Britain must prepare to fight future wars without US help

12 January 2020, 11:02

The defence secretary said the UK might not be able to rely on US help in future conflicts
The defence secretary said the UK might not be able to rely on US help in future conflicts. Picture: PA

Britain must be prepared to fight future wars without the help of the US as a key ally, says UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.

The secretary of state for defence said the UK must reassess its military and intelligence planning since the US began pulling out of international conflicts.

His comments were referring to the US withdrawal from the Syrian conflict and Donald Trump's suggestion that Nato should take over in Iraq and the Middle East.

He said the prospect of America withdrawing from its role as an international leader keeps him "awake at night."

"I worry if the United States withdraws from its leadership around the world. That would be bad for the world and bad for us.

"We plan for the worst and hope for the best," he said.

His warning came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares to lead what is being billed as the "deepest review" of Britain's security, defence and foreign policy since the Cold War.

Mr Wallace said Britain needed to rethink its assumptions that have underpinned defence planning for the past decade.

He added that the UK should use the defence review to acquire new capabilities, making it less dependent on the US in future conflicts.

"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 said.

"The assumptions 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."