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The special relationship summed up literally… and sovereignty, don’t mention sovereignty.  June 27, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.



HMS Queen Elizabeth sets sail – a massive ship. There’s going to be another – the Prince of Wales. And perhaps a pointless one, as this piece in the Guardian notes:

The carriers, along with the Trident nuclear programme, account for a huge chunk of the defence budget. Critics within the military complain such high-profile projects have been at the expense of surface ships, soldiers and the air force. They also question whether aircraft carriers are anachronistic and vulnerable to attack from increasingly sophisticated missiles.

Asked by the Guardian whether the carrier is a white elephant, [Captain] Kyd unsurprisingly, disagreed. “These assets give you a global presence, a serious punch, anywhere you want, at immediate notice,” he said. “I think it is a pretty good investment at £6bn. In 50 years from now, we will look back and say that was extremely good value and they will be used a lot.”

But check this out…

Each carrier can hold 36 planes and four helicopters. The navy is hoping to have 24 F-35s by 2023 and a further 24 by 2025. In addition, the US marines will fly their own F-35s off the carriers, though the number is still under discussion.

In all the stuff about sovereignty in relation to the EU and Brexit it is curious, isn’t it, that the massive implications to British sovereignty of a foreign power siting military bases on its land and on its ships ne’er deserved a mention. Some might think that the intertwining of the UK and US military in terms of nuclear deterrent etc is the antithesis of sovereignty.

Speaking of which, check this out… From the Independent some years back and a fascinating overview of these matters. As matters stood in 2014…

Since the highwater mark of the 1990s, when the number of US-manned military facilities in Britain reached 100 or so, the US presence has fallen to 13, ranging from RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk – one of the largest air bases outside the US – to a joint GCHQ and National Security Agency satellite station at Morwenstow in Cornwall. The result is nonetheless a significant US military presence on British soil, consisting of 24,000 personnel, civilian staff and family members.

And while:

The MoD insists that there is full oversight of the “RAF” bases, including a British commander who scrutinises all actions to ensure they comply with British law, and legislation holding all foreign service personnel to UK legislation.

But critics insist such assertions are a poor exchange for a grim reality of opacity over US activities and what they say is a legal no-man’s-land resulting in British impotence when it comes to holding the UK’s first ally to account.


1. FergusD - June 27, 2017

“These assets give you a global presence, a serious punch, anywhere you want, at immediate notice,” So they are not for defence then, but rather for interferring in the affairs of others. Poorer countries with limited air defence. The Brit military were pissed they couldn’t send an aircraft carrier to Libyan waters to topple Gadaffi, while the French could (the French!). Now they can. Well not now, it will be many years before they have enough F35s, assuming they work (at about £100m each).


EWI - June 27, 2017

This is the stark truth, that they’re intended as basically gunboat diplomacy. Also, a British carrier or two being sunk in the Falklands would have doomed the British forces sent there. Possibly the Argentinians deliberately left them alone so as not to risk British nukes being launched (a wise decision in retrospect, given what we know of Thatcher’s eagerness to use them).

Of course, they’re going to become outdated in the near future when the proliferation of cheap, effective drones makes carriers horrifically inefficient by comparison, for what they cost.


2. Dermot O Connor - June 27, 2017

Carriers are a superb investment, as long as they’re going to be sent back in time to 1939.

I read Gary Brecher’s piece on this years ago, and have been waiting to see what would happen when/if the US/UK goes up against a middling to decent opponent. Whenif that happens, the cries of “nobody could have known” will be as dishonest then as they have been over the last few years (WMD, 2008, Brexit, Trump, etc).


QUOTE: But now I can tell you exactly how they’re going to die. I’ve just read one of the most shocking stories in years. It comes from the US Naval Institute, not exactly an alarmist or anti-Navy source. And what it says is that the US carrier group is scrap metal.
The Chinese military has developed a ballistic missile, Dong Feng 21, specifically designed to kill US aircraft carriers: “Because the missile employs a complex guidance system, low radar signature and a maneuverability that makes its flight path unpredictable, the odds that it can evade tracking systems to reach its target are increased. It is estimated that the missile can travel at mach 10 and reach its maximum range of 2000km in less than 12 minutes.” That’s the US Naval Institute talking, remember. They’re understating the case when they say that, with speed, satellite guidance and maneuverability like that, “the odds that it can evade tracking systems to reach its target are increased.”

You know why that’s an understatement? Because of a short little sentence I found farther on in the article—and before you read that sentence, I want all you trusting Pentagon groupies to promise me that you’ll think hard about what it implies. Here’s the sentence: “Ships currently have no defense against a ballistic missile attack.”

That’s right: no defense at all. The truth is that they have very feeble defenses against any attack with anything more modern than cannon. I’ve argued before no carrier group would survive a saturation attack by huge numbers of low-value attackers, whether they’re Persians in Cessnas and cigar boats or mass-produced Chinese cruise missiles. But at least you could look at the missile tubes and Phalanx gatlings and pretend that you were safe. But there is no defense, none at all, against something as obvious as a ballistic missile.

You know that Garmin satnav you use to find the nearest Thai place when the in-laws are visiting? If you were the Navy brass, that should have scared you to death. The Mac on your kid’s bedroom desk should have scared you. Every time electronics got smaller, cheaper and more efficient, the carrier became more of a death trap. Every time stealth tech jumped another step, the carrier was more obviously a bad idea. Smaller, cooler-running engines: another bad sign for the carrier. Every single change in technology in the past half a century has had “Stop building carriers!” written all over it. And nobody in the navy brass paid any attention.

The lesson here is the same one all of you suckers should have learned from watching the financial news this year: the people at the top are just as dumb as you are, just meaner and greedier…don’t be fooled by the happy talk. That’s the lesson from GM, Chrysler and the Navy: these people don’t know shit. And they don’t fucking care either. They’re going to ride the system and hope it lasts long enough to see them retire to a house by a golf course, get their daughters married and buy a nice plot in an upscale cemetery. They could give a damn what happens to the rest of us.


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