SDSR 15 – Following Boldly On

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One of the hallmarks of a good officer is the ability to plagiarise with confidence.

To that end as we all eagerly honehone our 300 word SDSR 15 submissions I thought it would be worthwhile to look at similar exercises that were published this year by both China and the USA. The aim in doing so is to highlight how others see the operational environment, the ways by which they intend to operate in it and the means they intend to employ. Every county’s strategic perspective is unique, but understanding how other countries view their strategic environment and what their strategic aims are should help us in our strategic formulation.

USA

The US published its National Military Strategy (the United States Military’s contribution to national security) in July 2015.

Operating Environment.

“Complexity and rapid change characterize today’s strategic environment, driven by globalization, the diffusion of technology, and demographic shifts.”

“When applied to military systems, this diffusion of technology is challenging competitive advantages long held by the United States such as early warning and precision strike.”

“Emerging technologies are impacting the calculus of deterrence and conflict management by increasing uncertainty and compressing decision space.”

“Youth populations are rapidly growing in Africa and the Middle East, regions that face resource shortages, struggling economies, and deep social fissures. Meanwhile, populations in Europe and across northern Asia are set to decline and get older. Around the world, millions of people are flowing from the countryside into cities in search of work where they are exposed to cultural differences, alienation, and disease.”

Mission and Tasks.

“This National Military Strategy describes how we will employ our military forces to protect and advance our national interests.” “Success will increasingly depend on how well our military instrument can support the other instruments of power and enable our network of allies and partners.”

National Military Objectives

  • Deter, deny, and defeat state adversaries.
  • Disrupt, degrade, and defeat violent extremist organizations.
  • Strengthen our global network of allies and partners.”

Joint Force Prioritized Missions

  • Maintain a secure and effective nuclear deterrent
  • Provide for military defense of the homeland
  • Defeat an adversary
  • Provide a global, stabilizing presence
  • Combat terrorism
  • Counter weapons of mass destruction
  • Deny an adversary’s objectives
  • Respond to crisis and conduct limited contingency operations
  • Conduct military engagement and security cooperation
  • Conduct stability and counterinsurgency operations
  • Provide support to civil authorities
  • Conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster response.”

Force Development.

“In view of the anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) challenges we increasingly face, our future force will have to operate in contested environments. Key to assuring such access will be deploying secure, interoperable systems between Services, allies, interagency, and commercial partners. Priority efforts in that regard are establishing a Joint Information Environment (JIE), advancing globally integrated logistics, and building an integrated Joint ISR Enterprise.”

“Future capabilities must sustain our ability to defend the homeland and project military power globally. Important investments to counter A2/AD, space, cyber, and hybrid threats include: space and terrestrial-based indications and warning systems, integrated and resilient ISR platforms, strategic lift, long-range precision strike weapons, missile defense technologies, undersea systems, remotely operated vehicles and technologies, special operations forces, and the Cyber Mission Force, among others.”

Key Takeaways.

The consensus on the US National Military Strategy is that it was very good at describing the environment it anticipated operating in, but very light on the detail of describing how it would achieve anything in such an environment. This may have been a result of funding issues (sequestration) and having unknown (not just limited) resources to match against global demands. The document does give some indicators as to US thinking which will impact on UK defence planning:

  • As US military preponderance diminishes allies will become more important.
  • Forward basing of forces for deterrence and rapid-reaction will become more significant (we are already seeing this in Europe).
  • The US sees the threat of inter-state war as growing.

CHINA

China published its “Chinese Military Strategy” in May 2015.

Operating Environment.

“In today’s world, the global trends toward multi-polarity and economic globalization are intensifying, and an information society is rapidly coming into being.”

“Profound changes are taking place in the international situation, as manifested in the historic changes in the balance of power, global governance structure, Asia-Pacific geostrategic landscape, and international competition in the economic, scientific and technological, and military fields. The forces for world peace are on the rise, so are the factors against war. In the foreseeable future, a world war is unlikely, and the international situation is expected to remain generally peaceful. There are, however, new threats from hegemonism, power politics and neo-interventionism. International competition for the redistribution of power, rights and interests is tending to intensify. Terrorist activities are growing increasingly worrisome. Hotspot issues, such as ethnic, religious, border and territorial disputes, are complex and volatile. Small-scale wars, conflicts and crises are recurrent in some regions. Therefore, the world still faces both immediate and potential threats of local wars.”

Mission and Tasks.

“China’s national strategic goal is to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2021”

“China’s armed forces take their dream of making the military strong as part of the Chinese Dream. Without a strong military, a country can be neither safe nor strong.”

“China’s armed forces mainly shoulder the following strategic tasks:

  • To deal with a wide range of emergencies and military threats, and effectively safeguard the sovereignty and security of China’s territorial land, air and sea;
  • To resolutely safeguard the unification of the motherland;
  • To safeguard China’s security and interests in new domains;
  • To safeguard the security of China’s overseas interests;
  • To maintain strategic deterrence and carry out nuclear counterattack;
  • To participate in regional and international security cooperation and maintain regional and world peace;
  • To strengthen efforts in operations against infiltration, separatism and terrorism so as to maintain China’s political security and social stability; and
  • To perform such tasks as emergency rescue and disaster relief, rights and interests protection, guard duties, and support for national economic and social development.”

Force Development.

“The seas and oceans bear on the enduring peace, lasting stability and sustainable development of China. The traditional mentality that land outweighs sea must be abandoned, and great importance has to be attached to managing the seas and oceans and protecting maritime rights and interests.”

“China will keep abreast of the dynamics of outer space, deal with security threats and challenges in that domain, and secure its space assets to serve its national economic and social development, and maintain outer space security.”

“As cyberspace weighs more in military security, China will expedite the development of a cyber force, and enhance its capabilities of cyberspace situation awareness, cyber defense, support for the country’s endeavors in cyberspace and participation in international cyber cooperation.”

“The nuclear force is a strategic cornerstone for safeguarding national sovereignty and security.” “China will optimize its nuclear force structure, improve strategic early warning, command and control, missile penetration, rapid reaction, and survivability and protection, and deter other countries from using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against China.”

Key Takeaways.

The “Chinese Military Strategy” was a much better, more concrete policy document. It presented a clear strategic vision of China in the world and linked threats to security policy and resource implications. China has defined security in broad terms to cover 11 fields (political, territorial, economic, military, nuclear, social, cultural, science/technology, information, ecological, and financial). By defining security broadly China has allowed itself to apply the organs of security in any of these areas if needed. From a UK defence planning perspective it is worth noting that China is set on developing its regional hegemony status and that it is focusing its military capability development in cyberspace, outer space, nuclear forces and the maritime environment. From a UK perspective the fact that China sees itself as a nascent naval power should be giving cause for thought.

CONCLUSION

In considering the UK’s defence concept I found that the conceptual framework enunciated by Israeli Major General Sakal in his book “Soldier in the Sinai” a good framework to follow:

  • What are the domestic political considerations? What is the balance of power domestically? How much freedom does that give the government? How radical are opposing political visions? (We have gone from a bi-polar UK political system to a multipolar system, how will that impact on our willingness and ability to act on the world stage?)
  • What is the sociological basis of the society, its demographics and wealth? (We have an ageing society whose ethnic composition has undergone rapid and significant changes; this poses challenges for society, government and the military).
  • What is and what should be the Force composition be? The balance between Regular and Reserve components as well as between the different Services.
  • Past experience: experience accumulated in past wars and the political, military, technological, economic and social lessons learned. (For better or for worse SDSR 15 will be heavily influenced by the experience (political and military) of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns).
  • Economic considerations: the state’s ability to both afford conflict and to supply the weapons required to wage one. (What kind of war can we afford to fight? What kind of losses can we afford to sustain?)
  • Geographic considerations – what is the geo-political situation of the state. (We are a maritime state, but are we in Europe or out? What and where are our core interests and red lines?).

In considering the SDSR 15 operating environment I would highlight three points:

  • The character of conflict reflects the character of politics. At the micro and macro levels we are witnessing a fragmentation of the old order. Politics (and with it conflict) is changing. At the micro level this may well limit the UK’s ability to act, while conversely at the macro level increasing the requirement to act. The basis of the social contract in many societies (including the UK) is also changing, if not fraying. State on state war remains a distinct likelihood and the most dangerous form of conflict, but war among the people will be endemic and enduring.
  • Technological profusion means that the West will continue to lose its relative technological advantage.
  • The fundamentals of geo-political competition will not change.

Both China and the US clearly see a world where complexity and competition are increasing and the velocity of instability, enabled by changes in communication and by technological diffusion are increasing. In developing a coherent defence strategy we need to understand both what the threats are, but also what role we wish to play in the world.

China has a clear vision, the US maintains its lofty aspiration and the UK…?

sdsr2015

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HMArmedForcesReview
HMArmedForcesReview

One of your best articles.

Martin
Martin

in many ways the Chinese have it easy. Their potential adversaries I.e. Japan and the western powers are a very peaceful lot and will do virtually anything to avoid war. Further more as the Chinese are prepared to allow third world dictators to carry out any level of barbarism and they don’t do a lot of peace keeping their military doctrine can be easily defined.

Chris
Chris

From the Chinese strategy paper: “Without a strong military, a country can be neither safe nor strong.” Can we write this in very large clear letters and post it to No 10 Downing Street, with copies to No 11 Downing Street and to the Chiefs of Staff, Main Building…

Beno
Beno

Fascinating. Very very interesting take on the subject, Thanks.

DomS
DomS

Thanks for the article. Re: the Chinese Strategy, amidst the online analysis I found this interesting piece:
http://cimsec.org/chinese-military-strategy-week-understanding-context/17780
In short, for the Chinese, publishing strategy documents may be more an act of propaganda than the exercise in transparency that we associate with western equivalents

Jeremy M H

I don’t think that particular document is really supposed to address the how for the U.S. That is addressed in various other documents.

Jeremy M H

I also think technological profusion is a bit oversold at times. I think both Russia and China are hitting some hard realities with their 5th generation jet fighter efforts. There is little transparency on either program but the Chinese to a great extent and the Russians to a lesser extent seem very far away on engine technology. The reverse seems to be true on the electronic front. China does better but Russia seems to have a good long ways to go. It honestly wouldn’t shock me to see the PAK-FA exist in very small numbers (less than 50) for the next decade plus. I think China is more able to pour in the resources needed to get something out of their program. But the learning curve will be steep.

I also don’t remain 100% sure China really can hold it all together during as this sort of hybrid command/free market economy. The government is burning a lot of cash already trying to prop up the stock market. And there are far bigger potential liabilities out there that would cause even worse social unrest. The way forward for China isn’t entirely clear in my view.

as
as

@Jeremy M H
Do you think China is going to have another civil war?

Jeremy M H

@as

No. In no way. I just think there will be considerable friction between international ambition and what the people demand as far as their own freedoms. The basic social compact seems to be that everyone still winks and nods as the government says so long as economic conditions continue to improve. No economy has ever really gone up forever.

I think the government trying to prop up the stock market is a poor sign. stocks are not really systemic issues in the way banks are. It seems like they are very afraid of the reaction of the people of things backslide even a bit. That tends to prompt one to make poor decisions.

stephen duckworth

When we had the Scottish independence referendum my other half , who is from the PRC , could not understand why London allowed it. She was horrified we would consider allowing a part of the UK to separate at all. Her parents who were visiting at the time also expressed the same views and that Beijing would never allow such a thing . Taiwan still sticks in Beijing’s throat and will be brought back under their control at some point but by peaceful means. They are basically buying their way in generating closer and closer economic links.Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd or Foxconn to you and me are a Taiwanese company but primarily manufactures in the PRC . The device you are reading this on was probably made in part or wholly by them. Many others have been similarly enticed to set up the bulk of their operations there too and as we all know its the big money that controls governments.

Engineer Tom

Hell the USA wouldn’t have allowed the Scottish independence referendum, we however have to appear nice and grown up for some reason.

Also I think China is going to hit a serious issue in terms of their growing middle/upper class, up until now they have made money on exporting goods, if that reverses they have such a large population they will suddenly find themselves short of money and resources.

If nuclear weapons didn’t exist Russia and China would be an issue, but as they do China can’t even look at Siberia.

Africa is going to see a lot more Chinese interest, though I would say they will be wanting more for their money in the future, Djibouti got a massive new railway from Ethiopia and a renovated port for a 10,000 troop base, supposedly. Which I believe would be their first overseas base if the reports are true, would also be a bit embarrassing for the US, being evicted for your biggest rival.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same

@ET
The US is not a Union of nations that existed as Independent nations for hundreds of years. The reason we are grown up is because thankfully we believe in Democracy and it is the right thing to do

It is after all what some of us put our lives on the line to protect, most people I know would be less keen to do so for a country that is not “grown up” as you put it.

Chris
Chris

APATS – I put this link on the open thread last week, but it seems appropriate here: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x22bv4m_watch-as-1000-years-of-european-borders-change-timelapse-map_shortfilms

Under your definition of being Grown Up, both Prussia and Bavaria should have a democratic right to sue for independence from the rest of Germany. Somehow I doubt Mrs M nor the rest of the German political machine would sanction such a state-breaking move. I am left wondering if this makes Germany undemocratic?

Engineer Tom

I could see the argument for the referendum, but I thought they should have waited until the opinion polls were pointing to a definite Yes result.

Now however I don’t think they should have another go for 30 years, otherwise we will be having referendums every 4 years.

Also isn’t the definition of a federation that it is a union of nations.

Jeremy M H

I think any nation has the right to vote to dissolve itself. However I found the scope of voting in the Scotland situation to be highly objectionable.

To me the circumstances for a part of a unified nation ought require both the consent of the prt leaving and those staying behind.

The Other Chris

Many countries prevent unilateral secession constitutionally.

Ukraine and the USA are just two.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same

No right to sue and that is not what happened here either. If either a Prussian or Bavaria had a Parliament and elected a party that wanted to hold a referendum on leaving Germany then damn right they would have the right to do so.
I also think That Germany would understand that.
You also choose to discount the rather short lived nature of Prussian and Bavaria compared to Scotland which existed as A Independent state from 840 until 2707 and indeed the different nature of the treaty of Union but any populace of a recognised state or country has to have the right of self determination or we are 2faced gits.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same

I agree though 20 years.
No the definition of a federation is a group of partially self governing entities operating under a federal government.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same

Just like the formation of the US Jeremy? Highly objectionable? For someone who likes to enforce Democracy you sure are frightened of it.
Self determination is enshrined in the UN charter.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same

We’re they created by a treaty of Union? Involving 900 year old countries?

The Other Chris

Nope. Just highlighting the differences.

Jeremy M H

@APATS

I am frightened of democracy because I object to the scope of a referendum? Whatever suits you I guess…

Seems to get rather personal when I am accused of “spreading democracy” but yes I object to the very low bar set by the Scotland referendum and would absolutely not support a similar low bar in the U.S. or anywhere else for that matter. The dissolution of states impacts the rights of everyone involved. Before I give up my right to travel or relocate to Texas under U.S. law I feel I ought to have a say if they stay or go.

There are many good instances where states should dissolve or where armed rebellion to those ends are well justified. But for me personally “it is our oil money and we want to spend it all how we see fit while you and NATO still protect us from the big bad world” isn’t one of them.

This wasn’t about irreconcilable differences, it was about oil money and a sense that there is now (largely because of contributions of the UK over several centuries) no threat to an independent nation north of England.

I also am not going to sit here and make artificial distinctions based on history with its often flawed boundaries. Why can’t part of Scotland stay? Can London just leave the UK? How about just the financial districts? If so why not?

My position on this is the proper venue to decide it is the whole of that nations voting population since it impacts all of them. Otherwise I don’t see how you draw the line between Scotland wanting to leave and the West Midlands wanting to do the same.

I have zero objections to a vote. I just object to the idea that many millions of others who will lose some rights and privileges if a part of their nation leaves should have no say in it. I fully recognize this can lead to a situation where a majority holds onto a restive minority that have legitimate grievances or is being mistreated. But there exist other remedies for such wrongs and I don’t believe that to have been the case with Scotland at all.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same

No jeremy it was about self determination. If you do not understand the difference between a country that was established in 840 and entered the treaty if Union in 1707 and a region like the “West Midlands” or even Texas you perhaps might want to do some research before posting.
The clue is the fact it was a treaty of Union between countries.

Think Defence

Jeremy, if the rest of the Union were allowed to vote in a Scottish referendum the Scottish people would have a new passport design by now :)

Jeremy M H

Probably true TD. Though by my rules you would have two votes. The group leaving would have to vote for it too in addition to an overall vote.

Otherwise there are a few parts of every nation that would get tossed.

All Politicans are the Same
All Politicans are the Same

There were 8 polls conducted exclusively in England and Wales between May 2011 and the vote.

Interesting findings in May 2011 41% supported Scotland leaving 40% opposed. in sept 2014 17% supported Scotland leaving with 61% opposed. There was a huge trend and the average was 27% in favour and 51% opposed.

Pretty clear cut, despite what a lot of the posters on here may like to believe.

Mark
Mark

It’s safe to say the in the Scotland evokes as much debate in the UK as the second amendment does in the U.S.

We had a once in a generation votes last year that overwhelmingly stated a desire to continue the union. In 25 years we can have another but not before.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same

@Mark

Agreed and I voted to stay but I see no problem opposing a potential outcome whilst defending the right to ask the question.
My post pointing out the overwhelming support that opinion polls showed the rest of the uk had for Scotland to remain is shockingly awaiting moderation.
Free and open debate :)

A Caribbean Perspective
A Caribbean Perspective

IIRC, Texas can leave the union without needing the approval of all the others, so probably not the best example. That was the terms that it joined the Union under and all the other states accepted that.

Parts of Scotland did express an interest in staying as part of the United Kingdom – whether that would have translated into them actually parting ways with the rest of Scotland is hard to say, but their view of Edinburgh seems to have been even more jaundiced than their view of Westminster.

duker
duker

A treaty of union between two countries ? Like a modern couple it was a defacto union before that once James IV moved to London in 1603. The later treaties were just to formalise the ‘housekeeping arrangements” over the legal differences- which remain to this day. If Im correct, there was a lesser position for Scotland’s lawmakers in that only a portion of Scots lords went to westminster while existing english lords remained in their entirety.
The predecessor of Scotland absorbed its neighbour the non gaelic speaking Strathclyde ( and northern england) around 1100.

duker
duker

Thats just a legal point of view. We can see when there is ethnic, language and cultural differences that sucession is a natural end point. Does have a ‘sucession clause’ that allowed South Sudan to be born? Helped by the UN and west by the way, you could almost said they forced the north to make it happen.
Yugoslavia is another example where even a ‘vote’ wasnt held and in many ways was like Ukraine as a recent country made of many parts.
And once it was split into separate pieces, Kosovo was ‘taken’ from Serbia as a result of outside military intervention.
Succession, intervention in civil war, everyone’s done or is doing it and to argue some sort moral high ground is ridiculous.
Some places like Afghanistan are where historically all the major powers have had a go, some like Britain, more than once. Remind me again WHY the UK had a sustained intervention in the last 10 years. The only one I can remember now is ‘getting women the vote’

Jeremy M H

@Carib

Picked Texas specifically because of that myth actually. Anyway, way off topic.

stephen duckworth

Sorry TD for starting the whole Scottish independence thing again ;-) The Chinese have a big issue with at least a couple of province’s ,Xīzàng or Tibet to you and me and the bulk of the residents and Xinjiang or Uygur .ditto. Like most regions of China they are nominally ‘Autonomous’ in practice Beijing calls all the shots which has bred a lot of resentment Tibet being only recently annexed and Uygur being Muslim which was suppressed heavily during the Mao regime. China will not tolerate seperatism one iota and slams down heavily on any dissention. Time will tell if they can keep the Middle Kingdom together. China has had some extremely bloody civil wars ( including the world’s bloodiest the Taiping , 20m+dead ) so fingers crossed they can keep an even keel. This a part external nations can help in by NOT causing dissention or exposingbthe Central government to public (Chinese) embarrassment.

A Caribbean Perspective
A Caribbean Perspective

@JMH – apologies – skim read what you said and misinterpreted. The myth seems to be hotly debated, however. But as you say – off-topic (and a bit of a can of worms as well)

Martin
Martin

here we go again, Just so we are clear Jeremy Scotland has a legal right to self determination as its population is recognised as a separate “people” along with Wales Ireland England and Cornwall. If England wants a referendum it too can have one and the people of Scotland would quite rightly get zero say.

The population of Texas is not recognised as a seperate people (although perhaps it should be)

Any argument used against given the Scottish people a referendum on leaving the UK can be used against the UK having a referendum on leaving the UK. There is zero difference. Both are political unions formed by the joining of independent nations and what can be done must also be able to be undone.

Also I would hardly call 45 55 margin an overwhelming vote to stay.

The UK still however remains the most grown up country in the world despite the right wing nazi leaning tendencies of parts of the south of the country.

HMArmedForcesReview
HMArmedForcesReview

The US report is more for the US military, not US security as a whole. After all, it is from the JCS.

Obsvr

So the PRC will use force to safeguard overseas interests. Does that mean that if the Australian Greens succeed in stopping Chinese coalmining in Queensland the PLA will liberate Queensland? Perhaps its just as well that the bulk of the Australian Army is based in Qld.

Brian Black
Brian Black

Martin, the Scots are not a separate people in any constitutional sense (as indicated by the Scottish independence referendum being held on a geographical basis rather than on Scottish nationality).

The English, Scots, Cornish, or whoever do not have separate passports or status; they are all British.

I assume your idea of a separate people comes from the UK giving British Scots, Irish, and Cornish National Minority status under the EU’s Framework Convention for The Protection of National Minorities.

The Framework Convention allows recognized minorities to express their cultural identities without prejudice. ie, a Scotsman will never be jailed for wearing his kilt, and a Cornishman will not be sent to the gulag for eating pasties. It is not a meaningful status in terms of succession.

It should also be noted that the Acts of Union that created Britain and the UK effectively dissolved the previous independent states. That is nothing like the EU treaties that hold together a bloc of independent states in a political union.

Many folks mistakenly believe that England and Scotland exist as independent states within a political bloc called the UK. The Acts of Union did not tie together independent states; the previous states ceased to exist, and a brand new country was created.

If Scotland residents are allowed a referendum, it is because that is a mature and reasonable way of handling things; it is not because Scotland’s residents have some special status that allows them to break away.

Rocket Banana

TD,

Excellent article.

Nice concise synopsis of the US and Chinese strategic planning.

I’ll be honest though; they are both more than 1500 characters!

Rocket Banana

I have a genuine question that has been bugging me for quite some time.

We have often (on this site) disregarded East Asia and sort of left that to the USA to “manage”.

Is this really a sensible policy?

Especially given our interests and capabilities around the Indian Ocean (DG) and our relationships with our Antipodean friends.

Think Defence

Simon, look at the post author

Rocket Banana

Sorry Mr David Hume Footsoldier.

Great article.

Martin
Martin

@ Brian Black

Not that I really want to get into this again but why does Scotland retain its own legal system if it is merely another part of the UK.

Why is their no such thing as a UK domicile? If the act of union dissolved Scotland and England as distinct entities then why not create a common law and domicile.

Also scots whilst a minority in the UK tend to form the majority of people north of Berwick. Much in the same way French people tend to form the majority south of Calais. That’s what makes them a distinct people with the right to self determination.

Beady
Beady

All this talk about “Scots” and “English”. I do consider myself English first then British, but my grandfather was a Hogg who came down from Scotland. So partly due to this family tie, I hope the Union remains. I suspect that there are very many “English” people in a similar situation. I wonder how many geographical Scots there are with English ancestry, and how many would own up to it.

stephen duckworth

Europe’s focus needs to be on the immediate East , Russia and try to stabilize the MENA region . Individual European nations will have separate ,additional responsibilities . The UK the BOTs , the French theirs etc but securing and stabilizing Europe’s frontiers has to be Europe’s priority which if we are successful will allow the US more flexibility with their assets giving them the ability to exert more pressure in the Far East. Basically we need to sort our own shed out first rather than getting the neighbours in to do it for us.

lindermyer
lindermyer

The UK still however remains the most grown up country in the world despite the right wing nazi leaning tendencies of parts of the south of the country.

Really, I have to say apart from a few unpleasant individuals and a number of them were Scottish / Welsh / Irish im unaware of any extreme right groups receiving popular support in the South.

Or have we been so indoctrinated that Left = caring, sharing and Moral* that we now believe anything not left of centre as immoral and uncaring and so subconsciously define any thing right as centre as far right.

*Hard as it is for some to accept and despite some unpleasant propaganda** most people who vote conservative don’t hate the poor, don’t want to euthanize the disabled or scrap welfare and the NHS. Broadly speaking what they want is the same as what those on the left want, where the 2 differ is how they believe that can be achieved.
Unfortunately whilst so ever the opinions of certain individuals are given credence, there will be an aggressive divide that spits in the face of discourse cooperation and ultimately Democracy.

Hint to the more loony fringes of the left – If You are physically attempting to assault and silence Farage because you disagree with him you are hardly the democratic people you think you are – and no I am not a fan of UKIP.

** I refer you to some of the social media following the last election.

Peter Elliott

That authoritarian left are some of the scarier people out there.

Martin
Martin

@ David – it’s worth noting that the USA has all but given up having a leading role in the Middle East as well. Currently both the UK and the USA are doing the bare minimum to hold the line. perhaps we have finally learned the lesson that the ME is a s**t hole and will always be this way. A no amount of British and American blood and treasure will fix the issue.

No doubt they will soon have to drag some other mug into their game soon with China being the most likely candidate.

A Caribbean Perspective
A Caribbean Perspective

@Martin – “why does Scotland retain its own legal system if it is merely another part of the UK.”

I’m not taking side in the debate, but I suspect that the real reason that both England and Scotland retained their own separate legal systems is simple – why bother to change them? You have two parallel functioning common law based systems that have both arrived at a perfectly sensible set of solutions within their own contexts – why would you want to spend the huge amount of time and effort that would be involved to merge the two? What would be the benefit? Just think of what would be involved in a relatively simple task like defining a common set of land ownership laws and then re-drawing all the relevant documents (deeds of ownership, leases, covenants etc) to comply with those laws. Difficult enough today with word-processing, computers and printing – think about doing it with hand-written documents (no mistakes or alterations allowed). Not really worth the effort or expense.

Martin
Martin

@ Caribbean

No doubt this was the case. However we cannot pretend that the act of union caused the existence of Scotland and England to disappear. Both entities continued to live on after the act of union. Hence you can not have a British domocile

Nick
Nick

@Peter Elliot

the authoritarian “any creed” are the scariest people out there. There’s no need for any distinction.

any creed = fascist, communist, islamic , christian etc etc

Nick
Nick

@Martin re the Middle East

anyviews on whether the current immigration crisis will force our hand there ? It seems we (Europe or perhaps more realistically Germany, France, Italy, UK, (Sweden ?) are the major recipients) may be unwilling to accept several million Syrian (Iraqi, Libyan) economic migrants over the next couple of years. Can we solve this political problem without acting at the ultimate source ?

Damned if we do and if we don’t seems appropriate in some ways.

I am not writing from a moral or political point of view. Given c220 million is population – for these 4 countries today, I think you can argue that additional population growth of 1 million pa is capable of being sustained economically.

Current UK growth rate is 0.7 % pa according to the ONS. Whilst this might be considered high by recent levels (last 50 years) it wasn’t that much lower between 1951 and 1971 which was 0.5 %pa.

Nick
Nick

@Martin

according to the Scottish Law article on wiki, continuation was written into the act of union (see below)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scots_law

Its an interesting read, as obviously – UK law ultimately has primacy via parliament. Its the one of the earliest example of UK devolution

A Caribbean Perspective
A Caribbean Perspective

@Martin – you don’t have British domicile, but you do have UK domicile (as in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Note that its not the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), which is pretty much exactly the same thing. Believe me, as a resident of a so-called tax haven (though we pay plenty of tax here), but with family and property in the UK, domicile and residency are both matters of interest to me and the UK (not the English or Scottish) taxman.

DGOS
DGOS

How about being very helpful and offering to host a ‘ Syria in exile’ in the Falklands.

Provide (with EU Funding) all facilities for up to 20 years and encourage a full Syrian set up that can decamp back at the appropriate time.

Possibly similar set up for other groups eg Afgans!!!

Martin
Martin

@ Nick – I don’t see any military solution to the refugee crisis. If we intervene in Syria then we will only make things worse. Then we will have a moral consideration to take in refugees.

I have no doubt economically the EU can absorb this many refugees. However politically and socially it can’t especially given the religious beliefs on most of the refugees. Europe has done. Piss poor job in the past of integrating people from the Middle East in the past and there is no reason to think we will do a better job in the future especially with larger and larger minority populations in the EU.

@ Caribbean

There is no UK Domocile. If the tax man can establish Scottish or English welsh or NI domocile then they can tax you.

Chris
Chris

Martin – ref refugees – I quite agree the issue is less one of monetary costs or even population pressures, more one of cultural pressure. The nations of Europe, especially Western Europe, have historically been firmly Christian – in religious terms up to the mid 1700s, then in societal terms thereafter (our cultural values remain based on Christian ideals even though many citizens are not church-goers). For some unfathomable reason in the middle of last century we chose to become astonishingly apologetic for absolutely anything our forebears may or may not have done; this social self-flagellation extended to throwing our borders open to any that wished to move here (nothing particularly wrong with that) on the understanding we would be most pleased if the immigrant communities set themselves up in enclaves that recreated their previous homeland – including its religion, its cultural norms, its view of acceptable behaviour, its language. This enclave approach was (in my opinion) astonishingly poor strategy for the future of the country – we called it Multi-Culturalism and it was wildly praised by the Politically Correct enlightened ones. By encouraging our immigrant families to set up ‘Bangladeshi-town’ or ‘New Islamabad’, as a nation we inferred these were national outposts of their erstwhile homeland, and indeed we now find UK citizens born and supported and educated here that still consider their true home to be Pakistan or Bangladesh or Iraq or Somalia. We made this happen; our bend-over-backwards approach to reinforcing cultural differences, our zero-tolerance to any form of pressure on people to conform to this nation’s cultural and behavioural norms, our insistence that people must be able to act in accordance with their own rules. Add to that a paranoia throughout the Authorities of being accused of racism that resulted in the law not being enforced where cultural differences were detected. Our immigrant citizens didn’t make us go this way, it was all our own work.

As I understand it, the German approach is quite different – once a citizen is accepted and handed a German passport they are in the eyes of the state and the law exactly the same as all other German citizens. No special rules. No cultural blind-eyes. There are rules, and all Germans are expected to comply. This is not Multi-Culturalism but Integration. While there might still be ethnic tensions (particularly among the young), there are no cultural barriers through which Police nor State dare not go.

It must be said I am still smarting from my family and friends being called Nazis because we live in the South and probably didn’t vote Labour. A bit of a slur on a very large proportion of the nation that fought to keep the Nazi war machine from taking permanent control of Europe. Perhaps you were unaware that the origins of the Nazi Party were socialist. With a little help from Wiki:

The Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers’ Party) focused on anti-big business, anti-bourgeois, and anti-capitalist agendas (albeit hiding behind these the anti-Semitic root of the hatred of those with money). Its quite difficult to see how ‘Nazi’ has been rebranded ‘far Right’, assuming the Right is traditionally seen as the preserve of the Haves that want to retain their wealth. To a very large degree the rise of the Nazi party was fuelled by the less well off in post-WW1 Germany eager to redistribute the wealth from the very rich (specifically Jewish families).

Martin
Martin

@ Chris – personally is see the defining characteristic of Europe ( atleast Northern Europe) as having very little religion. even Christianity. However allowing large groups of people who do hold a strong belief threatens that way of life.

Also I did not call all people that live in the SE nazi’s and it has nothing to do with voting labour. The Nazi party did have its roots nominally in socialism but was also emphatically anti communist and anti socialist. There are three parties in the UK which share a very similar view atleast with the early nazi party and their political base is in the south east of the country. That’s not my opinion but a fact.

Not a lot of BNP councillors north of Berwick

A Caribbean Perspective
A Caribbean Perspective

“There is no UK Domocile. If the tax man can establish Scottish or English welsh or NI domocile then they can tax you.”

There is no reference within the HMRC website to domicile within a specific part of the United Kingdom, only to the UK as a whole (which is why the Channel Islands, for instance, are excluded – they are not part of the UK). It refers only to UK domicile and makes no reference whatsoever to which part of the UK you live in, only to the fact that it is within the UK. The United Kingdom is the nation. England, Scotland, Wales and NI are geographical regions within it. This may change in the future if, for instance, the Scottish Parliament gets tax-raising powers that include personal income, as the domicile of the tax-payer may become important in determining which exchequer gets its hands on your money

DavidNiven
DavidNiven

This is an interesting piece from ‘War on the Rocks’ which may have some relevance to the SDSR.

‘Consider These Seven Factors Before War Ends’

America’s post-9/11 war is not over—far from it. Who will win and what kind of world will emerge are still open questions. As retired Brig. Gen. John S. Brown put it, “We’re in the third inning.”

wheatleymr

Re: Afghanistan, to remind you, it was because 9/11, the U.S. said “Hand over AQ or you are our enemy”, and the Taliban had a meeting about it before replying: “No, they are our allies, it would be like asking us to renounce our religion, we shall fight to the death to protect them.”

DavidNiven
DavidNiven

Forgot to add the link

http://www.armymagazine.org/2015/08/17/consider-these-seven-factors-before-war-ends/

Although it is an American view on their forces I believe this paragraph is also pertinent to us.

‘Our political leaders in both the executive and legislative branches have full plates. Money is tight; there’s a legitimate public debate over the extent and limits of government; there’s no foreign policy or national security consensus; bipartisanship is at an all-time low, as is understanding of the war and the American armed forces even as the military is held in high esteem. In fact, holding an institution in high regard when you know little about it is, itself, risk-ridden. When the conditions finally emerge such that our political leaders and citizenry at large demand a shift to the offensive and success against our enemies, the Army and the other services will have to be ready to ask for what is needed and explain why it is needed. Some of that work has begun, but this task must be taken up in earnest on both sides of the dialogue.’

stephen duckworth

Diego Garcia will soon be vacant , expand on the existing facilities , huge runway and 15m deep harbour and done. The French got any islands they haven’t got a use for any more? Didn’t they blow some up awhile back. The radiation must be mostly gone by now. Build refugee camps/cities for these ‘refugees’ off shore where they can maintain their culture until it is safe to return. If they like we can train them to fight the people who have displaced them. Most seem ( despite news footed desperately trying to show women and children) to adult males 18 to 50 years old , fit flee but not fight.

A Caribbean Perspective
A Caribbean Perspective

@SD – maybe it’s time for a variation of the Kimberley Plan – I wonder whether the Australians would mind?

The Other Chris

Diego Garcia will be Mauritian before the UK can use the facility.

Chris
Chris

TOC – so we are talking about an island in an ocean far away, which is currently under British rule but will become territory of a Commonwealth nation? Sounds familiar… Just right for Prisoners Of Her Majesty. (Apologies Oscar Zulu, 40 Deg South, Obsvr…)

The Other Chris
Challenger
Challenger

I wonder what will actually happen if the Americans leave Diego Garcia next year.

It’s not as if there withdrawal means an automatic transfer of sovereignty of the whole territory to Mauritius, but at the same time i can imagine the base will be left to rot whilst we figure out just what to do.

stephen duckworth

Mauritius and the UK are both claiming ownership of Diego Garcia . I can’t see us handing it over to the Mauritian government. A more likley outcome is a return of the inhabitants and the islands run in a similar manner to the Falklands. The tourist industry that could develop there could make Chago’s people very comfortable. Direct flights to that 12,000′ runway and a deep water port to boot. With the waters throughout the archipelago being a marine sanctuary since 2010 , free from fishing or mineral extraction , it would be a massive draw for eco-tourists. We bought the Archipelago from Mauritius , if they wanted it they shouldn’t of sold it to us.

Martin
Martin

Sign me up for a holiday to DG. I still can’t believe the US are leaving. Where will the autobots live now?

On the refugee crisis. If we had a bit of long term thinking we may look to lease part of a country in Africa such as Sierra Leon and create a Hong Kong for Africa. If the place was given special status by the EU and allowed access to the single market and we diverted part of our aid budget to get the infrastructure off the ground we could make a very nice and workable country to help absorb the millions of people fleeing. Would also serve like Hong Kong or Singapore as a focal point to develop the region. Then all assylum seekers heading illegally to the EU could be resettled there with little fear of repression that they may find being sent back to their own country.

stephen duckworth

@Martin
Would the romantic sounding Sea Cow Island suit you for a first visit to this tropical paradise archipelago?https://www.google.co.uk/search?safe=strict&site=&source=hp&ei=MbbcVfmrJob5ygPbta_oCw&q=chagos islands&oq=chagos&gs_l=mobile-gws-hp.1.0.0l4j5.3467.6196.0.7719.9.8.0.3.3.2.253.1259.0j3j3.6.0….0…1.1.64.mobile-gws-hp..2.7.985.3.-2EeelMi47Y#safe=strict&q=ile vache marine&stick=H4sIAAAAAAAAAGOovnz8BQMDgx4HsxCnfq6-gVFZWUq5EheImVGVkWuZriXsWZyTmJfiXpRfWhCSD-HURdX9npX-nVl-1tttx5WjX4StfvYZAKLs7XRLAAAA&imgrc=0SJXbIZp0UvQbM:

Martin
Martin

it would Stephen, diving is suppose to be great there as there has been no fishing for decades. Just hope if the islanders do come back they don’t f**k the place up.

stephen duckworth

Indeed when I suggested Diego Garcia or French Polynesia as a suitable off shore and therefore contain and controllable sites for housing refugees in segragated ethnic/creed groupings , separated by ocean from killing each other as opposed to the South Atlantic Falklands I was trying for a more comfortable solution.
China can pitch in to this international relief effort by supplying some of this technology .http://inhabitat.com/200-chinese-workers-erect-a-30-storey-prefabricated-hotel-in-just-15-days-video/

Allan

@Martin,

“Further more as the Chinese are prepared to allow third world dictators to carry out any level of barbarism…..”

I don’t see the UK rushing to get rid of ZANU-PF in Zimbabwe or deal with the Saudi’s who have been busy exporting radical Islamo-fascism for decades.

Allan

“We had a once in a generation votes last year that overwhelmingly stated a desire to continue the union. In 25 years we can have another but not before.”

Going to apply that principle if the UK votes to stay in the EU?

Allan

@Simon “Events have demonstrated in the last three years that Europe has neither the political will and cohesion, nor the military muscle to take up the US slack.”

Because ‘Europe’ isn’t one country like the US – there are dozens of countries that make up ‘Europe’, all with different outlooks and views. Not at all like the US were Washington alone holds sway on matters of defence.

If you are arguing NATO should be formally mobilised and national forces used as ‘NATO forces’, I can see your argument but expecting disparate groups of nations to work together quickly or cohesively – that’s a very big ask.

Take Turkey for example – a NATO member – busy bombing ISIS and the Kurds. So Turkey – right on next door to ISIS – is so relaxed about ISIS, it chooses to divert some of it’s military power to bomb Kurds that it views as dangerous.

This is of course even as some Western leaders continue to shout that ISIS are the most super-duper bad guys the world has ever seen……thus is it any wonder that some European leaders are questioning what the f**k is going on and what the plan is….especially as Germany appears to be hell-bent on taking in huge chunks of the former population of the region.

Allan

@Martin, ” perhaps we have finally learned the lesson that the ME is a s**t hole and will always be this way. A no amount of British and American blood and treasure will fix the issue.”

Well said but it could be added that the issues could be solved but would require means that few if any democracies would ever pursue.

If you’ll allow the anecdote….a friend of mine, who as lived in Russia – made the comment that if 9-11 had occurred in Russia -then it would be highly likely that the Russians would have asked all Westerners to leave and the issue of Saudi Arabia exporting radical Islam would have come to an end.

Difficult to export anything from a glass floored self lighting car park.

Mark
Mark

Yes

Long term legal and investment decisions by government and companies which drive the economy and ultimately everything else cannot be subject to such fundamental changes to a country as that of an in out vote every few years dependant on the ego of which ever party is in power. Short term decisions rarely turn out well in the long term.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy

…The ME might well be a rotting cesspit – but as far as I can see, that gives us a strong motive to stay close enough to stop up the cracks and shore up the walls. Not least because doing so ensures we maintain a goodly supply of rubber gloves, shovels and concrete mixers plus people trained to use them. Without that incentive when the flood of shit reaches the Balkans we’ll be clearing it up with our bare hands…having convinced ourselves that the cesspit will miraculously hold itself together if we walk away and leave it alone.

On the EU question, once we are out we are out…they won’t want us back, even if they can hold together which seems less than certain. And as this is Think Defence, let’s remind ourselves that despite their self-aggrandisement the EU contributed the square root of bugger all to European Defence during the cold war, and hasn’t done much better since. That task fell to NATO…which included us before we joined the Common Market, and still has one or two key members who don’t qualify to be in the EU…

GNB

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