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Written By: - Date published: 11:15 am, April 4th, 2017 - 36 comments
Categories: International, war - Tags: , , , ,

Five days after triggering Brexit and England’s rabid right is already talking war:

Theresa May would go to war to protect Gibraltar, Michael Howard says

Theresa May would be prepared to go to war to protect Gibraltar as Margaret Thatcher once did for the Falklands, former Conservative leader Michael Howard has suggested, in comments that were immediately criticised as inflammatory.

Inflammatory. Well yes, quite:

“We could cripple Spain in the medium term and I think the Americans would probably support us too. Spain should learn from history that it is never worth taking us on and that we could still singe the King of Spain’s beard”.

I was going to say that the idea of America supporting war against Spain was delusional, but then I remembered, Trump. So who the hell knows any more? Mind you, Trump might be too busy with his own wars to notice:

Trump says US will act alone on North Korea if China fails to help

Donald Trump has issued China with an ultimatum that if it fails to put pressure on North Korea to disable its nuclear programme, then the US is prepared to take action against Pyongyang on its own.

Asked how he would tackle North Korea, Trump said: “I’m not going to tell you. You know, I am not the United States of the past where we tell you where we are going to hit in the Middle East.” …

As usual the sabres are rattled by old men who have no intention of wielding them.

So. Right wing agendas seize control in England and America. Talk of war from England and America. Probably just a coincidence.

36 comments on “Warmongering ”

  1. McFlock 1

    Well, the brits need to talk up a defense of Gibraltar. They can’t protect Las Malvinas any more 🙂

    Although, seriously, wtf? Sigh. We expect that shit from the yanks, but the English going all Francis Drake? Did someone put steriods in the drinking water?

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      The Western world is collapsing around them and so they’re reaching for what worked a century ago not realising that it won’t work any more.

      • McFlock 1.1.1

        nope, it’s a trumpism.

        Make England Great Again, bring back visions of Drake vs the Armada 4 centuries ago.

    • adam 1.2

      So the POMES did not rush off to join the USA in their mad dash to fight unwinnable wars in the middle east. Was it someone else? They haven’t saber rattled over Russia, nope different people. What is this delusion that England have not been warmongering assholes for a very long time.

      Seriously McFlock, open a history text. It’s nothing new. And it definitely isn’t trumpism, what ever that clustmuck of a term may mean.

      • McFlock 1.2.1

        It’s easier for Britain to send troops to the ME than it is to the South Atlantic.

        It’s closer, they have logistics centres all throughout the region, and they have access to airbases close to (or in) the AO.

        At the moment they have no carriers and their closest base is Ascension Island. Today they’d barely be able to ship down the the same number of helicopters as they had for fixed wing aircraft in 1982.

        They’ve got a small detatchment and a few Typhoons actually on the islands, but they’d be hard pressed to ship down the thousands of troops they did thirty-five years ago.

        By the way, you do know the reference to “singeing the king of Spain’s beard”, right?

        • adam

          Nice attempt to a deflection into Privateering. But my point stands, this is nothing new from the POME’s. Same utter crap, just different packaging.

          • McFlock

            I didn’t “divert” it – it’s in the fucking post. That specific language was chosen for a reason.

            The yanks aren’t readying for a war with spain, so your rationale for business-as-usual English posturing is defunct.

            And the British are incapable of sending a substantial amphibious force and/or a strong air defense contingent to defend the Falkland Islands these days. They don’t have the ships and their aircraft don’t have the range. On the plus side for them, the Argentines don’t have any operational combat jets – although the Chinese are willing to help…

            This Gibraltar posturing is a round peg. Your worldview is a square hole.

            • adam

              Do you know anything about modern sea power? Do know what the POMES have? Well against Spain they would only need 1. Against Argentina they would only need one. And still be able to patrol the home waters. They are the only thing that counts.

              Here you go, just in case you missed it.


              So stop thinking like it’s the 80’s. The vessels have all been modernised. They can hit any Spanish target at will.

              As for the FC-1, those deals feel through, as has every other deal Argentina has tried to do to get modern Strike Aircraft. And I know the current president there really wants Super Sonic Aircraft – I just don’t see anyone willing to supply them, least of all China, with the issue over unpaid loans still unresolved.

              • McFlock

                Oh. You’re one of those: you think Trident can engage enemy aircraft while providing close air support to troops trying to recapture Port Stanley, just like Polaris did in ’82. Oh, wait…

                • adam


                  You seem stuck in the 1980’s, no wonder you have to go for a put down.

                  No understanding of Submarine warfare since 2000.

                  Here is a link to a declassified summation by the Australian navy. Out of date – but might just drag you into the modern world.


                  • McFlock

                    How many examples used to illustrate the principles in that “summation” came from the Falklands war? All but two?

                    Is that why you referred to a trident-armed submarine as “the only thing that counts”? You reckon that the UK will nuke Port Stanley or Buenos Aires? Can troops in the Falklands be supplied via air from Argentina’s mainland, thus making your trident submarine’s secondary armament largely irrelevant?

                    Argentina might not be able to mount an attack in the first place, but if it could don’t pretend that the UK could put enough troops on the ground to stop a substantial attack with weeks of reinforcements as the task force travels 8000km to come to the rescue.

                    • adam

                      I did not talk about troops, you did. And in a tradition manner you are absolutely right. But, I don’t think troops are as necessary as they were, not with cruise missiles. Which scear the hell out of me by the way, now that they can fire these from submarines. They make a complete mockery of missile defense systems as well.

                      I talked about saber rattling, and having a submarine pop up in the harbour of your capital is quite a message. It’s hard man stuff.

                      Not sure if you read, but Chine did it again recently in the Bay of Tokyo. Two or so days before planned maneuvers with the US North Pacific fleet.

                      I’m no fan of this stuff, to be quite frank, but reading the latest, doctrine manual coming out of the US and the UK – both these idiots are back to a M.A.D philosophy, so my original point is that the POMES are mad as hatter saber rattles, and with the exception of a few sane labour MP’s, they have been for a while.

                    • McFlock

                      Firstly, the post was about the conservatives willingness to defend Gibraltar against actual Spanish occupation, so troops were in the discussion right from the start.

                      Secondly, I responded to that post with a quip about the Brits not being able to defend the Falklands from similar attack. So troops were involved there, too.

                      Then you clocked off about the brits running off to fight america’s wars. With troops.

                      Then you brought a trident-armed submarine into the mix. A sub with conventional torpedos but primary armament of nuclear ICBMs. No “cruise missiles”, like HMS Conqueror had back in the day. Just nukes. It’s a deterrent: you don’t know where it is or what it’s exact orders are, but you know that if you hit the UK with nukes, you might get some right back atcha. That has nothing to do with protecting a small bunch of barely-inhabited islands from military occupation.

                      Fifth: cruise missiles can’t capture and occupy ground. Not yet. Troops are still the only ones who can do that.

                      BTW, by “recently” do you mean ten years ago? Because that was a Song class sub, according to the Daily Mail (first link I found). That’s not a nuclear-armed sub, in the same role as the one you linked to, either.

                  • inspider

                    you’re wrong. This is not about sea power, this is about strategic nuclear capability. The submarines in the article and the tactics they use are very differnet than those used by Nuclear submarines like the Vigilant.

                    Those types of ICBM vessels have next to no ability to project their power to control a sea area. Their power rests solely in intimidating an immobile enemy eg cities and major installations. They won’t help you for example control sea lanes, absent supporting assets that have the ability to engage an enemy and suppress them, because you can’t risk losing their strategic capabilities in tactical actions.

                    • adam

                      The navel has had a complete overhaul of nuclear subs. They are now in line with M.A.D doctrine, and forward power projection.

                      If that works or not, is another issue. The fact are, they are now fitted to do both roles. And from what is coming from the Navy themselves, quite keen to try forward power projection.

                    • inspider

                      No, the primary role of the Vanguard class is strategic deterrance. If you don;t believe me go and check the RN’s website. That requires they remain sumberged and undetected. That’s why one has always been at sea for the last forty years. They are not engaged in ‘forward power projection’. The US has former SSBNs that have been refitted as SSGNs which are much more about power projection. They don’t carry SBNs though. They are not dual role.

                    • adam

                      I agree they are not, but the refit and the change in doctrine would suggest otherwise.

  2. Also, for those who never have, take a moment to look at how small Gibraltar is on a map. It’s literally the size of a small suburb. My suburb is as big as Gibraltar, and it’s a small satellite one.

    This wouldn’t even be like going to war over Thorndon, because well, there’s actually some useful infrastructure there. Not sure how much of that you can pack into a tiny peninsula.

    Honestly, they should cede Gibraltar to Spain as part of the deal. It’s not like they really want to manage it, Gibraltar was more overwhelmingly remain than Scotland and Ireland were because freedom of movement is a practical necessity for them, and they need concessions from the EU more than the EU needs concessions from them.

    • McFlock 2.1

      Gateway to the Med.

      Might be useful sometime.

    • Andre 2.2

      Matthew, when you do that, make sure the scales are the same. Gibraltar has an airport and a substantial sea port. The comparison is more like Thorndon, Kelburn, the port area, Te Aro and Mount Victoria.

      • Looking side-by-side, in terms of geographic area, you’re much closer to right than I was, apologies, although it may be more comparable to 3-4 of the areas you’ve listed rather than all five in terms of land area.

    • I think the British would consider their air force base and the port their navy’s Gibraltar Squadron is using to very much fit the description “useful infrastructure.”

  3. It’s sad but true that the Conservative Party is still full of chinless wonders who fancy themselves as a future Winnie (also sadly, not the less-threatening and more-realistic “the Pooh,” but the famous cigar-smoking drunkard).

  4. SpaceMonkey 4

    If the talk is of war… sounds to me like a cover for a tanking economy that will be impossible to hide.

  5. Madness.

    With Britain and its yobbo toffs rattling sabers over Gibraltar and the USA doing the same over North Korea.

    As mad as all this :

    British Army, Monty Python marching up and down the … – YouTube
    Video for monty python army skit you tube▶ 2:12

  6. Keith 6

    Months out from 100th anniversary the mindbogglingly horrific Battle of Passchendaele some of our leaders seem to think war is still the answer.

    This scum have not learnt a damned thing have they?

  7. Skeptic 7

    I’m going to stick my neck out here and probably cop a lot of flak from the regulars.
    I think the UK is quite capable of moving troops into Gib and supporting them with Naval and Air assets if – and only if – the proverbial hits the fan and Spain gets a bit too much macho and tries to occupy Gib. How? STUFF – that’s how. Most of the ships that went to the Falklands were STUFF (Ships Taken Up For Forces) and UK does have a blue water frigate navy. Air support would be considerable and much more than Spain could muster and could be based at Gib. For those wishing to verify this, consult Jane’s.
    The question posed really boils down to “under what circumstances would the UK do such a thing?” Under the same conditions that the Falklands War was started – invasion. If Spain invaded at the behest of or in response to EU shenanigans, the Article 51 of UN would apply, just as it did for the Falklands – the islanders firmly decided to remain British – as do the Gibraltar population – and Spain would be very hard put to justify any invasion.
    So the real question is “What is May really up to?” I think she’s giving sufficient warning – something that Thatcher failed to do – to both the EU and Spain, that the UK will stand by any colony that decides to remain part of the UK. I don’t think there’s anything malevolent or perverse in her intent – she’s simply responding to a well publicized statement from Brussels made consequent to her triggering Brexit. While there may be an element of distraction, I think that is more in the mind of the reader.

    • McFlock 7.1

      Yeah they could defend Gibraltar in case of Spanish attack, but I’m really not sure attack is on the cards. Have the Spanish got a major movement to repatriate them? I’m sure there’s a few folks and it’s a diplomatic issue, but not enough to mass troops, surely?

      What I think is that it’s just conservatives trumping ‘our glorious past’ – Thatcher and the Armada. The downside is that they might accidentally make it a genuine issue.

  8. Gristle 8

    Re British and Gibraltar

    IMO all the talk about Gibraltar by Tories is to elevate it as a card that can be played during the Brexit nenogiations. They will hang it out to dry just like what happened in Hong Kong.

  9. greywarshark 9

    Thinking Gibraltar and little states anywhere – a little remembrance of
    The Mouse that Roared.
    The Mouse That Roared is a 1955 Cold War satirical novel by Irish American writer Leonard Wibberley, which launched a series of satirical books about an imaginary country in Europe called the Duchy of Grand Fenwick. Wibberley went beyond the merely comic, using the premise to make still-quoted commentaries about modern politics and world situations, including the nuclear arms race, nuclear weapons in general, and the politics of the United States.

    The film had Peter Sellers in it. Trailer –

    The tiny (three miles by five miles) European Duchy of Grand Fenwick, supposedly located in the Alps between Switzerland and France, proudly retains a pre-industrial economy, dependent almost entirely on making Pinot Grand Fenwick wine. However, an American winery makes a knockoff version, “Pinot Grand Enwick”, putting the country on the verge of bankruptcy.

    The prime minister decides that their only course of action is to declare war on the United States. Expecting a quick and total defeat (since their standing army is tiny and equipped with bows and arrows), the country confidently expects to rebuild itself through the largesse that the United States bestows on all its vanquished enemies (as it did for Germany through the Marshall Plan at the end of World War II).

  10. lloyd 10

    Ok so the UK manages to snatch Gibraltar back from a Spanish invasion by landing an Air/sea invasion force. What then?
    Where would negotiations over Brexit fall then? Wouldn’t the EU have to side with Spain? What would happen to NATO? Wouldn’t Putin be giggling all day in the Kremlin?
    Seems to me the idea of fighting Spain over Gibraltar would be the Brits shooting themselves in the other foot. They already shot one with the Brexit cock-up.

    • Skeptic 10.1

      Yeah, the same way Andropov giggled at the Falklands Conflict – it shook the shit out of him (now we know from released KGB file) that the UK had the balls to go to the other end of the Atlantic to defend a few hundred islanders because they wanted to stay British. Remember this was at the height of the Cold War adn Andropov was the last of the hard-liners. I think Lloyd, you need to re-read your recent history mate, and if you don’t get the lesson, look up wikipedia for the 171 conflicts the Brits have been involved with to do with looking after their own. There’s an old adage that goes “never under-estimate perfidious Albion” – you get bitten severely on the arse.

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