Grantham Journal letter: Scrapping Armed Forces a bad idea

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John Andrews’ eulogising comments on his Costa Rican holiday suggesting we should scrap our Armed Forces would leave this country isolated with no friends or supportive neighbours.

His interesting argument ignores history and the negotiating power of ‘sabre rattling’ if and when required. I don’t think lucky Costa Rica actually needs an army.

This mini nation is in a strategic area a mere 200 miles from the once US protected ‘Canal Zone’ in Panama. I’m sure if Costa Rica, which is only a 100 mile wide strip surrounded by ocean on two sides, did feel any threat from its two neighbours it would just call on the US for support.

An army, by definition a land force, is therefore a superfluous and unnecessary expense for Costa Rica. Larger countries however, like ours, which over the centuries have had aggressive neighbours feel safer with some defence capability to draw on whatever the cost to our national debt. Smaller nations like Switzerland, Iceland, Tibet etc, have geographic and political factors which make them strategically unimportant, or they have protective friends.

History actually tells us in Britain three things about maintaining expensive armies. If we didn’t have armies there’d be no national debt. This means without a national debt we’d all be speaking either German, French or even Spanish. Therefore, unfortunately, national debt is a good thing.

Rod Hatherill

Lodge Way

Grantham