May 5, 2018

Washington Times on May 3, 2018, published a commentary by Lt. Col. (ret.) Gary Anderson, a lecturer at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs on the continuing dangerous game of Tehran. Excerpts below:

Iran’s aging political leadership apparently has too much time on its hands. It insists on increasingly risky foreign adventures while discontent piles up at home. Iran’s rial currency is at its lowest level against the dollar in history. Restive ethnic and religious minorities and water shortages in the provinces are causing near-daily demonstrations, and an increasingly discontented majority population of people under 25 years old are demanding domestic change. That kind of atmosphere has bred revolutions in many nations in the past.

Iran wants to be seen as a champion of minority Shiite populations in the region. Supplying weapons to the Houthis in Yemen is fairly low risk; frankly, nobody in the region but the Saudis cares. Giving weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon is riskier, but so far arming Hezbollah hasn’t been seriously contested by the Israelis. Placing overt Iranian bases in Syria is another matter.

In such a conflict, the Iranians would be logistically overextended in Syria. Iranian leaders don’t seem to understand what that means. Iran is separated from Syria by hundreds of miles of roads and sea lanes that the Israelis can easily interdict. The logistics situation would be dire from Day One. Israel has short supply lines to Syria and would rapidly gain ground and air superiority. Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force prisoners and equipment would be paraded through Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for the world to see.

The young…of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps who stormed the American Embassy in 1979 are now thick-waisted old men getting rich by running a superfluous military-industrial complex. The young millennials who they would send to war in Syria are going to be very skeptical of participating in a jihad to save a marginally Shiite Arab regime from its own people.

Comment: It seems important at this stage in the widening attempts by Iran to grow its influence in the Middle East for the United States to make it harder for Tehran to continue its regional adventures financed by cash payments from the Obama administration. New sanctions against Iran could be a possible reaction. It would also be important to persuade European partners to go along with a tougher Iran policy in the interest of all the West.



May 4, 2018

Reuters reported on May 3, 2018, that the Trump administration’s top economic officials had arrived in China.

They will try to get the Chinese government to open its markets and give up its predatory trade practicies.

The officials want to bring down the trade deficit by 20 percent or around 100 billion dollars. The also seek to get China to allow U S businesses to operate and sell in China without having to partner with a Chinese company. The existing rules are helping China to transfer U S technology and know-how in a way that is damaging to America.

China has for years been conquering the world’s export markets. This conquest has vaporized manufacturing jobs and driven down wages from the heartland of America. The China wars are fought over everything from decent jobs, livable wages, and leading-edge technologies to strategic resources such as copper and steel.

In an op-ed in a large US daily newspaper, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is writing that the “economic relationship with China that has become increasingly unbalanced — and, over the long term, dangerous — for the U.S.” Rubio announces new legislation to combat intellectual property (IP) theft.

China’s trade policies are two-faced: “One face [that] outwardly offers soaring and seductive promises of an emerging global economic order that will become more open and equitable as nations increase trade and commerce with China. … The other face speaks inwardly to China’s ultimate geopolitical intentions.”

Rubio says China is stealing IP for nearly $600 billion annually from just the U.S. The Florida Senator calls on Congress to support the administration’s efforts to reform trade with China. Next week he will introduce the Fair Trade With China Enforcement Act to “guard the American people against China’s nefarious influence on national and economic security, directly targeting China’s tools of economic aggression.” The legislation would ban the sale of all sensitive technology or intellectual property to Chinese entities and impose a shareholding cap on Chinese investors in American corporations to prevent undue influence in corporate governance.

Comment: This is an excellent initiative. It is time to push back when it comes to the dark side of the rise of China. Other Western countries ought to act now to address the mounting problems of the Beijing challenge.

The rise of China has resulted in efforts along the Asian rimland to balance against the challenge to the established territorial status quo and national interests. China uses geographical proximity, overall strength, offensive capabilities, and offensive intentions. The size and position at the heart of the Asian landmass sends a geopolitical message. The Chinese military is modernizing its navy and air force, investing in anti-access/area denial technologies, and build aircraft carriers. Declarations such as the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone send a troubling message across the region. But China is not the only challenge on the World Island in the geopolitical theory of Halford Mackinder and Nicholas Spykman. The West is presently challenged by the three empires on the rimland of Eurasia: China, Russia and Iran/Persia.


May 4, 2018

The Associated Press and Washington Times on May 2, 2018 reported on the planned basing of the next-generation US B-21 Raider bomber . Excerpts below:

The U.S. Air Force says bases in Missouri, South Dakota and Texas will receive the next-generation B-21 bomber to replace existing aircraft starting in the mid-2020s.

The Air Force said Wednesday that Dyess Air Force Base in Texas, Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota and Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri have been chosen as “reasonable alternatives ” to host the new B-21 bomber.

Officials are expected to make a final basing decision in 2019…

Comment: The B-21 Raider will be capable of penetrating the toughest defenses to deliver precision strikes anywhere in the world. Northrop Grumman is providing America’s warfighters with an advanced aircraft offering a unique combination of range, payload, and survivability.

As stated by the Secretary of Defense, the B-21 Raider “will support America’s defense strategy by forming the backbone of the Air Force’s future strike and deterrent capabilities.”


May 3, 2018

National Interest on April 30, 2018, reported that China is extending its territorial claims in the South China Sea. A group of Chinese scholars have recently published a ”New Map of the People’s Republic of China”. Excerpts below:

Instead of dotted lines, as reflected in China’s U-shaped Nine-Dash Line claim to nearly all of the South China Sea, the new map [is based on an old map from 1951]…

The Chinese researchers claim that through analysis of historical maps, the 1951 solid-line map “proves” beyond dispute that the “U-boundary line is the border of China’s territorial sea” in the South China Sea.

They also claim that the solid administrative line overlaying the U-boundary “definitely indicated that the sovereignty of the sea” enclosed within the U-boundary “belonged to China.”

The study, edited by the Guanghua and Geosciences Club and published by SDX Joint Publishing Company, has not been formally endorsed by the Chinese government.

…many experts believe that it’s Beijing’s latest effort to recover from a humiliating legal defeat in 2016, when an arbitration body at The Hague constituted under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) struck down much of China’s claims in adjacent waters in a ruling that favored the Philippines.

Last year, China began to introduce a new quasi-legal doctrine in the South China Sea.

According to the new “Four Sha” doctrine, China lays sovereign claims over the Pratas, Paracels and Spratly group of islands, as well as the Macclesfield Bank area (known in Chinese as Dongsha, Xisha, Nansha, and Zhongsha respectively).

Instead of treating them as a collection of disputed land features, each group of islands or land features is treated as an integrated archipelagic body with its own maritime boundaries, sovereign land with a corresponding title to claim an exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The new doctrine was advanced by Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials during a closed-door meeting with US State Department officials in Washington last August, according to news reports and Pentagon sources.

The “new map” should thus be understood as yet another attempt to present old wine in a new bottle…the 1951 map presents “the continuous line” of a claim, which was “recognized by the international community in the corresponding historical period.”

They also claim that it provides “appropriate descriptions and drawing-methods for the sea boundary in [the] historical period,” ensuring the “certainty of the integrity, continuity and border of China’s seas.”

The academics argue that the new map should serve as the basis of China’s claims in the area, since it “more vividly, accurately, completely and scientifically” characterizes and proves Beijing’s sovereignty in adjacent waters.

If Beijing moves to back the academics’ assertions, it could inflame already boiling tensions with smaller Southeast Asian claimants, which have opposed China’s expanding military footprint and extensive reclamation activities.

What is clearer is that China is still determined to provide quasi-legal cover for its rising domination of the South China Sea.

China Topics on July 25, 2016 reported on an even more aggressive claim of territory by China that claimed that the Pacific Ocean is Chinese. Excerpts below:

The map infers Hawaii belongs to China and [that] Hawaii was stolen from China by the United States, which must give it back of face the consequences.

The map was the work of the person or persons behind a blog called the “Ministry of Harmony”…

The original post in 2014 claimed China’s Ministry of Education had released a new world map where China claims most of the Pacific Ocean, including Hawaii and most of Micronesia.

It said Xinhua, China’s propaganda media machine, reported the ministry issued a directive ordering “all educational facilities and government offices to replace their outdated world maps with the current iteration,”…

Emmanuel Mori, who then was President of the Federated States of Micronesia, reportedly dismissed the map as “absurd” and accused China of “cartographic rape.”

In the map, China also claims Mexico’s Clarion Island and France’s Clipperton Island. The ministry said both islands will be granted full autonomy.

Hawaii and other American territories such as Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands will be combined to form a new Chinese province called “Xinmeiguo,” …

The ministry defended the new “251-dash map” by pointing to several Qing-era documents that show the Carolines, the Northern Mariana and Marshall Islands were under Chinese control hundreds of years ago.

“The study of what constitutes Chinese territory is ongoing,” said one ministry official.


May 1, 2018

Fox News on April 30, 2018, reported on the American reaction to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bombshel news on Iran covert nuclear program. Excerpts below:

President Trump called the Iran nuclear deal a “horrible agreement for the United States” in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bombshell allegations about Tehran’s covert activity…

The president said it shows Iran is lying about its nuclear weapons program.

“That is just not an acceptable situation,” Trump said.

Trump said Netanyahu’s claims show Iran is “not sitting back idly.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders responded, “The United States is aware of the information just released by Israel and continues to examine it carefully. This information provides new and compelling details about Iran’s efforts to develop missile-deliverable nuclear weapons. These facts are consistent with what the United States has long known: Iran had a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program that it has tried and failed to hide from the world and from its own people. The Iranian regime has shown it will use destructive weapons against its neighbors and others. Iran must never have nuclear weapons.”

Trump said: “So we’ll see what happens,” when asked about the announcement. “I’m not telling you what I’m doing. [A lot] of people think they know. And on or before the 12th, we’ll make a decision.”

The president made the comments during a joint press conference with visiting Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.

Trump said that overall, “what we’ve learned has really shown that I have been 100 percent right.”

Netanyahu said during his earlier presentation that new intelligence shows Iran lied about never having nuclear weapons and lied again by not coming clean under the terms of the 2015 deal. “The Iran deal … is based on lies,” he said.

The information was obtained within the past 10 days, Israeli officials told Fox News. Netanyahu said the files were moved to a “highly secret” location in Tehran, and contained materials spread over 55,000 pages and 55,000 files on 183 CD’s.

“The nuclear deal gives Iran a clear path to producing an atomic arsenal,” Netanyahu said Monday.

“The Iran Deal was and has always been a foreign policy debacle. But today’s stunning intel presentation [by Netanyahu] provides even more troubling context. All along it was built on a crumbling foundation of lies, deception, and naivete. This ‘deal’ should be shredded,” House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., tweeted.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday ratcheted up the Trump administration’s rhetoric against Iran and offered warm support to Israel and Saudi Arabia in their standoff with Tehran.
“The United States is with Israel in this fight,” Pompeo said.

The 2015 deal gave Iran relief from crippling sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

Comment: The Israeli information that Tehran has lied about its program to build nuclear weapons is a stunning feat by Israeli intelligence. Iran’s information offered at the time of the nuclear deal in 2015 was pure deception. The technique of Iran/Persia using lies and deception goes back to the ancient Iranian empire. The Iran deal is based on lies and should be renegotiated or nixed. Iran is a growing strategic threat in the Middle East and its aggression stretches from Syria in the north to Yemen in the south. The Gulf states must be more involved in stopping Iran’s destabilization in the region.


April 30, 2018

The Times of Israel on July 26, 2016, published an article on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s love of maps. In April 2018 this was illustrated when Netanyahu met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photos of the two were taken in front of a Middle East map with surrounding areas (parts of Asia, Africa and Europe). Excerpts below

“May I reveal to the members of the press that there is a big map in my office, and it’s been made bigger,” [Netanyahu] said during a meeting with Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes in Jerusalem. “It used to be the Middle East. Now it encompasses a good chunk of the Eastern hemisphere.”

The map of the world Netanyahu brandished Monday at the Knesset State Control Committee… offers some valuable insights into his view of Israel’s place among the family of nations.

The map…[was] meant to highlight positive trends in Israel’s foreign relations. It divides the world’s countries into different categories: those with which Jerusalem has “recently developed/upgraded” relations are marked in red; states that entertain “good relations” with Israel are in blue; and “overtly hostile enemy states” are in black. With the rest of the world, in green.

The countries in red are those the prime minister sought to highlight as they ostensibly prove the success of his foreign policy. Those eye-catching red patches indicate improved ties with diplomatic and economic powerhouses such as Japan, China, Russia, South Korea, Singapore and India; increasing cooperation with Greece and Cyprus; normalization with Turkey; and robust ties with Azerbaijan, which Netanyahu plans to visit soon.

Ten countries in Africa are colored red: Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, (states Netanyahu visited earlier this month) Tanzania (which recently announced its intention to open its first-ever embassy in Israel), Guinea (which last week re-established diplomatic ties with Jerusalem after a 49-year hiatus), Chad (where Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold visited last week), South Sudan, Zambia and Ivory Coast.

Three countries [in South America] are marked red: Colombia, Paraguay and Argentina.

There are…some interesting inclusions among the countries colored blue on Netanyahu’s map, signaling “good relations” with Israel: The United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and all of Europe — East and West …

But two European countries are singled out as a little less friendly than the others: Sweden and Ireland appear in light blue, illustrating their particularly critical attitudes toward Israel. Sweden is the only Western European nation that recognized a Palestinian state…

“Today Israel is perceived more and more as an asset and an influencing element in the world because of our war on terror and our technological achievements,” Netanyahu told the State Control Committee .

”We have achieved free trade with China, a 30 percent increase in trade with India, an agreement with Japan on protecting rigs, military coordination with Russia, initial ties with a host of African countries, heads of state visiting Israel for the first time, the normalization of ties with Turkey, and every week I meet with four heads of state. Israel’s foreign policy is a great success,” he declared.

And what about those countries that do not perceive Israel as an asset and a positive influence?

On his map…only five countries are colored in black, thus identified as enemy states: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and North Korea. (Lebanon’s status is indiscernible). Perhaps most instructive about this category is those nations it does not include: Yemen, Saudi Arabia (both countries Israelis are forbidden by law from entering), Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Sudan, Pakistan, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Indonesia, Cuba, Venezuela and other states with which Israel does not have diplomatic ties.

Israel has plenty of friends in the world — about 30 old friends, 20 new friends, countless potential future friends — and very, very few enemies.

Comment: An interesting illustration of Netanyahu’s classical geopolitical thinking is that he in February 2018 described Iran as an empire as reported by Memo – Middle East Monitor (February 18, 2018):

Addressing the Munich Security event for the first time, Netanyahu urged gathered US and European officials and diplomats to counter Iran immediately, displaying a map showing what he said was Iran’s growing presence in the Middle East.

He said Iran was increasing its power as the US-led coalition against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria regains territory from militants.

“The unfortunate thing is that as ISIS compresses and Iran moves in, it is trying to establish this continuous empire surrounding the Middle East from the south in Yemen but also trying to create a land bridge from Iran to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza,” Netanyahu said.

“This is a very dangerous development for our region.”

The main challengers against the West (of which Israel is a part) at present are the three empires China, Russia and Iran on what British classical geopolitical theorist Halford Mackinder called the World Island (Eurasia and Africa). This cxould easily be illustrated on a map of classical geopolitics.


April 29, 2018

Washington Times on April 27, 2018, reported that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a news conference in Brussels said he believed Kim Jong-un was serious about a nuclear deal. Excerpts below:

…Mr. Kim and Mr. Moon had “agreed to gradually realize arms reduction when their military tension is removed and trust is practically established.”

…Mr. Pompeo said he wanted to “congratulate the Republic of Korea and North Korea on the historic meeting, and the Korean people’s aspirations for peace and prosperity.”

But the secretary of state went on to add: “Let there be no doubt: We would not be where we are today without President Trump’s maximum pressure campaign and the work that has been done all around the world to apply pressure to North Korea.”

The developments on April 27, 2018, set the stage for a historic face-to-face between Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump expected later this spring. The prospects for such had already gotten a boost in recent weeks amid the revelation that Mr. Pompeo held a secret meeting with Mr. Kim in Pyongyang in early-April.

As the only Trump administration official to have actually met personally with the North Korean leader, Mr. Pompeo was asked by a reporter if he believed Mr. Kim is serious about reaching a deal on denuclearization.

”Yes, I did get a sense that he was serious,” Mr. Pompeo said, adding that the Trump-led global economic pressure that’s been placed on North Korea through sanctions has lead Mr. Kim “to believe that it’s in his best interest to come to the table and talk about denuclearization.”

But in a reference to failed past attempts at negotiating denuclearization with Mr. Pompeo said he’s “always careful.”

Comment: The only secure deal with North Korea on nuclear weapons is that the United States is allowed to bring all North Korean nuclear weapons to America including all equipment at the test site. Serious surveillance during the coming months is needed to find out if anything is brought into hiding from the test site. Reports that Mount Mantap at the test site in North Korea has collapsed has to be investigated.

For valuable information on North Korea the defector radio station Free North Korea Radio in South Korea is recommended as is the website ”38North”.


April 29, 2018

Washington Times on April 27, 2018, reported on Pompeo comments on the Iran deal. Excerpts below:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that it’s “unlikely” President Trump will stay in the Iran nuclear agreement if changes are not made.

“Absent a substantial fix, absent overcoming the shortcomings, the flaws of the deal, he is unlikely to stay in that deal past this May,” Mr. Pompeo said at a news conference in Brussels.

Comment: The final aim in relation to Iran should be to get the regime to denuclearize. If North Korea can be persuaded to abandon its nuclear weapons the chances may increase that the regime in Tehran can be persuaded to follow the North Korean example. Sanctions against Iran would in that case be needed.


April 17, 2018

Fox News on April 16, 2018, published an article by US Secretary of the Air Force, Dr. Heather Wilson, calling for America and her allies to strengthen their self-defense in space. Excerpts below:

America is the best in the world at space, and our adversaries know it. They are developing and testing capabilities to deny us the use of space in crisis or war.

The Air Force is responsible for 90 percent of America’s military space assets and we see clearly where American interests are threatened. We are dramatically increasing our space budget this year and we are developing concepts and capabilities to deter and defeat any adversary who threatens our ability to freely operate in space.

While most Americans use space every day, few are conscious of it. It’s seamlessly woven into our lives. Air Force-operated GPS satellites give you the blue dot on your phone and provide the timing for banking, communications, and the stock exchange. One recent study showed that the Global Positioning System’s value to the U.S. economy was about $70 billion per year.

In the coming years, our military will undertake a number of steps to ensure our vital space capabilities are resilient so that our potential adversaries are deterred from attacking us. These steps include reducing the time to develop and to launch critical new satellites; creating warfighting tactics for our troops to train against satellite-jamming, laser attacks and other threats; and fielding defendable space systems and the capability to protect them.

Russia and China are developing anti-satellite capabilities that could become operational in the next few years. Our new National Defense Strategy correctly recognizes the reemergence of great power competition with China and Russia as the principal priority for the Defense Department.

There is much work to be done to ensure space continues to be open and accessible to the world and that our systems are secure from attack. It is an urgent national priority.


April 13, 2018

Washington Free Beacon on April 12, 2018, reported that experts tesitified to US Congress on massive theft of technology by China. Excerpts below:

China is engaged in large-scale theft of American research and technology from universities, using spies, students, and researchers as collectors, experts told Congress on April 11, 2018.

Compounding the technology theft, the administration of President Barack Obama weakened U.S. counterintelligence efforts against foreign spies by curbing national-level counterspy efforts, a former counterintelligence official disclosed during a House hearing.


“Unfortunately, the backsliding continued under President Obama,” Van Cleave told two subcommittees of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

Van Cleave said a directive issued by then-DNI James Clapper in 2013 and still in force reduced the national counterintelligence program authority by directing all counterspy programs to be run by individual departments or agencies.


“Gone was any dedicated strategic [counterintelligence] program, while elite pockets of proactive capabilities died of neglect,” she said.


Several intelligence and security experts testified during the hearing that China poses the most significant threat of technology theft from an estimated $510 billion spent annually on U.S. research and development.

“China has a government-directed, multi-faceted secret program whose primary task is technology acquisition, as well as a highly refined strategy to develop and exploit access to advantageous information through the global telecommunications infrastructure,” Van Cleave said.

Along with Russian intelligence agents, Chinese technology spies have developed specific lists of technology for theft. Beijing uses clandestine agents, front companies, and joint research ventures in the theft program.

“Indeed, the United States is a spy’s paradise,” Van Cleave said. “Our free and open society is tailor-made for clandestine operations.”

Michael Wessel, chairman of the congressional U.S.-China Economic Security Review Commission, testified that the Chinese are focused on stealing American advanced technology related to artificial intelligence, robotics, and other cutting edge technology.


“In the case of robotics and AI, two fields of study with the potential to fundamentally change the international economy as well as the future of war-fighting, China has released the Robotics Industry Development Plan and Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan with the goals of China assuming global leadership in the coming decades,” Wessel said.

China also is infiltrating American universities by funding language and cultural centers called Confucius Institutes that are being used as cover for technology theft. About 100 of the institutes are operating on American campuses and use their funding as part of “soft power” efforts in the United States.

China is also using some of the 350,000 Chinese students in the United States for intelligence work. Chinese spies recruit students with appeals such as “can you help China?” Wessel said.


In 2009, Ruopeng Lieu, a researcher at Duke University, passed sensitive technology data to China. The information helped Beijing create the Kuang-Chi Science Ltd, a multibillion metamaterials company engaged in wireless internet and mobile payment fields.

In 2015, Chinese professors were among six defendants charged with economic espionage by the Justice Department. An indictment charged stolen American trade secrets were used to assist Chinese universities and state-run companies in China.


Van Cleave, the former counterintelligence official, said greater efforts are needed to stem the loss of technology to China.

“Counterintelligence—identifying, assessing, and neutralizing foreign intelligence threats—has been little more than an afterthought in U.S. national security strategy, a legacy of neglect that has cost us dearly in lives lost, resources squandered, and dangers unchecked,” she said.


Congress passed the Counterintelligence Enhancement Act in 2002 to fix the problems, but intelligence bureaucracies resisted the reforms and as a result counterspying has been weakened, not improved, Van Cleave said.


Van Cleave urged going on the offense against foreign spies by penetrating and disrupting foreign intelligence organizations before they reach the United States.

The goal is to degrade foreign spy services and their ability to conduct operations against the United States.

“We can chase individual spies or technology thieves case by case, or we can target the services that send them here,” Van Cleave said. “In short, we can go on offense but national leadership must be willing to direct and empower America’s counterintelligence enterprise to carry out that vital mission.”


The hearing was a joint session of the committee’s research and technology subcommittee and oversight subcommittee.

Oversight subcommittee chairman Ralph Abraham (R., La.), told the hearing China is the most aggressive at stealing U.S. technology but the problem involved other foreign nations as well and the activities must be stopped.

“Essentially, China steals our fundamental research and quickly capitalizes by commercializing the technology,” he said.

Research and technology subcommittee chairman Rep. Barbara Comstock (R., Va.) said the theft of American technology is a serious problem.

“It is imperative that our academic institutions not close their eyes to the very real threat posed by foreign intelligence spies,” she said. “They cannot be blinded by naiveté or ignorance when distinguishing between friend and foe.”