The 1999 documentary series, “The Mayfair Set,” directed by Adam Curtis and broadcast on BBC, recounts a story about traditional British gentlemen aghast their country was declining as a world power in the aftermath of World War II. One by one, colonies were lost and England’s economy went into a tailspin, giving rise to socialist and communist movements. But in British parlor rooms, a new type of warfare was being designed by men like David Sterling, one which envisioned warfare fought on the cheap, in the margins, and often by proxy by a small group of daring contracted mercenaries and Special Air Service soldiers. Many of these neo-colonial ambitions were motivated by business interests as much as nostalgia for British prestige on the world stage.

British Secretary of Defense Gavin Williamson was fired by Prime Minister Theresa May over concerns he wanted to use the British military to invade Africa and agitate a war with the Chinese in the Pacific. In recent days, Ministry of Defense officials and perhaps the PM’s office itself leaked documents and made off-the-record comments to the British press about Williamson, claiming he wanted to deploy troops to at least five African countries including Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Egypt. These were to be peacekeeping deployments but it has been alleged he wanted to find excuses to deploy troops as justifiable cause did not already exist. A second claim was made Williamson wanted to send the British Royal Navy into Chinese waters in the South China Sea, a request May denied. Williamson then reportedly wrote “Fuck the Prime Minister” on the paperwork he had submitted.

When reached for comment, Williamson vigorously denied both accusations.

Interestingly, the media leaks and smear campaign against the former secretary of defense come after Williamson himself was accused of leaking information to the press, charging Theresa May planned to allow China’s Huawei Telecommunications to access Britain’s 5G network, which would compromise its security and potentially drag them into a war. An exasperated journalist in Norway made a very similar claim about what his government was doing several years ago during an interview with NEWSREP.