On NATO Burden Sharing to an old Estonian Friend

He suggested that it was understandable that Americans such as Trump were critical of the defence spending of nearly all European Allies. I agree, but also underlined both that the situation had a background in recent history of the Alliance and that a rise it defence spending east of the Atlantic because of that history would not necessarily help in the real requirement, namely of creating capable militaries out of the present inert, over-staffed Potemkin Villages:

From the start of NATO during the Korean War, the U.S. paid the most. The Continental European partners did something else: they committed their full manpower as conscripts and prepared their economies for defence support within the framework of “total defence”. They also took the risk of making their countries available as the main East-West battlefield and thus faced the total destruction.

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The U.S. also paid more because as now it was a global power that also had the Pacific theatre to worry about.

In NATO the U.S. was “paid” by having the near total power to decide what happened, and it earned money on producing nearly all hardware of the Allies.

When the Cold War ended, the U.S. (and UK) used that dominating influence to declare that history had ended and the maintenance of conscription was both anachronistic and waste of money. T Keeping conscription was incompatible with membership of the Alliance. Total defence preparations were therefore unnecessary and improper in the globalised liberal economies of the future.

Of the new Central and Eastern European NATO Member States only Estonia kept conscription. The background was the Finnish example that influenced the main architect of the defence forces, former Soviet tank Polkovnik, later Estonian General, Ants Laaneots. This strong character professional convinced his friend Andrus Ansip and the rest of Reformerakond, the Liberal Party, that he was right, because history might not have ended after all.

Most European Allies were happy to comply, advised by shallow-thinking civil servants convinced that history was irrelevant in this Post-Modern Era. The Ministries of Finance applauded. Now the important part of Alliance solidarity was a willingness and to send your soldiers into harm’s way on American Campaigns.

This both your and my country did, and in Afghanistan both Estonia and Denmark had a higher percentage of their contingents killed than the rest, because we served in the Helmand Province where the U.S. avoided striking the Taliban bases in the Quetta area not to offend Pakistan.

We both showed the required solidarity in campaigns devoid of sound and realistic U.S. strategies for success. The result of the loss of conscription and the adoption of U.S.-type grotesquely over-officered peace time staffs meant the loss of balance between number of cadre and number of units with practical service experience opportunities, the loss of combined-arm balance as well as capable logistic units and the disappearance of reserve structures. All European members concentrated on learning and applying the latest NATO (ex-U.S.) buzzwords in the running of their forces. They forgot that in military organisations what counts is the output in capable and sustainable war structure forces, not the defence budget percent of GDP.

If you have unsound structures such as the Continental NATO members now, a budget increase does not necessarily lead to more military effect.

Now we realised and are told that history did not end, that Article 5 is relevant after all, and that the U.S. expect us to have the initial defence forces that the U.S. and Brits told us to abolish in the 1990s. Suddenly solidarity is no longer a matter of symbolic presence in American campaigns, it is about a budget contributions. This Burden-Sharing balancing that amateurs in and without uniforms ask for will not give defence or deterrence without a fundamental re-booting of structures developed since the end of the former Cold War.

History Repeated to Threaten Our Future …. Again

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Franco and Hitler, formerly the preferred Allies of populist nationalists in both Europe and America (such as Charles Lindberg) against the perceived main threat. As with Putin now, they could underline that Franco acted in support of the Church and Christian values.

During the Interwar Period, Western liberal democracies were threatened by totalitarian/authoritarian forces from both left and right, but very few were willing confront the double challenge (with the core parts of the Nordic and German Social-Democratic Parties as the notable exceptions).

One example: During the mid-1930s the Danish Social-Democratic led Government asked the State Security Police to report on the threats to the Denmark from both the totalitarian Right (Nazi Germany) and from the International Communist Movement and the Danish Communist Party. The report underlined the different character of the two threats, but saw both as extremely serious.

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The Social-Democratic Party parliamentary election poster from 1935, the year of the State Security Police two parallel threats report, showing the Prime Minister, Thorvald Stauning. The text reads “Stauning or Chaos. Vote for the Social-Democratic Party”.

Large parts of the Centre-Right forces allied themselves with the totalitarian Right. Communists, and democratic Socialists were grouped together as enemies. In the same way Centre-Left forces allied themselves with the Communists and Popular Front movements against both democratic Conservative and Fascist Forces.

Now we see the same destructive hunt for dangerous simplicity. In their hatred and fear of the destruction of their way of life by Muslims and other Migrants, Centre-Right political forces (both fundamentalist economic Liberals and Conservatives) want to ally themselves with Putin’s Russia, incapable of realising that she is as hostile to their safe future as the Islamists. Actually the Russian view of individual liberty is a mirror of that of the Islamic forces. The urge for simplicity that formerly meant that Communist and democratic Socialists (and Jews) were grouped together means that all Muslims and other migrants and other foreigners are seen and treated as enemies, thereby threatening to make this an unmanageable reality.

Unfortunately the populist Danish People’s Party spokesmen and supporters have now joined Front National, UKIP and the White Power part of Trump’s supporters.

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A later use of the same motive from a “Dansk Folkeparti” election poster, the populist Centre-Right Party that now have joined their fellows in “understanding” and support for Putin.

On other side we see the Left being incapable of seeing and treating Radical Immigrants as a problem and challenge to their future. Thereby they mirror the self-destructive naïvity of the former Popular Fronts.

The only positive sign is that some Social Democrats seem to realise once more that two evils have to be confronted at the same time. However, the Social Democratic movements are far less powerful than 80-90 years back, and the media’s Facebook-reinforced hunt for Red/Left-Blue/Right simplicity undermine the move towards what is now desperately needed.

With the Leukemia of Lies in the Blood

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We are being exposed to classical campaign of misinformation and deliberate lies meant to undermine both national political effectiveness by radicalisation and the ability to cooperate in Europe and with the Americans. Classical in the sense that it mirrors what the Bolsheviks did in the 1920s, the Nazists did in the 1930s, the North Vietnamese did from the later 1960s and what Islamists have done to our Muslim minorities the last quarter century.

Accelerating with Russia’s Crimea coup invasion and her creation of a Ukrainian bleeding ulcer in the Donbass, the West and especially Europe became exposed to a both massive and flexible campaign that uses both the traditional media and the opportunities created by the internet and social media.

The campaign is both supplemented and supported by direct political and when possible economic support to radical nationalists and brother semi-Fascists such France’s Marine le Pen, Hungary’s Viktor Orbán and Greece’s “Golden Dawn“, opportunistic power-seekers as Donald Trump, normal separatists such as the Scottish National Party and anti-American old-leftists as Britain’s Jeremy Corbyn.

The point here is to argue why the campaign is so effective.

The first reason that the Post-Modern part of our academic elite that grew out of the radical left-wing intellectual movement of the 1970s rejected and successfully abolished the national and common Western narratives of The Second World War and the Cold War. The narratives had nourished the development of the EU and kept the Western Alliance together during the extreme stress of the early 1980s. What followed was a loss of a common moral history and an open-minded emphasis that all views and narratives had equal and legitimate value. There were no real fact, positions were academic constructions. There no longer existed a common framework of reference. Putin and Lavrov were probably as right as everybody else, and it is legitimate to agree with them without any seeking an irrelevant and elusive “truth“.

The second reason is derived from the first. History is no longer a warning of what might happen if we act stupidly. Global Warning is seen as certain if we do not act now, but progress and common sense is considered to mean that we have learnt that international war between will never happen again, at least not in Europe. Not only will war not happen, but our leaders agree the only problems we may meet are those of recent years: a temporary collapse of economic growth due to unrestricted greed, some terror that is not likely to hit you personally and masses of migrants. With the loss of history comes the loss of ability and will see and address awkward painful “hypothetical” developments such as the likelihood that the egoistic departure from cooperation in the EU would lead to the erosion of the the obvious benefits all have enjoyed.

As all will be OK no matter how stupidly and uninformed we act, there is no real reason not to keep our open-minded and liberal attitude to lies and misinformation. Aren’t lies and misinformation just words?

Even if the EU erodes, benefits must remain. Surely?

Even if Great Britain exits with Putin’s support, Scotland will remain to enjoy the more free rule from London. Right?

Even if Scotland leaves with Russian encouragement, Rump Britain will somehow remain as a military power, at least until Old Labour takes over with Russian blessing. Certainly?

By a miracle NATO must survive and Russia be prevented from exploiting the regression into the situation of the late 19th Century?

And there can be no regression into something as anachronistic as international war. Definitely?

My only problem is that logics and sense of history makes me unable to see how. So maybe its a good idea to return to a less relativistic concept of truth.

ostrich

Sorry that I have to worry you even more

Our main problem in Europe is now that some key member states of the alliance are already moving towards political profiles that match what Putin would like to see: de-democratized, countries ruled by ever more corrupt self-interested leaders that would hate “colour-revolutions” as much as he, leaders that rule by opportunistic manipulation of own populations, using regressive nationalistic propaganda.

This is quickly undermining the unity of purpose the drove the NATO and EU expansion of 2004.

Erdogan’s Turkey is quickly becoming an autocratic clone of Russia. The country’s foreign policy under him in relation to Russia is as unstable as it was in relation to the Middle East, where it has now suddenly returned to the traditional alliance with Israel after years of opportunistic confrontation. This development may be considered positive, but the shifts took place within a framework of autocratic-kleptocratic manoeuvring to stay in power like that of Milosovic.

Hungary, Poland and Slovakia are all on the way to follow the tracks of the 1930s away from democracy towards nationalistic “guided” democracies. Fortunately the Balts have not been infected so far.

Both France and Britain are on unpredictable trajections towards selfish isolationism intoxicated by delusions of former grandeur, and Germany is quickly losing the political stability and sense of purpose that has lasted six decades.

After Sander’s last victory we have a very clear impression of the fundamental character of the political crisis in the U.S. Even when Hillary Clinton wins the nomination, she will be tainted by having to move left in an opportunistic attempt attract Sander’s supporters as well as both left and right to address the challenge from Trump. We still lack good analyses of how the basically unfocused, anarchistic popular reaction against the political and economic elite will affect the post-elections’ Congress.

The military intellectual and physical weakness outlined in the previous blog article is mirroring a loss of purpose of the Western world. We are fast self-destructing before Putin’s (and Erdogan’s) eyes.

The West is experiencing a combination of the spring 1914 optimism that a great war would naturally be avoided and the fast collapse of popular and elite belief in modernity and international co-operation we saw in the mid-1930s.
The main problem avoiding an even worse rerun of what happened then is that both politicians and their civilian and uniformed advisors seem to have lost the ability and will to foresee the more likely outcomes of trends and decisions.

That ability used to be the core of strategic decision-making and crisis management preparations. Now all react to events as if they were natural disasters that could not be foreseen or averted. The military have lost the ability to make campaign planning that is not a one-sided procedure driven, linear logic activity, and the civilian advisors are theoretical political scientists, corporate lawyers or economists.

Those few who do react miss the disturbing over-all picture and focus on details such as countering trolls and developing fancy new technologies that may become an answer in a decade if the opposition does not act or react in the meantime.

So we are a-historical sleep-walkers, who have lost the ability to plan and act on the strategic level.

The Path to West-European Military Auto-Emasculation … and now what?

During the last months I participated in an international brain-storming network that was developed to find politically realistic ways of deterring the developing Russian threat to the Baltic States. The other active participants were mainly other Scandinavians and Americans.

After some months of otherwise highly constructive correspondence, I started to wonder why I did not provoke any reactions when I argued that the problem was not only a matter of very low West European defence budgets and new challenges as a result of Russian improved military technology and the aggressive body language of a psychologically unstable chained dog.

Why was it that I only met silence when I noted that far too many West European militaries needed not only “rebooting”, but a new operating system installation as much as a computer used constantly for a decade with an old version of Microsoft Windows?

I have realised that the unhappy situation is due to:
1) the grossly over-officered forces where only a very small fraction could get practical experience in units,
2) the unchallenged adaptation of New Public Management fads,
3) the military unionism that brought and consolidated privileges that undermined the professional ethos and behaviour,
4) the lack of realistic, unscripted exercise activities,
5) the loss of critical professional discourse, and finally
6) the de-professionalization of advanced officer education.

What happened in several places, and especially in Denmark and Sweden, was that civilian academics, and in Denmark especially theoretical political scientist (not of the British War Studies, Military History school) and New Public Managers won the high ground and key advisory positions by an unchallenged, deeply arrogant rejection of the relevance of “unscientific” military professionalism.

The supplementary contributions of civilian expertise can be sound and necessary. Since the 1950s civilian academics gained a key role in the Western political and strategic discourse about nuclear deterrence and the potential use of the weapons. This had been essential, because it added sophistication and risk awareness to the views of the USAF Strategic Command and some U.S. Army nuclear warriors.

However, with the end of the Cold War, the dams of balanced common sense broke; history was implicitly assumed to have ended in the sense that no great inter-state wars would ever happen again, at least and especially not in Europe. The core of military professionalism had previously been all the preparations necessary for intensive warfare, at least initially dominated by conventional weapons. The naval forces had to face a difficult contest in a sea-air environment before a workable level of sea control was established. The air forces would remain involved in a continuous struggle for air superiority.

The land forces prepared to become involved in a combination of attrition and manoeuvre, combine arms and air-land combat to gain or defend key geographical areas.

To prepare professionally required constant terrain reconnaissance and analysis of force requirements as technology, the political framework, own forces and the potential enemy forces developed. The operational defence planning was matched by force development, cadre education and realistic exercises from lowest to highest level. To be able to do so was at the centre of military professionalism, and few civilian defence academics felt qualified to challenge more than minor elements or assumptions of that combination of professional competencies.

All that changed in Europe with the end of the Cold War. When all future wars for the Europeans would be wars of choice, the traditional military profession would be irrelevant. Forces could be reduced to “tools” tailored for a specific mission and adjusted when initially ineffective. No comprehensive professional ability to identify military requirements, advice and develop the forces was necessary or encouraged. The professional world based on 250 years of discourse and practice from the Enlightenment via Clausewitz and Corbett to Michael Howard and John Warden had become irrelevant. The military lost their paradigm, and as a hermit crab losing its snails house, they were vulnerable to both predators and their own insecurity.

As invasive species the predators came immediately in the form of the carriers New Public Manager fads, theoretical political scientists and the heralds of waves of pseudo-strategic buzz-words. The suits and skirts than moved in to direct and be uncritically copied by the uniforms did not aspire to plan, command and take responsibility; they only sought power based on an unsupported feeling of superiority in the post-military-paradigm era of “New Wars”.

They did not consider giving practical advice, beyond not sending tanks to peace keeping missions because they would escalate violence, dropping conscription because it was obsolete, developing or accepting ideas like “smart defence” that was built on the unsupportable assumption of NATO being a supranational organisation.

They could see theoretical problems, but remained unsuited to man Colin Gray’s “Strategy Bridge”. All knew theories, some gained relevant technological insight but outside a team that included relevant military expertise, they remained nice window dressing repeating their impressively sounding theories making finance ministers and uniformed copycats happy.
If the military professionals had had some backbone, very little harm had been done, but unsure of themselves most aped the superficial theories and buzz-words of the shallow challengers, quickly losing their professionalism in the process to gain empty prestige from irrelevant and unusable academic credits in management and strategic spidery-wordery.
Now nobody is around outside the U.S., Poland and maybe Britain and France that can identify and test a military requirement for a real war problem like the one we are now facing in the Baltics.

Advanced officer education was first considered irrelevant for the new era in Sweden and now in Denmark.

However, after the unwanted therefore warning of 2008, the happy era of the irrelevance of military professionalism ended in 2014. Now it is time to crash-train and educate some of the relative youngsters that fought for us without a strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan to replace the useless empty uniforms that in best cases can give mere technical-tactical advice only, dressed-up in the lingo-feathers that the Emperor with little clothes wore.

It is time that we all start to worry about how to return to a cadre-rank “pyramid” and retirement age, that mirrors that the military profession is a practical one, where even directly professionally relevant theoretical education actually is less relevant than proven leadership experience and ability in units with tough realistic training.

It is time that we all start to study and remember what it takes from basic training to general war gaming to create effective military forces. You will find little in political science theory, but much in the analytic military history works of persons such as Michael Howard, Martin van Creveld supplemented by Jörg Muth, early Ed Luttwak, Arden Bucholz and even S.L.A. Marshall.

It is time to address the balance between regular and reserve elements, especially from conscription and part time volunteers, to develop the necessary quantity.

It is time to address what working hour rules and privileges that are compatible with an effective military.

It is time to force the uniformed state employees to become military professionals again.

Artikel XXI: Om de ødelæggende virkninger af manglende forsvarsopgaver

Som læsere af denne blog vil have bemærket, har jeg gennem de seneste år søgt at identificere kilderne til (og virkningerne af) det forfald af Forsvarets professionelle fokus, som blev så klart på grund af de ti års fravær fra Danmark fra 1994 til 2004.

I de seneste dage er det blevet klart, at det næppe kunne være anderledes, for de seneste godt 20 år er det blevet en underforstået forudsætning, at det kun ville være i, hvad man kan benævne “valgkrige”, at danske styrker igen vil kunne komme i kamp. Krige lang væk fra Danmark, hvor de tre værn leverede solidaritetsbidrag til vores venners og allieredes interventionsprojekter, hvor de allierede hvor relevant sørgede for sø- og luftherredømme og besluttede, hvornår den altid halvhjertede intervention skulle afsluttes.

Disse tyve år var den første periode i dansk og europæisk militærhistorie, hvor man ikke gennemførte planlægning og andre forberedelser til at kunne forsvare eget land eller allierede mod invasion og andre fjendtlige militære handlinger. Man skulle opretholde militær professionalisme uden den krigsforberedelsesramme, der indtil det tidspunkt aldrig kunne ignoreres.

Indtil det tidspunkt havde hærofficerer en konkret krigsforsvarsopgave, der skulle løses bedst muligt med de altid for få styrker. For danske hærofficerer var det under Den Kolde Krig forsvaret af øerne og specielt Sjælland mod sø- og luftlandsætninger og forsvaret sammen med allierede af den Jyske Halvøs fod ved Den Indre Tyske Grænse til DDR. Både linje- og reserveofficerer arbejdede under en krigsplanlægning, der også omfattede rekognoscering i forsvarsterrænet, kadreinstruktionsøvelser og stabsøvelser med at forberede løsningen af disse opgaver.

Linjeofficerer, der arbejdede i rene fredstidsforvaltningsstillinger, blev inddraget i disse aktiviteter som forberedelse til deres krigsdesigneringsfunktion.

Under disse varierende krigsforberedelser vedligeholdtes en fælles forståelse for, hvorledes de vanskelige kampopgaver kunne løses bedst muligt i det aktuelle terræn med støtte af artilleri, luftværn, ingeniørenheder m.m. Man måtte have planer og forberedelser for løsningen af logistiske og totalforsvarsproblemer i området, herunder for samarbejdet med allierede enheder og de lokale civile myndigheder.

I dag er der ingen hærofficerer tilbage i Forsvarets ledelse, der er blevet professionelt udviklet i denne ramme. Professionelle udfordringer har været knyttet til forberedelse til fulgt af tjeneste i konkrete, begrænsede interventionsmissioner, hvor man altid forudsatte asymmetriske fordele til egen side. I de seneste godt ti år har målet officielt været begrænset til blot at forberede enheder som bidragsværktøj, hvor det ikke var en dansk opgave at tænke over realisme og muligheder over det tekniske og måske laveste taktiske niveau.

Det kan desværre ses på tjenstgørende generalers argumenter, at de ser effektivitet som frigjort fra løsning af konkrete militære opgaver i et konkret terræn i en krig. Der findes ikke længere en krævende ramme, der kan udvikle forståelse for, hvad hærstyrker kan og ikke kan indsat i forsvar af et landområde. Det betyder også, at de har tabt evnen til at rådgive de ansvarlige politikere med hensyn til dimensionering af danske hærstyrker til en konkret opgave.

For flyvevåben- og søofficerer betyder perioden, at man kun har bevaret evnen til at udnytte flyenheder og maritime enheder til at løse forskellige opgaver under fuldt luft- og søherredømme. Både materiel og procedurer forudsætter, at man ikke skal bidrage til en krævende og risikabel kamp for at tilkæmpe sig handlefrihed. Men på grund af disse værns karakter vurderes det mindre tidskrævende her igen at forberede dem til krævende krigsopgaver.

Det er ikke som for hærens vedkommende en hel professionel ramme og kultur, der skal genopbygges fra bunden.

Om Departementschefsstyret, som opdateret efter to år

For godt 72 år siden valgte politikerne at bryde med den politik, som den tyske besættelsesmagt krævede. Så overtog den dengang lille danske centraladministrative elite forvaltningen af landet og fortsatte inden for de nu snævrere rammer med at varetage den danske befolknings interesser. Departementscheferne skabte en så sikker og stabil bro som mulig til den normale situation, hvor de demokratisk valgte og derfor legitime ledere kunne overtage styret af landet. Den tids ledende embedsmænd var typisk gammeldags jurister og pragmatisk elitære med en karriere inden for deres forvaltningsressortområde. De handlede i landets interesse, ikke i deres egen.

Da tyskerne rejse hjem, kom politikerne tilbage. Det samspil mellem politikerne og embedsmændene, der havde eksisteret siden I.C. Christensens overtagelse af regeringsmagten i 1905, kunne genoptages.

Den typiske ledende politiker fra Venstre og specielt Socialdemokratiet havde dengang en ikke-akademisk baggrund. Det var mennesker med moden livserfaring. Det skabte mulighed for en reel dialog, der udfordrede begge sider. Under dette samspil mellem de ansvarlige, der skulle genvælges, og deres ressorteksperter inden for Centraladministrationen og styrelserne fortsatte den vanskelige økonomiske opbygning og demokratisering af landet. Opbygningen af det moderne Danmark havde taget fart i begyndelsen af 1930’erne og efter de fem års afbrydelse nåede den sit mål i 1960’erne.

Under besættelsen var departementchefsstyret midlertidigt. Det er desværre ikke tilfældet for det nuværende urørlige og permanente departementschefsregime. Det er effektivt forankret og fastgroet med funktionelle tentakler ind i alle dele af landet og alle ressortområder, men med sit ideologiske og magtmæssige center i Finansministeriet. Vi har nu et massivt, lands- og alle områder samt forvaltningsniveauer dækkende netværk af enige forvaltermeningsfæller, der deler uddannelse, menneskesyn og idealer. Dette fælles grundlag gør dem uden af stand til systemkritisk optræden. De er reelt utænkende, fordi de efter egen opfattelse blot raffinerer det ideal, som er beskrevet i blogartiklen om affagliggørelsen af den danske offentlige sektor.

Departementscheferne er den kollektive ledelse af den massive vækst i forvalterdelen af den offentlige sektor, der er sket siden af 1980′erne under overskrifterne “modernisering” og “reformer”.

Ved blot at tale om den offentlige sektor og offentlige ansatte tilslører man, at der er en væsensforskel mellem dem, der yder borgerne en eller anden type af professionelle tjenester og service, og dem, der forvalter denne første del.

Vi glemmer endvidere, at det er kvaliteten i ydelsen, der er det væsentlige for borgerne, hvorfor den aktive del af de offentlige ansatte inden for de afsatte resurser skal frigøres mest muligt for forvaltningsbyrder.

Vi glemmer også, at det kun er de brugende borgere støttet andre professionelle inden for det specialiserede serviceområde, der kan kontrollere kvaliteten af indsatsen. Det kan forvaltningskonsulentfirmaer ikke. De er blot eksterne repræsentanter for forvaltningsideologien.

Den kollektive forvaltningsledelse har fra sit center i Finansministeriet åbenbart med succes gjort det helt utænkeligt at stille spørgsmålet om, hvad der egentligt var så galt med universiteter og gymnasier, sundheds- og socialvæsen, forsvar, politi og retsvæsen, før managementversionen af Orwells “1984″ ramte dem som tsunamibølger. Var de forfærdeligt ineffektive, inden standardiserings- og centraliseringssvulsten blev ondartet for vel 25 år siden?

Eller var deres effektivitet blot ved at sande til under påvirkning af den almindelige danske tro på, at vi havde ret til mere løn for mindre arbejde, fordi det havde vi? Denne tro var forankret i det offentlige arbejdsmarkeds aftalemodel, hvor skatteborgerne hver gang gav mere. Det skete uden modkrav styret af en forståelse af, hvad opretholdelse eller forbedring af kvaliteten af ”service”-ydelsen inden for netop dette område indebar.

Det skete uden reaktion fra den offentlige sektors ledere, nok også fordi forbedringer jo ikke mindst kom topembedsmændene til gode, fordi de sad på begge sider af forhandlingsbordet. Nogle husker fejlagtigt episoden i ”Yes, Prime Minister” som en parodi. Resultatet blev et overenskomst og lønsystem, der var ekstremt vanskeligt og resursekrævende at forvalte. Derfor medførte overenskomsterne en undergravning af effektiviteten, der legitimerede behovet for de centraliseringer af offentlige ikke-forvaltningsfunktioner, der blev benævnt ”reformer”.

Som nævnt kom forvaltningslederne til at danne et altomfattende netværk, der i grundlæggende struktur og åndløst bureaukratiske samfundssyn minder mere om Sovjetsamfundets nomenklatura i Unionens sidste 25 år end noget andet. Det var den periode, der blev benævnt ”Stagnationsperioden”, og som blev kendetegnet af en stadig mere total desillusionering af den almindelige befolkning og dybere korrumpering af de regellammede og uengagerede ”service”-elementer. Situationen dér og dengang minder også om vores, fordi der – igen – ikke er forskel på ”embedsmændenes” og ”politikernes” baggrund samt samfundssyn og rolleopfattelse. Der eksisterer ikke længere en Jens Christian Christensen, Thorvald Stauning, Hans Hedtoft eller H.C. Hansen med et engagement og en erfaring fra liv og arbejde, som selv den bedst teoretisk funderede universitetsuddannede planlægger og forvalter, som dengang Erik Ib Smidt, må respektere og bøje af over for.

Som embedsmanden er den typiske ledende politiker nu cand. polit. eller cand. scient.pol., ung og selv- og usikker samt uden livs- eller arbejdserfaring. Hvis politikeren faktisk afsluttende sin uddannelse, er den blot med lavere resultat end den rutinerede ledende embedsmands.

Politikerens situation her er svagere end i alle de lande, vi normalt sammenligner Danmark med. Dette fordi det er lykkedes de velargumenterende desværre primært selvtjenende ledende embedsmænd her at blokere for ansættelsen af politisk rekrutterede statssekretærer, dvs. viceministre, der ville kunne styrke ministerens position i forhold til embedsværkets ledere og gennem konfliktfyldt dialog anfægte departementschefernes oligarkiske magt.

Forfatteren har selv kun de bedste erfaringer med samarbejdet med norske, svenske og tyske statssekretærer. De fordele med hensyn til kontinuitet og ressortkendskab, som blev resultatet, når statssekretæren kunne afløse ministeren ved en rokade, har været indlysende. De fordele er imidlertid ikke en fordel for embedsmænd, der ikke ønsker for vidende og selvstændige ministre, der kan tage og fastholde ansvaret for deres område. Det var den ekstremt dygtige departmentschef, Michael Christiansens, der i 1989 blot konstaterede, at jeg ville blive den første hærofficer på Grønland, hvis jeg ikke holdt en så landsskadelig idé for mig selv.

Det er næppe generelt med ond hensigt, det vi nu er endt i denne blindgyde. Som i Sovjetnomenklaturaen er man nemlig totalt enige om et fælles magtideologisk grundlag. Det styrende paradigme er igennem de seneste to årtier blevet den apolitiske ”virksomhedsmodel” for statslig aktivitet. Man har omdefineret alle vanskelige politiske valg til afagligt management, til juridisk skolastik, eller til substansfrie ”sager”, benævnt ”business cases”.

Den bevidst usaglige forvaltningsgeneralist har anbragt sig som tolk og filter mellem den politiske ansvarlige og den komplekse virkelighed. I dialogen mellem den pågældende ”serviceydelses” fag- og sagkundskab og politikeren er det kun de standardiserede altid resursemæssigt målbare elementer, der slipper igennem. De økonomiske virkninger og – som speciel støtte til den uerfarne minister – indenrigspolitiske konsekvenser af forskellige muligheder præsenteres som beslutningsgrundlag, fordi generalisten ikke har noget grundlag for at præsentere de servicekvalitetsmæssige virkninger af ”reformen”.

Med dette falske virksomhedsparadigme for offentlig indsats har embedsværket tilnærmet det offentlige til en helt teoretisk model for, hvordan en privat erhvervsvirksomhed fungerer – ignorerende, at virksomheden derude skal overleve på markedsvilkår ved at sælge og stadig udvikle konkurrencedygtige produkter skabt af specialister. I den offentlige model kan man heldigvis ignorere specialisterne. Som i de halvoffentlige foretagender SAS og DONG kan man lege, at man kan lede og udvikle uden sagkundskab, dér om luftfart henholdsvis energi.

Et eksempel på virkningerne er den nu endeligt diskuterede kvalitet af gymnasie- og universitetsuddannelserne. Her næredes modellen med sin satsning på generel managementledelse også af en kombination af socialistisk baseret tro på at alle har lige evner og af den liberales tro på, at en produktionstørrelse, som selv generalisten kan måle, skulle drive udviklingen. Det skabte en malstrøm af faktorer, der sikrede et frit kvalitetsfald.

Frigjort fra markedets risici slipper man smertefrit århundreders udvikling af samfundets professioner og specialiserede funktioner. Alt kan uden risiko reduceres til, hvad den selvsikre hel- eller halvstuderede økonomi- eller statskundskabskandidat kan forstå. Man centraliserer, standardiserer og tvinger professionerne til først at ignorere og derefter glemme deres erfaringer. Det gik og går glimrende, for det ambitiøse medlem af en af professionerne, være hun eller han universitetsansat forsker, officer, gymnasielærer, læge eller sygeplejerske, er altid klar til at lære tom ”new speak”, hvis det er vejen til kors, bånd, stjerner, højere løn og nye privilegier. Dette ikke mindst, hvis det er vejen til positioner fjernt fra den stadig mere ubehagelige virkelighed.

Erhvervslivets ledere uden for den offentlige er tilfredse, for de tror at markedsfornuft implementeres, men bliver snydt af det fælles managementsprog: liberalistisk new-speak som ”professionel ledelse” (lig med ”asaglig” ledelse uden hensyn til saglig professionalisme), ”service” (for dårligere betjening), ”HR” (for mekanistisk forvaltning af medarbejdere).

Det er jo smigrende, når disse offentlige ansatte – grundlæggende set som snyltere af de private virksomhedsledere – kopierer de Kejserens Nye Klæder, som den professionelle virksomhedsleder godt ved ikke er det, der skaber succes. Selv efter at have været på sidste attraktive lederkursus ved de jo godt, at det er noget så trist som ajourført professionel dygtighed, rettidig omhu, smitsomt engagement, reelt dybt kendskab til og sympati for de ansatte, villighed til at delegere til de bedste samt personlig risikovillighed. Men det kan ikke så let sælges til de offentlige ledere.

Som andre oligarkier beriger de sig derefter selv. Her gennem meget store bonushonorarer, givet oven i lønnen for efterlevelse af ansættelseskontrakten, der altid fokuserer på kvantitativ målopfyldelse, fordi man ikke har nogen forudsætninger for at være ansvarlig for noget så irrelevant som professionel kvalitet.

Management-ideologien, den nye liberalistiske marxisme, sikrer et aktivt aprofessionelt magtlag, der effektivt har brudt den direkte og krævende dialog mellem politikeren om hvad han/hun ønsker (ud over personlig magt og sikker karriere) og den fagligt professionelle (forsker-underviser, diplomat, officer, ingeniør), der kan mere end økonomisme og anden nomenklatura-teori fra det aldrig videnskabeligt prøvede eller begrundede ”New Public Management” sniksnak.

Man ignorerer helt, at indsigt og udvikling bedst sikres gennem tvunget og konfliktfyldt kritisk dialog og samspil mellem erfarne folk med væsensforskellig baggrund. Med den grundlæggende ens baggrund i magtlagene opnår man en stadigt selvforstærkende ”group-think”, hvor mulig grundfalsk enighed aldrig vil blive anfægtet, før det er for sent.

Styrelserne, der står for ydelsen af den faglige indsats for befolkningen – så som politi, retsvæsen, sundhedssektor, universiteter, gymnasier, forsvar – afprofessionaliseres i den pseudo- erhversmæssige produktionsmodel, indtil de ikke kan eller ved mere end de ”professionelle ledere”, dvs. ikke kan forudse professionelt, effektivt udføre og udvikle deres fag eller sikkert implementere beslutninger. Så får man ”IC4”-resultater.

Medens det ledende embedsværk nyder magten og dens økonomiske frugter, henvises politikerne til at beskæftige sig med at fodre og underholde medierne som talsmænd og sælgere af magtens produkter. Forstærkning af politikerne med spindoktorer sikrer, at de koncentrerer sig om at sælge og forsvare snarere end at søge at lede landet. Den politiske tomhed har fjernet forskellen mellem rød, blå og grøn, der er et miskmask.

Der opstår nu alvorlige problemer for borgerne, hvilket er en naturlig følge af den demoralisering og afprofessionalisering, som det falske paradigme medfører. Så skal ministeren, selvfølgelig ministeren, tage ansvaret over for medierne, så disse glemmer at tænke og forstå, at der findes en formelt direkte ansvarlig. Der findes en leder af bostedet, kontorchef i kommunen, eller rektor for uddannelsesstedet, der burde være professionel nok til at forudse og engageret nok til at hindre problemerne.

Men det er mere spændende for de journalister, der endnu ikke er blevet spindoktorer, at gå efter ministeren, som reelt ingen indflydelse og magt har, end at undersøge, om den pågældende direkte ansvarlige har den nødvendige delegerede myndighed, de resurser, klare og entydige forvaltningsrammer og den faglige baggrund, der gør, at han eller hun kan være ansvarlig for sit område. Dvs. alt det, som er blevet anfægtet af de seneste tyve års centraladministrative teori og udvikling.

Når problemerne pga. den grundfalske ”virksomhedsmodel” for den offentlige sektor så stadig øges, er det logisk, at departementscheferne – som det lige er sket – får politikerne til at lovgive, så mediernes mulighed for indsigt begrænses.

Mens ingen virkelig erhvervsvirksomhed i længden kan regne med ustraffet får lov til at spinne, lyve og hindre indsigt, tror den offentlige sektors ”erhvervsledere” at bedrag er det normale samspil i erhvervslivet, og hindrer så vidt muligt indsigt i magtforhold og beslutningsforløb. Den offentlige sektors ledere mener, at den ifølge virksomhedsmodellen har ret til en beskyttelse mod ejernes – borgernes – kritiske indsigt i interne sager, der vil være mere vidtgående end hvad det private erhvervsliv kan regne med.

Danske Bank kunne mismanage i midt-0′erne, men den blev derefter ramt af virkeligheden og reddet af skatteborgerne ved en særlig indsats. Departmentscheferne har lettere ved at få finansieret deres regime.

Når det går galt, er det for departementschefernes oligarki klart, at det altid er ministeren eller styrelseschefen, der må bære ansvaret og forsvinde.

Dette blev smukt illustreret, da Forsvarsministeriets departementschef ikke viderebragte Forsvarsstabschefens anbefaling om, at Søren Gade ikke skulle anvende nyheden om ”Jægerbogens” oversættelse til arabisk. Først måtte styrelseschefen, Forsvarschefen, gå. Senere måtte ministeren trække sig. Departmentschefen fortsatte, ganske vist svækket, men ved at love departementchefsstyrets præsteskab i Finansministeriet at reducere forsvarsbudgettet og svække Forsvarsledelsen og de militære faglige synspunkters fremtidige indflydelse afgørende gennem en dygtig misinformationskampagne, overlevede han i sin stilling, og kunne gøre sin sejr og sig selv attraktiv for den ambitiøse kommende minister. Nu er enhver mulighed for politisk og faglig ansvarlig ledelse af Forsvaret blevet totalt undergravet ved reorganisering, der indledte den nuværende forligsperiode.

De problemer, der opstår, når departementschefens rolle og selvforståelse ikke længere er embedsmandens med en gennem årene veludviklet ressortforståelse, ses konstant i Skatteministeriet.

Uden solid ressortforankring bliver departementschefen henvist til, ud over loyalt over for finansministeriet at skære i den sagkyndige del af ressortområdet, –yderst tilfreds – at lege med magten, herunder at støtte ministeren og regeringen i at bevare magten. Efter de senere års begivenheder står hovedproblemet lysende klart: Når embedsmanden spiller magtspil, optræder han som politiker, men uden den legitimitet, risiko og ansvarlighed over for vælgerne, som politikeren må acceptere i et demokrati.

Efter drabet på den samlende fortælling

Som født i 1944 i provinsborgerskabet er jeg med min generation et produkt af det gamle gymnasium. Der indeholdt uddannelsen en sammenhængende og positiv (positivistisk) historiefortælling (normalt den radikale samfundsopdrager P. Munchs lærebøger). Denne fortælling var en selvfølgelig del i gymnasiets almene dannelse, der blev forstærket af de andre kulturunderstøttende elementer som litteraturhistorie, oldtidskundskab og den grundlæggende undervisning i engelsk, tysk og fransk, der var fælles for de tre da eksisterende gymnasielinjer: de matematisk-fysiske, nysproglige og gammelsproglige uddannelser.

Fra ca. 1970 blev både den alment dannende uddannelse og fortællingen anfægtet af tidsåndens alternative marxistisk-leninistiske revisionistiske fortælling. Det eksisterede vestlige samfund afvistes med selvfølgelig foragt som alt andet end ideelt og derfor heldigvis fortid.

Denne afstandtagen fra det eksisterende medførte også, at der derefter ikke eksisterede nogen accepteret ramme for loyalitet og integration af de tusinder af migranter, der herefter ankom til landet. Deres afvigende kultur, køns- og demokratiopfattelse var som alt andet fra tiden før den kommende revolution ikke mere anakronistisk og forkastelig end det danske borgerlige samfunds.

For at sikre, at tidens intelligensia arbejdede for fremtiden, indskærpedes og accepteredes kravet om, at forskningsaktiviteter skulle være “samfundsrelevante“, dvs. tage udgangspunkt i klassekampsopfattelsen.

Tyve år senere kollapsede den alternative fortælling, og man gik ind i den “postmodernistiske” periode. Det konstruktivistiske syn på kunst og pædagogisk realitet blev udstrakt til en “metakonstruktivistisk“. Man opfattede alle opfattelser af virkeligheden som subjektive konstruktioner.

Man var således enige om, at nationalisme var en sådanne bevidste elitekonstruktioner fra 19. århundrede, konstruktioner som kunne afløses af nye konstruktioner, der var mere relevante for 21. århundrede. Denne opfattelse er på overbevisende vis påvist som fejlagtig af den israelske metahistoriker i hans “Nations: The Long History and Deep Roots of Political Ethnicity and Nationalism” fra 2012. Opfattelsen af patriotisk fællesskab og offervilje havde mange steder langt længere rødder, hvilket nok er medvirkende til at forklare problemerne med at sælge en EU-national konstruktion som en ligeværdig erstatning.

Det var dog ikke synet på fortællinger (som P. Munchs) som konstruktioner, der var problemet, men synet på konkurrerende konstruktioner som grundlæggende ligeværdige og legitime. Det var således tilfældet for Vestens og Sovjetunionens fortællinger om Den Kolde Krig, noget der for mange danske intellektuelle var væsentligt i “nullerne” pga. deres aktiviteter i 1980’erne.

Der eksisterede nu kun en “diskurs” uden andet end subjektive og ligeværdige sandheder og ligeledes subjektive og derfor ligeværdige erfaringer. Man koncentrerede sig om at diskutere alternative teoretiske forklaringsmuligheder på det oplevede og konstruerede og deres forhold til forskellige teorier om sammenhænge.

Man havde derfor ikke længere mulighed for give de usikre-selvsikre unge studerende en fortælling og en verdensopfattelse, som de kunne overgive sig til, som deres forældregeneration havde overgivet sig til forskellige fundamentalistiske socialistiske retninger. Hvis de havde behov ud over, hvad deres uddannelses teoretiske eksegese gav dem, måtte de selv søge de enkle, positive sandheder, som et ungt menneske har behov for.

Ungdomsoprørets ødelæggelse af det eksisterende skabte en kulturel ørken for erfaringsfri samfundsrekonstruktion og reformer baseret på et ekstremt forenklet syn på, hvad, der var relevant. Ganske vist kollapsede oprørernes verden, men ikke deres kontrol over staten. Som ny åndselite videreførte de nu i den nye “-stiske” ramme opfattelsen af, at alt var mere eller mindre ligestillede konstruktioner i virkeligheden uanfægtet de foregående tyve års afvisende syn på de eksisterende vestlige samfund og kulturer.

Den nye situation betød, at der ikke kunne eller burde være en samlende fortælling, at det var nytteløst at søge den, og at “Islamisk Stats” eller Putins fortælling havde samme vægt og legitimitet som Vestens.

Det almendannende indhold i gymnasieundervisningen forsvandt som umoderne og irrelevant kulturimperialisme. Derefter fik ingen i Danmark en sammenhængende historiefortælling som ballast for en videregående uddannelse. P. Munchs fortælling var forsvundet. Dette ikke på grund af dens tendens, mangler og behov for supplement, men fordi den (jf. oplysning på mit gamle gymnasium ved 50-årsjubilæet sidste år) havde tre gange for mange sider til at være anvendelig i det moderne, “facebook-formats“-gymnasium. Det var ikke noget væsentligt tab, hvis fortællingen alligevel blot var én af mange konstruktionsmuligheder.

De gamle studentermarxister og pragmatiske opportunister fra 1970’erne og 1980’erne fortsatte i deres nu ledende stillinger overalt i forvaltningen blot den arrogant-centralistiske planlægning og økonomiske styring, samfunds-engineering, støttet af manipulation af opinionen (dvs. spin og New-Speak lig med det gamle agitprop), som skulle være sket efter revolutionen. De var blevet supernaivliberalister, og deres utallige lærlinge lærte kun at afvise alt eksisterende som irrelevant som andet end udgangspunkt for reformer.

Det er ikke tilfældigt, at den New Public Management-systemsygdom, som blev analyseret i den foregående blogaktikel, slog igennem nu. Den passede til tiden og behovet med sit fravalg af faglighed (lig med professionel erfaring). Ideen sikrede eliten fuld handlefrihed til at søge billigst og størst mulig produktion uden hensyn til ikke-målbar kvalitet.

Søgen efter vækst i form af kvantitet og målbar innovation blev også de nye – stadig kortsigtede – definitionsrammer for forskningens “samfundsrelevans”, efter at klassekampen var visnet som ramme.

Nu er alt det, min generation havde lært var relevant, ramt som af en mangesidet lavine med naiv-nationalisme, truslen om krig, informationskrig fra IS og Rusland som ahistoriske narcissister ikke kan håndtere som andet en af mange ligeværdige fortællinger i den sandhedsløse diskurs.

Eliten i departementerne, på universiteterne og på Christiansborg har ingen historisk og erfaringsmæssig ramme til at forstå og håndtere udfordringerne ud over panikreaktioner og nye reorganiseringer. Det samme gælder EU, der er organiseret med fravalgt som irrelevant af alt, som eliten ikke forstod eller kunne blive enige om.

Uden en bevidstgjort erfaring kombineret med en robust historisk funderet baseret, samlende fortælling bliver man ude af stand til at erkende og afvise disinformation og konspirationsforklaringer.

Efter, at Finansministeriet deklarerede “Fred i Vor Tid”

Hæren er nu på et niveau betydeligt under, hvad ville være blevet resultatet, hvis De Radikales og Socialdemokratiets afrustningsforslag fra 1919-1930 var blevet gennemført. Den beredskabsstyrke, der mødte tyskerne i Sønderjylland 9. april for 75 år siden var i bemanding, kadrekvalitet og -moral samt relativ teknologisk niveau den nuværende hær langt overlegen. Men Finansministeriet har bestemt, at historien er slut, og det var VK-regeringen der lagde op til nedskæringerne. De eneste prioriterede projekter er de af HMD beskyttede: Blå Vagt og Hesteskorten. Bl.a. pga. ophøret af den 120-årige videregående officersuddannelse vil en genopbygning blive langt vanskeligere end den foregående efter 1945, også fordi den professionelle diskurs er forsvundet under bølgen af New Public Management New-Speak.

Desværre synes officernes chefer at mangle netop de egenskaber, der ville gøre dem anvendelige, når Finansministeret nu viser sig – selv for tungnemme – at have haft uret.

De egenskaber er:
1) Opdateret professionel indsigt som grundlag for ledelsen af den hurtige tilpasning til en ny situation.
2) Ansvarsfølelse over for både befolkningen som helhed og for de soldater, der skal sikres ordentlige muligheder for at løse deres opgaver.
3) Dynamisk og synlig ledelsesstil.
4) Moralsk mod til at påvirke forsvarsbeslutninger med saglig indsigt i muligheder og ricisi.
5) Afledt respekt blandt korpsets yngre medlemmer

To Protect the Baltic States against Russia

I agree with those who have noted that the Baltic States can by defended against both an overt or covert invasion by present Russian forces, but I disagree that the present local and NATO posture can achieve this.

The first key issue is sea control of the Baltic Sea from the island of Bornholm to the Aland Islands. As when the Baltic littoral was defended the last time against a Russian offensive – by Nazi Germany during the last year of the Second World War – everything depends on the ability to defend and use the chosen sea-lines-of communication.

During the Cold War the NATO mission was limited to the far less demanding task of denying the Warsaw Treaty Organisation navies free use of the sea routes in the southern part of the Baltic Sea for the support the offensive operations of the Coastal Front and Soviet Red Flag Baltic Navy. In the hope to defeat the threat, to succeed in this limited mission, the involved NATO states developed large, modern and capable specialised naval and naval air units. They were thereafter scrapped in the later focus on Blue Water capabilities.

The ability to defend sea routes cannot be decided by a simple comparison of available NATO and Russian local naval forces. Both are rather weak. We have to analyse whether NATO can protect the shipping generally or at least high priority convoys. The transport shipping has to be effectively protected from mines, submarine, air and missile attack. The task has always been difficult in the Baltic Sea due to the temperature and salt layered character of the sea, and the development of mine and torpedo technology since 1945 has made task ever more difficult. In 1944-45 the Germans could count on the cover of winter darkness and cloudy weather as well as on the indifferent quality of Soviet Naval Aviation to shield the transports from effective air attack. Now long-range detection systems coupled with full all-weather attack capability by both aircraft and long-range air and surface launched anti-shipping missiles will make the protection of shipping extremely difficult and demanding. The task becomes even more difficult during a crisis period before and the first phases of hostilities where strikes against the potential source of attacks will be ruled-out to avert escalation.

The Baltic States have four capable terminal ports at relatively safe distance from Russian territory: Liepaja, Ventspils, Riga and the port facilities in and east of Tallinn. However, all have approaches vulnerable to the most discreet “hybrid” warfare anti-shipping weapon: the mine. The main Lithuanian port of Klaipeda lies too close to Russian territory to be considered available. As the mine-warfare expertise and capability of the NATO-navies have withered together with the anti-submarine and air-defence capabilities and the general coastal warfare capabilities, it is doubtful whether NATO can muster a credible sea control MCM posture for the Baltic Sea. Any fishing or merchant ship now has the ability to carry out accurate covert mining operations in support of hybrid warfare.

The missile threat is also serious and even if probably only urgent after the start of hostilities. The reduced Russian Baltic Navy light surface units and naval aviation presently in the Baltic area mean that there exists a very significant latent missile threat against shipping everywhere in the Baltic. Nothing can prevent Russia from reinforcing their forces from the other fleets prior to and during a crisis and to start employing harassment of Western shipping and naval units as sometimes during the Cold War.

If NATO tries to establish protected sea lines, the effort will be heavily dependent on general and specialist naval air power. It should be employed in the protection of convoys that use the less directly exposed sea routes (away from the Russian Kaliningrad Oblast) across the central Baltic Sea from Swedish the territorial waters of Gotland to the four safest Baltic harbours listed above. In order to have maximum time in the area the aircraft should operate from East-German, Polish or – far best – central Swedish bases. The credibility of the whole sea control operation to support the defence of the Baltic States may depend on the availability of the Swedish bases that the country secretly planned to make available to the USAF during the Cold War.

The lesser capable alternatives to sea transport are air transport and over-land transport via the narrow Polish-Lithuanian land corridor between the Russian Kaliningrad Oblast and Belorussia. These options will be sufficient for any initial limited deterrent deployment of light reaction forces, but will not have the capability to support the larger NATO-forces of army formations and logistics needed for a minimum defensive deployment.

Of the main airfields, Vilnius Airport and the Palanga Airfield are too close to Belorussia and Kaliningrad Oblast to be safely usable, and support of Lithuania will have to use Karmeleva at Kaunas and the large military airfield Zokniai near Siauliai. Air transport to Latvia depends on the use of Riga Airport with the military airfield at Lielvarde as a reserve, in Estonia Tallinn Airport has Ämari military airfield and the local airfields at Tartu and Pärnu as reserves – the latter a former Soviet air base west of the city centre and harbour. All Baltic airfields are difficult and demanding in troops to guard against Special Forces due to built-up or wooded areas in close proximity. To work effectively as air bases in a hybrid warfare phase they need the deployment of a full set of local defence and security forces and logistics elements. If considered for later defence operation in spite of operating within the range of Russian long-range air defence missile systems, the bases need area and close air defence systems as well as EOD and rapid runway repair elements. None of these capabilities can be supplied by the Baltic Host Nations, and the lack of this operational requirement during the last two decades, few, if any, remains in the European NATO forces.

The main problem, however, is that none of the Baltic States have the forces available to create a minimum cohesive, initial forward territorial defence of their territory, and because of this a symbolic employment of U.S. subunits to the capitals as a “trip-wire” as suggested recently by Zbigniew Brzezinski signal weakness by offering hostages rather than a step that ensures later timely deployment of robust deterrent forces. Such follow-on forces that were previously available no longer exist, as they were irrelevant after “history had ended”.

No exposed forward state was ever capable of creating an effective initial territorial defence and deterrent force posture without the use of conscription, and fortunately the last decades of communications and individual or pair served weapon system development have created equipment far easier to handle than those 40-50 years ago. Only some complex crew served weapons such as tanks and command cadre functions still benefit from a long service regulars’ routine. However, fashion, ideology and lack of personal experience with training and use of national servicemen still seems to block Western peace-time realization of the essential benefits of access to the draft to supplement regulars. It is the only way to generate quantity without real loss of flexibility and quality. Historical cases indicate that local initial defence capabilities are not only essential for gaining time and keeping space for receiving assistance, the demonstrated will to defend themselves and handle hybrid challenges without having to resort to serious suppression eases the political decision among allies to fight for another country.

It was been the a-historical NATO policy to pretend – recently under the “smart defence” buzz-heading – that there exists an immediate and pre-programmed political willingness in all member states to contribute forces to fight for an ally no matter what situation and what the host state contributes. Of course it is dim-witted nonsense. It is time to realize that the bluff has been called and act accordingly.

To protect the Baltic States, NATO needs protected airfields for initial deployment, a local cohesive territorial defence of borders and capitals as well as safe sea-lines-of communication. To meet and deter the Russian challenge takes the development of credible and sizable national defence forces – standing and reserves. Flimsy make-believe diplomatic constructions pretending solidarity by all to all hypothetical but undefined challenges is making Putin’s project simple.