Israel is Fighting a New War of Attrition

Israeli troops in a tunnel in the Gaza Strip in July 2014. IDF photo

Israeli troops in a tunnel in the Gaza Strip in July 2014. IDF photo

by Robert Beckhusen. Robert Beckhusen is a freelance writer who contributes regularly at War is Boring. He’s also written for publications including C4ISR JournalWiredThe Daily Beast and World Politics Review. You can follow him on Twitter.

If anyone expected Israel’s war with Hamas to end with a unilateral ceasefire, the last several days should serve as a rude shock. Ten days after Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip, Hamas resumed rocket fire and Israel struck back with at least 100 air strikes — including targeted assassinations of Hamas leaders.

That Israel is committing itself in a war of attrition with Gaza after pulling its forces out should come as no surprise. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) went in without clear objectives, meaning that its attempts to reduce — let alone end — Hamas’s weapons and tunnel systems were bound to come up short. The result is an extended air campaign that may last days, weeks or even months.

The operation committed some of the Israeli army’s heaviest units, including the heavily-armored 36th Division, a veteran unit formerly based in the Golan Heights and which now serves as Israel’s emergency shock force, available to be called into action on short notice. The Israeli invasion also included three infantry brigades, a parachute brigade and territorial infantry units – in addition to large numbers of drones and fighter aircraft.

At least 64 Israeli soldiers died in that operation. More than 2,000 Palestinians died, including hundreds of Hamas fighters. The IDF claimed it destroyed dozens of tunnels within 4.5 kilometers of the border. But it’s unlikely Israel secured all of them within the limited window of time its troops had to find and clear the underground passageways. Recently, Hamas took reporters on a tour of one tunnel that Israel missed (see Jeffrey Heller and Giles Elgood, “Exclusive: Hamas fighters show defiance in Gaza tunnel tour“, Reuters, 19.08.2014).

“Our men are still operating in those tunnels prepared for all options,” an al-Qassam Brigades fighter told Reuters.

But it wasn’t really about the tunnels. Rather, Israel stumbled into a series of violent escalations following the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank.

As Israeli troops and interior police cracked down on Palestinians in the West Bank — with a focus on Hamas militants based there — other militants retaliated with rocket fire from Gaza. This led Israeli to launch air strikes. Hamas retaliated through tunnel-borne commando raids. It was only then Israel launched its ground invasion. The objective of destroying the tunnels was rationalized after the fact.

Israeli troops during an exercise in August 2014. IDF photo

Israeli troops during an exercise in August 2014. IDF photo

Much reporting has focused on the heavy civilian toll in the invasion. This is partly because Israel wants to avoid casualties among its own troops. The IDF prefers to rely heavily on artillery and air strikes to hit its enemies while minimizing danger to itself. There’s also Israel’s reliance on overwhelming force as a means of deterrence, owing to Israel’s small size and vulnerability to stand-off weapons such as rockets and missiles. In short, Israel emphasizes striking hard and striking fast.

But Israel also cannot sustain a long war. As casualties mounted — three times that of Operation Cast Lead more than four years ago — the Israeli government felt the pressure to withdraw sooner rather than later. This means the IDF overcommitted to a plan that had no clear way to succeed. Effectively destroying the tunnels and deterring Hamas meant a price Israel wouldn’t likely be willing to pay.

For an undeterred Hamas, it will continue rocket fire as a means to pressure Israel into lifting its siege on Gaza, which has led to the collapse of numerous industries and makes the Strip nearly unlivable. Since the resumption of fighting (initiated by Hamas), the militant group has fired several hundred mortar rounds and rockets into Israel. One Israeli citizen in Eshkol was badly wounded in one such attack. But 29 Palestinians died on Aug. 21 alone in Israeli air strikes.

The chances for a ceasefire rests with Egypt. “The end of the operation, we believe,” an Israeli official told Haaretz, “must go through Cairo.” But the Egyptian regime under Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is hardly sympathetic to Hamas. The result is deadlock and a push-button war that won’t likely see Israeli ground troops committed again for perhaps years.

That’s a strategy for Israel, on paper. But it’s not a means to end the conflict.

Posted in English, Gaza, International, Robert Beckhusen, Security Policy, Terrorism | Leave a comment

The Korean Quandary: Defence Reform

by Paul Pryce. Paul Pryce is a Junior Research Fellow at the Atlantic Council of Canada. With degrees in political science from universities on both sides of the pond, he has previously worked in conflict resolution as a Research Fellow with the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and as an infantryman in the Canadian Forces. His current research interests include African security issues and NATO-Russia relations.

K2_Black_Panther_main_battle_tank_South_Korean_Army_South_Korea_002As the South Korean military pursues implementation of its “Defence Reform Plan 2020″ (DRP2020), the country has become interesting to watch from a procurement standpoint. Whereas the Republic of Korea’s land forces were previously oriented around the use of mass infantry, the focus beyond 2020 will be on a smaller but better equipped and better trained force. This has resulted in a contract for Daewoo Industries to produce a next-generation assault rifle to replace the K2 as the ROK’s standard issue infantry weapon. The K2 Black Panther (see the image on the right) was intended to become the ROK’s most prevalent main battle tank until serious problems with the transmission and main engine were identified late in the procurement process. In the midst of this, the ROK Navy is now enjoying the fruit of a 25-year development program as Hyundai and Daewoo complete production of several Sejong the Great-class destroyers.

The insights DRP2020 offer into South Korea’s strategic priorities, however, may be cause for concern. At the time of DRP2020’s introduction by the ROK Ministry of Defence in 2005, the country’s military was comprised of approximately 690,000 troops. The DRP2020 envisions a significant reduction in personnel, primarily from the land forces, to bring total military manpower to 500,000 troops by the end of 2020. As of this writing, the ROK military officially consists of 560,000 troops, suggesting the Ministry of Defence is on schedule to achieve the envisioned personnel cuts. Officially, the reason for this reduction in personnel is South Korea’s aging population and declining birth rate, which together is expected to ensure that 36% of South Koreans will be over the age of 65 by 2030.

But a downsized military will have implications for the future of the Korean Peninsula. A 2003 RAND study indicates that successful nation-building exercises have generally required a ratio of 20 soldiers per thousand civilians in the host country. Where this ratio is not met or exceeded, the military deployment fails to stabilize the host country. James Dobbins, RAND’s former head of international and security policy, determined that a ratio of 40 soldiers per thousand civilians is imperative to ensuring stability while nation-building is ongoing. Based on these recommendations, in the event of a regime collapse in North Korea, the ROK would require a force of approximately one million troops in order to secure a peaceful unification. This follows by applying the ratios identified in the two aforementioned RAND studies to the entire population of the Korean Peninsula, namely because regime collapse in the North and the prospect of unification could also result in civil disorder in the South.

In such a scenario, it is doubtful that South Korean authorities would take such drastic actions as those seen early in the American occupation of Iraq, completely demobilizing military forces. Rather, some elements of the Korean People’s Army would be incorporated into the stabilization force, depending on the nature of the regime collapse in North Korea. Due to an aggressive expansion to its military forces in the 1980s and 1990s, North Korea boasts a force of just over 900,000 troops. But ROK military planners certainly would not assume the full integration of its neighbour’s forces into a stabilization force. If the ROK is serious about unification, its defence reforms would reflect the need to maintain a sizeable land force in order to bring about that unification with a minimum of reliance upon former North Korean forces.

North Korean Forces (unclassified version from the US Office of the Secretary of Defense, "Military and Security Developments Involving the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea", 2013, p. 16-18; click on the image for details).

North Korean Forces (unclassified version from the US Office of the Secretary of Defense, “Military and Security Developments Involving the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea“, 2013, p. 16-18; click on the image for details).

With a force half that required to ensure stability during unification, it is very likely that ROK leaders have abandoned hope that Korea will be unified in the next few decades. While disconcerting on its own, this perhaps reflects a gradual shift in ROK foreign policy away from the United States and its allies. In July 2014, President Xi Jinping of China made a state visit to Seoul, just two days after Japan adopted reforms to its Constitution that are widely unpopular among the South Korean public. The year prior, President Park Geun-hye traveled to Beijing, primarily to discuss the further deepening of economic ties between China and South Korea. Bilateral trade is already $270 billion per year, surpassing the volume of trade South Korea has with both the United States and Japan combined. Given the overwhelming importance of China as a market for Korean goods, and given China’s vested interest in the status quo on the Korean Peninsula, ROK leaders appear to have “cut their losses” and determined that unification will only occur at the behest of China.

Though this increasingly cozy relationship between China and the ROK is a negative development in Asia-Pacific affairs for the US, the DRP2020 is not all bad news. The reforms envision a greater capacity for expeditionary operations on the part of ROK forces. The mass infantry previously generated by South Korean conscription was best suited to territorial defence or a convoluted nation-building exercise in the North. Substantial forces were deployed in recent years in support of US-led interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, and smaller but no less valuable commitments were made to multilateral operations in Lebanon, Haiti, and South Sudan. But the procurement of new technology will allow the ROK military to intervene more quickly and efficiently in “hot spots” around the world. For example, the Dokdo-class amphibious assault ship produced for the ROK Navy by Hanjin Heavy Industries will have the capacity to carry almost 750 marines onboard as well as numerous armoured vehicles. A complement of 15 transport helicopters carried by the vessel could be used to rapidly deploy troops from the Dokdo-class to locations further inland where a troop presence is needed. More generally, the ROK is pursuing a “blue water” navy, moving away from its traditional reliance on a force of coastal patrol vessels strictly concerned with dissuading North Korean or Chinese aggression at sea.

President Park Geun-hye and Chinese President Xi Jinping are greeted by students of Eunpyeong Elementary School at Cheong Wa Dae, South Korea (Photo: Park Hyun-koo / The Korea Herald).

President Park Geun-hye and Chinese President Xi Jinping are greeted by students of Eunpyeong Elementary School at Cheong Wa Dae, South Korea (Photo: Park Hyun-koo / The Korea Herald).

The shape of things to come may be reflected in a 2011 incident involving a South Korean destroyer. After Somali pirates seized a Norwegian-owned and South Korean-operated tanker in the Gulf of Aden, the ROKS Choe Yeong was deployed. This Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin-class destroyer, supported by elements of the US Navy, saw to the rescue of the tanker’s crew, a boarding action resulting in the death of eight pirates and the capture of five others. Though not formally a part of NATO’s Operation Ocean Shield, the ROKS Choe Yeong had cooperated with its forces to pursue the shared goal of fighting piracy in the Gulf of Aden. Such a mission would not have been possible for the ROK Navy to accomplish prior to the recent program of modernization. But this also seems to reflect the kind of mission the ROK military is preparing for beyond 2020 and suggests three criteria ROK military planners will now have in mind. First, commit only when South Korean interests are directly affected. Second, engage against asymmetric threats. Third, commit only to operations conducted under a multilateral framework.

All in all, DRP2020 undermines the ROK’s reliability as an American ally. As it now lacks the capacity to pursue unification without considerable external assistance, the ROK also risks subordinating itself to the role of a Chinese client state. This is the greatest failure of the US’ diplomatic efforts in the Asia-Pacific region. The capacity for the ROK to contribute to counter-piracy or stabilization operations elsewhere in the world will have to be consolation enough.

Posted in English, International, North Korea, Paul Pryce, Security Policy, South Korea | Leave a comment

Weiterentwicklung der Armee: Update 01

Aktuelle Gefahrenlage: Brigadier Jean-Philippe Gaudin zeigte am 9. Mai 2014 auf einer Weltkarte Konfliktherde auf (Foto: Peter Klaunzer / Keystone).

Aktuelle Gefahrenlage: Brigadier Jean-Philippe Gaudin zeigte am 9. Mai 2014 auf einer Weltkarte Konfliktherde auf (Foto: Peter Klaunzer / Keystone).

Über den Inhalt der Weiterentwicklung der Armee (WEA) haben wir bereits in einem früheren Artikel informiert. Mit der gescheiterten Abstimmung über den Fonds zur Beschaffung des Kampfflugzeugs Gripen E kam jedoch auch dieses Geschäft etwas ins Stottern. Die Botschaft zur WEA wird Ende August innerhalb des Bundesrates, nach der Herbstsession in der Sicherheitspolitischen Kommission des Ständerates besprochen und danach frühestens in der Wintersession im Ständerat behandelt. Der neue Sicherheitspolitische Bericht wird nicht wie geplant Ende dieses Jahres, sondern erst Ende 2016 erscheinen (siehe “Bericht über die Sicherheitspolitik erscheint 2016“, Bundesrat, 27.08.2014). Ob diese Reihenfolge auch wirklich Sinn macht, muss dann das Parlament entscheiden.

Es dauerte ganze drei Monate, bis Bundesrat Ueli Maurer am “Kasernengespräch” vom 19.08.2014 über die Auswirkungen der gescheiterten Abstimmung auf die Rüstungsbeschaffung Auskunft geben konnte (siehe auch Video weiter unten). Der Gripen E hätte gemäss Maurer einen Teil der Sicherheitslücken bei der Luftabwehr kompensieren sollen. Die momentan eingesetzten drei Systeme (Oerlikon 35-mm-Zwillingskanone, BL 84 “Rapier” und FIM-92 Stinger) sind wegen der zu geringe Wirkungshöhe (rund 3’000 m über Boden), der zu geringe Reichweite sowie wegen der Unwirksamkeit gegen Lenkflugkörper und Artilleriegeschosse den zukünftigen Anforderungen nicht mehr gewachsen (siehe “Projekt BODLUV 2020“, offiziere.ch, 21.07.2014). Der Ersatz der drei Systeme wird nun prioritär behandelt und die erste Etappe soll bereits nächstes Jahr mit dem Rüstungsprogramm 2015 ins Parlament gehen. Das neue Abwehrsystem mit Boden-Luft-Raketen soll bis zu 1,5 Milliarden SFr kosten.

Ebenfalls soll mit dem Rüstungsprogramm 2015 dem Parlament die Beschaffung des neue Aufklärungsdrohnen-Systems (ADS 15) beantragt werden. Die Typenwahl ist im Juni 2014 erfolgt und fiel auf die Hermes 900 HFE der israelischen Firma Elbit Systems (siehe auch “Erste Anzeichen für ein Rüstungsprogramm 2015“, offiziere.ch, 11.05.2012).

Die vier Kernforderungen der WEA.

Die vier Kernforderungen der WEA.

Bei den Kampfflugzeugen fokusiert sich das Eidgenössischen Departements für Verteidigung, Bevölkerungsschutz und Sport (VBS) auf den Ersatz der McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 C/D, welcher ab 2025 vorgesehen ist und bis 2027/2028 abgeschlossen sein soll. Gemäss Maurer sei deshalb zu prüfen, ob die F/A-18 C/D noch einmal für rund 500 Millionen aufgerüstet werden muss. Die Lücke der fehlenden Kampfflugzeuge wird voraussichtlich erst nach 2028 in Angriff genommen und dabei ein Gesamtbestand von (neu!) 50 Kampfflugzeugen anvisiert. Für die Northrop F-5 Tiger werden keine Investitionen mehr getätigt – sie werden definitiv ab 2016 ausser Dienst gestellt. Gemäss Maurer hätte eine Aufrüstung rund 1 Milliarde SFr gekostet – Geld, welches an anderer Stelle besser eingesetzt werden kann.

Abgesehen von der Luftwaffe sind in den nächsten Jahren auch am Boden und bei der Cyber Defence gezielte Investitionen nötig. Primär müssten die Kommunikationssysteme geschützt werden, beim Heer stehen unter anderem ein Minenabwehrsystem und der geschützte Mannschaftstransport im Zentrum. Interessanterweise ging Maurer nicht spezifisch auf die Beschaffung von Minenwerfer- und Artilleriesysteme ein. Alles in allem ist in den nächsten zehn Jahren mit einem Investitionsbedarf von rund 9 Milliarden SFr (exklusive Flugzeugbeschaffung!). Das Armeebudget reiche dafür aus, sofern es bei 5 Milliarden Franken (rund 6% des Bundesbudget) belassen wird.

Die WEA selber soll sich auf vier Kernforderungen fokussieren. Erstens sollen die Truppen wieder vollständig ausgerüstet werden. Zweitens gehe es darum, die Soldaten bestmöglich auszubilden, was insbesondere den Einsatz moderner Simulationsanlagen und eine intensivierte Kaderschulung erfordere (alle Kader verdienen ihren Grad wieder vollständig ab). Drittens wird eine höhere Einsatzbereitschaft angepeilt. Konkret heisst dies, dass ein Drittel der Armee innert zehn Tagen marschbereit sein soll. Viertens soll die Armee regional wieder besser verankert werden, was anhand der geringeren Mannschaftsgrösse und den zu schliessenden Immobilien jedoch eher ein Wunsch bleiben wird.

 
Zeitplan

Ende 2014 / 2015 Das neue Militärgesetz wird im Parlament beraten.
2015 Das Aufklärungsdrohnen-Systems (ADS 15; Hermes 900 HFE) und die erste Trange des neuen Luftabwehrsystems (BODLUV 2020) werden dem Parlament im Rüstungsprogramm 2015 beantragt.
2015-2020 Einführung des Aufklärungsdrohnen-Systems.
2016 Neuer Sicherheitspolitischer Bericht, welcher ab 2020 in die WEA (als ständiger Prozess) einfliessen wird.
2016 Ausserdienststellung der F-5 Tiger.
2016 Neues Militärgesetz.
2017 Vernichtung sämtlicher Kanistermunition abgeschlossen.
2017-2020 Schrittweise Umsetzung der parlamentarischen Vorgaben inkl Reduktion des Armeebestands auf 100’000 Mann.
2020 Start der Evaluierung des F/A-18 C/D – Ersatz.
Ab 2020 Einsatzende Panzerhaubitze M-109 -> Zukunft der Artillerie?
2025-2028 Ablösung der F/A-18 C/D.
nach 2028 Stopfen der Lücke im Bereich Kampfjets (anvisierter Gesamtbestand: 50 Kampfflugzeuge).

 
Quellen

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EU’s New Maritime Strategy is a Failure

by Felix F. Seidler. Felix is a fellow at the Institute for Security Policy, University of Kiel, Germany and runs the site Seidlers Sicherheitspolitik“. This article was published there at first.

Since June 24, the EU has a new Maritime Security Strategy (EMSS). However, due to the haggling for posts in Brussels, there has not been much fanfare about it. In January, this blog has outlined what should have been in EU’s new Maritime Security Strategy. Hence, we should have a look how far the EMSS meets the strategic needs. To set the record straight: EMSS is a failure – and here is why.

FGS Hessen (Top), USNS Pecos (Middle) and FS Siroco (Bottom).

FGS Hessen (Top), USNS Pecos (Middle) and FS Siroco (Bottom).

Where is America?
The US Navy will remain the world’s most powerful navy for the decades to come. Its vessels dominate all oceans. Any maritime security policies will not work without taking Washington’s positions into account. Hence, any country’s or organization’s maritime strategy must at least address one’s relationship to the United States. However, EMSS does not address the US at any time (sic!).

EMSS repeats general knowledge by saying that the “EU depends on open, protected and secure seas and oceans” (“European Union Maritime Security Strategy“, Council of the European Union, 24.07.2014, p. 1). Due to the massive decline of Europe’s navies, this job is largely done by the United States. Moreover, EMSS defines maritime security “as a state of affairs of the global maritime domain, in which international law and national law are enforced, freedom of navigation is guaranteed and citizens, infrastructure, transport, the environment and maritime resources are protected” (p. 3). In the maritime choke points (e.g. Strait of Hormuz, Strait of Malacca) most of these tasks are done by the US Navy and in the North Atlantic area also by NATO’s Standing Maritime Groups.

In consequence, a maritime strategy worth the term would have outlined what maritime relationship EU seeks with the United States. However, the EMSS does not clarify in any way how the triangle between EU, NATO and the US should work.

EU is now officially a regional power
Relevant theaters for the EU are the Arctic, the Mediterranean, the Indo-Pacific and meanwhile the Gulf of Guinea. In the EMSS, the EU says its strategy “covers the global maritime domain” (p. 4), while priorities are the North, Baltic and Black Seas, the Mediterranean, the Arctic and the Atlantic Ocean (p. 4). The Indian Ocean was only briefly addressed concerning the Horn of Africa and the Pacific Ocean was not addressed at all. EU has missed the two most relevant oceans, not to mention that the Indo-Pacific as a geopolitical concept was also overlooked. Hence it is clear that in reality EMSS does not cover the global maritime domain.

Moreover, it is very questionable how relevant the theaters of EMSS priority really are. Of course, the Mediterranean and Arctic are go great concern. Due the Ukraine Crisis, the Black Sea has gained increased relevance. Instead, the Atlantic Ocean, the North and Baltic Sea are not areas of major security concerns. The only relevant issues going on there are Russian warship transits and air force flights. However, France could change this situation with the delivery of the Mistrals, because we may find these LHDs one day in front of Norway’s or the Baltic State’s coasts for unfriendly visits.

It is clear that while Europe is talking about interests and ambitions in the global maritime domain, it has effectively made itself a regional power. On the one hand, this does not reflect current strategic trends in the maritime domain, but on the other hand, the regional power approach is a realistic assumption.

The Landing Helicopter Dock Dixmude (L9015) in Jounieh bay, Lebanon (mMrch 2012). It is the third French Mistral-class amphibious assault ship.

The Landing Helicopter Dock Dixmude (L9015) in Jounieh bay, Lebanon (mMrch 2012). It is the third French Mistral-class amphibious assault ship.

Maritime good governance is fantasy
Frequently, the EMSS is using the term of “rules-based good governance at sea”, which the EU aims to promote in the international order. Perhaps, somebody from Brussels should have talked to our friends from Vietnam or the Philippines. What is emerging in the Indo-Pacific is the Chinese way of maritime governance, which means that by a salami-slicing tactic more and more of Asia’s water turn under Beijing’s control.

Much closer to Europe, Russia’s multiple show-of-force operations in the Eastern Mediterranean make clear, too, that Moscow will also not promote “rule-based good governance at sea”. In fact, in an international system, which becomes much more anarchic due to increased armament, nobody except Brussels is talking about good governance. The EMSS completely ignores that fact that maritime great power competition is growing and that new non-European expeditionary navies are emerging, which are likely to affect areas of concern for Europe.

Instead, Europe extensively debates security challenges, which are well known (p. 7f.). After more than 20 years of speeches, political documents and research, everybody is aware that organized crime, piracy, terrorism, proliferation and environmental issues are security challenges. Agreeing on this is not worth a new maritime strategy.

An aircraft elevator on the Chinese aircraft carrier "Liaoning". The carrier has two elevators, which lift the aircraft between the flight deck and the aircraft hangar (Source: "Liaoning (Varyag) Aircraft Carrier", SinoDefence, December 2013).

An aircraft elevator on the Chinese aircraft carrier “Liaoning”. The carrier has two elevators, which lift the aircraft between the flight deck and the aircraft hangar (Source: “Liaoning (Varyag) Aircraft Carrier“, SinoDefence, December 2013).

Brussels’ wishful thinking
While we see an emerging maritime great power competition across the global, the EU has managed to agree on a maritime strategy, which completely ignores the role of the US Navies and the rise of other navies, in particular China and India. While talking about “illegal archaeological research” as a threat (p. 8), EMSS pays no attention to shifting maritime balance of power, although Europe’s most pressing strategic-maritime challenge is how it will adapt to these shifts.

By canting phrases like “good governance”, the EU does only one thing: It sends a message all across the world that Brussels lives in a world of wishful thinking. China, India, Russia, Brazil and even America have no interest at all in playing by the rules that EU adores to put in place. While Brussels enjoys its self-percepted moral superiority, the world has moved on.

BRICS’ New Development Bank has no maritime relevance. However, it sends one relevant signal. The BRICS, who all are working on expeditionary navies, have no interested anymore in playing by Western rules, but rather try to overcome them in the long-term future. This applies on EU’s rule-based good governance, too.

EU will not become a serious player in maritime security
My argument in January was that it is most that EU says what it does and does what it says. Good governance in maritime security is promise Brussels cannot keep. Therefore, globally the EU will not become a serious maritime player. There is no talk in the EMSS about maritime crisis management or expeditionary missions. Instead, most of the issues addressed are trivial, self-evident and already well known. Hence, the EMSS is a failure.

Finally, there is also some good news. The stated ambitions of a regional power focusing on well-known security challenges is something that EU can actually do – but not more.

Posted in English, Felix F. Seidler, International, Sea Powers, Security Policy | Leave a comment

Sea Control 46 & 47: Indonesia Primer & British vs. American Surface Warfare Officers

Last week, I was job-related occupied and had no time to review the newest episodes of Sea Control. Thus, I will review in this article the latest two.

On 9 July 2014, the 3rd Indonesian presidential election was held. Voters had to decide between Prabowo Subianto, a former Lieutenant General in the Indonesian National Armed Forces and the governor of Jakarta, Joko Widodo, who finally won the election. The incumbent president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was constitutionally barred from seeking a third term in office. The election of Widodo is a positive development 15 years after the first free elected president.

Indonesia is not only the largest state in South-East Asia, but also a stable, Muslim majority democracy. Nevertheless, according to Dr. Peter McCawley from the Australian College of Asia and the Pacific, Indonesia has still a long way to go. The biggest challenge for Indonesia is mass poverty – 11,7% of the population is below poverty line (CIA World Fact Book, 2012) and about 50% of the people have less than 2 US-Dollar a day. One place behind Palestine on rank 108, Indonesia has only a medium Human Development Index (HDI; UNDP, “Human Development Report 2014“, 24.07.2014, p. 161). Furthermore the infrastructure is underdeveloped – not only roads and ports, but also for example the water supply system.

The question remains if, with a newly elected president, Indonesia could do more in international affairs. Faced with domestic challenges, it would be a mistake for the international community to expect too much regarding Indonesia’s role in the regional security and stability. To answer that and other questions, Natalie Sambhi talks with Dr. Peter McCawley and Dr. Ross Tapsell, also from the Australian College of Asia and the Pacific, in episode 46 of Sea Control.

More information

Listen to episode #46 immediately

 

• • •

According to Wikipedia, modern naval warfare is divided into four operational areas: surface warfare, air warfare, submarine warfare and information warfare. Each area comprises specialized platforms and strategies used to exploit tactical advantages unique and inherent to that area. Surface warfare officers interdict other, adversarial ships to pass through a location (interdiction) and have dominance of force over a given area that prevents other naval forces from operating successfully (sea control). In episode 47, Matthew Hipple discusses with Lt. Jon Paris, an US Navy Surface Warfare Officer, the differences between the Royal Navy and US Navy processes of creating officers for their surface fleet, the nature of being a maritime “professional” and possible improvements for the US model. The discussion is based on Paris’ article “The Virtue of Being a Generalist, Part 1: A Day in the Life of Sub Lieutenant Snodgrass“.

More information

Listen to episode #47 immediately

 
Latest: Episode #47 – Archive: all episodes – Don’t miss any future episodes and subscribe on iTunes.

• • •

CIMSECThe Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC) is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank. It was formed in 2012 to bring together forward-thinkers from a variety of fields to examine the capabilities, threats, hotspots, and opportunities for security in the maritime domain. Check out the NextWar blog to join the discussion. CIMSEC encourages a diversity of views and is currently accepting membership applications here.

Posted in English, Indonesia, International, Sea Control, Sea Powers, Security Policy | Leave a comment

Personal Theories of Power: The Defense Industrial Base

by Mikhail Grinberg. He is an aerospace and defense strategy consultant in Washington DC. This article is part of the Personal Theories of Power series, a joint Bridge-CIMSEC project which asked a group of national security professionals to provide their theory of power and its application. We hope this launches a long and insightful debate that may one day shape policy.

Defense industrial base [hereafter "industrial base" or "defense industry"] issues are almost always discussed in a contextual vacuum — as if their history begins with World War II factories or with President Eisenhower’s 1961 warning of a growing military-industrial complex. But manufacturing materiel is as ancient as war itself. This essay attempts to first set a historical narrative for the defense industry and then to propose a theory of its power.

The Battle of Pavia, fought by Charles V against the Kingdom of France on the morning of 24 February 1525.

The Battle of Pavia, fought by Charles V against the Kingdom of France on the morning of 24 February 1525.

Marching through history
In 1528, Charles V of Spain hired a Genoese firm to supply and operate a fleet of galleys to help control the Italian coast. Due to their increased size and sophistication, the price of galleys grew. By 1570, this led his son Philip II to experiment with having court administrators operate seventy percent of Spain’s fleet. They failed to recruit experienced oarsmen or to provision equipment efficiently. The price of operating galleys doubled without any vessel improvements before the policy was reversed to private enterprise (David Parrott, “The Business of War: Military Enterprise and Military Revolution in Early Modern Europe“, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012).

In 1603, Charles’s grandson, Philip III paid 6.3 million ducats to Gonzalo Vaz Countinho, a private merchant, for 40 ships and 6,392 men. This eight year contract supplied Spain with its entire Atlantic fleet. Twenty-five years later, Philip IV contracted a Liège company to build cast-iron cannon and shot. By 1640, 1,171 canons and 250,000 shot were built. Until the end of the eighteenth century Spain was self-sufficient in iron guns (Parrot, “The Business of War”).

Contracting was not limited to the House of Habsburg. Governments have always relied on industry to provide materiel. It is not surprising then that in Michael Howard’s classic “War in European History” private enterprise plays a prominent role. Knights, mercenaries, merchants, and technologists shaped the history of Europe and thus its wars (Michael Howard, “War in European History“, New York: Oxford University Press, 1976).

An industry is born
For centuries supply caravans traveled with armies and small, decentralized, enterprises such as blacksmiths were ubiquitous. To profit, merchants repurposed equipment on commercial markets. Other proprietors assumed financial loss for military titles or, when victorious, profited from the spoils of war (Geoffrey Parker, “The Military Revolution: Military Innovation and the Rise of the West, 1500-1800“, 2nd Edition, Cambridge University Press, 1996).

The Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) changed the scale of conflict and the materiel required to conduct it. At last there were “large-scale profits to be made” from the “business of war” (Parrot, “The Business of War”). In Genoa, Hamburg, and Amsterdam centers comprised of weapons manufacturers emerged alongside merchants that specialized in capital, financing, and market access. A multinational arms industry was born that “cut across not just national, but confessional, and indeed military boundaries” (Howard, “War in European History”).

Berlin based Splitgerber & Daum was one firm born from this system. Formed in 1712, its two proprietors began as commissioned agents. They raised capital to supply munitions first to local arsenals in Saxony and eventually the Prussian army itself. Their growth can be attributed to an early observation: that success in their business “could be achieved only within the framework of a strictly organized mercantilist economy” (W.O. Henderson, “Studies in the Economic Policy of Frederick the Great“, Oxon: Routledge, 1963.). Patriotism became a marketing tool.

By 1722, Splitgerber & Daum was manufacturing “gun barrels, swords, daggers, and bayonets” at Spandau and assembling guns at Potsdam (Henderson, “Studies in the Economic Policy”). By mid-century it was a conglomerate. Frederick the Great, unlike his grandfather the “mercenary king“, was not an admirer of contractors. But after the Seven Years’ War ended in 1763 he guaranteed the company a “regular flow of government orders” as long as it remained loyal to Prussian interests (Christopher Clark, “Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947“, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006). He understood that in order to “raise Prussia to the status of great power required the services of merchants, manufacturers, and bankers” (Henderson, “Studies in the Economic Policy”).

Thirty Years' War: The victory of Gustavus Adolphus at the Battle of Breitenfeld (1631).

Thirty Years’ War: The victory of Gustavus Adolphus at the Battle of Breitenfeld (1631).

 
Pouvoirs régaliens
Twenty-six years later, the French Revolution would change Europe. Until then, states were the property of absolute sovereigns; after they became “instruments of powerful forces dedicated to such abstract concepts as Liberty, Nationality, or Revolution” (Howard, “War in European History”). As the nature of the State changed, so did its wars. French armies were now comprised of conscripts. In 1794, France attempted a planned economy. It reasoned that if people could be conscripted so could resources. The experiment failed due to inefficiency; manufacturing reverted back to private enterprise before the year’s end.

Industry would flourish during the Napoleonic Wars. From 1783 to 1815 two thirds of Britain’s naval tonnage was produced by private shipyards. And the Royal Navy began to experiment with managing industry. It sacrificed deals with large lower-cost providers to bolster small contractors that it considered to be more flexible. In the nineteenth century, the birth of nations launched state industries: private, but British shipyards; private, but German steelmakers.

Krupp would embody this development. Founded in 1811 in Essen (by then Prussia), it would first develop steel. By 1851 it became the primary provider of Prussian arms and, after German unification, the country’s preeminent defense firm. By 1902, Krupp managed the shipyards in Kiel, produced Nassau-class dreadnought armor, and employed 40,000 people (Harold James, “Krupp: A History of the Legendary German Firm“, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012).

Defense Industrial Base Power
Defense industries evolved from distributed providers, to unaligned enterprises, and finally to state-managed industries. They became consortiums of private or government-owned entities that translate the natural, economic, and human capital resources of a state into materiel (Merton J. Peck and Frederic Scherer M, “The Weapons Acquisition Process: An Economic Analysis“, Boston: Harvard University, 1962).

Workers on the assembly line at the Chrysler tank arsenal in Detroit during World War II (click on the photo for more images).

Workers on the assembly line at the Chrysler tank arsenal in Detroit during World War II (click on the photo for more images).

World War II stretched this logic to its absolute; all state resources were translated into the machinery of war. In 1940 the US only built 2,900 bombers and fighters; by 1944 it built 74,000 on the back of industry. From 1941 until the war’s end 2,711 Liberty ships were built; welded together from 250,000 parts, which were manufactured all over the country. And from 1942 to 1946, 49,324 Sherman tanks were built by 11 separate companies such as Ford and American Locomotive — built by the “arsenal of democracy” (Jacques S. Gansler, “Democracy’s Arsenal: Creating a Twenty-First-Century Defense Industry“, Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2011).

After the war, all countries began to balance national security objectives with resources via defense industrial base policies. A country’s industrial base capability could be measured as a combination of its scope (how many different cross-domain technologies it could develop), scale (at what quantity), and quality (battlefield performance).

The path to independence
National resources limit capability. Less capable countries are more dependent on allies than more capable ones (see Figure 1). As countries develop an industrial base their level of dependence decreases, but never goes away. This can be best understood through industry itself. Prime contractors rely on their supply chains. But a widget supplier is more dependent on its customer, than its customer is on it.

Figure 1 - Interdependence in the International System: Reflects a manufacturing view of the defense industrial base. Information technology capabilities (i.e., data PED or cyber) have made industrial base capabilities more accessible to smaller countries with less national resources. How this impacts the curve or a nation’s independence is worth further exploration.

Figure 1 – Interdependence in the International System: Reflects a manufacturing view of the defense industrial base. Information technology capabilities (i.e., data PED or cyber) have made industrial base capabilities more accessible to smaller countries with less national resources. How this impacts the curve or a nation’s independence is worth further exploration.

Industry developed a science for managing the inherent risk of dependence — supply chain management. However, corporate practices do not translate to international politics. “Country A” may find new allies; “Country B” may seek to act on its own. And all countries shift along the curve depending on their level of investment.

For example, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have invested into defense since the first Gulf War. They are now capable of “manufacturing and modernizing military vehicles, communication systems, aerial drones, and more”. Through offset agreements and foreign partnerships they have acquired “advanced defense industrial knowledge and technology” and are expected to rely on their “own manpower and arms production capabilities to address national security needs” by 2030 (Bilal Y. Saab, “Arms and Influence in the Gulf: Riyadh and Abu Dhabi Get to Work“, Foreign Affairs, 05.05.2014).

To borrow from Henry John Temple, Britain’s Prime Minister from 1859 to 1865, in the international system, states have temporary friends, but permanent interests (Erik Gartzke and Alex Weisiger, “Permanent Friends? Dynamic Difference and the Democratic Peace“, International Studies Quarterly, 2012, 1-15). Over time, it is thus in the interest of each country to increase its independence by investing into defense capabilities (see Figure 2).

Without such investment, “Country Z” capabilities erode. “Country Y” may attempt to sustain its capabilities, but as other countries develop new technologies, sustainment also leads to capability erosion. Only countries that invest into industrial bases over time are able to achieve political objectives independently.

Figure 2 - Ability to Achieve Political Objectives Over Time.

Figure 2 – Ability to Achieve Political Objectives Over Time.

 
One more supper
The United States has never shown, over a sustained period of time, “a coherent long-term strategy for maintaining a healthy domestic defense industry” (Todd Harrison and Barry Watts D, “Sustaining Critical Sectors of the U.S. Defense Industrial Base“, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, 2011). American defense budgets are cyclical; they have contracted after every war. Every time, the Pentagon intervened with reactionary strategies to manage industry. And each time, as one former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense noted, the Pentagon got it wrong (Tyrone C. Marshall Jr., “Pentagon Revamps Approach to Industrial Base, Official Says“, American Forces Press Service, 20.02.2013).

This was most evident in 1993 when the Pentagon held a dinner, known as the “Last Supper”, with top defense executives. It told them that after the Cold War, America no longer needed nor could it afford the same volume of materiel. But it left it up to industry to decide its overcapacity problem. Industry began to consolidate, based on rational business sense, but not a national strategy.

The 1990s were focused on consolidation, commercialization, and dual-use technology. Today, as budgets are again tightened, new strategies such as increased competition and international expansion have emerged. This may help save some companies, but how will it impact our ability to act independently over time?

In 2003, after decades of following a similar industrial base approach, the UK realized that it no longer had the design expertise to complete development of its Astute-class nuclear submarine (Harrison, “Sustaining Critical Sectors”). And in 2010 the UK’s Strategic Defence and Security Review, by listing the capabilities it will have, spelled out what it can no longer accomplish independently. Although the UK received American support for its submarine, what would happen if it did not?

As the US argues over budgets or program cuts, a theory of defense industrial base power could help set priorities. Commercial diversification or international expansion are tactics by which defense firms gain new revenues to save themselves in a downturn. We need a national defense industrial base strategy to maintain our capability for independent action.

• • •

CIMSECThe Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC) is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank. It was formed in 2012 to bring together forward-thinkers from a variety of fields to examine the capabilities, threats, hotspots, and opportunities for security in the maritime domain. Check out the NextWar blog to join the discussion. CIMSEC encourages a diversity of views and is currently accepting membership applications here.

The Bridge is a blog dedicated to strategy and military affairs. It was formed in 2013 to bring together forward-thinking junior to mid-grade officers and practitioners from a variety of fields to analyze and write about current and future national security challenges.

 

Posted in Armed Forces, English, Mikhail Grinberg, Security Policy | Leave a comment

The Islamic World’s Westphalian Moment

by Major Chad M. Pillai. Major Chad M. Pillai is an Army Strategist in the U.S. Army Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC). He recently served as a Special Assistant to the Commander, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the 38th Army Chief of Staff. Major Chad Pillai received his Masters in International Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in 2009. He recently published the “Return of Great Power Politics” at War on the Rocks.

The Peace of Westphalia was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October 1648 in Osnabrück and Münster. These treaties ended the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) in the Holy Roman Empire, and the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognizing the independence of the Dutch Republic. The image shows the Ratification of the Peace of Münster (Gerardter Borch, Münster, 1648; Source: Wikipedia).

The Peace of Westphalia was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October 1648 in Osnabrück and Münster. These treaties ended the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648) in the Holy Roman Empire, and the Eighty Years’ War (1568–1648) between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognizing the independence of the Dutch Republic. The image shows the Ratification of the Peace of Münster (Gerardter Borch, Münster, 1648; Source: Wikipedia).

Since the start of the “Arab Spring” in December 2010, there was hope real transformation would occur and the region would democratize for the betterment of the people, region, and the world. However, the promise of the “Arab Spring” has devolved into numerous conflicts with regional and global implications. The ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and now Gaza, where the ideals of self-determination, ethnic and cultural identities, and demands for greater economic and political freedoms will redraw the map of the region akin to Europe transitioning from its medieval feudal system to the rise of the Westphalian nation-state system. With the rise of ISIS in Syria-Iraq and Iran’s meddling in the region, the question for the United States is whether to become directly involved or allow the wild fire to burn out naturally by containing any potential spill-over.

Islam’s impressive early rise and expansion ushered in an era of scientific, cultural, artistic, and medical advancements. Islamic scholars preserved much of our knowledge of the ancient Greco-Roman world while Europe descended into the “Dark Ages” where the majority of academic literacy was reserved for the clergy. At its peak, the Islamic world stretched from Spain to modern-day India and its only real equal on the world stage were the Chinese. The Islamic world fostered an early age of globalization by serving as the global trading middlemen between Europe and the spice/silk trade from China and India. As the book “Mullahs, Merchants, and Militants” by Stephen Glain states, “a thousand years ago, the Arab Empire pioneered new technologies, sciences, art, and culture. Arab traders and Arab currencies dominated the global economy in ways Western Multinationals and the dollar due today. A thousand years later, Arab states are in decay.” The rise of the European nation-states and the “Age of Sail” initially led by Portugal and Spain, allowed Europe to bypass the overland trade routes from the West to the East which eventually led to the Islamic world’s economic and political decline. As the Islamic world declined, radicalism took root.

Expansion of the Islamic Caliphate (Source: Wikipedia).

Expansion of the Islamic Caliphate (Source: Wikipedia).

The Islamic world fractured as competition for the spirit of the Islamic World split among regional dynasties to include the Ottoman Empire, the Persians, and the Mughals of India. As the Islamic World fractured and the Chinese isolated themselves, Europe grew stronger as it began to colonize the “New World” and continued seeking new markets in Asia. By the end of World War I, the Islamic World had been conquered with the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire. The aftermath was the creation of artificial states whose boundaries overlapped tribal, ethnic, and linguist identities. After World War II, the decolonization of the region led to totalitarian regimes led by either monarchs or strongmen who gained loyalty through the barrel of the gun or bribes from oil profits. The rise of Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt gave rise to the belief in a return of a unifying “Arab Identity”; however, as my late SAIS professor, Fouad Ajami, so eloquently taught, this optimism gave way to pessimism as the realization of the true characters of such national figures as Muammar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, the al-Assad family, and the Saudi Dynasties revealed themselves. Strongmen and dynasties who have squandered the greatest natural resource on earth – oil – without adequate investment in their people to join the 21st Century global economy.

The 2003 invasion of Iraq served as an earthquake to the region as the centuries old Sunni rule was upended and replaced by a Shiite dominated government. Additionally, it gave rise to self-determination as groups like the Kurds demanded greater autonomy and recognition. The two benefactors of the earthquake were the Iranians (Persians) and the radical Sunni Islamist. Within the Sunni world, a civil war has emerged by what Fouad Ajami describes as “the fault line [...] between secularist, who want to keep faith at bay, and Islamist, who have stepped forth in recent decades to assert the hegemony of the sacred over the political.” (Fouad Ajami, “The Struggle in the Fertile Crescent“, Hoover Digest, Summer 2014, No. 3). Mixed with the millennium conflict between the Shiites and Sunnis, the Islamic world is now experiencing its “Thirty Years’ War” waged between Protestants and Catholics for mastery of Europe which led to the Westphalian system.

Kurdish peshmerga troops  on the front line in Khazer. U.S. warplanes bombed Islamist fighters marching on Iraq's Kurdish capital after President Barack Obama said Washington must act to prevent "genocide".

Kurdish peshmerga troops on the front line in Khazer. U.S. warplanes bombed Islamist fighters marching on Iraq’s Kurdish capital after President Barack Obama said Washington must act to prevent “genocide”.

Unfortunately for the people of the region, the Islamic World needs to undergo this violent transformation. This fire needs to burn itself out until a single victor emerges or a recognition that an Islamic Westphalian peace needs to be attained. For the United States and the West, it provides an opportunity to contain the fire by not directly intervening between the warring parties unless genocidal violence is about to occur, or if one of the warring factions becomes a direct threat. Despite the rise of ISIS and its desire for the reestablishment of a Caliphate, which is as unlikely as the Vatican reestablishing the Holy Roman Empire, it will be opposed by Iran and its proxies in Syria and Lebanon. Likewise, Iran finds itself surrounded by hostile Sunni Islamists in Syria-Iraq on its western front and eastern front if the Taliban returns to power in Afghanistan. Groups such as ISIS and Hezbollah, while independent minded, act as proxies between the Sunni world led by Saudi Arabia and Shiites led by Iran. At the same time, Turkey is attempting to reestablish its former Ottoman influence in the region as a counterweight to Iran while the Kurds attempt to break free from both camps as they attempt to forge their own independent national identity. The most likely result will be the recognition such as Thirty-Years War between Sunni Islamist and Iranians will weaken them until there is recognition for a lasting peace. A peace established that rejuvenates the Islamic World with new national borders drawn as new nations-states form around their unique tribal and ethnic identities. The current crisis in the Middle East is their means to settle their millennium old debate between Sunnis and Shiites, and undo the artificiality of their borders created by European conquerors. For the U.S., the best bet is to lead the efforts to contain and the peace that follows.

More information
Stephen M. Walt, “Do No (More) Harm“, Foreign Policy, 07.08.2014.

Posted in Chad M. Pillai, English, History, Security Policy, Terrorism | 1 Comment

America Has Itself to Blame for Europe’s Weakness

Last Monday, offiziere.ch published an article about Europe’s weakness. In his article, Sid Lukkassen focused his remarks on a socialisation of men in Europe which was influenced by feminism. The article thus provided some impetus for a critical discussion (see the manifold comments and my own response to the article).

This second article by Nick Ottens gives you another, different perspective on the issue. He argues that the European countries are not solely responsible for Europe’s military weakness; but that the United States deliberately wanted to keep Europe weak and divided after the Second World War.

Nick Ottens is the editor of the transatlantic news and commentary website Atlantic Sentinel and a contributing analyst for the geostrategic consultancy Wikistrat.

Dean Acheson

Former secretary of state Dean Acheson meets with President Lyndon B. Johnson at the White House in Washington DC, July 8, 1965 (LBJ Library)

As America struggles to cope with a revisionist Russia and unrest in the Middle East, distracting it from its desired “pivot” to East Asia, calls on Europe to rearm and “take responsibility” for the deteriorating security situation in its neighborhood can be heard louder and louder.

Such calls not only overestimate Europe’s political ability to muster a common defense and security policy; it overlooks America’s own efforts to keep Europe weak and divided. When taking this historical context into account, complaints of a feckless Europe seem somewhat ironic at best.

The United States never wanted the Europeans to get their act together on defense, Justin Logan, a foreign policy expert at America’s libertarian Cato Institute, pointed out in a Foreign Policy essay in June. “From NATO’s founding,” he wrote, “American policymakers were concerned both with preventing Soviet domination of Europe and with preventing the emergence of a ‘third force’ of Western European power divorced from Washington.”

This second objective of American postwar strategy in Europe appears to have been largely forgotten. American policymakers were quite explicit about their intentions. President Harry Truman’s secretary of state, Dean Acheson, told his diplomatic staff in Paris in 1952 that NATO should be prioritized in order to preclude the possibility of a European Union “becoming [a] third force or opposing force.” (see also: Christopher Layne, “Supremacy Is America’s Weakness“, Financial Times, 13.08.2003). National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy wrote to President John F. Kennedy in 1962 that it would be better for the United States if Britain spend its resources on conventional arms and “join with the rest of NATO in accepting a single US-dominated [nuclear] force.” The Americans were apprehensive about Charles de Gaulle’s attempts to position France — and, by extension, Western Europe — as a third pole in international relations, between the Soviet Union and the United States.

Even after the Cold War, in 1998, Bill Clinton’s secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, told NATO allies a common European security policy could only come about if it meant “no diminution of NATO, no discrimination and no duplication.” (“Transcript: Albright Press Conference at NATO HDQS December 8“, 09.12.1998).

Nixon De Gaulle

President Richard Nixon of the United States and Charles de Gaulle of France meet, March 2, 1969 (Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum)

As recently as 2003, President George W. Bush’s ambassador to NATO, R. Nicholas Burns, condemned European security cooperation as “one of the greatest dangers to the transatlantic relationship.”

Yet now Americans are upset Europe never got around to mounting a common defense?
A more reasonable American complaint involves Europe’s underspending on defense. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton warned last year that “NATO is turning into a two tiered alliance with shrinking percentage of members willing, and able, to pay the price and bear the burdens of common defense.”

Looking at the numbers, Clinton’s worry seems justified. Only six European NATO members spend 2 percent of their economic output or more on defense: Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom. And Britain and France are presently making reductions, leaving the former — America’s closest transatlantic ally — short of fighter planes to put on its new aircraft carrier.

America’s share of total NATO spending has only risen since the end of the Cold War, from roughly 50 percent before the Soviet Union collapsed to more than 75 percent today. But that has more to do with increases in American defense spending that European cuts. In the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the military’s budget grew from $291 billion to an $880 billion high in 2010, including financing of the war effort in Afghanistan.

Should the Europeans have kept up?
International terrorism is certainly a threat to European countries as well, evidenced by the 2004 Madrid train bombings and the suicide attacks in London the following year. But Europe was, and remains, far less convinced that the best defense is to occupy Middle Eastern states that produce terrorists. Let alone that there is a role for NATO in this.

David Cameron Barack Obama

British prime minister David Cameron, American president Barack Obama and European Commission president José Manuel Barroso observe a moment of silence in honor of NATO military personnel that have lost their lives, Lisbon, Portugal, November 19, 2010 (White House/Pete Souza)

Which is perhaps the main issue. Too often, America has seen and used its European allies as a means to give its own foreign policy an air of multilateralism — which put an unreasonable burden on them.

New NATO member states in Central and Eastern Europe have been more willing to share the burden. They needed something in return: American protection. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in March proved they were right to be concerned about future Russian aggression and it was a reminder of what NATO is for. As General Hastings Ismay, the alliance’s first secretary general, famously put it: “to keep the Russians out” and “the Americans in.”

Certainly, Europe could do more. But as American politicians learn to live with an increasingly isolationist electorate of their own, perhaps they can sympathize with their counterparts in Western Europe whose voters have long seemed — not altogether unreasonably — under the impression they face no security threats whatsoever? Due in no small part to American efforts to keep the region both free and divided, it has had no war in almost seventy years. Little wonder so many Western Europeans don’t see the point in keeping huge standing armies.

Posted in English, History, Nick Ottens, Security Policy | 1 Comment

The Geopolitical Crisis

by Sid Lukkassen. Lukkassen holds an MA in history and philosophy, is a Ph.D candidate and city councillor in the Netherlands (VVD). Autumn 2014, he publishes his book Avondland en Identiteit (Occident and Identity). This article was originally published in Dutch on De Dagelijkse Standaard, 28.07.2014.

Austro-Hungarian troops executing captured Serbians, 1917. Serbia lost about 850,000 people during World War I, a quarter of its pre-war population.

Austro-Hungarian troops executing captured Serbians, 1917. Serbia lost about 850,000 people during World War I, a quarter of its pre-war population.

• • •

Si vis pacem, para bellum
Geopolitics has fully returned. August 2014 – exactly one hundred years after the breakout of the First World War – the world is burning once again.

• • •

West-European democracies aim primarily at the expansion of personal wealth and at living convenient, relaxed lives. Exactly because we are so comfortable – even those who visit the food banks are rich compared to many inhabitants of Earth – the vastness of the abyss that the European peoples are marching towards hardly gets through to us. Europe discovers itself in a violent world – a world, it cannot understand or analyse. Half a century of feminised thinking is at the root of this.

Across the world the seeds of conflict are growing, as states seek to expand their power and influence. In the East stands Vladimir Putin. His endgame is to make Russia again into the superpower that it was during the era of the Soviet Union [1]. In the South looms Turkey, where Recep Tayyip Erdoğan considers having himself appointed as the new president. Turkey is a nation of many conflicts; with of Kurds, Armenians and Cypriots, to name but a few. Under the guidance of Atatürk and his legacy the culture of state has been secular for some decades. Now Turkey slowly slides towards Islamism [2]. The conflicts fuel a call for authority, for a strong hand that can maintain order and expand power. Further towards the Middle East are ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood and comparable Islamic (paramilitary) organisations. I could also address the recent clashes between pro-Palestine demonstrators and the police that have taken place in major European cities (for example: Sam Schechner, “Pro-Palestinian Protesters Clash With Paris Police Following Ban on Rally“, The Wall Street Journal, 17.07.2014). About China, which forms a new industrial power and where a structural shortage of women exists, I have not yet uttered a word.

The central problem is that we can no longer comprehend the mindset of our enemies and their motives. Palestinians and Israelis fight one another because of a territorial conflict underlain by ethnic and religious dividing lines. Postmodern Europeans cannot remotely fathom what this means. We have resided in the naive supposition – a mirage thrown up by the success of democracies after World War Two – that mankind was growing ever closer to unity and brotherhood. This happy conviction of the generation ’68 was strengthened by the writings of Loe de Jong, a Dutch historian who took on the role of judge over history: minorities were sacred by definition, authoritarian regimes were tainted per se.

The RMS Lusitania was a British ocean liner. In 1915 she was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat, causing the deaths of 1,198 passengers and crew. It influenced the decision by the US to declare war in 1917. In other words, in a very tense international military situation, the tragic destruction of one passenger vehicle can have far-reaching political consequences.

The RMS Lusitania was a British ocean liner. In 1915 she was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat, causing the deaths of 1,198 passengers and crew. It influenced the decision by the US to declare war in 1917. In other words, in a very tense international military situation, the tragic destruction of one passenger vehicle can have far-reaching political consequences.

But the fall of Srebrenica – where the politically-correct governing elite was proven outmatched by the brutality of the East-European warriors – brought fractures in this image (cf.: Laura Smith-Spark, “Dutch state found liable in deaths of more than 300 men in Srebrenica massacre“, CNN, 16.07.2014). Recently, Syria followed, where the Islamist rebels, possibly, represent a greater evil than the secular dictator Bashar al-Assad. The West hesitated, unable to decide who embodied good here and who evil; Putin made use of that confusion to outmanoeuvre the United States.[3] Now a passenger airplane has been brought down above Ukraine and the bitch that is reality smacks us in the face. The RMS Lusitania of the twenty-first century?

Four years ago, I attended a working conference of European Liberals. It was a debate about the formation of a European army. Once all participants had had their say, a German took the floor. He caught the whole of it in crystal clear language: “We like to see ourselves as the keepers of order and peacebringers of the world. But what we speak of here is building weapons, while the European population ages. This means in practice that we must go tell people that we can no longer take their parents into retirement homes because there is no money for it. Why? Because we spent that money bombing banana republics. People will never agree to purchase weapons if there is simultaneously a growing demand for care.” That brought the discussion to an abrupt end.

Europe is weak. Europe stands divided. Europe is economically a superpower, the biggest player on Earth. Still there is no capability to translate this power into geopolitical results. “Liberty Hall, live and let live, human beings are inherently good – let us prioritize free trade and economic integration, then world peace will follow by itself”, thus the motto of the sixty-eighters. “Feminised Europe”, I call this. West-European men are raised by a generation of women. Women who found violence, but nasty and vile. Any decent feminist would not allow her sons to play soldier outside: that would only lead to masculine stereotypes and macho behaviour. Soon, the last handful of machos the Netherlands has, will stand unarmed in Ukraine.[4] Russia can bomb Rotterdam – annihilate it on a whim. Just to show the magnitudes.

World peace is not around the corner! About 100 years after World War I, in a different region, in a different context, the same cruelty still exits. Photo: ISIS fighters executing prisoners in Iraq, 2014.

World peace is not around the corner! About 100 years after World War I, in a different region, in a different context, the same cruelty still exits. Photo: ISIS fighters executing prisoners in Iraq, 2014.

“Why weapons and armies? Nurseries and care homes we need!” – a statement that captures feminised Europe in a nutshell. With as its end result a fertility rate of the German woman of 1,3 (2,1 is required to maintain an equal population; see Camilia Bruil, Patrick van Schie and Mark van de Velde, “The Dynamics of Demographic Decline“, The Hague 2011, 73). For Europeans, soldiers are increasingly scarce and thus costly and precious [5].

At this moment I feel little trust in the future of our democracy. Last week, I had a conversation with a political scouting committee. “You have all the facts and know them very well,” I was told, “but when you get engaged in discussions of this kind, it becomes too technical. The average viewer cannot understand this. You must summarize your goal and your result in a single fat headline, or the voter will skip to the next channel. Journalists will walk away and make a story of their own. Politics is no longer about contemplating fundamentals. You must accept this or go do something else.” Because I refuse to bow down to this, I aim this treatise directly at you. I think that the circumstances necessitate a broader discussion about the geopolitical long term strategy of the Western civilization [6]. The way the balance of powers is currently shifting, the West-European and East-European peoples may very well have dire need of each other in the future.

Let us hope that all of this dies down quietly and that we can avert a larger conflict between East and West. We will then be able to concentrate on the greater challenge: the geopolitical decay of the European peoples and the rise of new powers.

• • •

Footnotes
[1] “Above all, we should acknowledge that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical disaster of the century. As for the Russian nation, it became a genuine drama. Tens of millions of our co-citizens and compatriots found themselves outside Russian territory. Moreover, the epidemic of disintegration infected Russia itself.” — Vladimir Putin in his Annual Address to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, April 25, 2005.
[2] Here I refer to a larger gradual process, symptoms of which include: trials against military personnel, the return of Islamic symbols within Turkey’s culture of state, imprisoning of secular lawyers, inciting speeches by Erdogan about integration to Turks living abroad, the sentence against Fazıl Say for his tweets about Islam.
[3] Initially, many in the U.S. wished to intervene in the Syrian civil war on behalf of the rebels. Russia, however, suggested the destruction of any chemical weapons owned by the regime of Assad. The U.S. accepted and a larger intervention in the conflict by the U.S. was thus prevented. For more information, see: Karen DeYoung, “How the United States, Russia arrived at deal on Syria’s chemical weapons“, The Washington Post, 16.09.2013.
[4] “Initially, the Netherlands and Australia had contemplated sending an armed mission to secure the wreckage of the Malaysian airliner and retrieve human remains that have not yet been recovered. But Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called off the idea of an armed mission after a ceasefire negotiated with the rebels around the crash site fell through.” — Spencer Kimball, “International mission to secure MH17 site fraught with risks“, The Transatlantic Observer, 28.07.2014.
[5] “Gut möglich, dass in zehn Jahren – Staatsschulden und demografischer Wandel grüßen – wieder vom kranken Mann Europas die Rede ist. Deutschland wird aber bis 2050 mehr als 1/4 seiner Bevölkerung verlieren.” — Felix Seidler, “Hegemon auf Zeit: Deutschland braucht eine Geostrategie“, Seidler’s Sicherheitspolitik, 14.06.2013.
[6] “Folglich wird Deutschland eine Kultur geostrategischen Denkens entwickeln müssen, will es langfristig Erfolg haben und Europa erfolgreich machen. Wir brauchen einen nationalen geostrategischen Konsens. Das heißt: Welche Räume sind uns wichtig? Zu welchem Grad? Welche Mittel wollen wir wo und wie einsetzen? Von den politischen Parteien darf man dabei leider nichts erwarten; vllt. mit Ausnahme von kleinen Teilen der Union. Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik bleibt ein Karrierekiller. Strategisches Denken lernt man in der Parteipolitik nur im Hinblick auf Karriereplanung, nicht in internationalen Fragen.” — Felix Seidler, “Hegemon auf Zeit: Deutschland braucht eine Geostrategie“, Seidler’s Sicherheitspolitik, 14.06.2013.

 

Posted in English, History, Politics in General, Security Policy, Sid Lukkassen | 27 Comments

Energy Security: 10+1 Principles

by Patrick Truffer. Patrick Truffer graduated from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs and completes a Master of Arts program in International Relations at the Freien Universität Berlin.

In Switzerland, economic policy is counted as one of eight security-political instruments (see also “Sicherheitspolitische Veränderungen und Konsequenzen für die Schweizer Armee – Teil 1“, offiziere.ch, 07.10.2010). Because of the increasing demand, the scarcity and the power-political significance of energy resources, Energy Security increasingly matters in the security-political area. Based on the writings by Daniel Yergin, this short essay will explain the basic principles of Energy Security and their implementation in the EU.

The European natural gas network: 186,132 km, 2,649 nodes (compressor and city gate stations, LNG terminals, etc.), 3,673 Pipeline segments. The existing network is shown in blue; planned pipelines in red. Population density is represented in dark green; larger urban areas are coloured light blue (source: R. Carvalho, L. Buzna, F. Bono, M. Masera, D.K. Arrowsmith and D. Helbing, "Resilience of natural gas networks during conflicts, crises and disruptions", presented by R. Carvalho at the Open University, April 4, 2014).

The European natural gas network: 186,132 km, 2,649 nodes (compressor and city gate stations, LNG terminals, etc.), 3,673 Pipeline segments. The existing network is shown in blue; planned pipelines in red. Population density is represented in dark green; larger urban areas are coloured light blue (source: R. Carvalho, L. Buzna, F. Bono, M. Masera, D.K. Arrowsmith
and D. Helbing, “Resilience of natural gas networks during conflicts, crises and disruptions“, presented by R. Carvalho at the Open University, April 4, 2014).

The International Energy Agency (IEA) defines “Energy Security” as “the uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price”, leaving open what “affordable price” actually means. In contrast, Yergin argues for a broad definition of Energy Security. For example, Energy Security depends on the standpoint of the observer: residential, commercial and industrial consumers are interested in a stable price for a secured supply, while producers are interested in a steady demand and a secure income etc.. On that basis, Yergin elaborates the different aspects of developing a concept for energy security.

In the scope of developing the concept, Yergin recommends ten basic principles for decision-makers. He focuses on the situation of the US, but his remarks could be analogously implemented to the conditions within the EU. In contrast to the US, the EU never had the illusion that their energy market could be independent from the global market. On the contrary, in the liberalized and globalized market, the EU sees advantages and is trying to promote these using the Energy Charter Treaty and the Third Energy Package.

The diversification of sources, supply routes and infrastructure is one of the main guarantors and the starting point of a concept for energy security. The efforts of the EU to change their energy mix in favour of renewable energy sources highlight the importance of diversification of all energy sources (Stacy Closson and Daniel Möckli, “Energy Security of the European Union,” CSS Analysis in Security Policy 3, no. 36 (June 2008)). The presence of a potentially independent, robust, inland energy industry as well as investment in research and development would be advantageous. However, disruptions in supply and service cannot be completely excluded. Strategic reserves, the provision of high quality information and a contingency to bridge disruptions are therefore necessary. A liberal energy market ensures that supply and demand remain in balance. This does, however, entail price increases, which could counter the definition of energy security. An ideal energy market would also require a well-developed distribution and transportation network so that energy can be traded worldwide. Ultimately, increased demand can only be covered if funding and production capacity can also be increased. In an ideal situation, an interdependence of consumers and suppliers would be created so that both will be interested in the secure flow of energy. However, the current tensions between the EU and Russia indicate that this does not represent a long-term guarantee. The cooperative relations among importing states is therefore more important, something which is supported by the IEA, for example.

The 10 principles of Energy Security by Daniel Yegin

  1. Diversification (most important principle).
  2. Liberalisation (“there is only one oil market”).
  3. The need of a security margin.
  4. A well functioning energy market.
  5. Building relationships with exporting nations.
  6. Cooperation among importing nations.
  7. The importance of high quality information.
  8. A robust domestic industry.
  9. Research and development.
  10. Planning for disruptions.

— based on Daniel Yergin, “Energy Security and Markets,” in Jan H. Kalicki and Goldwyn David L. Energy and security: strategies for a world in transition, (Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2013, 2nd edition): 69–87.

The EU is dependent on the import of energy sources, with Russia being by far the largest supplier of crude oil (35%). Russia also plays a key role in the EU’s import of natural gas (30%) and solid fuels (26%; source: European Commission, “EU Energy in Figures, Statistical Pocketbook,” 2013, 24). Norway, the second most important supplier of natural gas (28%), would not be able to compensate for a loss of Russian natural gas (Tord Lien, “Norwegen dämpft Hoffnungen auf erhöhte Gaslieferungen nach Europa,” EurActiv.de, 31 March 2014). Nevertheless, energy security is a relatively new policy area for the EU. For example, strategic energy reserves were the responsibility of the individual member states or were regulated by other international or regional organisations. For example, NATO has specified that its member states ensure a bridging of three months for major energy resources and the IEA direct their Member States to maintain strategic crude oil reserves equal to 90 days’ import levels. Only since 2013 has the Council of the European Union required each member state to maintain crude oil reserves equal to 90 days’ import levels or 61 days’ consumption levels (the greater quantity applies). The European Commission addressed energy security extensively for the first time only in March 2006 as part of the “Energy Policy for Europe“, which focused on diversifying energy sources, liberalising the energy market, increasing the solidarity of the Member States in the supply security, increasing energy efficiency (an important area ignored by Yergin) and promoting research. The liberalisation of the energy market has been driven by the adoption of the third energy package, which calls for a separation of the production, transport, and distribution operations of the energy companies operating in the EU (David L. Goldwyn, “Refreshing European Energy Security Policy: How the U.S. Can Help“, Brookings Institution, 18 April 2014).

Natural gas pipelines, LNG terminals and storage caverns in Europe.

Natural gas pipelines, LNG terminals and storage caverns in Europe.

Further measures for increasing energy security could be realised in late 2009 with the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon, which further extended the powers of the EU in this area. For example, the European Commission’s European Energy Programme for Recovery supports the renewal and expansion of energy infrastructure within the EU (European Commission, “Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the implementation of the European Energy Programme for Recovery“, COM (2010)191 final, 27 April 2010). It also includes improvements to the natural gas infrastructure to improve the flow of gas among the member states and construct LNG terminals for the import of gas from the US. The LNG terminals will begin operating between 2016 and 2020, which should enable the diversification of gas imports (David L. Goldwyn, “Refreshing European Energy Security Policy: How the U.S. Can Help“, Brookings Institution, 18 April 2014).

The implementation of measures to increase energy security in the EU is only just beginning. In 2010, the European Commission decided that the measures taken so far were inadequate and formulated a revised energy strategy for the period up to 2020. Increasing energy efficiency was given top priority followed by liberalising the energy market, developing infrastructure, increasing research efforts, promoting renewable energy and strengthening the energy aspects of foreign policy (European Commission, “Energy 2020: A strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy“, COM(2010) 639 final, 10.11.2010).

Conclusion
The ten principles of Yergin include the key points for formulating a strategy to ensure energy security. These are recognisable in the strategies of the EU. The current implementation, however, is still in its infancy, not least because the EU first acquired the necessary authority with the Treaty of Lisbon. Diversification efforts are particularly challenging, as these require large investments in infrastructure and renewable energy. “Energy 2020″ will significantly enhance energy efficiency, an aspect not considered by Yergin, but which should be incorporated as an eleventh principle.

References
Daniel Yergin, “Energy Security and Markets,” in Jan H. Kalicki and Goldwyn David L. Energy and security: strategies for a world in transition, (Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2013, 2nd edition): 69–87.

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