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Monday Winds of War April 25/05

| 9 Comments | 5 TrackBacks

Welcome! Our goal at Winds of Change.NET is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday.

Today's Winds of War briefing is brought to you by Bill Roggio of the fourth rail and evariste of Discarded Lies.

Top Topics

Other Topics Today Include:

Iran Reports; Zarqawi on trial; Troubles in Yemen; Alien terrorist mechanics; FBI's terror caseload; EMP attacks ignored; Death in Darfur revisited; More Bali-styled attacks; Musharraf the traitor; Swinging in Scotland; Fears in Sweden and Britain; Libya centrifuges gone astray; Moussaoui pleads; The Voice Shairat; and much much more....

IRAN REPORTS

THE MIDDLE EAST

AMERICAN DOMESTIC SECURITY & THE AMERICAS

  • Brazil gave sanctuary to Ecuador's deposed President, who took the offer. It may have been a coup rather than a constitutional crisis, as the OAS called his successor illegitimate.

AFRICA

  • China and Sudan grow closer as China invests in Sudan's oil infrastructure. This makes China's vote in the UNSC all the more difficult to obtain in any attempt to sanction Sudan over Darfur.

ASIA & AUSTRALIA

EUROPE

  • An Algerian Takfiri is on trial who has claimed to be the recruiter of Moussaoui and Richard Reid, and is accused of plotting to blow up the US embassy in Paris and abduct five children from their mother to Libya.

THE GLOBAL WAR

  • The Voice of Sharia: the Taliban's pirate radio station is on the air in Afghanistan for two hours a day.

Thanks for reading! If you found something here you want to blog about yourself (and we hope you do), all we ask is that you do as we do and offer a Hat Tip hyperlink to today's "Winds of War". If you think we missed something important, use the Comments section to let us know.

For ongoing tips, email "MondayWindsOfWar", over here @windsofchange.net.

5 TrackBacks

Tracked: April 25, 2005 1:08 PM
Excerpt: The Monday Winds of War Briefing is up. I am collaborating on this effort with evariste of Discarded Lies. The briefing is a roundup of the latest news on the Global War on Terror with a quick summary of each...
Tracked: April 25, 2005 4:12 PM
MUST READ from Geopolitical Review
Excerpt: Be sure to read... Arthur Chrenkoff's latest installment of good news from Iraq. But also read this article at Jihad Watch indicating Sadr's militia has established Islamofascist rule in Basra. an examination of the Romanov dynasty's imprint on the Rus...
Tracked: April 25, 2005 8:13 PM
Excerpt: I keep forgetting to tell you guys! Anyway. Winds of Change.NET: Monday Winds of War April 25/05 featuring such topics as: Zarqawi has nukes?; A forthcoming Arab-Iranian vs Israel war?; MILF and Philippines close to an agreement; Iran Reports; Zarqawi...
Tracked: April 26, 2005 1:09 PM
War Roundup from Myopic Zeal
Excerpt: Winds of Change has an extensive roundup of war update links. Check it out. ...
Tracked: April 28, 2005 6:59 AM
Winds of Change Briefing from Security Watchtower
Excerpt: Monday's Winds of War Iraq Report and Briefing have been posted at Winds of Change. Check them out....

9 Comments

Found a truly amusing wrinkle in English edition Spiegel: (http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/spiegel/0,1518,352922,00.html)

"Government coalition: Defence minister Peter Struck of the SPD has wrung the approval for a dubious anti-missile defence project out of his coalition partners, right in the hottest phase of the local election campaign in North-Rhine/Westphalia. The arms lobby can hardly believe its good fortune. The Greens had been fighting against the anti-missile programme (known as Meads), undertaken jointly with the United States and Italy, since last autumn with the pacifist verve of the peace movement in the 1980s: expensive, useless, superfluous. It is one of the country's most controversial arms projects - next to the Eurofighter. The usefulness of Meads is indeed doubtful: it is no longer necessary for defending the homeland. There is no country within a radius of 1000 kilometres that might attack Berlin or Hamburg with the help of missiles."

It makes me again suspect that simply eliminating obsolete programs we've started, and bureaucracy will keep going far past reasonable application, would make a serious dent in the deficit.

Ruth, we actually covered this one over at Defense Industry Daily. A number of German missile programs are under scrutiny, not just MEADS (the planned successor system to the Patriot missile).

But with respect to simply emilinating unnecessary programs, it isn't as easy as you think - because on closer examination, one sees that the programs fill important roles if one wishes to maintain a capable military (as opposed to, say, Canada's).

Re: the report you mention... hate to break it to them, but there are states beyond the 1000 miles range that may be more potentially hostile and do have missiles. Why the artificial limit? The proper question is, are there states that within the next 25-40 years (that's the defense project horizon from design, through procurement, to service life) may have both WMDs and the ability to reach German territory, and which are potentially hostile?

That one gets a different answer. Which may be why the Greens weren't eager to ask it.

Now add the fact that MEADS is also for conventional anti-aircraft defense (the trend is toward missiles capable of both, vid. U.S. Patriot PAC-3, Standard SM-3, some reports re: the Russian S-300), and the plain truth that you've got to have something for the anti-aircraft role over the next 25-40 years as fighter technology etc. continues to evolve. Regardless, MEADS will go through. I suppose Germany could keep buying Patriot missiles (which they have, and you want to keep standardized for a whole bunch of cost reasons), though - lots of U.S. workers at Raytheon won't mind.

Germany's Trigat anti-tank missile (also mentioned at DID) DOES strike me as fitting the unnecessary/obsolete characterization. The anti-tank role is less important now, other equally advanced solutions already exist on the market, and the only benefit in Trigat is an employment subsidy for some German firms.

But MEADS is not such an easy fit with that characterization.

Finally, the Eurofighter. The German air force will need some kind of plane to replace its 70s/80s vintage Tornados, which will simply wear out and become unflyable. Germany mothballed the MiG-29s it got from East Germany for a bunch of reasons, which means it has to buy something or abandon the idea of having an air force.

Assuming it wants a somewhat capable air force, its choices include:

  • Eurofighter for $60M per. German industries helped design it and build it, so there's an industrial subsidy in there. And, they've already sunk the R&D costs, and created a base of dependent jobs in Germany (sorry, politics always intrudes). Eurofighter will be flying in Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain (4/5 of Europe's most significant militaries), Austria, and Greece - and because of that, it is also highlighted when people talk about a future "European military". So those dreams are tied up in it too, as are dreams of a European defense industry beyond France or England's that can play on the world stage and act as a local European source.

Or, it could buy foreign....

  • Buying current U.S. aircraft instead of current Eurofighters, probably F-15s that would be similar to South Korea's new F-15K model. Cost would be about $45-50M per. Though they could also buy shorter range and less capable F-16s at $35-40M per, if they wanted to downgrade the air force and save some money.
  • If all it wanted was a light fighter like the F-16, it could also buy the Swedish Saab Gripen JAS-39 at $35-40M. Very good little plane, as advanced as Eurofighter, but shorter range and lower carrying capacity for ground attack. Will be in use in Sweden and a number of Eastern European countries. Might be able to negotiate some industrial benefits which would partly offset the Eurofighter loss - but only partly.
  • It could buy Russsian SU-35 aircraft at about $45-50M per. Excellent plane, but then it would have to spend hundreds of millions on top modifying them to NATO standards. Total cost when all is said and done would probably be similar to Eurofighter, and get them an aircraft that nobody else in Europe had so inter-operability is gone unless they operate alongside Russians or Ukrainians.
  • Holding off on buying Eurofighters now and becoming part of the USA's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter consortium, as Britain, Italy, Canada, Norway, the Netherlands, and Turkey have done. You spend more on maintaining aging aircraft now, and then spend $45M or so per plane for JSFs. The F-35 will be better than the Eurofighter in some respects (stealth, attack role), not as good in others (range, air combat). Its stealth features are also a poor fit with some German missiles & bombs, which are not designed to be carried internally. So there's a secondary defense industry impact. And at this late stage, the industrial benefits of joining the program would be questionable for an industry of Germany's size.
  • Buying the French Rafale, after declining to join the Rafale program when France left the Eurofighter consortium. Costs about the same, for a very similar aircraft, benefits near zero.

Assuming that you believe Germany should have an air force, it becomes pretty hard to see the benefits of buying something other than the Eurofighter Typhoon militarily, economically, or politically.

And as you can see, each defense choice isn't just about the plane, but include a whole set of related choices. Some even presuppose future geopolitical strategies.

The only Eurofighter alternatives that would have any serious potential are the JAS-39 in some kind of Ostpolitik policy environment (which woud be a big shift from the SPD's current Germany-France focu) or an F-35 JSF entry. And a major German retreat from the Eurofighter project would put it in jeopardy, which would affect overall relations with Italy, Britain, and Spain.

Other eager hands in the welfare state may be wanting to shrink the defense budget and reappropriate the sums into their own pet subsidies, of course. This will be Europe's ever-tightening defense noose over the next decades, as its huge demographic aging shift begins to bite in earnest. But it doesn't actually end up reducing spending or improving efficiency - just leaves you with a less capable military.

Germany is a EU member which is very sneakingly also a defense pact. Add Turkey and you definitely need anti missile defense capability.

How far is Teheran from Berlin?

a. is correct about the EU.

Indeed, the current Spanish government announced its buy-in to the $16 billion multinational "Tranche 2" of the Eurofighter in exactly those terms. It was hailed as part of the beginning of a pan-European military, and likewise a Tier 1 European defense industry. EADS is certainly a Tier 1 defense company that can rival Lockheed Martin or Northrop-Grumman, and even approach the Boeings of the world.

Of course, with France on the verge of rejecting its diplomatic baby, these European visions could all go to hell fast. But those visions, realistic or no, are absolutely part of the story.

Meanwhile, in the part of the world that really matters... thanks for the stuff re: China-Japan. The Japanese government is expected to bring in a revised constitution on the 55th anniversary of the new Japan (i.e. this year), and some of the modifications are supposedly aimed at removing some of the constitutional restrictions on defense.

The scarier China looks to many Japanese, and the more trouble Kim Jong-Il makes, the more likely it is that the changes will pass. I'd give them slightly better than even odds after the recent Chinese demonstrations.

And if NK actually tests a bomb, the constitutional changes pass no problem and I put 60% odds in favour of Japan having working plutonium bombs inside of 9 months. They could do it in about 6 weeks, really, but anyone who knows Japanese decision making knows how the ringi discussion system of decision making works.

It's hard to see how this is in China's interests - and China is the key support for Kim Jong-Il's evil regime. Their influence is limited but real, and the diplomatic gains of their "Finlandize Korea" strategy are rapidly being outstripped by the potential costs elsewhere. So we'll see.

Asia is a rising continent, while Europe is a falling one. Disruption in Asia thus tends to have rather different effects, and can easily become self-limiting given the potency of regional rivals.

Joe-tell me more about ringi.

Ringi-sho is really just one component of Japanese decision-making, which is focused on achieving consensus. This makes Japanese slow to react, but implementation often happens more quickly once a decision is reached.

This article on Japanese decision-making is an excellent starter source.

MILF? MILF is a political organization? Man, and here I was all excited...

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