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New Defence Secretary

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New Defence Secretary

Old 4th Nov 2017, 10:08
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by sidevalve View Post
It's the fantasy promoted to the electorate that we always "punch above our weight". Why can we simply punch at our weight? We're no longer the 19th century colossus that stood astride the world, painting it pink wherever we trod.
Dean Acheson's observation that "Great Britain has lost an Empire and has not yet found a role" is as true today as it was in 1962 when he said it.
As a starting point, it would be helpful if our Lords & Masters could decide exactly what our weight is.
Quite so sidevalve. Spreadsheet Phil is right now trying to get his columns to add up and...he can't do it!
Similar situation in the '60s, UK poor, foreign military capabilities scrapped. FEAF, NEAF, Carriers, Army etc

OAP
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Old 4th Nov 2017, 10:25
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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With the notable exception of Lord Carrington, there have been only two other honorable & very capable holders of this position for many years. Roy Mason & Merlyn Rees & yes both Labour Secreteries of Defence, with the exception of Lord Carrington, the rest of the Conservative lot, have been pathetic.
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Old 4th Nov 2017, 10:59
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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It's not seen to be a very important job within the House of Commons - the only job nearer the door is whoever gets the Energy portfolio..................

Fallon was (almost) there for 3 years - AND THAT IS SOME SORT OF RECORD............ says it all really
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Old 4th Nov 2017, 11:23
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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Airpolice

I don't necessarily disagree with you, but my point is that if HMG want to do such things (and I'm referring to taking on Syria the nation state and not the ops currently conducted with regime consent) then it doesn't need much time until you really need something like F35 to get the job done.

I'm not saying it's the right priority, but to suggest that F35 is only needed if we want to go to war with Russia/China is living firmly in the 90's.
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Old 4th Nov 2017, 14:56
  #45 (permalink)  
 
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there have been only two other honorable & very capable holders
Two different attributes. I don't disagree about the latter. But I would say Malcolm Rifkind was more honourable than most, breaching long standing Parliamentary protocol by openly disagreeing with the findings of his civil servants and senior RAF officers over the Mull of Kintyre case; and saying so in the media. No, he didn't do it at the time, but he was lied to by the Air Staff, and immediately went public upon being shown the evidence. Similarly, although he still seriously misled Parliament, Liam Fox.

And, similarly, Des Browne over Nimrod XV230, ordering the Nimrod Review the very same day his junior ministers and MoD were lying through their back teeth to the media, having withheld the truth from their boss. Also, he fought hard for important changes to the Military Covenant, only to be overruled by Browne's "without significant cost" caveat. (Which Fallon reversed in a speech earlier this year, without media comment. Williamson won't stick to that promise I wager). And Browne was subject of perhaps the most disgraceful decision in recent times, to combine Secys of State for Defence and Scotland. Something you'd expect from the Tories, but not Labour. Just trying to be fair, in a time when very few Ministers have the slightest clue about how their Department works.
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Old 4th Nov 2017, 15:12
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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Loss of Empire

I feel rather ashamed that we ever left India, in a way leaving those good people to fend for themselves. We built up their country (much like the Romans did for us.) and gave them cricket and a railway system. Since we left, they have only slowly upgraded their railway system into the 21st century.
Having talked to several Indians, they are quite happy that we left, but they would say that wouldn't they.
.

Last edited by scifi; 4th Nov 2017 at 15:48.
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Old 4th Nov 2017, 16:44
  #47 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by pba_target View Post
Airpolice

I don't necessarily disagree with you, but my point is that if HMG want to do such things (and I'm referring to taking on Syria the nation state and not the ops currently conducted with regime consent) then it doesn't need much time until you really need something like F35 to get the job done.

I'm not saying it's the right priority, but to suggest that F35 is only needed if we want to go to war with Russia/China is living firmly in the 90's.
Remind us when the F35 was designed....
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Old 4th Nov 2017, 23:00
  #48 (permalink)  
 
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it's sticking our nose into Syria that got people killed in London
Airpolice

Oh dear, do you really believe that? The rise of Muslim extremism has been a long time coming - the Crusades, the fall of the Byzantine Empire, Palestine, Arab/Israeli War, the fall of the Shah of Iran, Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Gulf Wars 1 and 2, the rise of Al Qaeda, the Arab Spring and rise of Daesh. If we had gone to Syria or not then Islamic Terrorism would still be around us - plenty of attacks/planned attacks in the UK before Syria.

As ever defence requires a balance of forces and a spectrum of capabilities to react to the unexpected. Who predicted the retaking of the Crimea by Russia or the taking of some Ukranian land? Finally, the Irish and Swedish that you mention rely upon the strength of its neighbouring allies in NATO - however, as nations within are not meeting their 2% GDP then this alliance is weaker than it should be. The UK is only barely meeting its share and it is one of NATO’s biggest spenders outside of the US.

Finally, no F35 then may as well sell off the Blaircraft Carriers. No ‘cats and traps’ means that its a one horse race of what can fly from them...
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Old 4th Nov 2017, 23:36
  #49 (permalink)  
 
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Raven: Briefly, the great unwashed don't care about Crimea, and why can't we just rely on the Americans?
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Old 5th Nov 2017, 00:37
  #50 (permalink)  
 
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Who predicted the retaking of the Crimea by Russia
What did we do with Crimea when we eventually conquered it and pinched it from the Russians?


We blew it to bits and buggered off.

Last edited by Cazalet33; 5th Nov 2017 at 00:50.
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Old 5th Nov 2017, 00:39
  #51 (permalink)  
 
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why can't we just rely on the Americans?
Oh, Good Grief!

Where should one start?!
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Old 5th Nov 2017, 08:46
  #52 (permalink)  
 
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Just remember the words of the sagacious Orange One. "America First"
The only president to say it out loud. The "Special Relationship" is a myth and if there is no threat from Putinia to the U.S. then NATO will be relegated to the desirable but not essential folder.
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Old 5th Nov 2017, 09:34
  #53 (permalink)  
 
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The "Special Relationship" is a myth and if there is no threat from Putinia to the U.S. then NATO will be relegated to the desirable but not essential folder.
As it should be.
Isn't it time we start growing a pair and stop relying on others to sort out our messes?

PS: by "we" I mean Europe.
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Old 5th Nov 2017, 09:56
  #54 (permalink)  
 
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https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...n-gordon-brown
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Old 5th Nov 2017, 11:24
  #55 (permalink)  
 
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Charles Martel for Defence Secretary. Battle of Tours 732AD. Called Ma'arakat Balat ash-Shuhada by the other side. But for him we would all have prayer mats and a compass.
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Old 5th Nov 2017, 12:57
  #56 (permalink)  
 
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The recent events that see a rise to power of Mohammed bin Salma in Saudi will help. He is a propenent of moderate Islam and will likely have a stabilising influence across the Muslim world. He has been one of the leading lights in getting to grips with Yemen which needed to happen.
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Old 5th Nov 2017, 14:41
  #57 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Dougie M View Post
Just remember the words of the sagacious Orange One. "America First"
The only president to say it out loud. The "Special Rnelationship" is a myth and if there is no threat from Putinia to the U.S. then NATO will be relegated to the desirable but not essential folder.
Of course the special relationship is a myth which simply demeans the UK in that we somehow need it. The Americans have little affinity to anyone else and why should they. They are certainly big enough not to need a relationship with us. What they do value though is our support when they flex their muscles in that our support somehow legitimises their actions.
The relationship between Mrs Thatcher and Regan was more personal than strategic. Gawd knows what will happen if they decide to take actions against NK...
They want America first so that proves their intentions and we should stand back and let them go alone.
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Old 5th Nov 2017, 15:27
  #58 (permalink)  
 
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Much more complex than that - both sides have members of the aremed forces deeply embedded in each other's sytems

It is not unknown for someone (say the USMC) to get their British buddies to raise issues in both private and public that they are reluctant to be be seen to back too hard.... then there is a favour owed and will be collected when (say) the RN has problems with the politicians.... DailY Telegraph "US says British should do XYZ" etc etc.....................
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Old 5th Nov 2017, 16:05
  #59 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Heathrow Harry View Post
Much more complex than that - both sides have members of the aremed forces deeply embedded in each other's sytems

It is not unknown for someone (say the USMC) to get their British buddies to raise issues in both private and public that they are reluctant to be be seen to back too hard.... then there is a favour owed and will be collected when (say) the RN has problems with the politicians.... DailY Telegraph "US says British should do XYZ" etc etc.....................
I fully understand that much goes on beneath the surface. However, do you honestly believe that the benefits are equally shared?
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Old 5th Nov 2017, 16:39
  #60 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Buster15 View Post
They are certainly big enough not to need a relationship with us.
This was not always true. In 1964, after Harold Wilson was elected, Dean Rusk pleaded with Patrick Gordon Walker and Dennis Healey for Britain to maintain its East of Suez presence. Wilson was actually keen to do so despite budgetary pressure. The US was probably motivated because of the increasing tempo in Vietnam and we would provide stability on their western flank. Of course Aden went in 1969 but we remained in Singapore until 1974.
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