A Systemic Rise in Worldwide Unrest Might Just be Beginning | Reuters [My Warning - State Change Possible]

Imagine that the world is a large sandpile that has built up over many years. There are hills and valleys all over this sandpile. Over time the entire pile has gotten too high, and fingers of instability connect all regions of the sandpile. When a collapse in one areas occurs, it can be transmitted to other areas.

A random event starts a collapse in one area. The effect is transmitted to other areas, and they gradually start to collapse. More collapses are transmissions to other areas. These new areas start to tremble.

You are now warned that the entire sandpile is at risk of state change. A state change means the entire sandpile could collapse with the end result looking nothing like the original. An example of state change occurs when water gets close to freezing. All of a sudden it goes from water to ice – state change.

The world today is like the sandpile above. There are collapses and trembling around the world, but we don’t know where it is going to lead. However, rapid state change is possible through war.

With the Middle East in turmoil, other authoritarian states jumpy and post-crisis economic pain prompting protest in western Europe and elsewhere, some suspect a systemic rise in worldwide unrest might just be beginning.

Instability in the already volatile oil-producing Middle East could produce a feedback loop where unrest pushes up energy prices, fuelling inflation and deepening discontent both in the region and around the world.

In most countries, the so-called “misery index” — an aggregation of unemployment and inflation long seen as a warning of protest and instability — is pushing higher.

ANALYSIS-After the crisis, a worldwide rise in unrest? | News by Country | Reuters

Glenn Beck-02/28/11-A

Glenn Beck-02/28/11-B

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcK7FIqZmv4

With an Eye on China, Both Japan and India are Building Up Their Military

With Its Eye on China, Japan Builds Up Military

This strategic shift is another step in a gradual and limited buildup of Japan’s forces, aimed at keeping up with the changing power balance in Asia while remaining within the bounds of Japan’s antiwar Constitution and the constraints of its declining economic power. Political analysts say Japan is slowly raising the capabilities of its forces to respond to a more assertive China and a nuclear-armed North Korea — and to take a first, halting step out of the shadow of the United States, its postwar protector, which many Japanese fear may one day no longer have the will or ability to defend Japan.

“This is all part of an agonizing soul-searching by Japan,” said Yuichi Hosoya, a professor of international politics at Keio University in Tokyo. “Japan feels itself caught between the reality of Chinese power and questions about U.S. commitments in East Asia.”

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With an eye on China, India steps up defence spending

India, among a host of countries wary of China’s economic and military heft, is also eyeing surveillance helicopters, transport aircraft and submarines to beef up defences in the air as well as in the Indian Ocean.

“China is the real long-term challenge on the strategic horizon and India’s security planning is geared toward it,” said retired brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal who heads the government-funded Centre for Land Warfare Studies.

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Why models couldn’t predict North African revolutions

Take the Political Instability Task Force, funded by the CIA and based at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Since it was formed in 1994, it has used historical data on conflicts, political structures and economics to rate the stability of countries around the world. Details of the model are publicly available, but the forecasts that the task force hands to the CIA are not.

Monty Marshall, a member of the task force, says models tend to do well at simulating historical events, but fail when it comes to predicting future unrest. “I don’t know if any of these efforts have been successful, and if they have been we wouldn’t know about it because it’d be classified,” he says.

Wired has an article on this topic this week. It quotes Mark Abdollahian of Sentia Group, which has built dozens of predictive models for government agencies, saying: “All of our models are bad, some are less bad than others.”

Short Sharp Science: Why models couldn’t predict North African revolutions

North Korea: Kim Will Never Give Up His Nukes

“The United States is demanding that we give up our nuclear weapons program,” Kim Il Sung said. “What should we do? Give them up or not?”

The room was silent. Finally, Kim Jong Il spoke, saying he would answer his father’s question.

“Nuclear weapons are Chosun,” he said, using the North Korean word for Korea. “If we destroy our nuclear program, we may as well destroy ourselves.”

RealClearWorld – Kim Will Never Give Up His Nukes

Iran’s Economy in the Shadow of Regional Upheaval | The Iran Primer

Iran’s stability is in question. Time for war to refocus people’s attention.

Iran’s stability is once again in question, as historic protests sweep the Middle East and revive the flagging fortunes of its own opposition movement. Expectations of the Islamic Republic’s inevitable demise are further fueled by the revolutionary state’s own vulnerabilities.

Political elites are constantly at war with one another. Much of the clerical estate is alienated from theocratic rule. The merchant community has fought both the encroachments of the state and tax obligations. And youth– who represent more than two-thirds of the population – are simply fed up with the lack of opportunities and the stultifying social and cultural restrictions. Since the disputed June 2009 presidential election, a new homegrown opposition movement has emerged, led by political revolutionary stalwarts and propelled by millions of ordinary Iranians who took to the streets for six months.

Iran’s Economy in the Shadow of Regional Upheaval | The Iran Primer

Turkey’s new a la carte nerve – Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review

Today’s Turks are focused on taking issue with people and ideas they consider offensive to Muslims. While a negative reaction to perceived anti-Muslim sentiments is understandable from the Turkish people’s perspective, this new morality is based on a la carte morals and selective outrage: Turks take issue with perceived offensive behavior by Westerners against Muslims, but they give carte blanche to similar behavior by Muslims against Westerners or even against fellow Muslims.

The roots of this new selective morality lie in the transformation of the Turkish identity under the AKP. In decades past, the Turks considered themselves both Muslim and Western simultaneously, for they saw no conflict between these identities. Now, however, many Turks view the two identities as being mutually exclusive. Increasingly, many are siding with a politically defined “Muslim world” as opposed to the West.

Turkey’s new a la carte nerve – Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review

Taiwan Must Avoid a Greek Fate | Flashpoints

We could hardly agree more with Prof. Daniel Lynch’s appraisal of the situation across the Taiwan Strait—let’s not mistake happy talk and economic agreements for a durable cross-strait status quo. Beijing shows no sign of relenting on its goal of imposing its rule on Taiwan, and Chinese spokesmen are admirably forthright about this.

Nonetheless, when we discuss cross-strait relations with senior US military officers, they often inform us that China evinces little desire to use the formidable military it’s constructing to achieve longstanding political aims. We fully agree with them on this point. Where we do part ways with them, though, is on the sweeping conclusions they draw from this trivial point—namely that Beijing so abhors the prospect of armed conflict that it will accept the cross-strait status quo more or less indefinitely, and presumably compromise on national unity.

Doubtful.

Taiwan Must Avoid a Greek Fate | Flashpoints

Nuclear War with China is Possible, Says Dissident

China is not afraid of a nuclear war with America because it is willing to sacrifice its people, the dissident said. Now take a look at a statement by Chinese general Zhu Chenghu:

declaring that China would launch nuclear weapons against America if it attacked China and that “we will prepare ourselves for the destruction of all the cities east of Xian,” which would include Beijing, Shanghai, and Canton.

The general is referring to help that America may provide Taiwan in a war with China. If America uses its non-nuclear weapons to protect Taiwan, then China may respond with nuclear weapons. So the fact that China may lose a billion people doesn’t really seem to bother the general. Could you imagine the uproar if a Western general made a similar comment?

China’s hawks demand cold war on the US

Officially, China has reacted by threatening sanctions against American companies selling arms to Taiwan and cancelling military visits.

But Chinese analysts think the leadership, riding a wave of patriotism as the year of the tiger dawns, may go further.

“This time China must punish the US,” said Major-General Yang Yi, a naval officer. “We must make them hurt.” A major-general in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), Luo Yuan, told a television audience that more missiles would be deployed against Taiwan. And a PLA strategist, Colonel Meng Xianging, said China would “qualitatively upgrade” its military over the next 10 years to force a showdown “when we’re strong enough for a hand-to-hand fight with the US”.

An internal publication at the elite Qinghua University last week predicted the strains would get worse because “core interests” were at risk. It said battles over exports, technology transfer, copyright piracy and the value of China’s currency, the yuan, would be fierce.

As a crescendo of strident nationalistic rhetoric swirls through the Chinese media and blogosphere, American officials seem baffled by what has gone wrong and how fast it has happened.

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Nuclear War with China is Possible, Says Dissident

Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng. Wei urged America to pay more attention to the possibility of war with China.

One of China’s most famous democracy advocates says that America has not paid enough attention to the threat of nuclear war with China. Wei Jingsheng, who spent 18 years in confinement in China, spoke at a forum on Chinese leader Hu Jintao at the National Press Club, sketching a disturbing picture of a powerful nation on the march to war.

The forum consisted of China expert panelists giving their various perspectives on the underlying meaning behind the visit of Chinese leader Hu Jintao, who has been in power for the last two years.

Wei stated that China needs the distraction of a war with Taiwan to turn attention away from the Chinese people’s frustration with rampant corruption and failed policies at home.

Wei also stated that a number of factors allow them to consider traditional warfare against Taiwan and even nuclear warfare against America.

[Originally published on Sept. 11, 2005]

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North Korea, South Korea standoff heats up as war games begin | CSMonitor.com

South Korea and the US start new war games Monday, just days after the South dropped propaganda leaflets about Middle East revolutions over North Korea.

US and South Korean troops opened 11 days of war games Monday in the face of North Korean threats to turn Seoul into “a sea of fire” and to start “all-out war.”

Officials dismissed the rhetoric from North Korea as a sign of rising North Korean anger in a familiar cycle of threats. The US command here says the exercises, involving nearly 13,000 US troops and 200,000 Korean civilians mainly conducted on computers, had been in the planning stage for months and were entirely “defensive.”

North Korea, South Korea standoff heats up as war games begin – CSMonitor.com

Middle East in Crisis: a Worst-Case Scenario | CNBC

David Murrin is not the most optimistic person I have ever met.

In his recently published book “Breaking the Code of History” the hedge fund manager who runs Emergent Asset Management writes that he believes by 2025 there will be a major conflict over the fight for commodities and resources.

Murrin is very bearish on the prospects for the Middle East and the knock-on effects for oil prices, stocks and the economy.

“The current unrest is far from benign and is set to deepen into ‘regional civil war'” Murrin said.

“As well as civil war between Sunnis and Shias, …

Oil Price – Middle East in Crisis: a Worst-Case Scenario – CNBC