Elastic Fantastic Royal Navy

January 30, 2019

European Union waters will be severely constrained following Brexit. The vessels of Baltic and Benelux countries will have to transit United Kingdom waters to reach the high seas; or go the long way via the waters of the Faroe Islands, Norway and Iceland.  In peacetime, and with compliance of the rules of innocent passage, this should not be a problem.  In a war scenario the situation will be very different.  Assuming that NATO is not undermined by the new EU army and defence union, it can be anticipated that the only credible threat to the UK mainland would come from the air-force and navy of the Russian Federation.  Because of treaty obligations the UK would be obliged to respond to aggression anywhere against a NATO partner.  In reality the priority for the UK would be to stop the Russian Navy reaching the high seas of the North Atlantic through the Greenland Iceland United Kingdom (GIUK) gap, and the Russian Airforce coming down the coast of Norway in to the North Sea or via the west coast of Ireland.  The next priority would be to deter or oppose an anticipated invasion by the Russian Army across its land border with Norway by the deployment of airborne and amphibious forces.  Given the current state of the UK armed forces this is a big ask, especially for the Royal Navy that is being stretched like an elastic band and in danger of snapping.

This situation is not helped by current UK diplomacy that is going global and EU expansion to the East that antagonise Russia.  Dialogue is a must to overcome distrust and establish a new equitable order in the Northern Hemisphere.  However, UK armed forces must be alert at all times and ready for any eventuality, which requires them to be adequately and properly resourced.

Imagine a contrived situation where a RN carrier task force is drawn to a crisis in the South China Sea.  China and Russia gift military resources to Argentina that require another RN carrier task force to deploy to the Falkland Islands.  Incidents in Lapland, with Finland and Sweden neutral, prompt an excuse for Russian action across the Norway border.  And a large Chinese fishing fleet arriving in the North Atlantic to provocatively infringe the neutral Irish Exclusive Economic Zone.  Fanciful?  Perhaps, but it would be a good plan of attack.

The aim would be to create distractions as part of a bigger plan.  A few years ago (2013) Spain agreed to sell its surplus fleet of Mirage F1 fighters, spares and training simulator to Argentina at a give away price of £10m.  Argentina and Spain are coordinating their claims on the Falklands and Gibraltar.  Following UK pressure our ally cancelled the deal in 2014.  With the dire state of the Argentine economy their armed forces are non-operational.  That situation will not last for ever.  There have been reports that Russia has offered to lease them some modern jets as a response to the UK imposing sanctions.  China has offered them some fighter aircraft and has form for gifting vessels to other countries.  Defending the Falklands would override any other priority, and as before we would be on our own as the operation would be south of the Tropic of Cancer.

The next distraction could be the Chinese fishing fleet in the North Atlantic.  The Irish EEZ extends 200 nautical miles and in 2007 Ireland was the first coastal country to exercise its right to claim its continental shelf out to 350 nautical miles.  This is a huge area to patrol and following Brexit it will be separated from other EU waters by UK waters to the north and south.  Would China come that far to catch fish?  Yes, if they copied Japan.  In 2015 there was a standoff between the Irish Naval Service and a fleet of thirty Japanese trawlers.  While the trawlers were careful to stay outside the limit, it was possible that their nets stretching for hundreds of miles were not.  Irish Air Corps maritime patrol aircraft were deployed to determine the situation and collect evidence.  This could easily have happened in UK waters to the north and south, but their were no reports to indicate that our stretched RN fishery protection patrol vessels were on alert.  A Chinese fishing fleet is a completely different matter.

https://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2015/03/31/meet-the-chinese-maritime-militia-waging-a-peoples-war-at-sea/

Based on the information in the above link China would start fishing in the North Atlantic as a cover for intelligence gathering.  Then after several annual visits, and with two RN carrier task forces away from home, a provocative situation would be engineered in GIUK gap waters where they break international law but deny doing so and present themselves as victims – even inviting arrest or attacks on their trawlers.  After sacrificing some pawns they appeal to Russia for help.  Russia sends fighters and bombers to the west coast of Ireland [the undefended backdoor] and is faced by RAF Typhoons.  The UK already provides air cover by agreement over the whole island of Ireland and in a tense situation accidents happen that can escalate out of control.  If the Irish Naval Service required support it would be inconceivable for the RN not to respond positively.  China has already ignored international law in the South China Sea and acted aggressively in the East China Sea, with Taiwan also being increasingly threatened.  In this melee Norway attacks a Russian submarine encroaching in its territorial waters, which results in the excuse for the Russian Army to cross in to North Norway.  Only a USN carrier fleet can come to the rescue, but as with Korea and Vietnam, they have all been deployed to the Pacific.  What the French carrier force in the Mediterranean would do is anyones guess.

Rebuilding the RN is an absolute priority.  The 2018 links below from the Save the Royal Navy website help to explain where we are.  In the next posts we will set out where we need to be.

https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/understanding-and-responding-to-the-russian-naval-threat/

https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/risks-or-rewards-the-royal-navy-in-the-south-china-sea/

https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/a-continuous-royal-navy-presence-in-the-pacific-region-this-year/

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Royal Navy Review

December 31, 2018

Back in 2007 we focused our defence policy on the RN as the priority for an island Nation that is reliant on sea-borne trade and keeping sea-routes open.  This was not intended to be to the detriment of the RAF or Army and implied that defence spending needed to be increased.  The policy proposed an alternative approach for providing a deterrent to nuclear attack and a reassessment of the submarine service.  The decline of the RN was evident and needed to be reversed; and that decline has continued under all governments.  Our solution was for a naval shipbuilding programme and a positive review of the RN amphibious and aircraft-carrier capability.  Last year it seemed that out foresight had been rewarded with the approval of the National Shipbuilding Strategy.  Unfortunately, the Government did not put its money where its mouth is.

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Joyeux Noel – Happy Christmas – Nollaig Shona

December 25, 2018

‘Do not be afraid.  Listen, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people.  Today in the town of David a saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  And here is a sign for you; you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manger.’

And suddenly with the angel there was a great throng of the heavenly host, praising God and singing: ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to men who enjoy his favour.’

The message of the angel of the Lord to the terrified shepherds in the fields, as told to us in the Gospel of Luke.

This message comes to us through the ages and is as relevant to us today, as we are faced daily with scare stories concerning many issues.  Much of this is fake news intended to deceive and cause alarm.  In temporal matters the government message should once again be, ‘Keep calm and carry on’.  For us the message has always been, ‘do not be afraid’.

We have special regard for our families and friends in Ireland.  Keep the Faith.

A Holy and Peaceful Christmas is our wish for all people throughout the world.

 

 


Motherhood and apple pie

November 29, 2018

There are somethings you cannot argue with, especially in the United States, and the idiom ‘motherhood and apple pie’ has long been used to give expression to that ideal.  No politician is going to overtly campaign against that ideal if they want to be elected.  Covertly they may do otherwise, so it is surprising that some are ignoring the rule, seemingly oblivious to their faux pas.  Recently President Macron denigrated educated women who have large families.  There was a world-wide response from successful professional women and mothers of up to seven children, who then posted pictures online of their large families.  The trend was started by Dr. Catherine Pakaluk who has a PhD from Harvard and eight children by choice.  Soon after Macron’s popularity ratings nose-dived [although there are also some other reasons].  Secular France has long given in to the Population Control Agenda (PCA) of abortion and no more than two children, resulting in a birth-rate below replacement level.  The obvious consequence of a declining population has been met with the necessity for immigration.  This is evident across the developed world and has created social issues, especially in the European Union.  Control of immigration was central to the UK Referendum on leaving the EU.  The Government response was that immigration was necessary for the UK Economy, conveniently ignoring the 9+ million future citizens aborted since 1967.  Wilful ignorance or delusion?

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/36322262/how-a-falling-birth-rate-stalls-the-world-economy

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De facto humanity of the pre-born child in the womb

November 23, 2018

The unborn child in the womb has a natural law right to life that is inalienable.  Each has a unique personality and physicality created at the first moment of existence.  All that is required, is to be allowed to grow in what should be the most safe and secure environment that ever was.  It is the duty of the rest of the human family to protect one of their own.  We are all one and have all travelled the same journey – conceived, grow, born, grown some more, evolved, developed, always learning, always changing in seven year phases, we progress until in due course we have a natural death.  Unfortunately for some, death comes early due to accidents or deliberate and illegal killing.

There are exceptions to this natural progress, such as euthanasia and abortion.  Abortion, is the deliberate and intentional premature destruction of a life in the womb.  In other words – the killing of a human being.  The Right to Life cannot be granted, but must be acknowledged.  The UN Declaration of Human Rights does just that.  Subsequent UN charters and conventions place a duty on States to protect children, including those in the womb, both before and after birth.  This is not some fiction and is well-known and supported by medicine and science.  From ancient times the prohibition on abortion was established when knowledge was less than it is now, when we can clearly see the child inside the womb and how they hear and react to those outside.

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All’s fair in love and war; and politics???

October 30, 2018

No and No; and No.  Not ever in any circumstance is it advisable to act with anything but honesty and integrity.  In love, underhand behaviour may win the woman, but it does not bode well for a long-term relationship.  In the not too distant past a man guilty of such conduct (taking advantage of a lady) would be denounced as a cad and a bounder (ungentlemanly behaviour).  This would even be the case resulting from ‘breach of promise’ and a betrayal of betrothal (to engage with a promise to marry).  Teaching children about courtesy and good-manners, right and wrong, and the value of morals are essential building blocks in the foundation years before their seventh birthday; and would pay handsome dividends.  These concepts may seem to be old-fashioned in todays permissive culture, but society could surely benefit by going back to the future.  It is incumbent on everyone to set a good example.  Bad behaviour must not be tolerated, and certainly not celebrated.  The introduction of a Code of Chivalry in to all educational establishments is urgent and vital.  Connect that bad behaviour with politics and it is a recipe for disadvancement and a potential disaster for the general public wellbeing.  Any politician who serially cheats on his wife, will cheat on the country and is not to be trusted and considered Prime Ministerial material.

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You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour

October 10, 2018

‘If I believe it, it is true’.  This seems to be the prevailing attitude in today’s self-centred society.  This attitude is promoted by people who should know better and it is dangerous because it undermines our democracy and results in a divisive society.  Democracy can only function by application of the cardinal virtues that are underpinned by the truth.  In the absence of revelation truth must be absolute, factual and objective.  Much of what is said and written is opinion, and opinion without evidence is nothing more than bigotry and prejudice.

Our memories of events can play tricks on us, especially as time goes by.  Police investigators know that four witnesses to an incident will recount four different versions of what happened and believe they are telling the truth.  So it is only the bits they agree on that can be relied on.  This is a simple fact of life.  If all four say they did not witness anything because they were not there, then it must be concluded it never happened.  This is the situation with Professor Ford’s allegations of sexual assault made against Judge Kavanaugh.  Compelling (if unbelievable) though her testimony was, and despite the Judge’s willingness to forgive injuries and bear wrongs patiently on the basis that she was mixed up and mistaken, this is not a situation of false memories after thirty-five years being retrieved during a course of therapy.  Professor Ford, due to her education, training and profession, knew exactly what she was doing.  Even though Judge Kavanaugh has been exonerated, the mass of people who still believe her describe her as a survivor of sexual abuse and a victim.  She may have experienced some other assault, but it is certain that she is a victim.  A victim of misuse by activist political lawyers affiliated with the US Democratic Party.

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