September 24, 2010
For may years, the West has been unconsciously relying on the continued subservience (or at least disinterest) of other nations, which have been the source of vital materials to our potential war economies.
Now it seems that as China has embargoed the export to Japan of a rare but valuable mineral used in industrial processes and the US Senate discussing the reopening and expansion of its own rare minerals industry, we should reflect upon the great error made in our strategic planning; namely, the assumption of the passive nature of the rest of the world in relation to our agendas. This is not limited to this issue but more broadly symptomatic of our collective attitude to the world outside of the West, whether in global warming or in trade or in poverty. The active-passive paradigm appears repeatedly and imprisons our will within a distorted dialectic.
In Britain, we should be investing in our own industries again to rebuild manufacturing, dig out our coal and construct and expand our defence industry. We should indeed be more self-reliant but not through the lens proffered by the media class and the Green/Lib Dem political groupings. Independence as far as advantageous and practical should be our aim. In this, I hold that BAE should be broken up as a monopoly on British defence interests. In the USA, there are still a large number of companies working in the defence field but too few in Britain. We need competition to encourage efficiency but also dynamism.
McDonald Douglas developed the F-15 in four years and the F-22 (from requirement, to prototype and in-service delivery) in 22 years. Is this a decline in efficiency? No because the F-15 brought to a head technologies already developing and incorporated lessons from Rolling Thunder, while the F-22 was a truly revolutionary development able to defeat (at least) odds of more than 100-1 against any other fighter.
The British aircraft industry has had to develop in partnership with fickle European partners, each example of success though highly capable aircraft remaining a generation behind in avionics. The Panavia Tornado and the Eurofighter Typhoon 2 were and are excellent aircraft but are not comparable as first-rate aircraft to the contemporary US equivalents.
So we need a different understanding of ourselves and a re-evalution of our needs.
July 18, 2010
I’ve just finished re-reading Anthony Beevor’s book, The Battle for Spain and one of the aspects that struck me most strongly was the addiction of the times to the idea of killing and in particular, mass killing.
The Nationalists systematically slaughtered real, potential and imagined opponents, while the Communists in the course of their bid to seize control of the Spanish Republic and simultaneously prosecute the civil war showed no compunction in either hunting down political dissidents or wastefully squandering lives in vain military offensives launched for propagandistic reasons.
I was thinking back to Omer Bartov’s comments in Murder In Our Midst (on the origins of industrial killing) about the post-1918 reaction to the experience of industrial warfare (or killing) in the First World War. I am informed that the idea of the Holocaust (symbolically represented by Auschwitz) representing the perfection of industrial warfare, which is encountered in Bartov’s introduction is originally Foucault’s, but it remains a superb method of understanding the cultural history behind the journey from Flanders to the killing fields of Eastern Europe.
It seems to me that after 1918 European politics and culture experienced a war between two aspects, equally fascinated by the idea of industrial killing (militarism and pacifism), the one exalting and the other horrified. Today we seem to have in the West a near-universal defensive and mean-spirited pacifism in the intelligentsia, which bears a striking resemblance to the most corrupt forms of pre-war pacifism. But I would still agree with Bartov when he argues that the West has not succeeded in abandoning the desire for industrial killing (or warfare) but that we have instead simultaneously adopted two incompatible positions on this matter: the public language on war as object is evasive and dishonest but the language on war as subject is aggressive yet devoid of consequence as the rhetoric both invokes the anti-war spirit and fulfils the desire on the part of the speaker: – once the words are spoken, there is no requirement to translate the speaker’s words into actions. Perhaps today we have a narcissistic and self-regarding relationship with death.
December 2, 2009
This was the solution I proposed during the opening of the Gaza War and following the debacle of the Second Lebanon War. Israel should be ruthless against its enemies.
September 13, 2009
Perhaps this is stupid but I’ve had a number of thoughts lately and thought I should write them down.
The reason that the First World War lasted so long was not the generals or the other classic reasons. The problem was the German Army. If the Germans had not been as determined to win the war on their terms and the German Army had not been so capable, then the war would not have been as long nor as terrible.
The other thought that struck me was that the volunteer and conscript infantry units received very little battle training. Taught to shoot, obey orders, dig etc but nothing of the sort we routinely expect today. Perhaps the obvious aspect of this conclusion is to recognize that the experience of the war was central to the creation of modern infantry tactics.
It is probable that these tactics did not enter their definitive form until the Reichswehr work on formalizing the lessons of the war.
April 5, 2009
And it’s a joke played on those nations whose governments are not completely self-serving.
So it is down to the same nations to actually fight the battle. Looking at the wikipedia page on ISAF, how many countries are bravely guarding Karbul International Airport?
The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland, and the Czech Republic are the NATO nations actually involved in fighting (which is kind of the point to having an army?) as well as some small contigents from other nations (not to disparage those nations, I’ve read accounts of their bravery).
The Spanish, true to their history, are located ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COUNTRY. And in the safest part.
The Italians have done some little fighting (probably authorised in Parliament)…in 2006. Well done.
The French…their special forces were withdrawn in 2007, their paratroopers were ambushed in August last year and the country demanded that they be withdrawn. Fortunately Sarkozy has a backbone. Unfortunately, he is French, which means you never quite know where you stand with them.
The Germans… Where to start…
Let’s begin with a comparison. There are eighty two million Germans against sixty million in Britain. The British Army is larger than the Bundesheer at 147,000 against 137,000. This means that the Bundesheer represents (including conscripts and reservists) 0.002% of the German population. The British Army represents 0.0025 of the British population.
There are currently 8,300 British soldiers in Afghanistan against 3,600 German soldiers…who are currently drinking too much, smoking pot and being bored. Each time the Germans have been asked to either remove the caveats or send more troops, they have refused (apart from promising 1,000 extra last June).
Anyway, the Germans, the Spanish and the Italians are forbidden from combat operations other than self-defence. We hear the cowardly nations of Europe (as opposed to the brave) talking about being sceptical that the battle could be won by bringing in more men to fight. Yeah, there may be something there, as in most arguments except that THEY HAVEN’T TRIED!
NATO is a joke. Fuck the Germans, the French, Spanish and Italians. They won’t fight. We need a new defence organisation based on those who will.
January 17, 2009
The best and simplest source for this argument is to be found at Wikipedia. I’ve run this point in a Harry’s Place debate before but it bears repeating since so few people have actually ever made a similar point.
If the democratic will of the people is expressed in their political choice, then let’s look at the Palestinian Legislative Elections of 2006.
We all know that Hamas (the Islamic Resistance Movement) won this election (by 3%). But what no one has ever pointed out is the broad choice of the electorate. Let’s line up the parties : next to each will be either “War” , meaning fight Israel, or “Peace”, meaning at least abandoning violence for peaceful political negotiation.
Independent Palestine (Peace)
Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa (War)
Third Way (Peace)
The Alternative (War)
A wide and varied list? Indeed. How about the vote? The expression of the Palestinian people was for…war. The parties whose platforms called for peace gained 5.13% of the vote… Barely 1 in twenty of Palestinian voters on a turnout of roughly 75% actually voted for a peace process.
Not very impressive is it?
What does this mean for how the West and Israel should view and deal with the Palestinians? We have drop this bloody illusion that there is a two state solution. Fatah have made quite clear that they view the two state as a means to arm and prepare for the “liberation” of Israel. Hamas want war now and permanently. The various leninist and marxist groups want war.
Against a people who want war, we are deluding ourselves to treat with them as peacemakers.
January 10, 2009
From Powerline. So it appears that not only did Pakistan have a hand in the attacks on Bombay, but it seems two hands…
Telephone conversations between the terrorists and the handlers of the terrorists in Bombay seem to indicate directives being given including hoping to catch ministers in the Indian government in the Taj Mahal hotel…
I believe India increasingly possesses a Casus Belli against Pakistan. The Pakistani government is so corrupt and double-dealing that it must go. India should prepare for a total war against Pakistan aiming at that nation’s conquest.
January 9, 2009
The “international community” seem to have a fair few delusions about a number of things. I will delve into some of these later but for now let’s concentrate on Gaza (again).
Evelyn Gordan in the Jerusalem Post has pointed out problem of leaving a territory still run by terrorists in this article. Operation Defensive Shield as an ongoing present has placed a secure lid on West Bank terrorism. If Israel were actually allowed to do the same or defied the idiots on the UNSC to secure Gaza from the ground, then the rocket fire would gradually be eliminated and, let’s face it, the people living there would actually see their standard of living rise.
Gaza is not starving. There have been regular deliveries of humanitarian aid, the WHO reported at the beginning of the fighting that there were two weeks worth of food in Gaza, there continues to be deliveries of aid. The reason people are suffering remains Hamas and Islamic Jihad, in other words, the terrorists.
Destroy the terrorists and you bring peace. Peace is not a utopia – it is an absence of war.