WHILE Mark Brown makes a long case for in effect reducing military spending, he displays a considerable naiveté and lack of understanding of all the wider issues (Military spending hike is a disaster for UK and the world, July 5).

We went through a period of reduced military spending from the end of the Cold War. Since then the autocratic regimes around the world have stepped up their own spending. What did Putin do, in Crimea, Georgia, Chechnya, Syria in recent years?

We in the West have become increasingly dependent on more and more technically complex systems at the expense of our ability to resupply and provide sufficient manpower resources to operate them on any large scale. While any escalation of military activity – either overt action or building up arms – is of course dangerous, unless we do so those autocrats who see themselves as another “Great” or seeking “Lebensraum”, or indulging in paranoia, merely ignore our protests and just invade other countries, undertake extrajudicial executions using nerve agents, and encourage civil disruption as they see fit.

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Since when has Putin listened and followed demands not to continue in Ukraine? Does us reducing our military spending convince him of the futility and awful outcomes, or does it embolden him? It is a sad fact of life that we have to arm ourselves against those who wish to harm us, but that is the world we live in. While it may be true that we are at little risk of invasion from Russia, and even less from China, that does not mean that they cannot directly influence or harm our own interests by other means.

You do not stop an invasion or other aggression by capitulation, which is what unilaterally reducing military spending means. The alternative to providing material support to Ukraine is to allow Putin to seize the whole country, which he tried in the early days. If he gets away with that, where next? The Baltic States, Poland again, and more?

Mr Brown really needs to research and consider why Nato exists and what it is. It is not a single, large country led by an autocratic dictator; any action it takes has to be done on a basis of consensus in line with its constitution. It is fundamentally composed of those states who fear Russian intentions, and Putin’s action has reminded current members and those previously non-aligned states

of the fragility of their independence in the face of belligerent neighbour. Nato was not created through invasion by the West, unlike the Warsaw Pact. Nato also now includes those states freed from Soviet control post-Cold War who know full well what it means to live under the Kremlin’s baleful rule.

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Mr Brown fails to appreciate that Ukraine sought Nato membership precisely because of the Russian threats. Increasing our expenditure from 2% to even 3% or 4% is not ruinous, and in order to preserve our own independence (even if it is still UK) it is a price well worth paying and even unavoidable.

Yes, to a certain extent the West can appear hypocritical in which other states it supports and why, but the world is not a perfect place, and countering internal oppression of other states is not what Nato was set up for. The nirvana of a military-less world is a very long way away. Our “investment” in Ukraine is an attempt to dissuade Putin from trying it on elsewhere. Does Mr Brown not wonder why long-neutral Sweden and another much earlier Soviet escapee Finland wish to join Nato?

Nick Cole
Meigle, Perthshire

DEAR Scottish Government,

Please get a draft constitution for Scotland out ASAP.


RW Millar