“The Kremlin is convinced the United States is laying the groundwork for regime change in Russia, a conviction further reinforced by the events in Ukraine,” the report says, referencing the claims by President Vladimir Putin’s government that the U.S. engineered the popular uprising that ousted Ukraine’s Russia-friendly president, Viktor Yanukovich, in 2014. Russia responded by annexing Ukraine’s Crimea region and supporting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.Sponsored Ads
“Moscow worries that U.S. attempts to dictate a set of acceptable international norms threatens the foundations of Kremlin power by giving license for foreign meddling in Russia’s internal affairs,” the report says. Titled “Russia Military Power,” it is the agency’s first such unclassified assessment in more than two decades.
Chaos is spreading – and that’s even before getting to America’s lack of competent leadership.
Right now, however, we’re at a moment when I think genuine concern is warranted. This is not to say that we’re on the brink of a major war, let alone a global clash of great powers. But flammable material is accumulating and it is hard to have high confidence in the political leadership in several key countries (including here in the United States). We would all do well to take stock of the global order: Is the world more secure than it was a year ago? Specifically, is the risk of war increasing or decreasing? Is the danger of a serious economic crisis higher or lower? Are the institutional arrangements and norms that help smooth and resolve conflicts of interest and enhance the prospects for international cooperation more or less robust than they were in June 2016?
Right now the articles points out that there are three major problems:
- North Korea
- Middle East
- “Last but not least, the institutional underpinnings of the present international system continue to fray.”
The risk of war continues to increase each year. The risk of an economic crisis continues to increase each year. The international system continues to crumble each year. So the overall direction of the world is in the direction of crisis.
“The risk of nuclear miscalculation is now higher than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis, due to increasingly lethal technology and the breakdown in almost all official mechanisms of bilateral communication since Russia’s annexation of Crimea. …”
This June, at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Vladimir Putin angrily denounced the “hysteria” in Washington and in the U.S. media. Again, bitter accusations and scorn abound. Both U.S. and Russian experts now agree that once again there is a heightened risk of unintended nuclear war—much higher than in the early 1980s—but this danger is not as widely perceived as it was back then. There is less awareness, less alarm. Few people know as much about nuclear policy as William J. Perry, a former secretary of defense. He has been on a crusade this year, warning, “We are starting a new Cold War. We seem to be sleepwalking into this new nuclear arms race. . . . We and the Russians and others don’t understand what we are doing.”
One of the reasons that the risk is higher is that the people are different today from those during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. The people today have not directly experienced the horror of a major war. They don’t fear war like the people in 1962.
Not for the first time there are dire warnings of a direct US-Russia confrontation in Syria that could escalate, in the worst case, into a third world war. What is going on has echoes of the proxy conflicts fought by the superpowers during the latter stages of the cold war, but with added elements of risk because the accepted rules and formal channels of communication to a large extent no longer exist.
The latest alarm sounded after US forces shot down a Syrian government warplane and Russia said it would in future treat any US plane flying west of the Euphrates as a potential target. Russia also announced that it was cutting the Russia-US hotline designed to prevent accidental clashes in the Syrian airspace. The US said it had acted in defence of opposition forces fighting Islamic State. Russia asked on what authority it was striking against the government of a foreign state
Take the events of the past 72 hours alone. Yesterday over the Baltic Sea, a Russian fighter jet flying too fast and erratically came very close to a US plane, perhaps to within 5 feet.
This past Sunday, the US shot down a Syrian warplane, the first time America had done that during Syria’s civil war. That angered the Russians — allies of the Syrian government — to the point that its Ministry of Defense threatened to target US or allied aircraft flying over Syria west of the Euphrates River. The US ignored Moscow’s harsh words and shot down a Syrian drone Tuesday, something certain not to go unnoticed in the Kremlin.
Taken together, the incidents highlight the deteriorating relationship between the United States and Russia, the world’s top two nuclear powers. And it’s not looking like they’re going to become friends anytime soon, especially in Syria.
Pushed by the horrific death of Otto Warmbier, Trump has begun America’s final campaign to disarm North Korea. Will it involve going after Chinese banks—or war with Kim?
The announcement, considered in the context of Trump’s other comments on the subject, appears ominous. Trump on April 11 said America would defang North Korea by itself if China did not do so. “North Korea is looking for trouble,” he tweeted then. “If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.”
On Tuesday, Trump in effect declared it was time for the U.S. to act on its own.
Is war really the next step? Perhaps so, if for no other reason than the Kim regime has looked unstable for some time. …
When you’re going to implement plan A then always look at the secondary effects – the reaction. It often seems that the secondary effects turn out to be bigger than the primary effect over a longer time period.
In the case of North Korea, if the US takes out its nuclear program then what will North Korea, China, Russia and/or Iran do? They’re all friends of North Korea, so they could all do something to the US.
The Chinese superpower has arrived. Could America’s failure to grasp this reality pull the United States and China into war? Here are two books that warn of that serious possibility. Howard W. French’s “Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China’s Push for Global Power” does so through a deep historical and cultural study of the meaning of China’s rise from the point of view of the Chinese themselves. Graham Allison’s “Destined for War: America, China, and Thucydides’s Trap” makes his arguments through historical case studies that illuminate the pressure toward military confrontation when a rising power challenges a dominant one. Both books urge us to be ready for a radically different world order, one in which China presides over Asia, even as Chinese politicians tell a public story about “peaceful rise.” The books argue persuasively that adjusting to this global power shift will require great skill on both sides if conflagration is to be avoided.
“In just a few years, if we don’t change the trajectory, we will lose our qualitative and our quantitative competitive advantage,” Marine Corps. Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on June 13.
“The consequences will be profound. It will affect our nuclear deterrence, our conventional deterrence and our ability to respond if deterrence fails.”
We don’t have to wait 5 years for trouble to arrive. It has already arrived:
Defense Secretary Mattis “shocked” by poor state of U.S. combat readiness – CBS News
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis declared Monday that he was “shocked” upon his return to the Pentagon by the poor state of the U.S. military’s readiness for combat.
He put most of the blame on Congress for its inability to approve budgets on time or repeal a law that strictly limits defense spending.
On the Brink of Disaster: Can Congress Save the U.S. Military? | The National Interest Blog
The 2016 Index of U.S. Military Strength looked at the size, capabilities and readiness of each part of the military and concluded that as a package the military is only “marginal” in its ability to protect America. The Army, which just became the smallest since before World War II, fell even lower to a “weak” rating due to the dramatic cuts in its size and readiness.
The trend is clear—the military is getting smaller and less ready.
Before settling in for pleasurable summer books, read Graham Allison’s Destined for War: Can American and China escape Thucydides’s Trap?
A warning label: It’s going to scare the hell out of you.
It starts with the Athenian historian’s chronicle of the conflict between Sparta and Athens in the fifth century BC as a way to tackle the larger question of whether war can be averted when an aggressive rising nation threatens a dominant power. Allison, a renowned Harvard University scholar and national security expert, studied 16 such cases over the past 500 years; in 12 there was war.
For three-quarters of a century, the US has been the dominant world power. China is now challenging that hegemony economically, politically and militarily. Both countries, with vastly different political systems, histories and values, believe in their own exceptionalism.
Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?
CHINA AND THE UNITED STATES ARE HEADING TOWARD A WAR NEITHER WANTS. The reason is Thucydides’s Trap, a deadly pattern of structural stress that results when a rising power challenges a ruling one. This phenomenon is as old as history itself. About the Peloponnesian War that devastated ancient Greece, the historian Thucydides explained: “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.” Over the past 500 years, these conditions have occurred sixteen times. War broke out in twelve of them. Today, as an unstoppable China approaches an immovable America and both Xi Jinping and Donald Trump promise to make their countries “great again,” the seventeenth case looks grim. Unless China is willing to scale back its ambitions or Washington can accept becoming number two in the Pacific, a trade conflict, cyberattack, or accident at sea could soon escalate into all-out war.
In Destined for War, the eminent Harvard scholar Graham Allison explains why Thucydides’s Trap is the best lens for understanding U.S.-China relations in the twenty-first century. Through uncanny historical parallels and war scenarios, he shows how close we are to the unthinkable. Yet, stressing that war is not inevitable, Allison also reveals how clashing powers have kept the peace in the past — and what painful steps the United States and China must take to avoid disaster today.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards say Saudi Arabia supported ISIS in the deadly twin attacks in Tehran on Wednesday, an accusation likely to infuriate the Saudi kingdom amid high tensions in the region.
At least 12 people were killed when six attackers mounted simultaneous gun and suicide bomb assaults on Iran’s Parliament building and the tomb of the republic’s revolutionary founder, in one of the most audacious assaults to hit Tehran in decades. The targets were highly symbolic.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps vowed revenge for the attack, and tied it to the visit of US President Donald Trump to Saudi Arabia in May.
Tehran Terrorist Attacks Risk Unleashing All-Out War Between Iran And Saudi Arabia | HuffPost
The twin assault, the worst terrorist attack Tehran has seen in more than a decade, also came at a time of heightened regional tension, with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir calling for Iran to be punished for what it deemed interference in regional affairs and various politicians weighing in on an escalating Qatar crisis. The shocking strike, coupled with the chaos, could mean an exacerbation of several bad situations if tensions aren’t quelled.