All posts by Matt

Navy admiral says Russia and China are going against the ‘global operating system’ – Business Insider

The former vice chair of the Joint Chiefs warned on Wednesday that Russia and China were going against what he called the “global operating system” of order, rules, and alliances.

“This system is under attack,” Adm. James Winnefeld (Ret.) told attendees of the AFCEA West 2017 conference. “They’ve thrown away the rules, and we’re not ready for it.”

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Navy admiral says Russia and China are going against the ‘global operating system’ – Business Insider

Russia’s Capitol Is Stacked with Super Powerful S-400 Missile Defense Systems (But It’s No Shield) | The National Interest Blog

“Moscow is covered from strikes by an aerial opponent with a probability of 99%.”

The high mobility, short deployment times, sophisticated radars and advanced missiles of the aforementioned “double-digit” SAM systems have led many senior Russian military officials to express great confidence in their ability to repel aerial attacks against Russia’s capital. In April 2015, for example, then deputy chief of Russia’s Aerospace Defense Forces, Major-General Kirill Makarov, told Russian News Service that, thanks to the addition of new SAM systems, “Moscow is covered from strikes by an aerial opponent with a probability of 99%.” When asked by the interviewer whether Russia’s air defense can detect stealth aircraft, the Major-General replied that, at present, there are no stealthy “means of aerial attack” which they cannot detect. Makarov’s remarks were echoed several month later by Major-General Sergei Babakov who called US stealth aircraft a “publicity stunt.” Such remarks, however, are highly conclusory.

Russia’s Capitol Is Stacked with Super Powerful S-400 Missile Defense Systems (But It’s No Shield) | The National Interest Blog

Maybe the Russians will explain who they expect will be attacking and why?

Could it be that attacks on Moscow will be coming in response to Russian attacks on its neighbors, like the Baltic states?

The Real Nuclear News | RealClearDefense

If American deterrent policy just changes, the nuclear dangers will recede.

Is this true?

No, it is not. While there are indeed many nuclear dangers we should worry about, their origin does not lie with the United States, although it is perfectly reasonable to criticize past American policy as inadequate to meet these challenges.

However, whether we are concerned with the Russians moving nuclear capable Iskandar missiles to Kaliningrad or the Chinese threatening war if challenged over artificial islands in the South China Sea, these actions are part of a strategy to establish a tyrannical new world order.

George Washington said if you want to establish peace, prepare for war. Ronald Reagan called such a strategy “peace through strength.” That combination of military capability and diplomatic smarts won the Cold War. It can win the peace again.

The Russian, Chinese and North Korean threats are real indeed and need to be taken seriously. We cannot just stand still or go backward. As the new administration says, it is about making America great again. A strong military—both conventional and nuclear– is part of that effort.

The Real Nuclear News | RealClearDefense

4 Warning Signs Of Instability In Russia | Mauldin Economics

Geopolitical Futures forecasted that 2017 will be “an inflection point in the long-term destabilization of Russia.” After just six weeks, there are clear signs that this forecast is right on track. You can read more about GPF’s outlook for Russia in This Week in Geopolitics (subscribe here for free).

Russia has four areas of instability: the distribution and prevalence of wage arrears, pressure on its banking system, low-level social and economic unrest, and government purges.

The map below shows these developments.

4 Warning Signs Of Instability In Russia | Mauldin Economics

Half of Russia Still in Crisis Prepares for Worse to Come – Bloomberg

“78 percent of Russians believe the country is heading for an economic crisis”

The half of Russia’s economy that hasn’t got wind of a recovery is already hunkering down for the crisis to come.

Once indispensable for the country’s prospects, consumption flat-lined well below zero throughout last year even as the broader economy defied gloom. From the ruble to industrial output and wages, the outlook is brighter.

But that isn’t filtering through to consumer spending, which accounted for 52 percent of the $1.5 trillion economy last year. A Levada Center survey conducted last month found that 78 percent of Russians believe the country is heading for an economic crisis, an increase from 74 percent in September.

Half of Russia Still in Crisis Prepares for Worse to Come – Bloomberg

Decline, Not Collapse: The Bleak Prospects for Russia’s Economy – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Russia faces bleak economic prospects for the next few years. It may be a case of managed decline in which the government appeases social and political demands by tapping the big reserves it accumulated during the boom years with oil and gas exports. But there is also a smaller possibility of a more serious economic breakdown or collapse. A proper analysis requires consideration of a number of key and often overlooked features of Russia’s post-Soviet economy.

THE GOVERNMENT’S PLAN—A SLOW ROAD TO A DEAD END

In the near future, the government will focus on ways to improve its administrative capacity so as to fill up state coffers and satisfy the demands of special-interest groups. But no steps, which could be called reforms, will be able to immediately balance the budget. On the contrary, any reforms are likely to lead to spending increases in the next three to five years, which will temporarily throw the economy off balance and exacerbate the economic crisis.

Economic Black Swans

Although most indicators promise a soft landing for the Russian economy and several calm years ahead, we cannot rule out some extreme scenarios or black swan events, which could potentially cause great disruption to the Russian economy.

According to the baseline scenario, the Russian economy will contract gradually for at least three to four years, after which a process of socialization will set in as the government implements price and currency controls, monopolizes foreign trade, embarks on the large-scale nationalization of private industries, and increasingly regulates salaries and consumption. If this happens, the economy will continue to contract without collapsing for a few more years or even more than a decade. However, a number of serious events could disrupt this process and lead to economic breakdown, a shift to a subsistence economy, a rapid dollarization and the loss of control over the ruble, a devastating decline in budget revenues, big shortages of goods, and destitution for a large percentage of Russia’s population.

This economic shock could in turn trigger new disasters: …

Decline, Not Collapse: The Bleak Prospects for Russia’s Economy – Carnegie Moscow Center – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Are China and America Destined for War? | The National Interest Blog

Ultimately, what could drive conflict between Xi’s China and Trump’s America is a similarly held perception in both countries being somehow victims. Beijing has long promoted the idea that it has been oppressed and constrained by foreign powers, and that this therefore entitles it to special consideration. An “official narrative” of humiliation by Western powers is particularly driving a new Chinese populist-nationalist foreign policy.

But now the US, under Trump, is playing a similar victimhood card. Trump won election by arguing that the US has been made a sucker by foreign powers, and his response is to raise the country’s military profile and be more intransigent and demanding when it comes to trade and international relations.

Are China and America Destined for War? | The National Interest Blog

If both China and America are victims, then the outcome of war looks more likely than not.

Iranian Leader Says Third Intifada Has Begun Against Israel | The Daily Caller

Palestinians are engaged in a third intifada, or uprising, which will inflict “another defeat” on Israel, according to the supreme leader of Iran.

“The intifada that has begun for the third time in the occupied lands, is subject to more suppression than the previous two, but it is still moving forward in a bright and hopeful manner,” said Khamenei during a speech at the event. “And by Allah’s permission, we will see that this intifada will begin a very important chapter in the history of fighting and that it will inflict another defeat on that usurping regime.”

Iranian Leader Says Third Intifada Has Begun Against Israel | The Daily Caller

Russia To Send Iran $1 Billion-Worth Of Missile Defenses | The Daily Caller

Russia’s massive contract to provide Iran with air defense missile systems is worth nearly $1 billion dollars, according to the head of Russia’s Rostec corporation.

Iran wants to buy the Russian S-300 air defense missile system, considered one of the most effective anti-aircraft and anti-ballistic missile systems in existence.

“The S-300 cost about one billion dollars,” Sergey Chemezov told the media Monday. “We were through with the supplies of S-300. No plans for anything are on the agenda.”

Russia To Send Iran $1 Billion-Worth Of Missile Defenses | The Daily Caller

In Red Sea, Gulf states look to block Iran’s expansion – UPI.com

Moves by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to expand their military reach across the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden have long-term objectives, most prominent among them blocking Iranian ad­vances in a region that has become increasingly strategic in the strug­gle between the Arab monarchies and the Islamic Republic.

In Red Sea, Gulf states look to block Iran’s expansion – UPI.com

Iran Supreme Leader calls on Palestinians to pursue intifada against Israel | Reuters

Iran’s Supreme Leader called on Palestinians on Tuesday to pursue an uprising against Israel, suggesting the Israeli government was a “cancerous tumor” that should be confronted until Palestinians were completely liberated.

“… by Allah’s permission, we will see that this intifada will begin a very important chapter in the history of fighting and that it will inflict another defeat on that usurping regime,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, according to his website.

“The Palestinian intifada continues to gallop forward in a thunderous manner so that it can achieve its other goals until the complete liberation of Palestine,” he said, according to the transcript of the speech posted on his website.

Iran Supreme Leader calls on Palestinians to pursue intifada against Israel | Reuters

Hezbollah warns ‘no red lines’ in next war with Israel | The Times of Israel

Hezbollah will not keep to any “red lines” in a future war with Israel, Nasrallah cautioned.

“In the face of Israel’s threats to destroy Lebanon’s infrastructure, we will not abide by red lines, especially regarding Haifa’s ammonia and the nuclear reactor in Dimona. Hezbollah possesses the full courage for this,” he said, according to an English translation of his comments reported by the Naharnet website.

He also warned Israel to “count to a million” before going to war in Lebanon.

Hezbollah warns ‘no red lines’ in next war with Israel | The Times of Israel