James Mattis, the US defense secretary, wrote in a letter to his UK counterpart, Gavin Williamson, that the UK’s military power and diplomatic influence is “at risk of erosion” and hinted that France could be America’s “partner of choice” in world affairs. It put Theresa May under a growing pressure to increase military spending.
He stated that “the credibility of the UK’s armed forces” is very important for securing its place.
I am concerned that your ability to continue to provide this critical military foundation for diplomatic success is at risk of erosion, while together we face a world awash with change. A global nation like the UK, with interests and commitments around the world, will require a level of defense spending beyond what we would expect from allies with only regional interests.
He added that France and the US’s conclusion in increasing the investment in defense made other allies to follow it. The UK can remain as the US partner if it robust its military capability.
After receiving the letter, Williamson stepped up his effort to move the level of defense spending from 2 percent to 3 percent adding that the US patience over European defense spending was wearing thin.