All posts by Matt

Domestic pressures on Hamas emanating from tax collection and electricity shortages raise war risks with Israel | Jane’s 360

Hamas will need to increase its own taxes to pay for maintaining power and social services within the Gaza Strip, raising the likelihood of large-scale protests

The PA is gambling on forcing the Hamas leadership to the negotiating table with Fatah or ruin, in light of a renewed US push for peace negotiations

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A prolonged period of economic pressure would raise the risk of violent escalation in Gaza and increase the risk of war with Israel, as Hamas would hope that conflict solidifies its grip on power

Domestic pressures on Hamas emanating from tax collection and electricity shortages raise war risks with Israel | Jane’s 360

China faces financial crisis within a decade Gavekal Dragonomics – ABC News

A global investment house has warned that China faces a financial crisis within the next decade as government and private debt rise to unsustainable levels.

“I think there is a risk, to almost near certainty, of a banking and financial crisis in China sometime in the next decade, but I think it’s very unlikely to arise for the next couple of years,” Mr Kaletsky said.

China faces financial crisis within a decade Gavekal Dragonomics – ABC News

Israeli Officers to Trump: You’re Doing ISIS Wrong – POLITICO Magazine

As far as these Israeli officers are concerned, the ideal strategy is to sit back and let both types of groups duke it out—and work to contain the conflict rather than trying to end it with military force. As the IDF intelligence officer put it, “the battle for deterrence is easier than the battle for influence.”

But does that mean the United States and its allies should simply allow ISIS to retain its so-called Caliphate in parts of eastern Syria and eastern Iraq?

“Why not?” the officer shot back. …

Israeli Officers to Trump: You’re Doing ISIS Wrong – POLITICO Magazine

Russia’s US Social Media Hacking: Inside the Information War | Time.com

For many Americans, Russian hacking remains a story about the 2016 election. But there is another story taking shape. Marrying a hundred years of expertise in influence operations to the new world of social media, Russia may finally have gained the ability it long sought but never fully achieved in the Cold War: to alter the course of events in the U.S. by manipulating public opinion. The vast openness and anonymity of social media has cleared a dangerous new route for antidemocratic forces. “Using these technologies, it is possible to undermine democratic government, and it’s becoming easier every day,” says Rand Waltzman of the Rand Corp., who ran a major Pentagon research program to understand the propaganda threats posed by social media technology.

Russia’s US Social Media Hacking: Inside the Information War | Time.com

ICRC: ‘Crisis is looming’ in Gaza amid ongoing fuel and power shortages

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) released a statement on Monday, warning of the “critical” situation in Gaza, caused by the severe power and fuel shortages that have thrown the besieged coastal enclave into political and economic crisis in recent months.

The ICRC said a “crisis is looming,” with the lack of power and fuel “endangering essential services including healthcare, wastewater treatment and water provision.”

“Currently, people in Gaza only have power for six hours a day, in most cases. All aspects of life in Gaza have been affected. As a result, a systemic collapse of an already battered infrastructure and economy is impending,” the statement said.

ICRC: ‘Crisis is looming’ in Gaza amid ongoing fuel and power shortages

How Kosovo Poisoned America’s Relationship with Russia | The National Interest

The Kosovo intervention set some terrible precedents. A supposedly defensive U.S.-led alliance attacked a country that had not attacked any NATO member, disregarded Moscow’s angry protests, and forcibly detached the province of a sovereign country, placing it under international control. That set of worrisome precedents was compounded by the actions that the United States and its allies took in early 2008. Kosovo wanted to declare its formal independence from Serbia, but it was clear that such a move would face a certain Russian (and probable Chinese) veto in the UN Security Council. Washington and an ad hoc coalition of European Union countries brazenly bypassed the council and approved Pristina’s independence declaration.

How Kosovo Poisoned America’s Relationship with Russia | The National Interest

Geography and the Coming US-China War at Sea | The Diplomat

Such actions, and the poorly played political geostrategic gamesmanship that lies behind them, will inevitably bring China into conflict with the United States and its allies. Fortunately for the United States the sites for these future conflicts are well understood and established, and U.S. long-term investments in long range stealth, directed energy, precision strike, and hypersonic weapons can target the maritime ground zero that these straits represent. China’s strategic miscalculation is that their economy needs access to use the straits, while the United States’ does not.

Strategy involves choices about the vision of war a nation chooses to pursue; one of annihilation, attrition, or exhaustion. Geography, however, remains an unmoving, constraining factor, as the Chinese are re-learning. The United States should seek to develop the doctrines, organizations, and technologies to exploit these ironclad limitations to their aspirations in the most economical manner possible. Sensors, mines, missiles, and unmanned air, surface, and subsurface craft can force China back on the defensive, and shape their spending in the decades ahead while freeing our own resources to focus on other domains.

Geography and the Coming US-China War at Sea | The Diplomat

Kremlin finds itself caught in loop of unending Trump scandals

A divided and unpredictable United States poses a distinct challenge and even a danger to all global players—not only Putin. Clearly, any attempts to build a stable working relationship between the Kremlin and the Trump White House will be an uphill job. Hopes to draw up a tacitly agreed-upon “Kissingerial” realpolitik division of spheres of domination in Eurasia seems a distant dream. Putin is understandably angry and must decide his next move: to either continue to wait for Trump to finally put his administration in order, or move ahead unilaterally to secure Russian interests as he understands them, disregarding the “schizophrenic America.”

Putin Defends Trump and Ridicules His Enemies – Jamestown

The American schizophrenia is probably not going away anytime soon. This state of affairs in America suggests that Putin should “move ahead unilaterally to secure Russian interests.” But what exactly does that mean? Russian interests appear to be the old Soviet Union in the form of sphere of influence. The only real problem with that is the Baltic states are now members of Nato. 

A constantly schizophrenic America suggests that relations with Russia are probably going to get worse.

 

Inside the U.S. government’s plans to survive a nuclear war – The Washington Post

Raven Rock

This compound, carved out of a mountain near the Pennsylvania-Maryland border, contains several freestanding, multistory buildings (on giant, shock-absorbing springs) for a total of 900,000 square feet of office space. It has its own subterranean water supply, too. Raven Rock is where top government and military officials would hide out in the event of a major attack on Washington, D.C.; it was reportedly one of the “undisclosed locations” former Vice President Dick Cheney worked from in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Inside the U.S. government’s plans to survive a nuclear war – The Washington Post

Thinking the Unthinkable: Are American Organizations in China Ready for a Serious Crisis? – Jamestown

American people and assets in the China may be more in at risk this year than at any time since 1989 (China Brief, May 11, 2016). Official and popular suspicion of foreigners is also reflected in China’s continuing anti-spy campaign that urges citizens to report suspected espionage activity in exchange for large potential rewards (Beijing Ribao and BBC, April 10; Chinese State Security video via SCMP, April 12). Though these and other signs of a declining U.S.-China relationship are easy to observe in the headlines, some American organizations with exposure there remain less than prepared for a real crisis and may overestimate the ability of the U.S. Government to assist them in an emergency.

“Riding out” a political crisis or widespread civil disturbance is by far the easiest and least expensive business contingency plan, as long as the CCP and its subordinate government remain committed to protecting foreign businesses on their soil. But history shows circumstances under which this situation might quickly change.

Thinking the Unthinkable: Are American Organizations in China Ready for a Serious Crisis? – Jamestown