Yesterday, the candidate for chancellor for the German Greens, Annalena Baerbock gave a long recorded interview *on foreign and security policy*.
You can watch it here: baks.bund.de/de/aktuelles/d…
Thread with some things I find noteworthy.
This interview is in and of itself really good news. We *need* to talk more about security and defence policy, and foreign policy in Germany.
The report is written by @matthimon who has been working on this for many years (I spoke with him for my PhD research ages ago).
He clearly knows his stuff and the report is a good overview of German #drone capabilities.
A sidenote here: there is little love lost between me and the LINKE but they have been playing a great role in German drone politics through their inquiries (questions to the government). I used these questions and answers extensively in my research. That's just good politics.
I found this point really interesting so I went and checked - and unless I am missing something there actually hasn’t been a change: the 2015 review also only mentioned NATO allies in the nuclear context.
While the UK was part of the EU, it was bound by the EU‘s mutual defence clause (article 42.7, basically the EU‘s article 5). But (like with article 5) there is a lot of leeway there re national commitments. And the UK never really saw that to include its nuclear capabilities.
Finally, it’s important to recognise that while these debates matter for deterrence purposes, if we ever actually face a situation in which the UK might use its nuclear weapons discussions over which treaties apply probably won’t be #1 priority.
"The data indicate that remotely piloted AISR aircraft have not reduced demand for crewed aircraft. Rather, these new aircraft have been used to satisfy previously unmet demand that existing crewed aircraft could not surge to meet."
These are really interesting findings!
Unmanned systems still need quite a few people to fly them, and so (in the US) the personnel cost per system is the same as for manned aircraft. Per flight hour, however, costs are lower.
Recently, I've gotten a surprising number of emails from students that I felt were pretty off - so I thought I'd do a thread on this.
This is supposed to help, not chide - I always try to say yes to student requests, but it's more fun if I don't feel annoyed at the start!😊
Form of address: Personally I'm totally fine with the "Dear Ulrike (if I may)" approach, but not everyone is, so better go for the title.
"Dear Ms" (or Mrs?!) actually annoys me.
And "Dear sir or madam" is just ... what?
Say in one sentence what you are working on. And then say in one sentence why you want to talk to me about it.
Sometimes I get these emails and just wonder: you've found me somehow, so you must know my topics, but yours doesn't match mine so what's the link? Don't make me ask.
It certainly starts gloomy: "the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) is delivering an uncomfortable message: America is not prepared to defend or compete in the AI era. This is the tough reality we must face." #AI
54% of Europeans* think that "the world is in a worse place because of Trump's presidency". 18% disagree.
*11 countries polled: Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Spain, Sweden, UK.
32% of Europeans among the countries polled say that "after voting for Trump, Americans cannot be trusted". 27% disagree.
Support for this statement is *by far* the highest in Germany, with 53% (!) saying Americans cannot be trusted, and only 15% disagreeing.
Once again, the #SPD, days before a decision was to be taken, is backtracking on the procurement of armed #drones. The claim: there hasn't been enough debate.
A thread showing *how utterly absurd* this claim is.*
(*No you don't need to support armed drones to acknowledge this)
In 2013 I was a fresh-faced PhD student. I wrote👇about the German debate on armed drones. At this time, the then-defence minister had argued for drones, high-ranking officers supported the idea. The Bundestag’s defence committee first discussed the issue blog.politics.ox.ac.uk/discussing-the…
2014, my PhD advances, the German #drone debate not so much.
I comment: "There is one military topic, however, which has been discussed repeatedly and heatedly over the last few years: whether the German Bundeswehr should procure armed ‘drones’." isnblog.ethz.ch/technology/the…
Oh come on @faznet !!! “AKK stands up to Macron”, rejects his idea of European autonomy.’
Talk about a straw man! AKK has rejected an interpretation of European autonomy that Macron never made. faz.net/aktuell/politi…
"Despite sharp criticism from French President Emmanuel Macron, AKK stuck to her position that Europe could not defend itself for the foreseeable future without the US."
What Macron actually said: "But the United States will only respect us as allies if we are earnest, and if we are sovereign with respect to our defence." geopolitique.eu/en/macron-gran…
But I think the authors miss an important point when they describe European autonomy just as "inward-looking".
Because I have observed an important uptick of debate about the geopolitics of Europe exactly because of the autonomy/sovereignty discussion.
As someone who's been looking into #drones, two things I found interesting:
First, the conflict showed again the important propaganda value of drones. As drones carry sophisticated surveillance tech, they document every strike they make (if armed), or operation flown. (2/8)
So using drones is like having a film crew with you, and Azerbaijan in particular has taken advantage of this, publishing clips of their drone operations. (3/8)
Today, the #Bundestag defence committee will hold a hearing on armed #drones for the #Bundeswehr. Instead of reposting the 50 000 pieces I've written on this, here is a thread on two previous instances where Germany tried to acquire armed drones. #Drohnendebatte2020
(Spoiler: these acquisition & development projects did not go well.)
We are in the 1979. It's the Cold War. France and West-Germany decide to develop a #drone together, named Brevel.
Looks like it's again time for my regular threat "what US military installations are located in Germany?", and "Why is the US in Germany?". #Truppenabzug
US President Trump has said again that he wants to reduce the number of US troops stationed in Germany. He frames it as a punishment of Germany which does not spend 2% of its GDP on its own defence.
The thing is, though, that the US troops in Germany aren't primarily there to guarantee German security, or to deter Russia. They are there because Germany has become a staging ground for US operations worldwide, particularly in the Middle East and Africa.
I spent the weekend writing a primer about #drones for #Drohnendebatte2020. It's not published yet (coming soon), but in the meantime a few thoughts on the German armed drones debate which I have been following and researching for a decade. (thread)
A bit of historical context: The German armed drone debate is as old as I am. In the late 1980s, the Bundeswehr first looked into armed #drones. Two systems - the KDH 'Kampfdrohne Heer' and the DAR 'Drohne Anti-Radar' were developed. Both were more loitering munition than drone..
... and both were eventually abandoned. Their requirements too technologically advanced for their time (autonomy, swarming etc), and their funding ended as the Cold War came to an end. #drohnendebatte2020