The lack of trust and cooperation among States, and the diminished faith in “the very multilateral institution that was designed to maintain global peace and security”, must be overcome, a high-level UN official told a prominent disarmament conference on Thursday.
“There is an urgent need to stop the erosion of the nuclear order. All countries possessing nuclear weapons have an obligation to lead”, Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva (UNOG) Tatiana Valovaya, told the Conference on Disarmament, which she also heads.
The multilateral disarmament forum was established in 1984 to negotiate arms control and disarmament agreements, and meets three times a year in Geneva.
The session began with all participants standing to observe one minute of silence in tribute to those killed in Beirut on 4 August, and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Impetus moving forward
Ms. Valovaya noted that 2020 was a year of important disarmament milestones, including the 75th anniversary of the Organization’s founding, and of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, along with the 50th anniversary of the entry into force of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
“Remembering these landmark moments from our common history is not an end in itself”, she stressed. “Rather, it should provide the impetus to address important questions on the way forward in disarmament”.
She maintained that they should generate momentum to do more to counter the erosion of the disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation architecture, encouraging more constructive work to “negotiate new global legal instruments, including in this Conference”.
She urged participants to “jointly reflect on these issues” and what they mean for the Conference.
Upholding that the body remains an “extraordinary platform for dialogue and confidence-building”, she expressed encouragement over its members’ determination to resume meetings and stood ready, with the Secretariat, to support its work.
Speaking as UNOG chief, Ms. Valovaya explained that the Secretariat was facing “a severe liquidity crisis”.
“While we are sparing no effort to identify ways to re-prioritize and make bridge funding available”, she informed that the Office in Geneva “has not received sufficient funding for normal operations through to the year’s end”.
And this comes on top of “unforeseen expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic”.
She said that her office would soon be briefing Member States in Geneva on the situation, measures and outlook going forward for the rest of the year.
“All possible measures have been taken to make these conference rooms a safe place to be in” she said, in relation to the coronavirus.
“Given that our ability to support hybrid meetings for intergovernmental bodies remains limited, I would encourage you to consider resuming physical meetings soon, allowing you to continue your important work to the fullest extent”, she said.
“I stand ready with my respective teams to extend the maximum support possible to the intergovernmental process in this vitally important area of peace and security that is the multilateral disarmament efforts of you, the Member States”, she concluded.
The President of the Conference on Disarmament, Shameem Ahsan, spoke in his capacity as the Ambassador of Bangladesh, saying that “a broad majority of the Member States” were not happy that the Conference had not delivered any substantial progress over the last two decades.
Stressing the need to “draw upon collective wisdom and act together towards reaching a broad consensus”, he noted that the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings in Japan, reminded the international community of the “real and harrowing consequences of war” and the growing urgency to free the world of nuclear weapons.
A pig in a poke of Lithuanian Armed Forces
The proverb “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link” perfectly reflects the situation in the Lithuanian armed forces. It is it unclear how the army will carry out its tasks, if everything that happens there runs counter to common sense.
The conscription took place in Lithuania. The recruits once again were revealed by an electronic lottery on January 7, 2021. 3,828 recruits were selected from the list of 38 thousand conscripts aged 18 to 23.
The idea of using electronic lottery in such a serious procedure arises a lot of questions among Lithuanians. Young people are suspicious of this method and fully admit the possibility of corruption. Nobody could check the results and so nobody could be blamed for random selection. The more so, the armed forces could get weaker recruits than in case of using usual ways of choosing among candidates. So, the army buys a pig in a poke.
This approach to recruitment in Lithuania results in presence of those with criminal intents and inclinations. Сases of crimes committed by Lithuanian military personnel have increased. Incidents with the involvement of military regularly occurred in Lithuania in 2020.
Thus, a soldier of the Lithuanian army was detained in Jurbarkas in October. He was driving under the influence of alcohol. A Lithuanian soldier suspected of drunk driving was detained also in Siauliai in December. Panevėžys County Chief Police Commissariat was looking for a soldier who deserted from the Lithuanian Armed Forces and so forth.
Such behaviour poses serious risks to public safety and leads to loss of confidence in the Lithuanian army in society.
Lithuanian military officials have chosen a new way to discourage young people from serving in the army, which is already not popular.
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” The ministry of defence decided to run a photo contest that would reflect service in the country’s armed forces. It is doubtful that such pictures will attract to the army, but the real situation is provided.
Usually, popularization is the act of making something attractive to the general public. This contest served the opposite goal. Look at the pictures and make conclusions.
Fatah-1: A New Security and Technological Development About Pakistan’s Indigenous GMLRS
Islamabad: It seems like 2021 has been a good start for Pakistan specifically with regard to stepping up its missile testing. On the 7th of January, the Pakistan military has successfully conducted a purely indigenously developed missile test flight known to be Fatah-1. As stated by various reports, Fatah-1 is an extended-range Guided Multi-Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) which itself is a developed variant of the guided MLRS family.
According to the recent statement given by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) about the newly developed rocket, it was stated: “The weapon system will give Pakistan Army capability of a precision target deep in the enemy territory.” Director-General of Pakistan Army, Media Wing, major general Babar Iftikhar on 7th January tweeted: “Pakistan today conducted a successful; test flight of indigenously developed Fatah-1, Guided Multi Launch Rocket System, capable of delivering a conventional Warhead up to a range of 140 km.”
Defense analyst Mr. Syed Muhammad Ali also stated in his capacity: “the new system was very fast, accurate, survivable, and difficult to intercept”. A video was also shared by ISPR on their official website, in which the missile launch can be seen while being fired from the launcher however, the details on when and where the test flight has taken place, along with the specification of the rocket system are yet to be announced.
Currently, Pakistan Army owns a wide range of Short-Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBM), Medium-Range Ballistic Missiles (MRBM), Battlefield Ballistic Missiles (BBM), Rocket Artillery, and Surface to Surface Cruise Missile (SSCM). In the previous year, Pakistan had also maintained prime success in conducting the Ra’ad-II cruise missile and Ghaznavi surface-to-surface ballistic missile (SSBM). Besides, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) on 30thDecember made apt progress when it comes to the national air defense arsenal as it was announced that PAF is beginning the production of the State-of-the-art JF-17 Thunder Block 3 fighter jets, at the same time acquiring the 14 dual-seat Jf-17 aircraft.
According to various reports, the JF-17 Thunder Block 3 will be said to have a new radar operational capability which will be far better in the practical domain as compared to the Raphael aircraft acquired by India. Whereas, the exchange of 14 dual-seat aircraft, manufactured with Pak-China cooperation were also given to the PAF which will be used for extensive training.
The recent successful testing of Fatah-1 has been considered to be another milestone for Pakistan as it tends to be a fitting response to the recent developments in the conventional capabilities carried out by India and also to India’s Cold Start Doctrine.
Aspects of the American maritime strategy
Let’s start from a premise that should be completely obvious from a strategic point of view: Any maritime strategy, whether the English one – from the eighteenth century to the Second World War – or the American one, is necessarily a long-term strategy and therefore requires long-term investments by looking for where it is possible to anticipate future challenges. We think in this regard of the nuclear aircraft carriers of the Gerald Ford class whose first series should be put into place next year. If the United States has decided to invest substantial resources in the context of the projection of maritime power this depends on the need to consolidate its naval power, consolidation possible both thanks to the economic and financial power they have at least until today and thanks to technological innovation. (let’s think both of the fact for example that the USA is the only nation that builds catapults for flat deck aircraft carriers and to the fact that with the new class of Ford aircraft carriers the Navy will equip itself with electromagnetic catapults that will be able to increase by about one third the current capabilities of the catapults).
Of course, such large investments on the aircraft carrier front are certainly not accidental since these play a fundamental role of traditional deterrence – both in the sense of being able to threaten armed intervention in the event of a crisis – and of nuclear deterrence as long as the aircraft departing from the aircraft carriers being equipped with nuclear weapons, albeit with low potential, they play a very important deterrent role. In short, the aircraft carrier allows the use of gradual or flexible deterrence.
But in order for the US naval power to be effectively consolidated – especially in the context of the Indo-Pacific and therefore as a function of anti-Chinese containment – today as yesterday (we allude to the cold war) the American military infrastructures present in key strategic junctions on a global level allows it to exercise its naval power effectively: the strengthening of the military partnership with Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines must be read just as a renewed interest on the part of the American in the fundamental role of naval power. all these reasons together can only lead us to define the United States as a real modern thalassocracy.
It is no coincidence, on the other hand, that the Obama administration has turned its attention to East and South Asia starting from the realization that the future of the world is at stake in these geopolitical contexts.
In fact, on the front of economic competition with China, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was signed in 2016, a treaty to which – among others – Brunei, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, excluding China. Barack Obama has spelled out his foreign policy program, called The Obama Doctrine, rejecting isolationism and supporting multilateralism. In other words Obama has explicitly pursued the tradition of realism embodied by “senior” Bush and by Scowcroft military interventions, too often supported by the State Department, the Pentagon, and think tanks, should only be used where America is under imminent and direct threat. In an environment where the greatest dangers are now climate, financial or nuclear, it is up to US allies to shoulder their share of the common burden. While agreeing that the relationship with China will be the most critical of all, his political program emphasizes that everything will depend on Beijing’s ability to take on its international responsibilities in a peaceful environment. If it did not do so and allowed itself to be conquered by nationalism, America will have to be resolute and take all initiatives aimed at strengthening its multilateralism in the function of anti-Chinese containment. It is therefore very likely that the current US president Biden will carry out a strategy of this nature.
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