The Best Deterrent
There is an ongoing debate in England which sounds suspiciously like the one that occurred in America around 2005-2006. Concerning their ongoing Afghan campaign in the Helmand Province, some of the British are wondering if the ongoing fight there, of which appears to be no end, is worth the effort. Recently there has been a rash of killings of which the total troop deaths are more than the British lost in Iraq during their sojourn there since 2003. I don’t think the questions by the citizens are so much war-weariness as much as they are tired of not winning.
Which comes to my point. You often hear how generals and admirals must have ever more grandiose weapons systems like aircraft carriers, superfighters, and advanced tanks in order to deter some future obscure threat from rising China or fading Russia. Yet, despite the many billions of British pounds or American dollars we pour on our military establishments, we always seem to be losing against these very poorly equipped but fanatically motivated Third World insurgents, many of which have never seen an ocean or ever flew in an airplane, but are capable of standing up to militaries which defeated the likes of Hitler and Napoleon.
My point is, instead of concerning ourselves with some future obscure conflict where we will likely face challenges we had no idea we may face, the fog of war, perhaps we should concentrate on winning these wars in Iraq and especially Afghanistan, where our troops are already in the field. The only real thing we can be assured of in the next conflict is we will be surprised, so it is better to have veterans used to winning and able to adapt instead of well trained, superbly-equipped troops which are only used to being defeated by these simplest of all fighters in history, the guerrilla insurgent.
Few realized after World War 2 we would been in a contest for the struggle for global dominance with our then ally the Soviets. While Britain was preparing for combating the new Red Navy threat in the North Atlantic, she must have had little inkling her sailors and soldiers would be fighting in a totally different type of environment using dissimilar tactics in the South Atlantic. Likewise as American Army tankers prepared to compete with the communists on the Central Front in Europe in the 1980s, they might have scoffed at anyone predicting their abilities would be soon tested in a Desert Environment against a man they were supporting in the Iran-Iran conflict.
What is the best deterrent then from rogue states and peer competitors? Never give in, never surrender! Win our wars, supporting the troops, standing by the mission. In the near and long term future our soldiers and the cause we set out to defend, freedom for our children and passing the same to the Middle East where they have never known it, will ensure Britain and America’s well being, far more than the most costly fighter or naval battleship can ever do.