About this blog


My topic for today was delayed by additional research and my absence (Saturday till Wednesday, some posts were scheduled in advance).
I'll drop a video as a reminder about deception at the end instead.

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It's been a long time since I wrote about myself - today is probably a good opportunity to tell the readers a bit about my attitude.

My stance towards war is that about 95-99% of all wars are stupid, needless, should not happen and our involvement was/will be avoidable.
I'm no pacifist, though - I'm all for doing the remaining 1-5% necessary wars right.

Great power games don't pay off in the log run, and most don't even pay off in the short run. Politicians do a lot of stupid things, and great power games are stupid things.

Our armed services should not prepare for great power games, but strive to accomplish their deterrence & defence mission as part of the alliance's overall military power - with as small budgets as possible. Efficiency is a sign for health, most armed services aren't efficient at all.

This blog is full of military thought, political thought - and accusations about failures, including procurement and organizational failures.
My intent is to increase the awareness of failures in order to achieve - together with a myriad of other factors - an improvement over time.

The title is "Defence and Freedom".
I changed from the accidental spelling "Defense" (American English) to "Defence" (British English) because this blog was always meant to have a European, if not even German, perspective and focus.

The word "Freedom" in the title does not only point at its defence against external threats, but also against internal threats. I sense a creeping deterioration of the German state and society with increased spying/surveillance and more powers for authorities. These developments don't hurt us right now, but they could someday be welcomed as instant seeds for a police state if we ever get an authoritarian-minded government and a shock like 9/11 that could turn my country into something much less free & friendly.
Many other countries are in even greater danger of experiencing such a fate, but honestly: I care the most about mine.
I will thus launch a series of blog texts about these issues soon, these topics were badly underrepresented here in the past two years.

My plan is to keep a balance of hardware, art of war/political and freedom/rights texts. I expect to keep the pace till late summer - some of my topics have been discussed with friends for up to five years and my supply of original daily texts is large, but not endless. I've got about 60 topics prepared as keywords as of today.
My attempts to motivate friends to submit texts of their own weren't successful so far. They're not so much into writing blog articles.

Finally, I want to thank the other blogs who linked to this one and helped to introduce this blog to a wider audience; Firearms Blog, Geopowers, Armchairgeneralist, Strategist, New Wars and others.
My daily page impressions increased tenfold since October 2008, likely thanks to both the linking and my increased activity.

Sven Ortmann


  1. i wonder though. if the EU is going to be a world power, it must assert itself. if it remains as pacifist as it appears then it will never have the economic clout that i think it seeks.

  2. ...or it's exactly the other way around and industry, not military, is the source of wealth - and those who focus on their economic development instead of on distant regions will be the rich ones while those who focus on power ruin themselves by neglect of their domestic affairs.

  3. interesting. the US is involved in this exact type discussion (although its taking place by proxy). many feel that since we spend more money on defense than the next 10 highest spending nations, that we can cut back. others see that as a sign of weakness. one thing is sure, if the US turns inward, many nations that have taken a holiday from defense matters will have to suddenly become very aware of their place in the world, become aware of their neighbors and their neighbors intentions and fully defend their economies through the use of force. the problem with the pirates off the coast of Somalia is a prime example. Germany is a major exporter. what happens if these pirates are able to effectively interrupt trade or even cause ships to choose alternate routes?

  4. Not much. The shipping lines are operating far below their capacity due to the world economic crisis and the season.

    German exports are mostly European trade (and transit).
    The macroeconomic damage that some ragtag pirates off Somalia could do to us is less than a tenth of the effect of a cabinet meeting gone wrong.

    Some East Asians might need to spend more on the military.

    On the other hand: Taiwan has exported its industry to mainland China and is now too much bonded to survive a war anyway, South Korea is vastly superior to North Korea and Japan is still an island nation.
    Well, they might not need to spend much more even if the USA disappeared tomorrow.

    Europe is militarily superior to all its non-allied neighbours (Arabs, Belarus, Russia) at once.

    I believe the Americans usually exaggerate their influence.
    That's (just like their position) impossible to prove, though - unless we find a parallel universe with the right differences.

  5. i wonder if Europeans would believe that if a resurgent Russia appeared on the scene (over exaggerated influence). i think, and i can hardly speak for all Americans but i do believe that many think that Europe hasn't invested enough in defense and that they've depended on America to pull their wt. what do you think and do you think that an inward looking Europe is viable. population trends indicate that Arabs are in the midst of a takeover and will soon own France without having fired a shot...just had babies. does the EU have the political will to keep Europe- European or is it in the midst of change.

  6. I usually react quite harshly when this American nonsense about Muslims/Arabs in Europe is being mentioned...

    Reality is more complex than such tales.

  7. G. von Sven Ortmann : Thanks for putting up this bulletin log. Especially the parts on military hardware, an important aspect I don't really investigate on (more interested in operational & tactical concepts than machine technics). Once again, Recht schönen Dank.

    P.S. : I've forgotten what your "G" stood for.

  8. A future police state is not a uniqely German problem, it concerns all of us europeans. We should pay more attention on what is happening above the level of sovereign states. While i do support the idea of the Union, we must be wary of its misuse.

  9. Your first name, before von Sven Ortmann.

  10. "von" means "by" and is indeed part of noble names, but mostly used simply as "by".

    I finally found out how to translate the final parts of the template and now you can read "written by Sven Ortmann" instead of "geschrieben von Sven Ortmann". :-)

  11. I think that this slight shift of focus will make your blog even more interesting. Thankyou for sharing your ideas!

    Paolo S

  12. Forgive my pathetic use of German. & here I was, ASSuming you were aristocracy.

  13. Efficiency in a military is a nice dream, but I think we have the wrong guys in charge. I totally agree that we should ask ourselves about necessary military spending because the money being spent is for external security of a population and the most security comes from being able to protect a strong economy.

    Security can't be counted in numbers, price of weapons and personnel in uniforms. The Russian blog sublime oblivion http://www.sublimeoblivion.com/2011/01/16/top-10-powerful-countries-2011/ mentions the Chinese view on world power. Military dominance, like the Americans have, is only a fraction of the sources from which power derives under their criteria (probably this has also to do with a sino-centric narrative of world developments).

    Just consider the hypothetical case if the US carries on to buy and use arms on government debt. These arms don't pay off for the whole nation, even if they capture all oil fields (but they can create pay off for politically influential groups). So the US is losing wealth through interest on consumption debts on a large scale without an economically adequate benefit. This can be the military at large and your own house at small levels. Unlike debt for investments into productivity you are increasingly unlikely to pay them back under faltering economic conditions.
    Under such a faltering economy with rising interests for further debt financing or reduced state distributeable income (customs&taxes) there'll be a tripping point when military innovations can't be introduced in numbers any more. Now a peer opponent, who bid his time on the stronger and less expensive defense while developing his skilled manpower source, can rapidly introduce in larger numbers newest military developments that outclass the old equipment stored and used by the former leading power.
    This rising power is even advised to produce inexpensive defense and training equipment while biding time and developing&debugging his many revolutionary hardware ideas on prototype scale. Such an approach can lead to a very sudden, hard to predict, change in world power distribution within a short timeframe. It gives the power that kept a low profile until ready the ability to use violence to change international contracts with limited danger of a negative backlash by a peer opponent.
    The defense against such a sneaky attempt is arms expenditure reduction in favour of development and evaluation of ideas.
    In my opinion many BRICS have the ground-work for a sneaky attempt at restructuring the world by quickly changed potential for violence and I'm afraid this will happen in the 21st century.