Friday, 19 May 2017

Putin the Mastermind?

If there's one thing that has struck me over the last year or so with all the focus on Russia it's this idea that Vladimir Putin is is some kind of genius strategist; part chess master, part Napoleon reborn, part the second coming of Alexander the Great. He's often portrayed as a slick operator who manipulates the strings of global politics to make others dance to his tune, always ending up with the dominoes falling exactly as he had planned. And of course in this Internet age it's spawned meme after meme with Putin characterised as the cool poker player who bluffs and raises his way to jackpot after jackpot, leaving everyone else at the table fumbling and arguing over a handful of chips while he quietly accumulates a stack that towers over all before him.

And it needs to stop.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Trump, Korea and the Royal Marines

It's been a fair old time since I've had the chance to sit down and properly type some stuff. Today I just want to touch on some recent events that I feel are worth addressing.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Economics with a 'C': The Treasury, Hard Brexit and the spring 2017 budget

I don't know about you but I had a most entertaining read this morning* while drinking my coffee. The source of my delight was a fantastically hysterical article by the Independent (and its associated comment section) regarding a supposedly leaked document from the Treasury warning about the dangers of a "hard Brexit", that is to say the UK leaving the EU without an agreement and reverting to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Britain: World Power?

Sparked by a debate the other day on Twitter and given added emphasis to write again by the pressure of Think Defence recommending me, I'd just like to muse today about the idea of Britain as a world power. It's a subject that comes up fairly frequently in UK defence circles and at times seems to take on a life and importance all of its own. Can't perform mission A? Never mind, at least we're a world power don't you know. Need new equipment or a force structure? Well, what would a world power look for, etc.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Air combat over Vietnam

As Exercise RED FLAG kicks off once again in the US, I thought this would be a good time to finally getting around to finishing an article I started over a year ago and have sporadically returned to at times since then. A primary reason for it taking so long was the research required, the extent of which will become evident shortly.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

The Trump Card?

Since the victory of Donald Trump in the US Presidential election the Internet has been ablaze - unlike this blog - with articles about the possible defence ramifications of his win. Indeed the Internet in general has gone into utter meltdown about Trump, but it's the more extreme ends that have amused me the most, those touting the end of the world as we know it.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

A Tribute to Think Defence

So last night I found out that Think Defence is hanging up his keyboard, at least as far as blogging is concerned. 

I've known TD since about 2010ish I believe, maybe earlier, when I first stumbled across his blog. I started out just reading the articles and the fascinating discussions that accompanied them in the comments section, something which I think has always been a great strength of Think Defence; the quality and diversity of the comments it attracted and the debates that sprung from them. Eventually I joined in the discussions and from there started contributing guest articles. It was Think Defence that ultimately got me into the blogging game, so in the end analysis you can blame all my ramblings on him!

It's a sad day for UK defence commentary to see him go. Not only did his articles attract an unmatched level of discussion from civilians and military personnel alike, but the breadth of the topics - particularly those not normally covered on defence blogs - guaranteed that Think Defence was at the forefront of UK defence blogging. 

I owe him a lot and it's a debt I'll never really be able to repay. The UK defence community is certainly losing one of its best assets, but blogging is a lot harder than it looks, especially if you want to produce decent quality material. I can't argue with anyone that wants to put their blog to bed and spend more time with the family. 

All we can do then is wish him well and I hope that whatever he turns to next will be a success. Probably building bridges out of shipping containers.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

The Big Picture on UK strategy

So I've been rambling a lot lately about a lack of strategic thinking for the UK. The question that follows that is simple; "Ok smarty pants, what's your plan? Hmm?"

Good question.

Friday, 30 September 2016

The British Dilemma

I've talked recently about strategy, how it relates to the UK and the lack of a seemingly coherent UK strategy in the sense of having an armed forces that are shaped to meet some very specific strategic goals. But one thing I haven't talked about yet, one thing we always seem to forget, is what I like to call the "British Dilemma".