Archive for March, 2019

GEORGIA WILL JOIN NATO

March 29, 2019

Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty on March 25, 2019 reported that NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg during a visit to Georgia has said that the South Caucasus country will eventually join the Western military alliance. Excerpts below:

Stoltenberg was in Tbilisi on March 25 to hold meetings with Georgian officials and attend joint NATO-Georgia military exercises.

“We will continue working together to prepare for Georgia’s NATO membership,” Stoltenberg said, adding that no country [including Russia] has the right to influence NATO’s open-door policy.

[Georgia’s Prime Minister] Mamuka Bakhtadze said that “NATO membership is the choice of the Georgian people.”

The country of some 3.7 million people fought a brief war with Russia in August 2008, and Moscow’s continued military presence on the country’s territory adds to tensions in the region.

After the war, Russia left thousands of troops in Georgia’s breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and recognized both as independent countries.

In Tbilisi, Stoltenberg held talks with Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, during which he hailed Georgia’s commitment to reforms.

Held at the Krtsanisi National Training Center near Tbilisi, the 12-day joint military exercises involve around 350 personnel from 24 NATO member states and partner countries.

The drills, dubbed NATO-Georgia Exercise 2019, will last until March 29.

Comment: NATO’s commitment to Georgia is important. Like Ukraine it has in the beginning of the 21st century been the victim of Russian military aggression. It is important that Ukraine and Georgia become the next members of the alliance. Membership would dramatically increase the security of both countries.

FUTURE MEASURES OF THE WEST TO COUNTER RUSSIAN AGGRESSION IN UKRAINE

March 28, 2019

Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty on March 27, 2019, reported that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he hopes to be able in the coming days to announce additional measures along with Western allies to counter Russian aggression in Ukraine. Excerpts below:

“Next week I am hopeful, when our NATO colleagues are in town, we will be able to announce another series of actions that we will jointly take together to push back against what Russia is doing there in Crimea and the Sea of Azov and the region,” Pompeo told a House of Representatives hearing on March 27.

NATO members are scheduled to be in Washington on April 4 to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Western military alliance.

“We are constantly evaluating whether we’re not only providing enough resources to Ukraine…but whether it’s the right tools. Not only the tools you see — munitions and arms — but intelligence-sharing…All the things [for which] we have the capacity.”

With regard to Crimea, Pompeo said, “It belongs to Ukraine, and we want to see that fixed.”

Pompeo said that Washington continues to “push back against Russian efforts to interfere when elections are approaching, as we are in Ukraine today.”

The Ukrainian government released a new study on what it called Russia’s planned interference in the country’s election process, which it said “envisages further provoking a comprehensive destabilization of the situation in Ukraine in order to facilitate the revenge of the pro-Russian forces in our country following the 2019 election results.”

The interference includes “systematic and versatile measures for influencing the course of the election process and counting votes during the presidential and later parliamentary elections in Ukraine.”

Comment: It is important that Western allies at the NATO meeting on April 4 increase the pressure on Russia to stop the aggression in eastern Ukraine and to leave occupied Crimea.

COMMITTEE ON THE PRESENT DANGER – CHINA

March 27, 2019

Free Beacon, Washington DC, on March 26, 2019 reported the creation of a new version of the Cold War Committee on the Present Danger. This time the committee is focused on China. Excerpts below:

China under Communist Party rule poses an existential threat and must be countered with stronger defense, economic, and political measures, according to a new committee of experts.

Former government, military, and intelligence leaders joined by business leaders and human rights advocates warned during an inaugural press briefing that Communist China poses the most dangerous threat to the United States and the world.

Creation of the Committee on the Present Danger-China follows three earlier iterations of the storied organization that played influential roles in American national security policy beginning in the 1950s and throughout the Cold War and after.

The panel includes a blue-ribbon roster of 43 experts including former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, former Education Secretary William Bennett, former Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence ret. Lt. Gen. Gerald Boykin, and former Rep. Frank Wolf (R., Va.).

Other notable figures include University of Pennsylvania China specialist Arthur Waldron, strategic missile defense expert Henry Cooper, Chinese Christian activist Bob Fu, former Voice of America China broadcaster Sasha Gong, and retired Navy Capt. James Fanell, former intelligence director for the Pacific Fleet.

One of the first actions by the committee was to issue a warning on the anticipated U.S.-China trade deal that is said to be close to being completed.

“The trade deal the Trump administration is now negotiating with China is expected to address its Communist Party’s longstanding practice of stealing American intellectual property—the life-blood of our information-based economy and a key component of our national security,” the statement said.

Frank Gaffney, vice chairman of the Committee, said even if a trade deal is reached and China honors its commitments, “we are still facing a world of hurt at their hands.”

“We must address these other dimensions of the problem that ultimately emanate from the character of the communist regime, mainly that it is ruled, brutally, in a totalitarian fashion, by the Chinese Communist Party,” Gaffney said.

Committee chairman Brian Kennedy said the independent, non-partisan group will seek to educate and inform the American public and government policymakers regarding the threat from China ruled by the Communist Party of China.

The threat includes a large-scale military buildup, active information and political warfare that targets the American people, business, political, and media elites, and Beijing’s aggressive cyber and economic warfare.

Boykin, undersecretary of defense for intelligence in the George W. Bush administration, said the Chinese intelligence threat has increased rapidly and through cyber attacks stolen or reverse-engineered large amounts of advanced American technology.

The Chinese strategy against the United States was outlined in a 1999 book by two People’s Liberation Army colonels called “Unrestricted Warfare”. The book called for using all forms of warfare—military, diplomatic, economic, financial, and even terrorism—to win wars.

The book “laid out the absolute road-map for how they intended to take over America, and they are in the process of doing everything they said they wanted to do in that treatise,” Boykin said.

Boykin said a counterintelligence briefing he received at the Pentagon revealed Chinese intelligence agencies had planted spies throughout the United States.

Former Pentagon nuclear policymaker Mark Schneider said China’s nuclear arsenal is rapidly modernizing with new missiles, bombers, and submarines.

China’s nuclear arms are built and stored in a massive 3,000-mile-long tunnel complex dubbed the Great Underground Wall and the actual numbers of Chinese warheads in the arsenal is unknown.

Lianchao Han, a former Senate staff member and pro-democracy advocate, said China poses the most serious threat facing the United States yet many Americans are unaware of the danger.

“Engagement and appeasement advocates continue to push for the failed China policies,” Han said. “So it is our duty to inform and educate the American public and decision makers to what the [Chinese Communist Party] really is, what they intend to do, and why they are so dangerous.”

In the 1970s, a… Committee on the Present Danger was set up with 141 board members to address national security threats to the United States.

The Committee called for hardline policies toward the Soviet Union and its positions formed the basis for President Ronald Reagan’s peace-through-strength posture. A total of 33 members of the Committee were key players in national security positions within the Reagan administration. Reagan was a member in 1979.

Chet Nagle, a former Navy pilot during the Cold War and a member of the 1970s version of the Committee, said earlier panels were formidable groups initially focused on the Soviet Union and then in the early 2000s the group emphasized countering international terrorism.

“Now another existential threat to America has arisen,” Nagle said of China. “That threat is Communist China’s plan to dominate the United States and ultimately the entire world.

Comment: Then, as now, the United States faced an existential threat from an aggressive totalitarian foe. Now, as then, the nation needs to be awakened to the danger posed by the Chinese Communist Party and the country it misrules—and equipped with recommendations for mitigating that multifaceted and growing threat.

The new committee is a welcome addition to the growing number of experts who are warning of the growing serious Chinese challenge to the West. As usual when communist empires challenge freedom and democracy the threats are both military and ideological. The West has for decades neglected the China challenge listening to those who incorrectly believe that a communist regime will soften its stand as living standard is improved. This attitude almost saved the Soviet Union during the Cold War when the experts of the liberal left recommended that the Soviet tyranny should be accepted. The same type of policy has now dominated regarding China since the 1990s.

China and the Chinese people are not the enemies of the West. The United States supported the national revolution of China in 1911 and for a long time before 1949 the China received aid to defeat Japanse occupation and communist insurgency. Should the democratic constitution of China of the Three Principles of the People be restored along with democracy on the Chinese mainland the country would be welcome in the family of democracies. First, however, the brutal communist party dictatorship must end. Communism combined with aggressive nationalism in China is presently the main cause of global conflict.

Below the CPDC’s mission statement is provided for further study:

The mission of the “Committee on the Present Danger: China” is to help defend America through public education and advocacy against the full array of conventional and non-conventional dangers posed by the People’s Republic of China. As with the Soviet Union in the past, Communist China represents an existential and ideological threat to the United States and to the idea of freedom—one that requires a new American consensus regarding the policies and priorities required to defeat this threat. And for this purpose, it is necessary to bring to bear the collective skills, expertise and energies of a diverse group of experts on China, national security practitioners, human rights and religious freedom activists and others who have joined forces under the umbrella of the “Committee on Present Danger: China.”

Founding members of the “Committee on the Present Danger: China” include: Brian Kennedy, chairman; Frank Gaffney, vice chairman; Hon. R. James Woolsey; Dr. William Bennett; Kyle Bass; Steve Bannon; Mark Helprin; Pastor Bob Fu; Kevin Freeman; Dr. Peter Pry; Dr. Sasha Gong; LTG William Boykin; Hon. Ed Timperlake; Dr. Mark Schneider; Richard Fisher; Amb. Hank Cooper; Lianchao Han; Dr. Michael Waller; Capt. James Fanell, USN (Ret.); Col./Dr. Lawrence Sellin, USA (Ret.); Dr. Dan Blumenthal; Dr. Stephen Mosher; and Dr. Bradley Thayer.

ANTI-ZIONISM AN ’INSIDIOUS NEW FORM’ OF ANTI-SEMITISM?

March 26, 2019

Washington Times on March 25, 2019, reported on a speech at AIPAC by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Excerpts below:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Monday (March 25) that “anti-Zionism” is becoming the new form of anti-Semitism and firmly committed the administration to fight it.

Speaking at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Mr. Pompeo warned that the view that Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish state — the essence of its founding ideology, Zionism — is a growing threat across the globe.

The secretary argued that anti-Zionism has become the insidious new form — while seemingly different from — classic anti-Semitism, or hatred of the Jews as it has seeped into mainstream debate, especially on college campuses…

“Criticizing Israel’s policies is an acceptable thing to do in a democracy, its what we do,” he added. “But criticizing the very right to exist of Israel is not acceptable.”

Comment: Anti-semitism is a great evil that is spreading again in the West. Left wing radicals that support the Palestinian entity to a greater extent use anti-Zionism as a new form of hatred of the Jews. The most extreme type of this new anti-Semitism is the assertion that Israel has no right to exist.

The strong American support for Israel of the Trump administration and the growing acceptance of Israel in the Middle East is seen as a threat by left wing radicals.

The West needs Israel as a strong and wealthy democracry in the Middle East prepared to fight Iranian extremist subversion in the region. The regime in Tehran is seeking to dominate in the area. Nuclear weapons in the hands of the theocrats of Iran is a existential threat not only to Israel but other countries in the Middle East.

TRUMP INITIATIVE WOULD STRENGTHEN ISRAEL’S SECURITY

March 24, 2019

Fox News on March 21, 2019, reported on the growing strength of U.S. support for Israel’s security after Trump said the United States should recognize Israeli sovereignty over the disputed Golan heights. Excerpts below:

Affirming the strong ties between the U.S. and Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet next week (March 25 – 31) with President Trump at the White House and will speak to an estimated 18,000 people at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference in Washington.

The prime minister’s visit comes on the heels of President Trump’s announcement…in a tweet that “After 52 years it is time for the United States to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” which were captured from Syria in the Six-Day War in 1967.

Trump’s announcement is welcome news for Israelis and further evidence of his strong support of the Jewish state.

Israeli voters go to the polls April 9 for parliamentary elections. Netanyahu has long sought U.S. recognition of Israel’s’ control of the Golan Heights. President Trump’s announcement and the Israeli leader’s meeting with him are both expected to boost Netanyahu’s chances of staying in power in the elections.

Most Americans recognize that a large majority of people in the U.S. support the Jewish state. And because Jews make up only about 2 percent of the U.S. population, the vast majority of Israel’s supporters in the U.S. are non-Jews.

…[there are]shared values, the Jewish state continually promotes America’s security interests in the Middle East. Israel serves as the main check on Iran and works to combat the regime’s radical Islamist proxies across the region. The Israeli military has conducted hundreds of strikes against Iranian installations and forces in Syria alone.

…let us end the ridiculous notion that American support for the Jewish state is built on some secret cabal of rich Jews handing out money and operating in the shadows. This discredited and absurd conspiracy theory is blatantly anti-Semitic and completely ignores basic facts, statistics and countless polls that show otherwise.

Comment: During the Trump administration the support of Israel has been strong. There is growing coordination between Israel and a number of Arab states to oppose Iran’s subversive activities in the Middle East. Meanwhile the sanctions against Iran are weakening the regime in Tehran. The internal opposition to the theocratic leaders is growing. The Iranian empire with the Russian and Chinese empires are at present the strongest challengers to the West. A change to a non-clerical government in Iran would help to create conditions for peace in the Middle East, so that more resources could be diverted to opposing Russian aggression in Europe and Chinese attempts of widening influence in the North and South Pacific.

IS RUSSIA ON ITS KNEES?

March 23, 2019

Washington Times on March 22, 2019 published an AP interview with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin on his country’s road towards taking its place among Western European democracies. Excerpts below:

…Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin insisted that Ukraine has Russia on its knees, and that his country is making good progress toward taking its place among Western European democracies.

“Ukrainian society five years after Maidan is ripe enough … to fight for an independent democratic and European country, and for me part of this future is of course our membership in the European Union, in NATO,” he said.

“Ukraine is already part of the trans-Atlantic community. It should formally become part of this trans-Atlantic community.”

Klimkin [said] the standoff [with Russia] is hurting Moscow more than Kiev.

“Look at the economic development in Russia: no growth. Look at their societal development. Look at Russian demography. Russia is going nowhere under current conditions. And I believe that quite soon the Russian leadership will have simply to face this fact.”

“We have to do better with reforms here in the country. We have to do better with transforming our justice system. We have to do better with tackling corruption,” he said. “But if you … compare current Ukraine with Ukraine five years ago, right after Maidan, it’s completely a different country.”

“I’m not saying [that EU and NATO membership] will come tomorrow or after tomorrow. We have to be honest. It’s not a short-term exercise, but it will come,” he said.

“Ukrainians will not tolerate any kind of back off or veering off from this fundamental force.”

Comment: On March 31 Ukrainians will elect a president. Most likely there will be a second round in April with good chances for President Petro Poroshenko to be re-elected.

The war in the east with Russia is taking its toll and it is important that the United States supplies Ukraine with more defensive weapons. The European Union should step up negotiations with Ukraine for EU membership.

Russia is one of the three empires presently challenging the West. The loss of much of the influence in Ukraine has been a serious setback for Russia. With a new Ukrainian administration from April 2019 a more forward policy for the West on Ukraine is necessary when it comes to integrating Ukraine in the family of Western democracies.