Archive for the ‘GEOPOLITICS’ Category

NEW US NATIONAL DEFENSE STRATEGY: FOCUS ON GREAT POWER COMPETITION

January 20, 2018

Fox News on January 19, 2018 reported on the new National Defense Strategy of the United States. Excerpts below:

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned that the U.S. military’s advantage over Russia and China is “eroding,” when he unveiled the new US National Defense Strategy….The document also says that ISIS no longer remains a top threat.

“Great power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of U.S. national security,” Mattis said. “We face growing threats from revisionist powers as different as China and Russia, nations that seek to create a world consistent with their authoritarian models.”

Mattis named the rogue regimes in North Korea and Iran as top threats as well. But the strategy does not ignore the ability of terrorist groups to persist and evolve. ISIS has largely been defeated in Iraq and Syria, but Mattis warned the group will keep trying to reestablish itself and make a comeback like Hezbollah and Al Qaeda.

He warned that America’s ability to respond to threats has diminished.

He also said, “We will modernize key capabilities, recognizing we cannot expect success fighting tomorrow’s conflicts with yesterday’s weapons or equipment.”

Mattis said the modernization of China’s military over the past two decades as well as Russia’s advantages coupled with the U.S fighting its longest war in the nation’s history have led to loss of a competitive advantage.

“To those who would threaten America’s experiment in democracy: if you challenge us, it will be your longest and worst day,” he warned.

This is the first national defense strategy in 10 years. The classified version of the strategy is five times bigger than the 11-page unclassified report released today.

Comment: This is good news not only for the United States but for the West as a whole. The great power threat of China and Russia has during the period 2008 to 2016 been underestimated by the American administration of Obama.

This is not the first time in US history. During World War Two there was a vast deception that kept Stalin’s henchmen on American federal payroll. This resulted in a sabotaged foreign policy in favor of the Soviet Union. Presidential aides such as Lauchlin Currie and Harry Hopkins exerted pro-communist influence on US policy. Massive breaches of internal security and betrayal of free-world interests were ignored by the US administrations. Countless American officials turned a blind eye to the penetration problem. Some of the worst betrayals was in the atomic weapons area which resulted in the Soviets being able to develop the atomic bomb.

Important is also the the United States will continue to defend against terrorist movements. With ISIS defeated in Iraq and Syria there could be new emerging threats from Hezbollah and Al Qaeda.

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CHINA MOVING INTO FORMER ”TRIBUTARY TERRITORY” WITH MAJOR INVESTMENTS

January 11, 2018

Fox News on January 11, 2018 reported that Cambodia and China have signed nearly 20 agreements worth several billion dollars to develop the impoverished Southeast Asian country’s infrastructure, agriculture and health care. Excerpts below:

The agreements and memorandums of understanding were signed during a meeting between Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang.

Among the major agreements is building a new expressway more than 200 kilometers (125 miles) long linking the capital, Phnom Penh, with the coastal city of Sihanoukville,, and a new Phnom Penh international airport.

Cambodia was part of the tribute system was established during the Chinese Han dynasty. The first tributary missions arrived in China around the first century BC. Cambodia was a tributary state to China from 616 to 1863. Annam (part of Vietnam) sent tributary missions to China and in the case of Laos it was from 1400 to 1912. Burma and Thailand were also linked to China for centuries.

Comment: From the period 2010 to 2012 China has been increasingly assertive even aggressive in its relations with South-East Asian nation but in other areas as well.

China seems to believe that America’s role in the worldwide financial crisis as well as the costly military commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan have weakened the United States. The soft China policy of Washington DC from 2008 to 2016. The rising China has interpreted this as an indication of Western weakness.

It is important to introduce geopolitical thinking when studying the other Chinese flashpoint of the South China Sea. During the first decade of the 21st century a Greater China has emerged. China must be prevented from having too much influence in the Rimland according to Dutch-American geopolitician Nicholas Spykman (1893 – 1943). He was the founder of the Yale Institute of International Relations. The Rimland of Eurasia from Norway to the Bering Strait is of main importance in geopolitics according to Spykman The upheavals in the Greater Middle East since the beginning of the twentyfirst century and the growing tensions in South Asia and the Korean Peninsula is reason to watch China as both landpower and seapower.

US MILITARY FORCES COULD LOOSE NEXT WAR . THREATS ARE POSED BY RUSSIA, CHINA, AND IRAN

December 15, 2017

Washington Times on December 13, 2017, published news on a new study by the Rand Corporation that says US forces are poorly structured. Excerpts below:

The study, “U.S. Military Capabilities and Forces for a Dangerous World,” presents the stark conclusion that the American military needs to reform its structure and war fighting plans to better deal with military challenges.

U.S. forces currently are larger than needed to fight a single major war and have failed to keep pace with military advances by major powers (note that would be the three emoires on the world island that are presently challenging the West: Russia, China, and Iran).

…Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a speech last month warned that American military advantages over China and Russia are eroding and said more investments are needed.

The Rand study recommended that instead of readying military forces to fight two regional wars in overlapping time frames, the military needs to shift the focus toward battling the five main adversaries today: China, Russia, North Korea, Iran and Islamic terrorist groups.

The scenarios call for a new force structure prepared to wage one major war against Russia or China; or forces ready to wage one major war and a regional conflict against North Korea or Iran. The third option is a force structure for two major wars, a buildup that requires larger numbers of combat brigades, fighter squadrons and warships.

The report states that the current approach to force planning and resource allocation by the Pentagon has “placed too little emphasis on modernizing the capabilities, posture, and operating concepts of U.S. forces for power projection.”

“The result — a force that is insufficiently robust to face the challenges posed by the most-capable adversaries — poses growing risks to the viability of the United States’ most-important security relationships.”Military reforms are needed to counter the growing power of America’s adversaries.

For example, to deal with China, the military needs to speed up development of faster, longer range air-to-surface and air-to-air missiles, more stocks of regional based cruise missiles; more electronic warfare gear, more stealth drones and satellites hardened from attacks along with space weapons such as missiles and jammers.
Many of those same weapons are needed to defeat Russia in a conflict as well as deploying three heavy combat brigades in the Baltic States and one in Poland.

To counter Iran, the report recommends improved mine countermeasures deployed in the region and greater close-in defenses for warships.

JERUSALEM – ISRAELS EVIGA HUVUDSTAD

December 13, 2017

Tidskriften Contra har i ett veckobrev i december 2017 publicerat en artikel om Jerusalem. Se nedan:

Jerusalem är Israels huvudstad. Officiellt sedan 1950. Det är bara att kolla i vilket referensverk som helst. Jerusalem är Israels huvudstad. Ändå envisas världens länder med att ha sina ambassader i Tel Aviv. De sista två ambassaderna i Jerusalem (Costa Rica och El Salvador) stängdes 2006.

Jerusalem Embassy Act lades fram som ett förslag i Kongressen av senatorn Bob Dole (som blev republikanernas presidentkandidat 1996, han förlorade mot Bill Clinton). Den 23 oktober 1995 röstade Kongressen om Jerusalem Embassy Act, som gick ut på att den amerikanska ambassaden skulle flyttas från Tel Aviv till Jerusalem. Förslaget vann med 374-37 i Representanthuset och med 93-5 i Senaten. Flytten skulle vara genomförd till 1999. Bill Clinton ansåg emellertid att lagen var ett ingrepp mot hans ”executive privilege”, det vill säga att Presidenten står för den verkställande makten. Både George W Bush och Barack Obama har hållit fast vid den ståndpunkten och har trots Kongressens beslut vägrat att flytta ambassaden. Den 5 juni 2017 antog Senaten en resolution som innehöll en hänvisning till Jerusalem Embassy Act. Resolutionen antogs med röstsiffrorna 90-0!

Trump hade som vallöfte att flytta ambassaden från Tel Aviv till Jerusalem.

Av europeiska länder har Tjeckien officiellt erkänt Jerusalem som Israels huvudstad, men låter det anstå att flytta ambassaden tills en förhandlingslösning nåtts på konflikten i området.

Sverige då? Vi utmärker oss som vanligt negativt. Sverige har som ett av mycket få länder ett generalkonsulat i Jerusalem. Men inte för att hålla kontakten med Israel utan med “palestinska myndigheten”. Det är sammanlagt bara tio länder som har konsulat eller generalkonsulat i Jerusalem.

IRAN’S IMPERIAL PROJECT – A CHALLENGE TO THE WEST

December 2, 2017

Washington Times on November 20, 2017, published a commentary by Ilan Berman, a leading US foreign policy expert on what is actually the main political problem in the Middle East. Excerpts below:
Iran is on the march in the Middle East.

…accounts out of Iraq, Lebanon and beyond has pointed to an inescapable conclusion: Iran is erecting a new empire in the region.

Already three years ago, the contours of Iran’s regional ambitions were coming into focus. With the seizure of Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, by the country’s Iranian-supported Houthi rebels in the fall of 2014, the Islamic Republic of Iran could effectively claim control of four Arab regional capitals (including Beirut, Damascus and Baghdad).

Since then, Tehran’s grip on those territories has only tightened. In Syria, Iran’s strategic footprint has expanded steadily, to the point at which Tehran is now reportedly planning a permanent military presence in the country as part of its partnership with the regime of Bashar Assad.

In Lebanon, working via its chief terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, the Islamic republic has become…dominant in national politics…

Meanwhile in Iraq, Iran’s support for the hashd al-shaabi, the powerful Shiite militias that now dominate the country’s Ministry of Interior, has made it a key stakeholder in (and the most likely winner of) the country’s national elections next year.

And in Yemen, the expanding power of the Houthis, and the threat that they pose to neighboring Saudi Arabia as well as to American forces in the Gulf, has had everything to do with growing political and military support from Tehran.

…Iran’s imperial project is now accelerating in at least two ways.

First, mounting evidence from the Syrian theater indicates that Iran has succeeded in deploying a formidable expeditionary force of fighters there. Historically, Iran’s clerical army, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, has served as the regime’s dedicated foreign legion. But the Syrian civil war has provided Iranian officials with an opportunity to marshal a supplemental cadre of irregular fighters and “volunteers,” drawn from Iraq’s Shiite militias as well as places like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen.

The result is a secondary Iranian proxy force that, according to some estimates, could number as many as 200,000 men under arms, and which can be deployed by Tehran to other theaters in the future, once the war in Syria dies down.
Second, Iran has succeeded in establishing resupply routes to funnel both personnel and materiel to the Levant….Iran’s growing control over Iraq via the Hashd al-Shaabi has created a land corridor that provides a direct transport link into Syria for Iranian forces and arms. This has been supplemented by an “air bridge” of flights spearheaded by Iran’s national air carrier, Iran Air, which has helped to ferry both guerrillas and Guardsmen to the Syrian front. The end result is a zone of Iranian control stretching from territorial Iran all the way to the Eastern Mediterranean.

What has made all this possible? A large portion of the blame rests with the 2015 nuclear deal concluded between Iran and the P5+1 powers. That agreement proffered enormous economic benefits to the Islamic Republic in hopes that, over time, it would lead to a moderation of the Iranian regime. Instead, the opposite has happened. The extensive sanctions relief built into the deal has provided Iran’s ailing economy a much-needed fiscal shot in the arm, and freed up funds that Iran has poured into its proxy forces and its military modernization efforts.

Today, policymakers in Washington remain preoccupied with degrading and defeating the Islamic State terrorist group in Iraq and Syria. As a result, they have paid scant attention to how other regional actors might be empowered by our counterterrorism fight.

Comment: Iran is a long-time challenger of the West. The Persian Sassanian empire has been the organizational model (third to seventh century AD) for the Islamic Iranian state. The statecraft offered a bureaucracy, an effective military system and diplomacy intelligence. Muslim rule is built on classical Persian documentation such as the tenth century Book of Kings and the epic Shahnama.

The Sassanian empire was centered on a Persian “power state”. The Book of Government (seyasat-nameh) by Nizam al-Mulk (d. 1092 AD) was prepared as aid to helping sustain fundamentalist Islam, but the origin of the work is completely Iranian.

Persia was also the home to the Assassins (ca 1000 to 1275 AD).

Iran is a megastate and empire on the world island. It is the home of endemic conspiracy thinking. The coastline in the south constitutes half of the Arabian Gulf. With Oman it controls the vital Strait of Hormuz.

Russia was for a long time a provider of arms to Iran. Moscow has also since the 1990s provided Iran with nuclear materials and technology for missile systems. Iran also has military cooperation with North Korea despite. Another threat to the West (including Israel) is that Iran is actively seeking Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Hezbollah and Hamas are terrorist partners of Iran.

NORTH KOREAN DEFECTOR IN CRITICAL CONDITION

November 15, 2017

Washington Times on November 14, 2017, reported that the defecting North Korean soldier who was shot defecting across the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is in critical condition. He was shot at 40 times and suffered five gunshot wounds. A South Korean military official has reported that he is likely to survive although at present he cannot breathe on his own.

A troubling aspect of this shooting is that the freedom seeking soldier from North Korea was fired upon even after having crossed the border to the south.

More details are provided in an article published by Fox News on November 13, 2017. Excerpts below:

An elite North Korean soldier stationed at the heavily guarded Demilitarized Zone made a bold bolt for freedom… defecting to South Korea despite getting shot twice, the South’s military said.

North Korean soldiers shot at the unidentified North Korean soldier when he ran from the guard post at the northern side of the village, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

He suffered gunshot wounds to his elbow and shoulder and was taken to the hospital when South Korean soldiers found him about 25 minutes later on the southern side of the Joint Security Area, a strip of land where North and South Korean forces stand face-to-face, the military said, according to the South’s Yonhap News Agency.

The South Korean military said he was unarmed and was wearing a combat uniform for a low ranking soldier.

About 30,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea since the end of the Korean War, but most travel through China. An estimated 1,000 people flee Kim Jong Un’s volatile regime each year, but going through the DMZ — fortified with land mines, barbed wires and machine guns — have been extremely rare because of the dangerous conditions. This year, North Korean defectors successfully escaping the regime fell by 12.7 percent, according to the Telegraph.

The soldier’s successful escape makes only the fourth defection by a North Korean soldier through the DMZ in the last three years, the BBC reported. Yonhap News agency said Kim’s military officials reportedly “cherry-pick” loyal soldiers who are stationed at the DMZ.

At Panmunjom, once an obscure farming village inside the 2 1/2-mile-wide DMZ that separating the rivaling countries, North Korean soldiers wearing lapel pins with the images of late North Korean leaders often use binoculars to monitor visitors from the South.

[Panmunjon is] jointly controlled by the American-led U.N. Command and North Korea. The DMZ is guarded on both sides by hundreds of thousands of combat-ready troops, razor-wire fences and tank traps. More than a million mines are believed to be buried inside the zone.

The most famous incident was in 1976, when two American army officers were killed by ax-wielding North Korean soldiers. The attack prompted Washington to fly nuclear-capable B-52 bombers toward the DMZ…

In 1984, North Korean and U.N. Command soldiers traded gunfire after a Soviet citizen defected by sprinting to the South Korean sector of the truce village. The incident left three North Korean soldiers and one South Korean soldier dead.

Comment: Due to the failed efforts of several American Democratic administrations North Korea is dangerously close to being able to carry out a nuclear attack not only for instance against Japan but even the United States. North Korea is in 2017 very close to being able to initiate a nuclear war of catastrophic proportions with the United States.

During the 1930s in Europe democratic great powers failed to listen to the warnings of Winston Churchill that Hitler was preparing to go to war. In 1939 it was too late to stop a war. President Donald Trump has now made it clear to both North Korea and China that the U.S. is willing to take preemptive military action as a last resort to protect America’s interests. One can only hope that there is a peaceful way to achieve denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. A nuclear North Korea can certainly not be tolerated.

The Obama administration refused to confront the dangers of nuclear tyrannical regimes in North Korea and Iran. As a result of these policies there is a dangerous situation in East Asia that has consequences all over the world.

The West and especially the United States cannot accept being held hostage by a rogue nuclear marxist-leninist regime. It is unacceptable that China year after year can continue to support the regime in North Korea. China is increasingly aggressive in the South China Sea and observers have compared the rise of China in the beginning of the twentyfirst century with the rise of Hitler in the 1930s. Obama during the past eight years has acted much like the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in his attempts to appease Hitler.

In a small way the recent defection of the North Korean soldier could be a sign that the North Korean army is beginning to doubt the aggressive nuclear policies of the ”Great Leader”. This in turn could indicate that the sanctions are at last having some effects.

There is now more than ever a need for increased information operations by South Korea to show the Koreans in the north that they are not living in a socialist paradise but in a prison camp that is falling apart.

PRESIDENT TRUMP IN VIETNAM: THE WHOLE WORLD IS LIFTED BY AMERICA’S RENEWAL

November 10, 2017

Associated Press on November 10, 2017, reported on President Donald Trump’s speech at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Danang, Vietnam. Excerpts below:

President Donald Trump says he won’t let the United States be “taken advantage of anymore” on trade and adds that he’ll always “put America first.”

“we can no longer tolerate these chronic trade abuses and we will not tolerate them.”

Trump [also concluded that] the U.S. will seek trade relationships that are rooted in the principles of fairness and reciprocity. He says the opposite has happened for “too long.”

While the United States lowered market barriers…other countries didn’t open their markets to us.

He adds: “Simply put we have not been treated fairly by the World Trade Organization.”

[Trump also said in Danang] that…a “new optimism” has swept across the United States since his election.

He [used] statistics about economic growth, low unemployment and stock market highs [to support this].

AMBASSADOR ROBERT LIGHTHIZER: CHINA ‘A VERY, VERY SERIOUS CHALLENGE’

November 5, 2017

US Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer offered views on US trade policy and China’s economic goals in “Ingraham Angle” on the Fox News Channel on November 3, 2017. Excerpts below:

Ingraham: “China has something called their 2025 project. It’s their focus to dominate every major industry from 3D printing, to rare earth, to heavy manufacturing, tool manufacturing…

Ambassador Lighthizer: “It’s a very, very serious challenge, not just to us, but to Europe, Japan, and the global trading system. And basically, it’s very focused. It is the areas you talked about, but also aerospace, on new energy vehicles. I mean, they want to be on top of all the high tech, all the cutting-edge economic areas. and it’s smart for them to do it…It is a genuine threat. It’s a combination of massive subsidies, of closed markets, and of focus on technology transfer.”…

Ingraham: “So when they say you’re going to start a trade war?”

Lighthizer: “We’re not starting a trade war at all…We’ve tried it their way for 25 years. Since at least 1995, we tried it their way. All I am saying is let’s try a different route for a little bit. The result of their way, I would suggest, is a $750 billion goods deficit, and an overall goods and services deficit of $500 billion. I mean, these are staggering numbers. We ought to try something else. I think we’re going to end up with more efficiency. We’re going to end up with more global wealth. it’s going to be fine for businesses, but most importantly, it’s going to be fine for American workers and American farmers who need a break. And part of this whole trade idea, this whole public contract is that we give fair trade in return for open markets…”

Comment: In August 2017 President Trump directed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to determine if China is harming American companies by forcing, or coercing, them to turn over their intellectual property.

If an investigation is needed it will take about a year for it to be completed.

It has been said that China requires companies to turn over their intellectual property and other information to be able to work in the country. This is costing American companies billions of dollars per year.

The practice has been described as forced technology transfer and intellectual property theft.

The investigators would have to consult with advisory committees and the Chinese.

It has been a longstanding problem and observed both by Congress and the business community in the United States.

China’s goal is to steal the intellectual property of American companies to make products of their own. An American investigation of the Chinese practice would not lead to a period of increased conflict. It is just a business, but stealing intellectual property is of course a serious matter.

TRUMP: US-JAPAN ALLIANCE IS TESTAMENT TO TRANSFORMATIVE POWER OF FREEDOM

November 5, 2017

Fox News on November 5, 2017, reported on President Donald Trump’s arrived in Japan, kicking off a five-nation Asia tour. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed the two leaders’ plans for the afternoon. Excerpts below:

“We are having a business lunch over hamburgers,” Abe wrote [on Twitter].

Earlier in remarks upon his arrival from Hawaii, Trump spoke of the longtime U.S.-Japan alliance as a testament to the “transformative power of freedom.”

He observed that two countries that were once World War II enemies were now partners in pursuit of a better world.

It was an oblique reference to joint efforts by Trump and Abe to pressure North Korea to give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Trump made the remarks at Yokota Air Base near Tokyo…

WHAT TRUMP SHOULD SAY IN CHINA AND JAPAN DURING THE INDO-ASIA TRIP?

November 4, 2017

On November 1, 2017, National Interest published an article on what President Trump should say during his visit to China (”What Should Trump Say during His Upcoming China Trip?”) by Joseph A. Bosco, a national security consultant. Short excerpts below:

The president should make no accommodating statements about Taiwan, and certainly should not consider a fourth communique—the first three did enough damage to Taiwan. Instead, Trump should be prepared to preempt Beijing with some pro-Taiwan declarations. He should…announce a…set of Three Nos, but this time they should be directed at China: no use of force or coercion against Taiwan, no blocking of Taiwan’s participation in all international organizations and no bribing or coercing countries to break relations with Taiwan.

Beyond Taiwan, and in keeping with the Chinese predilection for creative policy prescriptions by the numbers, Trump could also articulate the Three Don’t Keeps: don’t keep propping up the criminal North Korean regime and enabling its nuclear and missile programs; don’t keep asserting aggressive and illegal claims in the South and East China Seas; and don’t keep promulgating anti-American messages at home and abroad.

That kind of presidential visit would break the pattern and end by advancing the interests of the United States, Taiwan and the region, including those of a more sober and realistic China.

Comment: Concerning Japan a recent proposal from Tokyo is of great interest when it comes to promoting free trade and commercial benefits. Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono earlier in 2017 announced that he intends to use the upcoming visit of US President Donald Trump to propose what could be an alternative to China’s OBOR initiative.

The land portion of the ”One Belt, One Road” initiative of China will have pipelines and railways going through Central Asia. This must be seen an attempt by Beijing to increase its influence in Asia (but also Europe).

Kono has in an interview in the Nikkei economic daily said that Tokyo wants to set up a top-level dialogue between Japan, the US, India and Australia in order for the four powers to promote free trade and cooperation in defense and security throughout the South China Sea, across the Indian Ocean and all the way to Africa.

Kono added that he had offered collaborative roles to other nations – he mentioned both France and the UK as potential future contributors. The plan is clearly designed to act as a counterweight to the massive economic and military might of China.

Kono in the interview concluded: “We are in an era where Japan has to exert itself diplomatically by drawing a big strategic picture…Free and open seas will benefit all countries,…”

The North Korean nuclear threat will of course be high on the agenda during the tour both in Japan and China. Both Taiwan and the Kono strategic proposal ought to be included in the talks.