UK Defense Minister’s Call – Prepare For War With Russia, China, Iran, North Korea Within 5 Years

UK defense minister Grant Shapps has predicted a global conflict between the West and Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, within five years. Shapps has called on Britain’s allies to increase their military spending in response to this so-called “existential threat.”

In his first speech as defense chief on Monday, Shapps described the UK as a leading global military power, citing the country’s record £50 billion ($63 billion) defense budget, its recent airstrikes on Houthi forces in Yemen, and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s announcement of a £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion) military aid package for Ukraine last week.

Shapps vowed that he would further increase UK’s military spending, and that he would “use our influence to ensure other allies and friends match our commitment.”

“In five years’ time we could be looking at multiple theaters including Russia, China, Iran and North Korea,” he said. “Ask yourself, looking at today’s conflicts across the world, is it more likely that number grows or reduces? I suspect we all know the answer. It is likely to grow, so 2024 must mark an inflection point.”

The UK spends more than 2% of its GDP on defense and aims to increase this figure to 2.5%, Shapps said. NATO requires that its members spend more than 2%, but only a third of its 31 members actually meet this requirement, according to a bloc report released last summer.

Shapps is not the first senior UK figure to predict that the country would soon be involved in a large-scale war. Britain’s chief of the General Staff, General Patrick Sanders, declare3d in 2022 that “there is now a burning imperative to forge an army capable of fighting alongside our allies and defeating Russia in battle,” and that preparations must be made to “fight in Europe once again.”

However, the UK’s allies have doubts about UK’s fighting ability. Early last year, a senior U.S. general told Sunak that U.S. considers UK “barely a tier-two” military power, closer in stature to Germany or Italy than “tier-one” powers like the US, Russia, China, or France, Sky News reported.

Shapps said he aims to “turn the defense tanker around” with sustained spending hikes after the UK military ended 2023 with its lowest number of active-duty personnel since the end of the Napoleonic wars, and ammunition stockpiles so depleted that soldiers would reportedly run out of artillery shells after 22 hours of full-scale combat.

The American general who spoke to Sky News estimated that it would take the UK between five and ten years to build a new warfighting division of 25,000 to 30,000 troops backed by tanks, artillery and helicopters.

Speaking to reporters after his speech, Shapps did not elaborate on how a potential conflict with Russia, China, Iran and North Korea could develop. He said that “the whole purpose of this speech today is to ensure the whole of NATO does indeed share that burden” by upping military expenditure.

UK To Send 20,000 Troops To NATO War Games

An earlier media report said:

The UK is set to deploy around 20,000 service members – as well as modern warships and fighter jets – to take part in major NATO war games amid rising tensions with Russia, the Defence Ministry in London has announced.

In a statement on Monday, the ministry, citing excerpts from a speech to be delivered by Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, said that some 16,000 army troops – along with tanks, artillery, and helicopters – will join other bloc members on the continent to participate in Exercise Steadfast Defender 24, scheduled to take place in the first half of this year.

The effort will be supported by eight warships and submarines, as well as 2,000 Royal Navy sailors. The UK will also deploy a number of aircraft, including F35B Lightning fighters and Poseidon P8 surveillance aircraft, the ministry said.

Shapps is expected to call the drill “one of NATO’s largest deployments since the end of the Cold War,” adding that the UK and its allies have found themselves “in a new era” and “must be prepared to deter our enemies,” according to the statement. The statement specifically referred to the threat from the Russian “menace.”

NATO began reinforcing its military footprint in Europe first after a Western-backed coup in Kiev triggered hostilities in Donbass, which is now part of Russia. However, the most drastic build-up occurred after Russia launched its military campaign against Ukraine in February 2022. In June of the same year, the U.S.-led military bloc agreed to put 300,000 troops on high alert, up from 40,000, to deter Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously said that Moscow has no plans to attack NATO, arguing that there was “no geopolitical, economic or military interest” in waging war against the bloc. Still, Moscow has also repeatedly warned that the alliance’s military activities close to its border warrant additional security measures. Putin has also said that Ukraine’s desire to join NATO was one of the key reasons for the current conflict.

Check Also

The Imperial Presidency Unleashed

How the Supreme Court Eliminated the Last Remaining Checks on Executive Power This week in …