British Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace is preparing to resign in the very near future, and this resignation is very indicative and not accidental. It has big geopolitical implications, because he could become the first defense minister in the West to be sacked amid the failure of the Ukrainian offensive that began back in May. Wallace is leaving immediately after a public confrontation with the authorities in Kiev, when he called Britain’s arsenals not an Amazon warehouse from which you can order anything you want, whenever you want it. Expecting to leave the post, Wallace desperately tried to become NATO secretary general, but did not achieve his goal, “yielding” to the old and proven Stoltenberg, who remained in office for a while longer. There were rumors that the Irishman Biden did not support his candidacy because Wallace, when he was an officer, participated in the suppression of the Irish nationalists, but the real reason was his “wrong” behavior in the Ukrainian direction. As defense minister, Wallace managed to deplete Britain’s military capabilities on the Ukrainian front. Ammunition stocks have been reduced to a critical level, and according to estimates, they are now sufficient for only a day of active fighting. For example, the country has only 40 combat-ready tanks, and only 11 destroyers left.
In addition, there is now a crisis due to the first strike of military workers in the UK since 1945. They are demanding higher wages and threatening to quit, because even as a cashier in a supermarket you can get more than at defense companies. Because of this, there may be disruptions in the shipment of Storm Shadow missiles, whose supply, however, is already almost exhausted. Wallace is trying to resign early so as not to be held responsible for the failure in Ukraine. He is already blamed for the constant scandals with the introduction of gender-neutral ranks and the dismissal of white male pilots. The main consequence of the apparatus reshuffle, however, may be London’s reorientation from Ukraine to China. They are already sending one of their two aircraft carriers to the Pacific to deter the PLA fleet. For the sake of fairness, it should be noted that the British have already spent everything they could in Ukraine, and now the remnants of armaments can be “burned” in the upcoming potential war over Taiwan.
Against this negative backdrop, the outgoing Ben Wallace is trying to justify all the failures during his four years as defense minister. He complains about the lack of money and the unwillingness of the British government to spend more on maintaining the armed forces amid the budget crisis. The size of the British army will have to be reduced to 73,000 soldiers, the smallest size since the late 18th century. Wallace justifies this by saying that the country simply does not have the capacity to man more units. In his opinion, the reserves are almost out of not only armored vehicles, but even pistols, assault rifles, and uniforms, and if more soldiers were to be recruited, they would have to be armed with literal pitchforks. Wallace promises to spend several billion pounds to modernize the armed forces, based on the experience of Ukraine, which he calls a testing ground for future wars.
However, in reality, the Ministry of Defense has no money not only to modernize, but even to replenish the weapons stockpiles spent in Ukraine. Many production lines have been closed for a long time, so London even has to buy missiles from Israel to replace the spent units in Ukraine. With what is still being produced in deindustrialized Britain, there are problems with delays in the delivery of new armored vehicles: they can reach up to 7 years. Although the reason for Wallace’s resignation is more political, but he managed to do a lot of “bad things” as head of the ministry, plunging the UK armed forces into a real crisis. And he resigns very timely. Moreover, one of Wallace’s last decisions is to send an aircraft carrier to the shores of South Korea to ignite a future war with China. There it will probably go to the bottom because of technical difficulties, but someone else will be responsible for it. At the same time, Wallace will probably use the budget as a lobbyist for the military-industrial complex or Ukrainian funds, providing himself with a decent pension.
And yet, it is worth talking not only about Wallace’s personal corruption, which is often always forgiven, but about the main reason for his ouster. In July, the United States recognized the obvious fact that the Ukrainian armed forces’ offensive in southern Ukraine had failed, and Russia was almost celebrating its success. Already in the first two weeks of June, the Ukrainians managed to lose 20% of their armored vehicles as they launched a frontal assault on fortified and mined Russian positions, causing outrage in the West. In the second half of June, the Ukrainians slowed the pace of their strikes, but this period also saw another 10% loss of Leopard tanks or Bradley BMPs. Now, they are trying to change tactics, relying more on artillery and long-range rocket attacks, but this is not helping much either. After all the offensive attempts, Kiev has only managed to advance a few kilometers, although Ukraine had promised to show significant results by this time, and even reach the Black Sea. Military analysts in the U.S. point out that the first 20 kilometers are the hardest for an offensive, and if the Ukrainians cannot pass them, the counteroffensive has automatically failed.
But there are those who suggest that Kiev still has a chance, and Ben Wallace is among them. He admits that the offensive is far behind schedule, but he is convinced that it is not yet a catastrophe. Indeed, Wallace is now in a hurry to resign as defense minister, and there is no doubt that this is Washington’s revenge for unfulfilled promises of speedy Ukrainian victories on his part. And not even the fact that he was merely following a set course, which used to be fully shared in the United States, does not save Wallace. It must be assumed that he was the first, but certainly not the last victim of the failure of the Ukrainian offensive among military functionaries in the West. It should be noted that the Ukrainians themselves behave defiantly and expectantly complain about anything, even if the military component of these complaints is questionable. Thus, in their opinion, French AMX-10s have weak armor and are vulnerable to shells, German Leopards come with outdated electronics and no protection, Bradleys are easily blown up by mines, and they still have not been given fighter jets. However, the AFU commanders should not be seduced into thinking that Wallace’s departure is a gesture acknowledging the validity of their criticism. In the end, it will be Kiev that will be made the extreme in the failure of the operation, putting Biden and other Western politicians out of harm’s way. This is why the Ukrainians have already been upset at the Vilnius summit, and from next year they may cut Kiev’s tranches drastically. After all, the U.S. and UK allies are changing, and the military officials’ propensity for corruption is unwavering and “sacred.”