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There is a rock at the southern tip of Spain called Gibraltar which is a holdover from the British colonial era, and contrary to UK public opinion it served no useful military purpose during World War II. But it’s an interesting promontory for tourists to explore and its history goes all the way back to the ancient Phoenicians who discovered the place.
To UK civilians, ‘the Rock’ represents an important piece of British history that played a vital role in British history (it didn’t) and no matter the cost, it must be preserved and defended. At the very least the thinking goes, it must remain a visa-free travel zone for UK tourists who need to get away from Britain’s winter weather — so on that basis alone; Call up the Royal Navy, call up the Marines, call up the Army, for we must preserve our winter getaway destination! The very antithesis of the word ‘strategic’.
Why Pay to Defend an Indefensible Rock?
Yes, that’s true. Even the mighty U.S. military couldn’t defend Gibraltar from a determined attack. It’s too small to defend and any resupply attempts could easily be thwarted by enemies with far less technological prowess than the U.S. enjoys.
Erwin Rommel, one of the most brilliant (and vastly underrated) military officers in history famously said; “Don’t fight a battle if you gain nothing by winning,” and Britons must be reminded of this here for it shows the astonishing difference between the military mind and the civilian mindset.
Regardless of the fascinating story behind Gibraltar, it serves no strategic purpose for the United Kingdom (it never did) and a political fight over it may poison the waters for obtaining a reasonable Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union.
No British military officer would ever pretend that the Rock is a strategic site, either in WWI, WWII, or now. It’s insignificant from a military point of view. However, many civilians seem to think Gibraltar is of the utmost military significance and must be ‘defended’ at any cost. Facepalm!
Some UK civilians and British politicians think Gibraltar is an important part of British military history, yet the experts on this (including historians and senior military commanders) strongly disagree. And UK politicians using a false military narrative to preserve their favoured tourist spot is naive and dangerous. Unless you’re wilfully blind on the matter, you can see where this is heading.
I wouldn’t waste one single life defending Gibraltar, as a soldier’s life is of far more value to the UK and to his or her family than a rock in the Mediterranean. Let’s save our powder for the battles that actually matter, shall we?
Now, would someone please inform Theresa May that World War II is over and that Gibraltar isn’t part of Britain’s great and glorious military history. It’s a historical footnote, nothing more.
Gibraltar is a drain on the UK budget
More money is spent by the UK government maintaining Gibraltar annually than the UK receives (from all sources) in the territory.
That money could be better spent in the NHS, on so-called tiny homes for the homeless, on better teaching aids to make our kids smarter, on small town and city beautification projects (such projects create many jobs for comparatively small amounts of money) or other worthwhile projects. The billions directed to the UK military to support Gibraltar could be better spent to defend Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
If Gibraltarians don’t want to become Spanish citizens after Brexit, they’re welcome to sell their homes in Gibraltar and up-stakes to Britain, Northern Ireland, or any of the British territories in the Caribbean, for example.
I’m sure EU citizens would be happy to purchase those homes at a premium, so there won’t be any financial losses to Gibraltarians.
Gibraltar is a Crown Colony: A Holdover from the British Empire
Although Gibraltar is administered by the UK government in cooperation with the Gibraltar administration (presently and ably led by Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo) it remains owned by the British Crown in a heritage that goes back centuries.
Only the Monarch of Great Britain can sell, grant, or decide to keep that British territory. The UK government administers Gibraltar but isn’t the owner of it.
Both British and continental European politicians are entitled to their personal opinions on the matter. But in the end, it’s not their matter, but a matter between the Monarch of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Monarch of Spain.
Therefore, the future of Gibraltar is to be decided by the British Crown and the Spanish Crown only (see the Treaties of Utrecht) for those are the only principals in this matter, and none other.
Renewing Economic Ties with Russia
It may surprise some that for hundreds of years Britain enjoyed a good working relationship with Russia mainly via their respective Royal Families, and that the Allied Powers received especially valuable cooperation from the Soviet Union during WWII. And after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Britain once more enjoyed a strong relationship with Russia and it’s leaders.
All of which means, there’s no reason good enough that the UK can’t enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship with Russia. All that’s required is to hit the right note to resume that formerly beneficial relationship.
Russia has much to offer Britain — especially in light of the Brexit vote. It’s a country rich in oil and gas, metallic ores and minerals, and in forestry and agriculture. In short, all the resources that a developed nation needs.
But more than that, Russia is a rapidly modernizing nation with 146 million consumers who have displayed a distinct appetite for travel and for European history.
Buying massive amounts of raw resources from Russia, adding value to them, then exporting them to the global marketplace is a natural for the United Kingdom. In this way, the future of Britain would be inexorably linked to Russia and in a mutually beneficial way. As demand for value-added goods rise, so will demand for Russia’s resources.
This is the kind of symbiotic relationship that Britain must advance with Russia, as it’s the only model that is a ‘Win-Win’ for both nations.
As we’ve seen in recent decades, setting up Win-Lose paradigms eventually leads to Lose-Lose outcomes.
Therefore, Win-Win is the only acceptable course for Britain in regards to Russia.
Renewing Strategic Ties with Russia
During WWII, the level of cooperation between the former Soviet Union and Britain was at an all-time high. The Soviets lost +20 million people during the war as the Soviet Army struggled against Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa “in the largest German military operation of World War II.”
But Soviet communications with Britain were of uniformly high quality and information content, and weren’t intercepted by the Nazis as had been feared by British commanders.
The ‘Lend-Lease’ programme, created by the United States and Great Britain to assist their ally, exported aircraft, navy ships, howitzers, and ammunition to the Soviet Union in an attempt to stop Hitler’s army from taking the entire country along with its unimaginable resources.
The cooperation between the three countries during WWII was unparalleled and it worked to benefit all three nations. Millions of lives were saved (especially in Britain) due to this unprecedented arrangement.
Opportunities as Big as the Sky, Where Economic and Strategic Links Meet
It makes sense that northern nations should work together to advance security in their hemisphere, particularly among those nations that own or claim part of the Arctic Ocean and its rich resources.
It would be interesting to locate some Scottish islands where the wind blows constantly (that would be all of them) and install a couple hundred wind turbines along with housing for +3000 presently unemployed blue-collar workers, so they might smelt aluminum ore for export.
But not only aluminum, refining crude oil or making steel uses obscene amounts of electricity too. With cheap wind power located right on-site — one of the biggest production costs for smelters and refiners (energy) is lowered by half — which translates into a pricing advantage for exporters.
Working together, hundreds of billions of pounds could be unlocked to invest in Russian oil and gas, and other resources, inside Russia proper or in the Arctic Ocean.
Hundreds of billions more could build new factories in Russia, taking advantage of the lower energy, labour and regulatory costs there, which could allow Russia to duplicate the astonishing manufacturing leap made by Japan in the 1970-2000 timeframe.
If British banks are financing these operations, and British companies are part-owners with their Russian counterparts, there will be plenty of incentive on all sides to make it work. The very definition of Win-Win.
Over the next 30 years Russia could match the incredible economic leap made by Japan while Britain’s banks get to earn profit on financing that transition, and both British and Russian workers enjoy a fast-paced and profitable economy.
Isn’t that a better future for British and Russian kids than sliding backwards toward a new Cold War?
Image credit: By Celinaqi – http://atlas.cid.harvard.edu/explore/tree_map/export/rus/all/show/2014/ CC BY-SA 4.0
by John Brian Shannon | July 29, 2016
Britain survived the 20th century despite two British-economy-wrecking wars (WWI and WWII) and the follow-up to those wars, the Cold War.
But imagine all that Britain could’ve become by now if it wasn’t required to wage World War I, World War II, and the Cold War in the first half of the 20th century. Great Britain would’ve been equal in economic and military power with the United States, and humanity would have completely missed two hot wars and one cold war.
The Anglosphere would’ve held dominion over the Earth — and let’s hope they would’ve had enlightened and moderate leaders.
There would’ve been no need for some of the overcompensating behaviors we witnessed in the 20th century.
The excesses thrust upon the world by continental Europeans in the 20th century are 100% responsible for the creation of two classes of overcompensators; The neocons and the terrorists — both of whom are engaged in a non-virtuous and negative relationship that could still destroy all life on the planet.
That is a scenario of if not when, unless we can completely overcome the three speedbumps in our civilizational development, recover, and get back on track — the track we were originally on until continental Europe changed history three times for the worse.
It could still be the end of us all. But only if we let them.
Not that I wish the continental Europeans one second of harm, it’s just that they’ve wreaked enough havoc. In fact, ‘I wish you the best, and have a beautiful day!’
It’s time to put Britain back together — and in tandem with a politically-moderate United States (and without prejudice to any other country or bloc) to recreate the Anglosphere as it was intended to be prior to the change in the world order made by 20th-century Europeans.
The time of war followed by plenty of overcompensating must now be over, or humanity won’t survive it.
Any nation that wishes to join the Anglosphere need only pass legislation that English is one of their official languages and have a politically-moderate foreign policy, then I would consider them eligible to join The Commonwealth of Nations, which is the umbrella organization of Anglosphere nations.
In that way, I would hope to (eventually) win over every nation. Yes, every one.
No more war. Peace and prosperity. Peace, Order, and Good Government.
That was the path that Great Britain, the United States, and other Anglo nations were on before three wars were thrown at us by continental Europe. (WWI, WWII and the Cold War)
As bad as those wars were, the two overcompensating responses (the neocons and the terrorists) may yet turn out to be even worse. Those two groups may ultimately spell the end of humankind.
And that’s what I’m trying to prevent.
In North America, we say; “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Well, the continental Europeans of the previous century broke the working model.
Now we need to get it back.