A once dear badge of honour
Arthur Herman, author of To Rule the Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World, writes in the New York Sun,
IT'S been a tough month for the British Navy. On March 7, it learned that Tony Blair's Labor government was going ahead with drastic cuts in its budget and number of ships. By this time next year, the once-vaunted Royal Navy will be about the size of the Belgian Navy, while its officers face a five-year moratorium on all promotions.This was the Navy whose badge of honour was its
. . .historic role as protector of a civilized and stable world order. . .the Royal Navy had wiped out the slave trade; it had single-handedly defied tyrants from Louis XIV and Napoleon to Hitler; and it served as midwife to the ideas of free trade and the balance of power.
Meanwhile, whole shiploads of young British men who might enjoy working in the Navy, rescuing the victims of disaster, deterring piracy, intercepting illegal narcotics, preventing people trafficking, and seeing the world are unemployed.