-2 closed the institution “indefinitely” after students voted to blockade it. Similarly, the administration closed Toulouse-Le Mirail University after 75 percent of the 2,000-strong general assembly voted a blockade. Rennes-2 was also closed.

Youth clashed with riot police throughout the Paris suburbs. (snip)

(snip) Sarkozy indicated his concern over the situation, but said he would not modify the cuts: ....

(snip)

The government acknowledged yesterday that France is in the grip of a growing gasoline shortage, with Ecology and Transport Minister Jean-Louis Borloo admitting that 4,000 of France’s 12,500 gas stations are running dry. (snip)

(snip) According to Agence France-Presse, the Caen Chamber of Commerce and Industry released a report yesterday stating: “There is currently no more fuel available on our territory… ...."

(snip)

The press is citing in threatening terms the legal measures available for use against blockades. (snip)

The national trade union leaderships have not responded with any campaign to defend striking workers. They are undoubtedly in talks with the government over the terms of a sellout. The major union federations are set to meet Thursday to discuss their next moves.

(snip)

The unions are effectively acting as counselors to Sarkozy on how to impose the cuts. They are warning the government not to move too rapidly in passing the pension bill so as to avoid provoking uncontrollable opposition in the working class.

CGT official Nadine Prigent told Agence France-Presse: “It’s not a done deal that a Senate [vote for the cuts] will calm things down.” The UNSA (National Union of Autonomous Trade Unions) warned: “No one knows what effect that vote will have.”

"The strike wave in Europe and the decay of bourgeois democracy"
Barry Grey, Oct. 20th, 2010

wsws.org/articles/2010/oct2010/pers-o20.shtml

The growing struggles of the working class in Europe and internationally against mass unemployment and government austerity policies are exposing the reality behind the façade of bourgeois democracy. In every country, the government, whether conservative or nominally “left,” is cutting jobs and wages and slashing social programs in complete disregard for the overwhelming opposition of the population.

Elections, parliamentary debates have no effect on policy. The state does the bidding of the financial aristocracy, tearing up the living standards of the masses in the interests of the bankers who are responsible for the economic crisis. The financiers and corporate executives are making more money than ever by exploiting mass unemployment and growing social distress to slash wages and increase the exploitation of the working class.

Where the best efforts of the trade unions do not suffice to hold the workers in check and struggles break out that challenge the plans of the capitalists, most prominently in France and Greece, the state uses its powers of repression to smash strikes and protests. (snip)

(snip)

Despite these attacks, the resistance of the working class is growing. The current wave of strikes and protests in France is the most developed expression of a new stage in the international class struggle. It marks a shift in the world political situation of historic proportions. The working class is once again entering into battle against the capitalists.

Recent days have seen the spread of the strike movement in France, the outbreak of a strike in Greece that has paralyzed the country’s rail system, and a demonstration of hundreds of thousands in Rome protesting the policies of the Berlusconi government.

There have been one-day general strikes and mass protests in Spain, Portugal and Ireland, strikes by workers in Romania, and powerful strikes by auto workers in China and by workers in India, Cambodia and Bangladesh.

In Britain, the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government is imposing historically unprecedented cuts totaling 83 billion pounds, which will mean the loss of at least 500,000 jobs in the public sector and another 500,000 in the private sector.

British workers have repeatedly sought to resist the government-corporate onslaught, but have to this point been stymied by the treachery of the trade unions, which oppose any serious strike action or social mobilization. (snip)

In the U.S.:

The above article next refers to the economic crisis in the U.S.

In the US, Obama, who came to power by appealing to the intense hatred among working people and youth for the pro-corporate, militarist policies of Bush and the Republicans, is carrying out uniformly right-wing, anti-working class policies, shattering the illusions of millions who voted for him. The inability of the White House and the Democratic Party to in any way distance themselves from the corporate-financial elite has been underscored by the administration’s actions over the past week, just two weeks before the congressional elections.

The administration has lifted the moratorium on Gulf oil drilling, announced that Social Security recipients will receive no cost-of-living increase, and rejected calls for a moratorium on home foreclosures.

The growing opposition of the American working class is finding expression in an incipient rebellion by workers against the United Auto Workers union, which is seeking to make the 50 percent wage cut for newly hired workers worked out last year between itself, the auto bosses and the Obama administration the new baseline for the industry.

The contempt of the American ruling class for the democratic will of the people was summed up in an editorial on the events in France published Tuesday by the New York Times. The major organ of the “liberal” Democratic Party establishment acknowledged that there is broad support in the French population for the strikes and protests against Sarkozy’s plans to raise the retirement age. “Despite the widespread inconvenience and economic losses,” it wrote, “public opinion has remained sympathetic to the unions.” (French polls show upwards of 70 percent supporting the strikers).

(snip)

The fight for workers’ power emerges organically and inevitably out of the struggles of the working class against the attacks by the bourgeoisie. It must be conducted consciously, in opposition to the trade unions, the official “left” parties and the various middle-class pseudo-left organizations, such as the New Anti-Capitalist Party in France, that seek to keep the working class tied to the existing political setup and prevent it from mounting an independent struggle for power.

This fight is, moreover, an international struggle. (snip)

"WSWS speaks to French workers on protests"
by Antoine Lerougetel, Oct. 19th, 2010

wsws.org/articles/2010/oct2010/demo-o19.shtml

In the latest national day of action against President Nicolas Sarkozy’s programme of pension cuts and austerity, millions of workers and students took to the streets in France October 16 in demonstrations in over 250 cities and towns.

(snip)

The marches took place as railway workers were on the fourth day of their indefinite strike, an action that was severely disrupting train services. Dockers’ and refinery workers’ strikes and blockages were threatening to bring the country to a halt .... Tens of thousands of high school students have struck and closed down schools over the past week.

Early Friday morning, massive riot police interventions forced the dispersal of pickets blocking access to fuel depots and preventing petrol lorries from filling up and replenishing supplies at petrol stations. (snip)

The WSWS spoke Saturday to several railway workers from Amiens, a railway town in northern France with train maintenance depots and workshops located in the vicinity. The discussions made clear the need to expose the role of the unions and ex-lefts in downplaying the depth of the capitalist crisis and limiting the strike to the single issue of pensions.

(snip)

WSWS reporters went to the picket at the entrance of the SNCF (national rail company) depot in Amiens. The workers have erected barricades to block the road and lit a bonfire with tyres and railway ties in the middle of the road to express their determination. There is another bonfire inside the gate.

Aurélien has worked for the SNCF for nine years. He does maintenance. “We’re going to work to spread the strike. It’ll need a general strike to make Sarkozy give in. The unions won’t call it. It’s us workers who make the country function. [Bernard] Thibault [CGT general secretary] is a turncoat.”

(snip)

Other strikers who were briefly interviewed basically have the same view; that it's the workers' fight, while the or certainly some of the unions work with the government's politics, so for the economic elites. And like one of the strikers said to WSWS, it's not Chinese workers who are taking away jobs from the French; it's the capitalist elites who are responsible.

The latter striker is right and it clearly is a workers' struggle.

All of this economic crisis, threats against workers, strikes, et cetera, and the G20 summit's 27-page document of statements, basically rulings for governments to adhere to and to therefore apply, are definitely related.

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