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Who is it that the UK and Spain intend to invade?

by BruceMcF Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 04:23:34 AM EST


While following up a subthread in the commentary to How will the EU manage the pending collapse of the US Empire? ... and thanks to the contribution from JakeS ... I came across some peculiarities in the national navies of EU countries.

I was looking at the "EU navy" idea, and following up on vessels in the fleets of EU nations that would qualify as "Sea Control Ships", in the modern parlance.  From the Wikipedia:

A Sea Control Ship (SCS) is a type of small aircraft carrier designed and conceptualized by the United States Navy under Chief of Naval Operations Elmo Zumwalt in the 1970s.[1] The SCS was designed due to severe cuts in Navy spending, requiring a cheap, flexible platform that could provide convoy escorts and deliver limited air power to the field without tying up an enormous aircraft carrier during times of conflict.

Given that for defensive purposes, Europe would be an enormous aircraft carrier, in my view the Sea Control Ship encapsulates precisely what it is that the EU might want an aircraft carrier to do ... protect shipping from pirates plaguing a sea lane, or from aggressive militants in one or another cause in small boats with high explosive on board, provide helicopter support for a humanitarian crisis, anti-submarine defense, and et cetera.

I was thinking of two in an EU Navy, the HMS Illustrious and HMS Ark Royal, slated for decommissioning in the Teens. However, I was ignoring the Spanish and Italian Navies (see note 1) ... with the Príncipe de Asturias and the Giuseppe Garibaldi (and the larger Cavour to come).

Except ... joining the Príncipe de Asturias in the Spanish Navy will by the Juan Carlos I amphibious assault vessel, and replacing the UK Invincible-class light carriers will be the Queen Elizabeth class heavy carriers.

Raising the question in my mind, who is it y'all are planning to invade?

Promoted by afew



The proposed Queen Elizabeth Class

What is the Queen Elizabeth for?

What are these ships for? Well, according to Navy Matters:

The Invincible-class of carriers were designed for Cold War anti-submarine warfare operations, with an airgroup of mainly ASW helicopters plus a limited air defence capability provided by a small number of embarked Sea Harriers.  This essentially defensive role is no longer appropriate and the emphasis with the Future Aircraft Carrier (CVF) is now on increased offensive air power and an ability to operate a wider range of aircraft in a variety of roles.

The CVF mission statement has been officially defined: "The CVF is to be a joint defence asset with the primary purpose of providing the UK with an expeditionary offensive air capability that has the flexibility to operate the largest possible range of aircraft in the widest possible range of roles."

It is expected that CVF will be tasked:

  • As an early coercive presence that can promote conflict prevention through deterrence;
  • As a flexible and rapidly deployable offshore base during expeditionary operations when airfields may be unavailable or denied, or when facilities ashore are still being established; and
  • Contributing to the support of peacekeeping forces, and, when necessary, initiating offensive military action.

They are for fighting wars, or for "promoting peace" by (ahem), posing the credible threat of fighting a war. In other words, the flaw with the Sea Control Ship is precisely that they are not good if you want to invade a country or fight somebody else's navy.

Of course, this is all described in a very generic way, but it also had the support of the Pentagon Foreign Policy. From the Wikipedia:

Giving evidence to the House of Commons Defence Committee, the First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Alan West explained that interoperability with the United States Navy was a factor in deciding of the size of the carriers as the firepower of the carrier's airwing:
[for a] deep strike package, we have done ...quite detailed calculations and we have come out with the figure of 36 joint strike fighters ...that is the thing that has made us arrive at that size of deck and that size of ship, to enable that to happen. I have talked with the CNO (Chief of Naval Operations) in America. He is very keen for us to get these because he sees us slotting in with his carrier groups. He really wants us to have these, but he wants us to have the same sort of clout as one of their carriers.


What is the Juan Carlos I for?

The Wikipedia, again:

Juan Carlos I (L61) -- a strategic projection vessel (Buque de Proyección Estratégica (BPE)), -- is a planned multipurpose warship for the Spanish Navy (Armada Española), similar to American LHDs of the "Wasp" class.

And what is the role of the LHD's of the Wasp class? From GlobalSecurity.org:

These ships conduct prompt, sustained combat operations at sea as the centerpiece of the Navy's amphibious strategy of "Forward ... From the Sea." They provide the means to deliver, command and support all elements of a Marine Landing Force in an assault by air and amphibious craft. In carrying out their mission, the ships have the option of utilizing various combinations of helicopters, Harrier II (AV-8B) Jump Jets and air cushion landing craft (LCAC), as well as conventional landing craft and assault vehicles, illustrating the LHD's flexibility. In addition to embarked landing craft, the ships carry four LCPLs and two utility boats. Off the landing beach, the ships can ballast more than 15,000 tons of seawater for trimming during landing craft launch and recovery operations in the well deck.

I don't see any record of a U.S. Chief of Naval Operations saying they would like the Spanish Fleet to have an amphibious assault vessel as its flagship, so that it can slot in to a group of Wasp-class USN vessels ... but I really don't think its necessary. After all, it's just the one.

There's no point spending the extra for all that amphibious assault capability for a vessel that is going to be restricted to a Sea Control Ship role ... a second ship of the Príncipe de Asturias class would not only be cheaper to build and equip, but its also cheaper to maintain two ships of the same class than two ships of two different classes.

And its an amphibious assault vessel. You bring one amphibious assault vessel into a hot spot, and you can expect the locals to get ready for an amphibious assault. Even the Ozzies, who are buying an amphibious assault vessel of the same design (under the cover name "Helicopter Dock"), went with two of them.

Of course, it doesn't have to be with the American fleet. The French have two Mistral class amphibious assault ships, and three smaller landing dock ships, the British have the HSM Ocean amphibious assault ship and two smaller landing dock ships ... underneath the offensive air power of a naval carrier group formed around a Queen Elizabeth class heavy carrier, its entirely possible for an EU-only force to put on a fairly scary amphibious assault task force.


So, who you gonna invade, again?

Which brings me around again to my question. Who y'all planning to invade?

The US, that I can understand. After all, the US has an overseas base network of 700+ bases. Maintaining that many points of presence in so many countries overseas requires interference with local affairs. Interfering with local affairs in that many countries ensures that large numbers of people and large number of groups of people are going to be pissed off at the US.

So, except of course for the central irrationality of the base network itself, it makes perfect sense for the US to pursue massive carriers capable of supporting offshore air strikes deep into a large continent, and amphibious assault groups for going in and coercing nations into being willing participants in the base networks.

But ... why does Europe need amphibious assault capabilities? Why does Europe need carriers better capable of supporting an attack role, rather than carriers that are "merely" good for defense?

I'm missing something here? Or these ships don't really make sense after all?

Notes
(Note 1. For the Italian Navy, I have an excuse ... until the 90's, the Italian Navy was not permitted to operate aircraft carriers. For the Spanish Navy, no excuse at all ... the Príncipe de Asturias is not even the Spanish Navy's first light carrier.)

Display:
... indeed, the US didn't know which country it was planning to invade as our country built up our invasion forces ... our military just had good reason to believe that invasion would be required under the current US "strategic posture" (imagine a large, inebriated fellow in a pub ... "What you looking at? You looking at me?)

Its just the question of, under what strategic posture does this make sense for the EU?


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Oct 14th, 2008 at 06:05:20 PM EST
Fun answers posted as top level comments.

Serious answer... these are ships bought as part of the NATO posture... which is to say, to participate in operations dictated by the US strategic posture.

Throw in that part of the US establishment are always whinging about the Europeans not paying their own way over heavy weaponry in NATO. (Of course other parts run around sabotaging EU co-ordination around heavy weapons... go figure...)

Do they make sense outside of that posture?

Not really, as there seems little reason to invade anywhere. But... equally if you did suddenly need to invade a Falkland Island or an Iraq... it takes a long time to build a new attack carrier. So from a certain point of view I wouldn't say that an EU military force shouldn't have at least one amphibious assault task force. After all they can do other jobs in the meantime and they don't cost as much as a world-wide base network...

Should the EU eschew offensive weaponry (like amphibious assault groups) altogether? I think that's a hard case to make at this time.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Oct 14th, 2008 at 06:52:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... its not necessary to interfere in any other country's internal affairs to hold onto the ships, so the ships themselves are not quite as provocative.

In any event, I can only ask ... its not my country, after all (mind you, if the Pentagon had that attitude, it seems likely these ships would not be in EU navies in the first place).


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Oct 14th, 2008 at 07:38:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]


A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 03:19:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And the rest is corporate welfare.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 07:04:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The royal welfare ain't bad either....  In case of revolution, these artifacts can be easily reached by plane or yatch, for the royal entourages' protection.  Sovereignty... is no problem since they are already 'in their name'.

When royal accounting transparency is enacted in 3025, we will be able to analyze the actual numbers.


Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Fri Oct 17th, 2008 at 11:36:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Should the EU eschew offensive weaponry (like amphibious assault groups) altogether? I think that's a hard case to make at this time.

If you have a weapon, it will eventually be used.

Half the world is run by more or less despotic, more or less corrupt regimes of furriners who speak funny. Do you really believe that it will be that hard to cook up an excuse to knock some oil- or metal-rich African country on its ass and take its stuff? I don't. So I think opting to not be capable of knocking African countries on their ass is the safest way to go.

And I can't see why we'd need to re-invade the Falklands or deploy a full dress amphibious task force to prevent France from losing her overseas departments. Do we really want to keep those areas badly enough to fight a serious shooting war over them? Even if the answer is "yes," would it really be cost-effective to keep an amphibious assault carrier task force on standby to guard against this massively unlikely event?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 07:35:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And I can't see why we'd need to re-invade the Falklands or deploy a full dress amphibious task force to prevent France from losing her overseas departments. Do we really want to keep those areas badly enough to fight a serious shooting war over them? Even if the answer is "yes," would it really be cost-effective to keep an amphibious assault carrier task force on standby to guard against this massively unlikely event?

Well, I´d say it depends on the scenario. If the population living there decides on independence that´s one thing. Definitely no intervention then.
If a neighboring country decides to "liberate" them against their wishes then my answer would be yes. And in that case you´d probably need amphibious ships. Because these are the ships capable of transporting and landing soldiers and their equipment. And keep them supplied without a supply base on land.

And as "to knock some oil- or metal-rich African country on its ass and take its stuff". How probable is that?

I mean, let´s be generous and assume that each of the 12 EU amphibious ships could transport 1000 soldiers and their equipment. Are 12000 soldiers enough to invade and secure an African country? After all, you not only need to secure the mines/oil wells but also the transport routes and ports.
Not to mention that a convoy of 12 such ships plus escorts probably wouldn´t stay a secret for long. Any country along its route would watch with interest.

Besides, supporting a coup would be much cheaper. Followed maybe by flying in troops to "help" restore order. (Showing my cynical side.)

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 02:25:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On the amphibious assault vessels, I think its more on the range of 500 "passengers" ... a lot of their increased size compared to an ordinary landing dock is for the helicopter and and jump jet support.

And in that case you´d probably need amphibious ships. Because these are the ships capable of transporting and landing soldiers and their equipment. And keep them supplied without a supply base on land.

The question is whether you need the ability to make a Marine Soldier amphibious assault ... there are cheaper amphibious landing docks.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 03:03:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I was just adding up all of the EU navies amphibious ships. And being generous too. And all of them without the ability to carry airplanes. The Spanish "Juan Carlos I" seems to be the first one with that capability. All the rest carry just some helicopters and (actual) landing ships.

The question is whether you need the ability to make a Marine Soldier amphibious assault ... there are cheaper amphibious landing docks.

Sure but that seems to be the real question.
The Falklands and French overseas departments for example were mentioned in another comment. Given that we don´t have battleships anymore :), you probably need air cover if you actually need to make an amphibious assault. Amphibious landing docks on their own can´t provide that. And the light carriers with 8-10 Harriers probably won´t be enough.

To say the truth I actually like the design of the "Juan Carlos I". It can be an amphibious ship or it can be a "middle-sized" carrier with 30 aircraft. I like the flexibility although as an engineer I´m pretty sure that they had to make some design compromises for it.

Simply put we don´t know what will happen in 10-15 years. Keeping our options open seems like a pretty good idea.

In a best case scenario, amphibious ships are really the best navy ships in rescue and natural disaster relief efforts. Large enough to transport lots of cargo. Helicopters to deliver aid. Doesn´t need a functioning port to deliver aid. (Small) hospital on board. (Probably) a water treatment plant on board.

In a worst case scenario, the ability to "convert" some of the amphibious ships to small or middle-sized aircraft carriers doesn´t seem wrong too.

Given human history, just planning for the best case scenario doesn´t strike me as a very successful strategy. Let´s hope for the best case scenario but let´s at least plan for a "middle" scenario?

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 04:28:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But if we ever find ourselves in a sufficiently serious shooting war to justify amphibious assaults using brigade-sized forces, we've already lost under any sane foreign policy doctrine.

Going back to the situation of the French overseas departments, a war to defend them would mean that our relations with (presumably) Mercosur had already been shot to Hell, stabbed with a grill poker and roasted lightly over a fire somewhere on the Fifth Level. That would be a disaster in and of itself quite outclassing any negative impact of losing Cayenne. Winning the actual shooting war would, at the very best, be a Pyrrhic victory.

Similarly, we could certainly arm ourselves to the teeth in order to be able to win a potential future war with Russia. But even if we "win" a serious shooting war with Russia we'll lose so much in terms of human lives, resources, prestige and industrial capacity that we'll have lost anyway.

So our focus should not be on making sure that we can beat the snot out of anybody who might try to invade us. Our focus should be on making sure that they are perfectly confident that they won't make a profit from invading us. And frankly, I can see no possible scenario under which it would be profitable for any country to spark a serious shooting war with the European Union in order to acquire Cayenne...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 05:04:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Uhh, I do agree with you.

On the other hand, I am a German. :)
And France was a really important trade partner to Germany both before WW1 and WW2. IIRC the most important before WW2. So trade and profit in itself doesn´t seem to be enough to avoid war. Especially if one side can point to alleged grievances not solved by the last peace treaty.

And concerning South America. You´re trying to tell me that all of the countries there are now stable democracies? No chance that any of the countries there will revert back to military dictatorships?

Simply put, I don´t want a shooting war with either Russia or some South American country. I think we should just pay the insurance policy (defense budget) to ensure that both of them aren´t tempted to try their luck.

We don´t have to be strong enough to conquer them. We simply have to be strong enough to defeat them if they attack us.

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 05:38:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I don't think that South America will have a massive re-lapse into dictatorships. But even apart from that, I really don't think that Cayenne is sufficiently valuable to the European Union to justify a serious shooting war over it. If they want it badly enough to risk embargoes, blockades and the various and sundry other creative means of making other countries miserable that the Union has available, I don't think we have much of a chance of keeping it in the long run anyway.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 05:56:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French overseas departments are parts of the French Republic (unlike, say, Polynesia, but like Alsace). An actual invasion could probably end with large mushrooms somewhere in South America.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 06:19:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We don´t have to be strong enough to conquer them. We simply have to be strong enough to defeat them if they attack us.

... where it seems that the primary role of either of these vessels is not in defending against an attack but in instigating an attack.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 11:38:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
h/t ceebs in yesterday's OT:

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Oct 14th, 2008 at 06:42:37 PM EST
  1. What is the show?

  2. Do we get it in the US?  PBS?  Anywhere?


My allegiance to the human species ends at the California border.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 11:34:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The show is called Bremner, Bird & Fortune as to if its available in the US I have no idea

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 01:01:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you ceebs.

My allegiance to the human species ends at the California border.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 01:51:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The other obvious answer is... well.. I think Spain wants California back and the UK is after New England...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Oct 14th, 2008 at 06:43:42 PM EST
I think it goes back further...

Spain wants a do over for the 1588 Armada. They're planning it for 2023 to coincide with the 425 anniversary of the first attempt. By then Scotland will be an independent country and England is scrambling to play defense. This is why McCain refuses to meet with Zapatero.

Any day now I expect to read reports about English piracy and restoration of the Scottish throne.

by Magnifico on Tue Oct 14th, 2008 at 07:21:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... can get basing rights in France, and the RN goes ahead with decommissioning one of the two existing aircraft carriers on schedule, and the Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales are delivered late, sometime after 2012, Spain will hope to achieve local air superiority and wham.

OK, that makes sense. Might be inconvenient to do that to a fellow EU member ... what if the UK charts a course to remain in the EU to undermine the plot?

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Oct 14th, 2008 at 07:42:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, Spain is hoping to attack in 2013... a year before the 1st British aircraft carriers is finished. And of course, Spain can get basing rights. The French hate the English. That's the only reason why both countries have nuclear weapons -- as a deterrent for the other.
by Magnifico on Tue Oct 14th, 2008 at 10:41:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There should be a year or two leeway, then (ahem, reference to the video clip) that there is only the single light carrier in service.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 12:48:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cool.  I'll become a Spaniard.  All that swash-buckling!

My allegiance to the human species ends at the California border.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 11:35:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Power projection.

To meet the Petersberg tasks.

The Petersberg tasks cover great range of possible military missions, ranging from the most simple to the most robust military intervention. They are formulated as:

*Humanitarian and rescue tasks

*Peacekeeping tasks

*Tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking.

Officially, the range of tasks the EU commits itself "includes" these tasks, but is not limited by them. In practice, the task of territorial defence is considered the domain of NATO. As many European countries are fervent supporters of NATO, there are many provisions to prevent competition with NATO.

The Uk has a large role in the Commonwealth, and Spain has an increasing role in Latin America.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Tue Oct 14th, 2008 at 09:39:21 PM EST
... that seems a bit flimsy to me.

Peacemaking as described in the Wikipedia? (not necessarily an authoritative source, of course)

Peacemaking is a form of conflict resolution which focuses on establishing equal power relationships that will be robust enough to forestall future conflict, and establishing some means of agreeing on ethical decisions within a community that has previously had conflict. When applied in criminal justice matters it is usually called transformative justice. When applied to matters that do not disrupt the community as a whole, it may be called mindful mediation.

The term peacemaking however is reserved for large, systemic, often factional conflicts in which no member of the community can avoid involvement, and in which no faction or segment can claim to be completely innocent of the problems. For instance, a post-genocide situation, or extreme oppression such as apartheid.

Its not clear to me why an amphibious assault vessel is required for that, or for humanitarian and rescue tasks, nor for peacekeeping tasks. The role that the vessel is designed to perform is close support for an amphibious landing under fire.

And the same with a heavy carrier ... the Force Review distinction between the existing light carriers and the heavy carrier is that the light carriers were not entirely satisfactory when engaged in offensive operations.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Oct 14th, 2008 at 10:14:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Many times (now) humanitarian interventions require the use of force.  A decision to stabilize a North African regime may require the use of force.  

It's been a transformation of the principle, certainly, but it has occurred.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Tue Oct 14th, 2008 at 10:56:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... the question was not the use of force generically, but the specific uses of force ... the amphibious assault, the extended series of air sorties from the deck of the heavy carrier.

A task force arriving somewhere, securing a port, with the government or forces contending for power unable to provide security in a volatile situation, then using the port to bring in material ... a light carrier with a mix of helicopters and jump-jets, some landing docks, some frigates for surface cover ... that's not hard to see.

But if it requires a heavy carrier and a squadron of amphibious assault vessels, that strikes me as war-making.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 12:46:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A decision to stabilize a North African regime may require the use of force.

[Neocon Moment Alert]

Yeah, like when we tacitly gave the Algerian military the go-ahead to suspend the elections and 10 years of civil war ensued.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 03:18:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Miguel.

Acknowledgment of emperical existence does not signal normative agreement.

I think peacekeeping in general is often counterproductive.

Intervention is by necessity an agressive move.  It may be justifiable, but it should be justifiable as an act of war not with under the veil of "making" peace.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 10:43:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Peacekeeping in the sense of sending observers to the border in order to have a third party present to witness breaches of the peace or size-fire agreement is one thing. Of course those observers are first invited, often as part of the agreement. The UN has a lot of those going, and I think with some results.

Peacemaking, peace enforcement or whatever it is called nowadays - "we have to make war to make peace" - is an aggressive move.

I would like to keep those two seperated.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 11:04:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Peacekeeping is not peacemaking.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 12:08:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of coastal North Africa is well within range of land-based fighter-bombers operating out of Malta, Spain, the Greek archipelago or Sicily. I don't see a particularly pressing need for carriers, even in a case where a full-up amphibious assault would be needed (and frankly I find such a scenario a little hard to imagine in the first place, but maybe that's just me).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 07:40:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Too damn expensive to rotate so far. Think of the fuel. Think that you have to maintaint a deterrent presence on a continuous basis, it must be very cost-efficient.

Besides, you wouldn't want to do this with a fighter bomber. What you need is a few propeller patrol aircrafts to monitor the area, and a flotilla of armored multi-role helicopters like CH-53G for the actual interventions. Even a frigate is not appropriate against the kind of very light boats used by the pirates.

Ain't nothing we do not already have. Even the support bases (think Djibouti). It's only a question of political will and funding.

Pierre

by Pierre on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 08:13:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Huh? I was talking in the context of securing a bridgehead in the event of a colonial war stabilisation effort, not a routine anti-piracy operation. Pirates in the Med aren't that big a problem, AFAIK.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 01:29:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Spain has an increasing role in Latin America.

With Aircraft carriers? I don't see it.

In fact Latin America has finally become independent and organised itself without Spanish or USian interference during the Bush years.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 03:04:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The thing about having a weapon is that you never think you need it or will use it until you do.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 10:46:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The thing about having a weapon is that eventually someone who wants to keep the supply of weapons flowing will find a use for it.

Which is why the subthread this diary grew from was me asking questions. Its a crucial experiment, and in the question at hand, a crucial experiment with the armed forces of other nations.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 12:25:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's no point spending the extra for all that amphibious assault capability for a vessel that is going to be restricted to a Sea Control Ship role ... a second ship of the Príncipe de Asturias class would not only be cheaper to build and equip, but its also cheaper to maintain two ships of the same class than two ships of two different classes.

But a Sea Control Ship doesn't allow you to swagger like an Amphibious Assault Vessel.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 02:22:09 AM EST
No question that we may need more Sea Control Ships for dealing with things like piracy around the Horn of Africa, but force projection? No way.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 03:21:49 AM EST
I thought I was the only one high enough on Rysskräck to care about escort carriers/SCS anymore! SCS's are pretty strictly ASW assets. And trust me, the Somalis won't be bringing Akulas...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 10:43:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I actually think we should cooperate with the Russians on keeping the sea lanes safe for everyone...

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 12:06:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wish the Russian Baltic fleet good hunting off the Horn of Africa and hope they annihilate the Somali pirate scourge. The frigate Neustrashimiy is carrying naval infantry and will be there soon.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 12:39:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is historically no the interest of continental blocks (USSR, and before austrian-prussian coalitions), to let the world have efficient sea lanes. Quite the contrary actually. These particular sea lanes benefit oil trade between gulf and europe, and goods trade between asia and europe. So guess who will end up paying for safety in the area ?

Pierre
by Pierre on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 01:38:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We could pay the Russians for their help. Besides, I think it would be possible to convince Russia that participating in anti-piracy operations would be worthwhile if it meant a smaller military buildup in the EU. The trick, of course, is to make them believe that there will, in fact, be a smaller military buildup if they participate.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 01:44:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know we had a lot of peope without job in the "astilleros" (ship buiding) some years ago , so either we closed them or we gave them soemthing to do...

now they have their hands full because now having old ships around is not fancy any more...but an order is an order...

Plus , we buy some stuff to the americans in technology detection (I guess), so we are an ally...

but at the time, it was enough not to close the Galician astilleros (or was it in Andalucia this projector carrier and all that stuff... I always intercahnge both).

why didn't we ask them to build anotehr "Principe".. good question... I guess this one had more hours work and more engineers work and more...Keynnes load work per euro spent (I hope).

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 06:40:13 AM EST
As alternate explanations go the shipyard argument is a good one.  Shipworkers have a tendency tio be more militant than others, and ship yards are often in declining industrial regions.  

Santander (AFAIK) in Spain, and Belfast and the northest in the UK. (again AFAIK.)

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 10:45:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is indeed th explanation for building ship for the navy.. it was int he news some years ago...

what I do not know is why this type of carrier precisely and not any other one... maybe cheaper and more useful.. well actually useful...

So it either has to do with work load per unit of investment or something with the NATO.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 12:04:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... why the push toward either big carriers or amphibious assault vessels, instead of SCS? The big carriers can slot into a rotation shared with US carriers, and the amphibious assault vessel can be added to a group of amphibious assault vessels for the NATO ally's "contribution" to the landing force.

Looking ahead to the day when the US inevitably does not have the seapower to control sea lanes plus fight all the wars our militarists will wish to fight with our big carriers ... that's outside the frame, but when it comes, Europe can rest assured that the prioritizing will be in terms of the sealanes that are seen as strategic for the US.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 12:31:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK and Spain want international influence. No one important cares about your opinion if you can't project power.

By the way, carriers are not good at all at

protect[ing] shipping from pirates plaguing a sea lane, or from aggressive militants in one or another cause in small boats with high explosive on board

Big ships are very vulnerable to small fast craft. And pirates are dealt with by destroying their base of operations, something for which you need - that's right - amphibious assault assets.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 10:47:55 AM EST
... fast boats? I had thought there were helos that were rather good at that task.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 12:33:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothing wrong with helicopters, and amphibious assault ships often have very many helicopters. But one of the main issues with dealing with small craft is separating friend from foe: is that small Somali boat a bunch of pirates or are they fishermen? (they probably are both, depending on where the best catches of the day can be found). Helicopers are pretty vulnerable at the disctance you need to go to ID the potential perps, even against light weaponry like machine guns and RPG's.

Another problem is that big ships are pretty clumsy, especially close to shore where the small craft operate. The big ships (destroyers etc) often have relatively big guns which can't be brought to bear against small craft.

Small craft are best fought either with medium sized ships (corvettes or small frigates displacing a few hundred tons up to a bit over 1000 tons), or preferably by destroying the pirate base (hey, that would make it a pirate "cove", right?). Aaargh! ;-)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 12:47:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is way too expensive to keep choppers flying all the time. And they are way too long to take off compared to the speed of the threat. Actually anti-missile cannons or missiles like the aster 30 could be "upgraded" to tackle speed boats. Lotsa firms already working on it. But you can't have one on every tanker. So in many cases, you can only react after the boat has been seized, and that means a heli dropping very, very mean troopers on the boat, and providing them "support" (meaning: shooting anything that moves on the deck)

Pierre
by Pierre on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 01:43:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... of the amphibious assault vessels to host fast missile patrol boats, rather than landing craft?

After all, its not like a European country is going to want to take and hold a current staging base for small boats engaged in piracy on the coast of Somalia, since its a game of whack-a-mole that the European country cannot win, so if the name of the game is to take out a pirate base that has been uncovered, that's something that jump jets and attack helicopters would do.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 03:10:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You want boots on the ground, or rather boots on the land. While carpet bombing Eyl (where the pirates are based) might sound like an attractive idea, people will complain because of the collateral damage.

You need to go in with troops and root out the pirates, and you'll need to do this until these people understand they're not supposed to behave like thiefs.

Speaking of that boat docking ability, that's for really small boats, more assault craft than anything like missile boats.

What I'd like to see is some kind of mothership concept which could tender a small combat group of standardised boats with a modular capacity. That is, with some cranes and welding they could swiftly be changed from missile boats, to gun boats, to AA boats to radar boats, to assault boats, to ASW boats, to... You get the point.

And the mothership is there to give them endurance, modul storage, a hospital, better C3I and so on. But as this would be a cheap idea, count on it never ever being realized.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 04:02:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You need to go in with troops and root out the pirates, and you'll need to do this until these people understand they're not supposed to behave like thiefs.

Because this approach worked so well when France used it in Algeria in the 1840s. And when the Americans used it in Iraq in the 2000s. And when the Romans used it in Palestine in the 30's. And when...

If there's a structural problem - and Somalia is pretty much the definition of a structural problem - playing whack-a-mole like that isn't going to solve the problem; it'll just piss off the locals and show the rest of the world that Europe really is just an old-fashioned imperialist power after all.

Do. Not. Want.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 04:20:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Those are not really relevant examples. A better example is the Barbary wars.


Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 04:29:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... Ethiopia uses it in Somalia.

Remember that the current wave of pirate activity there began with the Islamic courts getting smashed by Ethiopia and their US allies. Apparently the warlords the transitional government - our erstwhile allies - likes to increase their profits with running some pirate ops.

This is in many ways similar to opium production in Afghanistan, except there is no use for gunboats in the mountains. The WestTM does not stop opium production when run by its allies, neither does it stop piracy run by its allies. Of course that does not stop our politicians from pretending it to be the case.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 05:20:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with Somalia is that there is no government, just a big power vacuum. We can certainly not create a legitimate government for Somalia, they'll have to do that themselves, but we can protect ourselves from the worst Somali excesses. Like piracy. Until a Somali government exists which can do that for itself.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 05:28:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no government because we the WestTM supported an invasion that crushed the last government and brought back civil war and the piracy.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 05:34:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not having a bunch of al-Qaida harborers was considered the more important thing.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 05:41:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Excuses, excuses.

Claiming that a government supports terrists sounds an awful lot like the old "but they're commies!" line. It looks like a cover story for bad, old imperialism. It walks like a cover story for bad, old imperialism. And it smells like a cover story for bad, old imperialism.

Now, perhaps I could take the cry of "terrists!" a little more seriously if The West(TM) were all gung-ho for taking out the Saudi royal family (who certainly do support terrorists), gave even the slightest hint that they might stop supporting the various and sundry terrorist militias murdering labour union members in Columbia or perhaps showed a little regard for combating terrorism in countries that don't have oil, gas or a strategically important geography. As it is, though... not so much.

Quite apart from that, there's the fact that Al Qaeda is not, never was and isn't going to be a credible threat to The West(TM) until and unless they get their grubby hands on a tactical nuke (which they won't do in Somalia). And arguably not even then.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 05:50:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd accept the imperialism meme in this case if there was a single valuable thing to steal or exploit in Somalia. As far as I know, there's not a single valuable thing in the entire country.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 05:52:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course not. After a decade and a half of civil war, what could possibly be left that was worth looting?

Oh. Right...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 06:01:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I hardly think the Americans helped bring down the sharia court people because they wanted to protect the interests of some Spanish fishermen or something like that.

The oil stuff seems very unclear, small scale and uninteresting. And it seems to be generally offshore. If it's offshore it doesn't matter if they are fighting a civil war or not as they can't get to the platforms anyway. Compare with the oil offshore Angola (IIRC) during the war.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 06:10:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem isn't so much the civil war as the risk that peace might break out - in which case the new government might - shock, horror - not honour the "agreements" signed by various and sundry regimes over the years.

Of course, in this case the place is so fucked up that it's not safe to operate, which probably wasn't part of the plan.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 06:16:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... as has been recently shown in Nigeria.

And of course, the closer to shore the cheaper to drill.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 10:44:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There appears to be some oil in the sea between Yemen and Somalia, at least there are some minor oil companies there.

And there is fish.

But by your standards of imperialism, what do you call it when the empires divided inner Sahara into different colonies? Or for that matter the division of Antarctic into territorial claims? Is it only imperialism when it is clear what the emperor wants from the conquered territories?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 06:01:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Those were the "golden" days of imperialsm when everyone wanted colonies just because they were cool, and because the land was there for the taking. There was ideology behind it. I don't think anyone who believes the invasion of Iraq to be an act of imperialism think Cheney launched the invasion because he wanted to rule Iraq, but because he wanted the oil.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 06:06:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this does brings us back to another point that I often make in regard to EU foreign policy:

I'd suggest that before we start running around trying to set things right with task forces and expeditionary corps and whatnot, perhaps we should try to stop breaking things first.

Might be more effective. Might be a whole hell of a lot cheaper too.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 05:41:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If "first do no harm" is good enough for medicine, it should be good enough for foreign policy.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 06:03:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not as glamorous as breaking countries for the sake of it, however.

The argument is academic. Most leaders, overt and covert, continue to be narcissists, sociopaths and authoritarians.

Peace won't break out until the normal people take over and throw the crazies in prison.

Which is a fine plan, but very much easier said than done.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 07:13:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmmm spent much of the evening at a talk by David Owen about politicians being clinically narcisistic.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 07:58:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pulled some links together for preemptive purposes.

The warlords/government are the pirates:
How savage pirates reign on the world's high seas | World news | The Observer

The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of President Abdullahi Yusuf, which is packed with former warlords, exercises little authority and claims to be unable to stop the piracy. But it is perhaps telling that during the six-month reign of the Somali Council of Islamic Courts over much of south and central Somalia in 2006, attacks on passing ships all but stopped.

Andrew Mwangura, head of the Mombasa-based Seafarers' Assistance Programme, and one of the foremost experts on Somali piracy, says there are five main pirate groups operating, sometimes together.

'Most of them are linked to warlords,' he said. 'And the warlords are linked to the TFG, all the way to the top.'

EU are stealing their fish:
How savage pirates reign on the world's high seas | World news | The Observer

Yet at any one time there are up to 500 foreign-registered boats fishing in Somalia's rich waters, according to the Seafarers' Assistance Programme. European boats catch tuna or shrimp; vessels from the Far East catch sharks for their fins. Almost all are fishing illegally. Often, pirate attacks are not even reported to maritime authorities: the ransoms paid are regarded as legitimate fines, both by the pirates and the ship-owners.

EU supports the corrupt and criminal government:
Troop Pullout Leaves Government On Brink (from Sunday Herald)

Worst of all, this government, which is backed by the United Nations and funded by Western donors including Britain and the EU, has been accused of committing a litany of war crimes. Its police force, many of whom were trained under a UN programme part-funded by Britain, has carried out extrajudicial killings, raped women and fired indiscriminately on crowds at markets. Militias aligned to the government have killed journalists and attacked aid workers.

Fortunately, it appears that Somalis are on their way of solving the problem by chasing out the Ethiopian troops and their western advisers.

Troop Pullout Leaves Government On Brink (from Sunday Herald)

SOMALIA'S FRAGILE government appears to be on the brink of collapse. Islamist insurgents now controls large parts of southern and central Somalia - and are continuing to launch attacks inside the capital, Mogadishu.

Ethiopia, which launched a US-backed military intervention in Somalia in December 2006 in an effort to drive out an Islamist authority in Mogadishu, is now pulling out its troops.

So, next time EU fishing ships steals fish from Somalian waters they will hopefully be arrested and sent to a proper jail. By coastguards in the brand new uniforms of the Islamic Republic of Somalia.

In šaʾ Allāh!

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 05:50:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pirates and Emperors - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In the City of God, St. Augustine tells the story of a pirate captured by Alexander the Great, who asked him "how dare he molest the sea". "How dare you molest the whole world" the pirate replied. "Because I do it with a little ship only, I am called a thief; you, doing it with a great navy, are called an emperor".


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 08:00:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... even a small fast patrol boat with the beam and length is too tall to fit in the well ... a patrol boat mothership/tender would not have a hanger deck above its well.

And of course rather than try to fit a patrol boat into the procrustean bed of a landing craft envelope, it is more frugal in the end to design the patrol boat mothership/tender around the patrol boats a country has.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 04:54:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, that's not really what I meant. My mothership concept would indeed have a hangar deck (for helicopters, and maybe strike fighters), but it wouldn't have a dock at all, or if it did it would only be used to resupply one of the many standard boats at a time. They would no be transported in the mothership but go by their own power.

And you'd need to build new small boats. The ones used today are built for some specific purpose while these would be preconfigured to carry a modular mission package.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 05:11:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lots of capacity to retrofit the amphibious assault ship as a small boat tender, at the sacrifice of the space to carry 450 Amphibious Assault troops.

Looking back on it after sleeping on it, it seems like the kind of boat that would most benefit from an internal well-dock would be the small, very fast type of patrol boat, and I can see that something like a missile boat would neither need nor substantially benefit from that, though it would benefit from a mothership.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:35:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, the ships I've had in mind when pondering this is something like the Finnish Hamina class fast attack craft (250 tons), the Swedish Göteborg class corvette (380/425 tons) and, maybe a bit unrealistically, the Finnish Turunmaa class gunboat. The last because I'd love to have the ability to slot in a big gun instead of missiles or whatever. The Turunmaa class (700 tons (+100 with later modifications) 1,350 tons (full load)) had the wonderful Bofors 120 mm/46 SAK DP (80(!) 120 mm shells a minute!).

Now, I wouldn't use that gun as it's not made anymore and because there is a much better one: the Otobreda 127/64. 127 mm, 25 rounds a minute (good enough!) and a massive 84 km range with standard shells! Even better, the new guided Vulcano shells will reach 120 km, better than many anti-ship missiles!

The only orders for that gun has been from the Italian and German navies for their new "frigates" (read: destroyers) which are both in the 6000 ton range. I wonder how small a ship you could mount it on, if the ship was only supposed to carry the gun (or some other mission module) and nothing else? It is after all dseigned to be a 127/54 but with lighter weight, for corvettes and the Turunmaa class were much smaller than these destroyers will be. Maybe you could even put it on something like the Göteborg class?

   
The Bofors 120 mm autogun on the Turunmaa class
   
Hamina class fast attack craft.
   
Four Göteborg class
   
The new Otobreda 127/64 lightweight gun
     

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Oct 17th, 2008 at 11:07:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK and Spain want international influence. No one important cares about your opinion if you can't project power.

Certainly "everybody important" is likely to discount the value of soft power. But that is, I would say, the Important People's problem, not ours. When Egypt starts making noises about joining the EU (and, not to put too fine a point upon it, thus giving the Union complete control of the access ways to the Mediterranean), maybe they'll realise the error of their ways...

Big ships are very vulnerable to small fast craft. And pirates are dealt with by destroying their base of operations, something for which you need - that's right - amphibious assault assets.

The problem is that destroying a fishing village pirate base here and there isn't a permanent solution any more than destroying individual pirates. Political stability and a functioning government in the country they're operating out of is the permanent solution. And somehow I don't see an amphibious assault task force running in and out of - say - Somali territory promoting stability in the area.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 01:41:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a solution which will work good enough until the Somalis can get their shit together. And quite frankly, if they haven't managed to make any progress in 17 years it's unlikely to happen soon. But all the luck to them.

Until that I guess strikes will have to be launched from the French base in Djibouti every now and then.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 03:57:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As long as there are failed states along major shipping routes and desperate people living in the failed states with access to small boats, its not as if taking out a particular hot spot for pirate activity is going to provide anything by temporary relief. One set of "these people" are "taught their lesson" by killing them, somewhere else along the coast an entirely different set of "these people" gives it a try.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:39:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just to add to EU amphibious ships:

The Dutch navy has 2 Rotterdam class LPDs.
The Spanish navy 2 Galicia class LPDs. (Developed together with the Dutch.)
The Italian navy 3 San Giorgio class LPDs.

So that EU-only amphibious assault task force would be even larger than you mentioned. :)
Take the French Charles de Gaulle and you could deploy that amphibious group today.

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 12:42:12 PM EST
theres the two UK LPD's HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark, and the LPH HMS Ocean as well

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 01:12:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Uh huh.
Add the 2 French Mistral and we´re already at 12. And that´s not counting the new Spanish "Juan Carlos I" mentioned in the post.

Robert Farley back in 2006 had a post about "the increasing focus of the world's navies on "expeditionary" ships".

The amphibious assault ship spree is somewhat reminiscent of the drive, around 1910, of a number of major and minor powers to purchase or build dreadnought battleships. Countries that had no business owning major modern units, like Brazil and Argentina, spent enormous sums on modern vessels for reasons of national prestige. However, the Defense News article suggests a more rational purpose to the purchases. As major warfare operations have increasingly become coalition expeditionary efforts, states with small militaries want a way to contribute. An amphibious assault ship gives a country like Spain, the Netherlands, or Canada a way to involve itself in an expeditionary operation without being excessively dependent on one of the major naval powers. Like their armies, the navies of these countries are becoming less focused on the traditional forms of territorial defense and more on the need for policing, peacekeeping, and other forms of expeditionary warfare. Also, amphibious assault ships are easier to sell to defense-spending averse European publics (and legislators) because they can be portrayed as more flexible and less "aggressive" than traditional naval vessels.

Still, I wouldn't discount a constructivist explanation focused on national prestige and "appropriateness". If Portugal has an LPD, then what does it say about Canada that they lack one?

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 02:04:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... docks, you couldn't argue that the Navy could engage in humanitarian relief without landing platform docks.

As with JakeS point in the parent diary:

Escort carriers can still do a lot of mischief, and frankly I don't see a role for them in defending our own territorial waters. I can't see a reason that we shouldn't be able to protect our territorial waters with land-based aircraft and light ASW squadrons.

Its not that light carriers cannot do a lot of mischief, but that the difference between wanting light and heavy carriers is precisely being dissatisfied with how much mischief can be accomplished with light carriers.

Similarly, its not the landing platform docks ... especially if supported by light carriers or helicopter carriers ... cannot get into mischief, but it looked to me like the chief reason for wanting an amphibious assault vessel instead is in order to be prepared to cause mischief.

But I'd been thinking of escort duties more in blue water terms ... the Horn of Africa, the Straits of Malacca ... I hadn't thought about the appeal of being able to be a fast missile boat carrier, in place of the landing craft they are designed for.

Nobody's talked me down yet on why y'all need heavy carriers (or why we need so many, but I take the insanity of the Pentagon-driven US foreign policy as a given).


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 03:22:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nobody's talked me down yet on why y'all need heavy carriers (or why we need so many, but I take the insanity of the Pentagon-driven US foreign policy as a given).

I see one of two possible options:

a) We don't, and are just building them because it makes the Pentagun go starry-eyed, and we really, really luv the Pentagun.

b) When the American hegemony comes to an end, we'll want to be prepared to make the most of it with a little smash-and-grab at some former US colonies. Think Panama, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and so on and so forth and etc. Kinda like the US-supported colour revolutions, except with CTFs...

Of course, the former could easily morph into the latter. In fact, I bet it will eventually do just that if we don't get our act together and develop an intelligent foreign policy doctrine.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 04:28:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:
a) We don't, and are just building them because it makes the Pentagun go starry-eyed, and we really, really luv the Pentagun.

Why would there be any more than this?

The one thing the military hardware types are reliably bad at is strategy. There's very little evidence that they have even basic strategic skills and plenty of evidence that they make bad, stupid and expensive decisions.

These carriers are being built primarily for symbolic and political reasons, not strategic ones.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 07:19:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
for at least the last hundred and fifty years, the military of almost every nation has been planning to refight the last major war that it fought, The US navy is configured to fight a modern equivalent of the Japanese Navy, whereas European navies are mainly configured to fight Nazi Submarine fleets. The Coalition in Iraq, would be doing much better if the enemy fought like the Germans in WWII,

The fact that other countries have fought differently in conflicts since hasnt altered strategy because they havent been "serious" opponents

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 10:18:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The US navy is configured to fight a modern equivalent of the Japanese Soviet Navy, whereas European navies are mainly configured to fight Nazi Communist Submarine fleets.

Fixed it for ya.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Oct 17th, 2008 at 11:01:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That was the appeal of the Soviets as an adversary in the Cold War ... if you squinted, it was possible to wargame it as WWII, Take 2. Talking the Soviets up as an adversary that would be fighting to dominate a major Ocean was harder than talking up the Soviet sub threat, but the argument for enough carriers to make a continuous air cover force across the Atlantic for supplies from the US to Europe did the trick.

But it was written as intended, no correction needed. "Re-fighting the last war" is often the last Great  Power hot-war, and there wasn't anything in the Korean War or the Second Indochinese War to knock the Navy out of re-fight WWII mode.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Oct 17th, 2008 at 12:15:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bruce, please...

In a "worst" case scenario we are talking about - maybe - 3 or 4 future EU (British and French) "heavy" aircraft carriers capable of carrying 40-50 airplanes. Plus the Spanish "Juan Carlos I" capable of carrying around 30 airplanes in its carrier configuration. Plus 2-3 light carriers carrying 8-10 airplanes each.

That´s not comparable to 12 US aircraft carriers capable of carrying 80-90 airplanes each. Not to mention that the EU simply doesn´t have the world-wide bases like the USA.

Simply put, if the EU - disregard the UK ties to the USA here - wanted "to cause mischief" on its own it could maybe deploy the equivalent of 1-2 US aircraft carriers. Plus maybe in a best case 10000-12000 soldiers and their equipment in their amphibious ships.

You can´t invade and secure a country with 12000 soldiers and maybe 100 - 200 airplanes. Won´t work unless its Monaco or Andorra. :)

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 05:10:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You can´t invade and secure a country with 12000 soldiers and maybe 100 - 200 airplanes. Won´t work unless its Monaco or Andorra. :)

"Invading and securing a country" can hardly be considered the threshold level for military mischief making, wherein anything shy of that is just ordinary argy bargy between good mates.

As far as:

That´s not comparable to 12 US aircraft carriers capable of carrying 80-90 airplanes each. Not to mention that the EU simply doesn´t have the world-wide bases like the USA.

Regarding the the world-wide bases like the USA, I agree that the EU is far less likely to be dragged into pointless international confrontations in defense of a global base network, and by the same token is not carrying that economic dead weight around.

But why the need for an offensive strike capability at all?

As far as the shipbuilding, the shipyards could be building all manner of different things ... why offensive strike vessels?

Aside from US instigation, I think the prestige factor is something. The Royal Navy's carriers were basically demoted to helicopter carriers in the Iraq invasion ... oh the ignominy.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 08:17:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As far as the shipbuilding, the shipyards could be building all manner of different things ... why offensive strike vessels?

Because military procurement is exempt from the EU's restrictions on "State Aid".

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 08:28:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... sure, but there's lots of military procurement that would not involve kitting up for an amphibious invasion or overcoming the "flaw" in vessels that they are more useful in defensive roles than offensive roles.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 09:11:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you're still trying to look for a rationale for this beyond "let's build us a really big ship" (possibly also to temporarily satisfy the US that we're spending enough on NATO).

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 03:38:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... its not my area, and just because I can't see a rationale does not mean the rationale does not exist. Hence posing the question. Posing it a little provocatively, well, it does seem to get people talking.

As the US loses the capacity to project force on a global basis over the next two decades, the question of how Europe should comport itself as in independent power will emerge as a policy question that cannot be ducked, and that then ties in with the question of the shape of strategic threats that Europe faces in the tumultuous thirty years ahead.

So, yes, I was trying to push for an expression of a rationale beyond, "let's build the biggest ship we can, using US pressures for what they would like to see for leverage" ... because that's all I can see, and I don't know if I'm missing something.

Its obviously not a rationale for the acquisition, but one thing about the amphibious assault ships is that they could indeed be provided with a complement of fast hydrofoil patrol boats, which would seem to make for a better match to the strategic threats ahead than an amphibious assault force. So while the military might have to be dragged kicking and screaming, maybe there's a retrofit there that can make it less of a waste of resources.

But the big carriers ... the expression from the 90's of "why they are needed" reads like officialspeak for "the stuff we got isn't great for trying to stand offshore and blow shit up". I can't see any reason to have them other than trying to sink somebody else's ships, or for trying to stand offshore somewhere and send sorties in to try to blow shit up.

And of course a heavy carrier is a hole in the water that you pour aviation fuel into when you want it to be replaced by hot air. If pressed into service in secondary roles, its far from the most energy efficient way to serve those roles.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:19:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, yes, I was trying to push for an expression of a rationale beyond, "let's build the biggest ship we can, using US pressures for what they would like to see for leverage" ... because that's all I can see, and I don't know if I'm missing something.

It doesn't look like you are...

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 10:26:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One book I was reading last year had a theory that the Three services in the UK armed forces had since the 1960's had an even slice of the Defence budget, and by this theory, the Navy needed a couple of large ships to ensure its slice of the pie, and maintain the Status of the Admirals against the equivalent ranks in the Army and Air-force.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 10:31:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
An equal expenditure in smaller SCS vessels and a large number of new corvettes for "anti-terrorist at sea capabilities" would give plenty of flag rank positions to hand around.

But it seems likely that in the late 1990's and early 2000's, "going along with the yanks" was the easier path to walk.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 10:38:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... (eventually ... see the video clip ;) ... its the RAF that flies off the decks of RN carriers, right? So that might have been part of getting the RAF on board for the ships. Even the larger jump jet complement that can be put aboard the Príncipe de Asturias is not great for getting the RAF onside, if the precedent is that the yanks would still only want them to be used as "mere helicopter carriers".


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 10:42:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is another possible reason: the Juan Carlos class must be bigger than the Príncipe de Asturias.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 10:45:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... for the landing hovercraft to disembark, and the landing hovercraft themselves look so kewl and HiTek.

The Italians when they went for a bigger ship just went for a SCS carrier with capacity for more jump jets and helos. So obviously if you just want a bigger ship, just edging up the size of the Sea Control Ship is the other road to go.

OTOH, maybe they figured that the export market was bigger for an amphibious assault ship ... after all, they sold the design to Australia, who is building not one, but two.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 11:06:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, who is Australia plannning on invading?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 11:23:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well theres a lot of oil at islands round their north coast.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 11:50:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... Bouganville, some coastal town in Papua New Guinea that is taken over by hoodlums not legitimized by an election, like that.

Or, of course, counter-invading the Northern Territory coast if Indonesia invades Darwin.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 12:39:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You may or may not think you jest, but every strategic document out of Canberra basically runs on the assumption that one of the prime purposes of the AU forces is to fend off an Indonesian invasion. It's the root of a lot of their strategic planning.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 02:11:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I lived in Oz for a decade ... I was half kidding about invading Fiji, and completely kidding about invading Bouganville or Guadalcanal ...

... but a counter-invasion in case the Indonesians invade Darwin? That one is a lot more plausible. In a country of 20m next to a country of 100m+ with a history of invading places in their neighborhood, the military, at least, of the less populous country smaller country will not ignore that prospect in its strategic planning.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 02:46:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well the airfields throughout the south of England for the Battle of Britain were all constructed in the 20's and 30's after an Imperial general staff report that said that War with France was likely before the 1950's

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 02:47:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be a very good idea to start mapping the EU's combined global base network. Because I think it's underrated.

Also, Africa.

That is, the EU is not gearing up to fight a naval war in the straits of Taiwan. But it (well, France and the UK and at times on opposite sides) still has a large and not always benign influence on politics in Africa, with a lot of interventions.

Which doesn't require more than a few thousand troops plus overwhelming firepower at a time.

More aircraft carriers will mean more interventionism in Africa and parts of the Middle East.

I'm optimistic that the carrier plans are going to be scaled down and postponed, though. The money has to be spent on banks right now...

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 05:14:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Its different money being spent on banks. The money being spent on banks is replacing dud assets, and its just newly created fiat-currency purchasing power to replace the credit-money purchasing power that is vanishing as banks accept loan repayments without extending new credit. IOW, it IS "money" being spent ... not income.

The "money being spent" on the military is a diversion of national real income ... and given the collapsing phony-economy sector in the UK, it seems highly likely that the MP's "representing" y'all in the UK will forget to consider whether or not to continue with building the QE class ships. These ship-building projects are like boulders rolling downhill ... they are a lot easier to stop before they get moving than when they are on the move.

But there seems to be very good prospects for France backing out of their penciled in plan to buy one or two of their own, so that's good news at least.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:47:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 I did a couple of little write ups not too long ago - one on the U.S. carrier strike group and the other on the expeditionary strike group. Those interested in this diary might like the background information.

http://dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/8/6/05451/52702/110/563326

http://dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/8/7/0118/76656/513/563916

by SacredCowTipper (sct@strandedwind.org) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 03:05:16 PM EST
France, of course.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 05:30:46 PM EST
Aren't wars between French, Spain and the UK traditionally fought in Belgium and Germany ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 06:23:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We're not that picky. Whenever, wherever works for us.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 06:39:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So an invasion of Guadaloupe from Dominica would be close enough?


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:49:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A country has to do something with its mil-ind dinosaurs besides change their names, so it gives it one-more-contract to postpone its demise for one more decade and save some jobs.  Long overdue lack of vision to redirect that production to something sustainable.

On the other hand, everyone seems to have forgotten the most recent history of ´territorial´ threats to Spain, (; as late as 2002.  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perejil_Island
If that´s not hilarious, you can go for pathetic here:
http://preview.tinyurl.com/6kl74r
http://www.revistanaval.com/blimdanet/historias/actualidad/perejil.htm

There were some foreign soldiers who put up a tent and a flag!, there were rumors of heretic goats being dropped off to graze there....  no PP government could have ignored such bellicose ambitions.  What would Spain have done without a ´strong´ navy?

I can only imagine that the UK govt. wants the same protection for its postal boxes in Guernsey.  Makes sense to ´them´.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Fri Oct 17th, 2008 at 01:24:19 PM EST
... assault ship, since ... umm ... ???

Since Spanish Soil in Africa is under threat of Invasions that can be seen off by a handful of commandos landed by an inflatable boat dropped off by a fast patrol boat?

Indeed, given the number of tiny African enclaves that Spain claims sovereignty over, the "all the eggs in one basket" approach makes even less sense. A swarm of missile boats with the ability to drop off commando teams would be a far more effective way of maintaining control of a half dozen enclaves on the edges of Morocco.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Oct 17th, 2008 at 04:19:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Right.  Needed more winky faces and snark quotes.

In the Spanish case, I cannot imagine any strategic plan or future vision, other than business/tradition as usual, to have that kind of ship.  I hope we can outgrow those 20th century manias soon.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Fri Oct 17th, 2008 at 04:33:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... the links stand on their own. As a movie it would have to be a screwball comedy because nobody would credit it really happening.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Oct 17th, 2008 at 06:19:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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