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US and Western Defense Policy in the Next Four Years


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10 hours ago, Roman Alymov said:

No, to much earlier time

"Now this is the Law of the Muscovite, that he proves with shot and steel, When ye come by his isles in the Smoky Sea ye must not take the seal" 1896

 

 

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3 hours ago, Josh said:

Logistically, that is not an achievable goal.

From what I've heard today, they are now talking about 2500 from both, leaving 500 in Afghanistan and 1500 in Iraq. Which if true would mean the British Army will outnumber the Americans 2 to 1 in Afghanistan. 

https://www.army.mod.uk/deployments/afghanistan/

 

It will also mean near parity in Iraq.

https://www.army.mod.uk/deployments/iraq/

 

Edit

From what has just been announced, it's not so bad, 2500 will remain in Iraq and Afghanistan. That's barely 500 out of Afganistan, thank God.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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Getting back to Biden, I think his policy will largely mimic Obama's on most fronts where possible, but I suspect in many cases the world will not cooperate. It seems unlikely the Iran deal can be re-instituted, for instance. Also as someone else noted, the Trump policy towards China was somewhat bipartisan and unlikely to be completely reversed. I suspect Biden's policies to containing China will much more heavily involve allies in the EU and WestPac, economically. Boris will likely be high and dry in any Brexit move, especially if it manages to screw over Ireland in the process. Bibi is about to get a lot less popular as well, though I don't think any set policy will be reversed (like the embassy). The Fresh Prince of Riyadh just literally lost his license to kill. The UAE might see its weapons deal reversed if it isn't solidified in Congress. "Just The Tayyip" could see more sanctions for a number of policy decisions that Trump was generally willing to hold off on outside the F-35 (which will still be off limits).

I personally wonder if Bestest Korea doesn't use the lame duck period as an opportunity to fire off some IRBMs or ICBMs.

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Division between European trans-atlanticists and Euro-centrics on full display this week. The German defense minister recently aired her views already expressed in the speech quoted in this thread's original post to a much wider audience with an English-language piece in "Politico". French president Emmanuel Macron however reacted indignantly to her suggestion that "illusions of European strategic autonomy must come to an end" in an interview with "Revue Grand Continent" (French, also available in German, Spanish and Polish) yesterday.

AKK was unfazed in a video keynote speech to students of Bundeswehr Uni Hamburg (German) today, though she said that where Macron and she agreed was that Europe needed to do more for its own security to be taken as a serious partner by the US. One thing she called for was Germany to steady its increases in defense spending by not deciding from year to year, but introduce multi-year legislation on the defense budget. 

Quote

Europe still needs America

No matter who is in the White House, we are in this together.

BY ANNEGRET KRAMP-KARRENBAUER

November 2, 2020 4:42 am

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is Germany’s defense minister.

BERLIN — For people of my generation, the United States is, more than anything else, still the country of hope and horizons, of liberty and like-mindedness.

But on the eve of U.S. presidential elections, the German debate over the future of transatlantic relations is fractious.

Anti-American sentiment, which has always existed in our country alongside feelings of gratitude and closeness toward our ally, is on the rise and has become a notable force.

Making a strong case for transatlantic relations these days is not always an easy undertaking — not only in Germany but also elsewhere in Europe. But the case must be made.

There is an overwhelming strategic need for strong transatlantic cooperation, both on our side in Europe, but also, I firmly believe, in Washington.

In a world marked by increased power competition, the West will only be able to stand firm and succeed in defending its interests as long as it remains united. Europe remains dependent on U.S. military protection, both nuclear and conventional, but the U.S. will not be able to carry the banner of Western values alone.

With an eye on another important election — Germany’s federal election in 2021 — let me therefore propose a set of policies that my own country, alongside its European partners, should pursue forcefully.

[...] 

Illusions of European strategic autonomy must come to an end: Europeans will not be able to replace America’s crucial role as a security provider.

For the U.S., this means that it needs to keep Europe under its nuclear umbrella for the foreseeable future. Germany, for its part, must urgently make the decision to stay inside NATO’s nuclear sharing program and assign the required budgetary and military assets quickly in order to remain a reliable nuclear partner.

This is where the German defense debate will be the toughest. And that’s why, on this topic, we need to stay firmest.

There is no doubt in my mind that America needs Europe. The U.S.’s worth as a global power depends to a significant extent on whether its role as a protector of Europe remains credible.

But Europe must demonstrate to the U.S. that it’s not just a taker, but also a giver. We have to acknowledge that, for the foreseeable future, we will remain dependent. But at the same time, we must also realize that we need to spend and do a lot more to keep the peace, defend liberty, strengthen our values and reinforce the rules that we believe should be in force around the globe.

[...]

https://www.politico.eu/article/europe-still-needs-america/

 

Quote

Macron: Europe needs its own sovereignty in defense, even with new US government

News Desk | Reuters | Paris

Jakarta   /  Mon, November 16, 2020  /  08:09 am

Europe still needs its own independent and sovereign defense strategy, even if it is dealing with a new US government which may result in friendlier ties, French President Emmanuel Macron told the "Revue Grand Continent" publication.

In an interview with the publication, Macron rebuffed comments from German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to Politico on Nov. 2, in which the German minister said Europe would have to remain dependent on US military protection for the near future.

"I am in complete disagreement with the opinion article published in Politico by the German defense minister," said Macron, adding he believed German Chancellor Angela Merkel shared his position on this issue.

"The United States will only respect us as allies if we are serious about our own position, and if we have our own sovereignty regarding our defense," said Macron.

"We need to continue to build up our own autonomy, just as the United States does for itself, and just as China does for itself," added Macron.

Macron spoke to US President-elect Joe Biden on Nov 10, and told Biden he was ready to work with him on issues such as the climate, health, and the fight against terrorism.

https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/11/16/macron-europe-needs-its-own-sovereignty-in-defense-even-with-new-us-government.html

 

Quote

German defense minister to Macron: EU depends on US security guarantee

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer says the EU needs more independence but will still depend on the US.

BY HANS VON DER BURCHARD

November 17, 2020 3:25 pm

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer doubled down Tuesday on her assertion that Europe must continue to rely on U.S. security guarantees, citing “sobering facts” in a response to criticism from French President Emmanuel Macron.

Kramp-Karrenbauer had become embroiled in an unusual public spat with Macron after the latter, in an interview with Le Grand Continent published Monday, criticized her over an op-ed in POLITICO in which she had argued that “Europe still needs America.”

The French president said that he “profoundly” disagrees with Kramp-Karrenbauer’s position and described her argument as “a historical misinterpretation,” claiming that German Chancellor Angela Merkel doesn’t agree either.

In a keynote speech on security policy Tuesday, Kramp-Karrenbauer tried to calm tensions by saying she agrees with Macron that Europe must do more to look after itself. “Only if we take our own security seriously, America will do the same. The French president has just stated this. And I agree with him,” she said.

Yet the defense minister did not back down on her core argument — her insistence that the EU has no choice but to depend on the U.S. as a close partner. “For the foreseeable future” the U.S. will remain “the most important ally in security and defense policy,” Kramp-Karrenbauer told the German army university in Hamburg in a virtual speech.

“Without the nuclear and conventional capabilities of the U.S., Germany and Europe cannot protect themselves. These are the sobering facts,” she added. 

[...] 

But Kramp-Karrenbauer said that Germany and France are united in wanting to increase Europe’s military capability.

“Germany and France want the Europeans to be able to act independently and effectively in the future when it matters,” she said. “We need the ability, in the event of a situation in which, for example, interests between the U.S. and Europe differ, that we can then potentially take action ourselves, even without the concrete support of the American side.”

Yet, “this is something completely different from believing that a European army — however it might be set up and composed — can keep America completely out of Europe and replace America completely,” Kramp-Karrenbauer said.

“We want Europe to be a strong partner for the United States on an equal footing and not a protegé in need of help,” she added.

https://www.politico.eu/article/german-minister-to-macron-eus-dependence-on-us-is-sobering-facts/

Edited by BansheeOne
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2 hours ago, Josh said:

Getting back to Biden, I think his policy will largely mimic Obama's on most fronts where possible, but I suspect in many cases the world will not cooperate. It seems unlikely the Iran deal can be re-instituted, for instance. Also as someone else noted, the Trump policy towards China was somewhat bipartisan and unlikely to be completely reversed. I suspect Biden's policies to containing China will much more heavily involve allies in the EU and WestPac, economically. Boris will likely be high and dry in any Brexit move, especially if it manages to screw over Ireland in the process. Bibi is about to get a lot less popular as well, though I don't think any set policy will be reversed (like the embassy). The Fresh Prince of Riyadh just literally lost his license to kill. The UAE might see its weapons deal reversed if it isn't solidified in Congress. "Just The Tayyip" could see more sanctions for a number of policy decisions that Trump was generally willing to hold off on outside the F-35 (which will still be off limits).

I personally wonder if Bestest Korea doesn't use the lame duck period as an opportunity to fire off some IRBMs or ICBMs.

It's been said before that the trade war with China would have gone much better if they got the Europeans in side first. After all, many of the problems America confronts, whether it's steel dumping or electronic infrastructure, are the same problems Europe is facing.

Here is my prediction for Brexit. They will go hardline, suddenly discover Biden does not have their back, then backtrack furiously. It's been done by this Government time and again in other issues, they go butch, dog their heels in, panic, backtrack. So yes, the comments Biden make on Ireland will be very interesting.

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I don't see how the Brexiteers could back out now. I think you're just going to left with a train wreck of an economy for a couple months. If I was into for-ex trades I short the pound like there's no tomorrow. Boris made his bed and the UK will lie in it, or rather England will by itself most likely by the time all is said and done. It was silly to think the one union could be preserved without the other.

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Brexit will go ahead, I think the nature of the Brexit we get is wholly dependent on what Biden says about Ireland.

I'm not complacent about the challenges we face. But I think a prediction of dissolution of the Union overlooks that the chances of a second referendum are limited, and Scots are not of a mind to demand one. And for another,I don't think the Eu would want a second land border with Britain, considering what a pain in the bum negotiating the last one was.

Just my opinion fwiw.

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10 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

Brexit will go ahead, I think the nature of the Brexit we get is wholly dependent on what Biden says about Ireland.

I'm not complacent about the challenges we face. But I think a prediction of dissolution of the Union overlooks that the chances of a second referendum are limited, and Scots are not of a mind to demand one. And for another,I don't think the Eu would want a second land border with Britain, considering what a pain in the bum negotiating the last one was.

Just my opinion fwiw.

Well, my family in the area thinks you'll all sink together. But at some point, I can't imagine someone doesn't break off the first the chance they get. Someone told me even Whales was on the fence, though I don't personally believe that. But it wouldn't surprise me if North Ireland and Scotland would rather be with the EU than with England, if it came to a vote. I'm unclear what circumstances have to happen for those referendums to happen, but it seems like one or two parts of the UK is going to be rather antagonistic indefinitely until they can leave. And I'm curious who replaces Boris if everything goes wrong. I think Brexit wasn't a good idea in the first place and its execution is more strikingly bad, but here we are. It's not like the US has been particularly effective in foreign policy for awhile.

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The thing everyone overlooks, to secede they need the willingness of Central Government to give them a referendum to allow it. And nobody is particularly of a mind to give Scotland or Wales the chance to poke off. From what im hearing, yes, the majority of people of Scotland would want a second referendum. But no, they are not particularly of a mind to force the issue. Wales, well other than a few politicians, I dont see any willingness there are all.  None of them love Central Government, but none of them seem to have a plan for what comes after getting rid of it.

And even if they did, there are some alarming problems that both of them need to face. They are integrated with the country for hundreds of years. The idea you can suddenly draw a border down the country and trade will continue to flow across it is ridiculous. 60 percent of Scotlands trade is with the rest of the UK. Joining the EU (and its far from certain the EU would want them) means most of that goes away. Their shipbuilding goes away because its only the RN sustaining it. They lose the jobs in Faslane. If you think Brexit is bad, Scotxit (there I just invented a new word) is catastrophic.

Northern Ireland, there is no way they prefer to be with the EU than the UK. The vast majority of them seem to be closer integrated with the UK than Ireland. Yes, they like trade with Ireland, but not to the extent of being part of Ireland which would seem to be part of the agenda.

As far as antagonism, my Grandfather was brought up in Northern Ireland in the 20's, and he used to get stopped in the street and asked if he was a Catholic or a Protestant. If he got the answer wrong, he got beat up. So antagonism and separatism is nothing new in the country. The only difference is a clueless politician gave the regions the theoretical ability to secede though a referendum. I think Central Government has had quite enough of that.

 

 For my own view, I think Boris is going to be booted out before we see some of the more extremist policies enacted. The Conservative party is not what it was 3 years ago. Their electoral victory kept the hardlinders, its true. But the balance of the party is I believe now with moderates. And with Labour I think they might just have the votes to have a no confidence vote. And I think this is partly why Boris is purging the hardliners like Cummings. Doesnt mean we will have a deal, but it does mean that if it doesnt work out (and it wont) he wont be remaining in office long. And at that point I think negotiations will restart, simply because neither side will want to leave it in limbo.

 

Im not complacent, but if you go on balance of probabilities, ill be surprised if the Scots get another referendum in the next 2 decades. There is simply no political capital to be gained by giving them one. If we win, it wont satisfy the Scottish nationalists. If we lose, then the country suffers. Ultimately, what does the UK gain by allowing it?

 

 

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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10 minutes ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

There is simply no political capital to be gained by giving them one. If we win, it wont satisfy the Scottish nationalists. If we lose, then the country suffers. Ultimately, what does the UK gain by allowing it?

And yet, although that logic was never different, CentGov granted them a referendum ... and then another one.

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Well lets just say, I think Central Government have had more than enough referendums to last a quarter century.

What do they have to gain by giving one? The Scottish Nats will not vote with the Government on any policies. They are outnumbered by the tories anyway. I could maybe see Labour giving one, but even that is far from certain. Corbyn offering one didnt exactly prove to be an outstanding votewinner with the English public, and it didnt win him any Scottish votes either for that matter.

 

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21 hours ago, BansheeOne said:

Division between European trans-atlanticists and Euro-centrics on full display this week. The German defense minister recently aired her views already expressed in the speech quoted in this thread's original post to a much wider audience with an English-language piece in "Politico". French president Emmanuel Macron however reacted indignantly to her suggestion that "illusions of European strategic autonomy must come to an end" in an interview with "Revue Grand Continent" (French, also available in German, Spanish and Polish) yesterday.

AKK was unfazed in a video keynote speech to students of Bundeswehr Uni Hamburg (German) today, though she said that where Macron and she agreed was that Europe needed to do more for its own security to be taken as a serious partner by the US. One thing she called for was Germany to steady its increases in defense spending by not deciding from year to year, but introduce multi-year legislation on the defense budget. 

https://www.politico.eu/article/europe-still-needs-america/

 

https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/11/16/macron-europe-needs-its-own-sovereignty-in-defense-even-with-new-us-government.html

 

https://www.politico.eu/article/german-minister-to-macron-eus-dependence-on-us-is-sobering-facts/

What a strange year 2020 is, I have to agree with AKK.

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And the UK announces a £16.5 billion increase in defence spending spread over the next five years. Apparently this is on top of the manifesto pledge to increase defence spending by 0.5% above inflation. It's about +10% per year for the next four years.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-54988870

Interestingly, the Labour party seems to be broadly in favour too.

At least until the Corbyn wing throwbacks win back control.

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Not entirely clear Simon, although it is suggested that this is likely to fund the cyber defence and space sectors.

If it is ring-fenced for those, it means the existing budget doesn't have to stretch to cover them, which might allow the services to piss it away whilst pretending to address the existing project portfolio mismanagement.

I expect a fleet of Sabre engined hypersonic bombers in 4 years but suspect we'll get a bottle-rocket fired from either Newquay or Spaceport Scotland, whichever is more politically expedient.

Edited by DB
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And cyber command probably means everyone in Whitehall gets a free Raspberry Pi.

Those are a lot of capabilities being promised for the money. And it still doesnt resolve the MOD's long term funding problem. From what I understand this is just for 4 years. I would hope this funding would clear the deck of current MOD procurement, such as the Challenger upgrade, leaving existing funding to do the vanity projects. I guess we shall see.

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There is no TA anymore, just a British Army Reserve. Which is admittedly much the same thing, but without a coherent home defence role.

They are investing in more drones apparently, and I think the CGS or someone senior in the army was talking about the Army having hundreds of robots one day. Though again, funding seems to be an issue. In an era when we have more cavalry horses than Main Battle Tanks, and the program to upgrade said tanks has languished for at least 4 years, these things all have an ivory tower feel to them.

It reads to me they are using the MOD to invest in civil technology. Yes, we need to build our own Silicon Valley. Yes we need to invest in space projects (the UK actually seems to be a leading light in building space vehicles in Europe). Though why they need the MOD to do it is beyond me. They would ahve done better to have built a ministry of technology or something, and not use the MOD as a vehicle to deliver it. 

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GCHQ Cheltenham. Basically Bletchley Park with knobs on. Our nexus with 5 eyes.

https://www.gchq.gov.uk/

19 minutes ago, RETAC21 said:

Government Communications Headquarters - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre

No, they need to feed the Donut, so the USians still value their help:

 

Indeed, but that as far as I can tell, would come out the Foreign Office budget, not MOD. The sole MOD contribution would be the use of some platforms like RC135's or conceivably submarines or surface ships. The bulk of it is done by shore establishments like RAF Troodos, which seems largely a cover for a civilian establishment.

Anyway, we shall have to see what the breakdown is of what they spend it on, but it does seem disconcertingly arbitrary from what little we know so far.

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So I listened to the PM's announcement, or as much as I could bear. The highlights are,

24 Billion to defence, or 16 Billion above the manifesto pledge.

A new RAF Space Command

A new Cyber Command.

Investment in Tempest (unless there is a new AI fighter they are anticipating)

A commitment to make the RN the largest and most powerful navy in Europe (which would be great, if our primary naval threat is France or Germany).

Investment in net centric warfare, and even a comment about 'combat vehicles equipped with directed Laser weapons' (Hilariously he said directed Labour weapons, which perhaps says where his mind was directed).

No commitment that I could see to no further cuts to the Army, and a dark hint of 'restructuring assets we no longer need'.

Despite an extra 16 billion, this will 'only' raise our budget to 2.2 percent. That is still approximately 0.8 percent where it was for the previous 40 years to David Cameron cutting it in 2010. And it probably still contains expenditure of military pensions anyway, which could be as much as 0.2 percent ive heard under some estimates. If that's correct, it barely brings us to NATO parity.

Its not a defence review, its a list of cool stuff with no real strategy of what it will deliver, and focused far more on the jobs it creates than the capabilities we need. And still leaves undiscussed how the MOD's equipment budget hole will be filled. The cool stuff takes up 7 Billion. That means that they have 9 Billion to fill the something like 13 billion equipment budget hole. So do the math's.

 

 

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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On 11/19/2020 at 1:41 PM, Stuart Galbraith said:

So I listened to the PM's announcement, or as much as I could bear. The highlights are,

24 Billion to defence, or 16 Billion above the manifesto pledge.

A new RAF Space Command

A new Cyber Command.

Investment in Tempest (unless there is a new AI fighter they are anticipating)

A commitment to make the RN the largest and most powerful navy in Europe (which would be great, if our primary naval threat is France or Germany).

Investment in net centric warfare, and even a comment about 'combat vehicles equipped with directed Laser weapons' (Hilariously he said directed Labour weapons, which perhaps says where his mind was directed).

No commitment that I could see to no further cuts to the Army, and a dark hint of 'restructuring assets we no longer need'.

Despite an extra 16 billion, this will 'only' raise our budget to 2.2 percent. That is still approximately 0.8 percent where it was for the previous 40 years to David Cameron cutting it in 2010. And it probably still contains expenditure of military pensions anyway, which could be as much as 0.2 percent ive heard under some estimates. If that's correct, it barely brings us to NATO parity.

Its not a defence review, its a list of cool stuff with no real strategy of what it will deliver, and focused far more on the jobs it creates than the capabilities we need. And still leaves undiscussed how the MOD's equipment budget hole will be filled. The cool stuff takes up 7 Billion. That means that they have 9 Billion to fill the something like 13 billion equipment budget hole. So do the math's.

 

 

Hi,

Politics doing politician matters and soldiers soldiering.

I'm preety sure it was the case 4000 years ago and it will be the case 4000 years in the future.

Have a nice wee-end ! 

Bye

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