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Flander more 10452367 10152575359311122 29431050027067224 nRemembering those who have served our country.

Contributions from comrades and families welcome.

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On the 4th of March, while meeting his counterparts from Joint Expeditionary Force partner nations in Estonia, the UK Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace said the Russian aggression against Ukraine is "Patrick Nopens IMG 20220301 161558 2an attack on our freedoms, our values and the security of Europe".writes Patrick Nopens.

On the same day, at the NATO Foreign Ministers' meeting, Secretary-General Stoltenberg declared solidarity with the Ukrainian people and urged Russia to stop the unprovoked war against Ukraine immediately and without conditions. He then made an astounding statement: "We are not part of this, and we have the responsibility to ensure it does not escalate and spread beyond Ukraine." Indeed, while repeating their commitment to protecting all (NATO) allies, the ministers were very adamant about their unwillingness to deploy NATO troops on the ground or impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine. This position has remained unchanged.Despite this verbal support, massive economic sanctions and military aid, the Ukrainians are on their own when it comes to doing the actual fighting.

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Irish unnamedTyneside Irish and Tyneside Scottish bear the burden of the highest brigade casualties in the British Army during the Great War. Every year on St Andrew's Day and St Patrick's Day they are remembered at the cenotaph in Old Eldon Square in the centre of Newcastle.

Officially numbered the 103rd (Tyneside Irish) Brigade, it contained four Pals Battalions from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, largely made up of men of Irish extraction. The 102nd (Tyneside Scottish) contained Tynesiders with Scottish connections. The men were all volunteers draw from communities all over the North East.

The first notice giving indication of the raising of a Battalion from the Tyneside Irish Community came in a letter to the Editor of the Newcastle Evening Chronicle on Saturday 12th September 1914 informing of a meeting on Sunday 13th September in the Collingwood Hall, Irish National Club, Clayton St, Newcastle upon Tyne, and every representative Irishman on Tyneside regardless of politics or religion was asked to consider it his duty to attend.

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Peter O Polack Author PicIn a modern world where military conscription has almost been erased except in obsolete authoritarian regimes, one glaring example has been Russia's one year military service requirement reduced from two years in 2008 for those 18-27 years of age. Like Angola and Afghanistan, the rich and well-connected mostly escape the current selections.

Apart from poor conditions of service, postings to distant locations with extreme weather and pay that is a fraction of regular or contract soldiers, Russian conscripts have also had to face the recurring decimal of hazing often with deadly outcomes such as a 2019 incident when a Russian conscript killed eight other soldiers. Incidents of reported abuse of power against junior enlisted personnel number nearly three a day.

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Rose 10382129 10152575359311122 29431050027067224 oWe mark the passing of those who have served this country. Contributions from comrades and families are welcome - write to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

WINDSOR, HM Albert Frederick Arthur George Windsor, King, Emperor 14 December 1895 - 6 February 1952

'The King Is Dead' (James Cameron – London Illustrated News – 23rd February 1952)

"When a King dies, we who have to put into words the strange grief and grievous strangeness of the time, then know how ill we have served ourselves over the years. While the King lived, we spoke of him as this, and of that, endowing him with all the remote virtues of an infallible man; such men do not die. But the King died; and we found somehow a different thing: that we loved him. When a King dies, the worn words are empty; there is nothing left to say.

He died quietly and without imposing his passing on the nation, as befitted a gentleman who was as shy and considerate and shrank from the public drama of death. When it came, it came as he deserved, kindly – a good night, a book at the bedside, a little sleep. The least amongst us can ask no more and no better.

But that was the end of privacy. The King was gone, but kingship remained, to become for a while the overwhelming emotion of the land. The man who had been diffident all of his life, who had dutifully permitted publicity about everything except his suffering, now stilled the noise and hushed the argument and silenced the affairs of State, and drew for the moment an inescapable curtain of mourning over the lives of millions who had never seen his face.

What is a King that so many strangers should sorrow at his going? His title endures, work goes on, no crisis is changed, no personal problems eased or worsened, the harassed world outside is deflected in no way from its obsessions. Yet, when King George V1 was known to be dead the sudden shadow fell momentarily across the heart of every man; loyal men and cynics, the rich and the dispossessed, reactionaries and radicals.

What is a King, then, a mortal man, who exacts this tribute from twentieth century people? Constitutional lawyers will tell you what he was. Politicians will tell you what he was unable to be. A vast historic chronicle of precept will tell you that his position was most intricately poised on the peak of Government. It will say that the Monarchy this country devised for itself over the generations is like no other that ever existed, I its ancient root and its modern tolerance; its power without authority; its simple splendour and elaborate simplicity.

Only in a strange country like ours could an apparently indestructible fortress be built on such a slender web of compromise and affection, that no logic could create and no law enforce.

What is a King, therefore, that hundreds of thousands of strangers should wait all night in the bitter cold to file for a moment past his bier? That person cannot be an Office, or a Function; he must be a man. And there lies the simple truth: our people knew him as a good man. They knew him for a man without ostentation, without ambition, doing an intolerable job and doing it well. They know now, moreover, that that the job weas harder than they thought, and the end nearer.

We may not have known as citizens – how could we? – but the ancestral memory of England knows it. The people of England have not always loved their Kings. Among them have been tyrants, conquerors, oppressors, imbeciles, and mediocrities. England has endured them, reviled them, deposed them and, where necessary, executed them Sometimes, only, have they loved them and we think of this as such a time.

We never found it hard to understand a man who loved his family. We do not find it hard, now, to salute a King who, inheriting a generation racked and anxious as no other before, di what he had to do with dignity, patience and courage.

He who had planned great voyages over the quarter of the world that owned him as King, has done his best, and greatest – from Norfolk to London and from London to Windsor".

s200 joseph.fallonSince its independence in 1947, New Delhi has had excellent relations with Moscow, first with the Soviet Union until it disintegrated in 1991, then with the successor state, Russia, writes Joseph E Fallon.

In the July 2021 edition of Russia's National Security Strategy, Moscow officially describes its relationship with India as a "special privileged strategic partnership." According to India's top diplomat, former Foreign Secretary and former High Commissioner to the UK, Ranjan Mathai, "The Indo-Russian strategic partnership has five major components– (i) political (with sustained, regular dialogue at the highest level), (ii) counter terrorism cooperation, (iii) defence, (iv) civil nuclear energy and (v) space. The nature of the Indo-Russian pentagon is such one never knows which of the five angles will be active on what time and sometimes all five angles come into play simultaneously."

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MoDIMG 20181218 1521345 2New Year's Honours for UK's Armed Forces 2022. Click on next page for full listing

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Robin Vienna IMG 20211105 1429357 1Almost daily there are reports of the impact of climate change on Arctic sea ice, and thus the geostrategic implications of greater freedom of navigation. In a very real sense the region has become the new frontier for global competition.

As a geopolitical power, the EU has strategic and day-to-day interests, both in the European Arctic and the broader Arctic region…..The EU’s full engagement in Arctic matters is a geopolitical necessity – EU Joint Declaration on the Arctic (13th October 2021)

The European Union is renowned for grand statements which take an age to come to pass, and are often disappointing. Its latest policy pronouncements in October (see Data Source 1 at the footnote for source) – supporting a Resolution by the European Parliament in September (Data Source 2) - on the Arctic – are mainly vague, wide ranging and worthy.


But they also offer an opportunity which, if the EU deploys mechanisms already in its armoury, allow it to take significant actions which will establish it as a geopolitical actor; which will support Member States, their interests, and associated territories in the Arctic region; and which will help fulfil the commitments it is making therein to international safety, stability and sustainability.

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s200 joseph.fallon
Geopolitics can best be understood as the application of Sir Isaac Newton's Laws of Motion to international relations. These laws "explain the relationship between a physical object [a state] and the forces acting upon it [other states]," writes Joseph E Fallon.

NATO's enlargement and Moscow's response to that enlargement in the Black Sea region is a case in point.

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