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Weliswaar niet specifiek over Defensie.. maar wel passend in het grotere kader waar ook DutchForce21 voor bedoeld is.

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NATO’s Pivot to Russia: Cold War 2.0 at Sea?

Editorial comment: Last week I wrote an article about, the Crimean annexation by Russia and the divided “double standard” equiped European / NATO reaction towards this move, myself. I hereby introduce an interesting article originally posted on the site Seidlers Sicherheitspolitik“. This article was published there at first. Written by Felix F. Seidler. Felix is a fellow at the Institute for Security Policy, University of Kiel, Germany and runs the site Seidlers Sicherheitspolitik“.

Putin’s annexation of the Crimea shifts NATO’s focus back to Europe. Therefrom, maritime security’s relevance for the Alliance will suffer. Nevertheless, Russia’s new assertiveness has massive impact on NATO’s maritime priorities. Other than expeditionary missions, European homewaters are now the theaters of concern.

All opportunities gone
After the Cold War, NATO was never threatening Russia, but rather sent dozens of cooperation offers to Moscow. Moreover, if Russia would sincerely have seeked NATO membership, Putin would fly to NATO’s September Summit. However, in NATO, Russia would never have been eye-on-eye with the US, but rather would have found itself on a level with Germany, France and the UK. Thus, Russia would never have found the global prestige and geopolitical influence it was looking for. That is the real reason why Russia never joined the Alliance.

Since 1991, there were many opportunities for naval cooperation between NATO and Russia. In Partnership for Peace (since 1994) and the NATO-Russia Council (since 2002), the Alliance reached out to Moscow, aiming to work closer together at sea. Positively, some of these opportunities turned into reality. NATO and Russia were working together in the Mediterranean (Med’) in Operation Active Endeavour to combat terrorism and in the Indian Ocean to combat piracy. Moreover, the planned, but cancelled joint naval mission to protect the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons has shown the potential for increased cooperation. However, with the annexation of the Crimea, these opportunities ceased to exist.

Step up Black Sea presence
Ukraine has no significant navy anymore. Instead, Ukraine’s warships were taken over by Russia, which makes Moscow’s navy, by numbers, larger than the US Navy. However, due to the warships’ poor quality, this increase in naval power does not present a game changer. Surely, a plus for Putin’s navy is that Sevastopol will remain a Russian naval base for decades.

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Black Sea (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

After Sevastopol is lost, Ukraine’s only significant port left is Odessa. NATO’s response should be to support Ukraine in keeping at least a small navy. Moreover, NATO should give a guarantee that, in case of further Russian aggression, Ukrainian ships can find shelter in Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey or Greece. In addition, SNMGs and SNMCMGs should pay regular visits to Odessa; on the one hand for partnership with Ukraine and on the other hand as show of force to Russia. Trips to Georgia should go along.

Like it or not – The Bosporus has become a bargaining chip. NATO should make contingency plans how to close the Bosporus for Russian warships, should Russia invade Eastern Ukraine or Moldova. NATO must make clear to Russia that a price to pay for further annexation of territories would the loss of access through the Bosporus.

France, please cancel the Mistral deal

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French Mistral LHD. (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

Russia could have done military campaigns like Georgia 2008 or Crimea 2014 much easier with one of the Mistrals. One of these LHD would also be useful for Russia’s navy in campaigns against Moldova, with regard to Gagauzia and Transnistria, or even against Estonia, because the Mistrals can serve as a platform for command and control, attack helicopters and landing troops.

That Russia announced to base its Mistrals in the Pacific does not mean that they will operate there. For its Syria show-of-force, Russia deployed warships from its Pacific Fleet to the Med’.

Regarding the military balance in Europe, France would do its allies a disservice, if it would deliver the Mistrals to Putin. Instead, these vessels should remain either in Europe or in a like-minded country. Options where to sell the ships could be South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa or India; countries, which are looking for new LHD.

An even better idea comes from Jeff Lightfoot. He argues that “NATO should buy the Mistrals“. Like AWACS and AGS, the Mistrals could become a shared NATO asset. Although I fully support Lightfoot’s arguments for a NATO-nization of the Mistrals, I disagree with him about how to do that. After NRF and EU-Battlegroups failed, NATO’s Standing Maritime Groups are the only multinational units with combat capabilities, which ever really worked. Moreover, Europe was carrying most of the burdens in the SNMG, which face a serious of lack amphibious capabilities. Thus, the Mistral purchase should be mostly funded by the Europeans. Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland and Belgium could go for “NATO Mistral 1”, while the US, Canada, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Turkey could go for “NATO Mistral 2”. A NATO LHD in the Baltic or Black Sea would send clear message to Russia. Deployments to the Med’ or Indian Ocean would help to pursue Western maritime interests.

Sustain superiority in the Baltic and the Med’

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Baltic Sea (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

With the entry of the Baltic Countries and Poland into NATO and EU, the Baltic Sea was a solely political issue, not worth military considerations. This has changed, too. However, this does not mean that we are on the brink of war. Nevertheless, NATO needs to make plans how to deter Russia from threatening the Baltic Countries from the sea. The Alliance must make sure that its naval superiority in Baltic remains clear. Deploying an SNMCMG to the Baltic and regular naval exercises, such as BALTOPS (non-NATO), are efforts worth doing. Moreover, Sweden and Finland should join NATO. Both countries would bring great contributions to NATO and their membership would even increase Russia’s isolation in the Baltic Sea.

Russia is no partner for cooperation in the Med’ anymore. Beside the consequences of Crimea, Russia’s show-of-force in the Eastern Med to cover Syria made clear that Putin is willing to use naval power in missions targeted against Western interests. In consequence, the Europeans have to prevent – politically – that Russia opens new naval bases in the Med’, for example in Cyprus or Egypt. EU member Cyprus must receive the clear message from Brussels that a Russian base on Cyrus is unacceptable. In addition, NATO should closely monitor all Russian naval activities in the Med’ and make plans about how to deal with them in case of further Russian aggression. Moreover, NATO states should close their ports for Russian ships to be replenished.

We need nuclear deterrence

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Ohio-Class SSBN, US Navy (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

Besides guaranteeing NATO’s future, Putin’s Crimea annexation also ends the American and British debates about the need for a sea-based nuclear deterrent. The argument for retiring the SSBN was that state-to-state conflict was unlikely and, therefore, nuclear deterrence was outdated. However, sea-based nuclear deterrence provides the minimum of global stability we need to prevent devastating state-to-state conflict. Where could the conflict with Russia go, if global zero was reality? What would prevent Putin from sending Russian tanks through Tallinn via Riga to Vilnius? Surely not statements from Berlin to keep the diplomatic hotlines open.

No matter about the massive unpopularity – Europe will need the nuclear umbrella provided by the US, UK and France. We are not yet back in the pre-1989 times. There is not yet a Cold War 2.0 at sea. However, if we forget the lessons learned of nuclear and conventional deterrence, we may find ourselves in exactly these situations much sooner than we think.

NATO-building starts at home
NATO’s pivot to Russia will shift attention away from the maritime domain back to the continent. Armies and air forces will receive, once again, much more attention than navies. While Putin’s aggression increased the importance of NATO for its member states, maritime security’s relevance for member states and, therefore, for the Alliance will decrease. In consequence, theaters like the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean will become of much less concern for NATO.

In case the Crimea Crisis did not happen, NATO, to sustain its relevance, would probably have looked for new maritime tasks in the Med’, Gulf of Guinea and the Indian Ocean, maybe even in Southeast Asia. However, thanks to Putin, we will find NATO’s warships deployed back in the Baltic and the Black Sea. Given Operation Ocean Shield ends this year, we will not see NATO back in the Indian Ocean very soon; except maybe for a few friendly port visits. After Crimea and with Putin’s hands on Eastern Ukraine and Moldova, NATO’s debates about partners across the globe and global alliance are finally dead.

In response to Putin, NATO-building begins at home. We need NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division, fully focused on the Alliance’s core business, reaching out to the member states’ ordinary taxpayers. The changing European security environment requires an emphasis on the big messages: Defense, deterrence and security. Thus, zeitgeist-motivated campaigns should be stopped. In these times, NATO must tell the people what armies, air forces really are for and how our soldiers serve their countries and our Alliance.

 

No strings attached?

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The recent news about Russia’s handling of the Crimean crisis – The annexation of the Crimean peninsula, threats towards the rest of Ukraine and several other EU and NATO member states (with “Russian related minorities”) – looks like a well planned and easy executed plan.  Strangely enough just weeks after the fantastic and “joyful” Olympic games just a couple of km over the border… It almost looks like an enormous cover- up operation. Keeping the west busy, preoccupied mainly with the Antigay laws in Russia. But not so much with human rights in general, Howe come? LGBT and other Liberal western (US + EU) where trying to do their utmost to raise attention for their “personal” interest. LGBT propaganda

Double standards?
Here a fragment of Dutch television program the “world turns through” (DWDD) where Paul de Leeuw told that every Dutch person going to the Olympic games should (MUST) be against this and protest there! He said: “I want respect!” the next thing he did was: change the text of Y.M.C.A of the Village People into ‘It’s fun to stay at the I am so gay’. Followed by the number ‘I Want to break free’ from Queen. The third number was: Putin? Who the fuck is Putin?.. not really sounding respectful isn’t it?   In other countries we see the same things. Demanding respect.. While not respecting others or other opinions… but all related to LGBT…

According to available statistics, the most frequent victims of group-biased hate speech violence in the EU are the Catholic Church and its faithful. With this I do not refer to “normal” cases of theft or vandalism, but to incidents in which anti-Christian hatred is the primary motivation.

In many cases, the perpetrators of such crimes are self-styled women’s rights or gay rights activists. For them, such incidents are an easy way to gain public attention. The risk of criminal prosecution, let alone meaningful sanctions, appears to be very small. Besides the incident in Bologna, recent cases in the EU include the assault of gay rights activists against the Archbishop of Brussels and the desecration of a Church in Rome. In Latin America, similar incidents were recently reported fromSantiago de Chile and from the Argentinian cities of Buenos AiresLa PlataSan Juan del Cuyo andPosadas.

The answer to the question: “Putin? Who the fuck is Putin?” is very obvious: Putin is one hell of a chess player!

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No to Violence!
Of course I’m against all forms of violence. Violence from Rusian government or anti gay organizations, against certain people (in this case LGBT) nor violence by LGBT protesters against other minded people like elderly priests….

What I am against is that some people tell “us” that one issue ((LGBT) is more important than others.. e.g.:

  1. Syrian refugee’s,
  2. Killing of Christians in Nigeria by Boko Haram,
  3. keeping North Korean people  imprisoned and brainwashed. (btw also killing people when they supposed to be Christians),
  4. Suppressing Kurdish people by Turkish government (isn’t that the same thing they say Israël is doing?)
  5. Turkey number two: unlawful annexation of Northern Cyprus.
  6. China: annexation and “using” Tibet… and several other area’s contested..
  7. China, again: Bullying and suppressing smaller ASEAN countries n the SE Chinese Sea?
  8. Attacking/invading of a sovereign nation (Ukraine)?

Yes to Human rights – ALL Human Rights!
A prime-minister of Turkey who puts away an international well respected (NATO and EU collegues) military officer-corps of some 320 officers incl (retired) generals without a personal trial, based on unclear “proof” the same for critical Journalists in the same country… And yet we see our (LGBT-loving minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans saying wonderfull things about Turkey joining the EU.. and the fantastic progress it has made to reach “EU” standards…)

The same minister Timmermans wrote a new Human Rights whitepaper to lay down a new Foreign Policy on Human Rights. All human rights used to be equally important but not for our FM Timmermans. No he prioritizes the rights of some over others. The title of the whitepaper therefore is strange to say the least: Human rights policy – Justice and respect for allJoel Voordewind MP of the Christian Union wrote an opinion article (GT) on this matter. I quote this fragment:

“The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion is probably the most precious of all human rights.” This statement is Arcot Krishnaswami, the UN Special Protractor on the prevention of discrimination and protection of minorities.

The Human Rights whitepaper of Minister Timmermans is thus at odds, as evidenced by the headline ” Freedom of religion is no longer a priority . ” According to the press release of the Minister, the protection of human rights defenders, those who stand up for the  rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and standing up for equal rights for women will be a priority. Freedom of religion is lacking in that list. The paper thus seems to suggest that you can shop within the whole catalog of human rights.

Just compare the ammount of attention in the document between LGBT, Women-rights, SRHR compared to : Freedom of religion and belief…while it looks to me that it is factual proven that there are far more people who suffer disrespect, mistreatment and even murder because they believe different that they supposed to believe.. and realy read the “chapter about this freedom of religion and belief… its more about having the right NOT to believe at all.. and look at the first sentence.. people are  severely restricted… well in fact people are killed for their believes, they are taken in prisson, they are murdered by their familymembers. Just ask Open Doors International and these are only prosecuted Christians, let alone all other beliefs..

3.6 Freedom of religion and belief

Three-quarters of the world population live in countries in which freedom of religion and belief is severely restricted by state or non-state actors. The Netherlands stands by the principle that every individual must have the freedom to express his or her identity, as informed by religious or other beliefs: this includes the right to hold theist, non-theist or atheist convicti­ons and the right to change one’s faith. The Netherlands champions the separation of church and state, and opposes any restrictions imposed on the rights of children, LGBT people or women in the name of religious or traditional values. The government holds fast to an inclusive approach to human rights, without the exclusion of any specific group. After all, human rights apply to all, and excluding a particular group can undermine the universality of human rights. (Editorial: Isn’t this a Contradictio in terminis?)

• In multilateral forums, the Netherlands seeks to promote freedom of religion and belief and opposes any action that could undermine it.

• The Netherlands pursues a bilateral enhanced policy focus in the sphere of freedom of religion in certain countries: China, Egypt, India and Kazakhstan (since 2009), and Armenia, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan and Sudan (since 2012)

This is the FULL Chapter on Freedom of religion and belief, page 35, a half page; compare it to the rest. Who wrote this paper? looks like. sponsored by…..!

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Ambitieniveau en positiebepaling

Het ambitieniveau van Defensie staat beschreven in de begroting van het ministerie van Defensie. Deze staat al jaren redelijk vast, hoewel je zou mogen verwachten dat bezuinigingen op Defensie daar invloed op zouden hebben. Blijkbaar is men (bewust of onbewust) vergeten het te realiseren ambitieniveau evenredig met de bezuinigingen naar beneden bij te stellen. Defensie moet, zoals gesteld in de begroting van 2013[i], Op hoofdlijnen in staat zijn om:

  • Eenmalige bijdragen aan internationale interventieoperaties met (een combinatie van) een taakgroep van brigadeomvang, een squadron jachtvliegtuigen, een batterij Patriot-raketverdediging, een maritieme taakgroep.
  • Langdurige bijdragen aan stabilisatieoperaties. Aan maximaal twee operaties te land met bataljonstaakgroepen[ii], één operatie in de lucht met acht jachtvliegtuigen[iii], met een eenheid gevechtshelikopters en een eenheid transporthelikopters, en maximaal twee operaties op zee met een fregat, een ander groot oppervlakteschip, een mijnenbestrijdingsvaartuig of een onderzeeboot.
  • Het optreden als lead nation op het niveau van een brigade[iv] of een maritieme taakgroep[v] en, samen met andere landen, op legerkorpsniveau[vi].
  • De uitvoering van speciale operaties in het buitenland, inclusief operaties ter evacuatie van Nederlandse staatsburgers.

Om het ambitieniveau vast te houden dient de krijgsmacht over een minimaal aantal capaciteiten te (blijven) beschikken, er is een zogenaamde ondergrens. Het moge duidelijk zijn dat ook ik vast wil houden aan dit ambitieniveau.

Welke capaciteiten heeft de krijgsmacht nodig?
Bij het opstellen van het concept van de krijgsmacht en het realiseren van het omschreven ambitieniveau dient de krijgsmacht op de lange duur rekening te houden met enkele aspecten:

  • stijgende kosten defensiematerieel;
  • duurzaamheidbeginsel
  • voortzettingsvermogen
  • niche capaciteiten binnen de NAVO en EU

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