Category Archives: Our Toytown Armed Forces

Hands up everyone who still takes NATO  seriously

Robert Henderson

There is an indecent amount of huffing and puffing  by NATO members as they  posture and strut futilely in the face of Putin’s Ukrainian adventure.  The latest NATO gathering in Wales has produced a new 3,000 rapid response force and a reiteration that an attack on one NATO member is an attack on all NATO members and will be met by all NATO members. That is the treaty obligation as laid down in  articles 5 and 6 of the NATO Treaty

Article 5

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security .

Article 6 (1)

For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack:

on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France (2), on the territory of or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer;

on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.

Does anyone honestly believe that NATO would  engage in armed conflict with a  nuclear-armed Russian state?  Can anyone imagine the USA risking nuclear war if Russia attacks European territory?   Unless the answer to those questions is an unqualified yes then NATO is a dead letter as far as European security is concerned.  For myself, even during the Cold War  I never believed  that the USA would risk nuclear war unless its own territory  was attacked and  that Russia (then in the guise of the Soviet Union) would, however belligerent their rhetoric , always pull back  from provoking nuclear war, as happened over the Cuban missile crisis.

But let us suppose that the threat of nuclear war was ignored. Would NATO members, and most particularly the USA, be prepared to engage in a conventional war to, for example, eject Russia from  the Ukraine and Crimea?  That would also seem improbable, not least because most European NATO members  lack the military capacity to join in such action and US action without meaningful support from European members would be very unlikely in the present political atmosphere in America.

How should the West deal with Russia?  It should recognise that Russia has  (1) its natural sphere of influence which includes the Ukraine and (2) reasonable fears of the Ukraine becoming a Western vassal state through membership of the EU and NATO.  The senior conservative MP Sir Edward Leigh is one of the few MPs to recognise these facts, viz:

“My personal view is that we should balance any moves to the West, either to the EU or Nato, with convincing the Russians that we have no desire to take Ukraine out of Russia’s traditional orbit.

“The fact is that for all of its history, bar a couple of years in the 1920s, and since 1990, Ukraine has been part of Russia. It’s not just power politics, to the average Russian, the source of their country – the Kievan Rus’ – comes from Kiev in the middle of Ukraine.

“They consider that Ukraine is as much a part of the Russian soul as we consider Canterbury or Kent is part of our soul. So this isn’t some power grab by the Russians to take over the rest of Europe. I don’t approve of Putin sending in tanks, but whatever we say, this is the facts on the ground.”

“Putin is not going to give up, and therefore let’s try and accommodate and deal with him, and reassure him that we’re not trying to grab Ukraine.”

In addition to the Russian problem,  NATO’s open-ended commitment for members to come to the assistance of any of  the  twenty eight current members  (see below) is  a standing danger . For example, suppose Turkey was attacked by Iran. The  NATO member states would be obligated to fight Iran. Nor is it clear what would constitute an armed attack. Articles 5 and 6 do not stipulate an attack has to be from a nation state or alliance of states.   Would an attack by ISIS on a NATO member qualify?  There would seem to be nothing to disallow such an attack as qualifying under the NATO treaty obligations.

Then truth is NATO is worst than useless: it is a standing invitation to war. European nations need to attend to their own security. The simplest way of doing that is to scrap treaty obligations such as NATO’s  and, at least in the case of the larger states, to build their defence around  nuclear weapons and have conventional armed forces designed to defend national territories not forces to act in the interests of liberal internationalism.

Current NATO members

ALBANIA (2009)

BELGIUM (1949)

BULGARIA (2004)

CANADA (1949)

CROATIA (2009)

CZECH REPUBLIC (1999)

DENMARK (1949)

ESTONIA (2004)

FRANCE (1949)

GERMANY (1955)

GREECE (1952)

HUNGARY (1999)

ICELAND (1949)

ITALY (1949)

LATVIA (2004)

LITHUANIA (2004)

LUXEMBOURG (1949)

NETHERLANDS (1949)

NORWAY (1949)

POLAND (1999)

PORTUGAL (1949)

ROMANIA (2004)

SLOVAKIA (2004)

SLOVENIA (2004)

SPAIN (1982)

TURKEY (1952)

THE UNITED KINGDOM (1949)

THE UNITED STATES (1949)

The liberal war mongers satisfy their urges

Like all addicts the liberal warmongers cannot resist satisfying their unnatural urges for long. Having had a lull of a year or two,  they have grabbed the opportunity presented by the widespread upheaval in North Africa and the Middle East to sate their thirst for political exhibitionism and the  promotion of liberal internationalism.

The resolution passed by the  UN, an organisation overwhelmingly composed of the vicious and the corrupt, supposedly makes this latest  act of unprovoked liberal aggression legal. It is a strange legality which rests on a self-arrogated authority by those who are guilty of the same or worse than Gadhafi , and a most peculiar system of law which says that the prosecution of offences depends on the strength  a regime or its utility to the main players at the UN. Gross oppression and violence are routinely used by China (Tibet) and India (Kashmir)  and nothing is done because they are too large and powerful; Saudi Arabia and Bahrain escape censure and punishment because they are possessed of oil and useful to the  West; Zimbabwe and the Congo remain ignored because the main UN players do not care.

There is no clear international foreign policy either  in Britain or the wider developed world . Like the perpetual warfare in 1984 the status of international political players is transitory. For much of Gadhafi ’s 42 years in power the West was more than happy to supply him with arms and buy Libya’s oil. Ten years ago Gadhafi  was overtly a pariah to at least Western states, although he still managed to trade and obtain arms.  Since 2003  he has been not merely accepted back into the international fold of respectability following his ending of Libya’s nuclear weapons programme,   but positively feted by the likes of Tony Blair and pandered to in the most repellent fashion by the release of the convicted Lockerby the convicted  bomber Al  Megrahi.  Now he is a pariah again not because he has broken  his agreement to stop his nuclear weapons programme, but because Libya has  been swept up in  the general turmoil in North Africa and the Gulf, a turmoil driven to a significant extent by Western media and politicians who talk fancifully of the “Arab Spring” and the need to support “Islamic democrats” and generally behave as those protesting  throughout the region are (1) all wearing white hats while the rulers wear black and (2)  coherent political entities which could form new governments.   

History tells the same story, the overthrow of an abusive government, whether that be an outright dictatorship or simply an oligarchy which becomes too greedy and self-interested,  rarely if ever produces government which can be said to be unequivocally better than what went before. Often the upheaval  creates  vastly more mayhem while the decision of who is to rule is being decided than would have occurred had the old regime remained, while the new regime is frequently more cruel and abusive than that which it replaced, for example, the Russian Revolution.   Frequently  the result of such upheaval  is not a clear cut winner but interminable civil war.  Moreover,  even where improvement eventually occurs, it is difficult to judge  if  the improvement  compensates for the period of greater turmoil and violence or whether the improvement is more desirable than would have occurred had the old regime continued and become, as commonly happens,  less abusive with time.  

Most of the members of the UN do not have anything we in Britain would recognise as a government.  The majority keep order after a fashion and that is about it. There is a small elite who benefit by embezzling the country’s wealth. If  it happens to be oil rich territory,  some bones of comfort thrown to the  general populace by way of  cheap petrol and the occasional hospital.  In many supposedly independent nation states the “government”   controls the large cities and towns and that is it. Quite a few supposed states are in a condition of endless civil war. Even large and relatively developed states such as Mexico  suffer constant battles with drug barons and the revolt of the landless.  In more developed places such as Russia it is gangster government in a western democratic shell,,  whereby  a pretence of democracy and the rule of law is mocked by the frequent use of the courts to subdue political opponents of those with power and  business deals are  often decided at the point of a gun.  That is the world we live in.

The idea that representative democracy (more correctly called elective oligarchy) can be consciously created is absurd. It is a fantasy which was tested to destruction by the British post-colonial experience when the Westminster –style political systems bequeathed by Britain to her colonies  at the time of independence failed dismally. Representative  government is something which grows organically with the development of a society. It is also a very rare beast having developed from scratch in only one country (England) and been successfully exported only to countries which were either colonies in which the dominant culture was derived from England  or small European countries such as the Scandinavians. All the major countries of western  Europe – France, Germany, Spain, Italy – have in the past century suffered either dictatorship or a change of political power through methods other than the ballot box.

The UN is behaving disingenuously in sanctioning only what it describes as action to protect the civilian population.  The clear intention is regime change, something which is illegal under UN statutes.  The so-called no fly zone is a declaration of war in its own right, but the reality is that it is not merely a no-fly zone but a no-fly plus ground attack from the air zone.  If implemented this will inevitably result in causalities both amongst non-combatants and  those who are fighting Gadhafi . UN REsolution  also raises the question of what  happens if anti-Gadhafi  forces start massacring people in revenge  or various factions amongst the rebels start fighting amongst themselves?. How will the  claimed UN “duty to protect the defenceless” sit in that context?  Where will this all lead?  Either to a humiliating failure  by the West or Western invasion of at least part of the country.

Why is Libya subject  to this action when so many other vicious  regimes are left untouched?  Here is an  unpalatable explanation.   European politicians  got carried away as they saw the long-term rulers of Egypt and Tunisia fall and assumed the same would happen to Gadhafi . This showed a tremendous political naivety because Libya is organised on a very different  basis , being a personal fiefdom of the ruler  in a way which the other two countries were not.   There was no professional Libyan army to hold the ring as happened in Egypt because Gadhafi   ensured there was not one because he feared that such an army might overthrow him. Instead he relies on a kind of Praetorian guard plus mercenaries.  

 The upshot of this miscalculation by the likes of Cameron and Sarkozy was that  they publicly nailed their colours to the mast by calling for Gadhafi ’s overthrow and,  in Sarkozy’s case, giving diplomatic recognition to “the opposition” whoever they might be.  When Gadhafi did not flee, get himself killed by someone close to him and fought back successfully,  these over eager politicians  were left with the prospect of both a tremendous loss of face and Libya still in the hands of an enraged Gadhafi  with nothing to lose by going back to his old terrorist promoting ways.  Left high and dry,  Cameron and Sarkozy pressed for military action to get themselves out of a hole.  

Would Libya be a better  place without Gadhafi ?  Probably not.   Is Gadhafi   a deplorable human being? Indubitably. Does Gadhafi  deserve to survive?  It is not a question of deserve,  but whether he has the will and capacity to do so. Would his survival make things more or less precarious in the Arab world as a whole?  It is difficult to see how as  the likelihood is that the other unsettled  countries will end up with dictatorships, admitted or otherwise, whether through the military taking over in places such as Egypt,  existing regimes continuing  or Islamic groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood gaining power.

The questions the British people will be asking themselves is why are our politicians yet again putting British servicemen at risk?  What is our national interest here? How is that when we are being told we are in a dire financial state that money can always be found for projects politicians favour?  Do not hold your breath waiting for answers.

What should be provided directly by the state?

 Certain things should be reserved to the state as a matter of absolute principle. They are defence, foreign policy, policing, justice, the implementation of judicial sentences and decisions and the administration of welfare. They should be reserved absolutely because either they involve the use of force or the threat of force, punishment or the distribution of taxpayers’ money in areas such as unemployment benefit.

For reasons which I shall shortly examine, the state should also directly control any essential service which is a natural monopoly. What counts as a natural monopoly? Railways and utilities such as water and energy are examples They are natural monopolies because it is simply not practical to have competing lines running to the same destinations or competing utility pipes and cables supplying the same area.

It is possible, as has happened in some of the British privatisations, to allow different companies to compete to supply services such as trains, energy and water, but that is at best an insufficient or incomplete competition and at worst a wholly bogus one because the actual lines of supply – the railway track and the pipes or cables – still have to be maintained and owned by some organisation, private or public. That means the infrastructure has to be either owned publicly or, if owned by a private company, the company must be rigorously controlled by the state, as is the case with the British telephone landline infrastructure which is owned by the privatised erstwhile nationalised company British Telecom.

British government interference with natural monopolies since privatisation has gone far beyond controlling the infrastructure. In the case of the railways, a considerable public subsidy has been paid and continues to be paid to the private operators. In every monopoly industry a regulator has been appointed to control both prices and, in theory at least, to force companies to do things such as provide a certain level of investment in new equipment and to be conscientious when it comes to maintenance and operation of the infrastructure. To pretend that these monopoly industries are private companies working in a free market is patently absurd. They are effectively public services contracted out to private contractors.

A few services only work as monopolies, the classic example being the universal letter post, that is, letters delivered to any part of a territory for the same price. This only works if it is a monopoly because if there is competition from private companies or municipal postal services they will take sufficient of the profitable trade in the towns and cities to make it impossible for the universal supplier, in this country the Royal Mail, to subsidise the loss making deliveries to parts of the country outside the main urban centres. No private company would ever provide universal coverage unless they had a monopoly.

Why should the state directly control essential monopolies? Firstly, because there is no opportunity for meaningful competition and consequently the state must step in to prevent abuse of the monopoly position. To do that, as we have seen, it has to interfere very strongly with the running of the monopolies. In practice, it can only efficiently do this if it directly controls the monopoly.

If the state subcontracts an essential monopoly to private business or allows private business to buy a monopoly two general problems arise. The first difficulty is that a private business may at any point fail as a business or simply refuse to continue with a contract if it is not making money for the business. If that happens the state is over a barrel because it does not have the resources to immediately take over the enterprise, nor is it probable that another private company would be able or willing to step in at a moment’s notice – the worst outcome would be the cessation of a vital industry. Nor, if a company failed, is it obvious how a Government would prevent its assets being sold by a liquidator. In principle when Railtrack failed – the company which after privatisation had the responsibility for maintaining the infrastructure of the British rail network – the shareholders owned the assets (the railway infrastructure including much highly profitable land) and the creditors had a legitimate charge on them.

Clearly no government could allow the railway or vital industries such as water, gas and electricity simply to go under, either at the national or regional level. Hence, any government will, when shove comes to push, have to pay through the nose (your taxpaying nose in fact) to maintain the threatened industry, whether that be through enhancing a contract to make it more profitable, granting more profitable contracts to a new private contractor or through the payment of outright subsidies. A government is in a similar bind if a company is doing a bad job: they cannot simply sack them because who is to take their place?

Natural monopolies also raise other problems if they are in private hands. There is insufficient public control over areas such as maintenance and strategic planning. Good British examples can be found in the privatised water and energy industries. In the case of water the privatised companies have failed to invest adequately to stop the considerable loss of water from cracked pipes. Nor has a single reservoir been built in England since privatisation. These investment failures have occurred despite the water companies consistently making healthy profits. The Water Regulator huffs and puffs but achieves little because the water companies know he can do little. Indeed, he has to date not even fully used the powers he has despite issuing many warnings to the water companies. And the Government? Well, they could pass a new law giving them direct powers over the water industry but what then? If a water company simply refuses to do what is needed where does the Government go? Nowhere fast is the answer.

With energy it is the strategic planning which is emasculated. Successive British governments have allowed Britain to sleepwalk into a position where the country went rapidly from being self-sufficient in energy to becoming a net importer. This was entirely predictable as it was known long before it happened that North Sea oil and gas was going to decline substantially from the beginning of the century. Despite this no meaningful strategic planning has taken place since privatisation with governments until very recently childishly claiming that it was not for them to interfere in the actual provision of energy now the industry is privately owned (the Blair Government has just woken up to the strategic danger of being dependent on foreign supplies but even now -2006 – no definite decision has been made on future British energy policy). The upshot of this lack of planning has been rapidly rising energy prices since 2005.

If water and the energy utilities had remained in public ownership, the fact that politicians had ultimate responsibility for them would have ensured that maintenance and strategic planning was not neglected because no politician or government could afford to be blamed for a water crisis or soaring power prices. Government could also subsidise prices, something it cannot do now even if it chose to because of EU competition rules. The same principle applies to most of the privatised industries – take away the political responsibility and the profit motive rules.

Certain things are simply too important to be left to private efforts. Natural monopolies such as the railways, water and gas are literally essential to the survival of an advanced state such as Britain. Because of that stark fact alone they need to be treated as something much more than a commodity which can be simply left to the market. They should to be seen for what they are, strategic assets, and placed firmly under national control.

There is a further general reason why essential monopolies should be in public hands – the need for general provision. Left to private enterprise, even with an unfettered monopoly only the profitable parts of an industry would be supplied. Roads and railways would only be maintained if the traffic warranted it. Gas, electricity, water and telecommunications would only be supplied where sufficient profit could be made. The problem is we do not want roads and railways only over profitable routes, or the utilities such as gas and water supplied only to urban areas. We want them over the entire country. Only public provision can truly satisfy that need. Of course, private companies can have a duty to provide a general provision placed on the them but what if none is willing to take it or they take on the responsibility but then fail to meet it? The government then has to decide to either subsidise the company directly or to loosen the contract conditions to which the company has agreed.

 The final type of enterprise which the state should always take in hand are those which experience tells us are beyond the resources of private business. Private enterprise can never be trusted to handle really massive projects. A classic example of this is the Channel Tunnel. Margaret Thatcher insisted that no British public money would be involved and that private enterprise would bear the entire cost. It soon became clear that this was a nonsense. The Tunnel itself was completed but the companies which built it were not so much bankrupt as on another planet called Debt. And this was despite the very serious amounts of money pumped into the enterprise by the French Government, both directly and indirectly. The situation was rescued, if one can dignify what happened with the word, by the banks and other creditors rescheduling debts so far into the future that they all but vanished and the French Government surreptitiously pushing in more money via the French banks. To this day, the Channel Tunnel is the whitest of white private enterprise elephants, with the latest ” debt restructuring” always just around the corner.

Direct provision also has a further benefit. While assets are publicly owned and employees directly paid by the state, it is politically much more difficult to reduce or abolish that part of public provision. If the provision is supplied by a private company their contract can simply not be renewed or cancelled. If the provision is directly supplied, the government has the ticklish problem of having to take responsibility for the redundancies, something which greatly raises the profile of the removal of the provision.

The best example of the dangers of losing direct provision is the gradual privatisation by stealth of the NHS. To suddenly privatise the entire NHS would be impossible, but salami slice it over ten or fifteen years by continually increasing the private sector involvement and the position is completely different. Then the politician can use excuses such as “So much of it is in private hands now that the rest might as well be,” “We can’t have such a comprehensive service because private companies can’t provide it” and “Costs have risen so much that we have to cut this or that”. The whole system will be such a confused mess of public and private that the public will not know what to think. Also, the privatisation by stealth may have surreptitiously changed the way the public view the NHS so they see it no longer as a national institution but merely as a provider of medical care through disparate means. That in itself would reduce the moral outrage needed for any successful public protest.

How do we decide what should be provided by the state?

 It is easy in principle to decide whether something should be left to private enterprise  or public service. Simply ask five questions:

 (1) Is the service or product generally considered to be a necessity?

 (2) Will profit compromise safety?

 (3) Is the service obviously inappropriate to be left in private hands, for example policing or defence?

 (4) Can the service be provided by private enterprise without subsidy?

 (5) Can free enterprise be reasonably expected to deliver the necessity universally?

 If the answer to any of (1)(2)(3) is YES or the answer to either (4) or (5) NO, then it should in principle be provided either directly or indirectly by the state.

The present state of global economies

Free trade is postulated on an absurdity, namely that the world will no longer see wars which will significantly disrupt trade, or at least the trade of the First World. It is a fool’s paradise.

 Those with memories greater than that of a goldfish may recall the help and support Britain received from her supposed EU “partners” in the Falklands. Remember how  France supplied military equipment in the form of missiles to the Argentine during that war. Imagine what would have happened if Britain at the time had relied largely on equipment which was either wholly or partly produced abroad. Suppose, for example,  her  main fighter aircraft had been produced by an EU consortium (as it soon will be), what guarantee could Britain have had of fresh supplies of spare parts and weapons during the Falklands war?

 The dependence on foreign suppliers affects even the greatest states. The New York Times (29 Sept 2005 – “More US weapons have foreign roots”) documents the reliance of the US military on foreign suppliers. This is still small as a percentage of the whole defence budget but it is growing and already encompasses important areas such as bio-chemical warfare protective suits. 

The reality is that what we have does not even fall within the  arbitrary and narrow definitions of “free markets” and “free trade” which most of the developed world’s  elites  espouse under the banner of globalism.   States still protect their economies with state subsidies, favourable tax regimes, quotas and tariffs. Nonetheless, protectionist barriers have been reduced sufficiently to severely damage first world industries through products from the developing world with their absence of labour laws and wages many times less than those of developed economies.

 First World economies have also exported vast numbers of jobs to the developing world. These range from manufacturing to skilled white collar work such many IT functions. The old middle-class belief that they were immune from the effects of globalisation has received a rude buffeting.

At the same time as jobs and industries  have been exported, the industrialised world has increasingly allowed the purchase of native companies by foreigners. Perhaps the most dramatic example of this has been the complete transfer of London merchant banks to foreign ownership.

The fourth strand in the modern “free trade” web is immigration. Since 1945, with the exception of Japan,  the First World  has allowed through a mixture of design and neglect of border controls, vast numbers of immigrants into their territories,  most of whom have been unskilled or low-skilled.

The primary consequences of the slowly evolving post war international economic regime have been two. The first has been the gradual  growth of dependence on the imports of vital goods and services by the developed world and a loss of governmental control of companies within their borders, not least because any large multi-national can hold the threat of upping sticks to another country if a government does not play ball.

The second consequence has been the degradation of the economic circumstances of those whose jobs were most at threat from the internationalisation of trade.  Those effected are mainly the poorer and less qualified workers and their dependents. They have found their opportunities for work much reduced and the pay and conditions for the suitable work which remains eroded by extra competition from both native  workers chasing fewer jobs and immigrants competing for the same jobs.

Those whose jobs opportunities have been degraded have suffered a form of theft. Had mass immigration and the export of jobs been prevented, the wages  for the jobs taken by immigrants would have been higher than they are when subjected to the additional competition of immigrant labour and the exported jobs would not have been exported, which in itself would have tightened the labour market. In societies of rising aspiration, this could result in jobs considered menial being  better rewarded than those which enjoy high status under  “free trade” circumstances. It might be necessary to pay a sewage worker as much as a doctor. Doubtless many would throw their hands up at this. But there is no logic to such a response, because in a society with a large private enterprise component a wage is simply a response to the value the market puts on a job. Unskilled workers may not earn as much as the average  doctor or lawyer at present, but skilled tradesmen such as plumbers and builders often do.

Armed forces to defend Britain not to serve the New World Order

The current Government dithering over what cuts should be made to our already distorted and overstretched  armed forces  is taking place not in the context of what we need to defend Britain and her interests,  but by asking  how the cuts  can be made to allow the dangerous and  destructive fantasy which has been taken hold of British politicians for several decades – that Britain can perform  the  quasi-imperial role of  bringing  “enlightenment”  in the form of  political correctness to the benighted natives – to  be sustained.

What Britain needs, as every state does, are armed forces to defend its territory and to intervene abroad when a vital British interest is at stake.  The article below (which was published by Right Now! in the summer of 2004) attempts to define what such armed forces should be and give a broad defence strategy which goes beyond the armed forces.

Armed  forces  to defend Britain not to serve the  New  World  Order (NWO)

For  the British political elite the loss of empire  did  not  signal the end of the imperial  mentality.  As a consequence, Britain’s   defence  capability continued for decades  to  be built  upon the ridiculous assumption that she still had  the military responsibilities of a  great power.   This has meant until recent years that Britain has shaped her  defence to be able to operate,  in theory at least,  anywhere in the world, with  a  very full range of expensive military toys  such  as aircraft  carriers  and  heavy tanks,  neither  of  which  is necessary for the defence of modern Britain.

That  policy  was mistaken but not inherently  dangerous.  It  cost  the  British  taxpayer a great  deal  of   money  spent  unnecessarily,    but it did not commit Britain to  dangerous  adventures or leave Britain incapable of defending herself.

In   Tony  Blair’s hands this  “great  power”  mentality  has  transmuted  into an ideology what might be described as   New  World Order (NWO)  chic,  whereby  Britain’s armed forces are  no  longer intended to protect British territory  but  rather  exist to operate as an arm of some ill-defined  international  order.   To  call them defence forces is rapidly  becoming  a  misnomer.  Equally important,  the military enterprises which  our armed forces are being shaped to perform are fraught with  diplomatic,  military and economic danger,  not least because  they are likely to be taken in conjunction with the USA.

Creating the NWO force of tomorrow

The  shaping of our armed forces to serve the NWO rather than British  needs  is   already   well  under  way.    This   is  exemplified by recent   equipment proposals which, at massive   cost, lumber Britain with weapons which are not needed.   Two giant  aircraft  carriers  have  already been ordered   at  a  current   estimated  cost  of  £13  billion  and a  new “mini-tank” which can be lifted to foreign fields  by air  is proposed at another  œ6 billion (Sunday Telegraph London 5 10 03).

In  addition  to these vast equipment projects,   Britain  is committed   to   providing   a   rapid-response   force   for “international  emergencies”  and is being  gradually  lured,  whatever Blair says, into an EU defence force.  The  effect  of  this reshaping of our  armed  forces  is  to starve  them of  the means to defend Britain.   The  aircraft  carrier  project  alone will take  a  quite  disproportionate amount  of  the defence procurement budget  for  many  years,  while the mini-tank  project, if it goes ahead,   will result  in the end of our heavy armour  regiments altogether.

The defence policy Britain  needs

It is improbable that Britain in the foreseeable future  will  have  to  fight,  as  a  matter  of  necessity,   either   an aggressive war  abroad on its own or in alliance with another    country such as the USA.  What Britain needs are armed forces which  will  prevent  attacks on Britain  itself,  guard  her waters  and (just conceivably) allow her to break a blockade.   Such a policy could be easily met within Britain’  s  present spending,  because it is always easier and cheaper to  defend your own territory than to have to invade another territory.

Having  armed forces which are  designed to  operate only  in the defence of  Britain should  mean that recruitment of both regulars  and reservists   becomes easier  because  long  and frequent  tours  of    duty abroad would   no  longer  be   a problem.  In particular,   shortages of specialists  such  as military  medics should become a non-issue.

The  policy   would   have the  further  great  advantage  of  hamstringing    politicians.    Whatever    their    natural inclinations,   even   the  most   reckless   politician   is     constrained in what he  can do by  simple practicalities.  If  Britain  has  armed forces which are only equipped to  defend  British  territory,  they  cannot easily  be  sent  to  fight  abroad, even in conjunction  with a power such as the US.

Equally  importantly for the long term interests of  Britain,  if  politicians cannot  engage in military action abroad,  it is  probable  that   their  ability  and  desire  to   impose draconian “anti-terror”,  laws such as those which the  Blair  Government has been eagerly passing since September 11,  will  be  much diminished.  Stripped of the propaganda   engine  of  how  Britain is militarily tackling “the war on  terror”  and “our  boys are at war”,   any government would  find it  very difficult  to  rush through  authoritarian  measures  because  opponents  amongst the elite would be more willing  to  speak out.

What are we guarding against?

There  are  three  general threats to Britain,  nuclear  war,   conventional   war/blockade/sanctions  against  Britain   and  terrorist  attacks from within and without.   Nuclear war  we  can   only  deter  by  possessing  a   credible   independent deterrent,  which  would also deter  a  direct  conventional attack. As for blockades and sanctions, these can be resisted by ensuring we are self-sufficient in necessities.

At  present  we  have  Trident and that  is  it  for  nuclear weapons. Trident  may  not be  under our control –  Tony Benn believes  that  it cannot be operated without the release  of American codes because it is dependent upon US satellites for its  guidance system – and we scrapped our  freefall  nuclear  bombs in 2003.   Britain  should develop a variety of nuclear  weapons and delivery systems.

To  have a potent threat  below the nuclear,  Britain  should also  pursue  the development of weapons such as the  neutron  bomb  and  lasers and any other appropriate  sub-nuclear  new technology  which  arises.   Such  technology  would   permit  Britain  to defend the Falklands with some  certainty  whilst deploying little manpower.

The Navy and Airforce should be reshaped utterly.   To defend  Britain,   we  require  not  giant  carriers  but  plenty  of submarines,  minesweepers  and small assault  ships  such  as  destroyers to police our immediate seas.  The airforce should turn  its efforts towards the development of unmanned  planes and a  space programme capable of at least launching our  own satellites – at present we are entirely dependent on Nasa  or European  Space Agency satellites the use of which  could  be denied  at  any time.  The space programme would  be  run  in conjunction with general missile development.

The  regular  army is large enough as  it  is  (approximately 110,000)  provided  women are excluded from the count and  it is  supplemented by a decent sized TA and properly  organised reservists, ie, the regular soldiers who have completed their service and then go onto the reserve list.

Military procurement

In the end, the only certain  defence is that which a country can  provide for itself.   Relying on foreign  suppliers  for   military equipment  is  self-evidently  dangerous because  it  places  us  in their hands.  There is also the  inability  of  Britain to ensure that foreign equipment is upgraded  through further development.

A  country like Britain has it within its  power  to  produce all the weaponry and associated equipment it needs.   That is  especially so if the defence of British territory is the sole  concern  of Britain,  because the range of  equipment  needed becomes much reduced,  for example, we would  not need  heavy tanks or aircraft carriers.

Those  who doubt that Britain could go it alone in  producing their own equipment should reflect on the fact that until the early  sixties  Britain produced virtually  all  its  defence equipment,  including   cutting  edge  planes   such  as  the Lightning  fighter  and the V bombers,  when  our    national  wealth was, in real terms, very much less than it is today.

To   those   who  argue  for  the  economies  of   scale   in  joint-projects  with other countries I would simply  say  one  word “Eurofighter”.     Originally intended to enter  service in  the 1990s,  it has still  to do so,  nor is it clear when it will.

Nor is simply buying foreign a panacea. Take the case of  the Apache  Helicoptors  purchased  from the USA.  These  have  a  rather  distinctive design fault:  rockets can only be  fired from   the right-hand side of helicopter because if they  are  fired from the left hand side  debris may hit the  tail rotor which is situated  on the left-hand side.

National self-sufficiency

There  is  more to defence than men and armaments.  The  more  self-sufficient  a country is  the less vulnerable it  is  to  foreign  pressure.    There  is no  point  having   the  best equipped defence force in the world if   a country is reliant  on  the import  of much of its food or raw materials such  as iron  and energy sources such as oil.

With modern farming practices,  Britain could feed herself at a pinch.   Presently, we produce approximately 60% of what we eat. In addition, we export a substantial amount of food.  We  might  not  be able to  produce as much food  as  we  consume today, but  if we had 80% of what we consume  now – something which could be achieved  by  temporarily banning exports  and  maximising the use of existing agricultural land – in time of   emergency we could continue to feed ourselves.

We  also  need  to  maintain  the  capacity  to  produce  all  necessities,  not  necessarily at the level we  now  consume, but  to  have  the ability to manufacture them.  In  time  of emergency  the capacity could be expanded.   If  no  capacity  exists it cannot be expanded.

Energy needs should be  entirely met by the country. The only practical  way  of doing this rapidly is by   engaging  in  a  nuclear power building programme.  In the longer term,  other renewable energy sources can be expanded.

Lastly, strategic stockpiles of vital raw materials should be created   by the government sufficient to provide five  years working  stock.    This  would  allow  time  to  withstand  a  blockade or devise ways to evade  sanctions.

International treaties and joint defence

Mutual defence treaties are  a perpetual source of  mischief,  providing an ever-open door to unnecessary war.  For example,  in 1914 Britain  went to war ostensibly because  of a  treaty  signed  in  1839  which committed Britain to the  defence  of  Belgium.

Presently  we are primarily tied into Nato.   I came  to  the conclusion  that  Nato  was essentially a PR  vehicle  around 1970,  when I could not quite  bring myself to  believe that the  US  would launch a nuclear strike on the  Soviet   Union simply because the Soviet Union invaded or attacked any  part    of  Western Europe  – which was  the bottom line of  Nato.  I  find  it even less probable that an enlarged Nato would  come  to the aid of a member if it was  attacked, not least because the  most likely attacker of a Nato member  is  another  Nato member.

Whatever  the  utility  of  defence  treaties  in  the  past, nuclear  weapons  have changed the rules of the game.   If  a  country  has  a nuclear capacity it is most unlikely  to   be  attacked.   Thus  defence treaties are,  for  nuclear  powers  which  have no aggressive ambitions,  practically  redundant.

Britain  should withdraw from them,  together with any  other treaty, such as the Treaty of Rome, which restricts Britain’s freedom of action and control of her borders.

Let us not sleep-walk  to disaster

Should   Britain continue to have forces which are shaped  to engage  in NWO expeditionary adventures there will be no  end to military and political quagmires such as  those which  now find  British troops trapped in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the  absurd   but  sinister  “War  on  Terror”   will   carry   on indefinitely.   There is no end to the madness and peril such policies  could engender.  We need to remove  temptation  and   opportunity from politicians.

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