Defence chief issues strong warning to UK over alliance with US, says America may withdraw from world leadership

Britain’s Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, has warned that his country must be prepared to fight conflicts abroad without the help of United States forces..

Wallace issued the warning amid growing concern that President Donald Trump’s increasingly-isolationist foreign policy could leave the UK facing conflicts abroad without the support of America, its closest ally..

And his comments came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to undertake the “deepest review” of Britain’s defence, security and foreign policy since the Cold War.

Wallace told Sunday Times that the prospect of America stepping back from its international commitments “keeps me awake at night.”

“I worry if the United States withdraws from its leadership around the world,” he said.

“That would be bad for the world and bad for us. We plan for the worst and hope for the best.”

He added that an upcoming review of the UK’s defence capabilities could make the British armed forces less reliant on the US.

“Over the last year we’ve had the US pull out from Syria, the statement by Donald Trump on Iraq where he said Nato should take over and do more in the Middle East,” he added.

“The assumption of 2010 that we were always going to be part of a US coalition is really just not where we are going to be.

“We are very dependent on American air cover and American intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance assets. We need to diversify our assets.”

The Defence chief further warned that Britain, alongside other European countries like France and Germany, would continue to be targets for Islamist terrorism, “regardless of what the US does”.

He added: “It means we are going to have to make decisions that allow us to stand with a range of allies, the Five Eyes [intelligence partnership with America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand] and our European allies where our interests converge.”

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