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Thursday, 25 March 2010

Safe from external attack but be prepared for perpetual warfare: part 2

The MoD's Report, Adaptability and Partnership (see part 1 below for more details), suggests new investment is being considered for language and area studies programmes. This is, of course, curious or certainly betrays an Orwellian sense of the nature and purposes of scholarly research. Normally, university scholarship aims at generating new knowledge or insights into the world in which we live, contributing original thought to old or new issues, processes or problems. But, given the Report's failure to attribute any motivation for the behaviour of Britain's "enemies", and exhibit any interest in investigating such matters, yet noting the necessity of containing, deterring or defeating our "enemies", the assumption appears to be that such motivations are more or less irrelevant to policy-makers. What the latter want to know appears to be this: how can we embed more human intelligence sources, and gain such intelligence, close to our "enemies" such that we know what they're doing, thinking and planning? Given they are Forces of Evil while we are Forces for Good, all that is necessary is information that permits understanding of their likely mindsets and possible future (threatening) behaviours.

US, EU, NATO and the UN
The Report pays due homage to the fundamental relationship with the United States, while recognising the increasing importance of the European Union. In particular, France's return to the military command structure of NATO, is noted as an opportunity to be exploited in defeating the unspecificed enemy. NATO is lauded for its adaptation and expansion since the end of the Cold War/Soviet "threat" - the original apparent reason for NATO's existence since 1949. Today, NATO (which is an acronym for North ATLANTIC Treaty Orgaisation) is currently conducting military operations in Afghanistan; Japan, Australia and New Zealand are associate members. The world is, indeed, shrinking. Ivo Daalder, the current US ambassador to NATO, beleives that the idea of "in area" and "out of area" operations makes no sense for NATO in today's interdependent world: he's on record arguing that NATO should transform itself to become a "global alliance of democracies". A review of NATO's strategic concept is currenty underway, chaired by former US secretary of state, Madeleine Albright. A clue to where the new strategic concept might be headed may lie in NATO's recently-appointed secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former danish prime minister. Rasmussen supported the Iraq War with 500 Danish troops.

The United States remains Britain's fundamental global ally. On this question, general opinion suggests that Britain is America's "poodle". The MoD Report rejects this view, and I concur with the latter. Britain - or rather the British political elite - does not slavishly follow the United States because of it has swallowed the drug of dependence. It follows the US because its elite considers it in the best interests of Britain and the British state. Imperial delusion lies at the heart of this formulation. While this may publicly be manifest as canine behaviour, that is not its ultimate cause.

More later...


  1. The hyperlink you give for this MoD document doesn't work.

  2. Sorry about that - but thanks for letting me know: maybe try again

    If that does not work, try Googling CM 7794 - that worked very quickly and easily for me.

  3. Interestingly, the upcoming NATO Strategic Concept is probably not going to push the democracy angle very much, as this can put various semi-democracies ill at ease. Instead it will focus on open markets - the other side of the Liberal Internationalist coin - since everyone agrees about the benefits. In other words, its going to play the all-inclusive card, friend to everybody, foe only to those who want to disrupt general prosperity. A shrewd move, I reckon, and somewhat unexpected, considering the tirades by Daalder of recent years.

  4. Thanks GSS: is there anything published yet on the new strategic concept by the review group? A link wd be useful if so.