Post by Rob
What would it have taken for either the U.S. or the U.K to not
care overmuch if the other one overtook them in the naval sphere
and to have a naval policy just built on their own unilateral
concerns and budgetary circumstances?
This is quite difficult. The British Empire was utterly dependent on
shipping, as had been pointed out very clearly by the German U-boats. A
British fleet adequate to defend shipping inevitably had the capability
to interfere with US overseas trade.
That isn't quite as bad for the USA as the corresponding restriction is
for the UK, but it still results in the US sustaining huge financial
losses. If the US became very, very isolationist, such that it became
unacceptable to own anything overseas, or to trade with foreigners, that
would do it, but this would also cause a world-wide economic collapse.