Monday, 10 May 2021
Up-to-the-minute perspectives on defence, security and peace
issues from and for policy makers and opinion leaders.

     |      View our Twitter page at     |     

BBC Persiimage001On Press Freedom Day, this special report for Defence Viewpoints by Kasra Naji, BBC News Persian

It's the looking over one's shoulder to see anyone is following. It's not all the time but more often than I'd like to admit. When leaving the BBC's office in central London, and heading home, I look around for suspicious looking men lurking around. In the underground, I rarely stand close to the edge of the platform. I am paranoid about not sharing my home address. I have asked my child not to put photographs online.


Statistics can be misleading. In territorial size, Pakistan is the 33rd largest country in the world. In population size, it is the world's 5th largest country and the Muslim world's 2nd largest country. It has the 6th largest, and 15th most powerful, military in the world. It is one of only nine states in the world possessing nuclear weapons. And Pakistan's ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) is rated as one of the top intelligence agencies in the world, writes Joseph E Fallon.

Despite such statistical strengths, Pakistan lacks security. It lacks security because it lacks strategic depth "the distances between the front lines or battle sectors and the combatants' industrial core areas, capital cities, heartlands, and other key centers of population or military production." From Islamabad, its capital, in the east to Peshawar in the west, Pakistan's width is 115 miles. The distance between Islamabad and the Indian border is 60 miles.


USA00000IMG 00000 BURST20190107130637518 COVER"As Napoleon said, to know a nation's geography is to know its foreign policy."

To understand Russia's foreign policy, its drive for strategic depth, first understand Russia's geography of exposure, writes Joseph E Fallon. Russia is an open plain stretching 6,000 miles from St. Petersburg on the Baltic to Vladivostok on the Pacific. Most of its population, agriculture, industries, and transportation networks are located in its west in a triangle bounded by the Baltic, Black, and Caspian Seas. This is Russia's heartland. Except for the Caucasus Mountains in its southwest, Russia lacks formidable mountains or deserts to defend its western and eastern borders or protect its core. There are no Alps like Italy, no Gobi like China.


Peter O Polack Author PicJust before April Fool's Day 1971 Ivan Aleksandrovich Kulikov the Second Secretary of the Soviet Embassy in London walked into the Kensington High Street branch of bookseller W.H. Smith and stole a £5 Mickey Mouse kaleidoscope. He was tackled as he made his shuffling escape and was lucky not to be charged. A seemingly idiotic act of larceny was followed by the expulsion of Soviet Embassy personnel inSeptember.

A look through the kaleidoscope would have provided a guide to the future behavior of Russian diplomacy and espionage which could be described as erratic unless one were part of the state security apparatus soon to be shadow government. This extensive arrogance has its genesis in the post-Cold War successes of Soviet espionage that culminated in the overconfidence and excesses today by those at the control console.


We mark the passing of those who have served their country. Contributions from comrade and families welcome - email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it MOUNTBATTEN Commander Philip Mountbatten 10 June 1921 – 9 April 2021 Later Admiral of the Fleet HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh MiD Croix de Guerre Greek War Cross

Graduated from Dartmouth in 1940 as the best cadet in his course. Midshipman HMS Ramillies, protecting convoys of the Australian Expeditionary Force in the Indian Ocean, followed by shorter postings on HMS Kent, on HMS Shropshire, and in Ceylon.] After the invasion of Greece by Italy in October 1940, transferred from the Indian Ocean to battleship HMS Valiant in the Mediterranean Fleet.

On 1 February 1941, commissioned as a sub-lieutenant after a series of courses at Portsmouth,(top grade in four out of five sections of the qualifying examination.Battle of Crete, and was mentioned in dispatches for his service during the battle of Cape Matapan, in which he controlled the battleship's searchlights. He was also awarded the Greek War Cross. HMS WALLACE - in 1942 he became the ship's First Lieutenant at the unusually early age of 21 During the invasion of Sicily, in July 1943, as second in command of Wallace, he saved his ship from a night bomber attack. 1944 destroyer, HMS Whelp, where he saw service with the British Pacific Fleet in the 27th Destroyer Flotilla. Present in Tokyo Bay when the instrument of Japanese surrender was signed. HMS Royal Arthur, the Petty Officers' School in Corsham, Wiltshire until his marriage to Princess Elizabeth (later HM The Queen)

Robin confJL703589 10151321812591122 745318061 oArkitka is the first of a new class of Russian nuclear icebreakers. She's designed to smash through Arctic ice up to 3 metres thick or more. But her long-delayed maiden voyage followed on a series of failed trials – and was marred by an inability to find thick enough ice to demonstrate her full potential, and equipment failures.
Instead of sailing the Northern Sea Route in splendour, last November she was back in her home port of Murmansk for more repairs. Like much in modern Russia, she has over-promised, under-delivered, and finding out what really happened is obscured by an anxious State, writes Robin Ashby.


USA00000IMG 00000 BURST20190107130637518 COVER"Parallax", according to the Cambridge Dictionary, refers to "the effect by which the position of an object seems to change when it is looked at from different positions." It is the "fact of seeing wrongly."

In counter terrorism, the nature of an insurgency, the position of an object, is understood differently by the military, politicians, and government contractors. The object seems to change as each looks at the insurgency from different positions. The military through war, politicians through aid, and contractors through profits. This leads to fraud, waste and corruption, making it difficult, if not impossible, to defeat an insurgency, writes Joseph E Fallon.


A contribution (DV14) to our series "Distant Voices"
By Gabriel J. Christian. President East Coast Chapter Tuskegee Airmen (2018-2020) This article is also published by Gabriel at with further illustrations

Wendell ChristianAround seven thousand British West Indians - including my father seen here -  served in the British armed forces during World War II. When Britain declared war on September 19, 1939, the Royal Air Force (RAF) itself was compelled to overcome the prejudices of the time. After the defeat of France in 1940 and the retreat of the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk, Britain found itself in dire straits. With advocacy by progressive Britons and British West Indians who spoke out against segregation, the RAF, to its credit, integrated its ranks. Around 7,000 British West Indians rallied to freedom's cause and served as fighter pilots, bomb aimers, air gunners, ground staff and administration. No other colonies, or group of nations, contributed more airmen to the RAF during World War II. This is even more remarkable, and their commitment more profound, given the small populations of the islands. Several Africans from Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone also became officers in the RAF, with the most notable being RAF Flight Lieutenant Johnny Smythe of Sierra Leone, who was shot down over Germany on his 28th mission and survived imprisonment in the famous Stalag Luft One.


HMS-Invincible-IWM-Q-39273-249x192By Richard Bridges
My Great-Uncle Richard Townsend served as the Commander of HMS Invincible throughout her time in the First World War.

HMS Invincible and HMS Inflexible were the first of Admiral Jackie Fisher's battle cruisers ("Fisher's greyhounds"). Designed to deal with German armoured cruisers they were intended to use their superior firepower together with speed to keep out of harm's way while they pulverised the enemy. She was built by Armstrong Whitworth on the Tyne 19060-9, when she was commissioned. Amongst her armaments were 4 twin turrets housing Vickers-designed 12 inch guns, whose 13.7 metre long barrels could project a third of a tonne shell nearly 23 kilometres at twice the speed of sound.


More Articles...

Latest from the Ministry of Defence

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Defence Viewpoints website. However, if you would like to, you can modify your browser so that it notifies you when cookies are sent to it or you can refuse cookies altogether. You can also delete cookies that have already been set. You may wish to visit which contains comprehensive information on how to do this on a wide variety of desktop browsers. Please note that you will lose some features and functionality on this website if you choose to disable cookies. For example, you may not be able to link into our Twitter feed, which gives up to the minute perspectives on defence and security matters.