A few thoughts on a future UK Defence policy post- Brexit

People are asking a number of questions about UK defence policy, including its priorities, the amount of funding and if the approach is right for current and future needs. Some of the questions asked include:-

  • Has defence spending been affected by the EU “White Elephant”virus, e.g. like huge nuclear power stations and HS2?
  • Why were 2 huge carriers built at a cost of £6.2bn built when there aren’t enough patrol boats for the UK coast?
  • Why are troop numbers being reduced when more are urgently needed?
  • Why is so much being spent on huge new nuclear submarines, which are not used?
  • Is the procurement of expensive equipment being used to buy votes in elections?  – and at the expense of defence capability?

The defence budget currently amounts to £45bn. I believe it cold be spent in a more effective manner. Let us start by looking at current trends and recent events.

Recent events:

  • Afghanistan, Iraq: High altitude precision bombing – no aerial combat
  • Troops on the ground – insufficient to win the peace, relying on US troops, who are not natural country builders
  • Mediterranean: Massive influx of illegal people across the sea into Europe– hopeless response
  • The decline in the numbers of UK combat aircraft: 2006 = 220, 2015 = 149
  • The decline in the total number of UK Troops: 1990 = 120,000, 2017 = 80,000

Areas needing defence capability now:

  • Humanitarian aid
  • Natural disasters
  • Smuggling (all types)
  • Piracy.

Are these concerns being addressed by current defence spending?

During the Cold War, up to 6% of GDP was spent on defence. It is now down to 2% – currently £45bn. It includes the following:-

  • New large Trident submarines – 4, £31bn (£7bn each) with £10bn contingency for overruns
  • New F35, approximate cost £100m to £150m each, 17 ordered already, total expected to be 138, total over £13.8bn
  • New Wildcat helicopters – £26m each, 28 in total
  • New Destroyers: Type 45, current 6 vessels costing £1bn each, speed 35mph, range 7000 miles, more planned
  • Frigates, anti-submarine, type 26: 8 on order, speed 26 knots, range 7000 nmi,
  • Type 31 warships (smaller) : 5 planned to be built
  • New aircraft carriers: 280m (920ft) long, 9 decks, speed 26 knots (30 mph, 49 km/h), range 10,000 miles, troops 250 to 900, crew 769, berths 1600, 40 to 70 aircraft,

It sounds very impressive, but is still a defence cut in real terms. Has our cutting back militarily been a factor behind the Russian annexation of Crimea? – or the refugee influx?  What is more, our defence spending duplicates areas where the American military has similar resources – and vastly more than we  have or are planning to order.

Instead, I am proposing a complementary defence spending approach rather than duplicating the Americans. This would also help developing countries save on their defence spending?

Simpler alternatives – increasing capability

  • Nuclear deterrent: switch to 4 mini submarines, with 2 missiles each, regular 8 hour shifts into North Sea, ability to stay at sea for 4 weeks, operating deep enough not to be spotted from the air. Aim to construct these for £250m to £500m each, saving £29bn in procurement spending
  • Develop an increased ground launched missile capability
  • Develop air launched cruise missiles as well. These would cost around £1.5m each, with a speed of 550 mph and a range of 1550 miles
  • Improve ABM (Anti Ballistic Missile) capability

Total saving with this revised missile programme would be around £25bn

  • Order no more F35s, saving £13.8bn
  • Buy Hawk planes (lightweight fighter) carry up to 3000kg (6600lb), speed 638 mph, range 383 mi (617 km), see if a short take off version can be built – for aircraft carriers, £18 million each, buy 300 Hawks, approximate cost £6bn
  • Buy an additional 50 Wildcat helicopters at a total cost of £1.4bn
  • Buy simplified aircraft carriers, 10 or more. Adopt a creative approach in the specification and leave off the bells and whistles. The vessels should be fast and able to carry 20 aircraft. Ideally, these should cost no more that £250m a piece. Start with answer: flight deck length and width to withstand combat aircraft landing, room for 20 aircraft, crew, up to 200 personnel – troops and/or civilians, lightweight. Blue sky thinking: 4 to 6 hydrofoils, holding up a lattice network of beams, supporting a landing deck and 1 deck for aircraft, speeds up to 70mph (110 km/h), with defensive armaments, and redundancy built in in case of attack. Usual catapult and also arresting wires. There are many other ideas which could be explored here.

Total cost £2.5bn

  • Patrol boats, hydrofoil: 20 fast hydrofoils with armaments, £10m each. Total £200m
  • Landing craft – to deal with the problem of illegals
  • Buy more new Tornadoes (£30m each), new Harriers (£30m each), Jaguars (£15m each) Chinook £15m each) Apache (£15m each). Perhaps turboprop planes for troop transport. Let the Americans buy F35s.
  • Troops: We currently have 80,000 plus 35,000 reservists. We should be aiming for 200,000 troops plus reservists.

Military spending among developing countries is high, e.g. Africa $40bn (Approx £35bn) a year. These valuable funds could be better used for schools, health, transport and the environment. Perhaps the UK could use the increase in aircraft and troops to offer – as a part of overseas aid – help with defence, so that developing country funds can be redirected to more useful ways in building their economies?

In summary

  • Cancelling: 120 more new F35 aircraft purchases, cancelling the new Trident submarine order. Saving £38bn.
  • Buying: 300 Hawk aircraft, 4 mini submarines, increasing full time troop numbers from 80,000 to 200,000, trialling new ideas for lighter and faster aircraft carriers, new fast patrol boats and hydrofoils.

The EU model of wasting funds on useless projects is not a good role model for UK or even European defence. With Brexit, we have an opportunity to liberate the UK from the EU way of thinking and develop a more effective defence capability.

The aim of this article is to highlight possible new ways to approach defence spending which are useful and have an immediate use in the wider world. Copying what the Americans can do with a bigger budget has left huge gaps in our defence capability. The UK’s expertise of winning the war and the peace has been compromised. A more practical approach to defence spending and simpler engineering, can make an improvement both to our own defence and also to our capacity to offer humanitarian assistance.

Hugo van Randwyck

 

Photo by grobertson4

Five concerns for the UK arising from the EU Defence Union

By David Banks. With thanks to The Bruges group on whose website this appeared previously.

There are five main areas which the EU has been pursuing in order to establish what it calls an ‘EU Defence Union’ across the 28 EU countries, including the UK.

  1. Procurement policy and incentives
  2. Finance
  3. Intelligence, Battlegroups and PESCO
  4. UK defeat over HQ
  5. Contradicting statements over UK involvement.

Since 23rd June 2016, the UK has made commitments in each of these above areas of defence with no debate in the British Parliament. Each one is described in more detail below:

  1. Procurement policy and incentives

The UK has agreed to…

    More power for the EU to enforce EU-wide tendering in defence contracts

    An expanding remit for the EU over defence industrial strategy and joint-built assets

    An expanding remit for the EU in purchasing and conduct of joint-owned assets

    Incentives for UK defence companies to engage long-term with the developing EU-wide industrial strategy

The only reason the UK is permitted to build its own aircraft carriers is by using an exemption to the EU Procurement Directive. The exemption is known as the security clause (Article 346) and is permitted when a member state feels there is a national security reason to reserve production for its domestic market. The European Commission is tightening application of the clause following a review in 2016 and has gained the consent of member states to do so. (EU Council Conclusions, 14 November 2016)

The EDA and EU Commission have a benchmark of achieving 35% pan-EU equipment procurement.

(EDA Benchmarks)

UK ministers have approved measures that allow the European Defence Agency to have a greater role in standardisation and certification. (EU Council conclusions in Security Defence, 18th May 2017)

These measures would amplify EU influence in the trading conditions of the defence sector and an additional tool for the enforcement of policy. For example, certification and mutual recognition of standards might be used as a barrier to entry to UK exporters in years ahead in the same way that EU ‘standards’ produce a barrier to non-EU exporters in other sectors. Conversely, certification and standards could be used as an incentive for UK manufacturers and policymakers to adhere to EU policy. Either way, the changes bring a measure of additional control to the European Commission.

The EU refers to EU defence industrial strategy as the European Defence Technology and Industrial Base (EDTIB) and has more recently started using the term ‘Single Market for Defence’. With the objective of ‘reducing duplication, the EU intends to integrate this market under coordinated joint projects and an EU-controlled policy environment. The aim is for the resulting combined EU defence industrial strategy to serve the needs of the EU’s ‘new level of ambition’ in a military context.

This above agreement on standardisation and certification is an additional method of directing the integration of the EDTIB beyond the two already mentioned previously: 1. enforcement of the pan-EU Procurement Directive and 2. financial incentives via the European Defence Fund.

The EU Commission could conceivably tell the UK after Brexit that ‘access’ to its newly coordinated ‘Single Market for Defence’ requires adherence to the Procurement Directive. Also, now that UK participation in the European Defence Fund’s imminent incentive programmes is being concluded, UK ‘withdrawal’ could be viewed by the EU as an act that warrants retaliation or requires UK concessions.

  1. Finance

The UK has agreed to…

    The creation of the EU’s first central military budget, the European Defence Fund

    The use of European Investment Bank money (16% UK shareholding) for the European Defence Fund

    The creation of a Cooperative Financial Mechanism (CFM) to augment the European Defence Agency

    The creation of a Coordinated Annual Review of Defence (CARD), a mechanism which sees the EU offer financial incentives for adherence to EU planning over member state defence budgets.

The European Defence Fund will begin with a budget of only a few billion euros, but this money will be dangled in front of policy makers and defence companies to steer them towards joint activity and a policy environment that is under EU authority.

Millions of euros have already been placed into an “unprecedented level of engagement” with defence companies including defence industry conferences in the UK financed by the EU Commission, which started in April (Southampton) and are continuing throughout 2017 (Bournemouth etc).

UK companies are being invited to bid for the first tranche of European Defence Fund money in June 2017, via an EU Commission / EDA programme known as PADR (Preparatory Action for Defence Research). The programme is even being promoted by the UK Defence Solutions Centre, a UK-Government-funded unit which was formed to boost output of UK defence companies.

According to the EU Commission and EEAS, the Cooperative Financial Mechanism “will strengthen the European Defence Agency” as a central EU defence capabilities tool. The mechanism appears to be separate to the European Defence Fund. It is designed to manage member states’ money in a joint budget and will be spent on EDA research projects, military units conjoined under Permanent Structured Cooperation and joint assets.

This added financial firepower for the EDA overrides many years of policy by UK ministers who argued that the EDA’s scope and budget should be restricted. (European Defence Agency ministerial steering board, 18th May 2017)

The UK Government has a 16% (EUR 39 billion) stake in the EIB, the same as Italy, France and Germany (the four largest shareholders). The EU Commission is changing the lending criteria of the EIB to ensure it supports the European Defence Fund. The EIB is an instrument of the EU and operates in adherence to EU policy. There has been no confirmation of whether the UK will withdraw from the EIB, but to remain a shareholder would mean a level of participation in EU policy. The EIB has placed funds into infrastructure projects in the UK including Crossrail and the Manchester Metrolink.

The UK’s consent to EIB funding for UK defence industries provides the EU with additional locks on UK participation in EU defence policy and on its EIB shareholding. These additional locks were made after the UK’s referendum on EU membership and add to the task of unravelling these links after Brexit.

  1. Intelligence, Battlegroups and PESCO

The UK has agreed to…

    An increased size, scope and infrastructure of the EU’s military intelligence agency as a central ‘hub’.

    Participation in a 2019 EU Battlegroup under EU Council control. Approval given pre-referendum. No confirmation from MOD about whether it is cancelled or continuing.

    Drop objections to Permanent Structured Cooperation (first version of permanent military unification) by willing member states. MOD will not confirm whether the UK is staying out or not.

The European External Action Service (the EU’s ‘foreign ministry’) has put forward plans to grow the role of its intelligence agency known as the Single Intelligence Analysis Capacity (SIAC). (EU Council conclusions in Security Defence, 6 March 2017 and 18 May 2017).

SIAC is composed of the EU Military Staff Intelligence Directorate and the ‘civilian’ EU INTCEN. The EU Council agreed to develop them as an EU “hub for strategic information, early warning and comprehensive analysis”.

Member States, including the UK, have been asked to consider initiatives and ways to interact with these plans. (Security and Defence Implementation Plan, 14 November 2016).

The UK was scheduled to lead an EU Battlegroup in Jan-Jun 2019. The MOD will not state whether Britain’s participation will be cancelled or proceed.

The UK has agreed to…

 The reordering of EU agencies to include ‘permanent planning’ of EU defence missions and a ‘coordinated military command chain’.

    The creation of a permanent military HQ with staff responsible for strategy and operations. It was kept as a non-executive function of the EU, but executive power over EU military developments rests with the EU Council and EU Commission.

    Drop its objections to the wordings that describe the new HQ (May 2017) because previous approval in March 2017 had made later objections invalid.

The EU Council, with UK consent, has agreed to reorder the European External Action Service to “develop the necessary structures and capabilities for the permanent planning and conduct of CSDP missions and operations” with “distinct but coordinated civilian and military chains of command”.

These will work under the political control, strategy and leadership of the EU Council’s Political and Security Committee.

(EU Council Conclusions, 14th November 2016, with UK ministerial approval. Confirmed by EU Council heads of government conclusions, 15th December 2016)

The plans include the creation of an operational HQ, the Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC). While the UK made an issue of the MPCC being prevented from having executive powers, this was a pointless fight as the executive power over the MPCC’s deployments already resides with the EU Council.

(EU Council Conclusions, 6th March 2017. Confirmed by EU Council conclusions, 18th May 2017)

  1. Contradicting statements over UK involvement.

The UK has agreed to…

    Participate in measures that apply to UK defence without the approval of Parliament, nor even a debate.

    Participate in developing plans until at least March 2019, possibly March 2022 or even longer.

    Provide the EU with several new powers over UK defence and a new bargaining chip for the EU.

    Accept measures that mean a more complicated and time-consuming withdrawal process that the UK didn’t face before the first of the EU Defence Union agreements in November 2016.

    Provisional statements on PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation) while keeping open the prospect of UK participation in PESCO and the EU Council-controlled EU Battlegroups in 2019.

Each time new agreements are made, additional hours will need to be spent on severing EU ties and controls. New agreements are currently being formed in finance, intelligence, regulation, procurement strategy, joint assets, joint missions and research. This will impact upon several departments of government.

The duration of UK involvement might be expected to be until March 2019 (the anticipated end of Britain’s membership) and possibly March 2022 (end of a three-year transition deal which requires adherence to EU policy) and potentially even longer. Until then, even adhering to new EU measures (in finance, intelligence, regulation, procurement strategy, joint assets, joint missions and research) will add complexity to the UK’s exit negotiations, potentially extending the duration of the exit process.

Not a single one of these agreements at the EU Council has ever been mentioned in the House of Commons, let alone subject to a vote by MPs. All defence agreements at the EU Council take the UK further down the road of military integration and have had an immediate effect regarding UK participation. The EU Commission immediately embarked on a dialogue with UK defence companies about incentives to participate in EU defence integration projects.

EU Council conclusions are considered by the EU commission to have been co-authored by UK diplomats. Therefore, if a minister does not raise objection during an EU Council meeting, conclusions are considered to represent a joint direction, or consent, of all member states.

The EU Commission has stated that agreements the UK enters as a member state “must be carried out in full” while the UK remains subject to the EU’s treaties.

In addition, the EU has said it is not willing to even begin to discuss UK withdrawal from EU defence arrangements until a withdrawal agreement has been settled and “all other matters” agreed, because defence is “too important to be a part of the main negotiations”. This means the UK will be obliged to adhere to these rapidly developing measures for at least two years to 2019 and there is a real possibility of the UK being tied in for an additional transition period of three years up to 2022.

The Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan wrote to the European Scrutiny Committee chairman in December 2016 to inform the committee of the plans and agreements the UK was entering, as is required under UK Parliamentary protocols. Sir Alan Duncan told the committee there were parts of the Security and Defence Implementation Plan (SDIP) which his team ‘liked’ and no decision had yet been made over the quantum of UK involvement and for how long. This may be contrasted with the Foreign Secretary’s October and November statements that the UK did not wish to prevent the EU27 from participating in agreements in which the UK had no interest itself in participating.

The European Scrutiny Committee marked Sir Alan Duncan’s letter and corresponding agreements as ‘politically important’ to have them discussed in the relevant Parliamentary Select Committees of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Exiting the EU.

Meanwhile, the EU Commission will know it may now employ all of the UK’s recent set of agreements in defence as a bargaining chip, a threat, a delaying tactic and a deepening ‘binding agent’ to EU membership. It is conceivable that EU officials will cite the example of UK defence companies who have the promise of European Defence Fund money as a means of influencing or undermining perceptions among UK observers or negotiators in the realm of defence.

Finally, an answer we received from the MOD (19th May 2016) said that the British government had not ruled out joining PESCO in spite of its control by EU Council and CSDP:

“Decisions on UK engagement with CSDP after we leave the EU, including with initiatives such as PESCO, will be part of the wider negotiations.”

A UK Rep spokesperson had earlier (18th May 2016) told us the UK might participate in the EU Battlegroups after Brexit, which is also controlled by the EU and CSDP.

Photo by Doppeladler

Germany will never, ever pay more than now for NATO

This post originally appeared in the Raedwald blog. The author lives in Austria but originally hails from Norfolk.

Many of us will have grown up with the BAOR (British Army of the Rhine) – either as serving soldiers or like myself as army brats. There was a time when Gütersloh, Fallingbostel or Sennelager were more familiar to us than Slough, Reading or Peterborough. The BBC even had a forces radio programme, and knowing at least half a dozen BFPO numbers was par for the course. Well, BAOR disappeared without notice in 1994. The 25,000 remaining troops in Germany became BFG, now down to about 4,000 and scheduled to pull out completely by 2020, almost exactly in line with Brexit.

The change came with the fall of the wall in 1989. Before then, our lads were to play a vital role in forming a heroic but utterly pointless sacrifice in holding up the Soviet advance through Germany to France for about 72 hours. Then we all thought it an essential sacrifice. Now we wonder, why bother? Perhaps France and Germany would be better off under Russian rule. Why shed British blood in their defence?

When Trump abstained from the traditional annual G7 offering of American blood in Germany’s defence last week he too must have felt the same. Germany has been financially raping Europe for thirty years, sitting on a vast pile of gold as she threatens, bullies and manoeuvres others to pay for everything, like some nightmare dining partner endlessly disputing the division of the restaurant bill.

Turkey is now a Salafist terrorist nation and belongs nowhere near NATO. In bullying the Netherlands into ignoring the veto of the Dutch people and extending full EU privileges to Ukraine, the EU has just given Putin another poke with a sharp stick. The UK will find it hard to mobilise even 6,500 troops – we need a standing army of 100,000 to put an adequate force in the field. Germany’s armed forces are to all purposes entirely useless. Amidst the ruins of NATO (and oh yes it’s now finished in all but name*) there’s only France to defend the EU.

Merkel may gamble that she’ll get away with it, and perhaps she will. But without British and American wealth and blood to pay for it. We’re done.

*Also proving the rule that corporations are most likely to fail at the point at which they open a spanking glossy new multi-billion dollar HQ

Defence issues – concerns to put to candidates

We have produced questionnaires on the subjects of fisheries and civil liberties which were available for anyone wanting to raise issues with their candidates during the General Election campaign. Although we will not be producing a similar questionnaire on defence issues, there are a number of area of concern, which have been highlighted by Veterans for Britain. These include:-

  • Fears that the UK, on Brexit will still be giving away some of its defence decision-making to the European Union.
  • Fears that the UK may concede any control of its defence policy to the EU to win favour as part of the Brexit negotiations.
  • A concern that the European Commission, despite Brexit, may try to engage directly with UK defence manufacturers to build a common EU defence industry
  • A concern that upon independence, the UK may remain part of an EU Defence Single Market, under the auspices of the EU Defence Fund.
  • A determination that on Brexit, the UK will not be part of a common EU military command structure
Our attention has recently been drawn to an article by David Banks of Veterans for Britain which is well worth reading in full. Mr Banks quotes disturbing evidence that EU-UK military co-operation has actually stepped up since the Brexit vote. With our foreign policy naturally diverging from that of the EU once we leave, this is extremely worrying as the policy being pursued by Michael Fallon seems to be a running down of the UK’s defence autonomy.
With the Conservatives’ lead in the polls dipping, Mrs May could do worse than to give us a clear indication that “Brexit means Brexit” in defence as well as in other areas. We at CIB are receiving all too many comments from people concerned that a Conservative victory means Brexit betrayed. Some reassurance at this critical time would not go amiss.

Photo by 7th Army Training Command

Sorry, Douglas, but you are a bit premature

Douglas Carswell resigned from UKIP last month and now sits as an independent MP. On his resignation, which was announced a matter of days after Mrs May triggered Article 50, he said “It’s a case of job done…..we have achieved what we were established to do.”

In other words, he felt that UKIP had served its purpose – a theme to which he returned yesterday during a speech at an event hosted by the Institute for Government:- “I think we’ve done our job, and I think we should award ourselves a medal, or a knighthood, and take pride that we’ve won….if you’ve won a battle or a war you disband and you go home”.

But is Mr Carswell right in saying that the job is done? Winning the referendum last June against all the odds was an amazing achievement and the triggering of Article 50 last month to begin our divorce from the EU was a truly significant milestone for our country, but there are still hard campaigns to be fought in the next two years if Brexit is truly to be Brexit.

Many readers will be aware of the campaign by Fishing for Leave to  see a swift denunciation of the 1964 London Convention and the exclusion of all CFP-related legislation from the “Great Repeal Bill” so that we will regain control of all our waters once we leave the EU. While there have been a few positive signs that the Government is listening, a long, hard battle will need to be fought if we are to secure a Brexit that truly means Brexit for our fishing industry.

An equally fierce battle will need to be fought to extricate the UK from the European Arrest Warrant. Chief Police Officers support continuing UK participation in this odious scheme and they have the backing of the Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Last month, the Campaign for an Independent Britain hosted a meeting where legal expert Torquil Dick-Erikson highlighted the grave flaws in the EAW and mentioned some of the miscarriages of justice which it has engendered. Thankfully, there is a growing awareness of this issue among Leave-supporting Tory MPs and Peers, but it will not be easy to force Ms Rudd to climb down.

A third critical issue is foreign policy. Our friends in Veterans for Britain are seriously concerned about our being far too closely linked to the EU’s military policy even after Brexit.  On independence, our foreign policy will inevitably diverge from that of the EU. There may well be instances when we will wish to work alongside them, but we need to keep our distance from the European Defence Agency if Brexit is truly to mean Brexit.

If that is not enough, the battle is not won when we have taken the UK out of the EU. The EU needs to be taken out of  many UK citizens, especially young people. Those of us who took part in debates in schools and universities were made all too aware of the damaging effect of years of pro-EU propaganda. Of course, some europhilia among our young people is very shallow and superficial, revolving around the ungrounded fear that Brexit will stop them travelling around Europe. Such concerns can be easily dissipated by older people relating their experiences of inter-railing in the 1960s, years before we joined the EU.

For some, however, their love of the EU goes deeper and will require somewhat more intensive de-programming. A re-vamp of our GCSE history syllabus is essential as so few young people have any knowledge of our development as a nation. This, of course, will be mean challenging the far too prevalent self-loathing mentality which likes to talk about racism and slavery and generally to demean our great country, ignoring our many remarkable achievements over the centuries which prove that we have the capacity to manage our own affairs – and indeed, to run our country much better without the EU’s “help”.

Mr Carswell’s comments were directed primarily towards his former party. While this website is not the place to debate whether his assessment of the state of UKIP is correct or not, we can but hope that he and those who agree with him will resist any temptation to put their feet up as far as the battle for independence is concerned. The referendum result and the triggering of Article 50 were indeed causes for celebration, but the battle for independence is not over yet.

The post-truth era – when it really began

Those who were shocked by the referendum vote to leave the EU and by the election of Donald Trump have attributed their disappointment to a “post truth” style of politics. The reverse, I suggest, is the case. However imperfectly, a majority of voters grasped that the long-accepted  “liberal” narrative was simply untrue.

Increasing suspicion of the official line on anything was massively increased by the revelation of the untruth of Tony Blair’s and the US government’s claims about “Weapons of Mass Destruction” in Iraq. But the organs of disinformation had rather a successful practice run in 1999 over the invasion of Yugoslavia. This was so effectively promoted in the mainstream British media as to have quite a high public approval rating. Tony Blair was always aware of the tremendous electoral boost which the “Falklands Effect” had given to Mrs. Thatcher and this was the closest he came to achieving it. Of course, the Falklands war was about repelling a genuine invasion of British territory and liberating its inhabitants from a truly fascist regime. Yugoslavia was very different, as I pointed out in the following article from 1999, to which I have added a few notes with benefit of hindsight.

NATO’S MALIGN METAMORPHOSIS TO AGGRESSOR

by Edward Spalton  published in Freedom Today, October 1999

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has undergone a profound change, says Edward Spalton. In its new association with the EU , he argues, NATO is no longer a purely defensive alliance but a force which may be used for forcing questionable western values on other states.

When the troubles first started in Yugoslavia, reporting was fairly even-handed. The atrocities of all sides were shown. Gradually the media became gleichgeschaltet (as Dr. Goebbels would have put it) or “on message” as New Labour would have it: only the Serbs were demonised then. The defining moment was Germany’s recognition of Croatia before any of the normal criteria for full diplomatic relations existed  – settled government, recognised frontiers etc. The rest of the EU states, having vigorously opposed such a move, shuffled into line as part of the EU Common Foreign Policy. From this point the waters became ever muddier.

The Bosnian and Kosovo tragedies followed as night follows day.

As the intervention developed, the UN dropped out and NATO changed its character utterly, in contradiction of its own charter.

In concert with the developing Western European Union (the supranational armed forces of the European Union) it ceased to be a defensive alliance, protecting the sovereignty of its members and became an imperial entity, waging its first war of conquest.

The American, British and mainland Western European peoples have not yet fully grasped the enormity of this metamorphosis. Yet they are all now pieces in the Great Game being played with their countries by the unaccountable, undemocratic, supra-national new agencies of New NATO and the EU.

Throughout the past 50 years until very recently, there were few institutions which seemed more beneficent and protective than NATO. It was a purely defensive alliance in which members agreed to come to each other’s aid if attacked. Just how they did that was up to them. Most came into the NATO command structure, but the French left it, knowing that the rest would still come to their aid: having their cake and eating it as usual.

Nonetheless it kept the Soviets from carrying out Mr. Kruschev’s stated intention: “We will bury you”. The Marshals of the Red Army, who frequently proclaimed their indifference to the prospect of countless millions of casualties, were deterred by the clout of this united front, backed by the might of America and steadfastly supported by Britain and Canada. Mainland Europe owes Old NATO two generations of peace and deliverance from totalitarian rule.

This was nothing to do with the European Union, which did not exist when NATO was formed. From its inception the EU worked to destroy the sovereignty of European democracies (rather more effectively than the Red Army, as it turned out).

NATO was often cited as an example of “pooling” sovereignty, as in the EU, but this was never true. It was an organisation of sovereign states co-operating under international law for a limited purpose. It contained provision that states might leave by giving notice to other members (unlike the EU). There was no NATO Commission and there were no NATO Directives over-ruling members’ domestic laws.

Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has changed its character beyond recognition. It is no longer purely defensive but has arrogated to itself the right to go adventuring in other states. At its 50th anniversary celebrations, Tony Blair proclaimed a new doctrine which would justify NATO invading territory from the Atlantic to the Urals and beyond in defence of “peace” “democracy” “stability” or “human rights”. More or less any state in the world of second rank or less could qualify for the treatment, if it was not in the good books of Tony and his cronies.

He has also linked Britain’s NATO contribution with the Western European Union (WEU), a hitherto shadowy organisation which is now defined as the EU wing of NATO. Under the guise of closer co-operation, this is nothing less than the creation of an EU army, navy and air force. British forces will still wear British uniforms for the time being, but their command will be so integrated with the WEU as to be beyond control or recall by Parliament.

General Naumann, Supreme German Military Commander, gave a strong hint of WEU and New NATO thinking when he said “German troops will be engaged for the maintenance of the free market and access without hindrance to the raw materials of the entire world”. The implication is that if the entire world does not agree, so much the worse for it. We have ways of making you trade!

Tony Blair demonstrated his contempt and disregard of Parliament during the Kosovo war. William Hague made little enough objection although Madam Speaker said a few choice words. Those EU states with traditional, constitutional or treaty obligations of neutrality,  Sweden, Finland, Austria and Ireland, are being railroaded into associate WEU/NATO membership through an initiative called ” Partnership  for Peace”. This is Euro-Newspeak for “Command Structure for War”. WEU institutions contain no provisions permitting members to leave.

The atrocities of the various sides in the break-up of Yugoslavia were very similar. The leaders of Croatia and Bosnia, maintained in power by WEU/NATO, are both on record calling for genocide. They practised it vigorously when they had the chance. In this respect there is no difference between them and Milosevic. Yet only the Serbs were castigated. WEU/NATO succeeded in managing the media with frightening totality to minimise the atrocities of its clients.

The policy of New NATO and Germany in particular was to break up the Yugoslav state in which the Serbs were the senior partners rather as England is in the UK. Following the footsteps of pre 1914 Austro-German policy, this was the active aim of Germany from the early Eighties and they persuaded the Americans to their view.

Anti-Serb bias is profoundly ingrained in the psyche of southern and central Europe. Before he concocted his own racial theories, Hitler, like any other Roman Catholic Austrian subject would have imbibed the officially approved attitude that Orthodox Serbs were “worse than Protestants”. The Nazis later recruited Roman Catholic and Muslim Slavs (Croatians and Bosnians, genetically indistinguishable from Serbs, as well as Muslim Albanians) as honorary Aryans in elite, volunteer Waffen SS units. The Orthodox Serbs always remained SlavUntermenschen. Recent events reflect the continuance of this mindset in a hardly less overt form. Today’s government of Bosnia resurrected the name of one SS unit the Handzar Division. It provides the life guard for the President.

Collaborating wartime states like Slovakia and Croatia were clerico-fascist in nature, supported both by the local church hierarchies and by the Vatican.

Cardinal Stepinac, wartime Archbishop of Zagreb, wrote exultant reports to Pope Pius XII of of the hundreds of thousands of forced gun-point conversions of Serbs in Croatia. His clergy were active as concentration camp commanders and extermination squad leaders, dealing with those stubborn Serbs who refused to become Roman Catholics and thus “de-Serbed”

Yet the present Pope has set in motion the beatification of this gruesome character. John Paul II has apologised for the Roman church’s failure to speak up for Jews. Yet, despite his oft-expressed wish for reconciliation with the Orthodox churches, he shares the Roman blind spot with regard to the holocaust of Serbs, Jews and gypsies, carried out in his predecessor’s name and full knowledge within living memory.*

There are plenty of extant photographs of the papal legate to Nazi Croatia giving the fascist salute to parades of the Ustache, a force whose methods revolted even the SS. They were at work under clerical management well before Germany issued its Europe-wide Directive for the Final Solution of racial problems.

The achievement of an ethnically and religiously purified state of Croatia had to wait until 1995 when NATO’s “Operation Storm” caused the expulsion of all the Serbs from the Krajina region.

Warren Christopher of the US State Department callously remarked that this ethnic cleansing of Serbs had “simplified ” the Croatian situation. Compare this with the rightful humanitarian concern for other racial groups which suffered similarly. The West took a very different attitude to the no less appalling Serbian attempted “simplification” of Kosovo. Serbs, it seems, don’t count.

More recently Clare Short, British minister for overseas aid, said that the Serbs fleeing Kosovo were not refugees at all, but “people who had decided to move”. They were therefore unworthy of humanitarian aid as a lesser breed, outside her much publicised, caring compassion for humanity in general. The politically correct Ms. Short would not dare to display such racist bias against a minority at home.

This attitude to Serbs persists today, mostly unthinkingly but sometimes it is startlingly explicit. Among the most bloodthirsty advocates of condign punishment and all-out war on Serbia was an influential member of the European parliament, one Dr. Otto von Habsburg, heir presumptive of the former Austrian Empire, a blast from the past with malice aforethought, long matured! The terms of the Rambouillet agreement were just as extreme as the Austrian ultimatum to Serbia which touched off the Great War in 1914. The terms were quite impossible of acceptance and designed to be so.

A wiser leader than Milosevic might have preserved the Yugoslav federation, but the plans of the separatists and their backers had been long laid. They were also supported by aid and arms for the Bosniaks, Croats and Kosovo Liberation Army from the arsenal of the former East Germany and elsewhere. Germany trained and equipped the KLA from at least 1996 much more munificently than Colonel Gadaffi ever supported the IRA. Prior to this the unrest in Kosovo had been at a lower level than in Northern Ireland, as measured by reported deaths. Germany ensured a big enough conflict in Kosovo to provide a pretext for intervention.

The EU and the Americans had decided that a group of small, tractable, client states in the Balkans was preferable to a strong Yugoslavia, capable of self-defence. These statelets also provide economic Lebensraum for the EU. The treaties ending this phase of the Balkan wars are quite explicit in this respect. The new states must follow EU-decided economic policies, regardless of the wishes of the inhabitants. So the British people, unknown to themselves, have become accomplices in the creation of an old-style continental land empire with far more than its share of disputed frontiers and ethnic conflicts.

“Divide and rule” has long been a favoured maxim for imperial powers. We are experiencing the same principle applied to ourselves, as Britain too in this country is balkanised into regions.

While we owe a debt of gratitude to Old NATO for past services, New NATO and its associated EU organisations are profoundly inimical to freedom, as we have always understood the term. New WEU/NATO is no friend to a sovereign Britain nor to a sovereign anywhere else. From drinking the euro-federalist potion, Dr. Jekyll has become Mr. Hyde in the person of George Robertson. (The NATO Secretary General of the time).

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I am indebted to many people who gave information, encouragement and comment upon drafts of this article. Among them are Rodney Atkinson, Jim Bogusz, Andrew Bond, Ron Dorman, Hugh Meechan, John Ryan, Simon Stoker and Dusan Torbica. All errors and infelicities of expression are entirely my own.

* Courageous individual Catholics, lay and clerical, performed many acts of mercy at great risk. They appealed in vain for Archbishop Stepinac to denounce the terror. Official Church publications of the time show beyond all reasonable doubt that the Croatian hierarchy was politically committed to fascism, genocide and forced conversions

Note  December 2016

With benefit of hindsight, I should have included more about the Muslim aspects of the war in Bosnia where the Americans winked at the importation to Europe of Jihadi warriors, the same sort of people whom they sponsor today in Syria. I also gave far too much credence to NATO’s blackening of the character of Slobodan Milosevic, the Serb leader (“The Butcher of the Balkans”). Very, very quietly in July 2016 the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia exonerated him from complicity in the atrocities in Bosnia – 1,303 pages into the 2,590 page verdict on Radovan Karadzic. Milosevic died in custody before the verdict in his case had been delivered. So, in the Western propaganda myth, he “escaped justice”. PLEASE SEE ATTACHED REPORT ON TRIAL.

I consulted widely amongst colleagues in the independence movement because 1999 was the year when UKIP first gained its three seat foothold in the European parliament. The party was not successful in the East Midlands where Hugh Meechan was first candidate and I was second. Some people felt the article might make UKIP appear to be anti-Catholic. Hugh’s advice was particularly useful. Not only was he a barrister, able to weigh the evidence on which I had based the article, but he was also a devout Roman Catholic. He neither suggested nor requested alterations but I did insert the footnote after consulting him. Sadly, Hugh died of cancer in 2000, a great loss to UKIP and the independence movement. At his insistence, his funeral service was conducted in the Latin rite.

The Balkan territorial settlement, enforced at Western gunpoint, remains in shaky, unstable existence. Croatia is now an EU member state. Parliament decided that the war against Yugoslavia was “illegal but legitimate”. Because of highly effective propaganda, the war was the nearest New Labour came to achieving a popular “Falklands effect” like Mrs. Thatcher, something Tony Blair was very keen to emulate. General Naumann was made an honorary KBE.

Subsequent NATO “humanitarian interventions” in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya have been uniformly unsuccessful and the Western proxy wars in Ukraine and Syria have not prospered either. Public trust in propaganda for such enterprises was fatally undermined by Tony Blair’s lies about “Weapons of Mass Destruction” in Iraq.