Imagine the world without America

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, July 23rd, 2017 - 63 comments
Categories: China, Donald Trump, Europe, International, us politics - Tags: , ,

I can remember a time when George H. W. Bush’s administration did a good job of handling the collapse of the U.S.S.R., the reunification of Germany, and sought a clear mandate for the first Gulf War.   A review of that U.N. mandate is here.

The United States sure wasn’t infallible, but it did have skill and judgement that could be taken seriously. Skip a few presidents and we now have a U.S. administration that is inept. That has global consequences.

Trump’s team dropped the Trans-Pacific partnership. Maybe that felt great on the hard left and hard right, but it undermined the U.S. position in Asia, opened the door towards greater Chinese influence, and won’t benefit the U.S. economy in the slightest.

Then Trump’s team walked away from the Paris climate accord.

Then Trump’s team relied on China to solve the North Korea problem. South Korea has announced that it will begin talks with North Korea without them.

Then he danced with swords and got fully sucked in by the serious charm offensive of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is now doubling down on ignoring U.S. advice on solving the ridiculous Qatar problem.

The European Union and Japan have just reached a trade deal, and the New York Times shows why this matters.

TPP-like talks are resuming without the United States.

China is making its own arrangements with Iran and Pakistan, and muscling India.

The leaders of Canada and Germany – two of the United States’ closest allies – have openly spoken of the need to chart their own course.

That is to say, meanwhile the world is getting on without them. This is a position I have not seen before in my lifetime.

This lack of trust in U.S. expertise is hardly surprising when the U.S. State Department is gutted and ignored, and many of Trump’s closest aides are now under active criminal investigation by the F.B.I. Emmanuel Macron charms Trump in the same way you would if you found yourself in a small room with a drunk Rhinoceros. You just wouldn’t ask the Rhino for advice on geopolitical strategy.

There are some on both the left and right who believe that the United States has taken on too much of the burdens of the world. And often hashed it. They have a point, so long as it’s not taken too far. Bernie was pretty similar to Trump on foreign policy.

But were the United States to more significantly disengage, a world system would evolve in ways that the United States would regret. Even in a newer, more minimised role for the United States in which it seeks less direct control of disabled regions and simply provides sufficient forces to enable balancing of regions offshore, the collective global judgement upon every intervention will not lessen.

That judgement will be viewed and formed through the understanding of the competence of the leadership in the United States. Offshore balancing as a strategy calls for the United States to hold the balance in key regions (i.e. Europe, Asia, and perhaps parts of the Middle East) and to stand ready to bring its power to bear in these areas should a potential hegemon emerge there. The momentum of U.S. power as possessor of the world’s largest military and intelligence communities will not be undone and will not diminish.

But the credibility of U.S. commitments using that power depends on a minimum reputation for competence, which is what the Trump administration do not have.

A world with a United States far diminished in international affairs is not one in which the United Nations or any other grouping is ready to occupy and enforce peace in the world. It is a world in which democracy recedes, China expands, Europe shrinks and grows defensive, fewer and fewer multilateral agreements of any kind are possible, medium sized states grow more intolerant and unstable, small nations are more vulnerable to predatory regimes, globalised rules that assist small nations are much harder to enforce, and there are fewer global instruments available to restabilise the unstable.

The United States of America is not going away. It has one of the strongest economies in the world, and its military is overwhelming. But it is no longer a centre of good judgement in international affairs, and this is changing the world very quickly.

63 comments on “Imagine the world without America”

  1. One Two 1

    ‘The United States’ is a vehicle, driven by the same tired old and increasingly exposed ‘families’ who control ‘it’..

    Apply same to the ‘imperialist nations’

    Nothing changes until ‘people’ understand what they’re dealing with

    Doesn’t read like you understand it, Ad!

    • Carolyn_nth 1.1

      Maybe try reading this long Intercept interview instead.

      On why the US is in decline, and will no longer be dominant in the world by about 2030. And China poised to dominate world.

      • One Two 1.1.1

        That article offers nothing new in terms of information regarding the ‘reasons’ for the decline. They are well documented going back many decades, and were previously regarded as ‘conspiracy theories’

        It would be a mistake to think that the ‘owners’ were not ‘business continuity planners’..

        The rise, fall and rise of ‘nations is no different to the shorter ‘boom and bust’ economic cycles..

        Same mechanisms, same controllers

        East or West…Same Same

    • Ad seems to be a US fanboii.

      • Ad 1.2.1

        After all, what good has America done for the world?

        https://www.quora.com/What-good-has-the-United-States-done-for-the-world-since-WWII

        What good things has the United States done for the world? from AskReddit

        Or if you want a rundown of the best and worst top 50, here’s a go:

        https://www.yelp.com/topic/chicago-best-and-worst-things-america-has-done-in-the-last-50-years

        Really, really easy to do what you were taught in social studies and presume every intervention is bad or wrong. The hard left and hard right get pretty identical pretty fast.

        Try a little nuance. You might learn something.

        • https://www.quora.com/What-good-has-the-United-States-done-for-the-world-since-WWII

          The answer starts off with lies and goes downhill from there. The last one isn’t much better really.

          • Wayne 1.2.1.1.1

            Probably the most important things the US has done for the world since WW2 is NATO and the Japan/US alliance (including South Korea).

            NATO set up the conditions for the EU are Western European prosperity and freedom. That was so successful that the East Europe imploded when it was obvious it had failed compared to Western Europe.

            In the east the Japan/US alliance guaranteed the recovery of Japan. Without the South Korean alliance North Korea’s invasion in 1950 would have succeeded. It is not hard to judge which is better; South Korea or North Korea.

            The US dominance in the Asia Pacific also set up the opportunity for China’s growth, by having open markets for Chinese manufactures.

            These successes, which boosted the property and freedom of literally billions of people, greatly outweigh US failings in the Middle East and elsewhere.

            It still looks like US engagement with Europe through NATO remains a defining limit on Russian adventurism. No matter the pretensions of Germany, they cannot substitute for the impact that the US has on Russia. After all they tried once before and failed. Mind you it was a good thing that Germany failed!

            • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1.1.1.1

              NATO set up the conditions for the EU are Western European prosperity and freedom.

              Was it NATO that did that or is it something that would have happened anyway? It’s hard to say but I’m leaning to the latter.

              That was so successful that the East Europe imploded when it was obvious it had failed compared to Western Europe.

              Eastern Europe collapsed because it was an oppressive dictatorship. No comparison needed.

              The US dominance in the Asia Pacific also set up the opportunity for China’s growth, by having open markets for Chinese manufactures.

              And which is presently destroying the US economy as wealth is exported out and up.

              These successes, which boosted the property and freedom of literally billions of people, greatly outweigh US failings in the Middle East and elsewhere.

              It’s hard to say that a system that is inevitably going to bring about the collapse of itself and the environment is successful. Bringing billions out of poverty isn’t a good thing if the world couldn’t afford those billions of people.

            • francesca 1.2.1.1.1.2

              Russian adventurism has got nothing on American imperialism
              the US has 800 overseas military bases and is currently involved in 7 bombing “adventures”
              It has interfered (and boasts about it) in numerous elections of other sovereign countries
              NATO exists to manage the risks it creates by its existence…Richard Sakwa

              • D'Esterre

                Francesca: “Russian adventurism has got nothing on American imperialism”

                Exactly. My view is that we have witnessed so much interventionism by the US globally since WW2, that we’ve come to see it as unexceptionable. This is complicated by the fact that NZ has been a US ally, and surely we’re all on the right side?

                But US interventionism has been very far from being unexceptionable; countless lives have been lost, and countries ruined, by it.

                We – and all the innocents of the world – would be a great deal better off if successive US administrations had taken a more Westphalian approach to international affairs.

            • Sanctuary 1.2.1.1.1.3

              NATO was set up to keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down.

            • D'Esterre 1.2.1.1.1.4

              Wayne: “Probably the most important things the US has done for the world since WW2 is NATO”

              NATO was and is merely a pretext for the US to continue to have troops stationed in Europe, which remains occupied by the former allies, 72 years after the end of the war. Don’t run away with the idea that European citizens are happy with this state of affairs: the political elites may like it, but it by no means follows that ordinary people agree. We have family in that part of the world; we’ve heard as much from them.

              The Marshall Plan was to be applauded; not much since.

              “It still looks like US engagement with Europe through NATO remains a defining limit on Russian adventurism.”

              Say what? What Russian adventurism is this to which you refer? It seems to me that you’ve either forgotten – or aren’t aware of – the history of Europe and Russia.

              “No matter the pretensions of Germany, they cannot substitute for the impact that the US has on Russia. After all they tried once before and failed.”

              Now I’m sure that it’s ignorance. You’d do well to go read some European history, both of WW2 and earlier.

          • Molly 1.2.1.1.2

            The question ends with an answer that defies logical reasoning:
            “… not just extract money and resources from it?…

        • francesca 1.2.1.2

          Winning the cold war!!!
          Crap right there. the cold war was won only in the eyes of America, a misapprehension that led to such disasters as the Wolfowitz doctrine and Brzezinski’s great game
          The US unilaterally withdrew from the ABM treaty, in an attempt to preserve first strike capability. The Atomic clock is now at 2 and a half minutes to midnight, midnight being global catastrophe, people are more worried about nuclear war than since the Cuban missile crisis
          Electing a black president”What has that done for black Americans, they are just as incarcerated, poor and gunned down by cop as they ever have been
          Human rights? Tell that to the civilians of Mosul, The Australian woman just shot dead by a cop in Minnesota,The Honduran environmentalists hunted down and killed by US trained govt security forces
          Pop culture hegemony? Yes indeed, but thats not a good thing
          Your list aint convincing me

  2. Sabine 2

    the only difference between the America from yesterday and the America from tomorrow is that yesterdays America was a fucked up secular Nation with nuclear weapons and tomorrows America is a fucked up theocratic Nation with nuclear weapons who wants to bring about the second coming of christ.

    but i guess a its ok, its a ‘white militant fundamentalist biblical type of theocracy’ not some ‘militant islamic type of theocracy.

    i pity the women of the US, they will be breed until they die, or the uterus falls out or menopause hits (should they live that long). fuck anyone who said trump was gonna save the world.

  3. This lack of trust in U.S. expertise is hardly surprising…

    The lack of trust in the US has been building for several decades. It was only the fear of the USSR that really kept it in check and the US as top dog. Now the US is trying to rebuild that fear as their standing deteriorates due to their own actions.

    There are some on both the left and right who believe that the United States has taken on too much of the burdens of the world. And often hashed it.

    Actually, it’s more that they’ve stuck their nose in where they shouldn’t have and usually against the wishes and well-being of the people that they end up bombing.

    The lesson was pretty clear – do what the US wants or get bombed back to the stone age.

    But were the United States to more significantly disengage, a world system would evolve in ways that the United States would regret.

    I think you’ll find that the world is evolving in ways that the US regrets – due to the actions of the US.

    It’s not disengagement that’s wanted but an equal engagement where the US doesn’t act as a dictator.

    Offshore balancing as a strategy calls for the United States to hold the balance in key regions (i.e. Europe, Asia, and perhaps parts of the Middle East) and to stand ready to bring its power to bear in these areas should a potential hegemon emerge there.

    One thing that become clear over the last couple of decades is that the US finds it just as difficult to project power as the rest of us. This tells us that a region needs to build up it’s own balance ex-US.

    The momentum of U.S. power as possessor of the world’s largest military and intelligence communities will not be undone and will not diminish.

    I’m pretty sure that you’ll find that China will surpass it in fairly short order. They already have far more military personnel and they’re building up their military tech.

    But the credibility of U.S. commitments using that power depends on a minimum reputation for competence, which is what the Trump administration do not have.

    There was some serious doubt about the Dubya Bush administration as well. That’s also a good example of the loss of trust in the US after they justified the invasion of an innocent nation with a pack of lies.

    A world with a United States far diminished in international affairs is not one in which the United Nations or any other grouping is ready to occupy and enforce peace in the world.

    And that’s largely to do with the actions of the US who don’t want to held accountable to the international community for their actions. Hence their not signing up to the ICC.

    It is a world in which democracy recedes, China expands, Europe shrinks and grows defensive, fewer and fewer multilateral agreements of any kind are possible, medium sized states grow more intolerant and unstable, small nations are more vulnerable to predatory regimes, globalised rules that assist small nations are much harder to enforce, and there are fewer global instruments available to restabilise the unstable.

    All of that was happening anyway and in large part due to the actions of the US. Palestine certainly wouldn’t be the basket case it is today if the US hadn’t supported and protected Israel as it has done.

    The United States of America is not going away. It has one of the strongest economies in the world, and its military is overwhelming. But it is no longer a centre of good judgement in international affairs, and this is changing the world very quickly.

    Actually, it’s entirely possible that it is going to go away because it’s economy is collapsing and it’s military is showing signs of stress, of not being able to project power and all while also being matched by other nations.

    And there’s some serious doubt that it was ever a ‘centre of good judgement in international affairs’. It only ever seems to have acted to boost itself and that greed and hubris is now ‘coming home to roost’.

    • Ad 3.1

      The question is not whether some identifiable patterns were happening anyway.

      The question is which patterns are being altered, and which ones are being accentuated.

      The Trump regime really is as different as he promised it would be, and it really is altering international relations far faster than we have seen in a long, long time.

      • The question is not whether some identifiable patterns were happening anyway.

        I’m pretty sure that’s actually a major part of the problem that the US is.

        The question is which patterns are being altered, and which ones are being accentuated.

        The bad ones. I mean, I’m sure that the US has done some good over the last century or so but I can’t think of any ATM.

        The Trump regime really is as different as he promised it would be…

        Is it?

        They tried to be different but they’ve run up pretty heavily against the wall that is the processes and systems in place.

        • Ad 3.1.1.1

          They have been different mostly through incompetence.
          Which the international order has noticed.
          Which was spelled out in black and white with links in the article above.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1.1

            They have been different mostly through incompetence.

            The incompetence goes back decades which is why the previous patterns apply.

            • Ad 3.1.1.1.1.1

              That’s there mere task of historians. The patterns are changing.

              You would be more interesting if you could show where United States’ competence lies. That would show you can think rather than just recite a set of prejudices.

              Even in temporary political decline their economic and military power is always to be reckoned with. And simply claiming that they are always incompetent just shows you need to either demonstrate precisely that claim, or think harder.

              • You would be more interesting if you could show where United States’ competence lies.

                Your the one claiming that they have competence.

                Even in temporary political decline their economic and military power is always to be reckoned with.

                It’s not temporary. The collapse of empires tends to be permanent.

                And simply claiming that they are always incompetent just shows you need to either demonstrate precisely that claim, or think harder.

                Iran -> Their imposed shah
                Iraq -> Saddam Hussein – the installation, support and final removal
                USSR -> transition to Russian Federation
                China -> This ones really going to bite as they shift the US economy there
                Haiti -> They never did get over that the slaves successfully rebelled against the owners
                Cuba -> Sanctions for no reason
                Philippines -> How many dictators costing how many lives did they put in place there?
                Vietnam -> nough said
                Georgia -> That seems to be another of the pet regimes that pissed off a lot of the population
                Ukraine -> US backed colour revolution followed by a US puppet government followed by a civil war

                The list goes on but that’s all I can recall ATM. All of those could have had better results than what the US achieved through their arrogance and bungling.

              • That would show you can think rather than just recite a set of prejudices.

                Oh, when it comes to the USA, you’re shit out of luck on that one. That’s a very dearly-held set of prejudices.

  4. francesca 4

    Imagine the world without America?
    I can’t wait
    The UN is a toothless force precisely because its domiciled in New York, and its dominated by the US
    The US has never been a force for good in the world, its been a force for its own corporate interests.
    Don’t make the mistake of supposing that the vacuum will be filled by another hubristic superpower, its much more likely that we will have a multi polar set up

  5. bearded git 5

    i’ve stopped reading any article with the word Trump in it.

  6. Exkiwiforces 6

    Be careful what you wish for as the alternative could be just as bad as the USA if not worst than the USA. As much as I distrust the USA atm, I’m equally distrustful of China and Russia in particular China’s one belt one road policy, its conduct in the South China Sea and its human rights.

    As for the Useless Nations something has to be done there, but to get the 5 powers to agree that change has to happen will be like getting blood out of a stone.

    • And that just tells me that we need to be more independent than we are now.

      Stop this dependency upon being an ‘export’ nation.
      Stop depending upon others to defend us.

      Basically, stop kowtowing to the most powerful nations.

    • Ad 6.2

      I sure ain’t wishing for the US to get even more internationally incoherent than it is.
      I can see good reasons for your level of mistrust.

      But we can withdraw from the world and Draco wants us to, or we can engage as only a good small state can. Indeed as we have done for a century.

      If I ran an article on how New Zealand has positioned itself internationally over the last twenty years, I could generate pretty positive things to say.

      • But we can withdraw from the world and Draco wants us to

        I didn’t say, and have never said, that we should withdraw from the world.

        • Ad 6.2.1.1

          You’ve long said we should stop trading with the world and become self-sufficient. That is a spectacular withdrawal from the world. You may not like it, but the world make a living trading with each other, and that trade is the stuff that 95% of international relationships are built on.

      • Exkiwiforces 6.2.2

        I don’t think withdrawing from the world is an option for NZ and I agree that NZ should probably go back to being great small nation in world affairs, but some money needs to put in to the Defence Dept, Foreign Affairs/ Trade and the Aid budget (to be use on Commonwealth Nations only)

  7. Exkiwiforces 7

    NZ can still be a export nation, but still repeats it past mistakes such as making China it’s biggest export market like we did with the Great Britain before they joined the EEC/ EU.

    NZ can be independent and less dependent on others defend it, but that comes at cost especially when there is no current threat to the country atm and it best all you can do is SMAP possible threats to NZ. But people will still whinge at buying military equipment if you are maintain a certain level of capability as talking around a table will only get you so far.

    • Exkiwiforces 7.1

      Oops my reply above was Draco. Sorry for cock up

    • NZ can be independent and less dependent on others defend it, but that comes at cost…

      It also comes with opportunities.

      In fact, the only real problem with an increased productivity is when the society tries to do more of the same thing rather than diversifying. We’ve got the productivity that we can afford being more independent while still maintaining high living standards.

      But people will still whinge at buying military equipment…

      Don’t buy it, make it. In fact, I’d make buying/selling military equipment which contains profit illegal. Nobody should profit from such a waste as war.

      • Exkiwiforces 7.2.1

        You are right there could be more opportunities for more independent NZ and I agree fully with your comment .

        But I will to some degree disagree with your second comment as I is don’t think it would cost effective for NZ to manufacture it’s own military equipment and yes some stuff will cost effective. But any major big capital items such as aircraft and ships etc may not cost effective without a permit to export and some cases it may be cheaper to buy direct from the manufacturer. For example the two ANZAC Frigates we brought from Australia we could’ve almost got four Frigates for the same price if brought them from Germany, but on the other hand some of the NZ companies involve in that project it allowed them to expand and get new skill sets which was good, but there was no follow up work after that project finish and to me the NZ taxpayer was subsidising the Australian shipyards.

        • Stuart Munro 7.2.1.1

          One of the things that allows government businesses to succeed is the certainty of having a customer. In the private sector they call it vertical integration. Fact is, NZ is pretty good at light engineering historically. Most of our military needs could be built locally – though frigates might be a stretch.

          If we built more of our own we might manage to have more cost effective single purpose vessels and less of a Swiss army knife ‘you’re only getting one and it has to do everything’ approach.

          A couple of cheap freighters with some lighterage, and a C&C vessel with some medical capacity would be pretty useful for our regular disaster relief efforts.

          • Draco T Bastard 7.2.1.1.1

            Most of our military needs could be built locally – though frigates might be a stretch.

            We could have built the frigates here. Our steel engineering is actually pretty good and we have huge resources of steel. The only real issues would have been the electronics.

          • exkiwiforces 7.2.1.1.2

            I’ll go even further, NZ use to have some amazing engineering companies over the 100yrs weather it was light engineering to heavy engineering. Heck even my Dad when he was trade union organiser for the then Engineers Union in CHCH push hard for the ANZAC Frigates and quite pissed off when the pollies only ordered two. On my mum’s sided they ran a coal mine on the coast as a Co-op that supplied a couple foundries in Dunedin and Lane- Walker Rudkin in CHCH and if wasn’t for the Blackball Bridge washout we would still mining coal. But’s that another story.

            What engineering companies are left in NZ I believe are only SME’s and the only heavy engineer ones are the Navy Dockyard, Air NZ, Safe Air and everything has gone, but I could wrong, but what military hardware comes out of NZ is rather good if not better in some cases.

            I would avoid using “couple of cheap freighters with some lighterage, and a C&C vessel with some medical capacity would be pretty useful for our regular disaster relief efforts.” As the RNZN have been brunt twice trying adapt cheap civilian freighters in Navy ships HMNZS Upham (was a dog of ship and I have never been so sick at sea) and the HMNZS Canterbury http://www.defence.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/independent-review-safety-hmnzs-canterbury2.pdf. No thanks to the stupid pollies.

            Here’s a couple of ideas for future ships in the RNZN
            https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Absalon-class_(Denmark) The StanFlex Modules could be built in NZ to suit NZ conditions, it takes NH-90 as well an I believe it can also do run down Sth as well. To tell you the truth the RNZN should be based in the Danish Navy anyway that’s my POV.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Rotterdam_class_amphibious_transport_dock&redirect=no This is what the Canterbury should have been. Having a docking well means you load and unload up to sea state 6 and not sea state 1 if you are using a ramp aka the Canterbury

            • Stuart Munro 7.2.1.1.2.1

              The Danish ships are interesting – though their radar profiles look pretty strong. It really comes down to what purposes our craft are expected to serve – Denmark is more likely to be in the thick of a partial nuclear or full on conventional conflict than we are.

              As regards civilian relief craft – the point is not to adapt them. They make poor naval vessels, but small freighters have served the islands for a century or so, and purpose built or chosen ones ought to be reasonably useful. If we were to take a more militarized approach to relief it would be a better fit with a marine force – which bizarrely for a sea-girt nation, we have never developed.

              The Rotterdam class would fit as the C&C & medical bit, and a small tanker would complete a group that would offer substantial relief capacity.

              What we need for Antarctica and fisheries protection is rather different, and the foreign deployment role the frigates currently perform is something else again.

              • exkiwiforces

                I like the Royal Danish Navy and way they do business hence why I think the RNZN should base themselves on the Danish Navy. They operate in almost in the same sea conditions as the RNZN and I believe there has been a number exchanges at various levels between both Navies. The Danish Navy thought we were a bit crazy to operate our OPV’s so far South as they thought the our OPV’s were a bad design (they are) and begin over weight (100tons).

                The Royal Danish Navy has high Frigates using the same hull as the Absalon Class Ships https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iver_Huitfeldt-class_frigate

                “If we were to take a more militarized approach to relief it would be a better fit with a marine force – which bizarrely for a sea-girt nation, we have never developed”.

                We had our chance after WW2 with 3rd Div which served in the SW Pacific (my great uncle served in 3 Div), but old guard from the 2nd Div and the then pollies still wanted a heavy army for the middle east AO. When that became unaffordable in early 60’s and the following restructure of the Army to a light deployable infantry brigade, the idea pop up again. When the Ready Reaction Force was formed in 70’s guess what? it came up again and almost got going if wasn’t for the two oil shocks, Sir Rob’s mismanagement of NZ economy and along with the lessons learnt when Big Norm sent the Frigates to give the Frogs the two finger salute. A few false starts during the 80′-90’s and it finally got off the ground after East Timor when 1st NZ Battalion Grp did that over the beach landing near Suai. But thanks to lobbying by keith locke and the under funding of Project Protector we’ve ended up the Canterbury with it many vices. If wasn’t for Phil Goff the then MoD, the then CDF Major General Jones, the Navy, I think NZDF would have half ass capability ATM and the NZDF seem to be kicking a few goals with its half ass design ship than its Australia counter parts ATM with its 2 Landing Helicopter Platform ships.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karel_Doorman-class_support_ship is highly modified version of the Rotterdam class LPD. This ship didn’t get selected due to cost and I believe it couldn’t fit into the drydock at Devonport Dockyard. The new tanker/JSS is going to be just as good as the Karel Doorman.

                I think 6 Absalon Class Ships, 6 OPV’s, 6 IPV’s, 2 multi- role dive ships and the current Support Group ship with a LPD added later would be the ideal navy for a independent NZ also it will give the government the day a number of options it doesn’t ATM.

                • KJT

                  NZ still having a merchant navy to call on would have cut the costs of military supply/relief ships considerably.

                  It only became necessary for the Navy to have their own logistics ships, when Union Company was asset stripped and the Union Rotoiti and Rotorua were sold.

                  And, The navy were told by a shipping company operating a sister ship, to the Charles Upham, that it was a dog. But they knew better.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    Good point. A civil freighter reserve with relief functions might be a good thing to have – though I’m afraid the state run freight service to the Chatams was, in its latter years, a disgrace.

                    EKF – it looks a decent mix, but six frigates is a lot for a country with a relatively low level of foreign threat. For coastal S&R and fisheries reasons the patrol vessels should substantially outnumber anything larger – and they make good training vessels. I don’t know if you’ve noticed the two new craft the poms are building, but establishing the principal that the NZ navy builds its own would in the long term mean improving engineering skills and repair capacities, which are good things to have when things go pear-shaped, and good skills to feed into civilian industry if they don’t.

                    • exkiwiforces

                      I think it’s doable from a manning, engineering POV and it’s not like the manning of the old type 12’s that we once had 6 of or the 2 ANZAC’s. Its the utility of the ship that really impress’s me, especially if all then Stan Flex module’s are brought/ built in New Zealand, it can do the run down south or the southern ocean patrols, act as mother ship for the OPV’s, dive ships or IPV’s, HADR and swing into a warship role as required. A real multi- role ship that should and would suit NZ needs when you look at where the RNZN operates in.

                      It would a lot cheaper than some of the high end Frigate and you only need to go over to defencetalk.com to look at some of the Frigates that NZ should buy. I think the days of the RNZN operating in at the Pointy end of the spear are (escorting a fleet train or convoy for that matter is just as important than begin at the Pointy end)over because of cost etc and this class of ship would a lot better than straight out Frigate design.

                      To understand where I’m heading a couple of books to read:
                      The utility of force by General Rupert Smith (a former UN commander) and
                      Out of the mountains “The coming age of the Urban Guerrilla” by David Kilcullen. If you read this and Weka’s posts on the environment the future could look quite ugly.

                  • It only became necessary for the Navy to have their own logistics ships, when Union Company was asset stripped and the Union Rotoiti and Rotorua were sold.

                    And that would be wrong.

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Company

                    By 1990, the company operated seven ships, and was involved in ship management, tourism, real estate and other ventures. By 2000, the Union Bulk barge made its last voyage.

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMNZS_Charles_Upham

                    The New Zealand Defence Force had identified the need for a logistic support ship as early as the 1970s but it was not until the 1991 white paper that planning to acquire a ship commenced in earnest.

                    Thirty year mismatch in dates there.

                    And the lesson is that the navy most definitely should not rely upon private enterprise for support as it will leave them scrambling for it when they need it as private enterprise has a tendency to go bankrupt – unless they get massive government subsidies.

                    • KJT

                      That is why the Government waited thirty years.

                      FYI the Rotoitii and Rotorua were subsidised by the NZ and Oz Governments for that specific purpose.

                  • exkiwiforces

                    I think having a strong NZ merchant navy is must for NZ and RNZNVR or RNZN for that matter should be looked at as nursery for the for rebuilding of the NZ merchant navy. I’m open to any idea’s for this one?

                    I remember then Chief of Navy looking at one the union ships at time as the defence budget for capital equipment was rather tight at the time, but I think the cost to bring it to up a standard is finally killed it off and it was the same for the Charles Upham as well.

                    The Charles Upham, as you pointed out “that it was a dog” it bloody was as I did one trip on this ship. The Charles Upham was forced onto the Navy by then National government as they didn’t want to spend the money a on proper landing ship at the time thanks to their short slightness. A couple of yrs later the NZDF found itself doing a over the beach landing in East Timor during INTERFET and a proper landing ship could’ve been real handy if wasn’t for the government of the day begin a bunch blinded Muppets.

                • This ship didn’t get selected due to cost and I believe it couldn’t fit into the drydock at Devonport Dockyard.

                  Nope, it won’t: The Drydock can take vessels up to 170 metres in length and 22.5 metres beam. Compared to that ship which is 205m length and 30m beam.

        • But I will to some degree disagree with your second comment as I is don’t think it would cost effective for NZ to manufacture it’s own military equipment and yes some stuff will cost effective.

          The reason why military equipment costs so much is because it’s not cost effective. It doesn’t get anywhere near the economies of scale needed to maintain a commercial enterprise. But that same reason is what makes it viable for government to do the full R&D and production for it and have it end up costing less because you no longer have to maintain huge profits.

          But any major big capital items such as aircraft and ships etc may not cost effective without a permit to export and some cases it may be cheaper to buy direct from the manufacturer.

          That only applies to commercial operations. I’m saying have the government do it all in government yards and government research institutions.

          • exkiwiforces 7.2.1.2.1

            Actually Military equipment only becomes cost effective if buy more than the minimum number required and anything less the price goes up. For example if you look at the Royal Navy’s Type 45 Destroyer and its Type 26 Frigate buys when the number of ships keep getting cut, the price went up to a point it where it became non cost effective to the poor British taxpayer and it was the same in Oz with the Air Warfare Destroyer partly due to the last Labour government mucking around with the production dates which push up the costs and it would have cheaper if they had ordered a fourth one instead of playing short term politics in an election year.

            Hey I’m all for government research institutions.

            • Draco T Bastard 7.2.1.2.1.1

              Actually Military equipment only becomes cost effective if buy more than the minimum number required and anything less the price goes up.

              That’s due to Economies of Scale. It’s not that the cost comes down but that some fixed costs can be spread across multiple items.

              R&D is a good example of those fixed costs. No matter if you build one or 100 of an item the R&D costs will remain the same and they have to be covered. But if you spread that fixed cost across 100 it appears to be cheaper than if it’s applied to a single item.

              Thing about defence R&D is that it’s an ongoing cost that the government needs to fund and so it should simply have it’s own line item in the budget that’s not associated with any particular item. Same goes for building a secure dry-dock that the ships could be built in. Both are simply a once off and ongoing necessary cost that’s not associated with any particular item meaning that those costs aren’t covered in each item. Can’t do that with the private sector though as they’re looking for a percentage return from each cost and so they charge for it on each item making each item appear far more costly as less bought.

              The government doing it’s own R&D and producing it’s own defence equipment will rapidly drop the costs down allowing for a better equipped and better supported military.

              • exkiwiforces

                Yeah will someone ought to tell that to the neo con/ lib muppets over the in treasury department then.

                My major concern is avoiding the valley of death especially in the shipyards if NZ goes down the road of building its own Naval ships as what happen up in Northland when IPV’s got built under project protector or what happen at the Eastside Workshops in Dunedin with the railways.

                • KJT

                  The frigate build in Whangarei, and some ongoing repair work for tuna boats and the Island ships, made a small centre of engineering excellence up here. Which is still going.
                  However the stupidly high NZ dollar, due to the Reserve Bank Act, killed off any small to medium commercial ship building. We actually lost a lot to the Aussies, at the time.

                  • exkiwiforces

                    I fully agree and you could’ve thrown in Hillside Railway Workshops as well.

                • exkiwiforces

                  That should be Hillside Workshops not Eastside sorry for my error there.
                  Dated 24 July at 12:40am

  8. Richard Christie 8

    Ah the USA, the greatest hypocrite in recorded history.

  9. barry 9

    While Trump may make GHW Bush look good I would be hard pressed to agree with you on any of his accomplishments.

    In general American exceptionalism makes it hard for USA to to play a constructive role without taking over. No one country should have that much power. It is only recently that the USA share of military spending dropped significantly below 50% but is still more than double anybody elses.

    Yes, I agree that America should be involved in world affairs, but not as the policeman. They should contribute to peacekeeping and work to help negotiate solutions to the world problems.

    Trump’s bumbling will not help. You have to treat other countries with respect to get the best deals for everyone. Some problems are difficult and require a protracted and disciplined approach which seems unlikely in a twitter dominated world. If you start every negotiation with the premise that USA must get the best of the deal, then people are not going to end up happy.

    It all looks pretty depressing, but really is not that much different to what has gone before. I think that the best that things got was under Jimmy Carter. He got punished for being too reasonable.

  10. Stuart Munro 10

    No need to imagine – Trump and Putin are making it happen. And once it’s gone we’ll miss it, not for what it was, but for what it should have been.

  11. It is a world in which democracy recedes, China expands, Europe shrinks and grows defensive, fewer and fewer multilateral agreements of any kind are possible, medium sized states grow more intolerant and unstable, small nations are more vulnerable to predatory regimes, globalised rules that assist small nations are much harder to enforce, and there are fewer global instruments available to restabilise the unstable.

    I can never get my head around the fact that there are people in NZ who appear to be looking forward to this and thinking it would be a great improvement on what we have now. Some people’s capacity for self-delusion to support a prejudice seems nigh-on infinite.

    • KJT 11.1

      You are assuming that the USA, which acts to remove any sign of Democratic Government which threatens their economic interests, actually has been a “stabilising” influence.
      Almost all the problems in the Middle East, Asia, South America and, more recently, the former Soviet Union, can be lade at the door of the resistance by the USA, to any form of control over their own destiny, by any country other than the US.

      The USA, helped at times by other Western countries, have de-stabilised a long list of countries.
      Generally by installing, or helping to install, repressive Dictatorships friendly to US commercial or strategic interests. Preventing any form of progress in Democratic governance in all of these countries.

      Philippines.
      Iran.
      Mexico.
      Egypt.
      Indonesia.
      Nicaragua
      Syria.
      Vietnam.
      Cambodia.
      Guatemala.
      Columbia.
      Panama.
      Venezuela.
      Brazil.
      Afghanistan.
      Chile.
      Peru.
      Argentina.
      Haiti.
      Granada.
      Ukraine.

      Just of the top of my head. There are many more.

      Where they can’t do it overtly, because of the US publics aversion to “bombing white people” they have done it by influencing elections in countries, like Australia and New Zealand, through funding and spy agencies.

  12. D'Esterre 12

    Advantage: “small nations are more vulnerable to predatory regimes”

    Like, say, Washington…?

    “globalised rules that assist small nations are much harder to enforce”

    What rules would those be?

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