Archive for the ‘GEOPOLITICS’ Category


May 13, 2019

Cultures are complex systems, made up of a large number of interacting components asymmetrically organized. They often operate somewhere between order and disorder. Such systems can appear to operate quite stably for some time, but they are actually adapting. But there comes a moment when complex cultures reach a crisis point. A very small trigger can set off a crisis — a single grain of sand can cause a collapse

Mycenaean culture, the most important in ancient Greece would reach a peak in around 1300 BC. Only 100 years later, around 1200 BC, the civilization began to disappear. The Mycenaean palaces, still functioning and filled with treasure, were abandoned. Villages and towns were burned to the ground. By the end of the twelfth century, the palace system had vanished.

The main scientific theory has been that the collapse was caused by ”attacks from northern lands” and ”peoples of the countries of the sea”. There were also other collapses in the Mediterranean region (Anatolia, Syria, Lebanon, and Cyprus). The ancient Egyptian kingdom was attacked but managed to resist.

A widespread myth in recent years has been that earthquakes caused the Mycenenaean collapse. A recent German academic study has provided evidence to the contrary.

Bronze Age Mycenaean palaces in Greece were not destroyed by an earthquake catastrophe according to German archaeoseismologist Klaus-Günter Hinzen from the University of Cologne and archaeologist Joseph Maran from the University of Heidelberg. They have reassessed the demise of the ancient cities Tiryns and Midea, part of the culture.

There are a number of hypotheses concerning the perishing of the Mycenaean palaces in the 1180s BC. It was not one earthquake or an ‘earthquake storm’ at the end of the Bronze Age in the eastern Mediterranean that was the cause.

The citadels of Tiryns and Midea, for example, were both built on ridges. The upper town of Tiryns stands on a limestone ridge, while the surrounding lower town stands on loose sediments. The effects of earthquakes on sediments are much stronger, Hinzen and Maran point out. In an earthquake the lower town would be destroyed first, not the palace. Especially in the lower town, however, no damage has been proven.

The ongoing exhibition that will end in June 2019 at Badisches Landesmuseum, Schloss Karlsruhe, in the catalogue ”Mykene – Die sagenhafte Welt des Agamemnon” (wbg Philipp von Zabern Verlag, 2018) has provided the latest and most likely hypothesis for the catastrophe-collapse:

In Kleinasien ging, um 1200 v-Chr. das Grosskönigtum der Hethiter unter. Ähnlich verhielt es sich in den hethitischen Vasallenstaaten entlang der syrischen Küste (Kömigreich von Ugarit). In Königreich Amurru in Libanon, gingen Städten und Palästen unter. In heutigen Israel verliessen Bewohner ihre Städte. Auf Zypern brannte Enkoni nieder. Es herrschte Hungersnot.

Aus den letzten Jahrzehnten vor 1200 v.Chr. liegen vermehrt Indizien für Beutezuege von Piraten und Seeschlachten im östlichen Mittelmeer vor. Die Ausrüstung dieser feindlichen Seefahrer mit Hörnerhelm, Rundschild sowie geradem Schwert mit konischen Heft hebt sich deutlich vor. Sie lebten auf Schiffen. Seevölkereinheiten kämpften als Gardekrieger des Pharaos gegen die Hethither. Diese militärische Strategie des Pharaos erinnert an das Vorgehen römischer Kaiser der Spätantike, die ebenfalls Krieger feindlicher Nachbarvölker (germanischer Stämme etwa) in ihre Armeen eingliederten.

Interne Krisen wirtschaftlicher und politischer Art waren auch möglich. Ein Aufruhr von mykenischen Bauern und Handwerkern, vielleicht?

Using the experience of the method of applied history might be useful to explain what caused the disaster at the end of the Greek Heroic Age when the complex and highly developed Mycenaean culture fell apart.


May 3, 2019

On May 1, 2019, National Interest published an article that questioned the importance of the Middle East to broader strategic interests of the United States. The author concludes that this region is small but politically explosive. Still U.S. global interests demands a shift to the Indo-Pacific region. Excerpts below:

People with long memories may believe that the United States is dependent on Middle East oil, but in reality, the oil crises of the 1970s were an aberration. Throughout most of its history, the United States has been an oil exporter…And over the last two decades, the United States has developed more effective ways to combat terrorism than with large-scale military operations.

…America’s political leadership should be looking to shift resources to those areas of the world where they are most needed to promote the country’s interests. Top of the list for a beef-up is the Indo-Pacific region.

The Pacific Ocean has been strategically important for American commerce since the early nineteenth century. It has been a virtual American lake since the Spanish-American War of 1898.

But the Pacific is a big lake, and costly to patrol. Moreover, there are many security hot spots along its shores. Russia’s Pacific fleet is busy modernizing its ballistic missile submarines. North Korea’s unpredictable Kim Jong-un is armed to the teeth and playing a never-ending game of nuclear brinksmanship. Indonesia and the Philippines need help fighting low-level Islamist insurgencies. And then there’s China.

As a global challenger to American national interests, no other country comes close to China. China repeatedly protests, harasses and threatens U.S. Navy ships operating off its coasts. It has built and militarized several artificial islands in the South China Sea in violation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, to which it is a signatory. And it has begun to systematically challenge the legitimacy of the rule of law in international and commercial relations more broadly.

The Pacific is the heart of America’s new economy. The then-Senator (and later Secretary of State) John Seward foresaw in 1852 that “the Pacific Ocean, its shores, its islands, and the vast regions beyond, will become the chief theatre of events in the World’s great Hereafter.” More than a century and a half later, the Pacific has been fully integrated into American economic networks…

An American pivot in Asia, from Western Asia…to eastern Asia… makes economic and political sense. The ties that bind the United States to democracies like Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan…will ultimately prove strong..More importantly, the American national interest is much more closely bound up with the Indo-Pacific region than with the Middle East. As technology advances…America’s footprint in Asia should shift east, from the Middle East to the Indo-Pacific region.

Comment: The basic argument in the May 1 article is sound. The West and its American hegemon is facing the perhaps strongest challenge ever. More military strength is indeed needed in the Pacific but the Middle East still demands attention. The Iranian theocratic empire is threatening Israel and the stability of the region.

In the Far East Western allies need to provide more resources for the protection of the sea-lanes from the Sea of Japan to the South China Sea. Under Xi Jinping the hawks have the upper hand. The policy since the 1990s has been not to alert the West from its complacency in the regard to China’s rise. To achieve victory China has indeed been patient. It has concentrated not on military strength but on the economy. Behind the benign surface has been an iron will to depose the United States as global hegemon. Without the United States in the lead the West’s influence in the world would quickly disappear. The Chinese leaders have had the use of a highly developed metrics for measuring power status using algorithms. Meanwhile in the West the use of National Power Assessment has been neglected.

China managed 19 years ago to achieve trade normalization. From the beginning the intention was not to accept the provisions of the World Trade Organization. When normalization was approved by the U.S. Congress in 2000 the minority of 197 in the House that voted no was correct in judging China and so were the 17 senators voting no.

The All-Under-Heaven System provides the classical Chinese view of global domination. The establishment of Tianxia is described as a Chinese-led empire that values order over freedom, ethics over law, and elite governance over democracy and human rights. What really is the Chinese intention when taking over in 2049 can be studied in the records of the Tiananmen Square massacre of freedom fighters in 1989.


May 2, 2019

National Interest on April 22, 2019, published a thoughtful article on Russia’s grand strategy. The author went through a number of earlier views on Russia’s long term strategy and concluded:

[The] vision is one in which Moscow is one of several centers of power, perhaps as U.S. hegemony gives way to a multipolar or even a Chinese-centric world order…While Russia is not about to copy a Chinese model of economic or political development, it seeks to position itself in such a way as to embrace China in a soft alliance; one in which Moscow can maintain a position of sovereignty and independence as its eastern flank becomes home to the world’s largest economy, most populous state, and perhaps the next global hegemon.

Both Russia and China have come a long way since the 1990s, and the “friendship” that emerged in the immediate post-Tiananmen period and continued to grow over the years now today appears to be one of the strongest bilateral alliances on the planet. Not only does the alliance provide each country with a secure rear flank, technology transfers and weapons sales support each other’s military-industrial complexes and military modernization. While Russia is still ahead of China in certain areas, including maritime, aviation, and weapons systems, the Kremlin knows that this edge will likely give way in the next ten to twenty years, as China emerges as the more advanced and powerful of the pair.

Together, Russia’s influence on its former Soviet neighbors and Moscow’s strategic alliance with Beijing in pursuit of a multipolar world form the two main pillars upon which Putin’s grand strategy rests. All other aspects of its foreign policy behavior can be traced back to this dual-pronged grand strategy. As the 2018 [U.S.]National Defense Strategy puts it, “Russia seeks veto authority over nations on its periphery in terms of their governmental, economic, and diplomatic decisions, to shatter the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and change European and Middle East security and economic structures to its favor.” These, in a nutshell, are the objectives of Russia’s grand strategy. All of Moscow’s machinations—both foreign and domestic, from clamping down on civil liberties at home to meddling in Venezuela’s revolution abroad, are all in support of these larger strategic objectives.

Comment: The author of the article is Christopher Marsh. He is the president of the Special Operations Research Association and editor of its professional journal, “Special Operations Journal”. He was also the past executive editor of “Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization”. Marsh is fluent in Chinese and Russian, and his research interests are many but particularly military cooperation between Russia and China.


May 1, 2019

Fox News on April 30 and May 1, 2019, extensively reported on ”Operation Freedom” in Venezuela, the designation for the intensified fight for freedom proclaimed by rightful president Juan Guaido. Excerpts below:

The head of Venezuela’s feared secret police has turned his back on disputed President Nicolas Maduro in an open letter [on April 30].

Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera, the head of the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN), is the highest-ranking member of the country’s security forces to break with Maduro since Guaidó called for [Operation Freedom].

Earlier…,National Security Adviser John Bolton said the Trump administration was waiting for three key officials — Maduro’s defense minister, the chief judge of the supreme court and the commander of Maduro’s presidential guard — to act on what he said were private pledges to remove the beleaguered Venezuelan leader.

Guaidó has said…he would release a list of top commanders supporting the uprising.

“The armed forces have taken the right decision,” said Guaidó. “With the support of the Venezuelan people and the backing of our constitution they are on the right side of history.”

The U.S. has learned Venezuela’s disputed president, Nicolas Maduro, was “ready” to leave the country amid protest violence and calls for his ouster — until Russia convinced him to stay, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News on [April 30].

“He was ready to go,” Pompeo said… “He was diverted by the Russians.”

He did not give any further specifics on when this apparently took place. Pompeo also noted he wanted Maduro, whom he called a “thug,” to get back on that plane.

The U.S. and about 50 other nations have taken the position that Maduro’s re-election last year was marred by fraud and that he is not the legitimate president of Venezuela, a once prosperous nation that has the world’s largest proven oil reserves.

The U.S. government said about 20,000 Cuban troops and agents have been working in Venezuela to prop up Maduro’s government,..

Pompeo said the Cubans and Russians have been in direct opposition of Venezuela’s duly elected leader, Juan Guaido.

He noted that the 14 countries supporting Maduro were on the wrong side of history, and that rule of law and democracy must be restored.

“It’s time for Maduro to leave … and rebuild this once great economy,” Pompeo [said].

[President] Juan Guaidó urged Venezuelans to take to the streets for new mass protests on May 1.

In a video statement posted on social media [on April 30], Guaidó also urged the military to join with those clamoring for change in Venezuela.

Guaidó said he called for the uprising to restore Venezuela’s constitutional order, broken when Maduro was sworn in earlier this year for a second term following elections boycotted by the opposition and considered illegitimate by dozens of countries.

Protesters erected barricades of debris at several downtown intersections about 10 blocks from the presidential palace, but police in riot gear moved in quickly to clear the roads. Most shops and businesses were closed and the streets of the capital unusually quiet, as people huddled at home to await the outcome of the day’s drama.

In one dramatic incident during a chaotic day of violent street battles for a crowd that quickly swelled to a few thousand, several armored vehicles plowed into a group of anti-government demonstrators trying to storm the capital’s air base, hitting at least two protesters.

As Venezuela plunged into a dramatic televised scene of chaos and violence…President Trump warned he would impose a “full and complete embargo” and sanctions on Cuba if its troops do not cease operations in the ravaged South American nation.

The Trump administration also has worked to roll back Obama-era easing of Cold War sanctions on Cuba.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters Tuesday that Maduro had been on his way out of the country bound for Cuba, but that Russia told him to remain. Bolton, meanwhile, warned Russia against interfering.

The U.S. government said about 20,000 Cuban troops and agents have been working in Venezuela to prop up Maduro’s government, a figure disputed by Cuba.

That support had seemed to crack Tuesday with the launch of what the opposition was calling “Operation Freedom,” which began with the early-morning release of a short video of Guaido and Lopez alongside a few dozen national guardsmen urging people to “take to the streets.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL., denounced the actions by Venezuelan security forces, saying that “military and security leaders must realize they are and will be held responsible for this,” he said on Twitter.

“What we are seeing today in Venezuela is the will of the people to peacefully change the course of their country from one of despair to one of freedom and democracy,” Pompeo tweeted in an early reaction. “The U.S. stands with them.”

The president of the European Union’s Parliament, Antonio Tajani, came out as the strongest European voice in support of the opposition. In a tweet in Spanish, Tajani called the events “a historic moment for the return to democracy and freedom in Venezuela,” and described the release of activist Leopoldo López from house arrest as “great news.”

“Let’s go Venezuela free!” wrote Tajani, a prominent conservative leader.

All but four EU members endorsed the initial, Europe-wide call in February to back opposition leader Juan Guaidó when he appointed himself interim president.

The four who did not join the other EU members were Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Slovakia.

Comment: Matthew Continetti, editor in chief of the Washington Free Beacon, said on [April 30] that Russia was the “key player” in the Venezuelan crisis and that it showed no interest in following the 19th-century U.S. doctrine discouraging interference in Western nations’ affairs.

“I think Russia is the key player here,” Continetti on “Special Report.” “If you look at the Russian actions — from military flights to Venezuela, to inserting… these kind of non-uniformed paramilitary officers, to sending formal military advisers and assistance to Maduro,” he said.

Varldsinbordeskriget believes it may be time to reintroduce the Monroe Doctrine that in the 19th century was introduced by the United States to prevent interference in the Western hemisphere by European powers.

The American call for a full and complete embargo on Cuba seems appropriate. Cuba is very active in Venezuela and is organizing the so called collectivos, motor cycle gangs that roam the streets of Caracas to intimidate the Venezuela freedom fighters.

European nations should follow the lead of the Italian president of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani in supporting freedom in Venezuela. Since his election in 2017 Tajani is an important conservative voice in European politics.


April 30, 2019

AP on April 26, 2019, reported on Vladimir Putin’s praise for China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Beijing. Excerpts below:

Putin’s comments on April 26, 2019, to a forum in Beijing appeared to downplay the potential for tensions between China and Russia. They also reflect Beijing and Moscow’s shared resistance to U.S. global influence.

The Belt and Road is rapidly expanding China’s economic footprint in Central Asia, Moscow’s traditional sphere of influence.

Russian wariness over China’s rising clout appears to have subsided somewhat, thanks partly to their shared rivalry with the West, especially Washington.

Putin told three-dozen leaders gathered for the conference that the Belt and Road is “intended to strengthen the creative cooperation of the states of Eurasia.”

“And it fits perfectly into our plans,” he added.

Putin was referring to the Eurasian Economic Union, which groups Russia with Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in a common market…

The five member states “unanimously supported the idea of linking the construction of the Eurasian Economic Community” and the Belt and Road, Putin said.

In his interview with the Chinese ruling Communist Party’s flagship People’s Daily published on April 25, he praised the “strategic partnership” with Beijing that replaced decades of Cold War mistrust when the two were communist rivals for leadership.

Putin reviewed progress in resolving lingering border disagreements, increasing tourism and trade, which hit a record $100 billion last year. He also asserted that some Western countries are claiming “sole global leadership.”

Comment: varldsinbordeskriget has many times during the past years warned of a growing challenge to the West by the three empires of China, Russia and Iran. The leading challenger, China, is waging economic warfare. China is distorting the market and seems to have the upper hand as many democratic capitalist countries around the world wants to be in a China with growing wealth. Too meet the challenge the United States needs support from other capitalist democracies.

It is still unclear if China will succeed with its BRI. If it does and has the cooperation of Russia it could lead to development of Central Asia and Siberia strengthening the economies of both China and Russia. BRI also has the support of Iran.

American success in the the trade negotiations with China could be the beginning of the weakening of the hold of the communist party in China. The trade war’s ultimate goal ought to be just that.


April 28, 2019 on April 25, 2019 reported on an event in New York with six prominent business leaders and economic security practioners briefing the business sector on the ominous strategic consequences of Communist China’s penetration of American and other Western capital markets. Excerpts below:

”The speakers’ focus was on the enormous contribution American enterprises and capital markets are making to the Chinese Communist Party’s growing ability to threaten U.S. security and other interests – and the need to end that reckless practice.

The program was moderated by Frank Gaffney, the CPDC’s Vice Chairman, who described the inspiration for the current incarnation of the storied Committee on the Present Danger brand – namely, the CPD that in the 1970’s informed and helped craft Ronald Reagan’s strategy for defeating the USSR.”

The ”discussion prominently featured Roger Robinson, a man who played an important role as the President’s Senior NSC Director for International Economic Affairs in executing the Reagan strategy that ultimately destroyed the “Evil Empire.” Mr. Robinson, who is chairman of the Prague Security Studies Institute in the Czech Republic.”

Other speakers at the even were author Gordon Chang who warned against a future American trade deal with Beijing that could help perpetuate the Chinese Communist Party’s hold on power.

Hayman Capital Management co-founder and Chief Investment Officer Kyle Bass shared the findings of an important analysis: “The Quiet Panic in Hong Kong”. It offers insights into China’s serious financial weakness.

David Goldman, President of Macrostrategy LLC, warned of the cumulative, portentous effect of China’s theft of advanced U.S. technologies, its immense investment in cutting-edge research and development and the China’s success in educating large numbers of under- and post-graduate students in American institutions of higher learning.

Dan David is the co-founder of Geoinvesting and lead protagonist in a feature-length film entitled “The China Hustle”, exposing endemic fraud in China’s financial and other business dealings with the West. David highlighted a chilling fact revealed by his extensive research: Such criminal behavior is enabled and abetted by American firms and banks.

Steve Bannon, a former Strategic Advisor to President Trump, closed the briefing with a powerful warning concerning the Communist party’s rule in China. He noted how the talented, hardworking and productive Chinese people was prevented from realizing their potential because they are enslaved by the Communist Party of China under its dictator/president-for-life, Xi Jinping. Worse yet, America was underwriting their servitude.


April 26, 2019

Redan under Mao hävdade det kinesiska kommunistpartiet att Kinas världshistoriska bidrag var att överträffa USA och bli ledande världsmakt. Det var därför president Nixon 1969 inbjöds att besöka Kina.

Till skillnad från politikerna i Väst har Kinas politiker grundliga kunskaper om historiska händelser och skeenden. Siktet är nu inställt på världsherravälde år 2049. ”Den nationella återfödelsen” skall vara fullbordad hundra år efter det att kommunisterna tog makten på fastlandet. År 2019 har Kina 30 år på sig att uppnå målet. Det skall ske genom industrispionage, vilseledning och fortsatt tekniköverföring från utlandet.

Planen ”Made in China 2025” publicerades 2015 och väckte stor uppmärksamhet i USA. Redan 2020 skall Kina satsa 2,5 procent av BNP på forskning och utveckling. Man tänker fortsätta att kräva tekniköverföringar av utländska bolag som vill investera i Kina.

Den amerikanske Kinaexperten Michael Pillsbury publicerade 2015 boken ”The Hundred-year Marathon”. Den fick stor uppmärksamhet och har kraftigt påverkat amerikansk Kinapolitik. I boken varnar Pillsbury för Kinas planer på att bli världshegemon. Samma år utkom Xi Jinpings bok ”The Governance of China” i vilken öppet redogjordes för den ”kinesiska drömmen”.

USA har nu ett ansvar för att för att på alla områden förhindra att Kina genomför sina planer. Det är betydelsefullt att Japan tar ett större ansvar i den kommande globala striden med Kina.

Pillsbury nämner i sin bok en rad böcker utgivna i Kina av framträdande militära hökar. I ”The China Dream” (2015) förordar översten Liu Mingfu en fortsatt utdragen kamp för att nå slutmålet. Den skall bedrivas inom ekonomi, handel, valuta, resurser och geopolitik. Zhao Tingjan använder sig i essän ”The All-Under-Heaven System” av den klassiska kinesiska synen på hur man skapar ett världsimperium under kinesisk ledning.

Generaler i den kinesiska folkarmén har stått bakom utgivningen av bokserien ”Strategic Lessons from China’s Ancient Past”. En viktig grundtanke under de stridande staternas period (475 – 221 f. Kr) var att en stat med växande makt inte skulle låta motståndaren få veta något om planerna för att ta över förrän det var för sent.

Medvetenheten inom det kinesiska ledarskapet om USA:s militära överlägsenhet är stark. Kina lär inte kunna uppnå den överlägsenhet om 4 till 1 som historiskt har ansetts som nödvändig för ett maktövertagande av en kejsare.

Den klassiska kinesiska tekniken ”lönnmördarens klubba” (plötsliga överraskningsangrepp) har därför haft stort inflytande över de vapensystem som Kina utvecklar: raketvapen mot fartyg (amerikanska hangarfartyg), elektromagnetiska pulsvapen (för att slå ut nationella elsystem), teknologi för att störa radarsystem och cybervapen.

Den kinesiska inriktningen har också under en längre tid varit att satsa på områden inom det militära där USA kan vara sårbart: högteknologiska system, satellitteknologi och långt utdragna underhållslinjer för krigföring (Stilla Havet).

Den tidigare republikanske politikern och presidentkandidaten Newt Gingrich ger i oktober 2019 ut boken ”Trump vs. China: America’s Greatest Challenge”. Han har stort opionionsinflytande och hans syn på Kinapolitiken kommer att starkt påverka president Trumps administration under perioden 2020 – 2024.

Gingrich anser att det är möjligt för USA att svara på Kinas utmaning. Det kräver då stora förändringar och svåra val för både regering och den privata sektorn. Boken syftar till att skapa kunskaper om den kinesiska utmaningen och samstämmighet och politiskt stöd för vad som måste göras.

Kinas strävan efter världshegemoni är farligare än Sovjetunionens under det kalla kriget. Moskva försökte då matcha USA:s militära styrka med en svag ekonomi. Det ledde till sammanbrott för Sovjetväldet. Den kinesiska utmaningen är främst ekonomisk och Kina vill uppnå världsherravälde helst utan krig. Man vill i Peking se samma scenario som när USA fredligt blev världshegemon efter Storbritannien.

Under årtionden har den härskande klassen i Väst ansett att ett fredligt Kina var på väg att bli en stormakt som andra i den gällande världsordningen. Kinapolitiken har byggt på myten om att kontakter leder till demokratisering. Kina ser sig nu under Xi stå nära sitt mål: världshegemoni. Regimen har dock hela tiden vägrat att spela enligt reglerna. USA börjar nu inse behovet av en förändrad och förnyad politik gentemot Kina och handelsförhandlingarna är bara början. Det närmaste årtiondet blir avgörande.


April 12, 2019

National Interest on April 4, 2019 published an article on how the Chinese telecommunications company is a threat to American security and prosperity. Excerpts below:

China and the United States are in the middle of trade and national security battles, but they are also jostling to determine who will control the future of technology and communications. The Huawei dispute is as much about who has access to and—thus controls—the data of the future, as it is about superpower politics and the rule of law.

Huawei is the world’s largest supplier of telecommunications network equipment and second-biggest maker of smartphones. [It is] the leader in many countries across Europe, Asia and Africa.

5G is the next generation of wireless networks that promises to be 100 times faster and more reliable than current technology. It is a market that will be worth hundreds of billions of dollars, as 5G will require compatible new phones and communications equipment. Huawei has already built up such a strong lead in 5G technology that it is already practically irreplaceable for many wireless carriers.

This presents a challenge for the United States and many other countries around the world.

…in 1999 two colonels in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) published the book Unrestricted Warfare, which has been influential. The first rule of unrestricted warfare is that there are no rules and nothing is forbidden. The book advocates tactics known as shashou-jian (Assassin’s Mace), the concept of taking advantage of an adversary’s seemingly superior conventional capabilities by “fighting the fight that fits one’s own weapons” and “making the weapons to fit the fight.” It proposed ignoring traditional rules of conflict and advocates such tactics as manipulating foreign media, controlling the markets for natural resources, and engaging in cyber warfare.

Many believe the company is Chinese state-owned and has deep connections to Beijing’s intelligence services. Its founder was an engineer with the PLA. It is also worth pointing out that no Chinese company is fully independent of the government.

China’s 2015 National Security law requires any domestic firm to assist the government for national security purposes. Under it, every company operating in China is required to give Chinese authorities their source code, encryption keys, and backdoor access to their computer networks in China.

In 2017, China’s Cybersecurity Law went even further, giving the government unrestricted access to almost all data held by Chinese companies.

In the 1980s, China threatened to ban government procurement of Microsoftsoftware, hardware, and technology unless Bill Gates agreed to provide China with a copy of its proprietary operating code, which, at the time, Gates had refused to reveal to Microsoft’s largest U.S. commercial clients.

After Gates agreed to provide it, China then copied the Cisco network router found on almost all U.S. networks and most Internet service providers. China then sold counterfeit routers at cut-rate discounts around the world. The buyers apparently included the Pentagon and a host of other U.S. federal agencies.

Armed with intimate knowledge of the flaws in Microsoft’s and Cisco’s software and hardware, China’s hackers may have the ability to stop most of the world’s networks from operating.

Back in 2012, the U.S. House Intelligence Committee designated Huawei a state-controlled enterprise… then…the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States decided to block acquisitions, takeovers, or mergers involving Huawei…, given the perceived threat to U.S. national security interests… Government contractors—particularly those working on contracts for sensitive U.S. programs—were also ordered to exclude…Huawei equipment in their systems.

…the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act now bans U.S. federal agencies from buying Huawei products.

America has pushed for a ban on Huawei technology with its allies including the United Kingdom, Australia, Poland, the European Union, the Philippines and a number of other countries. Already security concerns have led Australia to
completely ban the company’s technology and New Zealand has moved to partially restrict it.

This is not a game. The stakes are extremely high. This is about who controls the future… China and Huawei have made it clear this is a race they intend to win. Will the rest of the world allow that to happen?

Comment: The author of the article is Daniel Wagner. He is CEO of Country Risk Solutions and author of the new book “China Vision”.

Daniel Wagner is an Asia expert who has travelled to China since 1986. He has worked with some of the largest Chinese financial institutions and state-owned enterprises, and has written on China since the 1990s. In his new and important book, he examines why the Chinese government acts as it does in its search for global power. China was for centuries a leading economic and political power. Now it is again seeking to be the world’s leading country. From China’s perspective it just back where it left in the 19th century.

China plays by its own set of rules. Few countries are willing to object or stand up to it. Wagner’s new book ”China Vision – China’s Crusade to Create a World in its Own Image” (2019) explores how and why China has approached foreign policy as it has and what the rest of the world can expect from China once it becomes the world’s largest economy, its strongest political power, and continues to develop its already advanced technological prowess.

China has used the existing global framework to its own advantage. Now it would like to modify that framework to ensure that its advantage continues well into the future. The Chinese government has already redefined some of the rules of the game in areas such as cyber warfare and artificial intelligence, and is in the process of redefining the nature of diplomacy and international relations.
China seeks to create a world crafted in its own image.


April 4, 2019

Washington Times on March 13, 2019, reviewed the second edition of Toshi Yoshihara’s and James R. Holmes important and detailed work ”Red Star Over the Pacific: China’s Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy” (Naval Institute Press, 2019). Excerpts below:

“Maritime China poses challenges now that America, its allies, and its friends overlook at their peril.”

…the authors relied “heavily on Chinese literature to make sense of China’s future direction at sea.” In open-source materials, Chinese naval and Communist party officials discuss not only maritime strategy and policy but also provide operational details…To be sure, much other information remains secret.

Authors Toshi Yoshihara and James R. Holmes are naval intellectuals, both affiliated with the Fletcher School at Tufts University, with rich backgrounds in their fields.

That China has rapidly expanded the Peoples Liberation Army Navy, or PLAN, in recent years is no secret to military observers. Indeed, a 2015 report by the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence stated, “In 2013 and 2014, China launched more ships than any other country ” The trend has continued in subsequent years.

Concurrently, the U.S. Navy “has dwindled to half its Cold War self in brute numerical terms, from almost six hundred ships to fewer than three hundred.” European fleets are also declining. Most striking perhaps, the once dominant British Royal Navy is smaller than that of France for the first time since the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

So what use does the Peoples Republic of China intend to make of its new strength? The official party line shies away from directly threatening any hostile intent toward the West, other than to oppose “imperial intrusions” on its territories.

China’s mistreatment by foreign forces — “centuries of shame” — has been a sore spot in national history since the regime of Mao Zedong…China “suffered humiliation to the fullest” because of its weak maritime posture. They concluded, “Only when the navy is strong again can the maritime rights rise, which will bring the rise of our nation.”

The PLAN’s current emphasis seems to be establishing control over artificial island bases constructed throughout the South China Sea. An international court has ruled that the islands are unlawful intrusions on other nations’ territory — an edict that the target countries (such as the Philippines) — do not have the strength to enforce.

The advantage to Red China: Control of shipping lanes not only along its own shores but also along the under-belly of Asia extending to the Middle East and West Africa. Commerce? Perhaps, but military importance also.

From the U.S. perspective, the Chinese seem “driven by their quest to deter and defeat the U.S. Navy.”

The U.S. Navy, understandably, is well into its rebuilding program. Taiwan well could be the test of Red China’s maritime resurgence — and of America’s resolve to protect a staunch ally.

At hand is a warning from experts that should be heeded.

Comment: If Taiwan and control of the shipping lanes to the south and west are the tests one can ask what happens after these goals have been reached. Is China prepared to move into the North and South Pacific? What about Chinese influence in mineral rich Africa or the planned infrastructure routes into Central Asia to Europe?

China expert Gordon Chang in December 2018 warned that the United States is underestimating the hostility, ruthlessness and will to power of the Chinese Communist Party. There has been a kind of over-optimism in the West.

For a long time during the Cold War politicians in the West believed the Soviet Union was just another nation state. The belligerent nature of communism has often been overlooked.

China is not liberalizing, has not opened up its economy and is not democratizing. The economy is not the failing economy of the Sovet Union in the 1980s. There are of course signs that the Chinese economy is slowing down and even forecasts that the Chinese regime will collapse. Until China has real problems the West needs to regard the Chinese as a seeker of more than regional power. Presently it seeks to be a global power replacing American hegemony. It is one of the three empires challenging the West. The two others are Russia and Iran.


April 1, 2019

National Interest on March 30, 2019 published an article on six trends that are at work when planning for future U.S. investment in space, national security and the wider economy. Excerpts below:

First, heavy satellites are getting heavier, as more capability is attached to each satellite.

Heavier satellites tend to raise launch costs and can be expensive to design and build, but may reduce ground-station costs. While heavy satellites represent only a narrow slice of the market, this trend reinforces continued (but very expensive) interest in heavy lift.

Second and simultaneously, smaller satellites – including “cube-sats” which are often the rough size equivalent to a shoebox – are proliferating for commercial as well as both government civil and military use. These satellites stay on orbit for shorter periods, but perform specialized missions, often requiring a quick-turn launch, deployment and replacement. These satellites are multiplying, their applications are evolving magnitudes faster than any comparable change in heavy payloads.

Third, just as heavy lift requirements are triggering new heavy lift options, proliferation of smaller satellites is triggering a hunt for cost-effective, lighter options. The hunger is growing for cheaper, faster ways to loft individual cubes, cube clusters, and cube constellations.

Fourth, cost-efficiency may be the premier variable. From new Office of Management and Budget (OMB) emphasis on cost-savings to redirection of resources in NASA’s 2020 budget, from calls for big launch savings and accelerating small payload placements to emerging economies of scale and size, the race is on for cheap suborbital and orbital launch options.

Fifth, the Trump Administration is shining a spotlight on “Buy America.” This will directly affect space-related markets. After two Executive Orders, “Buy America” is back in vogue, and getting more popular by the month. This will affect commercial and national security space markets – more each year.

On the commercial side, overt interest in favoring US manufacturers, US labor and US investment in rockets, satellites, and supply chains allows the President and Congress to reclaim American leadership in space, creating jobs and satisfying bipartisan political ambitions.

On the security front, “Buy America” reflects intense pressure to protect American space assets, software, payloads, investment sources, highly skilled labor, geographic centers of space-related activity, and “US launch only” prerogatives. Pressure to avoid security lapses is high, affecting supply chains, cyber-penetration, and where satellites are launched from. While concerns are global, mounting threats in the Far East, and especially from China, North Korea, Iran and Russia are key. Perceived vulnerabilities tied to international launch are growing.

Finally, a sixth trend in literature, dialogue and among national leaders cannot be ignored. As commercial aviation receives new environmental scrutiny, rocket fuels are coming under pressure. In an era of bold initiatives, intense congressional oversight, and concern for incremental environmental impacts, fuels used in launches may become key to federal (and possibly even commercial) launch decision-making.

Net-net, the entire space-related sector is undergoing change, mostly positive but at unprecedented speed. What “end state” these six trends produce is unclear, but continued growth in US leadership, innovation, investment and space-presence is predicted.

What is certain is the accelerating rate of change across this sector. Space will be ever more important to governments, global commerce, and American consumers…A new American future in space is coming.

Comment: All the signs point to a new future for America in space. The creation of the new Space Force is only one of these signs. Important is also the growing participation by private enterprise in space activities. The article in National Interest points to the mounting challenges from China, Russia and Iran. China has already demonstrated that it is able to destroy satellites in space and recently India destroyed a satellite. The security of the West is at stake.