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brave new world
Royal Navy Out of Missiles, Switching to Guns

The Royal Navy will be without ship-to-ship missiles for a couple of years. The Telegraph reports:

Royal Navy warships will be left without anti-ship missiles and be forced to rely on naval guns because of cost-cutting, the Ministry of Defence has admitted.

The Navy’s Harpoon missiles will retire from the fleet’s frigates and destroyers in 2018 without a replacement, while there will also be a two year gap without helicopter-launched anti-shipping missiles.[..]

Harpoon missiles are unlikely to be replaced for up to a decade, naval sources said, leaving warships armed only with their 4.5in Mk 8 guns for anti-ship warfare. Helicopter-launched Sea Skua missiles are also going out of service next year and the replacement Sea Venom missile to be carried by Wildcat helicopters will not arrive until late 2020.

The Telegraph notes that the RAF has also been without anti-ship missiles for some time. This seem like a problem if you’re an island nation trying to project power or defend yourself

It’s still (relatively) early days, but this is not a good sign for how our traditional allies are going to handle the Trump moment—or how Britain is handling Brexit. Some commentators hold out hope that Trump’s skepticism of our traditional alliances would give a salutary scare to some of our allies, causing them to reverse the long-term decline in defense spending and, more generally, take defense policy more seriously. Likewise, the more establishment of the two Brexit campaigns intermittently pushed the idea that a Britain free of the shackles of the EU would reclaim its martial (and trading) vigor.

But as Thomas Wright of Brookings said in a must-read interview right before the election:

Sometimes we get distracted by talking about what others should do. The real question is: What do we expect others will do? Europe should do more, but realistically, if the U.S. pulled out of Europe, what’s likely to happen in France, for instance? Is it more likely that France will become very internationalist and liberal, or is it more likely that it will trend to the right and that [National Front leader] Marine Le Pen will have a better chance of being elected—[that France] will have a nationalist government that will look out for itself? To me, the record is pretty clear over the last five or six years that if the U.S. pulls out, things will get worse domestically in other countries, and they’ll become more fearful and more protectionist and more nationalist.

Evidence on the ground increasingly suggests the same for England. The more populist of the Brexit campaigns proved to be the one that really sold the idea, and its focus was almost entirely internal. The liberal internationalist center is both smaller in number than conventional wisdom had it until recently and also still badly split, with the left wing continuing to believe post-historical nostrums about the dispensability of force, and the right wing often favoring green-eyeshades arguments on defense.

The result may well be a vicious cycle in which declining investment in defense and international order leads to coldness from allies, which feeds turns inward and less defense spending. This is not new—see for instance this 2014 TAI article charting the decline of the Royal Navy—but it has definitely been given fresh impetus by recent events.

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  • FriendlyGoat

    As someone pointed out yesterday, by next summer we might have the five permanent members of the UN Security Council controlled by Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Theresa May, Marine Le Pen and Donald Trump. Does that make us feel good about “security”?

    • JR

      Putin – a given.
      Xi – a given.
      May – seems capable enough.
      Le Pen – way better than the current Socialist whose approval rating is in single digits
      Trump – MUCH better than the alternative we had.
      Conclusion: overall situation kind of meh, but better than it could have been.

    • Anthony

      Something of current value (though not topic related): “you simply say what you want and put it out there.”

      • FriendlyGoat

        Thanks. I have a feeling that because of the recent successes of misinformation we will have more of it before we have less of it.

        • Anthony

          Primary reason I wanted to make you aware of research (and also the rancorous pillaging you endured on another thread). Context, understanding, sense of motives, etc. are always helpful. And, you’re welcome.

    • Proud Skeptic

      Hi, Goat!

      I think the one thing we can be sure about with Trump is that we don’t really know.

      • FriendlyGoat

        True, although Republicans of Congress are feeling pretty sure they know. If/when he really rebuffs them on anything, the rest of us can dust off “don’t really know”. If he never does, well,……

        • Proud Skeptic

          He is just like anyone. He will do what he thinks is right. Sometimes he will be right and other times it won’t work out.

          BTW – I’m not sure I agree with your characterization of “the Republicans of Congress” There are about 230 of them and I’m sure “they” have varying ideas and agendas.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I’m not. The attempted (and perhaps successful) CREATIVE use of “reconciliation” to bypass Senate filibuster next spring is going to be truly astonishing on a whole list of matters. No sense asking me to wonder what is going to happen. Every GOP priority saved up for years of the past is going to happen and as quickly as they can make it happen.

          • JR

            Creative use of “reconciliation”? Oh man, you should have seen how they passed Obamacare????
            How distraught are you over the way Obamacare was passed? On a scale of 1 to 10. I guess now “reconciliation” is making you utilize your fainting couch, smelling salts and situational ethics. Controlling both Houses and the Presidency was seen by the Left at a mandate to push their priorities as quickly as possible. Were you upset by that? Can’t be upset now. Sorry. You can change the rules and then complain that the rules have changed.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Save your splainin’ for the people on your side who are going to be hurt by GOP legislation. There are a lot of those, but I’m not one of them.

          • JR

            There you go again, not answering direct questions. You think that somehow makes your hypocrisy and situational outrage not obvious. It’s pretty obvious bro. That’s just me being real with y’all.
            Also, I don’t understand why there should be any splainin’ going on. Did Democrats explain “reconciliation” to people who lost their doctor and their plan, or who see their healthcare costs go up 50% YoY? Folks who got directly hurt? I don’t recall ever hearing anything of that nature. Do you think they should have? And if not, why do you think Republicans should? Let’s not apply those situational ethics again so obviously.
            So far President Trump, even with Odumba still creating mischief, is persuading companies to give staying in US another shot. Seems like a step in a positive direction, no? And with the corporate tax rate to be finally cut, it looks like the amount of incentives for corporations to stay in America will only increase. If there’s anything that is worth the effort, it’s Making America Great Again!!!

          • Proud Skeptic

            Reconciliation has been reserved for budget issues. To use it to replace ObamaCare is completely appropriate…especially since it was used to pass it in the first place.

            As for other things…like Supreme Court justice appointments….reconciliation ( a Robert Byrd creation) would be inappropriate. They CAN change the rules to eliminate the filibuster, as I believe Harry Reid suggested for lower level judge appointments, and they probably will.

            I can’t say that much of this will disappoint me much. The Republicans will probably go too far, but that is on top of the Democrat Senate already having gone too far. No virgins here.

            Hard to get too worked up over it. the toothpaste was pretty far out of the tube already.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Yes, the Republicans will probably “go too far”, to the astonishment and long term detriment of many of the people who voted for them.
            Stay Tuned for what workers get and don’t get over—-say—-the next 10 years. Giving corporations the moon always has a long tail of consequences.

          • Proud Skeptic

            We certainly know that from watching the Democrats, don’t we. Goat…I have read what you wrote before and you are too smart to be dealing in these talking points. One party is as bad as the other. Politicians always disappoint a part of their voter bloc. The party out of power never is at a loss for righteous indignation no matter how twisted they are themselves. People will support their party no matter how miserable they were or are being.

            Like I said…there are no virgins here.

            I think Trump is an a$$hole, but if in the first six months he manages to undo a bunch of things the Obama administration did, then I be OK with it. After that, as far as I am concerned, they can impeach him.

            In the meantime, I will bite my tongue and try to laugh at all the people with their vague, unprocessed fears about all the rights that will be taken away by the usurper Trump.

          • FriendlyGoat

            If you find yourself laughing at people whose lives are diminished by what you describe as an a$$hole, something is wrong in your noggin. Beats me why nearly all the conservatives I talk to have felt obligated to point out how much they don’t like Trump. Disassociating. Disclaiming. I tell ya, it’s a sight on earth for a group of people so gleeful.

          • Anthony

            An observation, if I might: people have identities and people mobilize politically around these identities – really there is no other way to do politics presently.

            Also. “Democracy for Realist” deploys a wealth of social-scientific evidence, including ingenious original analysis of topics ranging from abortion politics and budget deficits to the Great Depression and shark attacks, to show that the familiar ideal of thoughtful citizens steering the ship of state from the voting booth is fundamentally misguided. Indeed, the book demonstrates that voters – even those who are well informed and politically engaged – mostly choose parties and candidates on the basis of social identities and partisan loyalties, not political issues. Further,the book reveals that voters adjust their policy views and even their perceptions of basic matters of fact to match those loyalties…. (Democracy for Realist: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government)

            “…We Americans think that this way of hurting ourselves is more democratic. But again, the authors of the U.S. constitution knew better.”

            The connection to the disclaiming and glee is quite more apparent than meets the non-discerning eye.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Corresponding with Proud Skeptic above today, I went back and added this piece. I think it is one of the most telling items I have seen post election from a guy who “knows what he’s lookin’ at” I think.

          • Anthony

            I read your correspondence and thought it reflected both seriousness and depth (#6 appears to have been activated already on this web site). I’ll read your link and get back to you. Thanks.

          • Anthony

            My key takeaway: “That kind of persuasion happens in person-to-person interactions.”

            I think the young man is expressing a concern posthaste and sincerely believes what he writes. But the message has to be delivered to his neighbors, friends, relatives, etc. (those with an ear to listen and a heart to understand). The young man has awaken to the long-term health of our nation. Now, he and many others have to work to continue its Ideal. Thanks for the link (false beliefs are tough to change when they are linked to ideology and self-identity).

          • Anthony

            Something for you: (and I posted two other related links on WRM’s essay concerning Trump and Manufacturing).

          • FriendlyGoat

            Thanks. With respect to this section in the piece:
            “Instead, Clinton supporters ought to focus on new ways to appeal to the interests of Trump supporters, while resolutely defending the rights of minorities who feel threatened by Trump’s agenda.”

            There are only two things that can fix Trump supporters, and they are going to take SOME time during which a lot of permanent damage takes place. 1) The guys who needed better jobs notice that they didn’t get them. 2) The evangelical Trump supporters notice that they supported a lot of actualized meanness when they should have known better.

          • Anthony

            You’re welcome as always. Your commentary these last couple of days or so have compelled me to reflect more on exchanges we seem to be witnessing here and elsewhere. So if I might (and by the way, I think your insight above adds perspective), here’s my incomplete ruminations in that regard:

            The effects of the 2008 financial crisis took some years to settle in and the crisis exacerbated economic changes occurring to working and middle class Americans since 1970s. This and latent and visceral opposition to Obama, from symbolic standpoint, fueled sentiments (along with 40 plus years of government bashing) among some Americans that were only awaiting an opportunity to surface. Said sentiments were husbanded to a view of the world (opposition) as not just hostile but apocalyptically so. That is , the encouraged sentiments have been filtered of impersonal economic forces at play specifically but induced to think that there must be identifiable groups (BLM, College Students, Elites, Leftist, Liberals, Socialist, etc.) and nameable individuals (Obama, Hillary, Democrats, etc.) who can be scapegoated for experienced anxiety, disillusionment, dis-ease, etc.

            Realistically, the tensions we face – all of us – (and those alluded to in your above reply) and that Trump successfully exploited are functions of a transforming country whose ways of life have been impacted by increased technological and marked global changes – nothing unique to industrial world. However, one thing remains constant: in the face of economic stagnation, the desire to turn back the clock and the tendency to seek out scapegoats (for retribution) or induce some sense of “them and us” rises its ugly head over and over again – humanity’s plague perhaps. Observation and introspection, FG, is rarely enough but it’s a fine start.

          • FriendlyGoat

            You’re quite correct that people (with prompted help) have gone looking for groups of people to call the scapegoats, and it’s a long list of (mostly) wrong conclusions.

          • Anthony

            I agree and did you look at Buruma piece (a long one) – he gives context of which you mentioned previously.

          • Anthony
          • FriendlyGoat

            It’s hard to imagine how we have been enhanced by everyone popping off in 140 characters. But we have a worse literacy problem than that. It’s what I would call a resistance to sense even among the educated, something I have learned the existence of from some of the fellows in the comment sections (not you, of course, the ones we argue with.)

          • Anthony

            Well, I think there’s definitely a dumbing down trend (and its been educationally apparent for some time) but no one wants to include themselves in the diagnosis. As an aside and indicative of the self-serving you imply, TAI has posted a pension problem piece again but it’s notable that no “comments” are currently logged (11:00 PM Eastern Standard Time). Yet a similar fiscal post earlier on another state has received quite a bit of input – I bring it up as a comparison perhaps of your “resistance” example. Nevertheless, What can you actually say as people are just people, with all the limited horizons, prejudices, and mistakes that characterizes all of us human beings.

          • FriendlyGoat

            As you know, I have always hoped the churches would be a source of balance for people’s heads. With 81% of white evangelicals voting for Trump, I think we know where the dumbing down occurred. We want to think we have a problem in what once might have been the provinces of Beavis and Butthead. But the problem is in other places, it turns out.

          • Proud Skeptic

            Maybe you are the guy who can articulate exactly and specifically what it is people expect Trump to do. So far I have only gotten generalities and unexamined fears.

            Other than saying things like “turn back the clock” or “undo progress that has been made” I get nothing. Maybe you can be more specific than others have been.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Okay, because you asked, I’ll give it a good faith effort. This is not just a list of his expected actions, but also a list of effects from him being president.

            1) I believe the election of Trump will result in less of an influence for the entire concept of Human Rights, by name, around the world. Why? Because he does not personally talk about Human Rights.
            Neither do the type of people he is appointing to influential positions.
            Conservatives generally believe Human Rights, by name, are part of politically-correct anti-God evil—a mindset to be ignored, if not outright resisted. This is why conservatives make fun of “PC”.

            2) Since I do not believe high-end tax cuts “create (living-wage) jobs”, but rather work in reverse, I would expect the Trump effect to be a widening of the wealth divide in America—-and, by extension, in all countries by renewed international tax-cutting competition.

            3) I believe the Trump presidency will result in a de-emphasis on the relationship between fossil fuels and climate change. This makes America look very bad to many smaller countries which will be experiencing the negative effects first and worst. America cannot spin the “no climate change” baloney outside its borders with credibility.

            4) I believe we will still have trade agreements, but the ones negotiated by Republicans will simply be worse ones for human rights, workers’ rights and environmental concerns worldwide.
            Why? Because human rights, workers’ rights and the environment are not Republican talking points and not Republican priorities.

            5) For those who believe corporations are already too powerful in relation to individuals or even in relation to countries and governments, there is nothing about “deregulation” which makes that better and plenty of room for “deregulation” to make it worse.
            Lobbyists NEVER take a nap. While many Americans are busying themselves with worries over bathrooms and wedding cakes, we will probably see a LOT given away to the highest levels of corporate power in America and worldwide.

            6) Whatever reasons we might find for using that a$$hole word with respect to Trump, the males of this country who admire his style (and there are many) suddenly feel a renewed emotional validation and license to emulate the a$$hole-ness in their own words and actions. This is not a positive development for women, minorities, the kindly variety of Christians, children, or even the whole universe of subordinates at work. (We’ll skip defining a$$hole.)

            7) To my mind, nothing is to be gained from the privatization of education, whether it is done for profit or for religion. The more we signal to children that we are NOT “all in this life together” (think the WWII generation), the worse the country we will have.

            8) Russia with Putin, China with Xi and the whole universe of Islam ARE REALITIES. I do not see the Trump administration being a friend to human rights in respect to these ideology problems—–whether we confront them with too much belligerence or whether we go the other way and “deal-make” too much with them.

            That’s “some”—–probably not all. Will stop here unless/until I hear back from you.

          • Proud Skeptic

            Nicely put. Congratulations. You are the first person I have found who has even TRIED to articulate this. Well done.
            I may respond in detail or I may not. Suffice it to say that we disagree on some things as to what is good and what is not.

          • FriendlyGoat

            By the way, since writing to you this morning, I ran across this from a former young white nationalist. He has something important to say about what has just happened.

          • Proud Skeptic

            My 10 free articles to the NYT are used up!

          • FriendlyGoat

            Sorry you couldn’t get this piece by R. Derek Black a young man who flipped his philosophy from bad to better. Here are a couple of excerpts:

            “I could easily have spent the night of Nov. 8 elated, surrounded by friends and family, thinking: “We did it. We rejected a multicultural and globalist society. We defied the elites, rejected political correctness, and made a statement millions of Americans have wanted to shout for decades.”
            I’d be planning with other white nationalists what comes next, and assessing just how much influence our ideology would have on this administration. That’s who I was a few years ago.
            Things look very different for me now. I am far away from the community that I grew up in, and that I once hoped could lead our country to a moment like this.
            I was born into a prominent white nationalist family — David Duke is my godfather, and my dad started Stormfront, the first major white nationalist website — and I was once considered the bright future of the movement.”


            “The wave of violence and vile language that has risen since the election is only one immediate piece of evidence that this campaign’s reckless assertion of white identity comes at a huge cost. More and more people are being forced to recognize now what I learned early: Our country is susceptible to some of our worst instincts when the message is packaged correctly.
            No checks and balances can redeem what we’ve unleashed. The reality is that half of the voters chose white supremacy, though saying that makes me a hypocrite. I was a much more extreme partisan than a vast majority of Trump voters and I never would have recognized that label.
            The motivations that led to this choice are more complex. I have no doubt many of his supporters voted thinking he’d soften his rhetoric, that his words didn’t really matter. The words were not disqualifying for them because they don’t see, or refuse to see, what the message of hate will reap.
            Most of Mr. Trump’s supporters did not intend to attack our most vulnerable citizens. But with him in office we have a duty to protect those who are threatened by this administration and to win over those who don’t recognize the impact of their vote. Even those on the furthest extreme of the white nationalist spectrum don’t recognize themselves doing harm — I know that because it was easy for me, too, to deny it.”

            “That is the opening for those of us who disagree with Mr. Trump. It’s now our job to argue constantly that what voters did in elevating this man to the White House constitutes the greatest assault on our own people in a generation, and to offer another option.
            There are millions of Americans who don’t understand why anyone might worry about the effects of this election. They see it as “feelings” versus their own real concerns. Those of us on the other side need to be clear that Mr. Trump’s callous disregard for people outside his demographic is intolerable, and will be destructive to the entire nation.
            If I had not changed, I would have been jubilant after this election and more certain than ever that anxiety from a shrinking white majority would result in the election of more people who tap into this simple narrative. Now I’m convinced this doesn’t have to be our destiny.
            Mr. Trump’s victory must make all Americans acknowledge that the choice of embracing or rejecting multiculturalism is not abstract. I know this better than most, because I’ve followed both paths. It is the choice of embracing or rejecting our own people.”

          • SDN

            Hey, Harry was openly saying they were extending it to SCOTUS, so let’s take him up on it. Bipartisanship at it’s finest.

    • Angel Martin

      what’s a UN ?

  • Andrew Allison

    There you go again. This has nothing whatsoever to do with “the Trump moment.” These decisions were made long before the election.
    The fact is that, like the rest of Europe, Britain can’t afford both guns and butter and has chosen butter. Despite this, the UK remains one of only four European counties meeting its 2% of GDP commitment.

    • Boritz

      TAI on Trump:  He’s everywhere! He’s everywhere!

    • f1b0nacc1

      Have you ever had British butter?…..ugh….

      Their guns aren’t all that appealing either, at least what they equip their own ships with.

      • Andrew Allison

        I beg to differ [at last!] about the butter. It’s a matter of taste I suppose. I grew up on it and, as a result, have a serious butterfat addiction [grin]

  • Boritz

    “To me, the record is pretty clear over the last five or six years that if the U.S. pulls out, things will get worse domestically in other countries, and they’ll become more fearful and more protectionist and more nationalist.”

    Not sure why this quote was chosen. It’s clearly an indictment of the current Administration and any possible third term it might have had.

  • Frank Natoli

    if the U.S. pulls out, things will get worse domestically in other countries
    What does “worse” in this context mean?
    Sentiments to remove U.S. forces from Europe are triggered solely by the inarguable fact that EU nations refuse to fund their own national or regional defense, and instead put virtually every last Euro or pound in the welfare state.
    Seventy years ago, as Sir Laurence Olivier intoned at the start of “The World At War” episode 25 “Reckoning”, “the bombing has stopped, the fires are out, Europe lies in ruin”. Not only is this no longer true, there is almost no living memory of that condition.
    We’ve just lived through eight years of a President who, like Europeans, wanted to put every last dollar into the welfare state.

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  • f1b0nacc1

    The Royal Navy hasn’t been anything other than a shadow of a shadow of itself for a very long time, and quite frankly the future doesn’t bode well for it no matter what happens in the US. The Brits long ago made the decision to eat the lotus and live in the cozy arms of the welfare state, and no elections in this country are going to change that. We must acknowledge this unpleasant reality, and make our plans accordingly….

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