To bolster exports, the United Kingdom is contributing to a global weapons race via taxpayer-funded subsidies.
In May, the Emirr Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani of Qatar travelled to the United Kingdom to announce a £10 billion investment in the British economy. He attended the elite Sherborne School in Dorset (whose alumni include the father of the Prime Minister, Stanley Johnson) and the British military institution Sandhurst. Sandhurst earned approximately £18 million in foreign fees from 54 nations, including Azerbaijan, Egypt, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Palestine, and Uganda, over three years. MoD Saudi Armed Forces Projects acknowledges that MODSAP works “in a unique position where it operates beyond the margins and borders of the public and private sector.” The UK Foreign Office names Saudi Arabia as one of its 31 “priority nations” for human rights, citing concerns regarding women’s rights and political repression.
However, as was reported last year, the Department of International Trade has selected five of these nations as important export markets for British weapons manufacturers. As of January of the current year, there were military attachés stationed in 87 nations and non-resident attachés in 80 countries: This is a twenty-five per cent increase over the previous decade, with Belarus, Mali, Sri Lanka, and Albania among the most recent countries to get a permanent attaché. Attachés, also known as the “Ferrero Rocher” club, cost the Ministry of Defense almost £8 million in 2018 and will cost over £6 million in 2019/20. The formation of the “Ranger Regiment” is another effort by the United Kingdom to broaden the impact of its diminishing military.
The Rangers will give training to foreign Special Forces, with an emphasis on Africa, while Special Forces will concentrate on clandestine operations, domestic counterterrorism, and further training. General Mark Carleton-Smith said that the Rangers “enable us to recruit, train, coach, advise, and accompany local surrogates in high-threat and hazardous settings.” Recently, the chief of MI5 and MI6 warned of China’s “large-scale espionage activities” against the United Kingdom. David Leigh questions, if Britain is serious about the danger posed by China, why we must educate their officers, equip their fleet, and instruct their missile specialists. The recent record of the British military is far from stellar, and its commanders must ask: what is the goal of this ongoing mission expansion?