Defence Review: The Services have a fight on their hands – but who is the biggest enemy? - Telegraph
The article asks "who is the biggest enemy?" but then fails to deliver a threat analysis.
The first question is if there is a realistic potential threat of a conventional war within the next ten years? That question demands looking at the capabilities and intentions of all potential threats. The UK does not have to build armed forces to defend itself from the US and I will grant that the UK does not have to build forces to defend itself from other members of the EU. Can the UK simply assume that other military forces will not become a potential threat?
Who will have the capability to threaten the UK over the next 10 years? Will Russia, China, Iran, Argentina and several other countries? The answers are yes they will and those potential threats have to be prepared for. In several cases is it reasonable to consider that either open hostile intent of the regime or the conditions for instability that could lead to a threat growing over time need to be considered?
Defense choices cannot be made unilaterally by the budget office. They have to be driven by considering the capabilities and intentions of others. The worst thing to do is to disarm preemptively so as to not threaten a potential aggressor. That in fact is likely to stimulate aggressive action and could be considered an immoral inducement to hostility. For example if instead of disarming in the Pacific following the Washington Naval treaties Britain and America had maintained strong forces in East Asia then democratic elements in Japan might have been better able to resist the rise of expansionist Shintoists.
Britain can and should retain robust military forces. The drain on the UK's society and budget comes from social welfare.