Hot War and Warm Waters

10426859_10152326400948300_3276337881689047356_nThe idea of Britain as an ancient and formidable military power pervades (British) nationalist rhetoric and mythology. It was a powerful trope of the Better Together campaign (‘Stronger Together’) during the referendum and acted as an anchor for many older voters, reminiscing about shared experience in the Second World War. For many the idea of Britain as a ‘world power’ is an active one – cemented by our place as one of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council alongside China, France, Russia and the United States. But if, in a multi-polar world that role now looks shaky at best, and if the special relationship under a Trump presidency looks less special than ever, there are signs that a more fundamental crisis of British military identity may be being revealed.

If the announcement of mass closures of military bases and barracks in Scotland was another nail in the coffin of the Better Together case for the union, the wider debate about Trident and conventional forces has been brought to new levels as geopolitical instability unfolds.

Paul Mason has been following the RAND Corporation process of wargaming what would happen if Russia attacked the Baltic states, concluding:

“Without a significant increase in conventional forces stationed there, it concludes, NATO’s Eastern Flank would be over-run. Under all outcomes, NATO loses control of Riga and Tallinn 60 hours after the shooting starts. After that the West faces three options: a costly and massive Iraq-style counter-attack; nuclear retaliation or acceptance of the new facts on the ground.

RAND concludes that, if NATO deployed seven brigades to the Baltics — including three US tank brigades — it could make any attack so costly as to deter it (although not to hold the three states for any great length of time).”

As Brexit exposes British isolationism in military not just economic terms, and as Cold War detente fades and MAD is passed into the hands of Putin and Trump, conventional military weakness collides with right-wing populism, Mason again:

“For the entire period since 1989 NATO’s assumptions have rested on the idea that, politically, the East European peoples are so hostile to Russia, and so proud of their own new conservative nationalisms, that they would be prepared to turn their own cities into rubble to resist Russian aggression. Politically, those conditions are evaporating.”

Mason concludes that a) Britain should focus its defence thinking on Europe b) that the Baltics are the strategic defence interest and C) that we are completely ill-equipped to do this. Read the full article here ‘Britain should boost defence spending’.

It’s a compelling wake-up call that casts into light both our lack of control over Defence matters in Scotland and the long-term incompetence of British defence strategy. It’s a challenge to peaceniks and the left to think on our feet and adapt to rapidly changing global circumstances. If the Better Together arguments and propaganda has crumbled – so too must the case for an independent Scotland be updated and overhauled, and not just rest on the laurels of ‘Bairns not Bombs’.

Pathetically Low

At the same time this week Sam Lister writing in the Scotsman (‘Royal navy fleet numbers are woefully low’) reports on the findings of the Defence Select Committee.

He quotes Defence committee chairman Julian Lewis: “For decades, the numbers of Royal Navy escort vessels have been severely in decline.”

“The fleet is now way below the critical mass required for the many tasks which could confront it, if the international scene continues to deteriorate. What remains of our surface fleet now faces a prolonged period of uncertainty, as the frigate class is replaced in its entirety and all our destroyers undergo urgent, major remedial work on their unreliable engines.

“The national shipbuilding strategy offers the potential not just to manage this work efficiently and effectively, but also to reverse the trend of ever-decreasing numbers. To do this, however, it has to contain the degree of detail and scheduling for which we have asked. The Ministry of Defence must deliver this programme of modernisation on time. If it fails to do so, the Government will break its categorical pledge to maintain at least 19 frigates and destroyers – already a pathetically low total.”

MPs have also attacked the Ministry of Defence for the “extraordinary mistakes” in the design of Type 45 destroyers.

It appears due to the design of the engines they are unable to “operate continuously in warm waters”, thereby severely curtailing their operational use. Let’s hope we only have defence issues in the north in winter then.

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  1. Peter Burnett says:

    An independent Scotland will be a blissfully unmilitary power and I feel it’s closer every day.

    1. Thrawn says:

      Oh Yes..what a marvellous day it will be when our very survival as a nation will depend completely on the whims of other states

      1. tartanfever says:

        ‘our very survival as a nation will depend completely on the whims of other states’

        It is already.

        1. Thrawn says:

          Not completely…a permanent veto on the UN security council, an independent nuclear deterrent and the 5th biggest military (by spending) in the world gets you that

          1. George Larkin says:

            Now try reading the article.

          2. tartanfever says:

            ‘our very survival as a nation will depend completely ‘

            suddenly becomes

            ‘Not completely’

          3. John O'Dowd says:

            The ‘independent’ nuclear ‘deterrent’ is neither independent, nor a deterrent. It is owned and controlled by the USA.

            UK ‘defence’ has never been about defence, but about power projection and waging (mainly imperial) war on ‘lesser’ peoples – which the British state has been doing continuously since its inception to this day – currently under the direction of the US – which has taken over the mantle of the English-speaking imperium. It could be argued that this began with invasions, usurpations and intrigues against Wales, Ireland and Scotland. Wales I fear is lost for good; Ireland has (largely) recovered itself – Scotland is well on the way to doing so, and we will soon gain our freedom from the Anglo/American empire.

            The UK itself is a vassal state of the continuing Empire – largely conducted by financial means – but backed up by war and the threat of war (“The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the US Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps” – Thomas L Friedman).

            Now at Trump’s disposal, our (Scotland’s) extraction from this has never been more urgent.

            Within the UK, Scotland is in turn a vassal nation – at the whims and fancy of the English ruling class and their domestic collaborators.

            Scotland’s defence strategy needs to start from the bottom up – looking our own interests, strengths and weaknesses and making a realistic appraisal of threats – which will be greatly reduced by abjuring imperial/world power pretentious – as the rest of the world will gradually stop hating us for the wrongs we did them in Britannia’s name.

            As this article makes clear, we will still have defence interests and needs – but these will be of a different character from those of the faded old UK buffoon of an imperial pretender – and will be best served by pooling sovereignty with like-minded, peaceable, progressive states in Europe, with similar interests.

            EnglandWales can then go marching up and down with brass bands and daft hats to their heart’s content kidding on they are what they are not. Who will care?

  2. Mach1 says:

    Geopolitical instability would not be helped by a retreat from the Russian threat. The core argument, however, is whether the UK should invest more in conventional defence measures or in the American-run nuclear deterrent. In the context of the independence argument, the SNP changed its policy on Nato to signal that an independent Scotland would continue to support a North Atlantic military force that would continue to act in the interests of western democracy.
    This involvement would be definitively non-nuclear.
    In the current context, as suspicion of what a Trump/Romney led US foreign policy would entail, it is wise again to underline the commitment to non-nuclear defence and seek to press the austerity-transfixed Mayan Tories to stop making a sacrifice of our defence capacity and increase spending, not least on shipbuilding in Scotland. The anti-Trident argument then becomes one not of cuts, but of substitution. Every penny spent on Trident could be spent on conventional defence measures.
    Unfortunately, the world is today a far more dangerous place than it was last month. Our governments must be pressed to take cognizance of this change and redraw their defence strategies accordingly, whether at a rhetorical or practical level.

    1. Thrawn says:

      “The anti-Trident argument then becomes one not of cuts, but of substitution. Every penny spent on Trident could be spent on conventional defence measures.”

      This assumes that every penny spent on conventional defence buys you the same deterrent effect than that same penny spent on nuclear weapons. A conventional war, even one they lost, would not pose an existential threat to an expansionist Russia…a nuclear exchange would. This is why in a world with the Trump led USA pulled out of NATO, Trident becomes even more crucial and not just to our own defence but to that of the rest of Europe.

      1. Muscleguy says:

        If you think the Russians take account of our non independent pinprick ‘deterrent’ when the Americans’ vast numbers including their assumption that ours will not be fired so various places might get ‘double tapped’, bombing the rubble then you are seriously deluded and even more seriously misinformed.

        Senior US military men are on record as saying that they would prefer we give up Trident and spend the money on conventional arms.

        1. We cannot project our troops and armour without American heavy lifting aircraft. Without it would not have been in Afghanistan, would not have been in Gulf War I or II.

        2. Several years ago the UK ceased to help patrol the Iceland Gap and NATO continues to be annoyed by it. These are our local waters. Scotgov’s White Paper on Independence promised to take that duty up again.

        A credible deterrent? only to unreconstructed Cold Warriors who have never updated their intel.

  3. Richard MacKinnon says:

    “It’s a compelling wake-up call that casts into light both our lack of control over Defence matters in Scotland……”
    Defence is the responsibility of Westminster. Its one of those Reserved Matters. I thought Mike Small would have known that.

    1. I do. That’s the point I’m making …. (?)

      1. Richard MacKinnon says:

        I’m sorry editor your going to have to explain what the point you are trying to make is. I don’t follow. Scotland’s MPs can have their say when defence is discussed at Westminster the same as any other UK MP, but that is the extent of our influence. ‘Scotland’ as in Scotland’s government at Holyrood is not responsible for matters of defence. It is not a devolved matter. You know this, you admit you know this, so how can you talk about “lack of control over Defence matters in Scotland?
        This is straightforward stuff you can understand why I am perplexed.

        1. John O'Dowd says:

          Scotland’s interests will always be secondary at Westminster. It cannot and does not represent us. We have never had at Westminster what WE voted for. Your position of feigned incomprehension is predicated upon a BritNat assumption that Scotland’s people have no sovereignty, and retain no agency to change things following a stolen referendum (extensive misrepresentation by ‘better’ together plus the elephant in the room: that there was a majority for YES amongst those of us born here.

          The truth is rapidly dawning -and the matter of independence is NEVER a closed book fora sovereign people. We shall be free. And soon.

      2. Richard MacKinnon says:

        Wait a minute editor, your not still greetin over 18.09.2014? Don’t tell me this is just another case of ‘what might have been, if Scotland had only voted Yes’?
        No it can’t be; forget I said that.

        1. I don’t really see how I could have been clearer: “It’s a compelling wake-up call that casts into light both our lack of control over Defence matters in Scotland and the long-term incompetence of British defence strategy.”

          What I mean is that when Britain and its allies are governed by sane moderate forces (not a time I can remember but a theoretical possibility) its possible to contract an argument of ‘Stronger Together’. In the context of the far-right takeover and the consequent withdrawal from international alliances -this ‘Britain as source of strength’ argument looks pathetic.

          Is that clear?

          1. Thrawn says:

            “In the context of the far-right takeover and the consequent withdrawal from international alliances -this ‘Britain as source of strength’ argument looks pathetic.”

            There are so many things wrong with this sentance I don’t know where to start…ok..deep breath:

            – in no reality can the Conservative party be referred to as “far-right”…to do so not only cheapens your argument but devalues the utility of the term in actually describing those organisations or individuals that are “far right”
            – the UK voted to withdraw from the EU…this has absolutely zero effect on its defence strategy. The UK’s commitment to NATO and it other international commitments is unchanged and in fact given what is happening across the Atlantic..probably even strengthened

          2. Have you read ‘Britannia Unchained?’

          3. Richard MacKinnon says:

            Editor,
            I’m going to make one last try at explaining where you, as I see it, bend reality to suit your hypothesis , or where you start your argument from a position that is not real but in your imagination. When you write “…….its possible to contract an argument of ‘Stronger Together’….” you imply that we (Scotland and the UK) are not at this time ‘together’ when the fact is we are. Why set out the conditions for a position that already exists? That’s my point one.
            Point 2. You write “In the context of the far-right takeover…..” What far right are you referring to? What ‘takeover’ have I missed? Is this about a recent democratic vote you don’t like the result of and so you prefer to think of it as a takeover?
            Point 3 “the consequent withdrawal from international alliances” again which countries are withdrawing from which international alliances? Is this a reference to Brexit and the EU? If so why is it wrong for UK to have a independence referendum but OK for Scotland? Is it because you disagree with the UK result?

          4. Thanks Richard.

            1) We are formerly ‘together’ – but I don’t think being together is in our interests as I don’t think we have interests in common.

            I think this is becoming more and more transparent in many areas few more so than in military and defence matters.

            2) Takeover in three senses. Scotland voted substantially against both the Brexit fiasco and the govt that currently rules from Westminster. That’s a democratic deficit. Second bot the Trump and the Brexit campaigns were democratically won, yes, but they were both predicated on a tissue of lies and propaganda. Third, the right that has been emboldened is not just those in office but those on the streets. The takeover’ is not just an electoral one. Fascists get elected.

            3) The EU via Brexit and the subsequent potential for pan-European military alliances, and NATO, as threatened by Trump.

          5. John O'Dowd says:

            McKinnon writes: Point 2. You write “In the context of the far-right takeover…..” What far right are you referring to? What ‘takeover’ have I missed? Is this about a recent democratic vote you don’t like the result of and so you prefer to think of it as a takeover?

            The theft of elections is not just about corruption of the voting process. It is that too (see below) but in the US case that is the culmination of a much broader set of restrictions on the power of citizens to choose their leaders.

            An extraordinary feature of the U.S. electoral process is that the two dominant parties collude to dictate – via their own bipartisan “commission” – who is allowed to participate in the officially recognized presidential debates – the two parties (what Chomsky has termed two wings of a one party state – and that party is the business party) set impossible barriers to the participation of any candidates other than their own.

            Even within the Democratic party, as Wikileaks have shown, the DNC went to extraordinary lengths to exclude Bernie Sanders. The same source also showed that they also manipulated events in favour of Trump – whom they regarded as a clown candidate – on the well-founded assumption that Clinton’s only chance of winning was to face a clown. That went well.

            Also as Victor Wallis has pointed out:

            “Another distinctive U.S. trait is the absence of any constitutional guarantee of the right to vote. Instead, a multiplicity of state laws govern voter-eligibility, as well as ballot-access. A few states set ballot-access requirements so high as to effectively disqualify their residents from supporting otherwise viable national candidacies. As for voter-eligibility, it is deliberately narrowed through the time-honored practice of using “states’ rights” to impose racist agendas. Most states deny voting rights to ex-convicts, a practice that currently disenfranchises some 6 million citizens, disproportionately from communities of color. More recently, targeting the same constituencies, many states have passed onerous and unnecessary voter-ID laws.”

            Voter suppression methods also include:

            Holding of elections on a workday – and limiting voting hours and the number of polling stations and voting machines – particularly in the deep south and other areas likely to give the ‘wrong’ result.

            In recent years, the resulting inconvenience has been partially offset by the institution of early voting, which however has the disadvantage of facilitating premature choices and of being subject to varied and volatile rules set by state legislatures.

            The actual casting of votes on Election Day is further subject to a number of possible abuses. These include: 1) insufficient polling places in poor neighborhoods, sometimes resulting in waiting periods so long that individuals no longer have the time to vote; 2) the sometimes aggressive challenging of voters’ eligibility by interested parties; 3) the use of provisional ballots which may easily end up not being counted; and 4), perhaps most significantly, the increasingly complete reliance on computerized voting, which allows for manipulation of the results (via “proprietary” programs) in a manner that cannot be detected. (The probability of such manipulation – based on discrepancies between exit-polls and official tallies – was documented by Marc Crispin Miller in his book on the 2004 election).

            Despite all off this, the Democrats actually won the popular vote in both presidential and congressional elections for the House (where the districts are disgracefully gerrymandered in a ny case) and the Senate.

            So just as here – the ultimate means of manipulating the results is the electoral system itself – the college system and gerrymandered districts in the in the US and the FPP system here.

            In conclusion – I don’t think Mr McKinnon has ‘missed’ anything – he is so fundamentally ignorant of the facts as to be incapable of understanding any complex or nuanced argument surrounding the matters in question.

  4. c rober says:

    Scotland and the removal of army , navy , is more about reducing the income in Scotland but perhaps also to have those assets removed from any independence.

    The Russia situation is because of the long term absolute embargo on the place by the west – thus it needs new partners for imports and exports. Syria being one , Turkey being the new kid on the block , and as the western cabinets have realised it would mean Iraq and Iran are next , thus the increase on aiding them. Russians survive sieges.

    The eastern europe problem is easily sorted , remove austerity , or the likes of Greece may even be next and moving away from the West also. But the EU it cant invest , there simply isnt the money or the political capital to move jobs eastward over their own local voters employment. Short terms in democracies just dont beat decades or life long dictatorships.

    All eyes should be on Ukraine – this is the bottle stopper , if it goes back to being pro Russia then the the new iron wall has spectacularly came down , and thus communism is on the rise – just like facism.

    Many have said that there is a conflict expected after such a financial crisis using the historical rear view mirror , its been taking its time. And again the banks will prosper financing both sides.

    The other indicator is GOLD – any major increase on the market price shows the wealthy are once again in the know.

  5. Thrawn says:

    The hypocrisy of this article is almost Trumpian in its brazenness…to criticise UK defence policy and military spending when the avowed aim of the writer is Scottish independence and therefore the complete abandonment of any meaningful form of those policies…it frankly beggars belief.

    Although this highlights perhaps the one grim pleasure that might come out of the global trainwreck that will be the Trump presidency…if he does pull the USA into isolationism the complacent left are suddenly going to have to deal with a world where wolves are at the door and nobodies coming to help you.

    With that in mind I ask the question: If it came to it are you prepared to have Scottish soldiers fight and die for Estonian, Latvian or Lithuanian independence?

  6. tartanfever says:

    Whoaa..let’s just all take a step back here.

    This is a wargame scenario from the RAND corporation. If you don’t know who the RAND corporation are, then go look it up.

    For those who can’t be bothered, it’s like taking advice on financial planning from Bernie Madoff.

    1. What part of their analysis – or Paul Mason’s – do you disagree with?

      1. tartanfever says:

        Err… the bit towards the top of Mason’s article that says:

        ‘All wargames are imaginary’

        So does Bella now regard the RAND corporation to be a viable source of intelligent, non-aligned public policy ?

        1. I regard corporate research as deeply flawed and partial but also recogniise that it might inadvertantly throw up some useful data

          1. Thrawn says:

            And coincidentally these accidental moments of insight by these corporate researchers only seem to occur when they agree with your point of view…fancy that

          2. John O'Dowd says:

            Also – as I have pointed out in my Bella article on the RAND Corporation:

            https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2016/07/19/the-rand-corporation-nuclear-weapons-war-torture-and-the-scottish-funding-council/

            It is NOT a proper research organisation, but a likely front for the CIA -and certainly a part of the military industrial complex:

            Formed in 1946 as a tax-exempt think tank by airforce generals to offer research and analysis to the US armed forces, RAND was created by and for the military industrial complex (MIC) and is the world’s largest private research center for military strategy and organization. With an annual budget of $160 million, the Rand Corporation is the biggest and most important private research organization of its type in the world.
            Presided over by James Thomson, among its administrators are Frank Carlucci, Deputy Director of the CIA during the Carter Administration and president of the notorious Carlyle Group, the elite private equity investment corporation deeply involved in Iraq profiteering and armaments trading. Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld were formerly RAND administrators.

            Paradoxically – in matters such as these it really must be taken seriously – simply because it DOES have an agenda. The data used by Paul Mason are not only likely to be correct (in a numerically factual sense) – but more importantly, they (and the articles referred to by Mason (and now Small) are a very firm indication of the political imperatives RAND seeks to promote (it is after all a protagonist – and not a disinterested research organisation.

            If you read the articles – especially in the light of Trump’s ‘election’ you might just feel a creeping sense of fear.

      2. Thrawn says:

        “For the entire period since 1989 NATO’s assumptions have rested on the idea that, politically, the East European peoples are so hostile to Russia, and so proud of their own new conservative nationalisms, that they would be prepared to turn their own cities into rubble to resist Russian aggression. Politically, those conditions are evaporating.”

        This…especially as in the linked article the justifications are as to why the rest of Europe would not risk war for the Baltics…not why the Baltics are less committed to resisting Russian aggression as is implied in the quote above

  7. J Galt says:

    I fail to see the point of this article.

    Yes everyone knows that the British conventional armed forces are no longer capable of fighting a “proper” war along the lines of WW2 for instance, they can only take part as junior partners in limited police actions ie. Afghanistan.

    There is an assumption that Russia is champing at the bit to invade the Baltic Countries, why? What evidence is there for this assumption?

    Russia would only march if provoked by say NATO positioning a strong force at her borders if the Baltic countries were stupid enough to allow the aggressor (NATO) to do so. And frankly Russia would be justified in marching.

    Seven Brigades? That’s barely 3 Divisions or not much more than an army Corps – along a potential 500 mile plus front? I don’t think RAND knows what it’s talking about!

    1. Jack Macilreavy says:

      “There is an assumption that Russia is champing at the bit to invade the Baltic Countries, why? What evidence is there for this assumption?”

      Previous actions in Georgia and Ukraine, the increase in military positioning in Kaliningrad, the funding of ethnic Russian political movements to foster instability in Baltic states, historical actions and attitudes regarding the Baltics and Finland, a reactionary authoritarian government in Moscow that wants to paint the world a picture of Russian military strength… Shall I go on?

      1. Freddy says:

        You forgot economic decline and gradual collapse…

        Is any of this sounding familiar ?

        1) Aggressive militarized country turns rightward away from Liberalism.
        2) Said country justifies stance on the basis of ‘other’ provocation.
        3) Said country invades ‘contested’ regions of ‘other’ countries on the basis of ‘ethnic’ justification.
        4) Said country then masses a huge highly developed army on the border with Poland.
        5) Liberals in the West, can’t possible imagine or understand the autocratic demagogue mentality of said country and the snowball effect of populism.
        6) ‘civic’ nationalilists in other countries, apologise for the incursions and annexation of other states.
        7) The USA turns tail and becomes isolationist and leaves Europe to Europe.
        8) In the East, similar nationalist forces arise and start looking around for easy targets.

        I could go on…

        Scottish nats are Neville Chamberlin.

        1. Pilrig says:

          Don’t go on…learn some history and spelling (it is Chamberlain ) first.

      2. J Galt says:

        Georgia – A provocation instigated by the US using corrupt puppets in the Georgian leadership with the express aim of undermining Russia. Ably and swiftly dealt with using the minimum force necessary.

        Ukraine – A Russian population in Crimea saved from persecution from an evil Ukraine regime imposed on the Ukrainian people by murdering “neo-cons” in the US regime. A just act carried out efficiently and bloodlessly.

        Increased Defensive Measures – when you’re being surrounded by a vicious enemy that openly states that it wishes to harm you, you take defensive precautions – good luck to them.

        Funding of ethnic Russians in the Baltics – any specifics on that?

        Historical attitudes to Baltic States and Finland – I presume you’re referring to the actions of the Soviet Union, particularly in 1939-41. Nasty indeed, particularly the work of the NKVD in the Baltics. Is present day Russia responsible for that any more than say present day Britain is responsible for the Bengal Famine in 1943, or present day Germany responsible for the invasion of Poland in 1939?

        Name calling – you say reactionary authoritarian government in Moscow I say corrupt war-mongering evil neo-cons in Washington. So what?

        It’s amazing how many supposedly intelligent “left liberals” are taken in by the anti-Russian shite fed them by the utterly corrupt MSM on behalf of a murdering cabal in Washington!

    2. c rober says:

      Russia wont have to invade the baltics – its already getting a political bent towards embracing them , or perhaps implanting them just like the UK and USA have history with in the oil regions , perhaps seen as better political competition to the rise of the facists also.

  8. Josef O Luain says:

    If push ever comes to shove, Putin has two buttons on his desk, one to activate Russia’s ICBM capability, the other to close-off oil and gas supplies to Europe.

    With that kind of leverage you hardly have to leave your bed never mind your dacha.

    Ayn Rand, anybody?

    1. John O'Dowd says:

      Putin is responding to being encircled by US/NATO bases. Since when were the Urals and central Asia the ‘North Atlantic’? He is being demonised in order to make US aggression ‘acceptable’. You need to be able to distinguish between reality and propaganda.

  9. Richard MacKinnon says:

    John O’Dowd,
    I think your a bad looser. No. its worse than that. You can’t accept the result if its not the won you want.
    As they say, times a great healer.

    1. John O'Dowd says:

      Richard,

      I note you have no response to all reasonable arguments here. But it’s not about winning and losing – its about doing what is best for Scotland and disentangling ourselves from the evil, imperial British state.

      It’s not over. Far from it.

      Things will move more quickly than you think. We haven’t ‘lost’ – we merely suffered a set-back. Englandshire is destroying itself through race-hatred, hatred xenophobia and its customary hubris.

      We just need to be prepared- and we are.

  10. Mathew says:

    The Arctic is currently experiencing a 20 degree temp anomaly! The collapse of Arctic sea ice is well under way and will bring with it a big step up in global temperature. Therefore the wars we will see in future will be over water and carbohydrate staples like wheat and rice. I would imagine that major producers of wheat like Russia will simply switch off their exports and hoard supplies for their domestic market. This would lead to massive price inflation for wheat importers like the UK. Could it be that Ukraines wheat production is part of the reason it has become so strategically important?
    George Monbiot predicts today in the Guardian that war is likely within his lifetime.

  11. Richard MacKinnon says:

    John,
    I’m tired of arguing.
    Scotland had its chance of, as you put it, “disentangling ourselves from the evil, imperial British state”. (I note that you prefer to ignore the uncomfortable reality that this is the same evil imperial British state that Scotland played its part in building and running for two hundred years).
    Please excuse my repitition here but, Scotland had its chance to leave this evil state and decided not to.
    Finally, and please dont take this as an insult, its meant as cautionary advice, but you are increasingly sounding more ‘detached’ from main stream thinking. “It’s not over. Far from it. Things will move more quickly than you think. We haven’t ‘lost’ – we merely suffered a set-back……………………. We just need to be prepared- and we are”. That is the sort of thing we heard very recently from the National Riffle Association of America. Scary. Check their website. Now its ‘our time has come’.

  12. H Scott says:

    If the Union means being ‘stronger together’ how is it the UK has been almosr constantly at war throughout its existence? In comparison, the Republic of Ireland has been constantly at peace throughout its existence.

  13. Freddy says:

    This is the most absurd article yet and utterly offensive to anyone living within a stones throw of Russia. Shoe horneing tedious self serving, self pitying, politically empty nationalism into the very real threat to others.

    During the indyref and after it was pointed out time and again that there were some scary manoverings (including the stationing of balistic nuclear missiles + conventional build up in Kalinigrad – a few miles from Poland) in the non Liberal Democratic world… but the parochial nationalists and childish hard leftists shreeked and sneered ‘Britnat warmongers’ yadayada…’who’s gonnae invade us…Ireland..snigger snigger hohoho.’ Ignorance personified.

    This article and the ‘genius’ of Mason, a good half decade after most analysts had outlined the danger, suddenly decides…oh maybe there is a danger but…how can we use this for our own pointless (in the scheme of the danger) agenda…I know the solution is more nationalism and division. hahahahahahaha.

    Mike Small in his ‘genius’ decides that a) There is a threat (cheer for that Mike, bit slow on the uptake aren’t you) b) That threat is best served by trashing the (admittedly inadequate) British army in favour of an utterly pointless and inadequate Scottish/ English army – how is Scotland going to pay for any military spending given the 15 billion black hole in the budget? eeeerrrrrr mmmmmm??? Maybe we can share the single gun with Ireland? c) That we should get rid of Trident yet… breathtaking absurdity… focus on the threat to Europe…hahahaha…yeah that’s the fucking point of Trident d) That British isolationism (total bollocks by the way – UK is not isolationist when militarily – currently the UK are operating ‘as one’ with Germany, France, Poland, Italy, Singapore, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Argentina, Brazil and Spain + others, in multiple actions around the world where free speech, democracy and WESTERN ENLIGHTENED liberties – that arseholes like Mike Small take for granted, are threatened… should be replaced with Scottish isolationism, and his tedious version of populist nationalism.

    Mike, why don’t you ask your chums in the Yes movement and the SNP what the plans are? Maybe you can get it broadcast on the Nat’s favorite station Sputnick TV. Maybe they can rerun the footage of everyday, decent working class English fans being beaten unconscious by Neo nazi thugs? And all the Scotty nats cheered.

    During the indyref many pragmatic and well informed NO voters were villified and called ‘Quislings’. If anything happens in the Baltics – or elsewhere – history will not look kindly on Scottish nationalist.

    1. Thanks, that’s priceless. I didn’t know Paul Mason was a nationalist.

      1. Freddy says:

        I didn’t say Mason was a nationalist. I said YOU were a small minded, insular nationalist. For years you and other Scot Nats have been indulging in ‘our nationalism and division is better and superior to theirs – it’s civic – so long as everyone does what we say and thinks like us as the ‘collective’ going on and on absurdly about being ‘oppressed by an evil state’… (despite that state being a liberal democracy – that allows constituent parts to vote and blog and write against it at whim – pretty sure if Scotland had voted for Independence there would have been no Tanks in the vein of Prague 68 or Hunary 56 or many many others places and times )…You don’t give a monkeys about the Baltics and I’m guessing you have never lived or worked in and with people who are genuinely oppressed. Shame.

        1. Jo says:

          @ Freddy

          First off, is there any need to be so rude in responding to the article?

          Second, some of the things you write suggest a very one sided view of the world in general. You’re clearly very anti-Russia, so anti-Russia, in fact, that you utterly ignore the role the UK has specifically played in causing carnage in so many other countries, to which they were not invited, in order to engage in that dangerous game they love so much……..”regime change”. (Check out Syria, it’s what they’re doing there too as they pretend to be fighting ISIS.)

          You say,

          “This is the most absurd article yet and utterly offensive to anyone living within a stones throw of Russia.”

          Do you include the Crimea there? The people of Crimea were highly alarmed when a group of rebels overthrew the government of Ukraine (with western approval) and then put in another government in its place which was immediately recognised by the west. But when the people of Crimea made their opposition know THEY were painted as the rebels and when THEY voted to stay with Russia THEIR referendum wasn’t recognised by the west.

          You say,

          ” ‘oppressed by an evil state’… (despite that state being a liberal democracy – that allows constituent parts to vote and blog and write against it at whim – pretty sure if Scotland had voted for Independence there would have been no Tanks in the vein of Prague 68 or Hunary 56 or many many others places and times )..”

          So you think the UK “state” showed respect for the people of Iraq? For the people of Libya? For the people of Syria? When they chose to interfere in the affairs of those countries doing their “regime change” stuff……did they ask the people? They did not! And I’d hardly call any of those countries “within a stone’s throw” of us…………and yet we went there and we caused utter carnage and death. Let’s look at Libya in particular. The UK and France were meant to be there “enforcing a no-fly zone”, yes? And yet…..it was the French who destroyed Gaddafi’s convoy from the air and sent him, essentially, to his death. I recall the toad Hague sitting in a BBC news studio when Gaddafi’s, basically, execution was shown on TV. Hague was actually laughing!

          What do you think gives the UK the right to act in such a manner in countries over which we have no authority? What gives the UK the right to ignore the UN, repeatedly, along with the US, France and others when it suits? What gives them the right to say, “Russia bad, the west good when anyone with the intelligence of a cardboard box can look at these things and see the massive flaws in that argument?

          As for this “liberal democracy” you claim we have here…..is that the same liberal democracy that has just passed a law allowing surveillance of us all on a scale never seen before?

          There are “genuinely oppressed” people, in their thousands, tens of thousands even, running from Syria today, from Iraq, from Libya……..and they’re running to Europe because of what WE, not Russia, did in their countries.

          You say “Shame.” I say “Shame on you!” right back to you.

      2. Freddy says:

        I didn’t say Mason was a nationalist. I said YOU were a small minded, insular nationalist. For years you and other Scot Nats have been indulging in ‘our nationalism and division is better and superior to theirs – it’s civic – so long as everyone does what we say and thinks like us as the ‘collective’ going on and on absurdly about being ‘oppressed by an evil state’… (despite that state being a liberal democracy – that allows constituent parts to vote and blog and write against it at whim – pretty sure if Scotland had voted for Independence there would have been no Tanks in the vein of Prague 68 or Hunary 56 or many many others places and times )…You don’t give a monkeys about the Baltics except how it fits your selfish agenda and I’m guessing you have never lived or worked in and with people who are genuinely oppressed. Shame.

        1. John O'Dowd says:

          So good he said it twice!

  14. John O'Dowd says:

    Richard,

    You say: “I’m tired of arguing”

    Seems you got tired of reading too. You say:

    “I note that you prefer to ignore the uncomfortable reality that this is the same evil imperial British state that Scotland played its part in building and running for two hundred years”.

    But above I wrote:

    “- as the rest of the world will gradually stop hating us for the wrongs we did them in Britannia’s name”. Thus acknowledging that facts of what you say.

    We should seek forgiveness for what we did. Imperialism is murder and plunder. Full stop. I have to say, though, that most of my ancestors were victims of that imperialism -but some inevitably were also involved. For that, repentance is in order.

    Thank you for your advice -you are right. indeed I am detached from what you call ‘mainstream thinking’ – I take that as a huge compliment.

    Such mindless groupthink is NOT thinking – it is repetition and amplification of the dominant discourse – which is designed and promulgated to promote the interests of the elites and the ruling class – and to stultify critical reasoning and thought. Repeating the Daily Mail editorial line cannot be dignified as ‘thinking’.

    You say you are ‘tired’ of arguing – I confess I’ve seen no argument from you – rather mere repeated assertions of your disputations. That, Richard, is not arguing. In order to argue, you must inform yourself of the facts – check these out by reading as widely and as deeply as possible – then reflect critically upon the nature, source, and purposes of those who present such information as ‘facts’. As yourself Cui Bono – whom does it serve?

    Now, for whatever reason, you may not agree with what Mr Small (and others including myself) have written here, but they at least have properly sourced, attributed and presented what they have written – and seek to justify it on the basis of logic, reason and the rhetorical principles of persuasion, within the heuristics of understanding, discovering and developing a logical position – all very Aristotelean.

    Maintaining such epistemological standards can indeed be exhausting – especially to the unschooled or the plain daft.

    Based on events following Indyref 1, the election of a UK Tory Government, Brexit and now Trump – I do believe I have good grounds for a) suggesting that both Brexit and Indref 1 were ‘won’ on false premises and b) that this is now dawning upon people who were seriously misled – and may take appropriate action.

    The attrition of rights, incomes and a sense of security which will now follow from the appointment (not election) of Mrs May – and the crazy Trump, I believe give justifiable grounds in making the comments that I have made above. I may be proved wrong – but I have reasonable grounds to make them.

    Now if all you have to offer is repetition of a set of beliefs, rather than engage in rational discourse – then I can understand your fatigue. But just remember – although we love to see you here – it provides a fine weather vane on the ‘thinking’ of the BritNat naysayers – you really don’t have to do it if you don’t want to.

    1. Richard MacKinnon says:

      John,
      You say “Based on events following Indyref 1, the election of a UK Tory Government, Brexit and now Trump – I do believe I have good grounds for a) suggesting that both Brexit and Indref 1 were ‘won’ on false premises…..”.
      Then “Richard, ………. In order to argue, you must inform yourself of the facts”.
      OK, inform me. What events?, what grounds?, what false premises?

      1. John O'Dowd says:

        Richard,

        Just as I thought – you haven’t been reading. It’s all there in my previous postings above.

      2. John O'Dowd says:

        Better still: Read AL Kennedy’s superb.

        “Unbeing, Estrangement and the Politics of Fear”

        In today’s Bella.

  15. Richard MacKinnon says:

    John,
    How long will you give it before you admit defeat? If we are still in the UK in 2020? 2030? I know your still grieving, but when will denial turn to anger? (I think your between denial and anger), Still such a long journey ahead for you John, bargaining with the reality, then the depression sets in and eventually the peace of mind that comes with acceptance. Rest assured I will be with you every bit of the way.

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