By Jamie Arbuckle for Peacehawks



German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has announced that Germany will increase defence spending by Euro 100 billion, raising the German defence budget from 1.5 to over 2% of GDP.  Canada, Sweden and Denmark have also announced similar increases to their defence budgets.

Unfortunately, throwing out numbers and then setting the fiefdoms to struggle for their shares  is precisely the wrong way to go about structuring a defence establishment, and its personnel and equipment programmes. This is how it is commonly done, numbers first, then programmes. But this usually results in the wrong equipment in the wrong numbers and there for all the wrong reasons. There will then follow a generation of complaints about equipment not needed or unaffordable or non-deployable – or all of the above.

For example: At the time of my retirement from the Canadian Forces in 1995, we had as many officers as we had corporals, we had more military policemen than infantrymen, and the army’s armoured personnel carriers and medium howitzers mostly dated from around 1965; the main battle tanks had come into service in the 1970s. Nevertheless, and despite the ageing-out of the Army’s major equipments, in that year the Army was awarded just 17% of the capital equipment budget for the Canadian Forces.  That was a reflection neither of any considered requirements nor of any logical structure, it simply showed how poorly the Canadian Army staff had fared in the competition for resources.

The present need is too great, and the stakes are too high, for this sort of misdirection to occur now in Germany. As a Canadian analyst for the (Toronto) Globe and Mail has put it, “That we need to spend more is self-evident, even more urgently, we need to spend better.”[1]

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Guernica, Ruinen


Pictured above: Guernica, 1937

- by Jamie Arbuckle for Peacehawks
13 March 2022

Show us a vision of a world made new.

- Eleanor Roosevelt (1)


Not so very long ago – mere weeks I think – we thought the Covid pandemic was one of the worst things to have befallen us in this still-young century. If we could just hang on long enough to survive that, we’d never worry again. And, earlier this year, it did seem we had turned some sort of corner, and we could relax just a bit. We still needed to continue to be careful, optimistic and grateful, but still …

How wrong we were. Now we find ourselves involved, peripherally or directly, in the worst humanitarian emergency in Europe since WWII.

Russia has again invaded Ukraine, West Europeans are scrambling with outdated and under strength defense establishments and our modern world seems paralyzed and frightened. The very fabric of a modern grouping of liberal democracies is directly threatened as never before in most of our lifetimes.

It is time for a brief stocktaking before we jump onto too many horses and try to ride off on all of them.

In this brief article, we will look at just two aspects of the current situation:

• We will review the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, which established the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine; and
• We will look at the strategy and the effects of air wars.

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