GSF opinion piece by Professor Michael Clarke: ‘Britain Can Be Picked Off – Even By Its Friends’

We are delighted to publish the 16th in our series of expert comment and analysis, by GSF Advisory Board member, Professor Michael Clarke. As always, the views expressed are those of the author and not of GSF unless otherwise stated. The full version of Professor Clarke’s article is now available to download: Britain Can Be Picked Off – Even By Its Friends

One thought on “GSF opinion piece by Professor Michael Clarke: ‘Britain Can Be Picked Off – Even By Its Friends’

  1. Another remarkable and visionary piece by Sir Richard appearing in delightful juxtaposition with Professor Clarke’s pessimistic but realistic piece

    Those of us who know a smidgeon about Logistics are familiar with the term constraint programming previously known to us as linear programming. Professor Clarke defines the working region for the UK economy and international relations in the near future. In a remarkable exposition of the Guns and Butter problem in Economics Sir Richard describes what is needed to fight future wars and win. if the constraints set by the Economic limitations of the UK Economy do not contain the operating point for Sir Richard’s force and equipment then it doesn’t fly.

    Sir Richard clearly is a visionary on the scale of Sir Basil Liddell Hart and General JFC Fuller. Visionaries however do not fare terribly well in England being undermined by the bean counters. Despite expounding the doctrines of combined arms mobile warfare, they weren’t acted on. There is a talk by JFC Fuller in 1936 in the Chatham House Archive that describes the British Army of the time (It still had horse cavalry) as a 19th Century Army that a modern Army would go through like a knife through butter.

    The difficulty with Sir Richard’s vision lies in its affordability, given the economic need to cope with a between 10% and 14% contraction in GDP. $100 million aircraft that don’t work terribly well, and multi-million pound engine refits for thousand million pound warships that don’t like warm water need to compete with the cost of funding 10 million unemployed and a devastated manufacturing sector.

    Sir Richard’s proposal to farm development work out to SMEs in England overlooks the fact that Mrs Thatcher wiped out manufacturing industry, and the SMEs are a bit thin on the ground. Rolls Royce in Derby just laid off 3,000 skilled people.

    Just as in the 1920s and 1930s while England ignored Liddell Hart and Fuller, their work was read avidly by Heinz Guderian and his colleagues. Sir Richard’s ideas will be read with much interest in Berlin, Moscow and Beijing. All of these have the industrial capability and money to make Sir Richard’s ideas come to pass. The Bundeskanzler Frau Merkel established 100 new chairs in AI after seeing what the Chinese are doing, in order to revive and reinforce the Mittelstand companies which are the backbone of German Industry.

    Now that I understand how the Americans can be induced to leave Europe, and allow the EU to develop, I no longer need to spend time wondering about it, It is an important exercise so I spot the warning signs early enough to be elsewhere when it all hits the fan.

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