Hugh McManners Blog

Air Power, Blame and Nation-Building

Air Power, Blame and Nation-Building

The instant the first Tomahawk or Storm Shadow missile explodes,the back-biting starts; as those countries not actually pulling triggers criticise those that are. The Arab League wants to hedge its bets in case Gadhafi...

Arab-Style Revolution – a better model?

Arab-Style Revolution – a better model?

“Regime-change” has been the rallying cry of western interventions in the arab world. But not in the new wave of internal revolution sweeping the Arab world. Is this maybe a new and more positive...

Afghan military costs alone, exceed country’s worth

Afghan military costs alone, exceed country’s worth

Recent military cost revelations show starkly that Afghanistan is worth more strategically to the West than it actually creates itself in GDP.
But this also raises questions about the sustainability of the intended ‘Afghanisation’ of its forces, especially in the light of the now-revealed failure of US authorities effectively to oversee the re-development of Afghanistan.
This is a blog. Please click on the link below to read it – 516 words…

Forget the snow – new threat to London transit hubs

Forget the snow – new threat to London transit hubs

With today’s raising of the threat level to London’s transport hubs, it seems to me after the Christmas hiatus that our airport authorities are more concerned with safeguarding their industry from the loss of public confidence threatened by terrorists, than with the comfort and satisfaction of their passengers.

It seems justifiable to mess people around in the hallowed name of Security – but as we saw in the snow, that’s what the airport authorities do whenever something happens out of the ordinary.

This lessens actual security, as it makes the jobs of police and security officers far more difficult, plus exposes them to public frustrations – which should be visited upon airport administrators.

The airports get away with it because there are no alternatives to flying – so I’m New Year wishing for a low-carbon sea alternative to some air routes, if only to provide competition.

China disputes Japanese news report of nuclear ‘first-strike’

China disputes Japanese news report of nuclear ‘first-strike’

The Chinese Foreign Ministries’ denial of reports that the Chinese Army will use nuclear weapons if attacked using ‘advanced conventional weapons’ rounds off a careful bit of diplomatic maneuvering by the Chinese, who wouldn’t like their developing relations with the USA to overlook their disapproval of the Americans’ proposed more usable substitute for nuclear weapons.

China lowers the threshold of its nuclear threats

China lowers the threshold of its nuclear threats

The Chinese Peoples Army says it may use nuclear weapons if nuclear nations attack using “advanced conventional weapons” – like the USA’s intended Prompt Global Strike (PGS) system. This lowering of the nuclear threshold is exactly what powerful nuclear nations fear will become commonplace with nuclear proliferation, as less powerful nations acquire nuclear weapons.

Politcal Legitimacy for the Taliban?

Politcal Legitimacy for the Taliban?

Suddenly declaring the Taliban “politically legitimate” in preparation for ISAF withdrawal makes mockery of the thousands of coalition lives lost there. But as opposed to being a cop-out, is this a natural process; and more importantly, should it have taken place some time ago?

The Hazards of Journalism

The Hazards of Journalism

One of the hazards of journalism is being named in other people’s stories especially when they’re nonsense and you had nothing to do with them. This is exacerbated when you’ve argued long and hard against publishing the story. But certain subject areas, where governments will ‘neither confirm nor deny’ offer free reign to the fantasist…

Sensing the Field

Sensing the Field

The psychological technique of family constellations provided a remarkable weekend workshop experience. Created to help the victims of war – specifically of the Holocaust, it has obvious benefits for war veterans, but being so astonishingly powerful, requires great care.

Afghanistan and Iraq – a clash of ideologies, or terrorism?

Afghanistan and Iraq – a clash of ideologies, or terrorism?

The Bush GW so-called “War against Terror” created an unfortunate anti- “Ayrab” xenophobia which will not help to achieve a sensible solution to Middle East problems. Many people in the West parrot a mirror image of the radical Islamist anti-western dogma, by which for example they consider the fighting in Afghanistan not as a counter-terrorist operation, but as a clash of ideologies, with its solution the eradication of “Islamist ideology”.

This is very dangerous, as it confuses violent and illegal action with thoughts and ideas, which are only illegal under totalitarianism – or inside the totalitarianism of a terrorist cell.