Is Afghanistan no longer the priority?

Call me wildly optimistic, but is it not at least possible (note: not the same as probable) that Egypt, Libya and the North African Arabic nations might generate democracy under their own steam? I think we might be doing the populations of those countries a disservice by assuming that they are about to fall, hook line and sinker, for the old AQ con-trick.

I don't think this is going to spark more oil wars - not on the south Med coast, anyway - because the people of those countries are dirt poor despite their natural resources, and every bit as desperate for the oil dollar as we are to give it to them. Iraq was not the same at all - they had a paranoid sociopath in charge, who had a very effective state security machine to back him up.

...and I'm not convinced by tales of Saudi rising up to overthrow its' royal family either. The average Saudi citizen (note: not the same as inhabitant) is an order of magnitude wealthier than his N African brothers as a result of Black Gold, and has too much to lose to risk derailing the gravy train.

In six months' time, this might have calmed down into a much more peaceful and friendly situation than it was last year, let alone last month.

Cease fire! Watch and shoot!
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
Call me wildly optimistic, but is it not at least possible (note: not the same as probable) that Egypt, Libya and the North African Arabic nations might generate democracy under their own steam? I think we might be doing the populations of those countries a disservice by assuming that they are about to fall, hook line and sinker, for the old AQ con-trick.

I don't think this is going to spark more oil wars - not on the south Med coast, anyway - because the people of those countries are dirt poor despite their natural resources, and every bit as desperate for the oil dollar as we are to give it to them. Iraq was not the same at all - they had a paranoid sociopath in charge, who had a very effective state security machine to back him up.

...and I'm not convinced by tales of Saudi rising up to overthrow its' royal family either. The average Saudi citizen (note: not the same as inhabitant) is an order of magnitude wealthier than his N African brothers as a result of Black Gold, and has too much to lose to risk derailing the gravy train.

In six months' time, this might have calmed down into a much more peaceful and friendly situation than it was last year, let alone last month.

Cease fire! Watch and shoot!
The initial signs aren't encouraging - one of the first things to get adjusted in Tunisia and Alexandria was apparently attitudes to women. Unless you de-power institutionalised Islam in these countries as, perversely, many of these dictators did, liberal democracy and its associated values tend to struggle. The Middle Class in the Middle East is generally not large or secular enough to hold the line against better organised and more entrenched social interests.
 
Is Afghanistan the priority? Not any more. The question is how quickly it takes the politicians to notice.
The conscious idiocy behind 'Op Entirety' is now falling apart.
As old Harold Macmillan said-" Events, dear boy, events."
Events have overtaken what we laughingly call a strategy. Question- Apart from backing up the NATO operations in accordance with our treaty obligations, what does Afghanistan have to do with our immediate national interests- Nil. nada.
You could not find a more remote and irrelevant theatre unless you decided to invade Antarctica.

On the other hand...
I've said it before on other threads that the whole MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region is on a 10 year notice of termination. A combination of demographic boom, incompetent government, and collapsing natural resources (food and water) mean that by 2020 there is going to be a full blown gymkhana featuring all the Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the Pony Club of Doom. The local habit of clinging to a Bronze Age interpretation of religion may put fire in the belly, but it doesn't put food there. Radical Islam will flourish in the next few years, but its a feverish symptom of a greater disease, not the plague itself.

Wittering about strategic oil sources will be largely irrelevant. Oil is sooo 20th century. It's either going to run out entirely (and there's some reason to think that the Saudis are already past peak oil production, and looking at declining stocks) or its going to be so unreliably sourced that the huge investments going into alternatives especially shale gas, will supersede it.

No, the key issue here will be migration. At the moment, a nice long line of dictatorial regimes sit across the main population transit routes. As they progressively unravel and (best case) become more liberal states unwilling to jail illegal immigrants or (worst case) become continent wide Failed states like Somalia, what Europe will be facing will be the starving huddled masses of the Near East trying to get in.

Our immediate national interests will no longer be a sand pit in Asia.
It'll be trying to control population movement on a scale not seen since the fall of the Roman empire.
That will be "OP Entirety 2050".
 

A2_Matelot

LE
Book Reviewer
There is just simply so much of your post that is utter drivel, but in particular

Democracy and human rights? From the people who bought you Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay? Respect for human life? Give or take hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghan butchered "by mistake". So many mistakes, hey?
Because AQI and the Taliban clearly demonstrate a huge respect for human rights - indeed there are some cracking videos on the internet that highlight that (if seeing little girls being stoned to death works for you).

As for butchering hundreds of thousands of Iraqi/Afghans, you know thats so much c0ck; Again AQI and Taliban have been far more proficient and intent of murdering their own people to resolve their own tribal and gang related feuds. The regrettable collateral or accidental deaths caused by coalition forces are just that.

The most expensive armed forces in history that are so useless they're getting kicked witless by a bunch of untrained civilians armed with nothing with AK 47's?
Focus on the untrained civilians armed with nothing but AK47's - there aren't that many of them. You know fully well the lower tier fighters are more often than not intimidated and coerced into picking up a rusty old family heirloom and pointing it, for fear of their and their wider families lives. The higher tiers, which are more deserving of our attention, may be smaller in number but are very much more than untrained civilians.

What I'd love to know is how the Western Intelligence agencies ..... didn't have a clue about what was going to happen.
Maybe they did....were you sitting in Vauxhall Cross or Thames House, idly sipping a VB, and all of a sudden, Sky news had a newsflash?
 

A2_Matelot

LE
Book Reviewer
Is Afghanistan the priority? Not any more. The question is how quickly it takes the politicians to notice......

Our immediate national interests will no longer be a sand pit in Asia.
It'll be trying to control population movement on a scale not seen since the fall of the Roman empire.
That will be "OP Entirety 2050".
Interesting, and concurs with projected scenarios in DCDC bumpf. As resources become more scarce or our ability to access them is constrained (for whatever reason) we need to be able to either deliver an alternate supply of resources, use alternate resources, or force open supply to the resources.

As for human migration, that too is a featured theme/scenario that becomes ever more of a reality as Nation states fail and people look elsewhere. It won't be just for that reason, famine, flood, overt warfare all could trigger a major dislocation of massive numbers. Just imagine India and Pakistan kicking off which results in a limited regional tactical nuclear engagement [fantasy I know] but could you imagine the exodus of people across EurAsia trying to escape and the potential for our borders to be teming with migrants.

I'm far from a Nationalistic type but increasingly I think we need to look closer to home and rethink what our Armed Forces could be expected to do in the future - SDSR2?

I have to add, love the idea of a gymkhana featuring all the Horsemen of the Apocalypse

A2
 
No, the key issue here will be migration. At the moment, a nice long line of dictatorial regimes sit across the main population transit routes. As they progressively unravel and (best case) become more liberal states unwilling to jail illegal immigrants or (worst case) become continent wide Failed states like Somalia, what Europe will be facing will be the starving huddled masses of the Near East trying to get in.

Our immediate national interests will no longer be a sand pit in Asia.
It'll be trying to control population movement on a scale not seen since the fall of the Roman empire.
That will be "OP Entirety 2050".
Oh how the liberal chattering classes laughed and sneered when Rear Admiral Parry delivered this - bet their not laughing now.

From The Sunday Times
June 11, 2006
Beware: the new goths are coming

Peter Almond


In an apocalyptic vision of security dangers, Rear Admiral Chris Parry said future migrations would be comparable to the Goths and Vandals while north African "barbary" pirates could be attacking yachts and beaches in the Mediterranean within 10 years.

Europe, including Britain, could be undermined by large immigrant groups with little allegiance to their host countries — a "reverse colonisation" as Parry described it. These groups would stay connected to their homelands by the internet and cheap flights. The idea of assimilation was becoming redundant, he said.

The warnings by Parry of what could threaten Britain over the next 30 years were delivered to senior officers and industry experts at a conference last week. Parry, head of the development, concepts and doctrine centre at the Ministry of Defence, is charged with identifying the greatest challenges that will frame national security policy in the future.

If a security breakdown occurred, he said, it was likely to be brought on by environmental destruction and a population boom, coupled with technology and radical Islam. The result for Britain and Europe, Parry warned, could be "like the 5th century Roman empire facing the Goths and the Vandals".

Parry pointed to the mass migration which disaster in the Third World could unleash. "The diaspora issue is one of my biggest current concerns," he said. "Globalisation makes assimilation seem redundant and old-fashioned . . . [the process] acts as a sort of reverse colonisation, where groups of people are self-contained, going back and forth between their countries, exploiting sophisticated networks and using instant communication on phones and the internet."

Third World instability would lick at the edges of the West as pirates attacked holidaymakers from fast boats. "At some time in the next 10 years it may not be safe to sail a yacht between Gibraltar and Malta," said the admiral.

Parry, 52, an Oxford graduate who was mentioned in dispatches in the Falklands war, is not claiming all the threats will come to fruition. He is warning, however, of what is likely to happen if dangers are not addressed by politicians.

Parry — who used the slogan "old dog, new tricks" when he commanded the assault ship HMS Fearless — foresees wholesale moves by the armed forces to robots, drones, nanotechnology, lasers, microwave weapons, space-based systems and even "customised" nuclear and neutron bombs.

Lord Boyce, the former chief of the defence staff, welcomed Parry’s analysis. "Bringing it together in this way shows we have some very serious challenges ahead," he said. "The real problem is getting them taken seriously at the top of the government."

Ancient Rome has been a subject of serious public discussion this year. Boris Johnson, the Conservative MP and journalist, produced a book and television series drawing parallels between the European Union and the Roman empire. Terry Jones, the former Monty Python star, meanwhile, has spoken up for the barbarians’ technological and social achievements in a television series and has written:

()"We actually owe far more to the so-called ‘barbarians’ than we do to the men in togas."

Parry, based in Shrivenham, Wiltshire, presented his vision at the Royal United Services Institute in central London. He identified the most dangerous flashpoints by overlaying maps showing the regions most threatened by factors such as agricultural decline, booming youth populations, water shortages, rising sea levels and radical Islam.

Parry predicts that as flood or starvation strikes, the most dangerous zones will be Africa, particularly the northern half; most of the Middle East and central Asia as far as northern China; a strip from Nepal to Indonesia; and perhaps eastern China.

He pinpoints 2012 to 2018 as the time when the current global power structure is likely to crumble. Rising nations such as China, India, Brazil and Iran will challenge America’s sole superpower status.

This will come as "irregular activity" such as terrorism, organised crime and "white companies" of mercenaries burgeon in lawless areas.

The effects will be magnified as borders become more porous and some areas sink beyond effective government control.

Parry expects the world population to grow to about 8.4 billion in 2035, compared with 6.4 billion today. By then some 68% of the population will be urban, with some giant metropolises becoming ungovernable. He warns that Mexico City could be an example.

In an effort to control population growth, some countries may be tempted to copy China’s "one child" policy. This, with the widespread preference for male children, could lead to a ratio of boys to girls of as much as 150 to 100 in some countries. This will produce dangerous surpluses of young men with few economic prospects and no female company.

"When you combine the lower prospects for communal life with macho youth and economic deprivation you tend to get trouble, typified by gangs and organised criminal activity," said Parry. "When one thinks of 20,000 so-called jihadists currently fly-papered in Iraq, one shudders to think where they might go next."

The competition for resources, Parry argues, may lead to a return to "industrial warfare" as countries with large and growing male populations mobilise armies, even including cavalry, while acquiring high-technology weaponry from the West.

The subsequent mass population movements, Parry argues, could lead to the "Rome scenario". The western Roman empire collapsed in the 4th and 5th centuries as groups such as Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Suevi, Huns and Vandals surged over its borders. The process culminated in the sack of Rome in 455 by Geiseric the Lame, king of the Alans and Vandals, in an invasion from north Africa.

Parry estimated at the conference there were already more than 70 diasporas in Britain.

In the future, he believes, large groups that become established in Britain and Europe after mass migration may develop "communities of interest" with unstable or anti-western regions.

Any technological advantage developed to deal with the threats was unlikely to last. "I don’t think we can win in cyberspace — it’s like the weather — but we need to have a raincoat and an umbrella to deal with the effects," said Parry.

Some of the consequences would be beyond human imagination to tackle. The examples he gave, tongue-in-cheek, include: "No wind on land and sea; third of population dies instantly; perpetual darkness; sores; Euphrates dries up ‘to clear way for kings from the east’; earth’s core opens."

Beware: the new goths are coming - Times Online
 

A2_Matelot

LE
Book Reviewer
Oh how the liberal chattering classes laughed and sneered when Rear Admiral Parry delivered this - bet their not laughing now.
There are many people I'd willingly laugh at Chris Parry is not one of them - bear of a man - and a huge intellect too.

I know DCDC has many detractors but it does deliver some goodies, even in a form digestible for a numpty like me.

Thanks for that post, interesting stuff.
 

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