Rather than derail any of the existing threads relating to capabilities and cuts, I'd like to pose the question: What benefits has the UK enjoyed from possessing an expeditionary capability for the last twenty or so years and has it done more harm than good? There are three points I'd like to put: Firstly, because we have, or did have, the ability to project force, we have tended to base our responses around it without any regard to its limitations, particularly that, once the conventional phase of any conflict is over, conventional forces are a very blunt instrument for what follows. Consequently we have been involved in two unwinnable wars, we are unable to deal effectively with the two most likely current threats to what passes for world peace; North Korea and Iran, and we are viewed with huge suspicion across an area of vital strategic interest, namely the Arab world, which precludes any visible active role in helping to shape the future politics of the region. Essentially, the use of force over the last fifteen or so years has seriously compromised UK interests and cost us blood and treasure for little benefit. Secondly, even if we got everything on our Christmas list, how would we actually use it to advance our interests in a world where the US is increasingly becoming less dominant militarily and where there are an increasing number of regional superpowers who could be reasonably expected to enjoy local superiority over any force we could project? We could, and probably would, go in with the US but what has that relationship delivered for UK plc since 1991? We still get hit by embargoes on the EU and the POTUS will bash BP if it suits. Building on this point, if we can't use our shiny toys to good effect by ourselves, wouldn't we be better putting our energies into other methods of effective engagement more appropriate to our global status and more affordable. Put another way, how often since 1945 have we been able to militarily bully a country into serving our interests through large scale solo conventional deployments? 1982? Thirdly, and finally, much is said about the need for a global trader to be able to exert itself globally but is this really true? Some of the biggest international trading nations have no global power projection interest and absolutely no interest in acquiring one, indeed most of them are focused on robust home defence and good relations with the US: South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, Germany and all of the Middle East oil producers, to name but a few. Even if we ramped the Navy back up and threw fully equipped CVF into the mix for good measure, what would we gain thereby? Do we truly want to spend billions we don't have for an uber-hostage rescue capability? In short then, expeditionary power projection is a hangover from our imperial past, it has brought us precious little reward since 1945 and done considerable damage to our interests. It provides a temptation to meddle which our politicians can't resist and it dislocates the focus of our defence effort. The correct Defence strategy would be focused on homeland security (which includes the Falklands) and the maintenance of core capabilities to counter any conventional threat, the maintenance of the nuclear deterrent and the discharge of foreign policy obligations using Special Forces and a combination of naval and air assets which can be drawn from the home defence inventory and reassigned back there.