Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Waste of money (Score 1) 401

In case of theoretical engagement between two large countries with decent fleet and air force that would not include nuclear weapons, life expectancy of aircraft carrier vessels on both sides taking part in the conflict is between 0 and 24 hours depending on their location in the conflict in relation to enemy forces. You cannot keep those ships alive no matter how you try - they will be killed or disabled very quickly due to their relative importance and being huge slow targets by design.

Today aircraft carriers make an excellent force projection tool in asymmetric warfare - where attacker is far more advanced and powerful than defender. They are utterly useless if both sides possess solid navy and air force. Russians for example had supersonic maritime bombers and special ship to ship missiles such as P-700 specifically designed to ensure that no NATO aircraft carriers would remain operational in zone of conflict in a matter of minutes rather than hours from start of any potential large scale conflict.

A side that wants to engage an enemy on fairly even grounds in naval combat today would likely go the way of Israeli navy, and focus on small, highly advanced strike ships supported by larger support vessels.

Comment Re:Waste of money (Score 1) 401

And if Argentina could have bought something like P-700, it could have sunk entire US Navy fleet with relative ease if it arrived to attack it. NATO calls those things "shipwreck" for a reason. If wishes were fishes...

The biggest win for UK in naval warfare was actually in economics. They managed to stop Argentina from buying proper anti-ship missiles, and getting support for ones they owned.

Comment Re: Waste of money (Score 1) 401

For strategic MAD platforms, yes. They need to sit for months in readiness.

For tactical attack subs, no, their role does not dictate such a need.

Which is why most of attack subs today are diesels. Even the newest ones.

Comment Re:Waste of money (Score 1) 401

Nuclear subs are very, VERY unsuitable for the modern attack submarine role. This is because reactor always needs to pump coolant, which generates noise.

Attack sub that cannot go silent is a dead attack sub. It's entire job relies on the fact that it can lay in wait of noisy nuclear subs that carry strategic weapons, or even noisier surface convoys undetected until it strikes. This task is exceptionally difficult for nuclear in comparison to diesel.

Diesel subs run on batteries underwater, and while they have limited range, they are effectively perfectly silent when they go quiet, as batteries do not need to pump coolant. This is why most of the nuclear subs are usually strategic types, while tactical attack subs are still diesels even today.

Comment Re:In other Kiev news (Score 1) 233

Allow me to elaborate, since I clearly wasn't making my point well.

Russian "democracy" took the standard route of democracy export from the West to the demolished but no occupied nation. The best part of this is that target never realises that it is being a target of democracy export effort when weapons are not involved (which usually means the follow-up of internal conflict of some kind, as the process requires a country with severely damaged economy).

First, you present the intelligencia and leaders with the fact that West is far more wealthy and far more powerful. You show this off to them, and force them to come face to face with reality that their culture and system is worse.
Second, you support these people in their own country, allowing them to work as your missionaries. You know that they will pass on your system because that is what you took such great pains to showcase to them. This also serves the illusion of "local" to the common people.
Third, you ramp up support for those who are your missionaries, allowing them to easily overtake those who attempt to find a truly local solution with vastly superior funds. Most Western countries also have very tight protections from this stage by blocking, or requiring registration of foreign entities (i.e. US foreign agents legislation).
Fourth, you give cheap loans and other economic assistance to target country clearly indicating that requirement for these loans is democratic progress. This ensures that local economy cannot use its own funds to recover, as you offer them a far more efficient route. The catch is that people you hand picked for the job, who have prophesised about greatness of democracy will lead which is easy - your cheap loans and support show the locals that they were right - West is a benevolent benefactor who wants to help them, and missionaries telling them about greatness of democracy were correct. As a result, this step also carries an illusion of being a "local movement supported by benevolent West".
Fifth, you tighten the reigns over those who are now in power. You generally avoid using stick such as funding cuts instead sticking to carrots, like more trips for "consultation on proper implementation of democracy" to steer the country in desired direction. This ensures that path stays to what West chose, instead of taking a local direction.

Russia was a text book example of a successful Western democracy export. It had all the telltale signs, including the economic follow up where West gets to effectively pillage the target country after Westernization opens up the markets. We are really good at doing this and we have a lot of experience.

Now, allow me to present you with example of locally grown democracy, which has been slowly demolished very recently by Westernization of locally grown democratic system.


Kemal Ataturk understood his country very well. He was pushed down the Westernization route, but state of Europe after World War one basically prevented step two, enabling local influence to prevail, and allowing Kemalist democratic structure to emerge instead of Western one.

Under Kemalism, Ataturk understood that his country was uniquely positioned in that it would remain extremely religious and dangerously close to sinking into theocracy under democratic rule due to realities of demographics of the country. As a result, democracy that took shape was shaped as purely secular, and with army as enforcement arm of secularism, preventing theocratic forces from winning democratic elections and then essentially shutting down democratic system, not unlike Hitler did in Germany in 1933-1934.

This system functionally allowed Turkey to have a democratic system in a country where majority would have in fact preferred a theocratic rule but accepted democracy as a good enough substitute. Every time a party with theocratic goals got elected and started progressing the goal of going down the transforming Turkey into theocracy, army would interfere, overthrow the elected government, re-establish secular rule and relinquish power.

This was a working democracy with local, clearly non-Westernized bent. It was working specifically because of lack of many Western democratic features, such as total control over army by the elected government, which safeguarded long term compliance to the core principles of democracy by sacrificing short term compliance.

Recently EU mandated Westernization of the system in Turkey as requirement for the process of Turkey's joining of the EU. Results are once again catastrophic. Secular democratic rule is basically being slowly and systemically shut down as theocratic forces inevitably elected into government due to demographics slowly take control, just as Ataturk envisioned hundred years ago, and why he chose not to go the Westernization route.

Comment Re:In other Kiev news (Score 1) 233

You actually touch upon my point, but miss it because of your bias. Western style democracy was pushed upon Russia, marketed as a solution to it's problems after USSR's collapse.

It failed, as all such pushes did in the history. This is my argument - democracy must be born from within, and be of a flavour that is local. Otherwise it either evolves into surface democracy where the real power structure remains largely the same as before (Russia, Japan, South Korea), or it simply collapses (Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc).

To reach stability levels of Swiss democracy, you must have that democracy be born in your country, out of the will of its people. Democracy in Russia stood no chance - there never was any kind of meaningful democratic movement there that was local. Such movements take time to form, and there wasn't any. They were instead sold the exported Western democracy model, which occupied those who could have worked on making Russia's own style democracy, effectively subverting the process and starting the "experiments" as you put it, which were doomed to failure from the start.

Comment Re:In other Kiev news (Score 1) 233

I think you misunderstand the situation then. Democracy was not home grown - it was pushed by a small minority as a solution to situation that arose after the fall of Soviet Union effectively at economic gunpoint. West told Russia that to get financial support it desperately needed at the time, it would have to have democratic reforms. Self published literature is not what drives democracy - people's will and readiness to accept the responsibility for choosing their leaders is. Otherwise we could be claiming that there is plenty of evidence that Europe is turning home grown Salafi islamic or ultra nationalist now - there is plenty of self-published protest literature about that after all. But real support for those is marginal at best.

Most people just wanted an exit from extreme poverty caused by collapse of Soviet Union, and democracy with capitalism was marketed to them successfully as a solution. Putin's continuous democratic election to power shows the fact that Russians do not want the Western style democracy - they want a strong authoritarian leader. Of those who don't like Putin, most approve of his methods - they just don't approve of results, such as the fact that country is still very poor, corruption is still endemic is so on.

The small minority that doesn't approve is his methods and gets a lot of time in the press here in the West doesn't really have any meaningful support in the country. The real opposition is Communists and they do approve of the methods - they just want the power to be shared with them and they push at lack of results in certain areas, such as eradication of poverty and endemic corruption.

Comment Re:In other Kiev news (Score 1) 233

Can you list any successful democratizations in recent history that did not include home grown democracy being the one actually taking root?

This is the problem I have with this kind of thinking. As the old saying goes, road to hell is paved with good intentions. You are absolutely correct on the links between the antipods of free capitalism and democracy. But that doesn't remove my main point - that democracy is by far and large not exportable.

I genuinely cannot recall any such examples. Pretty much the closest we got was Japan and South Korea, which are corporatist/fascist states with surface democratic elements. About the only example that comes close enough is Spain, but democratic movement was never forced on it - it grew from within as opposition to Franco's rule and emerged slowly after his death. Franco's dictatorship was actually widely accepted and embraced by both European and North American democracies. Spain's democracy emerged as a home grown movement.

Comment Re:In other Kiev news (Score 1) 233

The problem with Swiss model, is that to work rather than cause the country to sink even further into opposition, is that such a democracy has to come from within.

All former SSRs, including Russia, had democracy effectively forced upon them at economic gunpoint in 1990s. As a result, it became something dramatically different from what it is in the West. Similar effect is seen in almost all countries where such a democratic transformation has happened - it takes a very much local flavour. Japan is a good example of this, there is effectively no democracy there to speak of. Same party has ruled the country for half a century with only one period of not being the ruler. Effective governance is done in a very japanese way, which is through personal connections, massive nepotism and very little of consultation with populace over actual points of importance. It's not even allowed to have proper campaigning in Japan - most campaigns even for high level posts are effectively vans with loudspeakers driving around blasting the election greetings of the candidate.

This is the issue that has doomed essentially all attempts of "democratization" in known history. The issue appears that even our own governments started to believe their own propaganda that democracy is some kind of universal panacea to political problems, and started exporting it as such, completely ignoring decades of utter failures. Another good example of this failure happening in a much more dramatic fashion is the state of Arab states after their Arab spring. Democracy merely brought out the massive internal problems and within a few years, most of the countries are far worse off than they were under dictatorships, both for the upper echelons of society and ordinary people.

Democracy cannot be exported. It must be allowed to grow from within. Countries such as Switzerland are a good example of just how stable and functional democracy is when it is allowed to do so.

Comment Re:In other Kiev news (Score 1) 233

The problem, as it often is, that arguments tend to polarize people over time if they are not solved. Most people in Ukraine view themselves as Ukrainians, not Russians, or Poles, or Jews, or Lviv residents or whatever. They're Ukrainians.

But their trio of leaders, in their desperate struggle for power focused on dividing rather than uniting people, which is actually a Western model of gathering votes. Focus on your own group and those who doubt and show them how strongly you defend them against "those others who vote for the other guy and are actually your enemies".

In a way, it's a pretty big warning sign for that kind of political approach and it's recent wide adoption in the West. When it blows in your face eventually, explosion is spectacular and deadly. We need more emphasis on consensus in politics rather than adversarial approach.

Comment Re:In other Kiev news (Score 1) 233

You appear to misunderstand. I'm quoting the general split along the linguistic lines, which is about 55/45 as stated above. I also note that "high tech exports such as", which means "one of the many types of exports". It was a good example because of the recent progress with laying down new plants making similar/same product has happened recently.

The main issue for Ukraine's high tech exports is that vast majority of them are designed for USSR-era technology and its follow-up which is mainly needed in Russia, and there's very little demand for same products in the EU.

I don't buy the "polish and german leadership" argument. One thing about extreme nationalists that doesn't change from country to country is that they abhor foreigners of any kind. They may accept assistance to drive their goals from abroad, but they would never cede leadership. EU and US are very likely to be financing the opposition, but they are highly unlikely to be in position to control it. Otherwise they would never have allowed the situation to go as bad as it is today - it's massively against EU's interests to have Ukraine sink into a civil conflict and that's where it's headed now.

On the last note, I live in Finland, and I have been seeing East European products (which due to our small market size relative to rest of Europe are generally not repackaged, but simply have stickers with description in our state languages, finnish and swedish glued onto the original East European package) show up in increasing amounts on market shelves, typically displacing the spanish, french, italian and other south European produce. So while they're definitely not "instantly there", they are slowly edging in and taking their share of the market.

Slashdot Top Deals

If you didn't have to work so hard, you'd have more time to be depressed.