WAR WITH CHINA

December 7, 2016

US think tank Rand in the summer of 2016 released a report on “War with China”. Premeditated war between the United States is very unlikely according to Rand but both nation’s militaries have plans to fight a war if it comes. Excerpts from the report below:

As Chinese anti-access and area-denial (A2AD) capabilities improve, the United States can no longer be so certain that war would follow its plan and lead to decisive victory.

Technological advances in the ability to target opposing forces are creating conditions of conventional counterforce, whereby each side has the means to strike and degrade the other’s forces and, therefore, an incentive to do so promptly, if not first. This implies fierce early exchanges, with steep military losses on both sides, until one gains control. At present, Chinese losses would greatly exceed U.S. losses, and the gap would only grow as fighting persisted. But, by 2025, that gap could be much smaller. Even then, however, China could not be confident of gaining military advantage, which suggests the possibility of a prolonged and destructive, yet inconclusive, war. In that event, nonmilitary factors — economic costs, internal political effects, and international reactions — could become more important.

Main Findings

Both sides would suffer large military losses in a severe conflict. In 2015, U.S. losses could be a relatively small fraction of forces committed, but still significant; Chinese losses could be much heavier than U.S. losses and a substantial fraction of forces committed.

This gap in losses will shrink as Chinese A2AD improves. By 2025, U.S. losses could range from significant to heavy; Chinese losses, while still very heavy, could be somewhat less than in 2015, owing to increased degradation of U.S. strike capabilities.

China’s A2AD will make it increasingly difficult for the United States to gain military-operational dominance and victory, even in a long war.

…a war would harm both economies, damage to China’s would be far worse.

Because much of the Western Pacific would become a war zone, China’s trade with the region and the rest of the world would decline substantially.

China’s loss of seaborne energy supplies would be especially damaging.

A long conflict could expose China to internal political divisions.

Japan’s increased military activity in the region could have a considerable influence on military operations.

Rekommendations

U.S. and Chinese political leaders alike should have military options other than immediate strikes to destroy opposing forces.

U.S. leaders should have the means to confer with Chinese leaders and contain a conflict before it gets out of hand.

The United States should reduce the effect of Chinese A2AD by investing in more-survivable force platforms (e.g., submarines) and in counter-A2AD (e.g., theater missiles).

The United States should conduct contingency planning with key allies, especially Japan.

The United States should ensure that the Chinese are specifically aware of the potential for catastrophic results even if a war is not lost militarily.

The United States should improve its ability to sustain intense military operations.

U.S. leaders should develop options to deny China access to war-critical commodities and technologies in the event of war.

The United States should undertake measures to mitigate the interruption of critical products from China.

Additionally, the U.S. Army should invest in land-based A2AD capabilities, encourage and enable East Asian partners to mount strong defense, improve interoperability with partners (especially Japan), and contribute to the expansion and deepening of Sino-U.S. military-to-military understanding and cooperation to reduce dangers of misperception and miscalculation.

Comment: It must be remembered that there is a doctrine of unrestricted warfare on the Chinese side including financial warfare to subvert banking systems and stock markets. Drug warfare is the Chinese plan to attack the fabric of US society by flooding the market with illicit drugs. Psychological and media warfare are other weapons in the Chinese arsenal. Last but not least the Chinese could unleash man-made earthquakes or other natural disasters. There is also a belief in China that it can take larger losses in life due to a much larger population than the United States.

SOCIALISMEN PÅ VÄG UT I EUROPA

December 6, 2016

Tidningen Metro publicerade den 6 december 2016 en artikel om socialismens och socialdemokratins kris i Europa. För utdrag se nedan:

2017 kan s-ledarna hamna utanför makten i samtliga större länder.

I så fall skapas en nästan unik situation där de fem stora i EU – Tyskland, Frankrike, Storbritannien, Italien och Spanien – alla styrs av konservativa regeringschefer.

Och inte bara det. Även i Nederländerna riskerar socialdemokraterna att snart röstas bort ur den nuvarande koalitionsregeringen.

Därmed är det snart bara Sverige kvar med en s-regering bland EU:s tio tyngsta ekonomier.

Kommentar: Socialismen startade som en rörelse som förordade klassmord, det vill säga mord på borgerliga motståndare. Efter Sovjets kollaps år 1991 har det gått utför för resterna av socialismen, de något fredligare socialdemokraterna. I Sverige kan det leda till att det blir kvar två mindre vänsterpartier med socialistiska rötter: socialdemokraterna med omkring 10 procent av väljarkåren och vänsterpartiet med omkring 10 procent.

REMEMBERING THE DEATH OF KING CHARLES XII ON NOVEMBER 30, 1718

November 30, 2016

November 30, 2016

During the Great Northern War (1700 – 1721) Sweden was allied to the Crimean Khanate and Devlet Geray, Khan of Budjak, of Crimea, Nogay and Circassia.

Budjak is now part of independent Ukraine, subdivided into two cities and nine administrative districts (raions) of the Odessa Oblast. The main ethnic groups today are Ukrainians, Bulgarians, Russians and Moldovans. Earlier the Nogay Tatars also lived in Budjak.

The Nogay horde was a confederation of 18 Turkic and Mongol tribes that ha migrated west from the Pontic-Caspian steppe. The Nogay were divided in Budjak (from the River Danube to the River Dniestr),
Yedisans (from the River Dniestr to the River Bug), Janboyluk (from the River Bug to Crimea) and the Yedikul (north of Crimea and Kuban).

It should be remembered that both Charles XII and the Ukrainian Head of State Ivan Mazepa and his successor Pylyp Orlyk from 1707 to 1714 sought alliances against Russia with also Bashkirs, the Don Cossacks and Circassians.

KALLT KRIG I TRELLEBORG

November 21, 2016

De socialdemokratiska regeringarna i Sverige under det Kalla kriget med stöd av Sveriges Kommunistiska Parti (SKP; senare Vänsterpartiet) hade en “neutral” syn i Tysklandsfrågan. Stockholm hade diplomatiskt erkänt Förbundsrepubliken Tyskland (Västtyskland) och kom senare att även erkänna Tyska Demokratiska Republiken (den kommunistiska diktaturen i Östtyskland). Redan innan erkännandet hade den östtyska regimen fått inrätta ett ”privat” kulturcentrum i Stockholm, som bedrev kommunistisk propaganda i Sverige.

Självfallet kände man oro i Bonn över de östtyska propagandaframgångarna i främst Sverige och Danmark, länder med inflytande i Östersjöområdet. Det kom framför allt till uttryck inom det tyska Ministeriet för alltyska frågor:

…i augusti 1967 rapporterade det politiska Fachreferat II i alarmerande vändningar om DDR:s utrikespolitiska aktiviteter i det skandinaviska området.(Stefan Creuzberger, Kampf für die Einheit – Das gesamtdeutsche Ministerium und die politische Kultur des Kalten Krieges 1949 – 1969, s. 512).

Flera år innan ministeriet i Bonn uttryckte oro över DDR:s propagandaframgångar i Skandinavien bildades vid Lunds universitet en antikommunistisk studentorganisation (1963; Fri politisk informationstjänst, Inform), som bland annat strävade efter att informera om förtrycket i Östtyskland. En av grundarna av Inform var författaren till denna artikel, dåvarande juriststudenten Bertil Häggman.

Under 1963 och 1964 informerade medlemmarna (Inform hade uppskattningsvis omkring 50) om vad som pågick bakom muren i Berlin. Syftet var bland annat att motverka den östtyska propagandakampanj, som ägde rum varje sommar i samband med avhållande av Östersjöveckan i Rostock och längs den östtyska delen av den tyska kusten i norr.

Studenterna från Inform delade ut informationsmaterial om kommunismen, främst den östtyska, och om syftet med den östtyska propagandan i Sverige.

Under 1963 och 1964 samarbetade Inform med Informationsbüro West (IWE) i Berlin-Schlachtensee. Byrån bildades 1951 och leddes till 1964 av Dr. Helmut Bohlmann. Den ägdes av västtyska staten och distribuerade artiklar och information om Östtyskland. IWE avyttrades 1966 till privata köpare. Under hela verksamheten 1951 – 1966 utsattes byrån för östtyska propagandangrepp. Den Stasi-ledda hetskampanjen hävdade att IWE var en ”spioncentral”. Den västtyska regeringen å sin sida förklarade med bestämdhet att det enbart var en nyhetsbyrå, som specialiserade sig på bevakning av DDR.

Svensk utrikesförvaltning reagerar

I maj 1963 (se härom närmare i SOU 2002:90, en rapport av Säkerhetstjänstkommissionen, avsnittet ”Det ’röda’ Lund”) hade det svenska sändebudet i Bonn, Ole Jödahl, reagerat på ett brev från ordföranden i Kuratorium Unteilbares Deutschland (KUD), Dr Wilhelm Wolfgang Schütz. KUD hade bildats den 17 juni 1954, och var en halvstatlig organisation i Västtyskland som informerade om Östtyskland och arbetade för tysk enhet.

Schütz hade kontaktats av Inform, som önskade litteratur och informationsmaterial om den östtyska regimen och KUD:s arbete för tysk enhet. Nu ville dr Schütz veta mer om Inform. Beskickningen i Bonn visste ingenting om den antikommunistiska studentorganisationen i Lund. Nu skrev Jödahl till UD och ville ha en ”diskret” utredning. Han bifogade till en byråchef på UD i Stockholm en brevkopia han fått från KUD. I brevet fanns en presentation av Inform och en beskrivning av planer på en internationell konferens i Lund, som skulle behandla det kommunistiska förtrycket bakom järnridån och hållas i september 1963 med föredrag och filmvisningar. Här noteras att konferensen hölls först i maj 1964.

I SOU 2002:90 beskrivs drygt tio år efter Sovjetunionens kollaps Informs verksamhet i Trelleborg i juni-juli 1963 på följande sätt:

Inform hade i Lund och Trelleborg satt upp affischer mot svenskt deltagande i Östersjöveckan. I samband med utresan från Trelleborg samt ombord på färjan hade gruppen delat ut engelska, tyska och svenska broschyrer. I östtyska radions sändningar ska enligt Säkerhetspolisen (Säpo) verksamheten ha uppmärksammats.

Två säkerhetspoliser rapporterade sommaren 1963 (Inform, fri politisk informationstjänst, MM-ASIIB 29.8.63):

Då deltagarna till Östersjöveckan utreste från Trelleborg uppehöllo sig några ynglingar vid färjeläget och delade ut broschyrer och förde antikommunistisk propaganda bland resenärerna. Enligt uppgift lär ett par ynglingar ha rest med färjan en tur och retur och delat ut broschyrer till passagerarna. Vid färjans avgång från Trelleborg den 6.7.63 uppehöll sig fyra ynglingar vid färjeläget och delade ut broschyrer till resenärerna.

De två poliserna konstaterade att en av broschyrutdelarna var författaren till denna artikel. Som komplettering till rapporten bifogades en broschyr, som delades ut vid färjan, samt fem tidningsurklipp.

Inom den dåvarande Statspolisen hade man åsikten att en antikommunist inte kunde vara demokrat. Därför innehåller en annan rapport från Trelleborg till Statspolisens högkvarter i Stockholm denna kommentar:

Inom kommittén vill man framhålla att det är möjligt att vara demokrat och antikommunist samtidigt.

Bevakningen från Säkerhetspolisens sida fortsatte under 1964. Två säkerhetspoliser rapporterade sommaren 1964:

Medlemmar av organisationen har i samband med Östersjöveckan också nedlagt en krans på den på den plats i Trelleborgs färjeläge, där en östtysk flykting förolyckades, då han hoppade från den östtyska färjan.

Även nu konstaterades att författaren till denna artikel var med bland “de demonstrerande”.

Ett ex av den utdelade broschyren bifogades även denna gång. Nu följde tre tidningsurklipp med.

Ännu så sent som 1988 hade STASI hård kontroll på färjeförbindelsen Trelleborg – Sassnitz (dokument STASI-arkivet, Berlin 61). Ansvarig huvudavdelning vid den östtyska spionorganisationen var huvudavdelningen HA XIX. Den hade till uppgift att övervaka bland annat sjöfart och se till att det inte flydde någon från DDR.

Trelleborgsövervakningen leddes av generalmajor Braun under den sista tiden före Berlinmurens fall 1989.

I dokumentet från den 4 augusti 1988 framgår att färjornas lastdäck var spärrade för östtyska medborgare som nu tilläts göra endagsutflykter med färjan. Vid infarten till Trelleborg låstes dörrarna till bil- och tågdäck.

STASI varnade för riskerna att endagsutflykterna kunde leda till försök att fly till Sverige:
På grund av det ökande faran för att man lämnar DDR i strid mot lagstiftningen om gränssäkerhet av den 13 augusti 1961 vid dagsutflykterna till Trelleborg har dessa inställts. Följande observationer har gjorts av Stasimedarbetare ombord på färjorna:

Det förekommer försök att hoppa ner från färjorna i Östersjön, särskilt i Trelleborgs hamnområde. Från svensk sida drogs de som hoppat över bord sedan ombord på båtar, som låg beredda.

Det förekom att personer som försökte fly gömde sig i svenska bilar och ombord på svenska tågvagnar.

Enskilda personer har försökt fly över taken på järnvägsvagnar i samband med att dessa körts i land i Trelleborg.

Dokumentet är undertecknat “Braun Generalmajor”.

Här noteras att en östtysk medborgare omkom då han försökte hoppa ner från färjans däck och skadades svårt. Han avled senare på sjukhuset i Trelleborg. Flyktförsöket med dödlig utgång ägde rum sommaren 1961.

Reaktionen i det socialdemokratiskt styrda Sverige på Informs antikommunistiska verksamhet i Sydsverige under 1963 och 1964 visar på vilka åsikter som dominerade i svensk utrikesförvaltning och inom socialdemokratiska partiet i Tysklandsfrågan.

Borgerlig antikommunism betraktades som ett hot mot svensk säkerhet. De övervakades av Säpo och det framstod som betydelsefullt att lämna utrymme för östtysk propaganda i Sverige. Det demokratiska Västtyskland och diktaturregimen i Östberlin sågs som likvärdiga i det regerande partiets ögon.

Summary in English

During the 1960s there was an increasing concern in Bonn about East German propaganda advances in the Scandinavian countries especially in the Ministry of All German Questions. At the same time a formation took place in 1963 of an anticommunist student organization at the university of Lund in southern Sweden. Free Political Information Service (Inform) aimed at countering communist subversive activities in Sweden initially among students and youth. In 1964 Inform had a national and international network: students at the universities of Stockholm and Uppsala, Estonian students in Sweden as well as organizations in the field of critical information on communism in Denmark, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, England, Switzerland, Federal Republic of Germany, and Japan.

At the Swedish Embassy in Bonn the reaction was that of surprise and dismay when Kuratorium Unteilbares Deutschland (KUD), a West German federal state supported information organization, asked about Inform. KUD had been contacted by the organization in Lund, asking for literature on the East German regime and for support. The embassy wrote to the Foreign Ministry in Stockholm and asked for a “discreet investigation” of the student group. The matter was handed over to the Swedish Security Police (Säkerhetspolisen). This was the beginning of surveillance of center-right anticommunist organizations in Sweden which lasted into the 1980s.

WHEN THE BUBBLE BURSTS

November 10, 2016

The election result in the United States on November 8, 2016, burst the left-liberal bubble. It may have consequences for the rest of the West. President Donald Trump has a huge task ahead in the United States and his policies will be closely followed by other Western nations.

The globalist agenda has a firm hold in for instance Sweden. The left liberal elites firmly control media, state institutions and almost all political parties in this Nordic country of 9 million inhabitants.

During the past years prominent media representatives have preached that military defense is unimportant and the money for defense would be better used for social services. Sweden spends around 1,1 percent of GDP on national defense, one of the lowest figures in the West.

The former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, also former NATO Secretary General has in his recent book “The Will to Lead” (2016) called for larger contributions by European countries to NATO. If for example Sweden joined it would have to double its defense spending.

At present matters of immigration is dominating in Swedish left-liberal media. There is much panic over all problems related to refugees and immigrants. It has gone as far as dividing several public swimming pools. There are times when men and boys can swim and times when women and girls can swim.

A result of the almost hysterical concentration on immigration in media there is little room or serious debate in questions that concerns Sweden’s duties as part of the civilized West.

This is especially so in the all important matter of civilizational defense. The West of course reaps the gains of free trade all over the world but it must also defend human rights not only in the West but also outside our own civilization. As pointed out by American Professor Adda Bozeman in her many important books in the civilizational field we in the West must understand that the demands by the West for greater parliamentary democracy is not enough. It is necessary that local and national identities are taken into account.

Universalists must learn to accept what realists understand. We must live in the real world and not in some fancy utopian bubble. A universalist path that would have catastrophic results all over the world. The Obama administration is leaving a chaotic inheritance. It is time to fix the world after eight years of Western decline.

LOW-INTENSITY CONFLICT IN THE SHADOWS

October 26, 2016

Washington Times on October 20, 2016, published a presentation by the author of a new book on US Special Operations Forces, Thomas H. Henriksen. For excerpts see below:

As the Obama administration has retreated, or openly flirted with retrenchment, from Middle Eastern wars during its tenure, America has been spared the full onslaught of jihadi terrorism because of the exertions of nation’s special military forces and the intelligence communities working in concert.

Not widely known is the fact this team of special military units and intelligence personnel constituted one of the three counteroffensives that broke the back of the Iraq insurgency fueled by the Al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorist network after the 2003 invasion of the Persian Gulf country.

This “thin red line of heroes” made up of U.S. counterterrorism operators has filled the breach left by Washington’s disengagement.

Barack Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq in 2011, tepid response to Libya’s plunge into chaos, blase reaction to the widening conflict in Syria (not to mention Damascus’ crossing the president’s red line on chemical weapons), and nearly complete withdrawal of all U.S. ground forces from Afghanistan created political vacuums for terrorist nests.

Washington’s disassociation has fortunately been partly offset by SEAL, Delta, Ranger and other classified forces operating against the world’s festering terrorist hives from Pakistan to the Philippines. Started during the George W. Bush administration, which was widely criticized for its global-war-on-terrorism approach, America’s special operators and intelligence officers now deploy to countries not-at-war with the United States to disrupt terrorist plans, such as Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.

This warrior-spy counterterrorism war fought in the shadows gets only intermittent news media coverage, usually when a high-valued terrorist is dispatched by a raid force or drone missile.

To deal with elusive terrorists demands arduous training and skills different from those used to ward off conventional threats emanating from nation states with planes, tanks, and troops. Killing or capturing bomb planters and assassins also requires pinpoint intelligence obtained from aerial surveillance or from sources enlisted by intelligence operatives working in the field. Recruiting informants in outstations far from the usual spy venues at embassy cocktail circuits, intelligence officers obtain information on terrorists from local tipsters or from aerial surveillance and pass it quickly to lethal drone pilots or special warfighters.

These tactics are offensive in nature but Washington’s overall strategy is hesitant and disengaged, incrementally transferring small numbers of ground forces to Iraq over the past year. Yes, U.S. undercover forces initiate deadly actions against militants but the White House holds back on a more muscular, broader approach to destroy Islamic State pockets in Syria and Iraq. It fears that the destruction of the jihadi redoubts will entangle the U.S. in stabilization campaigns to foster governance, economic development, and peace-preserving duties.

Thomas H. Henriksen is a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and the author of “Eyes, Ears & Daggers: Special Operations Forces and the Central Intelligence Agency in America’s Evolving Struggle against Terrorism” (Hoover Institution Press, 2016).

Comment: No doubt low-intensity conflict has to a great extent become the face of war in the 21st century. But if the geostrategic and geopolitical insight is failing these brave warriors may sacrifice their lives in vain. The result of eight years of US foreign policy has resulted in chaos in the Middle East. Wars should be quick affairs not long drawn out battles. The defeat of Saddam in the First Gulf War was a model strategy.

GEOPOLITICS OF FRACKING – UNDERMINING RUSSIAN INFLUENCE

October 21, 2016

Washington Times on October 19, 2016 published an article on the geopolitics of fracking by H.Sterling Burnett. Excerpts below:

On Sept. 27, U.S.-produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports — used in chemical production, heating and power generation — arrived in Scotland, marking the first time fracking-derived natural gas developed from shale fields in the United States was sent to northwestern Europe.

Over the past decade, fracking has sparked an unprecedented energy revolution in the United States. Increased domestic energy production related to fracking lowered electricity and gasoline prices, creating hundreds of thousands of high-paying jobs and helping to rebuild the U.S. role as a global leader in chemical manufacturing. Fracking also moved the country closer to attaining true energy independence than it has been for decades.

Despite research showing fracking does not harm the environment and reduces greenhouse-gas emissions, natural gas exploration is off to a slow start in Europe, where protests by radical environmentalists have thus far halted nearly all significant attempts at fracking.

The New York Times reported in 2014 some protests against fracking in Europe were largely financed by the state-owned Russian energy giant Gazprom. In 2014, NATO’s then-Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said, “Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called nongovernmental organizations — environmental organizations working against shale gas — to maintain dependence on imported Russian gas.”

… National Review, among other publications, exposed Russia’s covert funding of U.S. anti-fracking environmental groups through Bermudan intermediaries in 2015.

Russia is right to fear the fracking revolution, the construction of LNG export terminals in the United States, and LNG import terminals around the world, especially in Europe. Russia is the European Union’s main supplier of oil and virtually dominates the region’s natural gas energy market. Russia has used its power as Europe’s energy broker to extort concessions — or at least quiescence — from EU member states, notably while conducting its various controversial activities in Georgia, Ukraine and Chechnya.

U.S. LNG exports threaten to break Russia’s energy stranglehold on Europe, undermining its political influence. Bulgaria, Germany and Poland have all expressed interest in receiving U.S. LNG shipments to loosen Gazprom’s control of their energy markets. Deutsche Bank estimates the United States could become Europe’s biggest natural gas supplier within a decade.

Trevor Sikorski of the London-based consulting firm Energy Aspects told The Wall Street Journal Russia could cut its natural gas prices well below the U.S. price. However, he says doing so would harm Russia’s struggling economy, which is heavily dependent on exports of oil and gas to pay for food and other consumer goods it imports.

Russia’s actions to suppress fracking across the European Union, while bad for Europe, could be a boon for the United States, opening up new markets for U.S. natural gas suppliers, creating jobs and improving the trade balance. If EU member states won’t develop their own natural gas and oil supplies, U.S. companies, workers and investors will be happy to profit by providing oil and gas to them.

While the future looks bright for the United States, it could be prospering even more if not for roadblocks the Obama administration has thrown up against oil and gas production on public lands and its denial of permits to build new natural gas export terminals — all of which are policies Mrs. Clinton has promised to continue or expand upon if she becomes president.

If Russia, one of the United States’ prime economic and geopolitical opponents, is against America developing its oil and gas resources, shouldn’t U.S. leaders be for it?

H. Sterling Burnett is a research fellow on energy and the environment at the Heartland Institute.

Comment: The successful American oil and gas industry is important to the West. It can help EU ending the dependency on Russian oil and gas. For Ukraine it is a welcome opportunity to move closer to the West and leave Russian influence behind. The new US administration must also expose how Moscow is attempting to tun opinion in Europe against fracking.

ANGELA MERKEL: GERMANY TO HEAVILY INCREASE BUNDESWEHR BUDGET

October 19, 2016

Deutsche Welle on October 16, 2016, reported that the German chancellor says Germany will spend billions more than currently budgeted on its military. This comes in response to criticism from the United States that fellow NATO members don’t contribute enough to mutual defense. Excerpts below:

German taxpayers will be asked to shell out more money – lots more money – to fund the country’s army, the Bundeswehr. That was one message that Chancellor Angela Merkel had at a conference of young conservatives this weekend in the city of Paderborn.

Merkel told representatives from her Christian Democratic Union’s youth organizations that Germany would be increasing its military spending to 2 percent of GDP, in line with an agreement that NATO states reached in 2014. The country currently spends around 1.2 percent of GDP on the Bundeswehr.

“In the 21st century, we won’t be getting as much help as we got in the 20th,” Merkel said. “We need to greatly increase the Bundeswehr budget to get from 1.2 to 2 percent.”

To meet that target, Germany’s defense spending would have to rise to some 60 billion euros ($65.8 billion). The current planned military budget for the year 2020 is 39.2 billion euros.

The contributions that NATO members make to the costs of the alliance are calculated with reference to their gross national income. Currently the US bears around 22 percent of NATO costs, compared with 15 percent for Germany, 11 percent for France and 10 percent for the United Kingdom.

According to official White House figures, the US contributed $685 million (624 million euros) of NATO’s $2.8 billion (2.5 billion euros) in common-funding budgets. Recent Department of Defense information indicates that the US has typically spent less than $500 million (456 million euros) to support NATO operations per year.

… there is an imbalance between what the United States contributes to mutual security and what its allies do. And there is a general consensus that the situation will have to change…

“Nations that belong to NATO are supposed to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense,” Dick Cody, the senior vice president of major American defense contractor L-3 Communications, said at a shareholders meeting last December. “We haven’t seen the budgets yet, but we know that uptick is coming, and so we postured ourselves for it.”

…with unease over the Kremlin’s intentions increasing after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, there is public support in Germany for beefing up the Bundeswehr. In a poll carried out in late December 2015, 56 percent of respondents favored increasing the size of Germany’s military, compared with 30 percent who rejected the idea.

Merkel was able to push through a 1.2 billion-euro ($1.3 billion) increase in the Bundeswehr’s budget between 2015 and 2016, so Germany is set to spend 35 billion euros ($38 billion) on defense this year. But a lot more money than that will have to be allocated if Berlin is to reach the NATO target any time soon.

Comment: That Germany now has committed to increasing the defense costs to 2 percent of GDP is most welcome. One can only hope that other NATO nations will follow the German example. If Sweden wants to join NATO in the future it would have to raise defense budget allocations from around 1,1 percent to 2,0 percent of GDP. That would mean almost doubling defense spending. The present Swedish government of center-left, however, is living in a pacifist dream world. A likely Swedish center-right government will hopefully be more realistic when it takes over in 2018, but by then it might be too late. The Russian aggressive pressure in the Baltic Sea area is growing.

THE LEAFLET WAR ON ISLAMIC STATE

October 18, 2016

Los Angeles Times on September 19, 2016, reported on the leaflet war on Islamic State. A reporter flew with the crew of an Iraqi plane that distributed hundreds of boxes of leaflets. Excerpts below:

Over the next hour, they would throw them over 16 cities and towns in Nineveh province, all held by Islamic State, as part of the government’s largest “psy-ops” offensive against the militant group.

In the battle to defeat Islamic State, which the government calls “Daesh,” Iraqi forces have taken aim at the militants not only with bombs and bullets, but also through a multi-pronged media war to deflate the group’s “bogeyman” image.

The efforts serve as a counterweight to Islamic State’s media machine, a juggernaut that produces high-quality videos, photo essays and magazines disseminated via a Hydra-like social media network.

It was a little more than two years ago that Islamic State stormed Mosul, prompting tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers to flee for their lives in the face of an onslaught by a ragtag army of about 1,500 militants in pickups.

“What happened in June 2014 was a function of psychological operations by Daesh that were able to cast terror, fear and confusion among both the armed forces and our society,” said Said Jayashi, a consultant to the Iraqi government’s Psychological Warfare division, in a phone interview on Wednesday.

The easy capture of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, pushed the extremist group to proclaim the establishment of its caliphate over swaths of Iraq and Syria a few weeks later.

It also prompted the Iraqi government to bring together “a group of experts, composed of university professors, specialists in psychological, social and media sciences as well as intelligence and security personnel,” said Jayashi. They were tasked with producing propaganda to counter Islamic State.

Much of the pro-government propaganda is woven into everyday life in government-controlled areas of the country…As the battles to take back Islamic State areas began in 2015,… “military operations had to be supported by media and psychological operations to confuse the enemy” and to reach residents living under Islamic State rule. To do this, the government uses text messages, radio and leaflets.

The leaflets, especially, have played a central role. Over the last two years, the government says, its planes have cast more than 40 million of them over Islamic State areas.

As the government’s campaign has progressed, the airdrops have served as a prelude to the security forces’ advance, leaving a paper trail extending from parts of the Syrian-Iraqi border to Salahuddin province, Ramadi and Fallujah.

One leaflet, distributed over Mosul in June, told beleaguered residents that it was “high time … that you all stand on the land of your pure city as one hand against Islamic State” and “rule the city and decide its fate.”

Others give more practical advice, such as those informing people of the location of humanitarian corridors or reminding them to take personal documents before evacuating their homes. Those are usually thrown 72 hours before ground forces begin their incursion on a city.

With the plane in position over its target, officers Abbass and Ismail began to grab boxes and throw them out of the side door.

Ismail explained there was no danger of the cartons falling — and killing — unsuspecting citizens below; the wind would quickly rip them apart.

Events soon proved he was right: One of the boxes hit the lip of the doors, tearing its side and spewing leaflets in a whirling vortex of paper.

Suddenly, an unintelligible message came over the plane’s public address system, followed by an abrupt movement. In the cockpit, Hussein, seeing the flashes of what appeared to be antiaircraft fire, had taken the plane up to safety. Although only a little more than two-thirds of the boxes had been deployed, the mission was over.
The next day, the local news outlet Sumariyah News quoted a source in Nineveh province who said that Islamic State had mobilized its cadres to collect and destroy all the leaflets in their areas.

Any resident found with a leaflet, the source said, would be lashed 20 times.

Comment: In spite of the advance of computer technology paper leaflets are still used in psychological warfare operations. In the Vietnam War, for instance, so called surrender leaflets were successfully used by the American and South Vietnamese forces. Thousands of North Vietnamese officers and soldier gave themselves up accepting the South Vietnamese government’s defection offer . In the fight against ISIS surrender leaflets are useless against Muslim fanatics.

WEST MUST SUPPORT JAPAN ON NORTHERN TERRITORIES ISSUE

October 17, 2016

The Kurile Islands for a chain north of Japan’s northernmost island Hokkaido. The population is around 25,000. The Kurile Islands are part of Russia since the Second World War. Japan claims to have historic rights to the southern Kurile Islands.

The Nikkei business daily recently reported that Japan was considering joint administration of the islands. It quoted unidentified Japanese and Russian government sources. Reuters on October 16, 2016, reported that Japan denies discussing joint administration. Excerpts below:

“We deny the Nikkei report that Japan and Russia are discussing the joint administration of the Northern Territories,” Japanese foreign ministry spokesman Yasuhira Kawamura told Reuters in an email, referring to the islands off Hokkaido known in Russia as the Southern Kuriles.

“There is no change in Japan’s fundamental position that Japan will conclude the peace treaty with Russia by resolving the issue of the possession of the four northern islands.”

Japan has long demanded that the sovereignty of all the territories be resolved before a peace treaty is signed, but some politicians and experts have said Abe may alter course.

Last month, Abe told parliament: “I will resolve the territorial issue, end the abnormal situation in which no peace treaty has been concluded even 71 years after the war, and cultivate the major possibility of Japan-Russia cooperation in areas such as the economy and energy.”

Comment: Varldsinbordeskriget believes it is important that Western nations (United States, Great Britain and Australia) support Japan’s claims in this ongoing dispute between Russia and Japan.