Wars
Military operations
in The challenge of defending Britain
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British forces have been on constant active service since the end of the Cold War in a number of different operations. The politics behind these operations changed from essentially status quo motivations to something more offensive and assertive that became unsustainable after 2006, as the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan ran into trouble. In 2015 a period of retrenchment began which leaves British armed forces reorienting themselves for a more uncertain future. The economic and human costs of these operations have not been especially great from a British point of view but the relationship between tactical military success and the achievement of stated political objectives has been partial, at best. Not least, the nuclear deterrent forces operate a permanent and different type of operation altogether. It is specialist and very challenging, but this element in British defence policy always was, and still remains, highly controversial.

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