Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Why Great Britain needs Trident

by Starvid Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 05:14:45 AM EST

With the future of the UK nuclear weapons under discussion and the generally anti-Trident feelings at the European Tribune, I think the time has come to argue why Trident need be replaced, for while the current SSBN's force is all peachy, they must be replaced by the early 2020's, and these things have monstrous lead times. A decision to replace or not cannot be postponed indefinitely.


HMS Vanguard.


Like most military matters, and especially those considering nuclear warfare and deterrence, the public debate is often needlessly overcomplicated, possible because of the unsavory nature of the weapons and implications involved. People in general often feel uncomfortable with anything approaching the "realist" school of international relations. But the fact of the matter is that a simple logical chain shows why Great Britain must replace Trident.

  1. Military strength is an important part of the system of international relations. A militarily weak nation will be considered unserious and not really worth listening to.

  2. Nuclear weapons are the ultimate weapons, trumping all other by a margin as wide as that between the spear and the assault rifle.

  3. Missile submarines are the only delivery system which creates a credible second strike capability.

  4. Possesing nuclear weapons without a second strike capability is utter madness - it invites the enemy to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike without fear of retaliation.

  5. In conclusion, any nation with aspirations to Great Power status requires nuclear missile submarines.

The question is not if Great Britain needs a replacement for Trident, but if the nation can resign itself not to be Great Britain anymore, instead declining to just plain Britain.

That is not a question for me to decide, but for the British people.

Display:


Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 05:16:41 AM EST
Who is the enemy? The French?

Do you - or we - really think that greatness is about these national penis extensions?

We need nuclear submarines like a fish needs a bicycle.

We should also bin aircraft carriers, and the entire generation of baroque aircraft technology and redeploy resources on the real requirements and challenges.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 05:37:15 AM EST
ChrisCook:
Who is the enemy? The French?
No, the Russians! [Starvid's Rysskräck Technology™]

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 05:44:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nuclear submarines are primarily and currently not weapons to be aimed at a specified enemy, but a tool needed to achieve Great Power status.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 06:52:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What are the benefits of having great power status?
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 09:21:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
permanent membership of the security council of the UN, and hence veto powers.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 09:25:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know why the EU has to have two permanent seats on the UNSC.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 09:34:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well the UK more often acts as a second US seat.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 09:46:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know why Oceania has to have more than one seat either.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 09:51:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
with Russias capital being in Europe, does that make Europe have 3 seats?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 10:02:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Our noble allies in Eastasia need us ...

... oops, a doublecheck of Wikipedia reveals I have that backwards. Its needed because of the threat of Eastasia. Eurasia has always been our ally against Eastasia.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 09:06:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Why Great Britain needs Trident
The question is not if Great Britain needs a replacement for Trident, but if the nation can resign itself not to be Great Britain anymore, instead declining to just plain Britain.
You're assuming Britain has an "independent nuclear deterrent" even if it is purchased from the US. Allegedly the UK cannot use its nukes without US authorisation so the question is not whether the UK wants to be a Great Power but whether they want to be a launchpad for another Great Power (namely, the US).

While writing this comment I made a funny typo: Great Poser.

Anyway, I found this at prospect magazine

There is a lot of confusion about the question of independence. British Trident subs are operationally independent--we do not have to ask American permission to use the missiles it has sold us. What is not independent is the satellite guidance system, which was designed to take out Soviet missile silos. If the US switched it off, this pinpoint accuracy would be lost. But Trident's basic guidance system--which is not dependent on the US--is already accurate to within a few hundred yards. Britain has no need to hit silos; we just need to convince enemies that we can destroy them if they attack us.
This from New Statesman
So, what about independence of operation? Could Britain fire Trident if the US objected? In 1962 the then US defence secretary, Robert McNamara, said that the British nuclear bomber force did not operate independently. Writing in 1980, Air Vice-Marshal Stewart Menaul said it definitely could not be used without US authorisation. Today former naval officers say it would be extremely difficult. The many computer software programs, the fuse, the trigger, the guidance system as well as the missiles are all made in America.


The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 05:43:29 AM EST
Obviously it doesn't really matter where they're made.

What does matter is what 'authorisation' means. Does it mean official paperwork, an electronic lock, a US officer with a key and some codes, or a special giant Sudoku puzzle?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 06:23:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I just want to go on the record as supporting the Sudoku puzzle.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 06:15:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed.

this is the proper question... is it worthy the millions to be a launchpad? seriously, being launchpad has its own prerogatives.. you can eventually, in case of a nazi Us, break the contract and get the technology..

but in this case, would the trident be helpful...????

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 05:41:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK's first attempts to develop an independent home-made nuclear deterrent were farcical. The safety in one of the UK's hydrogen bomb designs was a container full of large ball bearings. To arm the weapon before delivery, the ball bearings had to be let out through a hole in the bottom of the bomb into a pit.

Also:

Blue Peacock - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

One technical problem was that buried objects--especially during winter--can get very cold, and it was possible the mine would not have worked after some days underground, due to the electronics being too cold to operate properly. Various methods to get around this were studied, such as wrapping the bombs in insulating blankets. One particularly remarkable proposal suggested that live chickens should be included in the mechanism. The chickens would be sealed inside the casing, with a supply of food and water; they would remain alive for a week or so, which was the expected maximum lifetime of the bomb in any case. The body heat given off by the chickens would, it seems, have been sufficient to keep all the relevant components at a working temperature. This proposal was sufficiently outlandish that it was taken as an April Fool's Day joke when the Blue Peacock file was declassified on April 1, 2004. Tom O'Leary, head of education and interpretation at the National Archives, replied to the media that, "It does seem like an April Fool but it most certainly is not. The Civil Service does not do jokes."

The Blue Streak MRBM took at least fifteen to thirty minutes to load and fire, which made it less than entirely convincing as a deterrent.  

So Polaris, with US rocketry and warheads modified and built in the UK, was a reasonable deal.

Trident was an obvious continuation. The reality is that the UK doesn't have the skills needed to design effective warheads and missiles without US help, and can't afford an independent design program.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 06:19:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Blue Streak  loading and aiming time, wasn't unreasonable at the time it was constructed. At the time of its design and construction, all nationalities Ballistic missiles had a similar laod and fire time from what I remember, it isn't till about 10 years later that Fast launches with solid fuel missiles cameinto use.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 06:21:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The reality is that the UK doesn't have the skills needed to design effective warheads and missiles without US help, and can't afford an independent design program.

If the US for some reason stopped supplying its closest ally and one believes the Brits are terminally incompetent in missile technology, Britain can certainly find another partner to help them. One need just look south of the Channel.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 06:52:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That would be politically inexpedient.

Buying stuff to blow shit up from the US is robust, manly and entirely to be admired. Buying it from the frogs would an appalling admission of erectile political failure.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 08:56:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the argument isn't that by getting rid of Trident you'd remove the second strike capacity, it is suggested instead that the second strike role could be filled by  naval forces with nuclear armed cruise missiles instead. Trident is an extremely expensive method of providing this form of threat to government.

The change from Trident to a cruise based platform, would enhance the UKs independence, in a lot of ways freeing the UK from US targeting systems. while we're shackled to those we are in effect providing the USA with four SSBNs for free, and abasing ourselve in foreign policy matters, not always to our advantage for the right to continue to do so.  As we are paying, why shouldn't we take up the call of "No taxation without representation" and declare our full independence?

I have argued here before that the British Deterent exists soleley to keep the seat on the security council, I dont see that you particularly disagree with me, but dont see that much of an argument as to why the UK actually needs to do this?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 06:27:04 AM EST
But the argument isn't that by getting rid of Trident you'd remove the second strike capacity, it is suggested instead that the second strike role could be filled by  naval forces with nuclear armed cruise missiles instead.
This would be completely unfeasible for the simple reason that naval task forces cannot be hidden - at all - and can hence easily be targeted by a first strike. They are not credible second strike weapons. Neither are airborne free fall bombs, cruise missiles or really anything except submarine launched missiles.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 06:52:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rubbish, if you deploy cruise missiles on random ships, then you have to destroy every naval unit, to guarantee lack of attack. An entire navy, (including non balistic subs) is not easily targeted, you're then talking about hitting moving targets. on top of that why are sub launched cruise less credible than ICBMs?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 09:33:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's impossible to hide naval units, especially in this age of satellite recon. The fact that they're moving at 30 knots is not really relevant when they're hit by a nuclear missile travelling at 1000-10000 knots.

It's not like the Royal Navy has that many ships, and even fewer which have or could be given the capability to carry missile with a range long enough to hit their very distant targets. The ships would have to be specially built to carry big enough missiles, and such modifications would radically reduce their conventional capacity. Which is why there are dedicated vessels to carry these weapons, namely nuclear missile submarines.

The problem with cruise missiles is that they have short range, at best 1000 km, while Trident clocks in at 7360 km.

If you for example wanted to reach Moscow, the entire nuclear armed Royal Navy surface force would have to be stationed in the Gulf of Finland... With Trident, you can reach even Vladivostok or Beijng practically while lying at the quay in Faslane, or at least from positions in the Norwegian sea.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 10:10:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, Trident II has a range not of 7360 km but of 11000 km.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 10:14:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
7000 miles?

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 10:15:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's what Wikipedia says.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 10:19:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
just wondering where the mistake came from :-)

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 10:20:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems that Trident I has the shorter range.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 10:31:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What I mean is that 7000mi = 11000km...

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 10:35:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I got that too. ;)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 10:40:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well The Tommahawk cruise missile has a listed range of 2500km, which would, assuming Moscow as a target, allow  a launch from several hundred miles the far side of Ireland, not just in the  gulf of Finland.

The fact that the missiles have a 1000 to 10,000 knots speed is truely irrelevent, whereas the 30 knots of the ships is highly relevant, You have a roughly 15 minute flight time from launch to impact, so youre looking at trying to destroy something that will be somewhere random within a 7 1/2 NM radius, even with large warheads, thats not an easy job.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 10:37:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, alright, I'd forgotten Tomahawk completely. But the fact of the matter still is that if a target can be seen, it can swiftly be destroyed by nuclear weapons.

You are also arguing from the point that the first strike would be launched solely from missile silos inside Russia, while the task force might just as well be destroyed by nuclear torpedoes or AShM fired from hunter submarines shadowing the surface vessels, or from strike aircraft.

The only way to avoid a nuclear strike is by not being targeted by it.


Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 10:46:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes definitely, if you can have enough ships close then and targetted or enough missiles thrown at the target (depending on warhead size) then this all goes out of the window.  But if you're moving in to attack every UK fleet ship, then that in itself will be an obvious act inviting a retaliatory strike,

I was only arguing on the basis of missiles launched from silos on the basis of flight speeds you were quoting

The only way to avoid a nuclear strike may be to not be targetted by it,  but Strategic Missiles have a horendously high failure rate, you'd need to be certain that you would kill every possible retaliating ship. This lack of certainty is where deterrence lies.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 11:06:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not true deterrence, because while the enemy can't be completely sure he'll knock out all your launchers, you can't be sure enough of your launchers will survive either.

Unless you have subs.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 11:21:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Its still deterrence, it's just not MAD enough.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 11:26:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Could a cruise missile actually lift the weight of a MIRV warhead?
by Xavier in Paris on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 06:25:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tomahawks were built to carry a single 200 kT warhead. Or to put it another way, the conventional Tomahawk carries a 450 kg ordnance while a single warhead in a MIRV weighs a few hundred kg. So in short, no. You could of course build a bigger cruise missile with a higher range and payload, but then you might just as well get an ICBM.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Jul 17th, 2009 at 01:34:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
this is what i was thinking. Furthermore, i believe that nuclear warheads are quite sizeable, which would mean that a cruise missile based detterrence would not really be considered serious.

I remember some information on the topic during the north corea crisis: they have missiles, they have nuclear bombs, but they don't have (seemingly) nuclear bombs on missile.

by Xavier in Paris on Fri Jul 17th, 2009 at 02:49:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Although I'm still not clear what eliminating a second strike would achieve.

So you take out the UK's entire deterrent and a few cities. Taking out London and maybe Birmingham and Manchester would be enough to put the UK back a century, because so many business and government records, communication systems and infrastructure management systems are based there.

Food deliveries would stop almost instantly, emergency rations would last a few months at the outside, and the UK would be dead as a country. Even without bombing the other cities, you'd lose anything up to 75% of the population over the next year or so.

So - then what? Even if there's enough of a government left to surrender formally, are you going to march in an occupy what's left, and create a new government? Why would anyone bother?

The Soviets had ideological momentum, so it wasn't completely impossible to imagine them wanting to invade Europe and the UK.

Modern Russia, not so much, except as an act of machismo and political spite. Likewise for China.

Iran, India, Pakistan, and NK might all want to try, but they wouldn't have the resources to launch a decapitation first strike - they'd go straight for the cities.

So really if Trident has a purpose at all, it's as a revenge weapon, guaranteeing retaliation against these second and third rate players. And they'd be just as vulnerable to a cruise-launched bomb run as they would be to an SLBM, so the submarine-launched angle starts to look slightly unconvincing.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 11:28:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Furthermore, while you need a really big bomb to create a 5 psi overpressure within 7.5 nm (say 10-20 megaton) you can much more easily throw half a dozen or a dozen 100 kT devices sprinkled over the general area. Given that modern missiles are MIRV'ed, you still only need a single missile.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 10:50:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The US and the Soviets had thousands of missiles at the peak of the cold war. They still have thousands of warheads.

Even if every ship in the fleet was dispersed in a random pattern, it would be trivially easy to organise precise targetting. You can solve the movement problem by boxing each ship's current position with multiple warheads.

Stealth subs and space launchers are the only defence against this.

Space launchers are officially banned, but I would be hugely surprised if that meant that there weren't any in orbit.

The problem is reliable command and communication. You want to make sure that a second strike happens after reliable first strike notification, even if the first strike takes out your main HQ - but also that you don't launch a first strike by accident just because someone's radio tunes into Radio 1 instead of the emergency launch code channel.

I'm not sure what kind of failsafes are used in C&C. It probably isn't a simple problem.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 10:24:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can have a second strike capability by detecting a first strike before impact. How many countries could strike the UK undetected? Maybe the US using only B2s?

Of course this requires having a number of fixed and mobile land-based platforms on constant hairtrigger alert, which may not save all that much money.

I'm unsure how cruise missiles would work out for strategic warheads. I'm thinking they don't.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 09:35:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well what makes a warhead "Strategic"?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 09:48:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Its designed use against population centers.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 10:15:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's an interesting but rather arcane debate which was played out in the 70's or the 80's. At the time it was considered that small battlefield nukes were considered tactical while big ones fired at cities and missile complexes were strategic. After the debate people understood that the differnce between a tactical and strategic device is not the size, but the reason why it is used.

Hence, a 1 megaton bomb dropped on a Soviet motorised infantry division is a tactical strike, while a 10 kT device droppen on the Kremlin is most definitely a strategic strike.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 10:18:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wikipedia: Weapon of mass destruction
During the Cold War, the term "weapons of mass destruction" was primarily a reference to nuclear weapons. At the time, the US arsenal of thermonuclear weapons were regarded as a necessary deterrent against nuclear or conventional attack from the Soviet Union (see Mutual Assured Destruction), and the euphemism "strategic weapons" was used to refer to the American nuclear arsenal.

...

An additional condition often implicitly applied to WMD is that the use of the weapons must be strategic. In other words, they would be designed to "have consequences far outweighing the size and effectiveness of the weapons themselves".[24] The strategic nature of WMD also defines their function in the military doctrine of total war as targeting the means a country would use to support and supply its war effort, specifically its population, industry, and natural resources.

(my bold)

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 10:23:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a funny definition of WMD's, as if I understand the quote right chemical or nuclear weapons which are used as combat weapons in the field are not considered WMD. For example chemical weapons during WW1, or the hundreds (or thousand!) of tactical nukes NATO would probably had to use all over West Germany if the Russians ever would have come pouring through the Fulda Gap.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 10:26:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That sounds terribly like the CIA overestimation of Soviet capability, that pouring through the Fulda Gap line. The problem with definition speaks of the differences in nuclear stratergy and theory between the US and USSR, the US thinking that the military use of tactical weapons was possible, the USSR seeing (Probably correctly) that once the first was used, whatever brake the politicians had on the situation was off and things were going to go very badly, very quickly.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 11:23:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pentagon strategists and neocon loonies are still blabbering about "usable nukes".

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 11:33:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Im sure we'll always have someone wanting to use them, its probably something along the lines of the "You have to use them to prove you are willing, otherwise your enemies might become convinced that you wouldnt and then their deterrent value is 0" justification.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 11:38:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tripwire was always about using 'massive retaliation' as a NATO response to a conventional USSR invasion. Battlefield nukes were always a footnote.

The problem with Tripwire is that it has never completely gone away. It took a long time before proportional response was taken seriously as an alternative. And we still have idiots trying to get Georgia into NATO, with the inevitable outcome that the entire nuclear-tipped alliance will become involved in local Russian politics.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 11:36:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Massive retaliation was phased out and replaced by Flexible Response in the 60's.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 11:41:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's 'cause we're a Christian Nation, and Jesus said that it is easier to nuke through the eye of the needle.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sat Jul 18th, 2009 at 08:45:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Except that doesn't really fit with with the Soviet lack of the western conventional vs. nuclear view. Soviet doctrine called for an immediate use of nuclear weapons in support of the ground forces offensive.

Thousands of weapons were to be used in the initial strike at the dawn of the invasion. As many as two hundred(!) were reserved for strikes against Swedish targets.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 11:38:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well thats what I was saying, about the soviets lack of conventional/nuclear view  and battlefield/strategic too (But the Soviet Invasion intention was a Laughable CIA invention)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 11:45:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
<post diplomacy="false" mode="dissect">

This is fun!

First, let's portray realists as a vanguard who are brave enough to face the hard choices that ordinary people just don't have the guts for.

Second, let's make a list of assertions, with our conclusion as the fifth assertion as if it followed from the other four. For extra credit, let's call our conclusion a fact in advance of demonstrating it.

Three, profit!
</post>

Now, questions.

  1. Which meaning of "realist" are you using?

  2. What level of military strength is required for "seriousness"? Enough to make it too expensive to conquer you? Enough to fight wars on three fronts at a time? Enough to destroy the planet? Why is it not possible to be taken seriously if you're not militarily strong?

  3. People with assault rifles need to worry about people with spears when they engage them on their own territory.

  4. Since when was "Great Britain" a "Great Power"?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 06:27:55 AM EST
I like <post diplomacy=false>

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 07:19:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. Hawk

  2. Enough to make the head of state of the country you are talking with fear you personally. The ability to kill his soldiers or citizens does not impress him - they are card-board cutouts and play figurines to him.

  3. Between the battle at Waterloo and the Suez Crisis.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 03:20:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  0. Which meaning of "realist" are you using?
This.

   1. What level of military strength is required for "seriousness"? Enough to make it too expensive to conquer you? Enough to fight wars on three fronts at a time? Enough to destroy the planet? Why is it not possible to be taken seriously if you're not militarily strong?

The question has more than one answer. If you want to be taken seriously as a regional player, you need be strong enough to influence the region. If you want to be taken serious globally you also need to be able to project power globally. If you want Great Powers to take you seriously, you need nuclear weapons.

   2. People with assault rifles need to worry about people with spears when they engage them on their own territory.

No, they don't.

   3. Since when was "Great Britain" a "Great Power"?

Since somewhere back in the mists of time, 17th-18th century.

Don't mistake Great Power status for superpower status (or some intermediate between great and super power), which Britain lost in 1956. Or rather after WW2 except it didn't show until 1956.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 06:55:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
If you want to be taken seriously as a regional player, you need be strong enough to influence the region. If you want to be taken serious globally you also need to be able to project power globally.
How about soft power?

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 06:56:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Soft power is indeed important, some would say even more important than hard power. Hard power is certainly not the best tool to solve all problems, and if you have plenty of hammers problems will tend to look like nails.

But at the end of the day when you are faced with hard power you will always need hard power of your own. Angry letters, Big Macs and MTV videos will not stop a motorized rifle division.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 07:02:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Great powers don't face each other with motorised divisions. They use them to bully smaller, weaker states. And when they face each other they do it covertly, by proxy, destroying small nations in the process.

See Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Cuba, Chile, Congo...

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 07:07:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not anymore, but certainly during the Cold war, and who knows what the future holds?

Power, by the way, is often defined as being able to force others to do things they don't want to, which fits pretty well into your quote below.

Great powers don't face each other with motorised divisions. They use them to bully smaller, weaker states.

Bully, of course, is one oway of putting it. Influencing is another. Or reacting to the actions of other powers, be they great, small, or regional great powers.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 07:10:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
Bully, of course, is one oway of putting it. Influencing is another.
I influence, you bully, he bombs back into the stone age.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 09:15:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which makes Afghanistan even less comprehensible.

What's surreal is that the invasion of one of the smallest and weakest countries in the world is being justified by some of the largest and most powerful countries in the world as a defensive military action.

How would Afghanistan need to behave to reassure the world's top superpowers that it has no intent to annex them?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 06:59:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not fear of invasion but fear of Afghanistan being "a launchpad/haven for terrorists".

How creating failed states (as in Iraq: Saddam's was authoritarian but definitely not a failed state) escapes me. Afghanistan also became a failed state in the 1980's and the US activity in both Afghanistan and Pakistan since then has contributed decisively to Afghanistan becoming a safe haven for terrorists.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 07:13:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was being rhetorical about annexation.

But if terrrrism is being promoted - which it is - that implies that US foreign policy is stupid and insane. Or that it actively wants to promote terrorism. Or that it needs a war for domestic reasons.

Or possibly all of the above.

What would be the worst that would happen if the Taleban were allowed to have the country back?

This might seem like a bad thing for the inhabitants, but continual war hardly seems like a positive alternative.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 07:31:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
What would be the worst that would happen if the Taleban were allowed to have the country back?
IMHO the Afghan war is a civil war among the Pashtun with the Taleban being one of the factions. The other ethnic groups (Tayik, Uzbek, Iranian...) would revert to the Northern Alliance and hold out in the fringes if the Taleban took over the Pashtun areas.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 08:25:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Back before the US invasion, the Taleban was not content with the other factions holed up in the North, and invaded them. For example, Rashid Dostum, the butcher of Mazar-i-Sharif, was chased away.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 08:35:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the Northern Alliance was able to hold out for how long, with no sign of giving up?

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 08:40:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean, it doesn't seem the Taleban are able to exercise effective control outside the Helmand and Kabul river basins, which more or less coincide with the Pashtun tribal areas. I fully developed this in a comment last year.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 08:49:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
However, they are still definitely active beyond. By November last year, they had permanent presence well beyond Pashtun areas in the Northwest.

Nov 2007:

Nov 2008:



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 09:12:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So they're basically advancing clockwise around the mountains in the middle of the country, like they did in the 1990's.

It looks like Iran (on the Western border) would be a very valuable ally if one wanted to cut the Taliban vanguard in the north from their bases in the South and Southeast (including Pakistan's frontier province).

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 09:17:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In addition to geography, there is the factor of Pashtrun minority areas. But, what should worry anyone counting on the NA, is the thrust North of Kabul. Last time, the Northern two-thirds of that area were the last gains of the Taliban, and they arrived from the West (from Mazar). This time, it looks like they would have a local base, bringing an attack on the ex-Massoud areas in the Northeast mountains much closer.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 09:27:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What do you mean by "hold out"? The Pashai-majority, Hazara-majority and half the Tajik-majority areas (in the West) were lost by 1996 already. By beating Dostum, they gained the majority-Uzbek and majority-Turkmen areas around Mazar-i-Sharif. The NA territory was shrinking continuously, and they lost their last able leader two days before 9/11.

Compare ethnic group majorities:



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 09:08:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are nuclear weapons really a necessary component of being a serious regional player by virtue of hard power?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 06:26:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Only in a region where the rivals have nuclear power capabilities. So see the various "to play 1850's Great Game politics against Russia" comments.

For other regional hard power games, see Who is it that the UK and Spain intend to invade?. Seaborne assault capabilities need amphibious assault vessels, while escort duties and logistical support for evacuations can be provided by a less heavily armored type of light aircraft carrier, a "Sea Control" vessel.

If Great Britain was focused on the defensive needs of a maritime nation, its "big ships" would be attack submarines and light aircraft carriers.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 06:53:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Only in a region where the rivals have nuclear power capabilities.

I submit that is not the case.  Israel is a nuclear power, yet I think you could easily argue that Iran, which is not a nuclear power, is a power player in the region for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that their proximity to our bestest buddy, Saudi Arabia.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 03:11:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... the statement. The evidence that contradicts the statement is a region where no rival has nuclear weapons, but nuclear weapons are required to be a regional power.

A regional rival with nuclear weapons is necessary for nuclear weapons to be a requisite of status as a regional power, not sufficient.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 03:31:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you want Great Powers to take you seriously

  1. What is a "Great Power"?

  2. What does being taken seriously entail? red carpets, significant spying activity, being vetoed in the SC, or something else?


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 07:01:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
1. From Wikipedia.

A great power is a nation or state that has the ability to exert its influence on a global scale. Great powers characteristically possess economic, military, diplomatic, and cultural strength, which may cause other, smaller nations to consider the opinions of great powers before taking actions of their own. International relations theorists have posited that great power status can be characterized into power capabilities, spatial aspects, and status dimensions. Sometimes the status of great powers is formally recognized in conferences such as the Congress of Vienna or an international structure such as the United Nations Security Council.

The term "great power" was first used to represent the most important powers in Europe during the post-Napoleonic era.[1] Since then, the international balance of power has shifted numerous times, most dramatically during World War I and World War II. While some nations are widely considered to be great powers, there is no definitive list, leading to a continuing debate.

2. Follows rather logically from one, that is: A great power is a nation or state that has the ability to exert its influence on a global scale.. If you can do that, you are a serious player. You can also be a regional great power which means you will be taken serious in your own home region.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 07:15:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What kind of influence do you want to exert on a global or regional scale?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 07:33:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Serious Starvid:

Like most military matters, and especially those considering nuclear warfare and deterrence, the public debate is often needlessly overcomplicated, possible because of the unsavory nature of the weapons and implications involved. People in general often feel uncomfortable with anything approaching the "realist" school of international relations.

frivoulous global village idiot:

often needlessly overcomplicated?  You are writing about the very symbol of the clinical insanity which dwarfs the "achievements" of western civilization.  The fragile topsoil which provides the nutrients which nourish all, including nuclear submarine designers, is at perilous risk.  the oceans are dying, which feed more than half the world.

realist? realism sunk us to the depths we now find ourselves. What's real is the lack of vision, the lack of courage as a people, a nation to stand up and say enough.


In conclusion, any nation with aspirations to Great Power status requires nuclear missile submarines.

that's the best you can do, return us to an insane past?  Great Power is one who leads civilization back on a course of living in harmony with what we've been given, period.

These perhaps visionary views i possess, perhaps necessary, do not come from my own hippie idealism, valuable as that remains.  They are informed from a lifetime of dialogue with my chief mentor in windpower and more, who also happened to be the Chief Designer of the Nautilus class of nuclear submarines, the very first. I wish he was still with us, so he could take you behind the woodshed for some extra-curricular education.

Vision.  This civilization doesn't make it without that as realism.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 06:49:32 AM EST
Deterrence?  that's what one puts around the garden to keep the deer and lions out.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 06:54:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
often needlessly overcomplicated?  You are writing about the very symbol of the clinical insanity which dwarfs the "achievements" of western civilization.  The fragile topsoil which provides the nutrients which nourish all, including nuclear submarine designers, is at perilous risk.  the oceans are dying, which feed more than half the world.

I didn't create the world and I'm not saying I like it. I just try to live in it.

realist? realism sunk us to the depths we now find ourselves. What's real is the lack of vision, the lack of courage as a people, a nation to stand up and say enough.
"Realism" is a school of international relations. It needs not be the most realistic, ie the one which describes how the world works in the most correct way. Indeed, the scholars of the "liberal" and "constructivist" traditions would think otherwise. These schools in hand might not be the most liberal or constructive; those are just names.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 06:59:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you need to write a diary about international relations.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 07:01:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably. But any standard textbook by Joseph Nye or anyone would work just as well.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 07:13:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't create the world and I'm not saying I like it. I just try to live in it.

Oh, you did create it and are creating it. At least people who believe as you do did:

Realism, also known as political realism (not to be confused with Realpolitik), is a school of international relations that prioritizes national interest and security, rather than ideals, social reconstructions, or ethics.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 07:13:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As long as they believe it, it'll work like that. And if one doesn't believe it oneself, ones analysis will prove faulty when they do act like that.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 07:16:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No. You're confusing how you should act with how you expect others to act.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 07:35:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Similarly, does France need its own fleet of "boomers", "Grandeur de la France" aside?

At least these do not need any US greenlighting whatsoever, even when they collide with the afore mentioned Tridents on the occasion.

Also, this discussion on NATO the other day, with a debate about French nukes vs US "nuclear umbrella".

And a last note: how many nuclear powers are fighting in Afghanistan/Pakistan?

by Bernard on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 09:24:16 AM EST
Having one or two around probably doesn't hurt. Half a megaton of total payload equals around half a megadeath or so.

Any serious shooting war with a sufficiently serious power to prompt the use of nuclear weapons will involve at least ten megadeath from battlefield casualties alone (the estimates of total casualties on the Eastern Front of WWII that I have seen run into at least twenty megadeath, at the low end of the bracket).

So if it does work as deterrence, then we're cool. If it doesn't work as deterrence, the death toll will be so atrociously incomprehensible anyway that a few hundred kiloton here and there will be only barely noticeable.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 03:33:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Having one or two around probably doesn't hurt.

One or two is not enough. You need at minimum three to four.

One in port doing maintenance, one on station, one in transit to or from station and one in reserve.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 07:04:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay, you need four in order to have one operative at any given time.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 07:08:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. Three might work though.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 07:11:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
no. 3 isn't enough,as is shown by France at the moment: one is under construction, one is under maintenance, one has been damaged and one is used full time. ANy problem occurring now would suppress the detterence capability of France.

I would think that a fifth or sixth submarine would be needed.

As for the debate, I actually thik that moral and international relations have to be dissociated. As a country, there is a need to force oneself to follow rules, but at the same time acting as if the others would not be following said rules. This ensures the general following of rules by everybody.

I rather regret that Britain and France are still unable to cooperate in missile subs matters, as this would cut costs tremendously and improve credibility. Arguments on the cost do not hold if costs were divided between Fr and Gb or better even, divided between all UE members.

The main problem for such a cooperation is the necessary unicity of command for these weapons.

by Xavier in Paris on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 06:42:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes well, that IS true. But while the probability of having a single sub damaged by accident is small, the risk of having TWO subs damaged in a row before the first one is repaired is very small. And you can't really plan for everything. It will cost to much and reduce other capabilities.

Otherwise I agree completely with your post.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Jul 17th, 2009 at 01:38:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the fact is also that one more sub costs much less than the first one of a serie.

by building all six submarines one per year, you would earn a lot of money, say half a sub.

by Xavier in Paris on Fri Jul 17th, 2009 at 02:47:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that even if you take the position that a country needs a strong military, strategic submarines are of questionable value.

If the goal is to kill lots of people, silly things like poisoned water or interrupted food supply chain or disrupted energy delivery are much cheaper--although admittedly not as dramatic.

Britain should take the money budgeted for Vanguard submarine replacement and spend it on sustainable energy, the lack of which is much more likely to be a problem in the 21st century than an invasion by France.

by asdf on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 10:19:26 PM EST
asdf:
sustainable energy, the lack of which is much more likely to be a problem in the 21st century than an invasion by France.
Or Russia. Always remember the British Foreign Office bureaucracy is still locked in an 1850's "great game" worldview.

I mean, why would anyone want to invade Britain? It has no natural resources and invading it destroys its capital (human, physical and financial).

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 04:28:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that even if you take the position that a country needs a strong military, strategic submarines are of questionable value.

Missile submarines are, unlike say carriers, not really military tools, in that you only ever need use them after your fatherland has been turned into an radioactive ashpile. They are not expeditionary, they are not tools of power projections. They are tools which make it impossible for any opponent to pull out the nuclear card, ever. Hence, they are the ultimate diplomatic tool. Ultima ratio regum, except it's not hyperbole.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 07:08:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Commenters don't recommend, those who recommend don't comment. Maybe too touchy a subject to come out in support? ;)

Though indeed, this diary doesn't clearly argue that Britain actually should replace Trident, just that it needs to do so to maaintain Great Power status. I do not really discuss if this is worth the cost, a subject which is worthy of a diary of its own. I do after all not argue that Sweden should try to become a Great Power and aquire nuclear missile submarines.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 07:28:54 AM EST
UK is the size of one small Indian state as well as France. Why they occupy SC seat and dictate their often than not mischievous will to outside world?

Only because they were in the right place in the right time. After second world war UK courtesy US got SC permanent seat and France which was actually fascist vishist state was rewarded because US and UK thought by promoting de Gaulle they will diminish Soviet influence in UN.

So right now the outside world is crying for injustice committed by UN, its lack of legitimacy but Westerners continue hypocrisy. How on Earth UK and France two countries with meagre population and oversized banking systems which recently (in historical terms)emerged from caves and barbarity could dare to censure Sri Lanka for successful finish of terrorist organisation run by Prabhakaran and likes. Sri Lanka has many thousands of written history after all unlike above mentioned countries. That's why Indian PM Manmohan Singh recently lashed out at UN SC, G8 and G20, IMF etc and said these all organisation simply lack legitimacy.

It's time for French and British to face reality they cannot deceive the whole world for ever.
 

by FarEasterner on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 11:30:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Power is not about justice or population or even about the SC, which after is not very relevant except as a way to get popular support of ones actions. It will become even less relevant if it doesn't change to take rising powers, like India, into account. As India wants to be seen as a Great Power, India has been developing... nuclear weapons.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 11:43:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Power is not about

But what is it about? I tried to ponder that with you upthread.

not very relevant except as a way to get popular support of ones actions.

No, not only. It also influences the reactions of other states' governments. Both synchronously, and in the future when the power balance shifts. Powers that swung around their big stick too ruthlessly not rarely earned some form of cruel revenge once weakened...

As India wants to be seen as a Great Power, India has been developing... nuclear weapons.

And, did they ain an SC seat? Or economic dominance? Or a diplomatic role in more external conflicts than before? Or even, more red carpets rolled out, other than from the now gone US neocons? Or... what projections of power are you interested in?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 12:36:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is power about? Power is the ability to get other people to do things they don't wan't to do.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 02:02:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, again, back to square one: what do you want to make other people to do as a Great Power?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 02:44:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's not really the question. I certainly don't want to make other states do this or that, but states want to do that. And their ideas on what they want to do with their power are certainly variable, though they are likely to be centered on securing prosperity, security and prestige.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 03:16:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The state transcends the people who populate, staff and govern it?

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 05:11:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then; re your title, what do you think Britain wants to make other states do that needs Tridents?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 07:23:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Take it seriously?

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 08:27:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
so in other words India, Brazil, South Africa or Indonesia and many others should just claim their legitimate place in the world and start to behave like Great Powers do. I hope India will not give up its refusal to sign NPT and CBT because these were discriminatory treaties - why UK or France retained their rights to test and arm themselves with nuclear weapons at the same time vigorously deny them to all others?
by FarEasterner on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 09:25:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FarEasterner:
That's why Indian PM Manmohan Singh recently lashed out at UN SC, G8 and G20, IMF etc and said these all organisation simply lack legitimacy.
But the little complex-laden men we have running Western states like exclusive summits where they can feel important.

As I said in April

France's prima donna President has a decidedly negative effect on EU governance at the moment. Not only does he hijack existing initiatives to the greater glory of Sarko only to drop them when the photo-op has been obtained, but he also has fostered a culture where there is a directoire of a few large (and conservative) governments hashing out EU policy with Barroso and then ramming it through the EU Council. Even mid-sized states are not happy.

EurActiv: Big member states 'backing out of EU', warns Hungary FM (27 April 2009 )

Balázs, who is a former EU commissioner, said that large member states were looking to "strengthen" the role of other institutions as alternative decision-making fora.

The foreign minister said Germany had been working "to seize economic institutions and to strengthen the G20" since 2007.

In line with views recently expressed by Belgian Foreign Minister Karel de Gucht (EurActiv 21/04/09), he argued that the aim of such actions was to leave smaller EU member states "behind", with larger members preferring to deal with states that have "similar influence and weight".

and EU increasingly governed by the few, Belgian FM warns (21 April 2009)
With just a year to go until the Belgian EU Presidency, the country's foreign minister denounced the functioning of the Union, which he said is increasingly governed by an "executive board of big countries".

Speaking on Monday (20 April) at the opening of an annual diplomatic conference in Brussels, Karel de Gucht said Belgium would make full use of its presidency in the second half of 2010 to re-establish the EU institutional balance, which he said was in "danger".

"It is absolutely unacceptable that small groups of member states put in danger the normal institutional process," de Gucht said. "Belgium has the duty of trying as quickly as possible to re-establish the institutional balance."

The recent G8 summit was just a joke.


The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 12:07:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The foreign minister said Germany had been working "to seize economic institutions and to strengthen the G20" since 2007.

...and doing so with full support of all Grand Coalition parties, I shall add. (Not that Schröder's instincts were any better in the preceding SPD rule.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 12:38:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FarEasterner:
After second world war... France which was actually fascist vishist state

After WWII??

UK and France two countries with meagre population and oversized banking systems which recently (in historical terms)emerged from caves and barbarity

Indeed, all humanity only recently emerged from caves (I would be so sure about barbarity...). Or do you mean compared to more advanced civilisations? Then, which ones?

This, together with your comment about Europe lagging behind Asia in the XVIIth century makes me think you should improve your knowledge of European history...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 08:29:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Typo: wouldn't be so sure...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 08:31:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As for the population size part; such undemocratic global influence, originating from colonialism, is indeed disgusting. However, from the persective of even smaller countries, the jockeying of large countries for memberships in exclusive clubs of the powerful who'd lord around the rest of the world is just as disgusting, be those countries France or India.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 08:46:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]

What is power about? Power is the ability to get other people to do things they don't wan't to do.

I can't put my finger on exactly why this entire discussion set my nerves on fire, though this casual comment sums it up.

Both western and eastern civilizations are a catastrophe, and we are all paying the price. There is nothing more to be learned from previous editions of civilization to help draft real solutions to the insanity which passes for realism in today's geopolitics.

What' s needed can only come from outside the box.  What's needed are solutions which derive their "power" from higher intelligence, based upon a far deeper understanding of how humans relate to the surface of this world ship. Anything less is more garbage.

From the perspective of higher intelligence, if one power wishes to begin nuclear arbitrage, this race deserves to be wiped out. I want my tax Geld spent on something healthy, and i want idiots to stop determining what reality is.

But if one wishes to discuss potent weaponry, then i posit that LSD in the water supply has no equal.  As far as my credentials to posit such (if you missed it above)...


They are informed from a lifetime of dialogue with my chief mentor in windpower and more, who also happened to be the Chief Designer of the Nautilus class of nuclear submarines, the very first. I wish he was still with us, so he could take you behind the woodshed for some extra-curricular education.

You studied some books on political power theory?  and that endows you with what?

Without "clear and present" VISION, this race is doomed.  Capish?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed Jul 15th, 2009 at 02:40:32 PM EST
Doomed? Well, in the long run we're all dead, I'll grant you that. But while it's always more exciting to crow about the coming disaster and dystopia, often as a way to force other people into ones very own definition of utopia, people always forget that the world is steadily becoming a better place. The cold war is over, and with it the threat of immediate and annihilating nuclear war, poverty is being quashed at a record pace, especially in Asia, where hundreds of millions or even billions of people have risen from absolute poverty into something which looks a bit like what we in the West managed half a century ago.

Sure there are problems, but when haven't there been problems? The thing with problems is that they often can be solved by hard work and insight, and I'm feeling pretty certain that once again we'll eventually triumph. And if we don't, well, then at least we tried. It's still a much better chance than proselytising about some "new clear and present vision" which'll never take off, for the simple reason that there are lots of very poor people left out there, without electricity or sanitation or nothing, who won't accept anything at all other than increasing their material standard of living.

But this doesn't really have anything to do with Trident.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 03:25:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
The cold war is over, and with it the threat of immediate and annihilating nuclear war

Global Village Idiot:
If i remember correctly, you were the person who began this diary stating that Britain needed to acquire a new round of nuclear weapons capability. (To re-emerge as a Great Power!)

Starvid:
even billions of people have risen from absolute poverty into something which looks a bit like what we in the West managed half a century ago

GVI:
At the expense of what, the entire surface ecosystem of the planet: topsoil, oceans, air?  Poverty is being quashed at a record pace?  At the expense of returning to feudal times, m'lord.

I'm thrilled you're feeling certain that with hard work and insight we'll triumph once again.  I was under the impression we haven't triumphed the first time yet. Have you taken a look at China recently? (Would you drink the water in so many places?)

I am certain that a new generation of nuclear submarines will help alleviate poverty and provide electricity and sanitation.

Nobody here is "crowing about the coming disaster and dystopia."  That's just the facts on the ground. I can be accused of crowing about needing a proper vision first, and then the will to implement it.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 06:20:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
there is a difference between immediate annihilating threat and the bare need for renewed detterrence capability.
by Xavier in Paris on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 06:49:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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