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Ex-British Foreign Secretary Hunt Wants UK to Increase Its Defence Spending to US Levels

CC BY 2.0 / 7th Army Training Command / 150320-A-WB953-089A British cadet of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
A British cadet of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.03.2022
In a recent poll conducted by the newspaper Express, 95 percent of respondents said "yes" when asked whether British Prime Minister Boris Johnson should boost the country's defence spending.
Former UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said his country should increase its defence spending to the same level as in the US.

In an article for The Telegraph, he touched upon the issue in light of the ongoing Russian special military operation in Ukraine, described by Hunt as "an invasion", which the 55-year-old claimed was "the biggest failure of Western foreign and security policy in our lifetimes".

According to him, the mistake occurred because Western countries "forgot the most fundamental lesson of the Cold War: the power of deterrence".

The UK and the US "announcing they would not intervene in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine" had a negative impact on London's and Washington's attempted deterrence, Hunt argued, claiming that "instead of peace through strength we caused war through weakness".

He then focused on a modern-day version of a UK deterrence strategy, which the ex-foreign secretary wrote should start with "a big increase" in Britain's military capability.
Hunt then referred to Donald Trump's previous criticism of NATO defence spending, adding that the former US president "was very vocal on that point when I was foreign secretary".

"[…] He was only saying more robustly what numerous presidents had said before. If we want America to remain the leader of the free world, other democratic powers, especially in Europe, must commit to matching US defence spending as a proportion of GDP. The UK should lead the way by saying that defence, aid, and soft power spend will rise to at least 4 percent of [its] GDP over the next decade", the former top British diplomat stated.

Last year, the UK spent 2.3 percent of its GDP on defence, compared to America's 3.5 percent, according to NATO estimates. The Telegraph noted that achieving the US defence spending target outlined by Hunt in his opinion piece may mean Britain will have to spend "tens of billions pounds more on the military over the coming years", in addition to the over £40 billion ($52 billion) that the UK now annually spends on defence.
Moscow has been conducting a special military operation to demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine since 24 February. The operation was launched after authorities from the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics in eastern Ukraine asked for assistance to defend themselves from intensifying attacks by the Ukrainian armed forces.
The Russian Defence Ministry underscored that the operation only aims to destroy Ukraine's military infrastructure and that precision weapon strikes are not targeting the civilian population.
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