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-   -   NATO and/or the 'Indo Pacific Shift'? (https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/639113-nato-indo-pacific-shift.html)

WE Branch Fanatic 7th Mar 2021 18:47

NATO and/or the 'Indo Pacific Shift'?
 
If I remember correctly, there are British troops in Estonia and Poland, RAF Typhoons regularly commit to NATO air policing and other aircraft perform other NATO missions, and we frequently commit forces at sea. We have signed to to the NATO Response force and committed a carrier capability and amphibious forces, and our nuclear deterrent is declared to NATO.

How do we square the increased NATO commitment in response to the potential Russian threat with the 'Indo-Pacific tilt' we keep hearing about, and cuts?

Surely NATO and Gulf commitments come first?

Easy Street 7th Mar 2021 19:55

Seeing as much has been made of the 'integrated' nature of the Integrated Review, it's probably worth reminding ourselves that the military is but one of the levers of state power, alongside diplomacy and economics, plus information if you subscribe to US doctrine (I like the DIME mnemonic). As such it is quite possible for the UK to enact an Indo-Pacific foreign policy 'tilt' without much of a military aspect to it. And as you rightly point out, there will not be a great deal available to deploy anyway.

I did have to chuckle at such a concern being raised by as distinguished a long-term advocate for the carriers as WEBF. Many arguments on here over the years have expressed concern that the QEC, undoubtedly 'nice to have' but by no means essential for the UK's most vital military tasks, would prove unduly tempting to politicians eager to deploy them far and wide in support of diplomatic objectives that hitherto have been adequately serviced by smaller vessels (and without taking a sizeable proportion of our available combat aircraft out of the NATO region). And so it looks to be shaping up, with South China Sea FONOPS on the deployment plan.

WE Branch Fanatic 7th Mar 2021 20:41

You could also argue that NATO is our most important priority, and it needs the ability to protect transatlantic reinforcements - for with a carrier provides multiple ASW helicopters with dipping sonar to work with the frigates with towed array sonar, and fighter aircraft to act on conjunction with surface warships.

We have enough ships to put together a strike group on our own, but in the NATO theatre allies would contribute frigates/destroyers, and submarines. There are other NATO tasks too, and the ongoing commitment to the Arabian/Persian Gulf. We also have CASD to support.

Army and RAF assets are also dual hatred and part of the 30/30/30/30 plan.

Are we willing to contribute less to NATO in order to increase our Indo Pacific presence?

safetypee 7th Mar 2021 21:18


Originally Posted by WE Branch Fanatic (Post 11004084)
Are we willing to contribute less to NATO in order to increase our Indo Pacific presence?

Note the history; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southe...y_Organization

etudiant 7th Mar 2021 22:04


Originally Posted by WE Branch Fanatic (Post 11004084)
You could also argue that NATO is our most important priority, and it needs the ability to protect transatlantic reinforcements - for with a carrier provides multiple ASW helicopters with dipping sonar to work with the frigates with towed array sonar, and fighter aircraft to act on conjunction with surface warships.

We have enough ships to put together a strike group on our own, but in the NATO theatre allies would contribute frigates/destroyers, and submarines. There are other NATO tasks too, and the ongoing commitment to the Arabian/Persian Gulf. We also have CASD to support.

Army and RAF assets are also dual hatred and part of the 30/30/30/30 plan.

Are we willing to contribute less to NATO in order to increase our Indo Pacific presence?

Does NATO still serve a purpose?
From the outside, NATO seems to be on an offensive, pushing bases and joint exercises ever closer to the Russian frontier. What is gained by this?
Meanwhile, China is eating everyone's lunch and we are pushing Russia into China's arms by ongoing sanctions.
Are we sure that this is a sensible policy?

West Coast 8th Mar 2021 00:17

An organization iso a mission.

Asturias56 8th Mar 2021 07:14

I don't see eye to eye with WEBF on RN carriers but I think it's a very good question - why is the UK adding tasks in areas where, TBH it can add very little militarily when there are places a lot closer to home where we might be able to make a difference. To me the idea that the UK is going to get mixed up in a war over Korea or Taiwan is madness. Forces would be m much better used to try and stabilise places in N & W Africa for example where the numbers are more in our favour and the impact is much higher

Hot 'n' High 8th Mar 2021 08:38


Originally Posted by etudiant (Post 11004132)
.... From the outside, NATO seems to be on an offensive, pushing bases and joint exercises ever closer to the Russian frontier. What is gained by this?

For the reason behind this I believe you need to take a detailed look at the rise of Putin and what has been going on, both military and, more significantly, economically in Russia since the 1990s .... and even before! A very important element is the concept/value of the "near abroad" to the Kremlin. The start of the link below is a very simplified summary - it is what Russia has continually been up to over the decades that illustrates the true value/importance of the "near abroad" to them which is outside the scope of the link.

To an extent, the reaction by the West to what Russia was doing in it's "near abroad" was very slow in coming - the euphoria of the "Peace Dividend" etc rather took the West's eyes off the game being played out in Russia wrt the old Soviet Union. And the Russian's reach is now rather more Global (economically) as well - a very interesting "opportunistic" game being played out by Putin et al. Even old Trump links back into organised Russian crime and that is probably the only reason he was still around (by that I mean as someone who could become a Political figure!) to become POTUS! Even that is a fascinating story in itself!!! Anyway, the link .....https://www.memri.org/reports/near-a...foreign-policy


Originally Posted by etudiant (Post 11004132)
.... Meanwhile, China is eating everyone's lunch and we are pushing Russia into China's arms by ongoing sanctions.
Are we sure that this is a sensible policy?

And, interestingly, the article also covers this as it's "Part B".

The link should not be treated as a total explanation particularly re the various relationships to the West of Russia - it's just a top-level summary; for the detail there are a couple of good books which chart what has been going on since even before the Wall came down in '89. Read into it and then decide for yourself is the best way. And, yes, Russia will "use" China but how far they trust each other is another question. Note to self - something else to dig into!

WE Branch Fanatic 8th Mar 2021 17:11

The most likely flashpoint between Russia and NATO is the Baltics.

I would kindly ask the reader to look at Fire and Ice: A New Maritime Strategy for NATO's Northern Flank

The chapter entitled The Modern Strategic Context starts:

Just as the beginning of the Berlin Blockade in 1948 ended any realistic hope that a post-war accommodation could be met with the Soviet Union, the 2014 decision by Russia to seize the Crimean Peninsula and facilitate a violent rebellion in the east of Ukraine erased almost any prospect of positive relations between Moscow and the West for however long the current Kremlin leadership remains in power. The subsequent 2015 Russian intervention in Syria and 2016 interference in the US presidential election has only cemented this position further. While previous episodes including cyber-attacks, the 2008 conflict between Russia and Georgia, various spy scandals, document leaks, missile defence, and the Kremlin’s crackdown on protesters following the 2011 elections – worsened the situation, it was the war in Ukraine that acted as the decisive break.

These increasingly strained relations between Moscow and the US-led West have run in parallel to a major redevelopment of the Russian Armed Forces. Although still far from the juggernaut of the USSR’s military, the end result has been the development of a force that is well-suited towards the two leading priorities of the Kremlin – domestic regime survival, and the linked issue of ensuring Russia is seen as a global player


Moving on the the chapter entitled The Conflict Scenario, there is a basic scenario:

In spring 2024, protests erupt in Russia following the tainted election of Vladimir Putin’s anointed successor. National Guard forces manage to prevent activists occupying some of the most sensitive areas around Moscow, but opposition action continues. The Kremlin believes that the popular protests are being orchestrated by the West.

Faced with a continuing crisis, the authorities have three choices: a violent crackdown, drastic reform, or externalising the problem with diversionary foreign action. The use of extreme force against protestors in isolation – the ‘Tiananmen Square option’ – is judged to run the risk of provoking defections from the security forces and the certain imposition of devastating sanctions against Russia that it has little ability to counter. Serious reform is out of the question, as only a wholesale dismantling and replacement of the current leadership would be able to produce the desired effect – something unacceptable to the ruling elite.

It is therefore concluded that a catch-all solution to both internal and external pressure is required, and a controlled conflict with NATO is judged to be the best – or rather least worst – option. This is a contingency the Russian government has spent many years laying the groundwork for amongst the public.

As Russian scholar Lilia Shevtosva highlighted in her appraisal of Moscow’s attitude towards the West in 2010:


The Russian campaign to intimidate the West, backed up with “light artillery” [propaganda] on television, has yet another goal: to lay the groundwork for a monumental distraction if the domestic situation in Russia begins to deteriorate rapidly. The militaristic rhetoric, symbolism and pageantry… are clearly intended to create an enemy that Russia will bravely confront when the Kremlin finds itself unable to pull the country out of a future crisis.

The targets of this war are Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. These countries have been selected as they are judged to provide the optimal path for securing a rapid and sustainable victory against NATO forces.


Domestically, the primary aim of the offensive is to undercut the protests by generating a ‘rally around the flag’ effect amongst Russia’s population, and provide an environment within which the security forces would be better able to execute an internal clampdown without fragmenting. At the international level, it is designed to act as asymmetric pushback against what Moscow perceives to be the West’s meddling in its internal affairs; undermine (and ideally cripple) NATO by demonstrating that the Alliance lacks the resolve to defend its members; and secure a favourable post war negotiating position for Russia. As has occurred in other similar conflicts, the Russian attack will be triggered by a series of false flag strikes against Moscow’s interests.

The Kremlin is under no illusions about the reality of the conflict on which it is embarking. At a minimum, the immediate result will be serious sanctions that will only exacerbate Russia’s economic problems. It is also aware that any increase generated in support for the government could be difficult to sustain, as was the case following the Crimea annexation. However, it is judged that with the leverage provided by the occupation of three NATO and EU members, Russia would be better placed to negotiate away sanctions than it would be in the aftermath of a ‘crackdown only’ policy. In the context of the possible limited duration of increased public support, it is concluded that even a window of a few months would be sufficient to suppress the opposition for the foreseeable future and secure the lifting of the expected economic blockade.


The paper then describes the role NATO naval forces, including carriers, would play in dealing with attempts to interdict NATO Sea Lines of Communication or to attack NATO's vulnerable points.

Also see: Striking the Balance: US Army Force Posture in Europe, 2028

Aegis8 8th Mar 2021 18:26


Originally Posted by WE Branch Fanatic (Post 11004685)
The most likely flashpoint between Russia and NATO is the Baltics......

This reads like propaganda to get more Nato funding or wishful thinking from the west. The reality in Russia is far removed from this and it would take a Nato invasion of Russia for any conventional war to start. These writeups seem to assume that Russians are stupid and/or have no access to foreign news/info so they can make informed choices. There are enough domestic issues and nobody wants to be saddled with 3 more poor Baltic states, who don't want to be part of the Russian Federation. Russian forces dying in a foreign country does not sit well with Russians, Syria demonstrated this. So there will be no public support for any cross border adventures. This is not what Nato/the West wants to hear or see, so the war drums must be beaten ever more loudly to drown out common sense and reality.

Perhaps Nato and the West should try actual diplomacy and not just preach to and place demands Russia.

My 2 cents.

minigundiplomat 8th Mar 2021 20:23


I don't see eye to eye with WEBF on RN carriers but I think it's a very good question - why is the UK adding tasks in areas where, TBH it can add very little militarily when there are places a lot closer to home where we might be able to make a difference. To me the idea that the UK is going to get mixed up in a war over Korea or Taiwan is madness. Forces would be m much better used to try and stabilise places in N & W Africa for example where the numbers are more in our favour and the impact is much higher
N&W Africa is mainly francophile - let Manu squander French blood and treasure there. The UK's force projection in the Pacific is a positioning play for trade.

Asturias56 9th Mar 2021 07:15

I was thinking more of ensuring stability so half of West Africa doesn't head for Europe

WE Branch Fanatic 9th Mar 2021 10:17

The EU cannot defend Europe alone - Stoltenberg

It is not only about money. It is also about geography. Iceland and Norway in the North are gateways to the Arctic. Turkey in the south borders Syria and Iraq. And in the west, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom link together both sides of the Atlantic. All of these countries are critical for the defence of Europe.

And most of all, it is about politics. Any attempt to divide Europe from North America will weaken NATO. But it will also divide Europe. Only a strong NATO can keep our almost one billion people safe in a more dangerous world. So I do not believe in Europe alone. Or North America alone. I believe in Europe and North America together. In NATO. In strategic solidarity.

WE Branch Fanatic 9th Mar 2021 10:23


Originally Posted by Aegis8 (Post 11004722)
This reads like propaganda to get more Nato funding or wishful thinking from the west. The reality in Russia is far removed from this and it would take a Nato invasion of Russia for any conventional war to start. These writeups seem to assume that Russians are stupid and/or have no access to foreign news/info so they can make informed choices. There are enough domestic issues and nobody wants to be saddled with 3 more poor Baltic states, who don't want to be part of the Russian Federation. Russian forces dying in a foreign country does not sit well with Russians, Syria demonstrated this. So there will be no public support for any cross border adventures. This is not what Nato/the West wants to hear or see, so the war drums must be beaten ever more loudly to drown out common sense and reality.

Perhaps Nato and the West should try actual diplomacy and not just preach to and place demands Russia.

My 2 cents.

The problem is not the Russian people. Russia should be a major part of the World and international affairs. The problem is Putin, and his cronies, who have tied their personal interests to national policy. There is a worry that any successor might be worse.


Asturias56 9th Mar 2021 15:15

Putin has said many times he wants to wind the clock back to the old Russian "sphere of influence". He denies that the Ukraine etc are "real" countries

minigundiplomat 9th Mar 2021 20:17


I was thinking more of ensuring stability so half of West Africa doesn't head for Europe
As I said Asturias, thats Europe's issue now, not necessarilty the UK's anymore.

racedo 9th Mar 2021 20:58

NATO's purpose ended at the end of the Cold War.

However there were and still are many people who have enjoyed the personal benefits that come with being a member of NATO. Those who enjoy them are against giving them up because in truth it would devalue their vaulted status they believe they have.

Since the Cold War ended, there have been attempt after attempt to reivent NATO, to use whatever justification they can. Otherwise it becomes the "Emperors New Clothes" with nothing of substance behind it.

Anything Russia does within its own borders is trumpeted up as being a threat to a member of NATO yet any action by a NATO member is overlooked.

The real danger is that the continued poking of the bear elicits a response, NATO will parrot as a justification for conflict and a "I told you so", all very fine until buckets of sunshine start.

USSR lost 1 in 7 of its population during WW2, UK lost 451,000 or less than 1% and had it suffered at same rate then 6.3 Million more UK citizens would have died, US lost 419,000 or 0.3%, if suffered the same casualties US would have lost 18 Million citizens. No amount of spinning will make the figures different.

Nobody seems to be able to answer about WTF would the Russians do with the Baltic states or other places if they invaded, there is not exactly a requirement for additional land.

War is ultimately about economic theft, west however with US Federal Debt 25% bigger than economy and individual State debt adding couple of trillion $$ onto this then ultimately something has to give. It is only a matter of time before the Debt burden does to the US what it did to the USSR in late 1980's. Issue then becomes "What Then ?"

racedo 9th Mar 2021 21:02


Originally Posted by Asturias56 (Post 11005223)
Putin has said many times he wants to wind the clock back to the old Russian "sphere of influence". He denies that the Ukraine etc are "real" countries

When US / UK / France talk of spheres of influence it seen as people bringing land of milk and honey to people, like Iraq, Libya, etc. Funny how ungrateful these people are in not welcoming these permanent visitors.

WE Branch Fanatic 9th Mar 2021 23:28

Before implementing any cuts to forces, given our public commitment to increasing our NATO contributions - will our politicians consult with the US and other allies because of the potential impact on the alliance? In the 1970s they did listen to SACLANT et al and take steps to mitigate against the loss of capabilities as ships were retired early or without replacement.

See this old document - The Defence Review - consultation with allies (1975)

10. As regards the Atlantic and Channel Commands, I am glad to be able to say that we are ready to convert HERMES to the CVS role two years earlier than we planned to do i.e. in 1976 instead of 1978; to earmark the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ENGADINE for assignment to CINCCHAN; and to earmark some additional aircraft for assignment to SACLANT in the visual reconnaissance role.

The precise accomplishment of these objectives will have to be a matter for further consultation.

Asturias56 10th Mar 2021 07:43

"As I said Asturias, that's Europe's issue now, not necessarilty the UK's anymore."

You think they'll stop at Calais?

Asturias56 10th Mar 2021 07:44

"will our politicians consult with the US and other allies because of the potential impact on the alliance? "

Unlikely - they look at the finances and the opinion polls and then the Daily Mail & the Torygraph

WE Branch Fanatic 10th Mar 2021 14:36

Does the Euro Atlantic region include the Western Arctic?

Royal Navy to defend Arctic trade as ice melts - The Times

The Royal Navy will have a regular presence in the Arctic Circle to counter the Russian strategic advantage over trade routes that will open as the ice caps melt, sources have revealed. A frigate will join a multinational task force in the Barents Sea in the coming months amid concerns that climate change could see Moscow establish control over polar regions.

Does the region include the transatlantic cables?

Does it include the Mediterranean - where the Russian Black Sea Fleet is very active?


Asturias56 10th Mar 2021 15:37

I saw that - I was trying to see the strategic significance of a trade route that connects those two vast manufacturing hubs of N Norway & Alaska - and is in Russian waters almost al the way..................

Easy Street 10th Mar 2021 16:12


Nobody seems to be able to answer about WTF would the Russians do with the Baltic states or other places if they invaded, there is not exactly a requirement for additional land.
After Crimea, eastern Ukraine and Georgia, none of which are particularly 'useful', I rather think that the burden is on you (and those who think like you) to explain why Russia wouldn't do the same to the Baltic states if they weren't in NATO or if the alliance had ceased to exist.

'NATO shouldn't have expanded eastward' is not a useful answer, given that we are where we are.

WE Branch Fanatic 10th Mar 2021 17:10

One more thing - Chokepoints!

Much can be gained, then, by conceptualizing chokepoints more broadly as areas of temporary advantage that may be created or destroyed through the application of either new capabilities or existing ones in ingenuous ways to create an outsized advantage.

A weakly defended Atlantic could become a chokepoint.

racedo 10th Mar 2021 20:03


Originally Posted by Easy Street (Post 11005936)
After Crimea, eastern Ukraine and Georgia, none of which are particularly 'useful', I rather think that the burden is on you (and those who think like you) to explain why Russia wouldn't do the same to the Baltic states if they weren't in NATO or if the alliance had ceased to exist.

Crimea is Russian, always has been, the 1954 present to Ukraine didn't change a thing. The people there sought to exit Ukaine as they wished no part of it in 1990's but were threatened with war. They wished to have the right to self determine their future but seemingly the West doesn't like that unless it is in their interests to do so. In 2014 after the US funded Maiden sq push they sought to determine their own future but it didn't suit the west. Democracy is about allowing people decide unless you don't like the answer. The fact there is no campaign in Crimea to rejoin Ukraine tells you how the people are about their decision. Vicky Nuland is back in Biden administration so fully expect war to restart.

Eastern Ukraine residents saw what was happening in Kiev, it was a nationalist anti Russian push of the Govt. Taking over of Govt buildings and violence was ok in Kiev. The residents in Eastern Ukraine did the same thing, Kiev didn't like what they saw and used military forces against the people, Ukrainian Govt attacked its own population. Not unsurprisingly the people there saw who was doing it and refused to allow the neo nazis get on with it. It is not unsurprising that Stepan Bandera is worshipped in Western Ukraine, he was a Hitler loving Nazi collaborator who now Kiev happy to have statues erected to. It was not unsurprising that Russia supported people who are ethnically Russian.

In relation to Ukraine the oft claimed population of 43 Million, a pure work of fiction, Poland has between 3 and 4 million since 2014 as people en bloc left, Poland has been the largest issuer of residency permits in EU27 in 2019, 80% of those issued were by Poland to Ukrainians. Germany was the second destination in EU. Many have left for Russia. If supposedly the new regime was all sweetness and light why have milllions left ? Speaking to some Ukrainins in London with teenage sons, they moved because the right wings gangs knocking on doors informing you that your son is joining Svoboda or other neo nazi groups was not what they wanted. This is what the Wehemacht did. Ukraine population likely 33 million if that. Unfortunately my enemies enemy who worships nazis thugs and allows them in Govt shouldn't be my friend.

In relation to Georgia the areas are populated by Ethnic Russians, Georgia decided it want to go to war and got shocked at the response. The people there have never wished to be part of Georgia. Politicians egged on by external forces demand that X is their whole terrritory even though they hold no saw in anything there. Let the people decide.

Latvia enacting laws against anyone who has Russian ethnic origins, refusing citizenship and throw people out of jobs because of their heritage will ultimately only have one result. Instead of building a nation they are destroying it. Cancelling any right to be taught in your families language you have had for generations and discimination.

The assumption is that it is far away and an enemy so its ok, look closer to home. If Scotland obtains its independence and then starts discrimination against English people because of their origins including allowing attacks on them would anybody expect London to stay silent.

Also Northern Ireland when likely Irish unity occurs, would it be acceptable for Dublin to destroy any British cultural references in NI, build statues for PIRA everywhere and claim it doesn't matter you are Etnically British and have lived here for 200 years, you have no rights. I would also fully expect London to be involved including militarily were it to occur.

The idea that somehow Russia wants to invade the Uk is laughable, bearing in mind it is ungovernable in many places to the elected Govt, then how exactly would an invading power control it and what exactly has the UK that Russia would want ? Its women ......beer...... work culture.

I fully see Russia acting to support Ethnic Russian populations that are in danger of persecution or death, just like I fully expect Israel to support any Jewish population and other countrys likewise.

Pretending because one country does it is wrong while another doing it is ok, even when they laud and celebrate Nazis, is a bit like the West supplying Al Qaeda with arms and forgetting 9/11 didn't happen

racedo 10th Mar 2021 20:08


Originally Posted by WE Branch Fanatic (Post 11005978)

A weekly defended Atlantic could become a chokepoint.

One question

Exactly why does Russia supposedly wish to attack and takeover the west ?

WE Branch Fanatic 10th Mar 2021 21:04


Originally Posted by racedo (Post 11006084)
One question

Exactly why does Russia supposedly wish to attack and takeover the west ?

We are not talking about a Cold War style invasion with the Third Shock Army pouring across the border between East and West Germany. We are talking of the possibility of the Putin regime using force, or being tempted to, in the former Soviet republics. The current leadership in Moscow is determined to hold onto power at all costs, and may seek conflict to distract the population and the Putin regime has been setting up the West as a bogeyman for a number of years now. Russian submarine and air activity in the Atlantic is back to a level comparable with that in the Cold War - do you think that it is prudent for us to keep an eye of them?

In any case, there are other potential threats in the NATO theatre, such as the presence of the forces of the People's Republic of China operating in the Atlantic, over events in Africa or the Middle East over spilling into the Mediterranean or beyond.

Lonewolf_50 10th Mar 2021 21:13


Originally Posted by racedo (Post 11005403)
NATO's purpose ended at the end of the Cold War.

The political leadership of 16 nations did not share your opinion. It's a political organization, and they found use for it.
Also, since you are an old fart like me who lived through it, when would you say that the cold war actually ended?

minigundiplomat 11th Mar 2021 03:51


You think they'll stop at Calais?
History would suggest so, but then traditionally the only threat to the UK has been from European nations. Toujours la meme......


Asturias56 11th Mar 2021 07:19

"I fully see Russia acting to support Ethnic Russian populations that are in danger of persecution or death, just like I fully expect Israel to support any Jewish population and other countrys likewise."

A well worn route used by large countries to bully smaller ones - Hitler in Czechoslovakia fro example

Not_a_boffin 11th Mar 2021 09:27


Originally Posted by WE Branch Fanatic (Post 11005978)
A weekly defended Atlantic could become a chokepoint.

Is that one day a week? Or one week per month?

WE Branch Fanatic 11th Mar 2021 12:48


Originally Posted by Not_a_boffin (Post 11006451)
Is that one day a week? Or one week per month?

Well spotted. I was not referring to the Thursday War.

This article from the Daily Telegraph is interesting, but it seems to think the the main reason for the significance of the Faroe Islands is due to the Arctic:

Mr Olesen puts this down to increased general tension between Russia and Nato more generally, and more specifically, to increased Russian activity in the Arctic since 2014, when it created a new Arctic Strategic Command based around the Northern Fleet.In the past five years, Russian activity in the Northern Atlantic has returned to Cold War levels, with the country's long-range nuclear submarines and jets constantly testing Nato surveillance capabilities.

The British Royal Navy is reportedly planning to establish a regular presence in the Arctic Circle amid growing concerns that climate change melting ice caps could allow Russia and China to exploit strategic new shipping lanes there.

Once up and running, the reestablished Faroes radar station will help to close the gap in radar coverage left after the UK reactivated a radar station on Unst in the Shetland Islands in 2018.

"If you take a look at the radar coverage of the Nato countries in the northern Atlantic area and in the Arctic, and pop them onto a map, you can see these big holes over Greenland and over the Faroe Islands," Mr Olesen explains.





WE Branch Fanatic 11th Mar 2021 16:33

Am I right in thinking the UK is committed to the NATO Joint Expeditionary Force, and that as such we are formally committed to NATO? The 'Indo Pacific tilt' will not change that. It also means we need to have sufficient forces for NATO activities such as this.

Frigates HMS Lancaster and Westminster, tanker RFA Tiderace and vessels from all three Baltic states – Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – have joined forces for a concerted demonstration of Britain’s commitment to the security and stability of the region.

The deployment is another test of elements of the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force – a partnership of nine northern European nations committed to working together on operations as varied as warfighting through to humanitarian assistance and defence engagement.
“Some of the UK’s closest and most steadfast Allies are found in the Baltics. This deployment is both the latest example of a long and proud history of defence cooperation and a clear demonstration of the capability of the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force,” said Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.

“As the first maritime patrol of made up of exclusively JEF nations, we are ensuring our ships and people are ready to operate in challenging conditions alongside our Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Swedish allies.”

The Royal Navy ships have been joined by Estonian minelayer Wambola, Latvian patrol vessel Jelgava, and from Lithuania minelayer Jotvingis and patrol ship Selis, plus aircraft from the Swedish Air Force, with the focus on maritime security and freedom of navigation in the Baltic.

“It is a real privilege to command the first task group of this type and I have been impressed by the capabilities on display from our partner nations,” said Commander Will Blackett, Commanding Officer of Portsmouth-based Lancaster which is flagship of the naval force.

Hopefully the Government will remember things like this when the defence review is announced.

racedo 11th Mar 2021 18:06


Originally Posted by WE Branch Fanatic (Post 11006131)
The current leadership in Moscow is determined to hold onto power at all costs, and may seek conflict to distract the population and the Putin regime has been setting up the West as a bogeyman for a number of years now. Russian submarine and air activity in the Atlantic is back to a level comparable with that in the Cold War - do you think that it is prudent for us to keep an eye of them?

In any case, there are other potential threats in the NATO theatre, such as the presence of the forces of the People's Republic of China operating in the Atlantic, over events in Africa or the Middle East over spilling into the Mediterranean or beyond.

Ok for USN to be doing whatever it wants around the world but how dare China come into the Atlantic.

Putin is under no threat at home, he stopped the oligarchs ripping off Russia, invested heavily at home and despite what western media thinks he really is popular for standing up for the people.

The Russia making the west a bogeyman idea is laughable when you find BBC engaging in this funded by Foreign Office.

NATO never did reduce flights in or around Russia, nobody asks why not.

racedo 11th Mar 2021 18:16


Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50 (Post 11006139)
The political leadership of 16 nations did not share your opinion. It's a political organization, and they found use for it.
Also, since you are an old fart like me who lived through it, when would you say that the cold war actually ended?

It ended in the east with the collpse of the USSR, the mentality never ended within Senior military Intelligence in the west. Losing an opponent meant their reason for existence, their wealth and the MIC couldn't be allowed to lose out.

Instead of supporting Russia in the early 90's when the economy collapsed there were way too many happy to rip it off and do everything they could to destroy it. Supporting it you would have an ally, ripping it off would only last for a period of time.

Governments close by complain when Russia started moving units closer to the border with the west into old bases that had been reduced in size. What escapes people is that Russia had removed forces closer to western borders in a big drawdown but seeing a desire of Nato allies want bases and military forces stationed closer they acted.

When you have been invaded from the West 3 times in just over 100 years and have lost 35 million people via that route then you make a call that a 4th time will not happen. Entierly logical when you look at it that way.

racedo 11th Mar 2021 18:20


Originally Posted by Asturias56 (Post 11006337)
A well worn route used by large countries to bully smaller ones - Hitler in Czechoslovakia fro example

Or invading Grenada to suposedly protect some students who openly stated they were not under threat.

minigundiplomat 11th Mar 2021 20:21


Putin is under no threat at home, he stopped the oligarchs ripping off Russia, invested heavily at home and despite what western media thinks he really is popular for standing up for the people.
Agreed, during time I spent in Russia he was exceptionally popular, but I believe that popularity peaked a couple of years ago.

WE Branch Fanatic 11th Mar 2021 20:29


Originally Posted by racedo (Post 11006710)
Ok for USN to be doing whatever it wants around the world but how dare China come into the Atlantic.

Putin is under no threat at home, he stopped the oligarchs ripping off Russia, invested heavily at home and despite what western media thinks he really is popular for standing up for the people.

The Russia making the west a bogeyman idea is laughable when you find BBC engaging in this funded by Foreign Office.

NATO never did reduce flights in or around Russia, nobody asks why not.

Putin popular? Then who do you explain things like this?

A Moscow court has sentenced Alexei Navalny to two years and eight months in a prison colony in a landmark decision for Vladimir Putin’s crackdown on the country’s leading opposition figure.

The move triggered marches in Moscow and the arrest of more than 1,000 protesters.

Navalny, who has accused the Russian president and his allies of stealing billions, was jailed for violating parole from a 2014 sentence for embezzlement in a case he has said was politically motivated.

After the verdict, several hundred Navalny supporters marched in central Moscow. Videos by local media or shared on social media showed police in body armour hitting protesters with staves. More than 1,000 people were arrested across the country in the course of the day, according to the independent monitoring group OVD-info.

The court’s decision makes Navalny the most prominent political prisoner in Russia and may be the most important verdict against a foe of Putin’s since the 2005 jailing of the oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

As for Putin's mentality (and I assume his cronies are the same), try reading this from Psychology Today:

Now, Putin’s contempt for others is spreading far beyond his cabinet to include the entire western leadership, from Cameron to Obama. Putin’s personality and thinking have become grossly distorted by the effects of enormous, largely unfettered power on his brain. Since then, Putin has invaded the Crimea and engineered the swift dissolution of a country.

Interpreting political behaviour in psychological terms is always a risk: Ukraine’s ethnic balance is a fragile one and there is the scent of possible Crimean oil reserves as a juicy incentive for Putin’s political adventurism. But perhaps most politically-useful of all, is the whipped-up nationalist fervour to bolster Putin’s hold over a decaying Russian economy with its ageing workforce and corrupt institutions.

But, after 15 years in power, psychological factors have to be taken into consideration in analysing Putin’s actions and, more importantly, in deciding how to respond to them. And contempt must be considered as one of the most important elements of his psychology. It is not only contempt for what he almost regards as weak—and, possibly in his macho world view, effeminate—western leaders. More important is his contempt for their institutions such as international treaties and laws.

Putin was brought up under a Marxist-Lenninist worldview where there was a strong tradition of regarding such things as instruments of capitalist or bourgeois oppression, to be treated with, well, contempt. He grew up in a culture where the ends justified the means. And this is why he could so easily tear up an international treaty with Ukraine guaranteeing its independence in return for giving up its nuclear weapons.

I do not have the slightest doubt that Putin intends to stay in power at least until 2024 and perhaps beyond. There can be little doubt that his brain has been neurologically and physically changed so much that he firmly and genuinely believes that without him, Russia is doomed. Absolute power for long periods makes you blind to risk, highly egocentric, narcissistic and utterly devoid of self-awareness. They also make you see other people as objects and the emotional-cognitive consequence of all this is…contempt.

It is very likely that he feels contempt for the potential political leaders who might succeed him, just as much as he feels contempt for anyone—for instance Ukrainians—who thwart him. A recent report said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has talked with Putin more than any other leader in the last few weeks, reported feeling “bewildered” by Putin. After speaking with him, the report claimed, she said she was not sure he was in touch with reality, telling US President Obama that Putin was “in another world”.

Summing up in the last paragraph:

So how should the West respond? Psychologically speaking, the very worst response would be appeasement because this will simply fuel his contempt and strengthen the justification for his position. Strong consequences have to follow from his contempt for international law and treaties. This will cost the West dearly, economically speaking, but the longer-term costs of appeasement will make the costs of strong, early action appear trivial in [email protected]

WE Branch Fanatic 12th Mar 2021 13:11

From the Comment section of Naval Warfare by Sheppard Media:

Before all this, the UK has to understand what the navy is for in terms of geopolitical and military direction. Might a rush to sail East of Suez in a scramble towards the Indo-Pacific leave home defence a little lacklustre?

A debate broke out during a March sitting of the UK defence committee as it gathered evidence into the perennial angst that afflicts the MoD and wider political class – the UK-US relationship and its role in the NATO alliance. This debate, with academics and defence experts on the virtual stand as it were, failed to find a firm consensus as to where the focus should be.

Should it be in the Indo-Pacific? Well, perhaps yes. More than one defence commentator has said that there is very little point in sending a carrier strike group over there as part of a one-off global tour, as the word ‘presence’ implies a necessary persistence. Maybe more forward-deployed assets should be sent into the Gulf instead.

But then focus on the Indo-Pacific and the Middle East and where does that leave the North Atlantic, GIUK Gap, Barents Sea or Arctic? How should the UK involve itself in the Eastern Mediterranean, where NATO member Turkey looks as though it may well be keen on leaving the alliance’s orbit, preferring the riches and political obligations of Russia and China?


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