Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I suspect a lack of thought

We have troops and many of them would prefer to be fighting to sitting at home. That is probably correct, though we have ever fewer troops in existence and shall have fewer still in a few months. So, in principle, one might not be opposed to some of them being deployed in Mali, as Downing Street has confirmed they will be.
Amid concerns on the Tory benches that Britain is being drawn into a conflict without an exit strategy, the government said that 200 UK troops would train an African regional force outside Mali, with up to 40 more on an EU training mission inside the country. A further 70 RAF personnel will oversee the use of a Sentinel surveillance, to be based in Senegal with 70 supporting crew and technical staff, and 20 will staff a C-17 transport plane for a further three months.

Britain has offered a roll-on, roll-off ferry to help transport French armour to Mali by sea, landing on the African coast. Britain is also offering air-to-air refuelling capacity to operate outside the UK, but based in Britain. It is possible the US will provide air-to-air refuelling.
But, while leaving the detailed discussion to the Boss, I cannot help sharing the Tory benches' concern (assuming benches do have concerns). Exactly what are we going to achieve (not that I would not like to see Timbuctoo or what is left of it saved from the various militias) and to whom are we going to hand power? Or, alternatively, whom are we supporting and will they, in turn, be on our side? Also, what is our eventual exit strategy?

A good many people in the United States must be asking themselves the same question as news comes through that President Obama, laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize, is stepping up American military presence in West Africa.

What is most bothersome is the apparent ad hoc way of making important decisions about defence, which means, in effect that it is the other side, in this case, Islamist militias who decide how and when we become involved. Is it not time to have some kind of a discussion as to what our foreign policy is and then think what kind of defence policy we need to further it?

1 comment:

  1. This is an interesting dilemma as to date our military strategy has been one mess after another. We have gone in all gung ho only to exit with our tails between or legs. What our military interventions have taught us is that when it comes to force of arms we are virtually unbeatable but when it comes down to the policing and consolidation we are pretty crap. We are certainly involved in a global war, some what different to ones that have gone before I admit, with Islam. This war we have no choice but to engage in until won as Islam in many ways is just as evil as fascism and communism and just as much a threat. I say we should learn from the past and wage war against Islam by playing to our strengths. Our strength is that where ever Islam groups pop up we have the ability to hit them hard and that is what we should do time after time and wear them down by attrition as they are doing to us. As for exit strategy that is simple hit them and get out after all that is their tactic so why not learn from that.