British Royal Navy Will Mothball About Half Of It's 44 Warship Fleet
In a cost cutting move meant to save money, the British Royal Navy will have to mothball about half of it's 44 warship fleet. This will leave the U.S. as the only real power left in the world to respond to any real incidents involving North Korea, Iran or other world flashpoint areas. Russia and China have significant navy forces, but these are for their own military and foreign policy objectives which are not always nearly the same as the U.S. interests. For example, China issued a a new warning to the U.S. to control any ambitions in Taiwan for independence as China still regards this area as a renegade province. This is one area that could still become a military flashpoint between the Navy units of the U.S. and China because emotions are so strong on this issue.
While the U.S. measures it's military budget in terms of hundreds of billions of dollars, the cost savings to the British military budget of saving about $250 million dollars by mothballing about half of their navy is significant. Ever since the Suez Canal Crisis in 1956, British influence around the world greatly suffered. And the British military began a steady decline as as major world fighting force.
The British Royal Navy was once the frontline military force of British colonialism. The last vestiges were in the Middle East, but when Egyptian strongman Gamal Nasser declared the nationalization of the Suez Canal in 1956, British, French and Israeli forces were backed into defending this as an international waterway without American help. The U.S. was tied up in a political showdown with the Soviets in Hungary with the 1956 uprising there, and could not really intervene and back up the British, French and Israeli forces. Although these combined forces could achieve most military goals, the Suez Canal incident was as a huge blow to what was left of British colonialism.
Gamal Nasser inspired a new movement in the MidEast known as Arab Socialism, a new form of Arab nationalist secularist movement, where Baathist parties became powerful forces of Arab nationalism in Egypt, Syria and Iraq. By 1958, a rebellion in Iraq was able to force British forces from the MidEast entirely and spelled the end of British control around the world. Only in the short 1980's Falkland War was Britain to attempt to maintain control with their military of a small island from Argentina. By then, the British military was so diminished in quality that the little Argentine Navy was able to destroy a British warship, the HMS Sheffield with a crude missile, although Britain eventually won what was described as a "silly little war".
But the end of British rule in the MidEast with the exit from Iraq in 1958 was really the last major stand for British colonial rule. After WWI, the end the defeat of the Turkish Ottoman Empire forces and their German allies, an upheaval in the Turkish government ended centuries of Ottoman rule, opening this society up to a more secular rule much less dependent on spreading Islam throughout the world. At one point in the Middle Ages, Muslim armies made at least two attempts to bring down Vienna in an attempt to consolidate Muslim rule over all of Europe.
In popular folklore history, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill drew up an occupation map for a new occupation zone known as "Iraq" that comprised persons from three different Muslim backgrounds after WWI when oil had been discovered in the region. With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Britain faced no formal military opposition to this land and resource grab in the MidEast. But insurgent violence soon forced Britain into aircraft bombing of entire Iraqi villages and mustard gassing of entire Iraqi towns. Britain tended to side with Sunni concerns in the conflict, however with a big majority of MidEast citizens tend to be Sunni such as in Saudi Arabia, probably leading Britain to side with the strongest sectarian majority of MidEast Arabs. By 1958, a rebellion lead to Britain leaving Iraq and the MidEast and Gamal Nasser's Arab Socialist movement loosened British control and brought many Arab governments closer to the Soviets for military and political support. Gradually MidEast states began to remove the Soviet influence with Iraq and Iran two last areas in which the modern state of Russia had some major economic or military ties.
The decline of the British Royal Navy marks the decline of the power of this former colonial power to rule the developing nations of the earth. For modern times, it puts the U.S. and the building economy and People's Navy of China as perhaps the two largest Naval forces of the future. It also begs a cooperative nature between the U.S. and China on mutual common ground on foreign policy, and to attempt to paper over differences on topics such as Taiwan. While the U.S. can count on some ground forces from NATO for their Western foreign policy objectives, without the British Royal Navy as a "coalition" partner, the U.S. may find their Naval choices now more limited to deploy troops or to enforce blockades.