Fighting Men Obsolete

I don’t really have a problem with this:

Royal Marines and Parachute Regiment could merge as part of plans to cut the Armed Forces by more than 14,000
Whitehall sources have dubbed the plan ‘ugly’ as top brass face pressures of plugging a £20bn shortfall in the MoD budget

I mean, on the one hand it’s an absolute travesty: these two units represent the epitome of Britain’s long tradition of being able to field a small but capable body of soldiers. But it’s been quite clear for some time that the purpose of Britain’s armed forces and MoD is not to go around fighting and winning but to provide social welfare to various favoured groups and cushy jobs for the upper-middle classes and establishment types. We therefore don’t need units of tough, aggressive fighting men. Rather than merge the two units, we should get rid of them along with the rest of the MoD. True, it would mean we can’t patrol open sewers in disaster zones or get involved in pointless wars in the Middle East, but I can live with that.

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28 thoughts on “Fighting Men Obsolete

  1. The truth is we need a major defence rethink.

    When Britannia Ruled the Waves, we barely had any land forces apart from county militias and yeomanry. We did have a stonking great navy and small expeditionary forces.

    Maybe, given our geographical circumstances, history and culture, we should revert to that strategic outlook. Scrap all those armoured regiments and make weight units and invest the bulk of our resources into a maritime focussed strategy, with a highly aggressive and effective expeditionary quotient – hell, we can call them the Royal Marines and The Parachute Regiment. The RAF can be disbanded as a separate service.

  2. If you look at the UK defense budget spending then it does have a modern naval focus, albeit as part of an overall NATO strategy though. Couldn’t agree more on adopting a defensive only strategy, that goes for any nation for that matter. The irony is that whilst the creme de la creme of British forces are busily creating failed states in foreign “shitholes”, the folk back home that they were sworn to defend are being defeated by an unwanted invasion that cannot be repelled.

    Then then there is the wider angle of creating fucking mayhem everywhere being stimulatory to the UK’s strong and large arms industry. A supplier of arms needs the demand created by endless wars, irrespective of where or what sides the combatants take, conflict is good for business. Its a false economy though as the ROI is in fact very low when compared to other market sectors.

  3. There is a lot to be said for going back to a strong, or at least an effective, navy in home waters. Border control, fishery protection and the like plus a few nuclear submarines so we can wipe out potential trouble spots in one go would help*

    Putting ground troops into shitholes to be shit upon by our politicians (backed by greasy lawyers) as soon as some losing bunch of tribesmen whine about ‘unfair treatment’ and then having our soldiers put on the streets when they come home is, frankly, bad policy. As discussed recently the Army’s strenuous attempts to train, arm and pat incompetents on the back isn’t going to end well so we may as well go back to boats with guns.

    It is a pity that we lose the tradition of soldiers who could fight and win on the ground but there isn’t the will in the blue socialists currently in Downing Street to uphold traditions, and we all know what the red socialists will do. Ms Thornberry and the Amazing Bobbling Flabbot are probably salivating at the prospect of closing every branch of the military. We have to remember the whole purpose of politics today is to surrender as soon as possible. The only question is how white are the flags we wave.

    *Small aside: Someone said once that there are probably all sorts of nukes aimed at, er, Mecca and likely a number of them will be from Muslim shitholes (funny how these people can afford WMDs but don’t have a single dustbin lorry) Anyway, the theory is sooner or later someone will turn the Centre Of The One Peaceful Faith into a glass bowl, either by accident or accidentally on purpose. Wouldn’t surprise me if tucked away in the launch codes of our subs there aren’t the co-ordinates of Mecca. I know, I know, dreadful thought…

  4. There is this concept of the World’s Policemen. It undoubtedly includes the USA, Russia, the UK, France and China. Those countries are also, not so incidentally, the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council.

    If we hand in our badge, do you really think the world will become a better place?

    As to affording it, we are around the 5th/6th biggest economy in the world. It is a duty we can afford.

    And obviously I believe this further cutback to our ability to project serious military force, pretty much anywhere in the world and at short notice, is a very bad move.

    I’m fully for 3% of GDP for the totality of ‘defence’ – including intelligence, foreign office matters and that which we call world policing. Wisely spent of course.

    Best regards

  5. I’ve noticed over the years that the UK government has reduced the number of police and military personnel but the number of members in the House of Commons – 650 and the House of Lords – 795 haven’t changed. Why?

    All these politicians are being paid and have staff. Many will earn pensions. Perhaps downsizing the number of UK politicians will help the budget crisis?

    The US government has a population of 320 million vs the UK’s 66 million means the UK only has about 20% the population of the US. Why not downsize the House of Commons and House of Lords to about 20% of its current size?
    635 X .2 = 127 for the HC. 795 X .2 = 159 for the HL

    It would be even better if both Houses were smaller. Say a 100 members in each?

    Not only would it be a money saver in a time of a budget crisis but the politicians could rightfully say they are leading by example and have significantly reduced costs.

  6. Which twat ever came up with nation building? I’m happy with building our nation and on occasion our armed forces going off and killing those that would interfere, it seemed to work once.

  7. “cushy jobs for the upper-middle classes and establishment types.”
    Wasn’t providing those always the purpose of the peacetime military? Oh & the odd bit of shooting the natives somewhere suitably forrin’, for those enjoy the sport.

  8. @Nigel

    I don’t think being a permanent member of the security council means that you have to be a “World’s Policeman” and how can we think that the UK were and effective one if they can’t effectively police their domestic beat.

    Defense budgets are up, led by the US, but the US are in far too many countries, have far too many theaters of war and the big question is could they ever win a war, by themselves, or on their own, I doubt it and their track record supports this view.

    The recently released US National Security Strategy mentions China 23 times which is the most discussed nation including Russia. The reason for this is that US dominance is waning and Chinese is rising and there is always a relationship between military threats and commercial threats. Therefore, the greatest amount of US defense spending will be in the Asia Pacific region.

    The Chinese have a defensive strategy and a theater of war for each of their home provinces only, they never wave their military dicks and some say that their military is there merely to keep up appearances. But this is not the reason why they are on a trajectory to replace the US at the top table. The Chinese have always said to the west that you fight your wars your way and we will fight ours our way, theirs not being the military way. They have their Three Warfare’s none of which are military and their methods are winning hands down on any measure. They do not see themselves as a world policeman, quite the opposite and they are a permanent member of the UNSC.

    There is a glimmer of hope that Sheriff Trump can see this and see that the Chinese economy is rising and that Russia will have to fall under the Chinese sphere of influence. Yes, he has spent more on military, bombed more and sent more troops in in his first year but hopefully this is to appease his warlords whilst his real strategy is to get out and leave it to the locals to manage their borders.

    If you take the recent Pakistan tweet storm, what really happened there is that he realized some time ago that the Chinese are winning Pakistan over their way, the Pakistan USAID always was peanuts and he is signaling to India that they need to step up in the management of their own security. Even though an Indo/Pak nuclear war is still very much seen by the US as a serious security concern it’s up to India to protect themselves. The OBR rail will run from China through Pakistan controlled Kashmir and China will further encircle India to such an extent that India’s membership of BRIC from the I and C aspect is seriously strained and a new India/Japan/Australian military alliance if forming.

  9. The reason the numbers in the Commons hasn’t fallen us that the LibDems in coalition went back on there agreement to support boundary reform and that the Tories got knocked off course by the shock (to their leadership) referendum result.

  10. the folk back home that they were sworn to defend are being defeated by an unwanted invasion that cannot be repelled.
    Do we so swear? Really?
    Even those unfortunates who are believed to be so hostile to HM that they are required to attest only promise to defend her, her heirs and successors, and obey orders.

  11. I foresee a slight hitch in the plan; the Paras are Army, and the RM comes under the Admiralty. Good luck with sorting that one out, even if both units are basically light infantry.

    “these two units represent the epitome of Britain’s long tradition of being able to field a small but capable body of soldiers.”

    True. The British State (going back a long way, when that was simply the monarch) has a deep distrust of a large standing army. To be slightly facetious, the core of the British Army is basically the Household Cavalry, and the Guards regiments. Everything else, in terms of PBI, was raised as required. And we had local militias well before the Yanks did. Roughly, any unit with the prefix ‘Royal’, so RA, RAF, RE, RN etc, signalled that it was too bloody expensive to build and run for the local or regional aristocracy to handle. Or possibly, too much of a threat to the Crown.

    “that the purpose of Britain’s armed forces and MoD is not to go around fighting and winning but to provide social welfare to various favoured groups and cushy jobs for the upper-middle classes and establishment types.”

    Ha. Yeah, OK, I get it. But this is, or appears to be, sort of true. You don’t find many upper-middle class or establishment types close to the sharp, pointy bits. This may be less true for unit commanders, and there are lots of jokes about the RAF, but that is unfortunately a function of the increasing dependency on highly complex, technical kit.

    On the other hand, there’s the MoD. And there are various stories knocking around, I think BiND may have posted one over at TW’s place, demonstrating that at times of, stress, “fact of life” MoD friction vanishes completely within hours.

  12. Given the small size and top heavy nature of our armed forces, ie more admirals than ships etc I`ve often wondered if it wouldn’t be more efficient to combine them all into a single entity with a single command apparatus, think something along the lines of the US Marine Corps which has its own ground, air and naval units all integrated under the same command and control.

  13. @Bardon re January 13, 2018 at 12:53 am (or rather to his points, for which thanks).

    Bardon seems to have missed addressing my major point: “If we hand in our badge, do you really think the world will become a better place?”

    A fair while ago, the main World Powers were USA, UK, France, Russia, Germany, Japan and China. After WW2, Germany and Japan handed in their badges – which gave us the status as of the permanent members of the UN Security Council. Nowadays, probably we really should add India – primarily on its status through economic and population growth.

    On “if they can’t effectively police their domestic beat”, I assume this is a criticism of the UK’s general policing and/or anti-terrorist policing. Well, thank goodness most domestic policing is not handed over to the military – that would make us a very different country. As for the UK failing in this, get back to me when again (as in Northern Ireland for a period) annual terrorist deaths exceed road traffic deaths. Also please remember, when criticising, that nothing is perfect and nothing ever will be perfect – criticism through comparison against other similar countries would be more reasonable.

    After Bardon’s first paragraph, the UK’s contribution to World Policeman gives way to considerations only of the USA versus China.

    I’m sure I agree that the USA as World Policeman is as imperfect as were the UK’s and other world empires pre-WW1 discharges of that duty – and all World Policemen since. However, beware viewing China as now dominant over the USA (or “on a trajectory to replace the US at the top table” – by which I assume Bardon means China replacing the USA at the head of the table).

    Bardon mentions China’s Three Warfares, which are: Psychological Warfare, Media Warfare and Legal Warfare as explained tidily on page 4 of this 12-page easy read. However, do we not all do these, as well as and before sending in our armed forces. Note Bardon also skips my own mention of three parts (desirably funded together to 3% of GDP) for the pursuit of international policy: military force, intelligence gathering and diplomacy.

    On the following points (China versus the USA), see here for the source of my figures.

    It is worth remembering that the leaping of China into the position of the world’s largest economy is only so with Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) normalisation, with China’s GDP(PPP) being 119% of the USA’s. Three other figures are IMHO particularly relevant: China’s GDP(nominal) is only 61% of the USA’s; China’s GDP(PPP) per capita is only 28% of the USA’s; China’s defence spending (though this is their own declaration which some believe is seriously understated) is only 35% of USA expenditure (nominal, not PPP, which is IMHO the more meaningful (though not ideal) one for defence expenditure. On GDP(PPP) and GDP(PPP) per capita, remember that as China’s economy improves to match the per capita figures of the USA and other First World countries, the PPP to nominal ratio will close from its current advantage to China of 1.97 to approximately 1.0.

    Thus China still has a massive distance to travel to match the economic benefits to its population that the USA gives.

    Best regards

  14. @Nigel

    “If we hand in our badge, do you really think the world will become a better place?”

    To answer your question, yes I firmly believe that the world would be a far better place if the UK handed in their World Policeman badge and quit meddling in other nations affairs. World policing is just a sign of envy of another nations growth or commercial opportunity which is seen as a threat and in need of policing.

    The point about China was that they are on the UNSC and don’t do the world copper bit and are much the better for it. On their economy its about their past and projected rapid growth rates, not their current large size and also how they are now investing in countries as opposed to “policing” them. The countries that they are investing in are happy to receive them and their folks at home are also benefiting from this type of non-policing relationship. Its not only on economic terms and the fact that they are lifting hundreds of millions of their own out of poverty at a very fast rate either, they are also having a cultural revival after Mao shut them down and are regarded now as having a high and growing moral standards particular in religion and will soon eclipse the US on Christianity.

  15. @Bardon re January 13, 2018 at 4:28 pm.

    Thanks for coming back so quickly. It’s good to have that clarification on where you stand, and why.

    I remain sceptical on your view of past ‘World Policing’ and on China’s selfless support of those selling their natural resources. Is it really different from the UK, France and the USA (also Russia/USSR historically).

    I suppose time will ultimately tell.

    Best regards

  16. Still trying to find the part in that article where they explain how they think they can integrate the Paras with the Marines without massive casualties on each side. Middle East seems a dawdle by comparison…

  17. “Still trying to find the part in that article where they explain how they think they can integrate the Paras with the Marines without massive casualties on each side.”

    This would be the one instance I can think of where a Diversity Specialist might be useful.

    A really big Diversity Specialist.

  18. @Nigel

    “I remain sceptical on your view of past ‘World Policing’ and on China’s selfless support of those selling their natural resources. Is it really different from the UK, France and the USA (also Russia/USSR historically).”

    I am not trying to change your opinion either which is understandably held by many and is the current approach to these matters.

    Although it is worth mentioning that if you look at the UK’s main and real military threats then I would estimate that they come from Russia and secondly China. I haven’t read any UK strategy documents so this is an educated guess for the sake of the discussion. If you look at their larger military interventions then that would be both Gulf Wars, Kosovo, Serbia, Afghanistan and Libya since the end of the Cold War. None of these nations pose a direct military threat to the UK’s existence. If anything you could argue that through NATO the US stood most to benefit from the UK’s involvement in these campaigns. So that is six interventions for the UK as opposed to one for Russia (Georgia) and none for China since the end of the Cold War and its not entirely clear how the UK benefited through this.

    Back to the China – Pakistan relations, no military intervention, massive investment, huge increase of Chinese exports to Pakistan and a continuation of this process locked in right throughout the many nations of the populous and underdeveloped central Asia. And yes whilst Chinese investment in Africa is directly related to natural resources and much needed power generation, I don’t see the Pakistan investment as being to exploit their yet untapped natural resources in the near term and more so the establishment of an economic corridor and good relationships with an important ally that also gives them military superiority as a by product of the other benefits. All of which reduces their military threat from the US (their military threat) and from the US point of view increases the military threat posed to them by China, all this achieved without a single shot being fired.

    I am not saying that the Chinese are good guys, I am just saying that I believe that their way of waging war is more successful from an ally forming, commercial and militaristic point of view. I also think that Trump may see things in this light more so than previous Presidents.

    But as you say time will tell.

  19. “So that is six interventions for the UK as opposed to one for Russia (Georgia)”.

    Wow. Transnistria(Moldova), Abkhazia(Georgia), Chechnia (twice), Georgia again, Crimea (the ongoing occupation is actually the third attempt) and Donbas. That’s if you don’t count “special ops” like assassinations of prominent politicians, blowing up the polish government plane at Smolensk or the failed coup in Montenegro. Russia has been doing all the aggressions its shambolic economy could sustain and then some.

  20. Not counting special/black ops on any of the sides, so that rules out Ukraine, Chechnya is Russian, no intervention in Crimea since the Cold War, Russian troops were there legally when Crimea seceded from Ukraine and its Russian territory now so no military intervention. I will give you Moldova I had thought that skirmish was over before the end of the Cold War.

    Russia 2.

  21. If we hand in our badge, do you really think the world will become a better place?

    No, but if the population, via their representatives in parliament, no longer have the stomach for it what are we to do?

  22. The Chinese have a defensive strategy and a theater of war for each of their home provinces only, they never wave their military dicks

    Except for claiming the entire South China Sea, and building militarised islands in the hope of defending that claim.

  23. Still trying to find the part in that article where they explain how they think they can integrate the Paras with the Marines without massive casualties on each side.

    A decent bar fight should settle matters.

  24. Russian troops were there legally when Crimea seceded from Ukraine and its Russian territory now so no military intervention.

    Heh!

  25. If the Royals are involved

    A decent _naked_ bar fight should settle matters.

    No, I don’t understand it either.

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