Monday, 24 March 2014

Fun Online Polls: Flight MH370 and British troops in Germany

The results to last week's episode of We're all experts now:

Where, if ever and anywhere, will they find [the wreckage of] Flight MH370?

The Asian mainland, probably somewhere ending in -stan - 35%
Some remote island - 4%
Arabian Sea - 0%
Bay of Bengal - 4%
Andaman Sea, Straits of Malacca - 3%
Gulf of Thailand - 3%
South China Sea, Java Sea - 0%
Indian Ocean - 27%
Other, please specify - 24%

I set up the poll last Tuesday morning and my initial expert opinion was Indian Ocean, which now appears to be the consensus. I'm surprised that so few other experts went for that one.

All very sad.

What is interesting about this story is how all these countries were so unwilling to admit that they spy on each other using satellites and radar, it took Thailand, PR China, Australia etc. days or weeks to come up with a cover story and only then did they drop some vague veiled hints about where they might just possibly happen to have spotted the flight, entirely coincidentally of course, rather then passing on the information straight away.
From today's Daily Telegraph:

Britain should make a “military statement” to Russia by retaining 3,000 soldiers in Germany in a reverse of planned defence cuts, the former head of the Army says on Monday.

Firstly, that's sort of up to the Germans and secondly, does anybody seriously think that the Russians could care less whether how many soldiers the British Army has in Germany in months' or years' time?

If Ukraine invited NATO to man up and station half a million troops in Ukraine, together with tanks and planes, plus a few battleships and aircraft carriers in the Black Sea, then yes, it might put a dampener on Russian expansionism in Ukraine, i.e. discourage them from annexing the eastern half, but an extra 3,000 Brits, thousands of miles and two or three international borders away..?

Methinks not. If you want to "send Putin a message" you might as well use the Royal Mail.

So that's this week's Fun Online Poll, vote here or use the widget in the sidebar.


Steven_L said...

What if a disgruntled Ukraine turned the gas taps off? Would Germany have to invade?

Mark Wadsworth said...


1. I believe they have built more pipelines over the past few years and so Ukraine can't simply turn off the taps. hat's the last thing Germany would do.

2. Even if they hadn't built the pipelines and if Ukraine turned off the taps, invading anywhere is the last thing Germany would do, and the second to last thing they'd do is "annoy Russia".

The Stigler said...

It's the most pathetic sort of sabre rattling going on. The West knows it, Putin knows it. But some rubes probably think Cameron is standing up to him.

Ian B said...

As a loyal Daily Mail reader, I cannot make a decision on this policy until I know its expected effect on house prices.