Failure To Defend The Realm

Constantinople

The above image is the Fall of Constantinople (May 29, 1453)

The dwindling Byzantine Empire came to an end when the Ottomans breached Constantinople's ancient wall after besieging the city for 55 days with the use of new giant bombards, or cannons. Today, history is repeating itself as the military power of the Western Christian Empire, now led by America, is dwindling, and China as well as Russia's power grows.

When Trump entered office, having campaigned for a 350 ship Navy from some 285 ships, Trump supporters who recognised the danger from China seeking to dominate the seas all breathed a sigh of relief. The PLN must have choked on their tea. However, four years later Trump left office with a 308 ship navy and a US shipbuilding programme in disarray, with money having been diverted to the great white elephant of the Mexican wall. Meanwhile, the PLAN shipbuilding programme has gone from strength to strength, having created the largest navy in the world. Most alarmingly, they have expanded their peacetime shipbuilding capability to over twice that of America's wartime capacity. This ensures their future domination of the Oceans. Rather than making America great again, Trump's empty promises have pushed the world closer to potential disaster by encouraging CCP aggression.

The UK risks similar empty promises when Boris announced a turnaround in the UK’s attitude to defence by increasing the budget marginally by some £24bn over 4 years. One could be forgiven to have felt a degree of relief that, finally, the UK had woken up to the growing threats from Russia and China. However, whilst such a defence spending increase was materially insignificant, it did represent a directional change in national focus. As the adage says “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Since then, there have been some alarming revelations, announcements and appointments by HMG that are ringing alarm bells.

 

Revelations

The Daily Mails’ disclosure concerning the dreadful state of our infantry battalions was alarming to say the least. Whilst the army is currently at its smallest size in centuries, it is also undermanned and far from combat ready and is now half the size of the armies of France and Germany,

The lessons of history ring loud warning bells with respect to Britain maintaining a ridiculously small army.Back in 1914 the British expeditionary force (BEF) that rushed to deter the Kaiser's Army from invading France comprised of only some 148,000 men that were referred to by the Kaiser as that “little contemptible army”.Sadly as such they failed to deter the onset of WW1.

Today the British Army is a national disgrace. Its weakness only invites aggression as it has been neglected by the MOD and HMG. This is mainly due to gross inefficiencies of the MOD over two decades and its betrayal by overly politicized Generals who have all failed in their prime duty of the defence of the realm. The fact the Defence Select Committee and organisations like RUSI have not called foul suggests they are trapped in the mindset of incompetence and hubris Indifference to Incompetence Linked to the Cycle of Empires. Thank goodness for free press in the form of the Daily Mail!

 

Announcements

The recent announcement that the army is to further be reduced in size over the next ten years by some 10,000 soldiers is the height of irresponsibility by both Wallace and the senior civil servant at the  MOD  Sir Stephen Lovegrove. To say they have been forced by budget restrictions is not a valid defence. When faced with similar constrictions on the Navy in 2015, the First Sea Lord George Zambellous resisted them with every cell in his body, sacrificing his future to stand on principle to defend his nation. It speaks volumes against the army that no such action has been mounted by the Army's Generals. In a time of the pandemic with its high entropy, the need for the army and its value to the population should catalyse the need to enlarge, not shrink, the army, making this announcement even more irresponsible. The Need For Greater National Resilience explains why the manpower of the army is critical. Most importantly, whilst the ill-informed justify manpower reductions by increases in future lethality, the reality is the army currently has no coherent plan to fight such imaginary formations with new technology. As such, British enemies will interpret these troop reductions as a major sign of weakness, weakening the Defence of the Realm.

 

Appointments

The appointment of Sir Stephen Lovegrove to become the next National Security advisor is one of great concern. It follows in the disastrous footsteps of Mark Sedwell whose failures were rewarded with a peerage. The role of a National Security Advisor is a relatively new one. It was introduced by Cameron and inspired by the US who has long had National Security Advisors that are the architects of the national security strategy. This role is one of great gravitas and has often been filled in America by leading thinkers separate from the military, political or intelligence community. The idea that in the UK a civil servant should occupy this role is a major mistake as it represents the establishment's thought process, reinforcing its failures. The National Security Advisor is the role of a great stratos as the Greeks described the skill set, or in modern parlance a strategic thinker. Certainly it is not a civil servant who has presided over the MOD during its greatest failings in maintaining the integrity of our armed forces.

I have always argued Brexit is about British reformation to harness a new rising national energy. The defence of the realm is the most important role of government. Yet, it has been neglected and we as a nation are becoming increasingly exposed to the threat of a global conflict. An urgent wave of reform must be unleashed on the MOD and armed forces starting with the announcement of a highly visionary National Security Advisor who is familiar with both geopolitical trends linked to historical patterns and the evolution of modern weapons systems. Without urgent reform, I fear our enemies will become increasingly confident Britain is there for the taking. When it comes to deterring aggressors with powerful militaries, history is replete with lessons that only hard power is an effective deterrence to war.


For further information please see the Global Forecaster Now Or Never Defence Review Now Or Never Strategic Defence Review 2020

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