Crimea And The Folly Of A Fading Empire – Hitting the buffers

Ukraine is an endless source of fun. The play-thing of a Mad God and yet safely removed from the possibility of further Western Adventures. But, perhaps this time Putin has overplayed his hand, forcing a response that Russia’s petro-export economy can ill afford.

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Perhaps not. Rather a price that has been judged worth paying:

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We Could Do With Another War – Syria and Geopolitics #2

Previously I have held to the view that the Iraq war at the same time as Afghanistan has threatened to wreck the traditional British consensus on liberal intervention. I saw parliamentary control of war as being the best mechanism we have to ensure an active foreign policy in future, it represents the best opportunity we have to keep the public engaged in what Lindley-French describes as our missionary Foreign Policy. From the point of view of an effectively communicated geopolitics I was happy see the PM retain this power, but feared it would only be a faster route to Belgium.

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However, Alistair Burt has given me pause to reconsider, and to refine my thoughts on Parliament’s role.

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Thoughts on the enduring weakness of the eurozone

The German Finance Ministry is a little peeved with US criticism of the mercantilism of its economic policy. This, in pursuing a strategy that suppresses domestic demand and feeds their mighty export machine. Bad as this is, equally important is its rejection of the responsibilities that accrue to stronger members of a polity.

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Having ones cake, and expecting to eat it too:

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The Linux Steambox Cometh – A new franchise model for ‘console’ gaming

And lo, the promised land hove into view, and the future looked brighter for PC games. First there was the Steam gamepad/controller, then there was the Steam linux beta, after that followed Steam big-picture for a console style interface on HDTV’s, now the final piece of the puzzle falls into place that ties them all logically together. Console hardware. Who will make it, what will it contain, and how will you buy it?

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Valve will retail their ‘own’ hardware, it will contain standard PC hardware and software, and you’ll find 3rd party licensed versions.

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Thoughts on the Successor Deterrent – CMC is in.

Nick Harvey – “The idea that you should produce weapons of mass destruction in order to keep 1,500 jobs going in the Barrow shipyard is simply ludicrous,”

You hear some foolish statements on occasion, but considering this one comes from an ex MoD minister it is an absolute pearler! The Barrow jobs preserve the sovereign and strategic capability that is nuclear submarines, regardless of whether they contain ballistic missiles or not. And the British Defence Industrial Strategy regards nuclear submarines as a strategic industry over which we must retain sovereign control.

That said, foolish statement aside I believe he is on the money when he talks of “nukes in the cupboard”.

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AMD has confirmed that they won the WiiU – What about the Xbox720 and PS4?

Q – Why do consoles massively outperform their PC equivalent hardware?

A – Because they use a streamlined software stack and optimised hardware.

Let’s ignore the former for it doesn’t tell us anything interesting, for while every real console (i.e. not ouyu), will seek optimised software and hardware only the latter will help us with the big questions. Consoles are machines specifically designed to pump out graphics so the determining factor will be the GPU, and from a console vendors perspective what is the prime consideration when choosing a GPU?

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Price/performance. A combination of the number of transistors and their clock speed.

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Lib-Dem Day of Reckoning Approaches – To seize the rose or admire from afar?

In a dynamic world where the problems change successful political movements evolve, and even where the problems remain similar the conditions of the day often require new solutions. The defining problem for this current parliament is finding the quickest national exit to the global financial crisis, but this blog is about the future, and europe’s evolution beyond that crisis will be what comes to define the next.

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In short:

1. What is our position on British sovereignty; is it necessary or are we better served by a european collective?

2. What is our position on the sovereignty of our neighbours; a choice they must have or secondary to British interests?

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Letter From The MOD – What are the Forces for, and how does the SDSR help achieve this?

Being a public-spirited sort your blogger chose, in the months leading up to the publishing of the SDSR, to take part in the public consultation process that preceded its public release. I have no idea now what I said but it no doubt involved a lot of wittering about sovereign and strategic power-projection, and how this aim was best achieved in the coming years of austerity by a greater emphasis on naval and expeditionary forces. The reply arrived last month.

What are the Armed Forces for, and how is the SDSR supposed to help them achieve this end?

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Opportunity or threat #5 – Has Cameron succeeded or failed?

Reading Aaron Ellis’s thoughts on the unexpected “no” from Cameron on Friday – as well as the mournings and musings of various others – has prompted me to pause for thought. HMG has always sought to have British commissioners holding the economic portfolio in Brussels, in order that the economic regulation that emerges has a flavour that is acceptable to the British palate. It is perhaps no coincidence that financial regulation became indigestible once labour abandoned the principle of occupying the economic portfolio at all costs – to get Baroness Ashton into the new foreign policy portfolio – thereby allowing France to install Barnier into our old redoubt. This perhaps explains why Britain is so nervous about the coming tide of financial regulation, when we have not previously been overruled on such matters via QMV, but has Cameron played a blinder or a poor hand badly?

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Rather depends on how deluded you are, for there was very little choice available to Cameron.

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Question for Nick – When are you going to break the news?

Mr Clegg is a clever chap, and a pragmatic one too, so when it comes to value of our trade with europe I have no doubt he is well aware of the declining importance it plays, if only because Osborne and Alexander will have sat him down for a little chat. However, he is bang in the middle of a gruelling battle to transform his party into something fit to govern the UK, and that requires that he doesn’t yank too hard on the baby-reins. At some point before the next election he will have to instil a more pragmatic form of enthusiasm for the EU that is able to reflect critically on its flaws, not least the damage that the doctrine of ever-deeper-union has done to public acceptance of the wider project. The uncritical europhilia that has been our Lib-Dem diet to date stems largely from the fear that without the shoulders of europe to stand upon the UK’s future is dark for we need europe’s might to keep; the money flowing, the barbarians from the gate, and to temper our anglo-saxon tendencies. Perhaps he needs to show his party this:

In the space of just ten years the value of our trade with europe vis-a-vis the rest of the world has slipped dramatically, and it has done so because europe is now a low-growth zone.

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