We can\’t trust the French to be our allies on the battlefield

Much as I hate to agree with Con Coughlin, he\’s right here.

For the thing is, we\’ve got different military interests.

The French are still deeply involved in the remnants of their African Empire. We are still deeply involved in the defence matters of some of our own Empire remnants. The two interests are rather incompatible.

Sorry, but thinking that the only thing our military should be doing is defending either Britain of France is grossly simplistic. Think of the Sierra Leone and Liberia interventions…..now imagine that we\’re actually looking at one of the Francophone West African states. It\’s entirely possible to believe that we would be on opposite sides in such an intervention…..the French, for example, were hardly on the side of the angels in Rwanda now, were they?

8 thoughts on “We can\’t trust the French to be our allies on the battlefield”

  1. As well as having different national interests the Brits and French have completely different defence philosophies coloured by their different historical experiences. This makes it virtually impossible to achieve the desired objective of the report – shared defence projects. What one country specifies rarely suits the needs of the other.

    On top of that multi-national defence projects are renowned for coming in over time and over budget to a degree that would shame even the worst MoD procurer. Indeed the only people who seem to benefit from these things are the politicians and bureaucrats who secure for themselves years of subsidised shopping trips and dirty weekends in Paris on the pretext of attending “vital meetings with vital strategic partners”.

    An approach that would achieve the stated objectives would be to completely overhaul the MoD procurement system and then, because Britain cannot build everything it needs, adopt the Isrtaeli approach: Build what you can and are good at and buy the rest off the shelf.

  2. We couldn’t even keep the buggers on our bloody side when we were fighting on their territory, for their freedom, in the two world wars.

    I agree with you Israeli approach.

  3. “Cheese eating surrender monkeys” was only funny because it was true. I wouldnt trust them as far as I could vomit them.

    I’d go with the Israeli solution as well – actually I’d go further and buy a load of stuff from there. Some of their military gear is way ahead of what we are building/buying here and cheaper as well. What’s not to like?

  4. John,

    Certainly the Red Sea Ramblers make some good kit and I woukldn’t write them off as potential military suppliers. But once again we have to recognise the fact their military outlook and needs are very different from the UK’s. What works for them may not necessarily fit Britain’s military requirements.

  5. Remitance Man – true, but I was thinking of things like light armoured vehicles, drones, battlefield sensors etc. All good, field tested, asymmetric warfare stuff available off the shelf at reasonable cost.

    For big ticket items we’ve proved that the DIY or EU options are deeply flawed (vast cost, delays, low spec products etc). We should go to the US, take standard product and stop trying to fiddle with it – there’s nothing our forces need that the US doesnt also require – tap into their economies of scale and fixed prices and delivery dates.

    Douglas Carswell MP has been trying to get the MoD to consider this approach this for ages. But they’re so closely in bed with BAe Systems they can’t see any other supplier.

  6. The “Red Sea Ramblers?” Oh, that is very choice. I love that and am going to steal it.

    As to the French as allies: huh? Back stabbing gutless cheese eating surrender monkeys, I suppose is a little harsh, but just a little.

  7. I looked at the Remittance man’s website. It is good to see “Red Sea Pedestrian” backers in the British Blogosphere, especially Conservative ones.

    You find yourself in Minnesota, old chap, I’ll buy ya dinner.

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