Hello! Here in Smolensk butcher’s shop we love UK Defence Secretary, Dr Liam Fox.
Dr Fox! Brother of Dr Fox, owner of Dr Fox, inventor of Glacier Mint, father of Samantha, Megan and Jamie, nephew of Edward, distantly related to Basil Brush, who is, of course, Bruce Forsyth. And thinking of Strictly, Fox also inventor of the Liam Foxtrot, demonstrate by Edwina Currie on Saturday night: confident, arrogant, but ultimately charmless dance which endear you to yourself and no one else. Some say Fox do his dance now and soon David Cameron will perform his own Soft Shoe Reshuffle.
But we say, in sincere Werritty, it be plenty shame if Fox lose job. Incredible hypocrisy of Labour to attack Fox for bring friend into Ministry of Defence to manage everything for him, as sort of Foxy Proxy. After all, Tony Blair do same for years by let American pal George run MOD. And this plenty right. What business are activities of Defence Secretary for people of UK? Last thing you want is Defence policy subject to democratic scrutiny.
After all, UK governments traditionally recognise obvious fact. Guardians of democracy – military – should not themselves be guarded by democracy. Because this cause logical impossibility. Military guard democratic institutions. But if democratic institutions guard military too, then they in turn must be guarded by even more military, and then that military need even more democratic institutions to guard them, which need even more military to guard them, which need even more democratic institutions to guard them, and so on in exponential Hayekian nightmare. Far better end democracy where military begin. This make life easy. For if democracy scrutinise defence, many inconvenience arise.
At present, Defence Secretary manage his department using principle which relate deaths in conflict, say in Afghanistan, to government spend. Too many deaths in battle, and people wonder what exactly aims of conflict are. Too few and no one notice. But if deaths are at happy mean, tabloids, commentators and then general public, will call for more spend on defence equipment to protect forces in battle. This balanced position, which separate ministerial success from failure, is called Hoon’s Equilibrium. It give Defence Secretary upper hand in discussions with Treasury and ensure calls for supplementary spending always met. Hoon’s Equilibrium also stop people ask head hurting difficult questions. Like, would more frontline equipment be available if MOD weren’t so convoluted and incompetent in procurement, so wasteful in decisions – like Qinetiq floatation – so cosy and undemanding with defence contractors, so old-fashioned in tactics, so conservative in its assumptions about hardware to manpower ratios, so internecine in service rivalries, so lopsided in proportion of top brass to ranks – vastly greater than in US services – so double-barrelled, gentrified and plummy, so imbued with spirit of uncritical deference and entitlement - so like Mafia or public school system - and so keen to repudiate Clemenceau notion that war too important to be left to generals.
No. People don’t want bother heads with these questions. They just want say “our brave men and women” and have done. Liam Fox understand this. He know no one got faintest idea what go on in MOD. Not even most people who work there. He want keep it that way. That is why he establish Atlantic Bridge, foundation which promote UK/US Special Relationship, and put his best man in charge of it – literally. Then he let Atlantic Bridge control MOD policy. For ultimate way to put armed forces beyond inconvenient popular scrutiny is outsource them. To America. This is glorious historic British policy. Fox see no reason change it.
Now on paper they got plenty scrutiny problems in US. Congressional Committees, civic activism, Freedom of Information. But since 9/11, powerful constituency emerge. These people – agents of Patriot Act, Fox News (named after great Atlanticist Liam), shock jocks, Tea Party, defence lobbyists – ensure criticism of armed forces met with accusation critic is heretical, atheistical, traitorous, fascisto-communist, Islamist anti-Semite, who in asking see latest Defense Estimates is confessing they saw Goody Proctor with the Devil, knew Alger Hiss or read Stupid White Men. This neutralise worst excesses of democratic criticism. And US keep plenty activities away from scrutiny by use client states with great traditions of unobserved military practice for its covert renditions: Libya, Egypt and of course UK.
Fox know great but eccentric British forces must serve more than own elites, important though they are. It must serve a great people. America. British youth understand. Fox see kids in school playground with toy guns shouting “lock and load”, “incoming” and improvised battlefield dialogue, like “one of our men was wounded sir so we blew the entire gook commie Afghano-Iraqi-Sandinista village off the map, sir”. “I’m loving it,” say Fox. His goal is permanent absorption of British forces into American military structure. America want this too.
Sure, America bit quiet lately. It have temporary domestic popularity issue with overseas wars, caused by poor management of Hoon’s Equilibrium. This necessitate short-term adjustment of UK focus: defence pact with France and alliance with them over Libya. But this alien, false as Molotov-Von Ribbentrop pact. And it against British interests to ally with Eurozone. For though it UK biggest export market, Eurosceptic Fox know Europe soon collapse. So he want UK pursue Arms Export-led Recovery, where George Osborne growth plans depend on ensuring it is British kit used to arm African warlords, repress Bahraini insurgents and humiliate Palestinians. As Iraq and Afghanistan show, best engine of this kind of growth is UK and US defence establishments and contractors working in unison. What better symbol of this ideal than defence lobbyist calling himself government adviser on business card?
Eventually, history follow usual logic. Defence industries in America lobby for war with Iran and North Korea. Obama need jobs and agree. Fox ensure UK get share. And he also seek new security agreements with US. And not just to contain global ambitions of Chinese and Russians, and so justify Trident replacement. No. Fox predict after Euro collapse, Continent will revert to its warlike pre-Schuman history. America and UK will combine and protect selves. They rain bombs down on Tehran and Pyongyang. But they will also point missiles at traditional targets: Berlin, of course, and Brussels, and, as short-term marriage of convenience dissolve in bitterness of rugby World Cup, on seat of oldest and worst enemy, Paris.
Of course many say backing US is backing power in decline. But who better to placed to profit from helping America manage precarious relation of illusion and reality than British, who been managing own decline since Agincourt.
So leave Dr Fox alone, British people. Stay as ignorant of defence policy as your uncritical posture towards military and Pavlovian tranquilisation whenever anyone say “National Security” deserve. And recognise Liam Fox plenty wise. Plenty cunning. What apt name he got! After all, he just as smart as Liam Byrne.