Possible disturbing fall-out (pun intended) from The Donald’s election–guess how the Russkies would react to the prospect of Germans with their own, not dual-key American, nuclear weapons (yes Virginia, they’re still there)–at Spiegel Online:
Elephant in the Room
Europeans Debate Nuclear Self-Defense after Trump Win
For decades, American nuclear weapons have served as a guarantor of European security. But what happens if Donald Trump casts doubt on that atomic shield? A debate has already opened in Berlin and Brussels over alternatives to the U.S. deterrent. By SPIEGEL Staff
The issue is so secret that it isn’t even listed on any daily agenda at NATO headquarters. When military officials and diplomats speak about it in Brussels, they meet privately and in very small groups — sometimes only with two or three people at a time. There is a reason why signs are displayed in the headquarters reading, “no classified conversation.”
And this issue is extremely sensitive. The alliance wants to avoid a public discussion at any cost. Such a debate, one diplomat warns, could trigger an “avalanche.” The foundations of the trans-Atlantic security architecture would be endangered if this “Pandora’s box” were to be opened.
The discussion surrounds nuclear deterrent. For decades, the final line of defense for Europe against possible Russian aggression has been provided by the American nuclear arsenal. But since Donald Trump’s election as the 45th president of the United States, officials in Berlin and Brussels are no longer certain that Washington will continue to hold a protective hand over Europe.
It isn’t yet clear what foreign policy course the new administration will take — that is, if it takes one at all. It could be that Trump will run US foreign policy under the same principle with which he operates his corporate empire: a maximum level of unpredictability…
what happens if the president-elect has an even more fundamental shift in mind for American security policy? What if he questions the nuclear shield that provided security to Europe during the Cold War?
For more than 60 years, Germany entrusted its security to NATO and its leading power, the United States. Without a credible deterrent, the European NATO member states would be vulnerable to possible threats from Russia. It would be the end of the trans-Atlantic alliance.
Could the French or British Step In?
In European capitals, officials have been contemplating the possibility of a European nuclear deterrent since Trump’s election. The hurdles — military, political and international law — are massive and there are no concrete intentions or plans. Still, French diplomats in Brussels have already been discussing the issue with their counterparts from other member states: Could the French and the British, who both possess nuclear arsenals, step in to provide protection for other countries like Germany?
An essay in the November issue of Foreign Affairs argues that if Trump seriously questions the American guarantees, Berlin will have to consider establishing a European nuclear deterrent on the basis of the French and British capabilities. Germany’s respected Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, meanwhile, even contemplated the “unthinkable” in an editorial: a German bomb.
‘The Last Thing Germany Needs Now’
Politicians in Berlin want to prevent a debate at all costs. “A public debate over what happens if Trump were to change the American nuclear doctrine is the very last thing that Germany needs right now,” says Wolfgang Ischinger, head of the Munich Security Conference. “It would be a catastrophic mistake if Berlin of all places were to start that kind of discussion. Might Germany perhaps actually want a nuclear weapon, despite all promises to the contrary? That would provide fodder for any anti-German campaign.”
The debate however, is no longer relegated the relatively safe circles of think tanks and foreign policy publications…
Could be a scary new world. By the way, for quite a few years during the Cold War Canadian forces with NATO in Europe also had dual-key nukes–see “The Great Canadian Traditional Peacekeeping Myth vs Nuclear Weapons“. How many Canadians today are aware of that?
A very interesting analysis of how the Bear works–both at home and abroad–at War on the Rocks:
Russia’s Hybrid War as a Byproduct of a Hybrid State
Whether or not “hybrid war” is the right term — a battle probably lost for the moment —Russia is indeed waging an essentially political struggle against the West through political subversion, economic penetration, espionage, and disinformation. To a degree, this reflects the parsimonious opportunism of a weak but ruthless Russia trying to play a great power game without a great power’s resources. It also owes much to Moscow’s inheritance from Bolshevik and even tsarist practices. But a third key factor behind it is the very nature of the modern Russian state, as I discuss in my new report, Hybrid War or Gibridnaya Voina: Getting Russia’s Non-Linear Military Challenge Right.
One distinctive aspect of recent Russian campaigns, from political operations against the West to military operations in Ukraine, has been a blurring of the borders between state, paramilitary, mercenary, and dupe. The Putin regime evidently believes that it is at war with the West — a geopolitical, even civilizational struggle — and is thus mobilizing every weaponizable asset at its disposal. This extends to mining society as a whole for semi-autonomous assets, from eager internet trolls and “patriotic hackers” to transnational banks and businesses to Cossack volunteers and mercenary gangsters…
The “hybridity” of Russian operations…reflects a… hybridity of the Russian state. Through the 1990s and into Putinism, Russia either failed to institutionalize or actively deinstitutionalized — however you choose to define it.
Today, Russia is a patrimonial, hyper-presidential regime, one characterized by the permeability of boundaries between public and private, domestic and external. As oligarch-turned-dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky put it:
[W]hat distinguishes the current Russian government from the erstwhile Soviet leaders familiar to the West is its rejection of ideological constraints and the complete elimination of institutions.
Lacking meaningful rule of law or checks and balances, without drawing too heavy-handed a comparison with fascism, Putin’s Russia seems to embody, in its own chaotic and informal way, Mussolini’s dictum “tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato” — “everything inside the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.”..
In Russia, state institutions are often regarded as personal fiefdoms and piggy banks, officials and even officers freely engage in commercial activity, and the Russian Orthodox Church is practically an arm of the Kremlin. Given all that, the infusion of non-military instruments into military affairs was almost inevitable. Beyond that, though, Putin’s Russia has been characterized — in the past, at least — by multiple, overlapping agencies, a “bureaucratic pluralism” intended as much to permit the Kremlin to divide and rule as for any practical advantages. This is clearly visible within the intelligence and security realm, from the intrusion of the Federal Security Service (FSB) — originally intended as a purely domestic agency — into foreign operations, as well as in the competition over responsibility for information operations…
Moscow must also be considered the master of “hybrid business,” of developing illegal and legal commercial enterprises that ideally make money, but at the same time can be used for the state’s purposes, whether technically private concerns or not. Russian commercial institutions not only provide covers for intelligence agents and spread disinformation, but acting notionally on their own initiative, they are also used to provide financial support to political and social movements Moscow deems convenient. For instance, Marine Le Pen’s anti-European Union Front Nationale in France received a €9 million loan from a bank run by a close Putin ally. Similarly, the election of the Czech Republic’s Russophile President Miloš Zeman was partially bankrolled by the local head of the Russian oil company Lukoil — allegedly as a personal donation…
So, it is not simply that Moscow chooses to ignore those boundaries we are used to in the West between state and private, military and civilian, legal and illegal. It is that those boundaries are much less meaningful in Russian terms, and they are additionally straddled by a range of duplicative and even competitive agencies…
Dr. Mark Galeotti is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of International Affairs Prague, and Principal Director of the consultancy Mayak Intelligence. He has been Professor of Global Affairs at New York University, a special advisor to the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office and head of History at Keele University in the United Kingdom, as well as a visiting professor at Rutgers—Newark, Charles University (Prague), and MGIMO (Moscow). Read his new report, Hybrid War or Gibridnaya Voina: getting Russia’s non-linear military challenge right.
Working towards Bad Vlad? Related:
Contents via a message from the CDAI:
Ottawa, 1 December 2016 – The CDA Institute is pleased to release the latest issue of ON TRACK which features thoughtful and informative articles by experts from Canada and abroad on security and defence issues.
“Editorial – Canada is Back – The Defence Budget Must Grow…Significantly” by Tony Battista and Dr. David McDonough
“Defending Canada in the 2020s?” by Vice-Admiral Drew Robertson (Ret’d)
“Vérité, Devoir, Vaillance : Le CMR Saint-Jean retrouve son statut universitaire” par Oksana Drozdova
“Les stratégies arméniennes pour garder le contrôle du Haut-Karabakh” par Michael Lambert
“Paranoid or Pragmatic? What Pakistan’s policy in Afghanistan can tell us about international rivalry” by John Mitton
“L’hiver Yéménite” par Alexandra Dufour
“Chemical Weapons use in Syria and Iraq: implications” by Dr. Jez Littlewood
“2016 Vimy Award – Acceptance Speech by recipient Dr. James Boutilier”
“Evaluating China as a Great Power: The Paradox of the ‘Responsible Power’ Narrative” by Adam MacDonald
“Supporting an Informed Public Debate: Seven Important Facts to Know about Military Requirements Planning” by Colonel Chuck Davies (Ret’d)
“Australia and Canada – different boats for different folks” by Dr. Andrew Davies and Christopher Cowan
“Space and the Third Offset in the post-post-Cold War period – Lessons for Canada and Australia” by Dr. Malcolm Davis…
It looks like the Liberal Government cooked up a new operational requirement for RCAF fighters without bothering to consult the Air Force itself. GOOD FLIPPING GRIEF. Did the government even speak with NATO? Further to this post and “Comments”,
and this article,
Liberal policy forcing need for new jets: RCAF head
Canada needs an interim fleet of fighter jets only because the Liberal government created a policy that increased the number of aircraft that must be available for NORAD and NATO missions at the same time, the head of the Royal Canadian Air Force says.
The Liberals invoked a long-standing “capability gap” last week to justify the sole-source purchase of 18 Boeing Super Hornets, but Lieutenant-General Michael Hood on Monday [Nov. 28] said the need for new jets was caused by the recent policy change.
“Previously … we were comfortable as an armed forces in meeting those [NORAD and NATO commitments] with our extant fleet,” Lt.-Gen. Hood told reporters after appearing at a Senate committee.
“That policy has changed with a requirement to be able to meet both of those concurrently, as opposed to managing them together, thus the requirement to increase the number of fighters available,” he said…
Lt.-Gen. Hood said the previous Conservative government’s plan to buy 65 F-35s would not meet Canada’s new policy in terms of international commitments [but that’s not what the then Chief of the Air Staff said in 2011, see below]…
The general refused for “security reasons” (scroll down here) to put numbers to those commitments. But the numbers, certainly for NORAD, have long been public and the commitments were in place before the Conservatives took office from the Liberals in 2006. A post of mine at Milnet.ca (lots of interesting reaction at the thread):
Serving (!) Air Force major in 2006, pp. 3-4 (just after Conservatives took office, clearly previous Liberal policy):
…In NORAD, the Canadian Forces are committed to provide 36 fighters for air sovereignty and homeland security. In addition to this Canada is committed to provide six or more fighters to the United Nations and/or NATO at any given time, should the need arise…
And in 2011:
The ability to defend the skies and operate overseas at the same time would be in peril if the Harper government buys fewer stealth fighters than planned, the head of the Royal Canadian Air Force said Monday [Dec. 12].
Lt.-Gen. Andre Deschamps said the air force would have to review how much “concurrent activity” it could handle if the number of radar-evading F-35s drop below the 65 aircraft the government has promised…
“In the end, it’s all about managing risk in delivering the defence mission. The number 65 gives us the capacity to cover all our missions with confidence.”..
It is the smallest fleet the air force is able to live with given its current commitments to North American air defence, which requires at least 36 fighters to be set aside for NORAD missions [not clear if the general himself gave that number].
The initial joint-strike fighter proposal said Canada was prepared to buy 80 aircraft, replacing the current fleet of CF-18s almost one-for-one.
Deschamps said the decision to move to 65 jets was based on a mixture of “affordability” and what numbers the air force believes “it needs to deliver on our numerous defence missions.”..
Plus 2014 (story Aug. 2016):
No fighter jet requirement for NATO: report
Canada is not required to provide a certain number of fighter jets to NATO, says a Defence Department report that’s raising fresh questions about the Liberal government’s rush to buy a new warplane.
The report, published in June 2014 by the research arm of National Defence, says that while Canada supports NATO and contributes aircraft and other military assets when possible, “there is no hard minimum requirement for the NATO commitment.”
That means the only actual requirement Canada must meet in terms of providing fighter jets is its obligation to defend North America along with the U.S.
The government has repeatedly stated in recent months that the military does not have enough CF-18s to both defend North America and fulfil its obligations to NATO. It says that is why a new plane is needed sooner rather than later.
But neither the government nor the Defence Department have said how many jets Canada actually needs, saying that to reveal the numbers would jeopardize national security…
The Defence Research and Development Canada report suggests that a maximum of 36 aircraft are required to be operational at any time to help defend North America, and that “anything beyond this number is in excess of the current requirement.”
Those planes don’t all have to be on high alert waiting for an attack, the report says. Some can be involved in training or NATO operations, and would be called back if required.
Canada currently has 77 CF-18s, but Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has said only about half of them are operational at any given time. The report confirms those numbers, but also says the military can make do with 65 [surprise!] fighter jets…
The jiggery-pokery of the government is a wonder to behold. And this major defence policy change was made without even waiting for the results of its much ballyhooed defence review being in. Open and transparent my tushie. And the Conservatives were just as bad. Help.
Cabinet could decide fighter jet plan as early as Tuesday [Nov. 22], industry sources say
Industry sources expect the Liberal government to decide as early as Tuesday whether to purchase a new fighter jet without a competition.
Federal cabinet ministers are reportedly considering three options for replacing Canada’s CF-18s, one of which they are expected to pick during their weekly closed-door meeting on Parliament Hill.
The options include holding a competition, buying a new warplane without a competition, or purchasing an “interim” aircraft as a stop-gap measure until a future competition.
The government was eyeing the third option in the spring, with the intention of buying Boeing Super Hornets, until an outcry from industry and the opposition forced them back to the drawing board.
But while Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan held consultations with different industry players in the summer, industry sources say the interim option is back as the preferred choice [i.e. a limited number of Super Hornets–perhaps some of the Growler persuasion (good expeditionarily)?].
Sajjan’s office refused to comment on Monday, with a spokeswoman saying only that a decision still has not been made…
Sajjan would only say that the government had done “a considerable amount of work” on the file.
“We will make a decision on replacing the fighters and will pick a process that will meet the needs of Canada.”..
Perish the thought that the Liberal Party’s political needs might be another consideration.
Really back to the future for the surface fleet:
British Navy to Lose Missiles and be Left Only with Guns
HMS Iron Duke [Type 23 frigate, more here] fires Harpoon missile, Oct. 18, 2010 (photo: Royal Navy)
Royal Navy warships will be left without anti-ship missiles and be forced to rely on naval guns because of cost-cutting, the Ministry of Defence has admitted.
‘The Navy’s Harpoon missiles [more here] will retire from the fleet’s frigates and destroyers in 2018 without a replacement, while there will also be a two year gap without helicopter-launched anti-shipping missiles.
Naval sources said the decision was “like Nelson deciding to get rid of his cannons and go back to muskets” and one senior former officer said warships would “no longer be able to go toe-to-toe with the Chinese or Russians.“
Harpoon missiles are unlikely to be replaced for up to a decade, naval sources said, leaving warships armed only with their 4.5in Mk 8 guns for anti-ship warfare. Helicopter-launched Sea Skua missiles are also going out of service next year and the replacement Sea Venom missile to be carried by Wildcat helicopters will not arrive until late 2020.
One Naval source said: “We will be losing our missile capability in total for two years. We will still have the gun, but the range of that is about 17 miles, compared to Harpoon, which is about 80 miles….”
Rear-Adml Chris Parry, said: “It’s a significant capability gap and the Government is being irresponsible. It just shows that our warships are for the shop window and not for fighting….”
The Royal Air Force has long axed its own anti-ship missiles.’
But note that the RCN’s Halifax-class frigates are getting a “Harpoon missile system upgrade (surface to surface)”–scroll down at “Project Details’.
A Canadian Global Affairs Institute tweet of a pro-F-35 piece:
But see from 2014:
…its “capabilities…are not a good fit for Canada’s non-discretionary missions.” So writes (near end of link) a recently retired RCAF major-general…
Recent and very relevant, note further links:
First a tweet,
plus a post last year:
Then an article at the NY Times Magazine on Poland today more broadly:
The Party That Wants to Make Poland Great Again
In just a year, Law and Justice has shown how a far-right nationalist government in Europe really governs — and how far it can push the limits of democracy.
What liberal “end of history“? And very relevant to the holocaust: