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Inventing enemies to buy the bombs: Britain faces no serious external threat, yet keeps waging war.

• Simon Jenkins / The Guardian, LONDON

Why do the British still go to war? They seem unable to stop. They find any excuse for this post-imperial fidget and yet keep getting trapped. Germans do not do it, or Spanish or Swedes. Britain’s borders and British people have not been under serious threat for a generation. Yet time and again their leaders crave battle. Why?

Last week we got a glimpse of an answer and it was not nice. Outgoing US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates berated Europe’s “failure of political will” in not maintaining defense spending.

He said NATO had declined into a “two-tier alliance” between those willing to wage war and those “who specialize in ‘soft’ humanitarian, development, peacekeeping and talking tasks.”

Peace, he implied, is for wimps. Real men buy bombs, and drop them.


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