THE news about cuts in the British army (July 6) should interest Pakistan and India as a development to follow.
After the end of World War II the British lost the power to hold the empire together because the losers in WW II were the real beneficiaries in the long run.
Denied any meaningful rearmament and thus expenditure over defence equipment, these losers, mainly Germany and Japan, devoted their immense skills and funds to reconstruction and industrialization.
As they became rich with each passing year the victors, both France and England, grew poor because they devoted their funds to rearmament to remain within the league of big powers – America and Russia. France soon learnt its lessons, starting
investment in research, industry and the development of infrastructure. Not only that. It came out of the shadow of the US hegemony, thanks to Gen De Gaulle, by developing its own nuclear, aviation and armament industres.
Not so the UK. It carried on with the so-called responsibility of protecting the free world and the so called ‘special relationship’.
This meant increasingly less funds for research and development.
With no new products coming up, its leading edge industries in aviation and avionics started to decay and to fade out. The influence of ‘special relationship’ has been devastating in this area. Such leaders as Vickers, British Aircraft, Marconi, Ferranti
and Plessey faded out.
The current decision to cut down on defence should mean a realisation of the glaring reality that a vibrant industrial rather than imperial Britain will survive and lead. It will take years before the savings thus made will start reviving industrial and social
Because of the universality of the English language, Britain attracts talent. The revival of research, development and reindustrialisation will attract more talents and capital instead of just funds for the city, which in recent years were used for crippling speculative investment in, for example, such areas as Northern Rock and subprime mortgages.
It will regain its traditional role as a teacher of democracy and a friend of many Afro Asian countries instead of as an interventionist (Iraq and Afghanistan). Salute to David Cameron who, perhaps without knowing, is re echoing what Harold
MacMillan said in Africa, that is, ‘wind of change’.
F. H. ANSARI