Tuesday, 30 May 2017
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The contributing author of Think Defence takes the Telegraph to task for its story headed "Not fit to serve: Vladimir Putin exposes UK defence industry failings.
Britain's Army is outgunned by Russia, and so is our defence industry, as Vladimir Putin sends his bombers into UK airspace"
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Okay, so I know its the Telegraph, but I canít seriously believe that any editor would allow such inaccurate nonsense to appear in a broad sheet. It seems the problem with getting the message on defence spending across to the media is two fold. The vast majority of the media know little about defence and care even less. The few that do profess to care seem to know nothing beyond watching the Battle of Britain.
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Just to pick up on some of the inaccuracies
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Russia does not have the 2nd biggest defence budget in the world. China spends almost double. In dollar terms Russiaís budget is likely to drop below ours soon as well.
Neither Russia or Ukraine is any where near the English Channel.
Russia does not have a million man army ready to storm across Europe. Even if it did one million men is a pretty small force to use to invade Europe, which coincidently has more soldiers than Russia. In addition despite the cut backs in Europe its forces are still of a far higher quality both in training and equipment than anything the Russians poses in numbers.
I have never come across any report that said Russian aircraft violated UK airspace this week.
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While I donít doubt we should take the Russian threat seriously and I do believe we should begin to slightly increase defence spending, lets not pretend by any stretch of the imagination that Russia and Putin in 2015 is Hitler and Germany in 1939. The author of this article is either lying to get his point across or so badly informed that he should not be writing in a major news paper.
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Either way, bad journalism like this helps no ones case to get a higher priority for defence spending. (Read more below)
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Another point that the author breezes over is the threat of nuclear war. Honestly I think people have forgotten just how terrible the reality is. Between NATO and Russia we have more than 10,000 nuclear warheads pointed at each other. Imagine the horror of even one of them going off in a city.
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With the quite frankly piss poor state of the conventional forces at his disposal and the overwhelming conventional superiority of NATO we would be wise not to start thinking about backing Putin into any military corners.
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Not that I believe even Putin is crazy enough to initiate World War Three. However people and world financial markets get jumpy at the threat of a handful of pissed off Jihadís armed with home made bombs. Imagine the fallout for some real cold war style nuclear blackmail. Lets not pretend that their is a military solution to deal with Putinís current adventure. Its a job for sanctions that are already working. If he ups the anti again then we up the sanctions. When the people of Moscow are starving on the streetís Putin will not last long. Rolling tanks into Ukraine can only inflame and all ready dangerous situation and the ďhawksĒ should remember just what the stakes are in playing against a nuclear armed power.

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