More Resources: Military Movements And The Prospect Of War

FOLLOWING OUR post on New Year’s Eve — which pondered whether 2013 had taken the world closer to Armageddon or not — this morning’s post is intended simply to share additional material with readers; the question is receiving considerable attention both in Australia and abroad, as comparisons between 1914 and 2014 are drawn: and a frightening incident off the Scottish coast shows how easily it could occur, even by miscalculation.

It’s not a very pleasant subject this one, to be sure, and — like most readers — I hope and pray it’s one that never advances in status beyond the hypothetical.

Even so, a failure to read the signs, sift the probabilities, or to evaluate the true state of international affairs is incredibly negligent, especially where governments, their advisors, relevant agencies and an investigative media are concerned.

Today, I seek to share some of what has been published — in Australia and beyond — over the past week; the objective isn’t to unduly frighten anybody, but given these matters are being postulated upon I feel it would be remiss not to continue to keep an eye on them.

Readers will know that a little over a week ago, I posted an article that in turn linked to an excellent piece by Tim Stanley, that originally appeared in The Telegraph in Britain; that piece theorised on the question of whether the world drew nearer to a nuclear apocalypse over the course of 2013.

Of course, for that to happen, their first must be a war, and it’s in this vein that I post the material to follow here today. As with my post on New Year’s Eve, I’m not going to comment to a great extent on these; the intention really is to provide additional material.

For those to whom the broad theme is of interest, however, most of these pieces are compelling reading.

First cab off the rank is the recent Brookings Essay, by Margaret MacMillan, entitled The Rhyme of History: Lessons of the Great War, an academic effort that draws distinct parallels between the pre-1914 world political environment, and the one that exists today.

This article — from http://www.news.com.au, of all places — contains some surprisingly good links to other pertinent material (and it is, I will confess, where I initially obtained the link to Dr MacMillan’s essay).

The Daily Mail‘s international affairs editor, Max Hastings, picked up the theme of one of the world’s present hot spots — tensions between China and Japan over a few uninhabited islands in the South China Sea — as a potential flashpoint for a conflict that could easily spiral out of control in this piece published in the Mail a week ago.

Even the Fairfax press gets in on the subject, in a rational and intelligent piece, touching on the same subjects but from the differential perspective of the economic drivers that may contribute to the ignition of any conflagration that might erupt.

Just in case anyone thinks I’m fearmongering for the sake of it, I also include this article — again, from the Daily Mail — which details a terrifying incident off the British coast, involving a Russian cruise ship with a full clip of nuclear-tipped SLBMs on board; the truly terrifying thing about it, as readers will see, isn’t even the fact that the Russians sailed enough nuclear hardware to blast the UK out of existence so close. It’s where the British naval response was parked, and had the Russians been on a live mission, it would have ended very badly, very quickly, with nary a shot fired in response.

This column is predicated on following politics and associated issues both in Australia and in the world around us, wherever they arise; that obviously covers military matters, although the bulk of what we discuss here involves the dour grind of retail and electoral politics, with a smattering of peripheral issues thrown in for good measure.

All that said, we will continue to observe matters that relate to any prospect of global military conflict, as we have done intermittently for some time.

I trust the materials included with this post are of interest to readers, and I will be keen for any feedback you may wish to offer — or any points in the attached articles that may merit further discussion within this forum.

 

World Wrap: Did 2013 Carry Us Closer To Doomsday?

AT THE END of another year, I am for once unashamedly deferring; 2013 has been a difficult year across the world, and whilst I am an optimist when it comes to world affairs, I am also a realist. Did 2013 bring the world a little closer to a nuclear apocalypse? Today we consider a piece by British-American historian Dr Tim Stanley, and his summation of the year behind us — and its messages for the year ahead.

For once I’m not going to say much; I know I threaten often to be brief, only to find a 1,500 word essay on my screen when I have finished. Today I seek only to share — it is New Year’s Eve, after all — and to offer a few thoughts and some opinion.

The article I am linking to today by Dr Stanley appeared yesterday in the UK in The Telegraph, and I have chosen to share it because it not only evaluates the state of global affairs through conservative eyes, but considers them through the dual prisms of two distinct (but complementary) threads of conservative thought.

I urge readers to read it: makes a lot of sense.

There are a lot of the same subjects in Dr Stanley’s piece that we have touched on in this column: the benefits of globalisation and economic liberalism; the need to ensure wealth remains able to be created; the dangers of socialism; and some consideration of the value of conservatism, and why that noble school of thought applies as much today as it did in the days of Locke and Burke, and more recently expressed by the likes of Friedrich Hayek.

And Dr Stanley devotes much of his article to themes we talk about here whenever they are appropriate: specifically, the ever-volatile nature of global politics, and how easily a miscalculation could lead to trouble on an unprecedented scale; to be sure, these concerns cover much of his article, and I think it important to note that issues we have talked about here — the potential for military confrontation with Russia in Syria, the danger of North Korea, and the military adventures of China and their ramifications, to recall a few — are equally taken on by others in a mainstream context across the Western world.

Dr Stanley’s piece is written for a British audience, and conspicuously so, but it could as easily have been penned with Australian eyes in mind. Rather than pick it apart and talk about it in detail, I will be interested in any reader comments today: the discussion, such as it is, will flow from these, and I will involve myself in any debate that arises as those who do so peruse his article, and share their thoughts.

Is the glass half empty, or half full?

 

I should also like to take the opportunity to thank all readers of The Red And The Blue for their readership, loyalty and referrals during 2013 — in the full knowledge, of course, that many do not share my views, or the principles of conservatism that inform them. No matter: the brief here is to present issues for political discussion at the level of the “everyday Joe,” free (as far as restraint allows me!) of highbrow jargon or bogging down too far in advanced concepts that typically turn people off politics, and to get people talking about them. Our readership has increased by more than 350% this year, for which I thank you, and I ask you to invite those around you with an interest in the matters we talk about here to trial the site and to get involved in the conversation.

Politics is all around us, and not just confined to Canberra, or Spring Street, or the Melbourne Town Hall, or the equivalent of these where you live: it affects everything we do, and shapes our lives; in turn (and even if many fail to realise it), it is also directly shaped by each of us.

 

I trust all readers enjoy a festive New Year celebration tonight; be safe, and by all means drink (but leave one in the fridge at the end of the night for tomorrow, so to speak): my drop of choice at present is comprised of some fine beers from Bavaria (in breach of my usual red wine and Islay single malt habits) and I intend to enjoy several of them. Once the festivities are over, I look forward to picking our discussion up again later in the week.