Link drop Dec 2019


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Info for readers who understand English, but not German:
A relatively much-read German security policy blog by a professional journalist is Augengeradeaus, and it exists at least partially also in an English version:
So you could use that link to rarely read a (mostly pro establishment, particularly compared to me) German security policy publication. Most of its articles are not available in English, though. You may give an auto-translation of the German version a try as well.

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"NATO’s current burden sharing goals totally ignore military needs and effectiveness, and merely call for spending 2% of GDP on total defense spending levels, and at least 20% of annual defense expenditure on major new equipment. (...)
The analysis shows that NATO heads of state, Ministers, and parliaments/legislatures do not properly examine the priorities that would emerge from net assessments of the balance or on improving NATO’s capability to deter and fight. They fail to focus effectively on its many individual national problems and issues in strength and readiness, and they have failed to create coherent force and modernization plans for the future.
Worse, this report presents considerable quantitative evidence that NATO’s current burdensharing goals actually focus the Alliance on the wrong objectives, and do so in ways that encourage pointless burden–sharing debates over the wrong objectives. It shows that the 2% and 20% goals have six critical defects:
  • They are irrelevant, given intelligence estimates of the actual level of NATO resources relative to the key Russian threat.
  • (...)"
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Such research could be a gold mine for future officer selection process reform.

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"(...) the motorized brigades of the Saudi Arabian National Guard (or SANG). (...) The mission of the motorized brigades is to provide internal security within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, particularly for the oil fields in the Eastern Province. They provide quick reaction forces to the guard mounts and light vehicle-borne patrols that provide the actual site security. In addition, the brigades’ internal security mission requires them to be able to quickly move anywhere in the kingdom to conduct a full spectrum of internal security operations. Lastly, in time of war (...)"
Lt.Col. Martin N. Stanton, Armor Magazine, Mar-Apr 1996, page 6

I realized I do often refer to this article as a description of how the Saudi military isn't a military in the modern Western sense. It serves four purposes
  1. playing ground for princes
  2. secure the rule of house Saud
  3. pretend that Saudi-Arabia has a real military
  4. spreading income to natives (Saudi-Arabia is a top-down distribution scheme similar to mafia organisations; loyalty is purchased by handing down shares of the oil revenues)
It's one of those armed services where loyalty to the ruler is more important than competence. The consequence is inevitably a low degree of competence in peacetime (wartime weeds out at last some of the incompetents). Such armed forces are common in much of the Third World, and even NATO has a member (Turkey) which can solidly be suspected to have sabotaged its armed forces this way.

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It's difficult to watch this without skipping:

Embedding this is the closest I'll ever go in regard to supporting torture.



  1. Regarding the Saudis

    When I was in the military, even as recruits in basic we came to this conclusion. All Armies are incompetent, it is only that the victor is usually somewhat less incompetent. When you get a man of average battle sense in a leadership the unit becomes renowned. If you get exceptional talent what you get are legends that will be passed on. Why? Because the standard deviation is curved towards the worse end both among foot soldiers and commanders. This may be why the German military on an average in most conflicts was so formidable with some historians putting their effectiveness at 2 to 1 against enemies in both offensive and defensive scenarios (for World War 2). While there were surely blunders here and there, they blundered far less than their counterparts.

    Ignoring morals, right and wrong and what not, the reason Germany lost was because it was at war with pretty much the whole world, there was no ability to stop their opposition from regrouping/replenishing, and all their allies (Japan, Arab SS, Italy, some of the Balts) were atrociously incompetent. Truly these were forces whose usefulness was only in killing unarmed civilians or disorganized militia. Case in point if Japan held off attacking the Soviet Union, pushing too deeply into China, and merely threatened the Soviet Union on the East with a credible force there would be no manpower reserve the push back the Germans in the west.

    There is another saying that the true strength of an armed group is only seen in how they perform when things go badly. When things go well you could use lightly trained school girls and get the same result, hence the bias seen in the push for mass acceptance of females in combat roles in the United States.

    Examples of actual strength as such as the Chinese during the Korea War. Despite material deficiencies they were able to fight the an augmented U.S. military with supporting U.N. forces to a stand still. The result is obvious if the Chinese had technological parity.

    For the most part modern day speaking Israeli, US, Middle Eastern and most other forces other than the Chinese and the Germans are far too reliant on EW, SIGINT AND Intelligence services during war making. Good intelligence can cause shitty commanders to look competent. With all the relevant information I can elect a 10 year old boy to be commander he would have a good chance at being victorious. Case in point what happened to the United States during Korea when the Chinese attacked, the Niger incident, the last bout with Hezbollah in the north, Wanat ect when there was no early warning. What we are seeing the Saudis getting the cold shoulder from the United States regarding intelligence support (which is much more valuable than all the cool toys they are getting) and them walking blindly in, getting clobbered.

    1. All you're doing is compressing the scale. "All armies are incompetent" [but some armies are more incompetent than others].

      The royal navy in ww2 was full of badly maintained, badly equiped ships crewed by wavy navy ancients, blue blooded idiots and ram into whale island morons. Their opponents were worse. Therefore, the rn was superior.

      The point with the Saudis is they dont even pretend to themselves that they are an army, non of their leadership think they are. If anything major happens the survival of the position of the house of saud depends on getting someone else to defend them. Not necessarily yankland either, look at the Chinese rocket and drone factories in Saudi. They will pay, someone else will do the fighting.

  2. Oh My God!

    Senator Hanson really is a chump. The body language of the Rear Admiral is priceless!