Geraint Hughes, Defence Studies Department, King’s College London
Over a month has passed since Vladimir Putin launched his ‘special military operation’ to subjugate Ukraine. Russia’s blatant and unprovoked invasion of its neighbour has caused amajor international crisis, with Britain and other NATO powers being presented with the hard task of helping the Ukrainians to defend their homeland while simultaneously avoiding escalation with its nuclear-armed aggressor. The aim of this post is to summarise the key implications of this war for Britain’s defence policy, and also for its armed forces in particular.
The 2021Integrated Reviewand the ensuingDefence White Paperemphasised the ‘sub-threshold’ threat that Russia and other potential adversaries posed to the UK and its allies, arguing that Britain’s enemies would utilise tools of statecraft short of overt warfare (propaganda, military sabre-rattling, covert action etc) to achieve their objectives. This thinking reflected current conceptions of‘political…
On December 6 1945, Sergeant John Gonsalves, a US soldier stationed at Bad Orb in occupied Germany, posted a letter to his mother. In it, he asked her to stop sending him packages, as he expected to be home in January or February. He complained about the ‘lousy weather’ and inquired about his pals and Jim.
A typical letter home by a soldier then, but what makes it remarkable is that it was found undelivered in a US Postal Service distribution facility in Pittsburgh in December 2021. John’s mother is dead and he died in 2015 but USPS employees managed to trace his widow, Angelina, who is still alive, and delivered the letter to her home in Woburn, MA on 9 December 2021. They married in 1953 and had five sons.
“I love it. I love it. When I think it’s all his words, I can’t believe it. It’s wonderful. And I feel like I have him here with me, you know?” Angelina told CBS Boston, adding that she had ‘a funny feeling, he was around us at Christmas time. One of his favorite times of the year.’
She also told Boston 25 News that ‘It’s like he came back to me, you know? Really. That was amazing. He was a good man. He really was. Everybody loved him.’
THE British Army must embrace the fact that its Challenger tanks are woefully out of date and lead the way in Nato with a transformative new land warfare strategy, a former Joint Forces Commander said last night. Gen Sir Richard Barrons, who retired in 2016, said that, while armour will continue to play a key […]
INDIA’s reluctance to join a military alliance and China’s territorial ambitions – as well as its failures to learn from the Cuban Missile Crisis – could lead to major conflict between the two nuclear states, experts predicted last night. The warnings follow a border skirmish in the Himalayas in which Chinese troops used nail-studded rods to kill 20 Indian soldiers, including their commanding officer. In his sharpest rebuke to date, India’s PM Narendra Modi warned China that, while India wanted peace, “on provocation, India will give a befitting reply.” Privately, Indian diplomats attempted to play down any thoughts of escalation, pointing to this week’s Russia-India-China foreign ministers’ meeting. “The fact that all both India and Russia are still meeting in this week’s trilateral bodes well for de-escalation and the resumption of relations,” said a highly placed source. But with border issues not on the agenda, and Covid-19 protocols dictating the…
THE world could witness armed conflict with China “within the next five years”as an increasingly beliigerent Beijing rejects a post Covid-19 world order, a leading China has warned. It follows a ramping up of tensions following China’s alleged role in allowing the Covid-19 virus to become a worldwide pandemic, and reports last week that it intends to brand large tracts of the South China as its own Air Defence Identifcation Zone. Also significant is a small increase in the number of countries supporting Taiwan’s admission to the World Health Assembly – a move which China sees as a crack in its territorial claims perpetuating Taipei’s leaning towards independence Last week a leaked internal report presented by China’s Ministry of State Security to President Xi Jinping revealed that global anti-China sentiment is at its highest since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. According to highly placed sources, Xi has been warned to…
Happy new year and thanks for reading, commenting on and liking my blog in 2015.
I will probably be posting a bit less in the next few months as I have signed a contract to write a book based on my PhD thesis on British Strategy and Oil 1914-1923, so will be prioritising that, but will keep the blog going.
Thanks and happy New Year to all readers and contributors.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 15,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
A fleet of five tall ships dropped anchor in the harbour off Hamilton, Canada late this week as part of the city’s ongoing War of 1812 bicentennial celebrations. The collection of three brigantines, one barquentine and a three-master was led by the USS Niagara — a reproduction of the famous vessel Oliver Hazard Perry commanded during the decisive Battle of Lake Erie in 1813. The ships, which will spend the weekend on Hamilton’s waterfront, are open to the pubic for tours. Area residents flocked to the edge of Hamilton Bay on Friday to watch the five vessels take part in a sail past. MilitaryHistoryNow.com was there to take in the sight, but inclement weather kept the ships far out of range of our zoom lens. We did manage to get these following shots (see below), the first of which has been enlarged to within an inch of its life.
The War and Security Blog will mostly be about the history of warfare, but I will also comment on current national security issues. As I’m British, the focus will be mostly, but not exclusively, on the UK.