Archive for the ‘GEOPOLITICS’ Category

KINAS EKONOMISKA KRIG MOT VÄST

September 21, 2018

I en ledare i Dagens Industri, Stockholm, uppmärksammades den 20 september 2018 Kinas ekonomiska aggression mot Väst. President Trump har en mycket fast politik i Kinafrågan. Se utdrag nedan:

Det övergripande målet…är att driva internationella produktionskedjor – den globala ekonomins byggstenar – ut ur Kina, vilket i praktiken skulle vända upp och ned på världsekonomin.

Det är mot denna bakgrund man bör förstå Trumps beslut…att belägga ytterligare kinesiska varor med tullar till ett värde av drygt 1 800 miljarder kronor, vilket sammantaget innebär att omkring hälften av all kinesisk export till USA från och med nästa vecka kommer att vara tullbelagd.

Inte heller lär det stanna där, eftersom Trump gjort klart att USA står redo att införa ytterligare tullar till ett värde av 267 miljarder dollar – i praktiken på all kinesisk import som fortfarande är tullfri – om kineserna svarar med mottullar, vilket de redan gjort.

Så kommer det sannolikt att fortsätta, eftersom inget av länderna har för avsikt att vika ned sig och bägge tror sig kunna gå segrande ur striden. USA därför att man importerar mer från Kina än vice versa, Kina därför att Xi Jinping sitter säkrare och har större manöverutrymme än Donald Trump.

…allt fler [inom den kinesiska eliten] ser den amerikanska handelsoffensiven som del i en större strategi med syftet att begränsa såväl Kinas ekonomiska som geopolitiska inflytande. Det kommer i så fall att få konsekvenser även för svenska företag, i vissa fall dramatiska.

Donald Trump har rätt i sak när han beskyller [Kina] för att sko sig på andra. Peking har systematiskt begränsat tillträde till marknader, stulit företagsidéer, teknik och manipulerat sin valuta sedan inträdet i WTO för 17 år sedan.

Till och med EU:s handelskommissionär Cecilia Malmström pekade i fjol ut Kina som den internationella handelns ”stora syndare”.

Skillnaden är att Donald Trump faktiskt backar upp ord med handling…synen på den amerikanska presidenten i Asien är en annan än i Europa. I både Kina och Japan omnämns han ofta som en skicklig taktiker…

…ska kineserna förmås att spela rent, krävs en enad front. Att USA, EU och Japan under det senaste året börjat koordinera strategier är en bra början (och en märkligt underrapporterad utveckling). Att EU-kommissionen i veckan presenterade en reformplan för WTO är också utmärkt.

Kommentar: Det känns bra att det finns svenska pressröster som ser realistiskt på Kina. Det stora imperiet i öst har under en lång rad år med stöld, manipulation och annat fult spel skaffat sig fördelar. Ekonomin har ökat i styrka och regimen använder den starka ekonomin till att köpa inflytande och bygga upp en stark krigsmakt. Måltavlan är Väst, som hittills inte agerat mot Kina. Som Dagens Industri framhåller är det viktigt med västlig enighet i ekonomiska frågor.

Klassiska geopolitiska tänkare har pekat ut grunderna för västlig strategi. Hotet mot Väst är att en eller flera stormakter på världsön (Eurasien och Afrika) får en dominerande ställning. I förhållande till världsön är kontinenter som Nordamerika och Australien att betrakta som perifera öar. USA och Australien med Europa måste förhindra att stormakter på världsön blir alltför starka. Tidigare var det Tyskland och Sovjetunionen. I dag är det främst Kina men också Ryssland och Iran som utgör ett hot mot Väst. Grunden för amerikansk nationell strategi i säkerhetsfrågor har sedan slutet av 1800-talet varit av klassisk geopolitisk karaktär: att förhindra att en eller flera stormakter dominerar världsön.

Advertisements

WEST IS COUNTERING CHINA IN THE PACIFIC

September 13, 2018

Taipei Times (Taiwan) on August 30, 2018 published an article of Reuters on the growing challenge of China to the West in the Pacific area. Concessionary loans and gifts by China are closely watched. For excerpts see below:

The US, Australia, France and Britain plan to open new embassies in the Pacific, boost staffing levels and engage with leaders of island nations more often in a bid to counter China’s rising influence in the region, sources have said.

The battle for influence in the Pacific matters because each of the tiny island states has a vote at international forums such as the UN and they also control vast swathes of resource-rich ocean.

…Australia, New Zealand and the US have said they would increase economic aid and expand their diplomatic presence to countries in the region….

[A] US official said Washington needed to have adequate representation in the Pacific countries to let their governments know what options were open to them.

The US government source said the US would boost diplomatic staffing numbers in Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and potentially Fiji within the next two years.

The Australian government is expected to name its first High Commissioner to Tuvalu within weeks, rushing to fill a post Canberra decided upon establishing only several months ago, said a government source who declined to be identified as he is not authorized to talk to the media.

Britain would open new High Commissions in Vanuatu, Tonga and Samoa by the end of May next year, while French President Emmanuel Macron is seeking to organize a meeting of Pacific leaders early next year, diplomatic and government sources have said.

Comment: This development is welcome. Since 2017 there is greater focus in the West on the China challenge.This is not only in the economic and financial fields.The United States is reacting to China’s long time economic aggression. In June 2018 a 65-page report (”How China’s Economic Aggression Threatens the Technologies and Intellectual Property of the United States and the World”) on the techniques used by China was published in Washington.

The report is breaking down the Chinese government’s economic aggression into five broad categories, including protecting its home market for domestic producers, securing control of natural resources, and seeking dominance of leading-edge high-tech industries. There is also a list of more than 50 types of policies used by China — from cybertheft of intellectual property to blocking foreign access to key raw materials it controls — used to meet those objectives.

A further threat to the United States and Allies is the growing Chinese aircraft carrier force that is of vital interest to Beijing in its quest for regional dominance. This is only a first step in the search for global control. The present target is the Western Pacific. With growing influence there are more distant goals as the East and South Pacific and even the Mediterranean.

CHINA’S ECONOMIC AGGRESSION

August 5, 2018

China is a leading revisionist power wanting to take over and dominate technology industries of the future: artificial intelligence, robotics, high-tech shipping, aerospace and more.

Included in the China 2025 strategy is stealing from the United States and other Western countries.

Technology transfer is systematically used by the Chinese. Western and mainly American companies who want to produce and sell in China have to turn over technology to the buyers.

China is evading export controls. Since the Tiananmen square massacre in 1989 US prevents the Chinese from buying sensitive military equipment. They use very complex operations to avoid the controls.

There are large trade deficits. Big state backed Chinese funds are buying technology in Silicon Valley and elsewhere in the United States.

For decades nothing has happened until the Trump administration brought it up with the Chinese and demanded changes.

US introduced tariffs on high technology industries and China has retaliated. The present tariffs are 25 percent on 50 billion US dollars of Chinese exports.

China is now planning to dump cheap robotics tech into US markets. These types of actions has been going on since China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO). In 2001.

Bill Clinton started the Chinese on the path they presently are on by letting China into the WTO. He represented the globalist idea that it would be possible to change Chinese society and open it up by bringing it into the international trade system.

As a result the United States has during 17 years lost 70,000 factories and 5 million manufacturing jobs.

In contrast the US wants free and fair trade but not ”a fool’s trade”.

Presently American trade deficits with Europe are 150 billion dollars and with China more than double the amount, 376 billion US dollars.

American Policy Advisor Michael Pillsbury has in his book ”The Hundred-Year Marathon – China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower” (2015) described how the United States played an indispensable role in creating China’s booming economy. It was in the mistaken belief that the rise of China would bring cooperation and free trade.

According to Pillsbury the goal of China is to succeed by 2049, onehundred years ofter the Communist takeover in 1949. The Chinese regard America and its leaders as barbarians who will be the architects of their own demise. Along with other books the work of Pillsbury is an eye-opener.

Pillsbury points to the book by Colonel Liu Mingfu, “The China Dream” (2010) as an important inspiration for Xi Jinping’s increasingly totalitarian policies. The author clearly states that China wants to dominate the world.

Using classical Chinese strategy the leadership in Beijing is preparing so called ”assassin’s maze” weapons to destroy American satellites and target US aircraft carriers.

There has been World Bank assistance to China but no demands for Beijing introducing free market reforms. The Chinese government is still controlling most of China’s larger industries.

Pillsbury presents evidence from secret briefings that China is actively working to promote the decline of the United States. One method is sales of arms to America’s enemies.

Further Reading

”Death by China: Confronting the Dragon — A Global Call to Action” (2011) by Peter Navarro reveals the real China behind the mask. The Chinese Communist Party’s is aggressively building up China’s military and at the same time its economy while destroying jobs in America.

Peter Navarro has also directed the documentary ”Death By China: How America Lost Its Manufacturing Base”. The film is from 2013 and Peter Navarro is presently leading the White House National Trade Council. There are a number of interviews with experts, officials and businessmen in the documentary. One expert warns that America does not have free trade with China. Instead it is a ”rigged trade” that benefits China and harms both American and Chinese citizens. During the five years that has passed since the production of the film the problem has become more acute. Trade deficits have been growing and more jobs have been shipped from the United States to China.

A key tool of the regime in Beijing is currency manipulation. China pegs its currency at a low level against the American dollar. In reality that is the equivalent of a 40 percent tariff on American sales in China and a similar subsidy for Chines goods sold in America.

The film has been a great success and one of the most popular documentary films on Netflix for many years. It has also been made available for free on YouTube.

PROTECTING A FREE AND OPEN INDO-PACIFIC REGION

August 2, 2018

National Interest on July 31, 2018, published an article on US policy in the Indo-Pacific region. According to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo free and open means all nations will be able to protect their sovereignty from coercion and enjoy open access to seas and airways. Excerpts below:

Mike Pompeo [recently] announced a $25 million initial investment for a digital connectivity and cyber-security partnership to help develop internet infrastructure in the region.

Financially, that’s small potatoes compared to China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative. But China’s program focuses on linking Indo-Pacific countries to China. The U.S. program is about opening the Indo-Pacific to the world.

But perhaps the most important thing about Pompeo’s regional diplomatic offensive is its focus on promoting private-sector investment. China’s investments in the region are state-led and state-run. That means there are lots of diplomatic strings attached, as everyone in the region understands.

There’s only one country that wants to close the Indo-Pacific, and that’s China. It won’t succeed anytime soon, but China’s closure strategy has been successful in at least important patch at the heart of the region, the South China Sea. By militarizing the waters at the very center of the Indo-Pacific, China has thrown down a gauntlet in front of all of its maritime neighbors. China knows that its neighbors are too weak to actively resist, even if they have no interest in joining China.

The U.S. Navy regularly runs freedom of navigation operations(FonOps) in the South China Sea to remind the world that China does not own the global commons.

Those U.S. ships and planes need a stable base from which to operate and—in an emergency—at which to find refuge….The Navy and Air Force both need a safe harbor in the backyard of the Indo-Pacific, and they seem to have found it in Australia’s northern outpost of Darwin.

On May 30, the storied U.S. Pacific Command was officially renamed the Indo-Pacific Command…Pompeo defined the Indo-Pacific as a region stretching “from the United States west coast to the west coast of India.” Over at the Department of Defense, that just happens to be the exact territory covered by USINDOPACOM.

Though USINDOPACOM is headquartered in Hawaii and is responsible for major U.S. deployments in Japan and South Korea, the two maritime cornerstones of American power in the Indo-Pacific are Guam on the right and Diego Garcia on the left. Now Darwin, the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory, is falling into place as the keystone at the center of the arch.

The American arch around the South China Sea is a defensive posture. China’s military buildup, like its Belt and Road Initiative, is fundamentally about offense.

As Pompeo stressed in Washington, “where America goes, we seek partnership, not domination.” In eastern Europe, NATO has a program it calls the Partnership for Peace . [The American] Indo-Pacific initiative could become a civilian equivalent in Asia.

The United States has had an open-door policy in Asia for more than one hundred years. It has always been based on business first, and force only as a last resort. Pompeo’s Indo-Pacific initiative fits squarely in that time-honored tradition. The architecture of a free and open Indo-Pacific may be supported by the military arch, but its upper stories will be built by private enterprise, and its doors will be open to everyone—including China.

Comment: From a geopolitical standpoint the American initiative is welcome. There are now three cornerstones in the Indo-Pacific Partnership of Peace: Diego Garcia, Darwin and Guam.

It may be time to think about the Southeast Pacific where Chile’s rapid economic growth and stable politics has shifted trade and strategic orientation to the Asia-Pacific away from the Southern Cone of South America.

The geopolitical significance of the South Pacific is increasing.

Easter Island, known locally as Rapa Nui, is situated more than 3,218 kilometers (2,000 miles) west of mainland Chile. Its control from the mainland is possible through a substantial military presence in capital Hanga Roa.

Chile annexed Easter Island in 1888. After the constitutional reforms of 2007, it extended Special Status. The islands are mainly inhabited by Polynesians, who at times call for self-determination within the Pacific Islands Forum.

Another Chilean island possession is the Juan Fernández Islands, are populated predominantly from mainland Chile.

Chile has a long coast and its maritime geography includes 6,435 km of coastline, 4,300 km on the mainland and the remainder distributed along Chile’s Antarctic and Pacific Island territories.

The maritime territory, including its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, covers more than 4.5 million square kilometers.

Chile aspires to have expeditionary capabilities similar to those of other South Pacific maritime powers such as Australia. The maritime expansion in the Southeast Pacific should be welcomed by other regional maritime powers, such as Australia.

It is quite possible that Chile in the future could have to decide if it wants to join the Pacific Partnership of Peace. This would lead to greater cooperation with the United States and Australia.

HOW TO OVERHAUL NATO

July 12, 2018

National Interest on July 10, 2018 published a kong article by Zalmay Khalilzad on the need for a NATO overhaul. Below excerpts from the article with the main proposals:

NATO is ill-structured, ill-equipped and ill-financed to deal with the European region’s two major security problems—an aggressive Russia and the spillover of instability and terrorism from the Middle East and North Africa—leaving aside emerging global security challenges. Worse, at times some members can even be said to have enabled the threat. One example being the massive German purchase of Russian gas, which provides Putin with ongoing financing. To deal effectively with these challenges on an equitable and sustained basis among allies, the terms of the partnership must be renegotiated and its common ground redefined. This is in Europe’s best interest too.

Many of NATO’s members have effectively disarmed since the end of the Cold War, with only eight of NATO’s twenty-eight members even spending the required 2 percent of GDP on defense.

A reformed NATO must hold members accountable in terms of actual military capabilities they can field. Those who care about NATO should criticize free-riding alliance members, not the efforts of Trump to get the alliance to up its game. At the same time, the Trump administration needs to articulate alliance priorities and the steps needed to adequately address them.

Specifically, the alliance should collectively take three steps to field an agreed set of defense outputs:

– Develop integrated defense plans within the NATO military committee for dealing with the Russian threat in northeast Europe, and instability and terrorist threats emanating from the Middle East and North Africa, thereby creating a strategy and a division of labor. This will entail a combined planning effort of the major NATO powers and the members living nearest or most directly affected by these threats.

– Agree to specific outputs—forces, weapons systems, operational capabilities, logistics support, and command and control—that each NATO member must develop and maintain at high readiness. This should take into account the capabilities that are needed now but also look to exploit emerging technologies to solve military problems more effectively as these technologies mature.

– Engage in realistic large-scale annual exercises—analogous the Exercise REFORGER of the Cold War—that will serve as a deterrent for would be aggressors, demonstrate resolve and compliance with NATO commitments and identify shortfalls for remediation.

In addition, the United States should candidly inform the European NATO members that the larger share of these agreed upon capabilities must come from them…They must also understand that the American public expects wealthy countries to defend themselves principally on their own, with the United States playing a supporting role on an as-needed basis.

We must deliver the hard message that the future of the U.S. commitment under Article 5 is contingent on European performance.

This would form the basis of a new global division of labor where America’s European allies assume the primary role for the security of Europe; the United States, Japan, South Korea and Australia would assume the primary role for security in the Western Pacific; and collectively, America and its global and regional allies would share roles in providing for security in the Middle East. Thus, working together, America and its allies would be meeting critical security demands in three critical regions.

A small tripwire force is inadequate to the task [of stopping Russia]

Among the capabilities that European NATO members would need to develop would include the following:

– An integrated air defense and surface-to-surface strike capability that would create an anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) belt covering the territory of NATO members and extending into adjacent areas of Russia.

– A counter-A2/AD capability that would defeat Russia battle networks and weapons systems, and Moscow’s ability to threaten NATO forward-deployed forces and reinforcements.

– A special operations forces capability sufficient to counter Russia’s sub-conventional operations involving the so-called “little green men.”

– A ground maneuver force that would combine the kind of light infantry that Hezbollah used against Israel’s offensive forces with heavy armor and artillery units that would consolidate territorial control.

As part of the new NATO security construct, the United States should offer to take the following steps:

– Maintain a small, highly capable ground maneuver force in Europe that would partner with a larger European force.

– Maintain a POMCUS capability in Europe, proximate to the locales where it would likely be needed, that would enable a surge of U.S. capability on a rapid basis if needed. Other major NATO powers, such as France, Germany and the UK should also provide POMCUS-style capability.

– Sell to European allies and partners, or license the right to produce, the high-end weapons systems needed to create the required European A2/AD, counter A2/AD, and maneuver force capabilities. Interoperability is vital and should be programmed into the strategy and plans.

– Agree to back up European arsenals of precision-guided munitions with U.S. stockpiles and production capabilities.

– Provide European NATO members with access to U.S. high-fidelity training capabilities and technologies.

– Provide the C4ISR capabilities that would enable integrated NATO operations in the event of conflict.

– Undertake a new look at what would be needed at every step in the escalation ladder—including tactical and intermediate-range nuclear forces—to ensure that Russia would not gain an advantage though escalating to high levels of
conflict. This would be a first step to address any deficiencies in our deterrent.

…the United States should work through NATO to help enable European members better to address challenges [from the Middle East and North Africa].

– Assist European NATO members in creating stabilization forces capable of brokering political compacts in fragile states, training local security forces, and building key state institutions.

– Work with European NATO members to develop a political-military plan for the stabilization of Libya and play a supporting role to the main European effort, which will likely require deployment of stabilization forces and establishment of a beachhead to deal with the source of refugees embarking across the Mediterranean Sea.

– Develop a counter-terrorism intelligence fusion and operations center that is part of the NATO command structure, thus coordinating the police, internal security and military responses to terrorism.

– Develop an agreed strategy and political-military plan to defeat the remnants of the Islamic State which is a threat to the member states.

To implement this doctrine, the United States should play an active supporting role and develop a three- to five-year timeline and program to create the needed European capabilities.

Zalmay Khalilzad was the Director of Policy Planning in the Department of Defense and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations

Comment: The proposals make good geopolitical sense. On the western end of Mackinder’s World Island Europe must be mainly responsible for its own defense. This should be within NATO. No seperate European defense force is needed. The United States, Japan, South Korea and Australia should take the lead in defending the western Pacific. To protect against the Iranian challenge in the Middle East America would have a leading role. In classical geopolitical terms there are one challenge coming from the interior of Eurasia (Russia). The other challenge comes from the Eurasian marginal lands (for example China and Iran). Spykman had recommended against European integration warned against and warned against any sort of rimland unity. Western and southern Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast and East Asia were the rimlands of most concern to the United States. It is time to go back the classical geopolitical solutions of Mackinder and Spykman. The lack of grand strategy of the United States during the period from 2008 to 2016 has brought the West close to catastrophy.

EXPLORING THE HISTORY OF THE REPUBLIC OF CHINA PART 2

July 12, 2018

CHIANG KAI-SHEK KUOMINTANG MEMORIALS 1927 – 1949

1927

On March 21 the Communists declared general strike and insurrection in Shanghai.

Chiang Kai-shek arrived in Shanghai on March 26. He did not act then but understood that he could not let the Communists take over Shanghai. He met with industrialists and businessmen and seperately with Green Gang leaders. Chiang offered to take charge of an anticommunist counterattack. Unrealiable troops were sent out of the city.

On April 2 a resolution went through to ”clean” the Kuomintang of unwanted members.

On April 18 Chiang proclaimed a rival Kuomintang government with seat in Nanking. He started consolidating his control over the lower Yangtse region.

There are a number of memorials in Shanghai and Nanking that remind of Chiang and Kuomintang.

1931

Chiang retired in the interest of Kuomintang unity.

1932

The National Government was moved on January 30 from Nanking to Loyang because of the Japanese invasion.

1934

Chiang on February 19 initiated a ”New Life Movement” in Nanking.

1938

An Emergency National Congress of the Kuomintang in Wuchang on April 1 elected Chiang as its tsung tsai (director general).

1940

On September 6 Chungking was proclaimed co-capital of China. There are memorials in Chungking that remind of Chiang and Kuomintang.

1943

On October 10 Chiang was sworn in as chairman of the National Government.

1945

On August 14 Japan surrendered.

1946

On May 5 the National Government was moved back to Nanking.

1949

On January 21 Chiang announced his retirement from the presidency. He left for Hangchow. Vice President Li Tsung-jen was empowered to exercise temporarily presidential powers. Government forces on April 23 evacuated Nanking.

On May 27 Shanghai was evacuated. The office of director general of Kuomintang was established in Taipei. The National Government, having established its seat in Canton, on October 12 moved it to Chungking. On October 13 government troops evacuated Canton. Chungking fell on November 30. On December 7 the National Government moved its seat to Taipei. On December 10 Chiang flew from Chengtu to Taipei.

EXPLORING THE HISTORY OF THE REPUBLIC OF CHINA PART 1

July 11, 2018

CHIANG KAI-SHEK KUOMINTANG MEMORIALS ON TAIWAN 1950 TO 1975

During the period from 1950 into the 1980s the National Government in Taipei constructed a number of monuments and buildings related to Chinese history since the founding of the Republic of China. Below is listed a number of those along with some buildings of historical interest for visitors to the island republic.

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (Guoli Zhongzheng Jiniantang) and the adjoining National Concert Hall and National Theater. The Memorial Hall has a Chiang museum….

Grand Hotel (Yanshan Da Fandian) in Taipei. For more on the relation between the Chiang family and the hotel see Laura Tyson Li, ”Madame Chiang Kai-shek: China’s Eternal First Lady” (2006).

Shilin Guandi was Chiang’s former residence in the Taipei suburb of Shilin built in 1959.

Chiang’s mausoleum in Taoyuan County is the Cihu Mausoleum. It is a temporary resting place. Chiang before he died in 1975 expressed a wish to be buried in his birthplace once China was recovered. In 1961 Chiang established the Project National Glory (PNG) for the recovery of China. Dazi Back Cihu is a former military base and was the command center of the PNG.

The Cihu Memorial Sculpture Park (Liang Jiang Wenyuan Yuanqu ming) was founded in 1997. Here was in 2000 started a collection of Chiang sculptures. There are a large number of bronze and stone statues of Chiang and other Kuomintang leaders. They have been donated from institutions from around the republic.

Chiang had between 27 and 30 guest houses around Taiwan.

CHIANG CHING-KUO KUOMINTANG MEMORIALS IN TAIWAN 1978 TO 1988

Chiang Ching-kuo’s former home in Taipei is the Quihai House (Qihai Yusuo). The residence is located on Beian Road and was home for Chiang’s son for over 20 years. The first floor of the house was mostly used for receiving guests and family gatherings, while the second floor included office space and bedrooms for the former president and his family. The residence was listed as a municipal monument in 2006.

CHINA WORKING TO UNDERMINE TAIWAN

July 10, 2018

National Interest on July 9, 2018 warned that Taiwan faces an authoritarian threat from China. Professor June Teufel Dreyer called for greater vigilance in the West. Excerpts below:

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about the rise of authoritarian governments. These administrations have been voted into office by their own citizens, sometimes in free and fair elections. Less talked about, however, is a democracy that is endangered by external pressure: Taiwan.

Since the victory of a presidential candidate it didn’t favor—the American and British educated Tsai Ing-wen—Beijing has been relentless in its pressures on this country of 23 million to join the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

…Chinese pressure forced the World Health Organization to bar Taiwan from its deliberations. A specialized agency of the United Nations, the WHO plays a major role in efforts to curb the spread of infectious diseases from one country to another. In this era of ubiquitous air travel and major population movements, excluding any country for whatever reasons could have severe consequences not only for that country but for the world at large. Likewise, and with similar potential for disaster, China has made sure that Taiwan cannot join international aviation agreements or Interpol.

Four countries—Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe, Panama and Burkina Faso—have broken diplomatic relations with Taiwan, lured by promises of lucrative business deals with China, and also reportedly by bribes to leaders. Beijing has hinted that more will follow. Negotiations with the Vatican, Taiwan’s last remaining European ally, are ongoing. Several countries have been told to remove Taiwan’s trade offices from their capital cities and even to change their names. The name changes are part of a larger effort to “disappear” Taiwan: under pressure from China, the huge Marriott hotel chain changed the name on its website from Taipei, Taiwan, to Taipei, China. Forty foreign airlines were ordered to do the same if they wished to continue flying to Chinese destinations.

The soft-spoken Tsai, Asia’s first female president, has several times indicated her desire for negotiations with China, but has been spurned, with her overture rejected as“an incomplete test paper.” The price of talks, Beijing made clear, is Tsai’s acknowledgement that Taiwan is part of China—in essence, requiring her to giving away her negotiating position as a precondition for negotiation.

Meanwhile, China has increased its attempts to subvert Taiwan from within. Through the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department (UFWD), which is responsible for operations that influence the politics of foreign countries to support party policies, Taiwan’s Communist Party and its New Party, which espouse unification with China, are lavishly funded even though they get very few votes. Both are perfectly legal under Taiwan law, although not all of their activities are.

At the tertiary level, students from Taiwan are offered scholarships at China’s most prestigious universities. Already, according to China’s official press agency, two Taiwanese studying at China’s highest rated institution, Beijing University, have applied to join the CCP, one of them vowing his fervent desire “to become a participant in the mainland’s joint rejuvenation.” The large number of PhDs from Taiwan universities who have not been able to find employment there have been offered jobs in China. In January, Taiwan-born Hsieh Kuo-chun was selected to the top advisory board of the CPPCC, the non-party institutional face of the united front.

Since the bulk of Taiwan’s trade is with China, special attention has been devoted to business people. Those who endorse policies favorable to China receive appointments to PRC organizations and favorable treatment for their investments; those who do not find opportunities cut off.

The United States, bound by congressional legislation to make sure that any resolution of Taiwan-China differences is peaceful and consonant with the wishes of the people involved, has expressed both concern and reassurance. In May, in a belated but nevertheless welcome acknowledgement of China’s actions, a State Department spokesperson accused China of unilaterally altering the status quo across the Taiwan Strait, thereby “undermining the framework that has enabled peace, stability, and development for decades.” A few months earlier, Congress passed, and President Donald Trump signed, the long-delayed Taiwan Travel Act, which facilitates the exchange of high level officials between Washington and Taipei. An agreement has also been reachedto share information that would allow representatives of Taiwan’s research institutions and its Ministry of Defense’s Armaments Bureau to visit their counterparts in the United States for collaborative projects.

…National Security Adviser John Bolton has said it may be time to rethink the basis of America’s China policy. In the Senate, bipartisan legislation seeks an investigation into Chinese political influence in the United States, which includes efforts to change its policy toward Taiwan. Similar investigations have been taking place in Australia and New Zealand.

June Teufel Dreyer is professor of political science at the University of Miami and a past commissioner of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Commission.

Comment: The time is now to rethink US China policy. Taiwan is an important link in the chain of countries that for a long time have aided the United States in checking Chinese strategic actions aiming at greater influence in the Pacific area. In this effort Japan and South Korea should be willing to support US counter efforts in support of Taiwan. It is indeed time to rethink the basis of US China policy.

BARBARIANS ARE BACK

June 20, 2018

A leading geopolitician, Jakub J. Grygiel, recently (May 2018) published ”Return of the Barbarians” (Cambridge University Press) dealing with non-state actors from Ancient Rome to the present. During the European Great Migration Era small, sometimes large, highly mobile, and stateless groups challenged the Roman empire from across the Rhine and the Danube. Some originated in continental Germania others migrated from Scandinavia (the East Germanic tribes of which the Goths were the most important). Others were for instance Vandals, Gepids, Heruls, Rugi and many others.

Grygiel shows how these groups have presented peculiar, long term problems which could not be solved by finite wars or diplomacy. Then as today the barbarian challenges have to be understood. They are at present as in ancient times a challenge to Western civilization.

Another leading geopolitician, Robert D. Kaplan, has described Grygiel’s book as a bold, original thesis. Grygiel has certainly done an excellent work by merging geopolitics, political science and classical studies. The reader will see the world differently and more profoundly. It is also a perfect guide to the current era.

Varldsinbordeskriget has published a number of contributions on the ancient Germanic tribes and will so do in the future.

The tribes from the north originally tended to be weaker than the forces of the Empire that it faced..They had lived a pastoral life and were in ancient Europe migrating in large numbers having a decentralized organizational structure. Often they had to arm themselves with the battlefield spoils of the defeated Romans. In the Roman Empire they brought devastation, decreasing tax revenues, trade disruption and stretching Roman forces to the limit. It should however be noted that they brought much of value to the Empire when being allowed to settle within its borders. The Nordic barbarian tribes also joined the Roman Army in large numbers strengthening the legions. Within the legions, however, they could also be a disruptive force.

Jakub Grygiel is presently on the planning staff of the US State Department.

THE CIMBRI TREK WAS A WARNING TO ROME AROUND 100 BC

June 17, 2018

Introduction

The migration of the Cimbri from Jutland (the Cimbrian Peninsula) was a foreboding of the period of Great Migration in Europe. There is some controversy over the original home (German: Stammsitz) of the Cimbri but most Scandinavian researchers believe the Cimbrian people came from the province of Himmerland in northern Jutland (Denmark).

The Roman historian Tacitus wrote in his work Germania on the Cimbri (Tacitus, Germania, London 1930):

“37. This same “sleeve” or peninsula of Germany is the home of the Cimbri (note: remnants in the northern end of Jutland of the great tribe whose westwards movements c 120 onwards with the Teutones and the Ambrones caused dire trouble to the Romans in 113 – 101 BC. The Romans did not the know they were Germanic. Their lands were found by Tiberius´ fleet in 5 AD when they sought friendship with Rome. Tacitus does not mention their former powerful allies the Teutones of Jutland). who dwell nearest the ocean – a small state today, but rich in memories. Broad traces of their ancient fame is still extant – spacious encampments (note:These forts (Ringwaelle) were later found to be Celtic not Cimbrian) on each bank (of the Rhine), by the circuit of which you can even today measure the multitudes and manual strength of the tribes and the evidences of that mighty “trek”.

Our city (Rome, note) was in its six hundred and fortieth year when the Cimbrian armies were first heard of…”.

The main proof of the fact that the Cimbri originated in ancient Denmark is the well known language rule that the Nordic “h” in Latin becomes “c” and that this “c” is pronounced “k”. Greek historians named the people “kimbroi” or “kimmerioi”. Around AD 700 Denmark was divided into counties (“herred” or “syssel”). According to Danish researchers the name of the county Himbersyssel is a change from “kimbrer” over “chimber” to “Himber”.

On the migration trek southward the Cimbri were joined by the Teutones and the Ambrones. These peoples will not be treated here in more detail but there is also controversy over their origin but it is believed that the Teutones originated in the Danish county of Thy (Thiuth, Thyuth, Thyth) and the Latin word Teutones comes from the name of the county which is on the Danish North Sea coast on Jutland northwest of Himbersyssel.

The Ambrones also fought with the Cimbri and are believed to originate from the island of Amrum off the southwestern coast of Jutland on the Danish-German border. Also the island of Fehmarn in the Baltic Sea between Denmark and Germany (the island is in present day Germany) is mentioned as possible original home. In Old Danish the island´s name was “Ymbrae” and a people called “ymbrer” was said to have lived there.

What Caused the Migration ?

Some sources claim that the reason for the migration was a flooding of the original home in Himmerland (Himmersyssel). Other causes may have been the cold and chill as a result of the change in climate that occured during the beginning of the Iron Age in Northern Europe. (note: see for instance Jens Braaten, Kimbrerne – historie, teorier og myter om Himmerlands kimbrere (The Cimbri – history, theories and myths on the Cimbri of Himmerland), Aars, Denmark 1989, Allan A. Lund, Nordens barbarer (The Barbarians of the North), 1979, Jul. Wulf, Kimbrertoget (The Cimbrian Trek), 1909, and Bengt Melin´s essay “Die Heimat der Kimbern” in the Uppsala University Yearbook, 1960:5. A recent theory was that the lack of arable land caused the Cimbri to look for new land to the south. Other theories (note: for further reading on these see above) claim that a cattle disease spread in the area.

Danish scientists have estimated that 30,000 to 35,000 Cimbri migrated, among them
10,000 should have been warriors. During the march south the number grew by addition from other tribes so that the number of warriors when the Cimbri entered Gaul could well have been 60,000.

The Cimbri marched from fall to spring and used the summer to rest and gain strength. 5,000 ox drawn carts carrying 1,000 pounds of provision each was the probable size of the baggage-train.

Starting South in 120 BC

According to Plutarch the Cimbrian cavalrymen carried helmets adorned with the mouths of terrible beasts of prey and had many other strange objects. On the helmets were high feathers in the form of winged birds (see underneath). The women were accompanied by priestesses in white dresses. On a special waggon the Cimbrian bull (note:there is a large monument of the Cimbrian bull in the city centre of Aalborg, largest city of Himmerland and northern Jutland). Not far from the city of Aars in Himmerland are the remains of what is believed to be a Cimbrian fortress at Borremose A sacred object probably made of copper, was transported along during the trek.

Final Cimbri Defeat after Years of Battle Victories – The Battle of Vercellae 101 BC

Vercellae was not far from present day Milan in northern Italy. Plutarch has also in detail described this final victory of the Romans under Marius (note: ibid, pp. 529 – 537).
which led to his reelection as Roman consul in 100 BC for having averted the Germanic threat. And the Ambrones, the Cimbri and the Teutones vanish from history the
prisoners probably assimilated. According to Plutarch 120,000 Cimbri fell and 60,000 were taken prisoner. But of course these
numbers can well be exaggerated.

“…the Cimbri,…once more advanced against Marius, who kept quiet and carefully guarded his camp. And it is said that in preparation for this battle Marius introduced an innovation in the structure of the javelin. Up to this time, it seems, that part of the shaft which was let into the iron head was fastened there by two iron nails; but now, leaving one of these as it was, Marius removed the other, and put in its place a wooden pin that could easily be broken. His design was that the javelin, after striking the enemy´s shield, should not stand straight out, but that the wooden peg should break, thus allowing the shaft to bend in the iron head and trail along the ground, being held fast by the twist at the point of the weapon.

And now Boeorix the king of the Cimbri, with a small retinue, rode up towards the camp and challenged Marius to set a day and a place and come out and fight for the ownership of the country. Marius replied that the Romans never allowed their enemies to give them advice about fighting, but that he would nevertheless gratify the Cimbri in this matter. Accordingly, they decided that the day should be the third following, and the place the plain of Vercellae, which was suitable for the operations of the Roman cavalry, and would give the Cimbri room to deploy their numbers.

When, therefore, the appointed time had come the Romans drew up their forces for battle. Catulus had twenty thousand three hundred soldiers, while those of Marius amounted to thirty-two thousand, which were divided between both wings and had Catulus between them in the center…Marius hoped that the two lines would engage at their extremities chiefly and on the wings in order that his soldiers might have the whole credit for the victory and that Catulus might not participate in the struggle nor even engage the enemy (since the centre, as is usual in battle-fronts of great extent, would be folded back); and therefore arranged the forces in this manner…

As for the Cimbri, their foot-soldiers advanced slowly from their defences, with a depth equal to their front, for each side of their formation had an extent of thirty furlongs; and their horsemen, fifteen thousand strong, rode out in splendid style, with helmets made to resemble the maws of frightful wild beasts or the heads of strange animals, which, with their towering crests of feathers, made their wearers appear taller than they really were; they were also equipped with breastplates of iron, and carried gleaming white shields. For hurling, each man had two lances; and at close quarters they used large, heavy swords.

XXVI. At this time, however, they did not charge directly upon the Romans, but swerwed to the right and tried to draw them along gradually, until they got them between themselves and their infantry, which was drawn up on their left. The Roman commanders perceived the crafty design, but did not succeeed in holding their soldiers back; for one of them shouted that the enemy was taking to flight, and then all set out to pursue them. Meanwhile the infantry of the Barbarians came on to the attack like a vast sea in motion…

…an immense cloud of dust was raised, as was to be expected, and the two armies were hidden from one another by it, so that Marius, when he first led his forces to the attack, missed the enemy, passed by their lines of battle, and moved aimlessly up and down the plain for some time. Meanwhile, as chance would have it, the Barbarians engaged fiercely with Catulus, and he and his soldiers..bore the brunt of the struggle. The Romans were favored in the struggle…by the heat, and by the sun, which shone in the faces of the Cimbri. For the Barbarians were well able to endure cold, and had been brought up in shady and chilly regions…They were therefore undone by the heat; they sweated profusely, breathed with difficulty, and were forced to hold their shields before their faces. For the battle was fought after the summer solstice…Moreover, the dust, by hiding the enemy, helped to encourage the Romans. For they could not see from afar the great numbers of the foe, but each one of them fell at a run upon the man just over against him, and fought him hand to hand, without having been terrified by the sight of the rest of the host. And their bodies were so inured to toil and so thoroughly trained that not a Roman was observed to sweat or pant, in spite of the great heat and the run which they came to the encounter…

XXVII. The greatest number and the best fighters of the enemy were cut to pieces on the spot; for to prevent their ranks from being broken, those who fought in the front were bound fast to one another with long chains which were passed through their belts. The fugitives, however, were driven back to their entrenchments, where the Romans beheld a most tragic spectacle. The women in black garments, stood at the waggons and slew the fugitives – their husbands or brothers or fathers, then strangled their little children and cast them beneath the wheels of the waggons or the feet of the cattle, and then cut their own throats. It is said that one woman hung dangling from the tip of a waggon-pole, with her children tied to either ankle; while the men, for lack of trees, fastened themselves by the neck to the horns of the cattle, or to their legs, then plied the goad, and were dragged away. Nevertheless, in spite of such self-destruction, more than sixty thousand were taken prisoner; and those who fell were said to have been twice that number.”

The Roman Army

Marius was a “new man” (a first generation senator). He professionalized the Roman army. Also he exchanged the old 3-line organisation in favour of ten cohorts, each about 480 man strong.

They were uniformely armed with helmet, mail shirt, shield, sword and two javelins (one light and one heavy). The main tactical unit was the century and the centurions commanding them became the backbone of the Roman army. Every soldier was also expected to carry his own equipment which earned him the nickname “Marius´ mule”. The new army was toughened through marches and camp construction and Marius would not allow it to fight until properly trained. One of the reasons for the final victory over the Germanic peoples (in this first large confrontation) was probably the improved training introduced by Marius.

The Cimbrian Army

There is no detailed description in the Roman sources of the Cimbrian warriors and their army except for the information in Plutarchs battle descriptions. Thus it is only possible to use the more general description of Germanic warriors in Tacitus´ Germania (note: 10) Tacitus, Germania, London 1930, pp. 138 – 141):

“6. Even iron is not plentiful among them, as may be gathered from the style of their weapons. Few use swords or the longer kind of lance: they carry short spears, in their language “frameae”, with a narrow and small iron head, but so sharp and handy in use that they fight with the same weapon, as circumstances demand, both at close quarters and at a distance. Even the mounted man is content with a shield and framea: the infantry launch showers of missiles in addition, each man a volley, and hurl these to great distances, for they wear no outer clothing, or at most a light cloak.

There is no bravery or adornment among them: their shields only are picked out with choice colours. Few have breastplates: scarcely one or two at most have metal or hide helmets. The horses are conspicuous neither for beauty nor speed; but neither are they trained likeour horses to run in a variety of directions: they ride them forwards only or to the right, with but one turn from the straight, dressing the line so closely as they wheel that no one is left behind. On a broad view there is more strength in their infantry, and accordingly cavalry and infantry fight in one body, the swift-footed infantryman, whom they pick out of the whole body of warriors and place in front of the line, being well adapted and suitable for cavalry battles. The number of these men is fixed – one hundred from each canton: and among their own folk this, “the Hundred”, is the precise name they use: what was once a number only has become a title and a distinction. The battle-line itself is arranged in wedges: to retire, provided you press on again, they treat as a question of tactics, not of cowardice: they carry off their dead and wounded even in battles of doubtful issue. To have abandoned one´s shield is the height of disgrace; the man so shamed cannot be present at religious rites, nor attend a council.”