British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was scheduled to visit Moscow this week. His trip has now been cancelled, partly because he wishes to intensify diplomatic pressure on Russia, but also because he is keen to persuade the new US administration about the virtues of foreign and security policy coordination.
Britain’s Defence Secretary Michael Fallon is toying with the idea of asking Parliament for permission to expand Britain’s campaign of airstrikes from Iraq into Syria. His impulse should be tempered with a sense of strategy.
It is reasonable to assume that there will be a real-terms increase in the defence budget now that the Conservatives have full control of the government. However, commitments to future military interventions are less certain.
A curious thing is happening in continental Europe: defence spending is rising. The United Kingdom may soon be among only a handful of nations with fewer resources for defence at a time of increasing commitments.
The Conservatives have historically touted themselves as the party to be trusted with the UK’s defence and foreign policy, arguments which were duly repeated during the current electoral campaign. However, in practice, their record may diverge from such claims.