Monday, 12 May 2014

Scenario: finansiellt kärnvapenkrig

Det skrivs mycket intressant och tänkvärt på svenska bloggar just nu, så pass mycket att det är lite svårt att bidra med något som sticker ut. Det nedan är tänkt som en tankeställare och är därmed lite provocerande i sin tydlighet.

Ett par saker finns det kvar att ta upp och det är:
  • Enligt vad jag förstår så har ryska aktörer nyligen hackat ett par svenska finansiella system i kölvattnet av sanktionerna. De har således lyckats kringgå vissa sanktioner på detta vis. De som berörs är ett par aktörer som sysslar med bankkort, om ni förstår vad jag menar. Jag känner själv två som drabbats av det.
  • Det finns ett finansiellt kärnvapen att använda och det är utestängning av Rysslands deltagande i Swift-systemet. Konsekvenserna av en sådan utestängning skulle på en sekund sabotera Rysslands ekonomi. Men konsekvenserna för aktörer utanför Ryssland skulle säkerligen bli stor även den.
  • Ryssland blöder mycket mer per månad än vad som kommer fram i media. Mycket mer. Lägenheten som gick för 1,5 miljarder i London är säkerligen del i denna karusell. Ryssar har dock minskat sina fastighetsköp i Stockholm under den senaste tiden. Varför?
Dagens sanktioner flyttar makten från de med pengar till de med makt (Siloviki, Putins klan om man kan kalla den för det). Enda sättet att verkligen sätta dit Siloviki är att stänga av Swift-systemet för Ryssland - eftersom de nuvarande mindre åtgärderna slår mot deras motståndare. Frågan är om det inte är mindre farligt att påbörja kapprustning och acceptera, tills vidare, Rysslands anspråk på vissa länder.

Det finns de som pekar på att Ryssland skulle vilja basera kvalificerade SAM-system på ett par platser i Sverige, som t.ex. Gotland, för att minska NATO:s trovärdighet i de Baltiska staternas ögon. Ett sådant resonemang kan te sig naturligt ur ett rent militärt perspektiv då det effektivt skulle skära av dessa nationer från all tillförsel av förband från NATO. Samtidigt skulle Östersjön ur alla praktiska avseenden bli en rysk innansjö, vilket de alltid velat så vitt jag kan förstå.

Det ovan är oroande men jag hävdar att bilden kan vara mycket mer nyanserad och välplanerad.
Ponera att Putin & Co (Siloviki) vill stärka sin maktposition inom riket. Då måste man minska övriga fraktioners inflytande. De övriga är guvernörer, oligarker o liknande. De är beroende av pengar. Sanktionerna som EU och USA utsatt Ryssland för slår i huvudsak mot Putins motståndare. Schack.

Ponera vidare att Ryssland vill tvinga fram en ny världsordning som inte bygger på det nuvarande kapitalistiska systemet med frihandel, då vill man eliminera länders förmåga att betala varandra elektroniskt eftersom det är grunden i allt. Om Ryssland stängs ute från Swift finns det en, för Ryssland, logisk grund för att med Cybervapen slå ut alla delssystem (och man har inget att förlora) som gör Swift möjligt i västvärlden. Samtidigt som man gör det infiltrerar man alla former av betalsystem (börsen är det ingen som bryr sig i, de sakerna kan man ratta manuellt) vilket effektivt skulle göra finansieringsmodellen som vi använder oss av idag helt omöjlig att använda. I detta ligger det faktum att det elektroniska finanssystemet har ungefär 10 gånger mer (det är den senaste siffran jag hört, rätta mig om jag har fel här) pengar än vad som finns i rent fysiska termer. Grunden för vårt välfärdssystem är således abstrakt och omöjligt att överblicka utan kvalificerade IT-system som kan kommunicera med varandra över hela världen.

För USA där exporten utgör ca 14% (2011) av BNP är utrikeshandeln inget större problem, de kommer klara sig då de har god kontroll på sina kritiska infrastrukturer. För Sverige och Tyskland däremot som båda spelar med export runt 50% av BNP blir det enormt viktigt att kunna betala och bli betalad från andra länder. Så ser det ut i ett EU där svaga länder lånat enorma summor pengar till andra svaga länder. Varje dag ska någon bli betald för att det ska finnas mat på bordet, inga reserver här inte.

Det är ungefär nu man säkert önskar att man på riksnivå hanterade vad vi kallar för Countering Hybrid Threats (CHT, en NATO-metod) eftersom man inte kan angripa det nuvarande problemet som ett rent militärt sådant, eller något annat för den saken skull. Detta är icke-linjär krigföring och det är min uppfattning att vi just nu lever mitt i upptakten till det tredje världskriget - det är bara det att den sekund man säger en sådan sak på nationell nivå så drar en himla massa processer igång. I krigsavhållande syfte är vi fortfarande i "business as usual". Men med de krig och konflikter som pågår runt i världen just nu kan man nog inte kalla det här för något annat.

EU sitter således i skiten och i denna ingår även vi. Särintresset slår tillbaka.

Schack matt. Fram med jägarköket och tältet.

Glöm inte att rösta på oss Moderater i EU-valet, aldrig förr har det varit så viktigt att ha vassa personer som Gunnar Hökmark på plats för att slåss för frihandeln. Det är inte en självklarhet.

PS. en del anför att Ryssland blickar österut med oroade ögon på Kina. Ja det gör de säkert. Men man kan faktiskt blicka på alla som oroar en samtidigt och hantera denna komplexitet om man bara vet vad man gör. DS.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Adventures and harmony

I'm just standing here, enjoying life, but look I've got this fishing rod, that makes it perfectly normal. ;-)
There's so much talk about conflict, shattered bonds of trust and violence these days. Working with, and being otherwise involved in, the things I am it can become a bit gloomy.

So that's why this entry tries to be something else. Don't know if I will succeed, but let me know if I do.

Harmony, discord, happiness, darkness, angry lions
I used to have a glass, it was transparent
until I filled it with something that wasn't
then nothing shone through, but I saw that which replaced the light

Once you fill something it becomes inaccessible for other receptions
it shines only as what it is and not what you might want it to be
This is simple, and perhaps that is the thing

We say love matters, we really do, I bet you have used that word many times, love
but words actually don't matter much, they are but an echo of the turmoil you carry
in your heart, your mind, the ache in your knees and the dreams of your soul

But harmony, which cannot be touched or viewed, it cannot be defined
it can only happen
and then it's gone

I believe seeking to understand, because I don't know if it is actually possible to understand it fully, what actions that create harmony is one of the most important things in life, although I don't know if I'm any good at it

I seek harmony out by doing things, and then, by not doing things
and then I do them together, and then I don't do them at all

I end up in the woods, all alone, perhaps my father is within visual range,
it is silent, or rather, void of mechanical noise, it is natural
I fly-fish, don't get many fishes, they ruin the harmony, the killing I mean
never felt full of harmony while taking a life, but the fishing gives me a reason to stand alone in moving water far out in the woods, people would believe I'm nuts if I just stood there not doing anything (message)
so I seek and I find within, if I listen or dare
and then harmony seek me out and speaks, and just then, there, I feel alive and filled with happiness

I find myself on the mountains of Sarek, the last wilderness in Europe, it's in Sweden, above the Polar circle
Perhaps Marika, the love of my life is there, and in a few years my son Sebastian (yes, he's a bit short right now, soon to be 5 months)
There are no trace of mankind here, perhaps a small path but only perhaps, most often not, I actually try to avoid them
Mother nature is fierce here, she kills and she intimidates, she dominates but then she allow yourself to pass mental and physical barriers like no where else would ever allow
She is, and I breathe, and there are only the moment, of harmony, after a long day of walking without a second breakfast


A beautiful day in Sarek, Sweden
A night in Sarek. It don't get any darker than this.
This one is 9 years old and this is me realizing that the weather is turning and when it does, you count minutes, and just a few of them before it hails down.
Father and son, just hanging on the porch, talking about nothing, drinking some of the last really clean water in the world.

My love, relaxing. You can't buy this.

Hey, aren't clouds supposed to be, like, above? No. They aren't.
One time, back in those mountains, 2-3 days (depending on your strength) from civilization, our tent broke at 0130 hrs (in the night that is) as the storm winds, without rain though (it rains a lot in Sarek, like the tropics actually) ripped the very fabric of our tent
Nothing to do but to fast as hell grab all the stuff before it was caught in the wind and moved away for, well, pretty much ever
this is a precarious situation, if you don't know what to do

In modern life, behind desks in rooms with air condition, a roof above your head and concrete for the building to rest on, everything is pretty much safe, you can exist here, live by having opinions, progress by pretending to know what you do and above all, you don't have to act when you should

In storms, people who thinks too much or debates, tend to die
We acted, no words at all, like a machine with a purpose everything was packed in minutes and we were ready to go, and we started walking in the middle of the night, but know that it is never fully dark this far north during the summer, we walked below a dark fiery red and blue sky with dark edges, glowing but kind, soothing, the stars were out

Without a tent in the wilderness, you are really not going to do well if Mother nature  decides to punish you, but instead she gave us the gift of finding an abandoned Sami cottage, mostly a wreck, small and cramped, but it was beautiful, and we got shelter

In the morning, just after a couple of hours sleep, the sun shone through the cracks in the cottage, which had a roof of grass on splintered pieces of wood
I've never felt more alive or happy even as I knew we would have to walk more than 20 km with a lot on my shoulders in hard terrain, I felt harmony, in those rays of light

When we finally arrived at the mountain station at the edge of the area, Saltoluokta, we rented a tent (dangerous, we like to know our gear, but hey, sometimes that won't work either) and went back into Sarek from a different entrance point. No one gives me these gifts and then expect me to huddle at a station.

When I did my first concert during my time at the university, I struck one tone on my guitar and then I don't remember anything until we're at the encore. People stage dived, screamed, laughed, and that night the tone in my guitar played through my body and not my ears, I rode the tones and they rode me, when this happens the world goes away and I exist
Absolute harmony, happiness and joy, it was me once again playing with my cars in the sandbox on my backyard, alone with my thoughts, in silence, and dreaming, the world have never been so big

It brings focus, awareness, relaxation and this is love
This is harmony, individual strands of life of different sorts, meeting, fleetingly, coalescing into something bigger than the sum of the parts, it is life

These are quiet harmonies, toned down, like a pause between words, and they contain true energy

But they are all vulnerable and need to be approached with sensitive hands
Lest they be gone

Perhaps seeking out this kind of harmony, yours might be different, is the true purpose of our time in the common world and perhaps this requires that we truly seek to love and not hate, because who will give such precious gifts to people that only hate?

The only thing I truly know is that if you live in Sweden and truly visit all of Sweden in order to seek out harmony, no other nation will bring you closer. You watch The Hobbit and Lord of the rings, well, this is it (and Norway, kind of the same nation really, we just like to have many flags).

Thursday, 10 April 2014

USSR show signs of life

In Russia, Mikhail Gorbachev is accused of committing a crime when enabling the USSR breakup. The accusation comes from a group of State Duma members from different political factions.

"Gorbachev is accused of creating the USSR State Council and chairing this institution, which was not stipulated by the Soviet Constitution as a government authority. It was the State Council that adopted orders on recognizing the independence of Baltic Soviet republics, although such decisions could not be made even by legitimate authorities."

Let's think about this for a while. If this was a crime according to Russian law and if the authorities that made the decision to break up USSR and declare the Baltic States as independent weren't legit, and if time is of no consequence in these matters, does this mean that Russia formally still consider them a part of the Russian Federation?

And if so, what will 1) Russia, 2) NATO and 3) EU do? But more important for Swedes: we in Sweden are formally committed to the security, freedom and prosperity of the Baltic States. When will we have to own up?

Anecdote: Sweden lost the battle against Russia in Poltava. The year was 1709.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Understanding Russia (updated)

This article is angled in a certain way by design in order to provide another perspective to most of the things you might read or hear. Some parts should also be questioned as I don’t believe everyone would assume the things to be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

And don't forget that I'm an amateur when it comes to these things, which means that I can have missed something that a pro wouldn't.

Russian history
Russia is an idea and that idea revolves around power and it has to be in that way as Russia, through its geography, is weak by design.

But the beginning is more interesting and this beginning is contested. Recent research, though, shows that the following is a plausible description of events.

update 20140327:
"According to the most prevalent theory, the name Rus', like the Finnish name for Sweden (Ruotsi), is derived from an Old Norse term for "the men who row" (rods-) as rowing was the main method of navigating the rivers of Eastern Europe, and that it could be linked to the Swedish coastal area of Roslagen (Rus-law) or Roden, as it was known in earlier times. The name Rus' would then have the same origin as the Finnish and Estonian names for Sweden: Ruotsi and Rootsi.", Wikipedia on Rus' people.

The heart of what could be called Viking Land is normally attributed to Scandinavia which today is composed of Sweden and Norway. Scientists have recently begun adding Finland to Scandinavia which is wrong. However, both variants are erroneous. The real set of Viking nations are Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. These nations, together with Finland, are normally grouped as The Nordic Nations or Nordic Countries.

The word Viking has no real English translation but the “Vik” part means cove in English. Adding “ ing” symbolizes a person who uses, or frequents, coves. Perhaps “Covesians” would be a good word. There is no such word in English though and Viking sounds cool enough. And it’s a Swedish word. And it's of no coincidence that the Swedish Amphibious Core uses a Viking helmet as unit badge.

The Byzantine emperor Konstantin Porphyrogennetos created a book with the title De Administrando Imperio more than a thousand years ago in which the people “Rus” where mentioned and their trade operations in Eastern Europe. The Rus are the Scandinavian Vikings (predominantly the Swedish ones, the Norse Vikings mainly travelled elsewhere). Descriptions of the Swedish Vikings using the word Rus are frequent in other sources, although it is contested if the Rus gave birth to the Russian Empire, emanating from Kiev in Ukraine. It is one of the possible strands of history and it rhymes with the reasoning behind Putin’s affection for Ukraine – The heart of Russia.

Viking activity in Eastern Europe escalated as Sweden as a nation reformed around 700-800 AD. Many Vikings found it better to extend travel and find new opportunities elsewhere. It is around these years that Vikings are present so far east as Volga and there are historic texts that describe how Vikings lived and died along the Volga River in the year 922.

But, at the same time, there is a small river in Ukraine that goes by the name Ros. I'm not sure if the many Vikings that landed there gave birth to the name Rus or if the people that lived there pre-Vikings where the Rus who later created Russia.



One thing is for sure though; Russians and Vikings do share a common history to a certain extent.

update 20140327:
"According to the Primary Chronicle of Rus', compiled in about 1113 AD, the Rus' had relocated "from over sea", first to northeastern Europe, creating an early polity that finally came under the leadership of Rurik. Later, Rurik's relative Oleg captured Kiev, founding Kievan Rus'.[5][6] The descendants of Rurik were the ruling dynasty of Rus' (after 862), and of principalities created in the area formerly occupied by Kievan Rus', Galicia-Volhynia (after 1199), Chernigov, Vladimir-Suzdal, Grand Duchy of Moscow, and the founders of the Tsardom of Russia."

If the above holds true, and it's contested, it implies that Swedish Vikings founded Russia. I know the following is extremely far-fetched, but what does this mean if Russia today considers Kiev to be the heart of Russia? Does this also mean that Roslagen in Sweden is even more important, as those who made Kiev heart of Russia actually came from Roslagen? Probably not, but it's an interesting thought if one tries to think outside the box for a while. Admit it, two months ago you didn't believe Russia would invade Ukraine as well - so how much do you understand, I mean, really? ;-)

Anyhow, if Vikings premieres anything special I would say it is courage, drive, skills in strategy, trade and combat. You would probably see the word integrity somewhere in that mix as well. Vikings have a nasty habit of surprising people and have it their way.

Russians call this "Maskirovka".

Sweden used to be catholic until King Gustav Vasa cut the ties with Rhome in 1524. Prior to this, Swedish Knights participated in crusades. Some of these crusades went to the Baltic States and Russia. The Baltic States and some parts of Russia became the battle ground for the western Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. Sweden reformed and became Protestants, but the history is still there.

And so on.

Russian leadership
Russians are renowned for being pragmatic. They tend to do exactly what has to be done in order to protect their Centre of Gravity while destabilising and disrupting the enemy.

If they have to burn their own ground while retreating in order to starve the enemy they will do just that. Or rather, they did (scorched earth).

Whereas European leaders, to a certain extent, live their lives in- and outside processes that are driven by ideology and dreams of a more humane future, the Russians do not. The short period of hard-core left wing ideology during the Cold War has now been replaced with pragmatism and realism (from a Russian point of view). However, the Orthodox Church has got a lot more backing now in Russia compared to the Communist Era (there could be no other religion except for Communism back then).

The reason why people in Western Europe can allow themselves to dream is because as a whole we are on the top levels of the Maslow hierarchy of needs. Russians are (except for a few really rich ones) at the lower levels.
The Russian nation has a sincere sense of urgency that Europe does not share. This affects the different forms of leadership we now may come to see during the following decades.

Russians do not perceive the world in the same way that an average Englishman, German or French do. If the perception differ, so does the decisive points forward, the Centre of Gravity and the goals. If these things differ, so do the decision basis for acting and therefore also the means to solve whatever problem is in front of you.

“War is not merely a political act but a real political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse, a carrying out of the same by other means.”, Carl von Clausewitz

Peace vs. war
Does peace actually exist? Can a nation survive and prosper without fighting for a better tomorrow, a fight that one way or the other affects other nations?

The problem is that if you divide the world into peace or war times, is that there exist a threshold that has to be overcome when moving from peace to war. Therefore mental friction is inserted in the process of going to war and events play out more slowly, buying time that is needed for negotiations that might hinder us from going to war. We, the Western world, nowadays want to avoid war at all cost as we see such a process as destructive and negative. To others, that ambition just isn’t there and they might actually see war as a way of rekindling the national spirit and might even see war as something that creates a better future for the nation. The value of a human life, and a death as well, differs between nations and you need to factor in the concept of relative advantage.

If you do not use that division, between war and peace, then the threshold doesn’t exist. You really need to understand this if you are going to analyze intent and probability in the movement from peace to war. And it looks different for all nations as words mean different things in different languages and each word comes with a heritage – and nations are defined by their geography. If you don’t try to view the situation from the other nation’s perspective, you will live in a fantasy. It might feel all warm and fuzzy to start with, but sooner or later it gets wet and cold.

Now, peace as a concept is relatively new even in the Western world. I do not know why the concept was created but it has probably got something to do with all the wars we have had amongst ourselves and with others. Somewhere people grew tired, into the bone, and we created a period of mental crisis that had to be passed before going to war. We created a world where war wasn’t going to happen as a pure reptile reaction. We succeeded but the majority of nations does not share this heritage and therefor do not view the world in the same way.

The process also led some of us into oblivion where no one speaks about or remembers the battles we started, the crimes we committed and the people we killed. If we forget, it doesn’t mean that others have.

Does peace exist in the Russian mentality and do they know their history better than we know ours?

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Ukraine and how Putin acquired the initiative

Russia is weak from a geographic point of view - weaker than most non-Russians might see. NATO is closer than ever before and the western fingers are clawing further and further into the heart of Russia. From a Russian perspective, the Cold War ended in a way it shouldn't and Russia lost face, people and land. Crimea is one piece of that puzzle; the Baltic States, Moldavia and Poland are others. Russia has been much focused during the Putin regime: make the EU addicted to Russian energy, save money on a pile and equip the Russian Armed Forces with state-of-the-art weapons. And then exercise.

Georgia was mainly, I believe, a way for Russia to combine two things. Firstly, it meant that Russia could try out its military hardware and see what needed to be fixed. Secondly, it meant that Putin could pass one decisive point on its road of national restoration, namely rapping the US and EU on their noses. It was a warning.

These things, and I’ve just touched upon a few of the available ones, means something. Financial actions taken from the EU will be weak and disparate. Germany do not share the same sense of urgency as Poland does (Poland is to the east of Germany and therefore acts as a buffer to Berlin) and Spain does not have the same dependency on Russia as Germany does. And France wanted to sell Mistral class amphibious assault ships to Russia, which could be used if Russia wanted to claim Gotland (a strategic Swedish island in the Baltic Sea). It seems France still wants to sell them and no one is urging them all that hard to stop the deal.

Russia has succeeded in dividing the EU and the EU was eager to be so divided. The economic crisis is everything that a direction-less Europe has to cling on to, an EU where corruption and weak leadership is abundant. Many people of the EU have lost their faith in the political leadership and no longer believe that the direction we’re heading in is sound. Destructive nationalism, fascism and egoism are increasing to levels that once again might become dangerous.

The EU is weak and cannot do much beyond medium-level sanctions (the current ones) because it worries about money, which it always has, and would never risk worsening the economic crisis. A crisis that now has caused politico-military tensions between member states (both NATO and EU, most are both) and small groups of nations are forming their own military cooperation groups. Multi-lateral once again becomes bilateral, which is the favored way of operation for Russia.

The Nordic Nations, some of which make out Scandinavia, have a long history and cares for each other. From Germany and southward you would be hard pressed to get an honest answer stating that Sweden is considered a “true” part of the European continent – we are Scandinavia in the eyes of others and that is the last thing we want to hear. Being Europeans is important for us. When the EU worked well, these differences meant little, but they are once again surfacing as relevant lines of division in the hearts and minds of people. And brave politicians still struggle for the EU project but it becomes ever more difficult to do that with a smile. This is dangerous.

And geography still define us.

Poland and the Baltic States now perceive the situation to be worsening. The US is dispatching a few more fighter jets to these NATO nations, jets that only make a symbolic difference, but they do mean something real: once again, the US faces the fact that Europe is a security consumer, not a provider. No other nation in Europe has dared to do something that actually matters other than increasing their military presence in areas of its own interest. The list the US produced when it came to sanctions actually targeted people that have power in Russia. The EU list didn’t.

This is a simple situation for European leaders: they only have to follow as events play out between the US and Russia (shouldn’t be that way but the EU security policies are dictated by geography and limited through its dependence on Russia). It becomes simple because the European leaders do not "want". Putin, however, have a lot of "want" in him. Obama is about to find out if he wants something as well.

Russia will most certainly deepen their collaboration with Iran and start building nuclear power plants. Russia will most certainly also continue to play the Syria card. Russia will also re-align many of the former friends of the Soviet Union towards new goals, resembling much of what we’ve seen during the past 100 years or so.

Behind all this, China continues to have an argument with Japan, a Japan that is strengthening its own military muscles and thereby eroding the arrangement made between them and the US after the Second World War. In many ways, the US will now be forced to increase its global military presence once again and considering the costs this will entail, they will also require things from a weak, disoriented and leaderless Europe. And as always, as long as we have peace in Europe, things will remain fairly stable. But once the first shot is fired, all bets are off.

If Europe decides to re-arm it might be difficult to make sure that the process makes everyone comfortable within the borders of the EU.

"No nation has friends only interests.", Charles De Gaulle

These are times of Sun Tzu. A relevant excerpt from Wikipedia:
“In 1994, the U.S. Army's Field Manual 100–5 listed the following basic principles:
  • Objective: Direct every military operation toward a clearly defined, decisive and attainable objective. "The ultimate military purpose of war is the destruction of the enemy's armed forces and will to fight."
  • Offensive: Seize, retain, and exploit the initiative. Even in defense, a military organization is expected to maintain a level of aggressiveness by patrolling and launching limited counter-offensives.
  • Mass: Mass the effects of overwhelming combat power at the decisive place and time.
  • Economy of Force: Employ all combat power available in the most effective way possible; allocate minimum essential combat power to secondary efforts.
  • Maneuver: Place the enemy in a position of disadvantage through the flexible application of combat power.
  • Unity of Command: For every objective, seek unity of command and unity of effort.
  • Security: Never permit the enemy to acquire unexpected advantage.
  • Surprise: Strike the enemy at a time or place or in a manner for which he is unprepared.
  • Simplicity: Prepare clear, uncomplicated plans and concise orders to ensure thorough understanding.
The British military adds to the above list:
  • Maintenance of Morale
  • Administration.
 The Russian doctrine is similar, but includes the concept of Annihilation as well.”
 
Let’s ponder on that Russian addition.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Glasnost

Am I the only one who's been waiting for the current events in Ukraine for, say, a little more than five years now? Or forever, really. Anyone who knows anything about anything within national security saw this coming. That's why I've been fighting for a serious attitude towards national defence in Sweden. Where some people speak volumes about solidarity some also tend to forget that solidarity comes with a cost. That cost, I dare say, hasn't been paid in Sweden or in any other Nordic nation (but we suck the most, I'll give the other Nordic nations that much). That cost also covers having the right set of leaders available if shit hits the fan. A general who hasn't (been allowed to lead) led a complete national defence in serious combat exercises yearly don't know shit about winning wars (seriously, leading a battalion or brigade does not come close to the complexities of all-out nation-on-nation warfare). A Prime minister who do not respect the military forces and their reason for existence does, likewise, not cut it.

So. Let's give aid. Right. But how?

I'd hate to be the Baltic states right now. Or Finland. Or... anyone, pretty much. I mean, nothing has changed. Russia just went for a pit-stop for a couple of years and are back on the track with a brand new set of tyres. But wait. Sweden has, one-way, bound itself to be able to receive or give aid in case Sweden or a neighbour is threatened. Shit, I bet you were worried there for a while.

Mmm. Let's listen to the leaders of Europe when they make Russia not be Russia. It's going to be interesting. And a little sad. And for some a little bit scary. To me, it's the same shit me and my family's been living (and dying) in for generations.

I tried to find more modern Swedish fighters in a similar long row. Fail. But this is what you need when using big words. Volume.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Krigsavhållande tröskelförmåga

FOI har precis släppt en ny rapport: Krigsavhållande tröskelförmåga – Det svenska försvarets glömda huvuduppgift?. Läs den.

Ett mantra genom åren inom försvarsområdet har varit att med högre kapacitet och kvalitet kan man motivera kraftfulla reduceringar i numerär. Någonstans går gränsen för rimlighet och reson. Jag tror vi är allt fler som idag inte behöver påpeka att vår Försvarsmakt idag har passerat just denna gräns, vi har alldeles för få enheter av olika sorter och alldeles för få övningar där man på riktigt tillåts konsumera verkansdelar för att bli bättre. Simulatorer ersätter inte verkliga explosioner och fysiska risker. De geografiska avstånden mellan förbanden gör det idag nästan helt omöjligt att genomföra kvalificerade försvarsövningar.

Nedan ses en lista från ovan nämnda FOI-rapport där man kan se hur kraftfull minskningen i numerär är fram till och med 2009. Trenden har inte brutits och även om retoriken är annorlunda idag än 2006 så fortsätter försvarsanslaget och FM uppgifter att peka på en fortsatt minskning av numerären under de kommande tio åren.

Det är inte orimligt att anta, precis som jag skrev för ett år sedan och flera med mig ungefär då, att 30% av våra enheter måste skäras bort under decenniet som kommer med nuvarande eknomi (alltså med antagandet att vi inte minskar budgeten). Om de reduceringarna ska ge ordentlig ekonomisk effekt kommer man bli tvingad att kapa en hel försvarsgren. Just nu ser det ut som det är Marinen som är fokus för den kapningen, vilket går stick i stäv med all form av kompetent försvarsanalys. Sverige har längst kust av alla länder runt Östersjön och måste därför kunna verka avhållande på hela Östersjön, vilket kräver en kraftfull Marin i alla dimensioner. Samma argument kan anföras för Flygvapnet och Armén - ingen nation med någon form av vett skulle ens drömma om att försätta sig i en situation där man ens teoretiskt skulle kunna finna sig tvingad att avveckla en vapengren.

Försvarsmakten har nämnt att de behöver 30 miljarder till för materiel under åren som kommer. Det är under förutsättning att det försvar Regering och Riksdag beställde för ett antal år sedan, 2008 tror jag det var, fortfarande är relevant givet att bedömningarna om läget nu har förändrats i grunden.

Personligen tror jag att ett relevant försvar behöver tillskott i klassen 200 miljarder under de kommande tio åren för att kunna leverera det skydd och den avhållande effekt som vi behöver. Om försvaret ställs mot skola och vård i politikers tankar kan Sverige aldrig få ett ändamålsenligt försvar, mot sådana resonemang förlorar man varje dag tills konflikten drabbar oss och då är det för sent.

Varför sådana summor, 200 mdr? Jag är ingen expert, men det känns rimligt att anta att Sverige behöver bland annat, för egen del och för Nordens del:
  • Rikstäckande markbaserat BMD-system kort- och medeldistans, early warning >5 min
  • Sjöbaserad radar som stödjer markbaserat BMD-system med early warning, invisning och med egna verkansenheter, med kvalificerad förmåga att slå i luften, på och under ytan, samtidigt (tex Arleigh Burke Aegis med SPY-radar)
  • Kvalificerad ytstrids- och ubåts-jaktförmåga, kräver ubåts-jakthelikoptrar, fler ubåtar,  korvetter med eget missilbaserat luftvärn, nya minröjare, nya sjömålsrobotar med högre hastighet och längre räckvidd, osv
  • Utökad patrulleringsförmåga genom anskaffning av små och snabba patrullbåtar
  • Tre kvalificerade amfibiebataljoner med hög grad av expeditionär rörlighet (ska kunna landstiga och ta Gotland motsv), kräver större fartyg tex Mistral och nya tyngre fordon, fler stridsbåtar och nya hkp/VTOL-flygplan (motsv Osprey), amfibiska artillerisystem och eget luftvärn
  • Tungt robotbatteri med nya robotar som kan slå mot sjö- och markmål, räckvidd från fastland till mål bortom Gotland.
  • En modern rikstäckande armé med lätt mekaniserade förband som har egen hkp-förmåga och CAS-förmåga inbyggt i sina förband (jmf A-10 Thunderbolt el Apache organiserat som arméflyg)
  • JAS 39 E Gripen bestyckas för alla sina roller, inkl mark- och sjömålsmissiler med längre räckvidd, och utrustas för att kunna flyga som störare (jmf Lansen)
  • 30 st F15 Silent Eagle alt Strike Eagle anskaffas som komplement till JAS 39.
En lista som den ovan kan nog avfärdas rätt lätt, jag är ingen försvarsplaneringsexpert som sagt, och många experter skulle förmodligen anse den som "overkill" eller snedvriden. Tur då att jag får nöja mig med att skriva en önskelista.

Kommentera gärna med din egen dream team lista :)

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Korrumperade muppar i politiken

Få har väl missat dagens mediastorm runt fackförbundet LO:s finansiering av det politiska partiet Socialdemokraterna.

Första tanken kan ju vara att "åh vad orättvist, ska (s) få så mycket pengar av ett enda fackförbund?"

Reaktionen på den tanken kan bli att "(s) bildade LO för över hundra år sedan, det är ju andra sidan på samma mynt, kom igen vad är grejen?".

Mmm. Det kanske var det då, i ett annat samhälle som säkerligen inte var lika jämlikt och demokratiskt som idag. Ett av de viktigaste begreppen i demokrati är principen om likabehandling. Cirka hälften av LO:s medlemmar röstade *inte* på (s) år 2010. Om LO ska ge pengar till politiska partier borde pengarna fördelas helt enligt med hur LO:s medlemmar röstar, vilket dock skulle innebära åsiktsregistrering. Så, för att vara demokratiska måste de agera odemokratiskt. Slutsatsen blir ju då att de ska upphöra att finansiera politiska partier. Kan man ju tycka.

Andra tanken kan ju bli "men kom igen nu, LO:s politiska plattform ligger ju mycket närmare vänsterpartiets (v) än (s)".

Ja precis: försöker LO styra, påverka, (s) att bli mer vänster än vad det är? Hur mycket makt har LO egentligen och har det gått så långt att man kan anta att (s) inte är ett suveränt parti utan bara en exekutiv arm av LO eller andra intressen? Denna fråga bör man ställa när man tittar på alla fackförbund.

Spindlar och spindelnät i flera dimensioner. Det svenska politiska landskapet innehåller fortfarande massor med inslag som känns rent ut sagt kriminellt för mig. Ingen tjänar egentligen på det, allas integritet går att ifrågasätta och i bakgrunden står ett par familjer och mäktiga män samt kvinnor som dikterar vad människor ska tycka, känna och vilja. Det är riktigt obehagligt.

En annan intressant fråga är hur människor väljs till höga positioner inom (s). Vet du egentligen hur det går till? Jag tror en hel del skulle uppskatta den artikeln i form av ett par dygn intensivgranskning.

Jag hoppas innerligt att media fortsätter att sakligt granska alla maktstrukturer runt den politiska makten. Bara på det viset kan vi återuppbygga människors förtroende och intresse för politiken.

Friday, 31 January 2014

Princip ett för avvägningsbeslut

Det händer att politiker gör en tankevurpa när de pratar om pengar till försvar relativt andra samhällsområden.

Det är inte ovanligt att man hör saker som "jo visst är det viktigt med ett starkt försvar, men kostnaderna måste ju vägas mot andra områden som skola, sjukvård och sociala skyddsnät".

Det ovan är undermålig argumentation, men ändå något många politiker tillåter sig. Kanske för att de är helt enkelt inte tillräckligt begåvade för att tänka annorlunda, men mer troligt är att de tänker så därför att de är mer intresserade av att behålla makten efter nästa val istället för att tjäna sin nation. Vi får inte glömma att de dessutom lever i en social miljö som bejakar denna typ av jargong.

Försvar förlorar alltid mot områden som ger medborgarna positiv direkt effekt i vardagen i fredstid. Därför förlorar man, i goda tider, alltid mot skola och dylika områden. Det är i alla fall den sanning många politiker intalar varandra och sig själv och kan nog gälla i vissa sammanhang. Min erfarenhet är dock inte sådan - snarare är det så att svenskar, infödda och inflyttade, förväntar sig att Sverige som nation kan försvara sig. Man kan likna det vid en Mercedes, vem frågar om den är byggd med högsta kvalitetstänk? Ingen, det är underförstått. Det är bara när kvaliteten helt plötsligt sviktar (eftersom någon i ledningen inte kunde se just det ordet i alla undersökningar som har gjorts: denne förstod inte vad som döljer sig under ytan) som människor reagerar och då har varumärket redan förstörts. Förtroende tar lång tid att bygga upp men raseras lätt på en minut, med ett enda intressant uttalande.

Anledningen till varför detta är ett problem är att försvar kräver långsiktighet, bortom tio år åt gången, medan den typ av ställningstagande som ses ovan i bästa fall tvingar in försvaret av nationen i en årsbaserad ekonomi och i värsta fall kvartalsekonomi. Visst, en bra skola tar precis lika lång tid, sjukvård även den, och kanske är det här som den moderna svenska politiken visar sitt fula ansikte. Långsiktigt ansvarstagande ledarskap har i alla kretsar (nja, inte riktigt) ersatts av polerad populism och hipster-anda.

Men vi behöver inte oroa oss, det kommer pendla tillbaka, frågan är bara hur den pendlingen går till och vilka som politiskt har mest att förlora i en sådan situation: de som står på podiet eller de som petades ner för ett par år sedan och vill upp igen? Mmm.

Insikt nummer ett för att möjliggöra ett snabbt tillfrisknande från det ovan skapas genom att man går fram till en spegel, ser sig själv i ögat och förklarar, med lugn stämma: "Försvar är skitdyrt. Get over it.". Det är ingen som förväntar sig att man ska gilla det.

Oavsett vad, så här skulle jag göra:
- Vik 2,3% av BNP till militärt försvar (2.0% om vi går med i NATO). Design to cost, det är vad det får kosta och det ger oss även en internationell respekt som vi saknar idag. (vi lägger 1,18% idag och har enorma problem med finansiering av nya militära system, post 2016 blir intressant).
- Fördela resten av pengarna.
- Kom överens med den största politiska motparten på andra sidan färgstrecket om att man alltid ska göra så. På det viset utgår försvaret från valpropaganda, konflikter och berörs inte av regeringsskiften. Det vore ansvarstagande men jag tror inte incitamenten är starka nog för detta hos någon i nuläget. Så därför fortsätter skeppet segla mot kaj i hög fart.

Brace yourself.

Intelligent stupidity

Stupidity is underrated and misunderstood. I, and others, say that being stupid is being human.
Now, Dilbert states that “People are idiots” and Saridis suggested that:

”[If] Artificial Intelligence is the complement of Natural Stupidity then Machine Intelligence is the complement of Computational Stupidity”, Hierarchically intelligent machines, George Saridis

This guy worked for NASA. He was, what I would call, really smart.

Intelligence, as defined by Saridis and many others:
”Intelligence is defined as the capacity to acquire and apply Knowledge”

Notice the capital "K" there.

Intelligence is not IQ. IQ is just a couple of numbers that serve no purpose if without context as it is only measuring a small subset of anyones cognitive ability.

The context could be human (no, it isn’t that obvious that it should be) and therefore you have to ask yourself why humans need intelligence. Why do we? Why must we acquire and apply knowledge and what is Knowledge? Is knowledge a truth or a direction; is it a will or a fact? Is Knowledge something that cannot be challenged?

It turns out that intelligence is abstract and deals with languages, context, intent, values, strategies, perspectives, ideas and will – and so on, whereas precision (which is the opposite to intelligence, and we’ll get to that later on) facts,  mechanisms, metrics and it is always tangible.

The IPDI principle (increasing precision with decreasing intelligence) is very obvious but I bet you haven’t thought about it in that way previously. We’ll have to thank Saridis for that one.

For those that struggle with the above (can’t see why you should, but hey), let’s just agree on the following:
- Intelligence is in your head. It's about doing the right thing for the right reason.
- Precision is in your hands. It's about doing a known thing really well.
- Something that is in your head cannot be in your hands (unless everything turns quantum, which actually is a different sidetrack to all off this but we’ll deal with that another day). The opposite, obviously, also holds true.

Now, easing back on the theory or whatnot, let’s reflect upon the notion of perception. Different levels (and no, high levels are not necessarily more relevant in every situation, you need the right piece in the right place in order to solve the puzzle) have direct influence on how you perceive the world. One of the fears with computer developments (especially artificial intelligence) deals with the concept of the singularity (i.e. when machines can make smarter machines without human intervention) or when computers' ability to perceive the world outdistances the smartest humans in the world. What I, as Magnus, believe is good for you might not be the same thing for an entity that holds twice my IQ. Therefore bad things can happen even if the intent is sound. This is why really bright humans not always does what is perceived as best by the lesser thinkers out there (yeap, is it correct to grade the difference in that way? I do not believe so). Being nice to someone, it is not always such a straightforward thing (some of the time, I'm not counting basic human kindness here because all living things with the heart in the right place knows what that is).

Always be wary of smart people doing funny things. If chemicals are involved, run. Fast. Because it takes a really smart and intelligent person to, when reading the sign “Do not press this button no matter what happens”, push the button in order to see what happens. Others would probably feel that a “smarter person” is trying to help you stay alive whereas “the really smart one” assumes someone is hiding something interesting from you and want all the fun on their own.

Perception. Right, so you’ve probably read the Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy and laughed about the number 42, which is the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. The answer is 42, they say.

Most people, this might be me being stupid assuming such a thing, probably thought that 42 is a symbol for the meaninglessness of that question. How can there be a human answer to that big question?

Well, I just thought that Douglas seems like a smart guy so he probably meant something real with that question but put it in such a way that most people wouldn’t understand. I mean, I would, because that is a really funny thing to do.

So what is 42 then? Well, it’s pretty obvious to me that it must be 13 + 1 + 20 + 8. Numbers again you say, how stupid isn’t that (hey, I’m human and I’m loving it). So, if you take these four numbers and apply them on the alphabet you get…. MATH! Now, that is too spot on in order to not be intentional.

Even more awesome would be if he intended that to hold true and at the same time it means one or more other relevant things for the deeper part of the joke, if it can be considered to be a joke. Because that would make 42 quantum, which we all know is cool. Can’t help you there though, but I’ll let you know if I figure it out.

Douglas seems to feel, when writing this stellar book of leadership and personal development, that humanity is becoming dumber. That is if we’re assuming that a world that understands how to count and make abstract relations is smarter than one that can’t. Furthermore, he seems to feel that this stupid world is filled with people that a) believe that they have understood what they see so they don't have to question their own perception and b) assume things, and as we all know: assumption is the mother of all f-ups.

But I hate some type of numbers; those who always say things I don’t like to hear. Like, maximum speed 90 km/h and you cannot afford that awesome guitar. But I kind of realize that they are necessary.

Which is cool and so true. But we require human languages as well in order to serve human purposes. Therefore Douglas wrote 42 instead of MATH as it actually require that you understand the context. The book provides that context and it is human. And most importantly, I assume he wants us to think actively and try to become more aware. And he wants us to laugh more but for the right reasons, which I think is a great point (and deserves an article on its own).

But, here's me assuming things and talking like I understand stuff.

Math then, is not intelligence, but it is rather the mental tool we need in order to compensate for the destructive stupidity we all carry as humans and a prerequisite in order to reduce certain forms of ignorance.

Furthermore, mathematics is an important part of human transactive memory capability which is what you get when first learning the alphabet and therefore is the difference between the alphabetical world and illiteracy amongst the others. Being alphabetical means having the ability to store a part of yourself in other things, such as diaries, sculptures or on Facebook. It lets your identity span over more than your own body. Now, this is something worth thinking about.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Updated sound and tone (updated 20140404)

Updates made 20140404 in italics.

Alright, so my quest for the perfect tone has taken a few steps, powerful ones, forward the last couple of months and for those of you who like to browse other musicians signal chains, here is mine (for Phidion, I have a different one at home):

Update: I've replaced my Bill Lawrence USA 500-series pickups with Swedish Lundgren M6 pickups. And it was the right think to do - I'm beyond words, that's how good it sounds now.

1. Guitars
-- Gibson Les Paul Studio (1996, all black, supposedly Custom grade woods this year in Studio's and it sounds like it too), one-piece mahogany neck, ebony fretboard, mahagony back and maple top, Lundgren M6 bridge and neck pickups, ABM bell steel bridge and tail stop (the nut was changed from ABM to high-grade bone imitation), Grover tuners
-- Gibson Les Paul Studio (1991, black and chrome, supposedly Custom grade woods this year in Studio's and it sounds like it too), one-piece maple neck, ebony fretboard, mahogany back and maple top, Bare Knuckle Pickups Miracle man (bridge, ceramic) & Cold Sweat (neck, alnico), Tonepros bridge and tail stop, Grover tuners

Both guitars are tuned in C standard using Elexir Baritone string 012 to 068. Both guitars have high-quality 500K pots. All pups are passive.

2. Tuner
-- Boss Chromatic tuner (stomp box) TU-2.

3. Noise suppression
-- ISP Decimator II G-string
I used to place the gate at the end of the chain but since my new primary distortion and my new amp are so quiet, it's no problem putting it in the beginning.

4. Wahwah
-- Dunlop Dime Crybaby from hell.

5. Compressor
-- EBS MultiComp set in multi-band mode.

6. Main distortion
-- Palmer Solid Metal

7. Amplification
-- Egnater Vengeance 120 watt head (4x6L6, 6x12AX7/ECC83), 2 channels

8. Speakers
-- Egneater Vengeance straight cab VN-412B 300W, Custom Voiced Egnater Elite-75 Speakers by Celestion.

My goal here is to minimize the amount of stuff I've got in my chain as the prime interest that I have is to bring forward the amazing tones that my guitars produce. I've got numerous of excellent pedals tucked away (and they see the light of day occasionally at home). I would especially advice you to buy the Solid metal - it's cheap and kicks so much ass with the other more established brands that it is almost silly. Best drive I own.

This chain is quiet, quite dry (if I want it too be), organic and immensely powerful and produces balanced mids and tight bass that work well in the excess of 200 bpm (which we often play at and beyond, very tgt11). Considering the thickness of my strings and amount of wood in LP's, I think you understand what I'm talking about. There is no other chain in this world that could emulate 1:1 the sound that comes out of it. Perhaps not the sound for everyone, most possible it is not, but for me it feels like I've come home.

Remember, everyone else is always wrong when it comes to your tone. ;-)

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Crash and burn

Scenario:

Mercedes is bought by an American car company, company X. X does a survey amongst the current owners and asks a very simple question: what is important to you when buying a Mercedes? Yes, when thinking about buying a Mercedes and nothing else, we're focusing on those that are loyal to the brand or those that have no other option.

Customers list many things of importance. Using statistical analysis X deduce the ten most important things. Quality does not make it into the top ten. What is quality anyway, number-wise that is? It is, for one thing, extremely subjective and therefor irrational.

X then proceeds to, using rational and logic thinking, optimize the production of all car models. Given the survey, X begins to cut back on quality as it is not one of the ten most important things.
All systems have delays in them. The decision to cut back on quality leads, the actual cars follows with a certain time lag.

A couple of years later it is evident that the quality has been reduced - it becomes apparent to the customers that Mercedes is not the same brand as it used to be.

Why do these things happen? They happen because people are irrational and because they assume things. And it happens because people are stupid (as put by Dilbert). It turns out quality is pretty much the same thing as the word Mercedes to the customers: they buy Mercedes because they are of top quality. It is assumed that this is so and therefore becomes a hidden assumption.

Sometimes a leader has to stop asking and begin seeing what is.

Quality is core to the integrity of the brand Mercedes. It is where it begins and where it ends.

Now, this story actually has some truth to it, although I made some stuff up, and it happens everywhere in our society. People that believe that they are leaders, but actually only holds formal power through hierarchical systems, forget to keep the integrity intact in what they do and therefore loose the respect and trust necessary in order to continue to hold the formal power in their hands. They gradually stop leading from the front and end up in the rear trying to please everyone without understanding what it is people actually want. They believe that they are the same individual that they used to be as the slow pace of change is not perceived as a large change in character.

But it is. Delays, every system got them. And sometimes we need different leaders for different times.

Now, we've got a serious debate about defense right now in Sweden. Politicians of all brands started cutting back on the defense when Russia & Co had some financial difficulties for a while. Politicians told themselves that we don't need quality anymore and dreamt of eternal peace. Now, we all now such a thing do not exist. As the world turns, the shit hits the fan when the disconnect between the hidden assumptions of the citizens (like, "Sweden have what we call a good national defense") and the politicians view of a good defense (i.e. people wear greens and look serious as they walk down the street and you can send them somewhere in the world in order to get some good points from your buddies elsewhere in the world).

Integrity and intelligence (which means the will and ability to remove ignorance, to see the world for what it is and not what my feelings want it to be) is everything in politics. It doesn't matter how many clueless hipsters join the ranks, this will continue to be so and if it one day isn't, the major parties ( (m) & (s) ) will fail as the core of them is to take responsibility for the entire nation and to do what must be done, and not necessarily what feels comfortable. Opting for the phrase “It is for the greater good” when failing to finance the defense properly, or pointing out how valuable it is to increase funding elsewhere (yes, we in (m) have done a lot of good as well since 2006) doesn’t help though.
Politics is about perception and personal relations, and trust is everything in these and therefore integrity trumps everything else. It is what the house of cards stands on.

The problem for all professional politicians right now is that they took the money you need in order to be able to build a a proper defense and invested it in other areas of interest in society and these money can not be re-allocated to the defense without the risk of loosing elections and popularity. We're 1% short GDP-wise in the defense sector and these money are long gone.

It is, historically, somewhat of a Swedish trademark to crash and burn in these matters. We're good when it doesn't count (after the wars) and then we mess it up again for a while. It's interesting.

Insanity, as defined by Einstein, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. But at least you know in what way everything will fail, which, to some, might be comforting.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Wiseman

...strikes again: läsvärd artikel finner du här.

Glöm inte att läsa källmaterialet som finns längst ned på sidan.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Sebastian, I am your father

I've been offline for a while. The reason is that I've been preparing for the birth of my first child. On the 4th of December 2013 10:42 hrs, Sebastian was born in Stockholm. I am now back at work after the first couple of weeks at home, demanding but infinitely rewarding and beautiful, and will start blogging again as we enter the new year.

2014 is important from a lot of perspectives and for a lot of communities.

As a politician, perhaps the most important ones are the elections for the EU parliament and the national elections in Sweden.

We see fascism and nationalism spreading once again and extreme parties are winning the ears of ever more voters. This is dangerous, and it is real and not something one can hide from. We also see the financial crisis becoming something else, growing into a more comprehensive political problem requiring changed attitude towards how nations do business and relate to each other. Power poles are changing and shifting, becoming more fluent and volatile. This affects national and global security, and therefore strikes at the heart of economy and business. Throw the global climate and human greed into the mix and the chess board starts looking very complex and multi dimensional. Old and new borders arise, polarizing between individuals and groups.

As a government employee within the defence, I will probably see the continued debate on the size and shape of the defence budget and the ongoing changes within acquisition, procurement and logistics probably peaking during 2014. Some of these aspects will most likely become a part of the debates surrounding the national elections. The Swedish defence is still used as a budget regulator and the current situation is riddled with opinions rather than strategy and hard facts. In a situation where the Swedish Prime minister has a multitude of homeland problems, defence is probably the one he cares least for as the other problems might be perceived to be more urgent and more “here and now”. Insurances, which the defence is, are difficult for leaders to handle in pressing situations. It also requires a strategic understanding when it comes to national and global security, and it also requires that one is able to project the fact that one understands and that the decisions are informed and balanced. We have a situation where very few has the feeling that what we are doing is correct. Further more, we have different opinions on what the role of the defence is. For me, the defence is so much more then just a tool to be used in a purely military and operational context. At my core is the opinion that a mandatory conscript service for both men and women is needed and good for the entire nation. Of course, the defence and conscript service also encompass civil operations such as crisis management, rescue, fire and so on. If you do not want to do military service, then you can do civil service. In peace times, no nation should force the citizens to carry weapons. The conscript service should exist in parallel with the new personnel system we’ve just created. This will not happen during 2014.

As a security professional I believe the discussion about integrity, privacy and personal security will be taken to some form of next level when national security and security within EU is intertwined with aspects few citizens has cared about in the past. This will be a good thing as there are a lot of issues that officials and corporations has cared less about then they should have. Cyber security will have to evolve from engineering stuff to leadership and politics. At the heart will be the discussion about democracy and the national construct.

As a teacher, I will once again teach at the Swedish National Defence College at the CATS unit where we will be offering the CIAO course once again. I find teaching makes me a better student. Our students tend to be very knowledgeable and it is no small thing to teach people that could easily replace you as the teacher within some of the topics you’re there to present. And it is therefore exciting and immensely rewarding.

As a musician, Phidion will record a full length album during 2014 and continue to do gigs. To me, being able to use my mind and soul creatively in the way music allows one to do gives me the balance required when most hours of the day deals with logic, intellect and compromises. I have also started the work on a full length solo album and it will probably be recorded during the end of 2014 and during the entire 2015.

But, above all, as father to Sebastian and partner for life with Marika, there can be no more important things than them.

2014 will be interesting.

That said, merry Christmas and a happy new year to you all. \m/(-.-)\m/

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Something different, time for music and guitars

Update 2013-11-11
As I started to do inventory and all things I need to do while assembling the new guitar and the adjustments I want to do to my old LP I realised I might break them if I tried to do it on my own (it involves drilling in sensitive areas). I had to concede to the fact that an expert is required in order to bring all this home safely and professionally. This is why both of my guitars are now in the hands of Hujanen at 4sound.

These are the goal configurations:

Lessie (the old one, all black):
  • Gibson Les Paul Studio 1996 (with one-piece mahogany neck, mahogany back, maple top and ebony fingerboard)
  • Bill Lawrence USA L500XL (open ceramic blades, bridge)
  • Bill Lawrence USA L500 (open alnico blades, neck)
  • ABM rolling nut in bell steel
  • ABM bridge and tail stop in bell steel
  • NEW: Grover GR102-18 BC Rotomatics
Crosses (the new one, black body and chrome hardware):
  • Gibson Les Paul Studio 1991 (with one-piece maple neck, mahogany back, maple top and ebony fingerboard)
  • Bare Knuckle Pickups Miracle man (open coils, ceramic, bridge)
  • Bare Knuckle Pickups Cold sweat (open coils, alnico, neck)
  • ABM rolling nut in bell steel
  • Tonepros LPCM02 C Tuneomatic
  • Grover GR102-18C Rotomatics
  • + all wiring, toggles, pots (push/pull on both volumes, set for split
I'll post some pictures when they come back home. :)
 
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Right, so life has many sides. Other than things like, well see below, my life also encompass music and I'm just about to build another Gibson Les Paul USA from scratch.

I got the guitar body from the US, and I had a specific year and model in mind which tend to make things a bit difficult. Not many individuals out there strip their guitar and sell it in parts. I got lucky as a friend of mine, Max, found just the one while browsing and alerted me to this fact. The body I was after was a naturally worn black Gibson Les Paul USA Studio from the early 90's. Why? Because it has the same neck as a Gibson Les Paul Custom (there's a story there) and the other woods are the same as on a Standard. Which basically makes it a Custom. But for less money. It's also more beautiful as it is entirely black and has no white lines etc. that which the Standard and Custom have.

I already got one of these LP's, equipped with (not reversed, no need on a LP) Bill Lawrence USA XL500 (Dimebag Darrell mostly used these, not the Bill & Monica variants which some people try to spread around and this is a superhot ceramic magnet, harsh and clear), L500 (Nuno Bettencourt, fat and soft sound) and ABM hardware (bell steel, not die cast, perfect for baritone metal). My current project will feature two open (it matters) hand-wound Bare knuckle pickups; Miracle man (bridge position, ceramic) and Cold sweat (neck position, alnico), Grover tuners, and Tonepros hardware (and some other stuff). My old Les Paul will also get a set of Grover tuners of the same make (but black) to make it all as beautiful as it can be.

One of our cats (Tindra) wonders why the new pickups looks so awesome. BKP has top-notch build quality. Let's hope they sound the way they look.

The old one is all black and the new one will be black and chrome. My original plan (they always fail) was to make this one black as well but then I figured that it would be kind of boring. I therefore went out searching for more blingy hardware, tuners in red etc, but no - they only come in chrome, nickel, black or gold. Now, you won't see me putting gold on a metal axe easily and nickel just looks like washed out chrome. With no further delay, I decided to make it chrome. Make sure you write all these really interesting things down ;-) Anyhow, I'll probably make it all black in a year or so. It's important to make room for more fun down the road.

I will, however, break one unwritten metal rule and that is to install push/pull electronics that enables me to split, if I want to, each humbucker which makes it, in essence, a Stratocaster on steroids when dialled in like that. The other axe will remain as is though, to balance it all up. For a while.

Don't forget to check out my band Phidion here or here (videos).

Alright, going back to stuff that seems to be on most peoples minds right now is the interesting show our friends in the US are putting on. Did you know that US Congress defines what punishment treason shall be followed by? I don't know everything about their law and so on but it makes it kind of interesting given the possible consequences of the current affairs. Caused by the Congress. Last time I checked the government of any nation has two main duties: to put forward a budget (and make it work) and uphold the laws of the nation. The US Constitution declares: "The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason". Anyhow, let's hope the small crazy part of the Republicans are managed properly and that the Republicans once again can become an intelligent part of the democratic world.