Defence cuts will leave China as the world’s policeman, warns Nato chief


-The director [secretary] general said: “For the first time in the history of Nato we have seen an operation not led by the Americans.”

Defence cuts across Europe will diminish Nato’s global role and leave China as the world’s policemen, the alliance chief warned yesterday.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen praised Britain and France for taking the lead on the Libya conflict but said they could not have done it without US help.

And he claimed the slashing of troops by European leaders will hit military ­transport and intelligence.

Mr Fogh Rasmussen spoke out just days after Defence Secretary Liam Fox unveiled plans to cut the Army by 17,000.

The director [secretary] general said: “For the first time in the history of Nato we have seen an operation not led by the Americans.

“The Europeans couldn’t do this on their own and in that respect it is of course a matter of concern that we have seen substantial defence cuts in nearly all Nato allied nations. If the current development continues, the influence of Europe on the international scene will decline because of lack of critical transport capabilities, critical intelligence gathering capabilities and because of this Europe will not be able to participate in international crisis management.

“The gap will be filled by emerging powers like China and India, that’s a fact.”

Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy also warned about the “imbalance” between the US and Europe.

In a Washington speech, he said: “Europe must pull its weight in Nato, or Nato will have little future. We’re either in this together, committed to playing our parts, or we’re not an alliance that will last.”

The Labour MP added: “It is important for the UK to make this case since we gain power and influence in our relations across the world through our being a strong partner with European nations.”

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