Britain: Ringing Down the Curtain

Though nighttime long ago overtook Britain's empire, the sun has been much slower to set on its military system. With 429,000 men in uniform, its navy steaming regularly through three oceans, tommies quartered at volatile fronts and its airplanes based from Cornwall to Hong Kong, Britain still supports a sizable chunk of the West's defense capability. A succession of budgetary cutbacks, including four in the past two years, has stretched its forces ever thinner. But, as recently as last summer, Whitehall's defense planners referred to the notion of pulling back from east of...

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