Monday, 23 October 2017
Up-to-the-minute perspectives on defence, security and peace
issues from and for policy makers and opinion leaders.

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We mark the passing of those who have served this country. Contributions from comrades and families welcome.

This is an edited version of a presentation made by John Everard, UK Ambassador to North Korea  (DPRK) 2006-2008, to a EURODEFENSE conference in London.

1. Conventional capabilities include supplies of gas such as Sarin (used to assassinate Kim Jong Nam in Singapore). The often-quoted artillery facing Seoul may be degraded, and troops are reportedly under-trained and under-armed as nuclear and missile programmes have drained cash from other areas of armed forces. Defectors report low morale in what is mostly a conscript army.

With the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S became the world's only "hyper power". A state defined as possessing such overwhelming economic, technological, political, and military powers and resources, it has no rivals. No individual state, nor any alliance of states are capable of challenging its global primacy. Washington can project its power anywhere across the globe at any time. Power so intimidating, it should fulfill the maxim of Sun Tzu, China's great military strategist: "The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting." Power that has, however, experienced unanticipated limitations, writes Joseph E Fallon.

A major theme of the US and Western commentariat in recent months has been the way in which so-called "grown-ups" from the Washington foreign and security policy establishment have stepped in to control the "reckless and irresponsible" President Trump. Given the record of that establishment over the past two decades, one might be pardoned for asking which of the parties to this arrangement is the more irresponsible, says Anatol Lieven.

Two things however are indubitably true: that for the past 12 years or so the US security establishment has acted severely to constrain the foreign policies of three successive presidents; and that more than ever before this security establishment is dominated by the US uniformed military. Today, not only the Secretary of Defense and the National Security Adviser but the White House Chief of Staff as well are all generals or ex-generals who reflect absolutely the consensus of the US military high command. Another general who defied that consensus – Mike Flynn - was rapidly removed, in part through behind-the scenes pressure from his former military colleagues.

The world's attention is currently focussed on developments on the Korean peninsula. This is due in large part because of the remarks made by US President Trump at the recent UN General Assembly (UNGA). North Korea has been a neuralgic problem since the end of hostilities in 1953. This week the London based Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) has published a paper 'Preparing for War in Korea'; a title which its author Professor Malcolm Chalmers, the Deputy Director General of RUSI, hastens to stress does not imply any inevitability, reports Nick Watts

Daesh, "the Islamic State", is collapsing. But Daesh, the organization, is not. What Forbes once declared to be "the richest terrorist organization the world has known" with an annual turnover of US$ 2 billion, is simply shifting tactics and preparing to resume guerrilla warfare, writes Joe Fallon..

Daesh, the ideology, remains potent and resilient. Its narrative is of a Manichean world of good (Daesh) and evil (all others). Highly embellished with selected citations from the Quran and the hadiths on end-times "proving" Daesh will be victorious, it calls on Muslims to take direct action now to establish a "true" Islamic state on earth. Such a narrative appeals to many extremists. Despite military setbacks, despite the failure of the prophecy of the battle of Dabiq to be fulfilled, by which the Daesh version of Islam would achieve ascendancy over the West, its "true believers" continue to believe. Passionately.

It is estimated by U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism experts that, to date, some 60,000 Daesh fighters have been killed. And still they fight.

Rifleman B will always be a Rifleman.

The stripes, crowns, laurels, stars and swords of rank... black, white, silver, gold or red... embroidered, stitched, printed or stamped... are unlikely to be his. His "Swift and Bold" lumbers along at the Experimental Corps' cadence of hundred and forty paces to the minute. This rate of advance is the unchanged distinction for Sir John Moore's 18th century dark, racing-Rifle-green innovation of the embodiment of the thinking solder, who continues to serve us all, Wellington, Richards, Fox, my family and yours, so well.

So many prescribed lessons, quality instruction, Explanation, Demonstration, Imitation and Practice go, systematically, plan-fully and (of humane necessity) de-sensitisingly, into the uniquely standard casting of each and every modern Rifleman. That ingraining, into muscle memory, of each element of basic, advanced and continuation training, as skills combine into drills sequenced tactically as part of the operational art designed to achieve strategy, will, randomly, save some of our "happy few" lives, and help our band of Brothers and Amazons, to decide how best to do bad things to "very bad" people; to wit: the Queen's enemies.

Illegal immigration is probably one of the main security challenges Europe is facing. Never in recent history have so many people wanted to settle in Europe, either because they are threatened in their home countries and they seek asylum, or simply for economic reasons, as they want to enjoy a better life. But can one really talk about a European migration policy, asks Jean Cady ?

Amb. Mariano García Muñoz reports.
First: the new presence, but not real involvement, of the USA in the Middle East (ME).
It seems that the new policy of President Trump towards this region is not to shape it
according to a peace plan that might solve wars and national crisis and to start a nation
building program. The US President and his counsellors have the idea to forge an Arab-
Sunni coalition:
• To fight terrorism from the Islamic State (IS),
• To counter Iranian influence that is damaging the policy of Saudi Arabia
and its allies in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere,
• To negotiate peace between Israel and Palestine.

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