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Vince Cable joins Liam Fox in battle over defence spending watch

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    (Original post by Kolya)
    To name a few that were silly and needless: Malaya (48-60), Palestine (45-48) Suez (56), Falklands (82), Afghanistan (01-), Second Gulf War (03-09). There's probably some more, but that list will do for now. Suffice to say, we would have had far more bloodless years since 1945 if we hadn't got into any of these conflicts.
    You're just trolling us right?

    If not all I can deduce from this is that you don't care about British interests or British citizens...
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    (Original post by Azog 150)
    How do you suggest we dealt with these situations without military force?
    None of them were important to deal with militarily. Any benefits were far outweighed by the costs. In Malaysia, we didn't need to look after it. The whole Palestine situation (and creation of Israel) was a waste of time. Suez was stupid because we can't realistically expect to hold a trade route that passes through another country. Falklands was a waste of money; a few thousand people aren't worth the effort of such a far-flung territory. In Afghanistan, the focus should have been a small mission aimed at getting Bin Laden, not an invasion towards the Taliban; the Taliban should have been ignored if possible.

    In other words, we shouldn't try to deal with everything that might possibly interest us; we need to be more careful before committing our military resources. So unless there are serious humanitarian concerns, we shouldn't try to use force to meddle in the affairs of other countries. It costs both lives and money, and often ends up making things little better than before we even entered the conflict.
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    (Original post by Teaddict)
    If not all I can deduce from this is that you don't care about British interests or British citizens...
    On the contrary, it is because I care about British interests and British citizens that I aim to stop throwing the lives of young men away, and stop throwing money away, in the pursuit of dubious goals in bloody foreign conflicts. Those lost lives could have been spent contributing to British life; the money could be spent building a more prosperous, stable society for British citizens to live in.

    Most of our military campaigns aren't really about maximising the interests of the UK citizenry, even if they are framed that way; they are about wanting to feel powerful, to feel noticed, to feel superior. But to achieve those goals, our military forces hold back the longer-term interests and progress of our state.
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    (Original post by Kolya)
    On the contrary, it is because I care about British interests and British citizens that I aim to stop throwing the lives of young men away, and stop throwing money away, in the pursuit of dubious goals in bloody foreign conflicts. Those lost lives could have been spent contributing to British life; the money could be spent building a more prosperous, stable society for British citizens to live in.

    Most of our military campaigns aren't really about maximising the interests of the UK citizenry, even if they are framed that way; they are about wanting to feel powerful, to feel noticed, to feel superior. But to achieve those goals, our military forces hold back the longer-term interests and progress of our state.
    I disagree. If you would let our enemies take control of British territory without even attempting to protect the British citizens on that territory, I cannot deduce anything other than a lack of care for those citizens.

    Our armed forces willing put their lives on the line to protect Britain, to protect British interests and protect British citizens; that is why most people keep them in such high respect. But to you, they are merely throwing their lives away; wasting their lives to protect British citizens...

    I think the trend of my argument is clear. Also, do note that I am not defending all those wars you mentioned, only a couple of them. Britain has an interest in stabilising countries and allowing them to prosper.
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    (Original post by Kolya)
    None of them were important to deal with militarily. Any benefits were far outweighed by the costs. In Malaysia, we didn't need to look after it.
    Yes we did. If it had fallen to the Communists it could very well have had knock on effects in South East Asia. Indonesia was already friendly with the USSR and there was Communist insurgencies throughout Indochina. Some very important trade routes run through that area and in the case of the Cold War turning hot it could have been disastrous. It would also have further cut off Australia and New Zealand. It was a very strategically important war.



    The whole Palestine situation (and creation of Israel) was a waste of time
    The creation of Israel was a waste of time? What else do you suggest happened to the millions of Jews who were scattered across Europe having been victims of the Final Solution? We didn't deploy forces to Palestine- they were already there following World war 2. During the 1947 situation we were withdrawing- not deploying.


    Suez was stupid because we can't realistically expect to hold a trade route that passes through another country.
    We could of and would of. Britain, France and Israeli operations in Egypt were very successful and we did successfully take and hold the canal. The only reason it was a failure was because of US and USSR pressure forcing us to withdraw.

    Falklands was a waste of money; a few thousand people aren't worth the effort of such a far-flung territory.
    A few thousands British citizens (Including relatives of mine) aren't worth the effort? If the Armed Forces aren't there to protect our citizens what the hell are they there for? Besides, the recently discovered oil is looking to be very lucrative, plus the EEZ the Falklands gives us is an important fishing and trade route. In my mind, the Falklands were the most worthwhile and justified war we have fought since World War 2.


    In Afghanistan, the focus should have been a small mission aimed at getting Bin Laden, not an invasion towards the Taliban; the Taliban should have been ignored if possible.
    I agree with you here. Special forces, drones and airstrikes would have been much more effective. But by saying that you are still agreeing that military force was needed. Responding to an attack that killed 3,000 people is far from silly.





    From some of these comments, I get the feeling you really don't know much about these conflicts and their reprocutions (and the reprocutions of not responding)


    In other words, we shouldn't try to deal with everything that might possibly interest us; we need to be more careful before committing our military resources. So unless there are serious humanitarian concerns, we shouldn't try to use force to meddle in the affairs of other countries. It costs both lives and money, and often ends up making things little better than before we even entered the conflict.
    Again, aside from Suez and the ongoing Afghanistan this isn't the case. Most of Britain's post-war interventions have been successful and worth the cost.
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    (Original post by Teveth)
    Maybe one of you Tories can explain to me why we need to cut education and health budgets , yet we don't need to cut military spending?

    Seriously, you're off your heads. Medicine and books should come before guns and bombs.
    Probably because Labour committed our armed forces into 5 wars in 12 years, all with peacetime budgets. They then allowed the MoD to run up their own deficit separate to the central governments, and they punted contracts to after the election, the upshot being that now a 10% reduction in budget for the MoD has the effect of actually cutting 20% in real time, limiting the ammount of that be cut without endangering the lives of those serving. So thanks, Labour.

    Incidentally, having a Lib Dem on your side of the argument about defence is like having a Labour figure on your side in a debate about civil rights - it's basically a parody.
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    (Original post by Kolya)
    Falklands was a waste of money; a few thousand people aren't worth the effort of such a far-flung territory.
    Wait, what? I dread to think of a Britain which doesn't go out of its way to protect its citizens at all costs, regardless of distance and the money involved. Aren't worth the effort? God forbid you should ever end up in government. :rolleyes:
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    (Original post by Teaddict)
    I disagree. If you would let our enemies take control of British territory without even attempting to protect the British citizens on that territory, I cannot deduce anything other than a lack of care for those citizens.
    I would protect them, but by offering them asylum in a safer location. If the territory is difficult to defend, and the expense of defending it far exceeds the benefits gained by possessing the territory, then the best tactic is to retreat to territory that is easier to defend.

    (Original post by Teaddict)
    I think the trend of my argument is clear. Also, do note that I am not defending all those wars you mentioned, only a couple of them. Britain has an interest in stabilising countries and allowing them to prosper.
    Britain has an interest in stable countries. But that doesn't mean that it is in Britain's interests to try to stabilise countries. We're often told that the armed forces will pop over somewhere, sort everything out, and be home for Christmas. If that were the case then of course I would support stabilising countries. But it isn't. State-building is a hazardous and expensive adventure - one that rarely goes to plan.

    Often, those who oppose stabilising missions are portrayed as opposed to stability. That's not the case. Rather, I am suggesting we pay more respect to our own fallibility - to the way that lives and money slip away, and to the way we don't achieve our goals because human societies aren't easily constructed. We dabble in power politics at the expense of the quality-of-life of British citizens.

    So instead of increasing our military budget, we should focus on being more careful and reserved in how we use our military.
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    (Original post by Kolya)
    I would protect them, but by offering them asylum in a safer location. If the territory is difficult to defend, and the expense of defending it far exceeds the benefits gained by possessing the territory, then the best tactic is to retreat to territory that is easier to defend.
    Like the Falklands? I heard a small rumour about tonnes of oil?

    Britain has an interest in stable countries. But that doesn't mean that it is in Britain's interests to try to stabilise countries. We're often told that the armed forces will pop over somewhere, sort everything out, and be home for Christmas. If that were the case then of course I would support stabilising countries. But it isn't. State-building is a hazardous and expensive adventure - one that rarely goes to plan.
    When done correctly, we can be of great importance to countries. Sierra Leone is a country where our intervention was vital - It is also a country which wants Britain to involve herself far more with its internal affairs. When this sort of situation exists, I think we should assist.

    Often, those who oppose stabilising missions are portrayed as opposed to stability. That's not the case. Rather, I am suggesting we pay more respect to our own fallibility - to the way that lives and money slip away, and to the way we don't achieve our goals because human societies aren't easily constructed. We dabble in power politics at the expense of the quality-of-life of British citizens.
    I understand what you mean. People will spin things in a way which suits them; trust me, I am a Tory I get it often lol

    Jokes aside, I understand your argument and reasoning, I just disagree with it.
    So instead of increasing our military budget, we should focus on being more careful and reserved in how we use our military.
    We should increase our military budget in line with inflation to maintain the level of spending. We should have a systematic review of our military; including trident and everything else, to see what is value for money, what is vital, what can be removed etc

    We should also have a systematic review of the Department itself - There is a huge bureaucracy that exists within the department and by removing it; or scaling it back, we can invest far more in training and equipment.

    However, in saying that, I do agree that we should be far more careful about the conflicts we engage ourselves in. Involving ourselves with every war is impractical and causes far more problems than we can solve. But, as I said earlier, just because we should be more cautious with our use of military intervention; and of course coupling in greater intelligence and planning, that doesn't mean we shouldn't involve ourselves in countries that need our support.
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    (Original post by Cybele)
    Wait, what? I dread to think of a Britain which doesn't go out of its way to protect its citizens at all costs, regardless of distance and the money involved. Aren't worth the effort? God forbid you should ever end up in government. :rolleyes:
    We make such trade-offs all the time. If protection was to pursued regardless of cost, we'd have two policemen along every street, we'd have a nuclear presence in every continent, we'd have two million people in the armed forces - heck, we'd invade any country that unfairly imprisoned a UK citizen. But we don't. We don't rate security that high. We have other priorities that also need to be considered.

    Those in government may try to present a different image, but their actions show that they aren't serious. Perversly, they are obliged to appear ideological and principled in public, but most got where they are by being anything but ideological and principled - they are masters in realism and pragmatism!
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    (Original post by Kolya)
    I would protect them, but by offering them asylum in a safer location. If the territory is difficult to defend, and the expense of defending it far exceeds the benefits gained by possessing the territory, then the best tactic is to retreat to territory that is easier to defend.
    So, with the example of the Falklands, you would have wanted to give British citizens the options of either giving up everything to move thousands of miles away or being at the mercy of the invading Argentinian government?

    What's more is that, if we had offered no resistance to Argentina, it would have sent out a message to everyone else that Britain is weak and will not even attempt to stop anyone else from trying out similar things. Foreign affairs is an incredibly dirty game.

    These things combined with this stuff I hear about oil, show that it was certainly worth while to have the Argentinians **** off.
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    (Original post by Kolya)
    We make such trade-offs all the time. If protection was to pursued regardless of cost, we'd have two policemen along every street, we'd have a nuclear presence in every continent, we'd have two million people in the armed forces - heck, we'd invade any country that unfairly imprisoned a UK citizen. But we don't. We don't rate security that high. We have other priorities that also need to be considered.

    Those in government may try to present a different image, but their actions show that they aren't serious. Perversly, they are obliged to appear ideological and principled in public, but most got where they are by being anything but ideological and principled - they are masters in realism and pragmatism!
    You're right there, but to be honest, sending forces to protect the Falkland islanders is more important than having more policemen stroll the streets. To say the Falklands residents aren't worth the effort because they happen to be situated in the south Atlantic is pretty insulting.
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    (Original post by Kolya)
    So instead of increasing our military budget, we should focus on being more careful and reserved in how we use our military.

    I am not even arguing for an increase (Although I would like to see one), but for these cuts not to go ahead.


    Besides, why can't we do both? I don't want to see Britain get involved in any more long drawn out wars either. But that doesn't mean we can't intervene overseas. Just because Afghanistan and Iraq turned into long drawn out messes it doesn't mean all interventions do.

    Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Gulf War, Bosnia, Falklands and the Brunei revolt are all examples of successful operations that were over in a matter of months if not weeks. Just because they are short operations, it doesn't mean they aren't expensive and that we don't need a suitable defence budget. To launch an operation overseas anywhere is expensive and requires a decent navy and strategic airlifting capabilities

    And just because a war drags on, it doesn't mean it isn't worth the effort. Korea, Malaya Emergency, Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation, Aden Emergency and the Dhofar Rebellion are examples of conflicts that have dragged on but in the end been worth the cost.







    And you haven't answered my posts on why those conflicts were or were not worth it. In fact, you just seem to have ignored it and carried on sprouting crap about the Falklands not being worth it etc
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    Rather than cutting the defence budget,maybe they should at the very least, stop ring fencing the NHS or Foreign aid. The NHS in particular I think needs to be gone over closely . Because defence of the realm must take priority over anything else. I also would want our membership of the EU looked at in an ideal world. If we lose both carriers,this country is finished as any kind of nation, which is disgraceful given the rich naval history we have. I can also say, that draconian cuts will harm relations with our allies overseas who expect us to pull our weight.The NHS is ringfenced because the coalition doesn't have the balls to look at it frightened of the media.
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    Well personally, I'd have just made Vince Cable, with his doctorate in economics, Chancellor in the first place.
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    (Original post by Ministerdonut)
    Rather than cutting the defence budget,maybe they should at the very least, stop ring fencing the NHS or Foreign aid. The NHS in particular I think needs to be gone over closely . Because defence of the realm must take priority over anything else. I also would want our membership of the EU looked at in an ideal world. If we lose both carriers,this country is finished as any kind of nation, which is disgraceful given the rich naval history we have. I can also say, that draconian cuts will harm relations with our allies overseas who expect us to pull our weight.The NHS is ringfenced because the coalition doesn't have the balls to look at it frightened of the media.

    Oh yeah because we're holding back the foreign hordes on the beaches as we speak... :rofl:


    You do realise that we already spend over 3 times as much on defense as Israel.....and I somehow think that they have more pressing 'defence of the realm' issues than we do...
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    (Original post by Silly Goose)
    So, with the example of the Falklands, you would have wanted to give British citizens the options of either giving up everything to move thousands of miles away or being at the mercy of the invading Argentinian government?


    Lol, they made the islanders drive on the otherside of the road and imposed a curfew so as to prevent insurgency. It was hardly the Rape of Nanking...
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    (Original post by Barden)
    Well personally, I'd have just made Vince Cable, with his doctorate in economics, Chancellor in the first place.
    Two things

    1/ Economists are led by their politics.
    2/ Just because someone is a good economist, doesn't mean they would be a good Chancellor.
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    (Original post by Barden)
    You do realise that we already spend over 3 times as much on defense as Israel.....and I somehow think that they have more pressing 'defence of the realm' issues than we do...

    Israel also has a population that is 8 and a half times smaller, an economy that is 10 times smaller, an area of land that is a hell of a lot smaller and they get billions and billions of military aid from the US




    Lol, they made the islanders drive on the otherside of the road and imposed a curfew so as to prevent insurgency. It was hardly the Rape of Nanking...
    So you suggest we just abandoned them? Argentina was led by a brutal military junta that murdered tens of thousands of its own people. Any suspected dissidents on the Falklands would have met the same fate

    The Falklanders had been living there for hundreds of years. Argentina has absolutely no legitimate claims on the islands outside of proximity (And even then, they are over 400 miles away from Argentina). They had voted to remain British and are hence entitled to the same level of defence that the rest of us are. That goes for Britain's 13 other overseas territories.

    How would you like it if someone came along and invaded Bangor (Or wherever you are from) and the British government simply decided to abandon you because the people who had forcefully annexed you were not that bad?
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    (Original post by Azog 150)

    So you suggest we just abandoned them? Argentina was led by a brutal military junta that murdered tens of thousands of its own people. Any suspected dissidents on the Falklands would have met the same fate

    The Falklanders had been living there for hundreds of years. Argentina has absolutely no legitimate claims on the islands outside of proximity (And even then, they are over 400 miles away from Argentina). They had voted to remain British and are hence entitled to the same level of defence that the rest of us are. That goes for Britain's 13 other overseas territories.

    How would you like it if someone came along and invaded Bangor (Or wherever you are from) and the British government simply decided to abandon you because the people who had forcefully annexed you were not that bad?

    I was simply putting things in perspective :facepalm:
 
 
 
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