Munich - A City for Appeasers?

  flycatcher1 19:24 07 Feb 2015
Locked

In 1938 an Agreement was signed in Munich to enable a Dictator to annex various lands which had a sizeable German speaking population. It was appeasement pure and simple and strengthened Hitler's determination to expand.

In 2015 there is a Nato Conference in Munich and some European Leaders are visiting Moscow to meet another Dictator. Another appeasement is on the cards.

Surely the world should know that Dictators can only be controlled by strength and not weakness. At least in the Thirties we decided to re-arm, not very popular in some places, but now we are reducing our Forces.

It has been suggested that the Royal Marines and the Parachute Regiment should be changed and even combined surely we should be strengthening the sharp end of our Military not reducing them. Of course we will have two big ships - both painted white with a trunk and ears fitted very little use in Europe.

  Flak999 12:31 19 Feb 2015

flycatcher1

I know the FE thinks we are a "million miles" away from this, but I think Europe is on the road to a military confrontation with Russia! Putin is crazy enough to push this to the limit. We face the biggest threat to European peace and prosperity since the end of WW2.

This issue makes the threat from that ragtag bunch of terrorists called ISIS pale into insignificance.

  john bunyan 09:27 20 Feb 2015

To quote Roosevelt:

Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.

At about £2 - 3 billion per year our deterrent is the sort of stick that Putin understands. No one envisages it actually being used - but having it is the point - a deterrent. It is not a huge amount of our defence budget, and Europe needs to show it has some responsibility for its defence rather than unfairly relying solely on the USA.

  Flak999 14:07 20 Feb 2015

spider9

I think to an extent you are correct, Putin does not need to be the first to use nuclear weapons as the modernised conventional Russian army is a very capable entity in itself. We in the west have taken our eye off the ball since the fall of the soviet union and the reunification of Germany.

The perceived peace dividend has allowed western nations to reduce their spending on defence and slash their conventional forces to the bone. At the height of the cold war the British army numbered some 300000 men, today we have less than a third of that number under arms. The RAF and the Navy have more Admirals and Air Marshals than they have ships and aircraft!

Our NATO allies are little better, the once mighty German army are reduced to this . The former head of the RAF Sir Michael Graydon said in this article that “I very much doubt whether the UK could sustain a shooting war against Russia. We are at half the capabilities we had previously,”

All of this is of course a fairly academic exercise, we cannot build our forces back to the levels that we had during the cold war because there is neither the political will nor the money available to do so, so what will our reaction be to an emboldened Putin who perceives NATO as a busted flush, when his "little green men" start appearing in the Baltic states?

Will NATO honour it's article 5 commitments to collective defence, and if they do how long will it be before a conventional Russian army rampaging once again across the north German plane can only be stopped by the use of tactical battlefield nuclear weapons?

  Flak999 16:06 20 Feb 2015

spider9

"I still feel use of battlefield nukes will precipitate full scale conflict."

I agree completely, and it would be the west that would have to threaten first use as the Russians could overwhelm us conventionally. I also agree that we were wrong to encourage Ukraine which has always fallen under Russias sphere of influence to aspire to NATO membership, it's a bit like how we would feel if a newly independent Scotland had wanted to join the old Warsaw pact! (Unlikely I know!)

  john bunyan 16:14 20 Feb 2015

spider9

As we have found before, we disagree on Trident. To leave France as the sole "deterrent" for Europe seems grossly unfair - unilateral disarmament is a weak response. Why should the USA be fully responsible for the Nuclear response of Europe. In an ideal world all nukes would be destroyed, but to unilaterally give up is crazy.

Where I think that we, NATO, has failed is to discuss with Russia the common threat posed by the extreme Muslims, who are a threat to them as well as us. There seems little appetite in the Baltic states, even those with about a 25% Russian diaspora to go the way of Ukraine , but the complacency in many European NATO members in not reaching the target of 2% defence spending is reminiscent of the 1930's in UK.

  john bunyan 22:58 20 Feb 2015

spider9

The problem with NATO is that apart from USA, UK and France (Greece is a Joke - they have a high Defence spend but ineffective) the other members do not meet the 2% (of GDP)defence budget target. See NATO

Also in Europe , with the USA looking towards China, we (Europe) should be more willing to have a more coherent defence policy vs Russia rather than too much reliance on the USA.

See how little some contribute:

NATO MEMBERS

  john bunyan 13:16 21 Feb 2015

spider9

We agree it is difficult to imagine a scenario where Trident is used in anger. Where we will continue to disagree (each respecting the other's view) is that I believe the "Deterrent" effect has kept us safe at a reasonable cost, and will do in the future, whereas you do not. I did see your First Minister on Question Time vainly , and unsuccessfully, maintaining your view.

I suspect others will wish us to move on to other areas and look forward to our next "friendly" clash.

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