About myself

I've been asked to write a bit about myself, apparently that is important to some readers.

Well, this is indeed a good opportunity to describe myself.

My knowledge base includes information about military equipment of different ages and all services, historical strategic/operational and tactical art and a very good knowledge of history and especially military history.
There's always more to learn and always someone who knows more, but I feel sufficiently well-informed to have a good foundation for my opinions.
Of course, it's not required to have a good opinion. Democracy is all about allowing everyone an opinion and to value that. Experts don't have the best records concerning their opinions anyways, and they usually disagree with each other, so it would be silly to just depend on them without an own opinion.

My general approach to national security affairs is coined by historical lessons. I don't just look at the moment - I consider many 20th century historical situations as good description for possible situations of ours within a couple of years. Information given by officials is not much worth and qualification of officers always under close scrutinity, as history tells us better not to believe what we're told. Most nations that suffered military disasters weren't informed about what was going to happen in advance - although there were always hints or let's say patterns that hinted at a forthcoming disaster.
History also teaches to distrust simple theories about what will happen in the world - domino theory, "Arabs will welcome us and love to build their democracy", "this was a war to end all wars" and the like.

That leads to a strong pattern in my analysis - I'm a skeptic and critic.
Again, this has strong foundation in history. A short look at the West's post-WW2 record of wars tells us that it's far from being perfect, even though the typical superiorities of superior logistics, firepower, financial power, industrial power, training and combined arms were present in all those conflicts.
Falklands and Korean Wars were almost lost, Vietnam/Indochina and Algeria were lost, Iraq is obviously about to be lost and Afghanistan is far from being won. Several other conflicts included severe disappointments, as all engagements in Lebanon and the 1999 Kosovo War, which was despite its ultimate outcome in large part an exhibition of military and political incompetence.

You won't ever find a "The FCS tank will rule the battlefields - unseen by the enemies, FCS forces defeat everyone with missiles!" text here. Instead, you can expect sometimes very original perspectives on national security affairs with a minimum of backing data and links in my texts. The usual points of view are accessible everywhere - I attempt to discover the truth in those cases where mainstream opinion is wrong.

A French parliamentarian visited the front line in April 1940 and was shocked to see the weak defense in the Sedan sector - he alerted everyone he could alert about this possibly fatal weak spot. But common opinion was that the Germans would - if at all - attack just like 1914. In fact they had their Schwerpunkt at Sedan, and the marching orders of the French army HQ moved much of its forces into the prepared trap north of Sedan. The Battle for France was lost a few days after it had begun.
I'd be proud of my work if only one in ten of my entries comes close to this (less the defeat).

Someone recently accused me of being anti-American. Well, I don't think so. That guy did just not know how much I criticize my own countries' forces and policy. My critique is a general pattern, a personal style - my critique is not focused on specific countries, races or religions. The USA gets a good share of my critique - that's in large part due to their activity and size. Economic imbalances of Luxembourg would be uninteresting, the same for the USA is a global problem. Countries with little military activity or a less extrovert approach to information on the military don't provide as many stories for a critic on military affairs...

I'm no pacifist, although that was suggested recently as well. My recurring critique on wars might mislead people to that conclusion, but in fact I'm just hard to convince about going to war and continuing wars for far-reaching goals. I frequently use the word "needless" in combination with "war". As I see it, there are wars that need to be fought and wars that are plain stupid.
I've read some books of pacifists, though. I did so because my passion for military affairs required a counterweight. Scientific pacifists have a point. Their argumentation is far from the typical stereotype of the pacifist who wouldn't fight at all costs and be a coward. Those scientific pacifists focus instead on the immensely wasteful and destructive nature of war and mankind's aggressive and destructive potential. It helps to consider pacifist's arguments seriously if you're serious about avoiding needless wars. After all, even victories can hurt you more than peace.

Sven Ortmann

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