X Close

For Europe’s future defence, look to the ‘quad’

Who's the boss? Credit: Twitter/Rishi Sunak

July 13, 2023 - 10:10am

Rishi Sunak tweeted out a five word message from the Nato summit in Vilnius yesterday: “NATO is where Ukraine belongs”. To emphasise the point, there was an accompanying photograph (above).

The American President is centre stage, with European leaders looking towards him as if for reassurance. As the defence editor of the Economist, Shashank Joshi, commented, the image “shows where the power lies in European security”.

That’s a big problem for some people. For instance, the New York Times has a piece by Grey Anderson and Thomas Meaney arguing that Nato is an instrument for exercising American dominance over Europe — to which the obvious answer is, “well, what do you expect?”

The US famously spends more on defence than the next ten countries combined. And as Anderson and Meaney note, American military aid to Ukraine in the first year of the Russian conflict was double that of the EU countries combined. America calls the shots because it pays for them.

Europe placed itself in this position of weakness and its honour will not be restored until it takes more responsibility for its own protection. Most obviously, that means spending a higher proportion of GDP on defence, but money is just the start. Just as important — and even more difficult — is the need to realign diplomatic relationships within Europe.

Above all, the defence of Europe depends on sidelining the European Union. Focused on economic policy, the EU has proven itself thoroughly incapable of organising a meaningful defence policy. Its primary diplomatic relationship — the Paris-Berlin axis — is especially useless in this regard. 

Though France has a relatively serious military, Germany does not. Last year, in the wake of the Russian invasion, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gave a landmark speech promising a historical turning point — or Zeitenwende — in his country’s security policy. The gist was that there’d be no more dodgy deals with the Russians on energy, and that Germany would take more responsibility for Europe’s defence. 

Sadly, it’s become increasingly clear that there’s rather less to the Zeitenwende than first advertised. Germany’s growing economic difficulties mean that the promised investment in defence could be a long time coming. Meanwhile, on the political front, support for the far-Right AfD has soared to record levels. The party is now polling in second place — just four points away from first.

In short, the Germans cannot be relied upon. Rather, a new coalition of the willing is required, an alliance of European nations with the military heft and diplomatic commitment required to counter the threat from Russia. Four nations stand out. As already mentioned, there’s France. Secondly, there’s Britain, as the only comparable military power in Western Europe. Then there’s Poland, with its rapidly growing economy and robust attitude towards Vladimir Putin. And, finally, if it prevails, there’s battle-hardened Ukraine.

This quad wouldn’t be an alternative to Nato, but instead a meaningful European pillar within the organisation. Of course, two of its members, the UK and Ukraine, are not in the EU, while Poland is almost perpetually in Brussels’s bad books. That could prove a stumbling block for the EU-focused French. And yet when the honour of Europe — and perhaps its very survival — is at stake, some things matter more than “ever closer union”.


Peter Franklin is Associate Editor of UnHerd. He was previously a policy advisor and speechwriter on environmental and social issues.

peterfranklin_

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

45 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
William Shaw
WS
William Shaw
9 months ago

The defence of continental Europe is not Britain’s problem and we are fools to try to undertake it.
We need a strong navy to protect the waters around our shores and a strong airforce to protect our airspace. A land army is tertiary at best.
While we expend our resources defending EU countries the EU schemes and plots our subjugation and our civil service and elites support them.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

In Democracy people get the gov. they deserve.

Arthur G
AG
Arthur G
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

There’s no plausible naval threat to the UK, and no plausible air threat as long as Western Europe is in NATO. The UK can only be threatened if NATO loses its dominance over Europe.
Going all isolationist and preparing for that day is mind numbingly dumb. UK security is guaranteed by a strong NATO, so its force structure should be designed around supporting NATO. Any threat to NATO come by land.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Our Army did not exactly cover itself in glory in either Iraq or Afghanistan. Fire control was particularly poor as I recall.

Now the much vaunted SAS* are under investigation for the killing of fifty odd civilians under very debatable circumstances.

Meanwhile the rest of the Army has been spending their time on ‘woke days’, at the behest of the CGS** rather than training to kill, which I suppose is something.

(* More than fifty years ago I recall a distinguished senior officer describing them as “Dustbin men who think they are Brain Surgeons”. Has anything changed?)

(** Chief of the General Staff.)

Charles Hedges
CH
Charles Hedges
9 months ago

The Taleban does not wear a uniform and it is easy to drop a weapon. What is ignored is that the British Army conducted a campaign against groups who wear no uniform and practically every male over puberty is armed.
The Middle East and Asia in general is a region where allegiances are based upon ” I against my brother, my brother and I against our cousins”. ” One can rent a Pushtun but not buy one “. Where half brothers and cousins fight against each other, clan against clan; tribe against tribe, and allegiances change over night. I expect lies will be told locals for money and British Left wing lawyers will make a fortune. This will be Phil Shiner on steroids.
What is the experince of those senior officers who critcise the SAS experience of counter insurgency warfare ?Did they fail SAS selection. Just look at Aden in the late 1960s.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Well the one ( senior officer) I referred to had previously served in 22.

As to Aden are you referring to the killing and subsequent beheading of that 22 patrol* by the “Red Wolves”as I think they were called?
The heads were later displayed on spikes in Taiz, to add insult to injury were they not?

(* Led by Captain Robin Edwards, R.I.P.)

Charles Hedges
CH
Charles Hedges
9 months ago

Once one is fighting in Afghanistan or Yemen the allegiancies and the cruelty of those involved ( one always leaves the last round for oneself ) makes conventional fighting impossibe. A foreman I worked with served in long distance patrols Yemen in the 1960s and referred to the incident you mentioned. To make matters worse there was the policy of destroying poppies which was the only way farmers could feed their families.
One aspect which is often ignored ” Can an officer, manager or director cope with being criticised when they are wrong by a highly experienced NCO/foreman with years of experience?”

Charles Hedges
CH
Charles Hedges
9 months ago

Once one is fighting in Afghanistan or Yemen the allegiancies and the cruelty of those involved ( one always leaves the last round for oneself ) makes conventional fighting impossibe. A foreman I worked with served in long distance patrols Yemen in the 1960s and referred to the incident you mentioned. To make matters worse there was the policy of destroying poppies which was the only way farmers could feed their families.
One aspect which is often ignored ” Can an officer, manager or director cope with being criticised when they are wrong by a highly experienced NCO/foreman with years of experience?”

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Well the one ( senior officer) I referred to had previously served in 22.

As to Aden are you referring to the killing and subsequent beheading of that 22 patrol* by the “Red Wolves”as I think they were called?
The heads were later displayed on spikes in Taiz, to add insult to injury were they not?

(* Led by Captain Robin Edwards, R.I.P.)

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
9 months ago

The Taleban does not wear a uniform and it is easy to drop a weapon. What is ignored is that the British Army conducted a campaign against groups who wear no uniform and practically every male over puberty is armed.
The Middle East and Asia in general is a region where allegiances are based upon ” I against my brother, my brother and I against our cousins”. ” One can rent a Pushtun but not buy one “. Where half brothers and cousins fight against each other, clan against clan; tribe against tribe, and allegiances change over night. I expect lies will be told locals for money and British Left wing lawyers will make a fortune. This will be Phil Shiner on steroids.
What is the experince of those senior officers who critcise the SAS experience of counter insurgency warfare ?Did they fail SAS selection. Just look at Aden in the late 1960s.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Spirit is the most important factor, from it comes innovation and fortitude. The Dam Busters show spirit, the innovation of Wallis and the fortitude of Gibson VC and the aircrew.
Wallis from his calculations in 1939 knew Germany needed 120 T of water to produce 1T of steel. Destroy the water, no steel. The genius A Speer, Reich Minister of war Production said if all three dams had ben destroyed as well as others in the Ruhr, industry would have stopped.
There is an Indian saying ” What could have been stopped by 300 in the morning could not be stopped by 3000 in the afternoon”. What is important is that a brigade of troops of the calibre of the Royal Marine Commandos /Parachute Regiment, Special Forces plus engineers, artillery, light tanks, signals , etc cane be moved into place within hours to deter an attack.
The next question is a country prepared to pay the butchers bills? If not, stop the charade. In WW2 , The Merchant Navy, Fighter Command , Bomber command were prepared to pay the butchers bill of over 33% killed.
Britain was prepared to launch Operation Pedestal after the massive losses of
Operation Harpoon (1942) – Wikipedia
Operation Vigorous – Wikipedia
Operation Pedestal – Wikipedia
Politicians signing pieces of paper do not make up for lack of spirit. I see no evidence our chattering classes, those who believe they are entitled to shape public opinion, have the fighting spirit of Captain Edward Kennedy RN
HMS Rawalpindi – Wikipedia
Since the 1960s, the left wing middle class, the chattering classes, have done their best to remove the Spartan spirit from comprehensives without which wars cannot be won. The same goes for inner city America.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

The destroyer HMS Glowworrm ramming the German heavy cruiser ‘Admiral Hipper’, and her captain subsequently receiving a posthumous VC* on the recommendation of the German captain, must also be mentioned.

(* The first Royal Naval VC of WWII.)

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
9 months ago

That sort of courage appears to be lacking amongst our ruling/chattering class; they cannot protect Professor Kathleen Stock at Sussex University.

Charles Hedges
CH
Charles Hedges
9 months ago

That sort of courage appears to be lacking amongst our ruling/chattering class; they cannot protect Professor Kathleen Stock at Sussex University.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

The destroyer HMS Glowworrm ramming the German heavy cruiser ‘Admiral Hipper’, and her captain subsequently receiving a posthumous VC* on the recommendation of the German captain, must also be mentioned.

(* The first Royal Naval VC of WWII.)

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Our Army did not exactly cover itself in glory in either Iraq or Afghanistan. Fire control was particularly poor as I recall.

Now the much vaunted SAS* are under investigation for the killing of fifty odd civilians under very debatable circumstances.

Meanwhile the rest of the Army has been spending their time on ‘woke days’, at the behest of the CGS** rather than training to kill, which I suppose is something.

(* More than fifty years ago I recall a distinguished senior officer describing them as “Dustbin men who think they are Brain Surgeons”. Has anything changed?)

(** Chief of the General Staff.)

Charles Hedges
CH
Charles Hedges
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

Spirit is the most important factor, from it comes innovation and fortitude. The Dam Busters show spirit, the innovation of Wallis and the fortitude of Gibson VC and the aircrew.
Wallis from his calculations in 1939 knew Germany needed 120 T of water to produce 1T of steel. Destroy the water, no steel. The genius A Speer, Reich Minister of war Production said if all three dams had ben destroyed as well as others in the Ruhr, industry would have stopped.
There is an Indian saying ” What could have been stopped by 300 in the morning could not be stopped by 3000 in the afternoon”. What is important is that a brigade of troops of the calibre of the Royal Marine Commandos /Parachute Regiment, Special Forces plus engineers, artillery, light tanks, signals , etc cane be moved into place within hours to deter an attack.
The next question is a country prepared to pay the butchers bills? If not, stop the charade. In WW2 , The Merchant Navy, Fighter Command , Bomber command were prepared to pay the butchers bill of over 33% killed.
Britain was prepared to launch Operation Pedestal after the massive losses of
Operation Harpoon (1942) – Wikipedia
Operation Vigorous – Wikipedia
Operation Pedestal – Wikipedia
Politicians signing pieces of paper do not make up for lack of spirit. I see no evidence our chattering classes, those who believe they are entitled to shape public opinion, have the fighting spirit of Captain Edward Kennedy RN
HMS Rawalpindi – Wikipedia
Since the 1960s, the left wing middle class, the chattering classes, have done their best to remove the Spartan spirit from comprehensives without which wars cannot be won. The same goes for inner city America.

Matt M
Matt M
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Spot on William! We are an island and should act like it.
We need ships and subs, nuclear deterrence, missile defence, cyber, intel and special forces.
The great continental powers from France to Poland can supply the infantry, artillery and armour needed to defend themselves from the Russians. We can always help them out by protecting their sea trade (and hindering their enemy’s).
This focus on becoming the predominant European naval power is the core of the 2021 Integrated Review.
We are in the process of building: 8 Type 26 Frigates, 5 Type 31 Frigates, the new Type 32 Frigate, 2 Multi-role Ocean Surveillance Ships (to protect undersea infrastructure) and enough supply ships to keep one Elizabeth Class carrier fleet – complete with F-35Bs -ready to deploy at all times.
On top of that we will soon have 7 Astute class Hunter-Killer subs, 4 new Dreadnought Ballistic subs (with increased warhead count) and the new AUKUS SSN design with Australia.
In addition we are investing heavily in cyber defence and attack capabilities (almost certainly in operation at the moment in Ukraine). AUKUS is really a defence technology sharing agreement and it is likely to be pivotal in our defence strategy in the future.

Last edited 9 months ago by Matt M
Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

“AUKUS is really a defence technology sharing agreement and it is likely to be pivotal in our defence strategy in the future.”
NO, it is a way for Australia to pay for US/UK sub development. US doesn’t need anyone’s technology. UK always gets access to US sub technology.
Australian taxpayers (lucky country run by 2nd rate people) are being screwed here.
That said the rest of your comment is spot on – although I am not sure that (according to Ben Wallace) UK GOV can find another 30bn a year (every year) extra for defense spending.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Unfortunately woman serving in our nuclear submarines has NOT proved a great success.
As one tabloid put it rather crudely, it seems to be a case of ‘Up Periscope’!
How are ‘they’ doing in the rest of the fleet?

Incidentally what is going to happen to our second Elizabeth class Aircraft Carrier?

Last edited 9 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

“AUKUS is really a defence technology sharing agreement and it is likely to be pivotal in our defence strategy in the future.”
NO, it is a way for Australia to pay for US/UK sub development. US doesn’t need anyone’s technology. UK always gets access to US sub technology.
Australian taxpayers (lucky country run by 2nd rate people) are being screwed here.
That said the rest of your comment is spot on – although I am not sure that (according to Ben Wallace) UK GOV can find another 30bn a year (every year) extra for defense spending.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Unfortunately woman serving in our nuclear submarines has NOT proved a great success.
As one tabloid put it rather crudely, it seems to be a case of ‘Up Periscope’!
How are ‘they’ doing in the rest of the fleet?

Incidentally what is going to happen to our second Elizabeth class Aircraft Carrier?

Last edited 9 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Jeremy Smith
JS
Jeremy Smith
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

In Democracy people get the gov. they deserve.

Arthur G
Arthur G
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

There’s no plausible naval threat to the UK, and no plausible air threat as long as Western Europe is in NATO. The UK can only be threatened if NATO loses its dominance over Europe.
Going all isolationist and preparing for that day is mind numbingly dumb. UK security is guaranteed by a strong NATO, so its force structure should be designed around supporting NATO. Any threat to NATO come by land.

Matt M
MM
Matt M
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Spot on William! We are an island and should act like it.
We need ships and subs, nuclear deterrence, missile defence, cyber, intel and special forces.
The great continental powers from France to Poland can supply the infantry, artillery and armour needed to defend themselves from the Russians. We can always help them out by protecting their sea trade (and hindering their enemy’s).
This focus on becoming the predominant European naval power is the core of the 2021 Integrated Review.
We are in the process of building: 8 Type 26 Frigates, 5 Type 31 Frigates, the new Type 32 Frigate, 2 Multi-role Ocean Surveillance Ships (to protect undersea infrastructure) and enough supply ships to keep one Elizabeth Class carrier fleet – complete with F-35Bs -ready to deploy at all times.
On top of that we will soon have 7 Astute class Hunter-Killer subs, 4 new Dreadnought Ballistic subs (with increased warhead count) and the new AUKUS SSN design with Australia.
In addition we are investing heavily in cyber defence and attack capabilities (almost certainly in operation at the moment in Ukraine). AUKUS is really a defence technology sharing agreement and it is likely to be pivotal in our defence strategy in the future.

Last edited 9 months ago by Matt M
William Shaw
WS
William Shaw
9 months ago

The defence of continental Europe is not Britain’s problem and we are fools to try to undertake it.
We need a strong navy to protect the waters around our shores and a strong airforce to protect our airspace. A land army is tertiary at best.
While we expend our resources defending EU countries the EU schemes and plots our subjugation and our civil service and elites support them.

Milton Gibbon
MG
Milton Gibbon
9 months ago

What a wonderfully archaic tone to the article. “the honour of Europe” sounds like something from a 19th century Prussian/Hapsburg/Napoleon. The author reckons the French the prime military power in Europe. AUKUS, Francafrique’s turn and Macron’s abasement towards Putin has left her humiliated in her military ambitions and viewed as an unreliable ally anywhere east of Berlin. It’s retreat from West Africa can only herald a decline in its military’s combat effectiveness.

Finally I don’t think ALL the European leaders are looking at Biden. Naughty boy Rishi!

Jeremy Smith
JS
Jeremy Smith
9 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

AUKUS is great for everyone but the Australians (a lucky country run by 2nd rate people). By the time the subs get delivered the budget will be 2-3x higher than planned and years late.
Australian taxpayers will be screwed and not in a good way.
Fighting in West Africa achieved what for France? Wasted blood and money chasing down camel jockeys…

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

AUKUS was great for our national pastime, annoying the French!

Surely the recent French military triumphs in West Africa have nearly removed the indelible stain left by the catastrophic military defeats of 1815, 1870, 1940, 1954 & 1962?

ps.”camel jockeys”?
You sound like one of us Jeremy!

Last edited 9 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
9 months ago

“You sound like one of us Jeremy!”
I have always been Charles. The problem with “us” is that many have embraced conspiracy theories, charlatans, and idiotic ideas (fewer Poles more Pakistanis).

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

My apologies!

Presumably you have returned from Luxembourg? And are enjoying salubrious Victoria Park?

Last edited 9 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

My apologies!

Presumably you have returned from Luxembourg? And are enjoying salubrious Victoria Park?

Last edited 9 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
9 months ago

“You sound like one of us Jeremy!”
I have always been Charles. The problem with “us” is that many have embraced conspiracy theories, charlatans, and idiotic ideas (fewer Poles more Pakistanis).

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

AUKUS was great for our national pastime, annoying the French!

Surely the recent French military triumphs in West Africa have nearly removed the indelible stain left by the catastrophic military defeats of 1815, 1870, 1940, 1954 & 1962?

ps.”camel jockeys”?
You sound like one of us Jeremy!

Last edited 9 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
9 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

Meloni does indeed look enthralled by “dishy Rishi”. Not sure how that photo will go down in Italy…

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

It’s hasn’t taken Meloni long to abandon here commitment on stopping illegal immigration!
What a preposterous fraud! Yet again!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

It’s hasn’t taken Meloni long to abandon here commitment on stopping illegal immigration!
What a preposterous fraud! Yet again!

Jeremy Smith
JS
Jeremy Smith
9 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

AUKUS is great for everyone but the Australians (a lucky country run by 2nd rate people). By the time the subs get delivered the budget will be 2-3x higher than planned and years late.
Australian taxpayers will be screwed and not in a good way.
Fighting in West Africa achieved what for France? Wasted blood and money chasing down camel jockeys…

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
9 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

Meloni does indeed look enthralled by “dishy Rishi”. Not sure how that photo will go down in Italy…

Milton Gibbon
MG
Milton Gibbon
9 months ago

What a wonderfully archaic tone to the article. “the honour of Europe” sounds like something from a 19th century Prussian/Hapsburg/Napoleon. The author reckons the French the prime military power in Europe. AUKUS, Francafrique’s turn and Macron’s abasement towards Putin has left her humiliated in her military ambitions and viewed as an unreliable ally anywhere east of Berlin. It’s retreat from West Africa can only herald a decline in its military’s combat effectiveness.

Finally I don’t think ALL the European leaders are looking at Biden. Naughty boy Rishi!

N Satori
N Satori
9 months ago

As France continues its slow, creeping transformation into a society dominated and intimidated by gangster culture it may find Putin’s Russia is a more likely soulmate.

N Satori
NS
N Satori
9 months ago

As France continues its slow, creeping transformation into a society dominated and intimidated by gangster culture it may find Putin’s Russia is a more likely soulmate.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
9 months ago

“Nato is an instrument for exercising American dominance over Europe — to which the obvious answer is, “well, what do you expect?””

That flippant statement sums up the problem, the root cause of the Ukraine problem.

The US will dominate Europe. Of course they will bring NATO all the way to the borders of Russia to dominate. Well, duh. What do you expect?

And the Russians? Well, they might as well get accept ballistic missiles next door to Moscow, the Crimea becoming a NATO base, etc etc. Or else, those with the blood of Iraqis and Libyans will clobber Putin in the name of “peace”.

And Russians ethnicity regions being scrubbed clean, the Serbs getting beaten to pulp for doing exactly what Ukraine are doing in the Donbass?
Well, what do you expect?

And, unfortunately, it turns out the Russians, the Chinese, and the rest of the world that’s treating the US sanctions on Russia, don’t quite get along with your expectations.

It also means that the Russians, and evil Putin, who peacefully withdrew from East Europe, and allowed Ukraine to be independent, have a red line that you crossed. And then it turns out not every country is as defense less as Libya or Yemen, and not as afraid of sanctions.
What did you expect, the Russians with memories of 1812 and 1941, would roll over?

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

They ‘rolled over’ quick enough in 1905, and Max Hoffmann had little trouble in thrashing them in 1918.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

They ‘rolled over’ quick enough in 1905, and Max Hoffmann had little trouble in thrashing them in 1918.

Samir Iker
SI
Samir Iker
9 months ago

“Nato is an instrument for exercising American dominance over Europe — to which the obvious answer is, “well, what do you expect?””

That flippant statement sums up the problem, the root cause of the Ukraine problem.

The US will dominate Europe. Of course they will bring NATO all the way to the borders of Russia to dominate. Well, duh. What do you expect?

And the Russians? Well, they might as well get accept ballistic missiles next door to Moscow, the Crimea becoming a NATO base, etc etc. Or else, those with the blood of Iraqis and Libyans will clobber Putin in the name of “peace”.

And Russians ethnicity regions being scrubbed clean, the Serbs getting beaten to pulp for doing exactly what Ukraine are doing in the Donbass?
Well, what do you expect?

And, unfortunately, it turns out the Russians, the Chinese, and the rest of the world that’s treating the US sanctions on Russia, don’t quite get along with your expectations.

It also means that the Russians, and evil Putin, who peacefully withdrew from East Europe, and allowed Ukraine to be independent, have a red line that you crossed. And then it turns out not every country is as defense less as Libya or Yemen, and not as afraid of sanctions.
What did you expect, the Russians with memories of 1812 and 1941, would roll over?

Lennon Ó Náraigh
L
Lennon Ó Náraigh
9 months ago

The US famously spends more on defense than the next ten countries combined.

Is that all defense spending, though? Was invading Iraq defensive?

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago

“Was invading Iraq defensive?”

No, but it was ‘defending’ Israel.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
9 months ago

That is what happens when rednecks from the Pale Settlement make up the foreign policy establishment.

Charles Hedges
CH
Charles Hedges
9 months ago

1990 or 2003 ?

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

2003.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

2003.

Jeremy Smith
JS
Jeremy Smith
9 months ago

That is what happens when rednecks from the Pale Settlement make up the foreign policy establishment.

Charles Hedges
CH
Charles Hedges
9 months ago

1990 or 2003 ?

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago

“Was invading Iraq defensive?”

No, but it was ‘defending’ Israel.

Lennon Ó Náraigh
L
Lennon Ó Náraigh
9 months ago

The US famously spends more on defense than the next ten countries combined.

Is that all defense spending, though? Was invading Iraq defensive?

Jeremy Smith
JS
Jeremy Smith
9 months ago

LOL, what an absurd piece.
1) The War in Ukraine has shown that – conventionally speaking – Russia can do nothing. It is a poor country, technologically backward with an aging/declining population. Putin is tied down in Ukraine and he will pass away; the next leader is not going to launch another military adventure.
2) Poland can not and will not be a serious military power – let alone Ukraine. The country’s economic performance while good is hardly spectacular and it relies on being part of the supply chain for Germany. If Germany struggles Poland will. It is easy to say you are going to spend 4% of GDP (year after year) and it is another story to do so. Poland too has an aging/declining population that will consume more and more social spending.
3) If Germany is in economic trouble so is everyone in Europe (and that includes UK/France). The problem with defense spending is that it is not easy to rebuild the military machine (men, equipment, industry) in 2/3 years. It is going to take a long long time – assuming that the Germany polity is willing to pay for it.
4) UK is promising to be everywhere – from the Pacific to Dniepr. How it is going to pay for it? It will take a defense budget of 3%-4% to deliver (and so will for France). Does anyone really believe that UK GOV can find 30/60bn – every year – extra for defense spending?! Out of NHS budget or will it raise taxes or will it borrow the money? Or may be that 30bn is coming out of Levelling Up Budget (BTW Germany spent c.67bn a year over 30 years to Level Up East Germany).
5) The reason that there is no EU defense policy is that EU states are unwilling to hand over military affairs to EU/Brussels. The reality is that there is no EXTRA money for defense budget. Money has to come from taxes (taxes across EU are high) or from other budgets! Who is going to get elected by promising to take money out of NHS for defense?! The only practical (money wise) solution would be to pool defense budget (especially weapon development/procurement/maintenance) but that is not politically acceptable.

Last edited 9 months ago by Jeremy Smith
Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Well put!
However having just spent £900 billion on COVID what is to stop those cretins in Westminster continuing to do the same?
After all ‘they’ are NOT going to pay the bill are they?

Jeremy Smith
JS
Jeremy Smith
9 months ago

Debt has hit 100% of GDP.
Market will not let you do it.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Back where we were in 1916. Bravo!

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Back where we were in 1916. Bravo!

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
9 months ago

Debt has hit 100% of GDP.
Market will not let you do it.

Charles Hedges
CH
Charles Hedges
9 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

When it comes to development of defence technology why are we not producing the Mitchell, Camm, Chadwick, De Havilland, Hooker, Rolls Royce, Wallis type people who created new machines quickly and cheaply ? Instead we have vast numbers of people creating bottomless money pits.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Well put!
However having just spent £900 billion on COVID what is to stop those cretins in Westminster continuing to do the same?
After all ‘they’ are NOT going to pay the bill are they?

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
9 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

When it comes to development of defence technology why are we not producing the Mitchell, Camm, Chadwick, De Havilland, Hooker, Rolls Royce, Wallis type people who created new machines quickly and cheaply ? Instead we have vast numbers of people creating bottomless money pits.

Jeremy Smith
JS
Jeremy Smith
9 months ago

LOL, what an absurd piece.
1) The War in Ukraine has shown that – conventionally speaking – Russia can do nothing. It is a poor country, technologically backward with an aging/declining population. Putin is tied down in Ukraine and he will pass away; the next leader is not going to launch another military adventure.
2) Poland can not and will not be a serious military power – let alone Ukraine. The country’s economic performance while good is hardly spectacular and it relies on being part of the supply chain for Germany. If Germany struggles Poland will. It is easy to say you are going to spend 4% of GDP (year after year) and it is another story to do so. Poland too has an aging/declining population that will consume more and more social spending.
3) If Germany is in economic trouble so is everyone in Europe (and that includes UK/France). The problem with defense spending is that it is not easy to rebuild the military machine (men, equipment, industry) in 2/3 years. It is going to take a long long time – assuming that the Germany polity is willing to pay for it.
4) UK is promising to be everywhere – from the Pacific to Dniepr. How it is going to pay for it? It will take a defense budget of 3%-4% to deliver (and so will for France). Does anyone really believe that UK GOV can find 30/60bn – every year – extra for defense spending?! Out of NHS budget or will it raise taxes or will it borrow the money? Or may be that 30bn is coming out of Levelling Up Budget (BTW Germany spent c.67bn a year over 30 years to Level Up East Germany).
5) The reason that there is no EU defense policy is that EU states are unwilling to hand over military affairs to EU/Brussels. The reality is that there is no EXTRA money for defense budget. Money has to come from taxes (taxes across EU are high) or from other budgets! Who is going to get elected by promising to take money out of NHS for defense?! The only practical (money wise) solution would be to pool defense budget (especially weapon development/procurement/maintenance) but that is not politically acceptable.

Last edited 9 months ago by Jeremy Smith
Emre S
ES
Emre S
9 months ago

I also see Erdogan there backing Biden with Nato’s second biggest army.

Emre S
ES
Emre S
9 months ago

I also see Erdogan there backing Biden with Nato’s second biggest army.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago

Sadly, and as you well know, the French would ‘leg it’ after the first “whiff of grapeshot”, just as they did in 1940.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
9 months ago

I didn’t see the British hold the line at Dunkirk..the chance for the British to have their own Thermopylae

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

A ‘tactical withdrawal’, although both Singapore and Tobruk are harder to explain!

Last edited 9 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Arthur G
AG
Arthur G
9 months ago

Not a single British soldier would have gotten off that beach if the French didn’t hold the perimeter.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

I don’t agree.
The Wehrmacht was no longer interested in us, but on completing the mission and capturing Paris.

We had already been defeated, did the German Quartermaster General really want 350,000 PoWs* to deal with at this juncture?

(* ‘They’ would require about 300 tons of rations a day, not counting water, and additionally ‘produce’ about 150 tons on excrement a day.
To guard them would require say another 20,000 men.)

Last edited 9 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Arthur G

I don’t agree.
The Wehrmacht was no longer interested in us, but on completing the mission and capturing Paris.

We had already been defeated, did the German Quartermaster General really want 350,000 PoWs* to deal with at this juncture?

(* ‘They’ would require about 300 tons of rations a day, not counting water, and additionally ‘produce’ about 150 tons on excrement a day.
To guard them would require say another 20,000 men.)

Last edited 9 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Arthur G
AG
Arthur G
9 months ago

Not a single British soldier would have gotten off that beach if the French didn’t hold the perimeter.

Charles Hedges
CH
Charles Hedges
9 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith
Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Coldstream Guards also did well, at one point even having to open fire on one ‘our’ own TA Battalions!

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Coldstream Guards also did well, at one point even having to open fire on one ‘our’ own TA Battalions!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

A ‘tactical withdrawal’, although both Singapore and Tobruk are harder to explain!

Last edited 9 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
9 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith
Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago

Navigational blunder.

Last edited 9 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Jeremy Smith
JS
Jeremy Smith
9 months ago

I didn’t see the British hold the line at Dunkirk..the chance for the British to have their own Thermopylae

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago

Navigational blunder.

Last edited 9 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago

Sadly, and as you well know, the French would ‘leg it’ after the first “whiff of grapeshot”, just as they did in 1940.

Will K
WK
Will K
9 months ago

All members of NATO can be drawn into a war unwillingly, by the decision of one member. So long as all NATO members are strongly afraid of war, NATO might work as intended, to deter war. But just one crazy NATO member would be a disaster for all. I’m very concerned that Ukraine is unstable, and might be such a ‘crazy member’.

Will K
Will K
9 months ago

All members of NATO can be drawn into a war unwillingly, by the decision of one member. So long as all NATO members are strongly afraid of war, NATO might work as intended, to deter war. But just one crazy NATO member would be a disaster for all. I’m very concerned that Ukraine is unstable, and might be such a ‘crazy member’.

David Allison
David Allison
9 months ago

Gave up in the middle. What “threat from Russia” is the author talking about?

David Allison
David Allison
9 months ago

Leaving aside the evidence of our senses for a moment: Russia poses a serious conventional military threat to NATO member states and Eddie Izzard is a woman.

David Allison
David Allison
9 months ago

Leaving aside the evidence of our senses for a moment: Russia poses a serious conventional military threat to NATO member states and Eddie Izzard is a woman.