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China Warns of ‘Inevitable’ War with US Over South China Sea – Defense One

“Increasingly scholars and analysts say that war may not be “as improbable as many experts suggest” because of growing dominance of hardliners in the Chinese government, increased rivalry, or general lack of trust between the countries.”

After Chinese state media warned that war with the United States may be “inevitable,” Beijing has published a policy paper detailing how the military will shift its focus from land and coastlines to the open seas. China’s State Council released a white paper today that criticizes “external countries…busy meddling in South China Sea affairs” and sets out an “active defense” military strategy for the country.

Lily Kuo is a reporter at Quartz covering emerging markets. She previously reported general news for Reuters. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong and the China Post in Taiwan. She holds a dual master’s degree in international … Full Bio

The paper comes a day after an editorial (link in Chinese) in the state-run Chinese tabloid Global Times said conflict between China and the US will be unavoidable if the Washington doesn’t lay off Beijing for building islands and military facilities in disputed parts of the South China Sea.

“We do not want a military conflict with the United States, but if it were to come we have to accept it,” the paper said. (Editorials in state-run papers are not official representations of Beijing’s position, but often reflect government sentiment.)

China Warns of ‘Inevitable’ War with US Over South China Sea – Defense One

Putin Isn’t Reviving the USSR, He’s Creating a Fascist State – Yahoo Finance

“Regardless of how the system is eventually labeled, the newly aggressive power on Europe’s Eastern doorstep is exhibiting many of the traits of past regimes that have caused untold human suffering. Today, the world should be paying close attention.”

No, the new Russia looks more like a copy of a totalitarian state from Europe’s dark past, dressed in 21st century clothing.

American scholar Robert Paxton has identified other elements of Fascism, including an obsession with reversing national decline, usually blamed on betrayal, through restriction of civil liberties, purification of the people, military strength, and national expansion. Violence, Paxton notes, is not seen as inherently bad in a Fascist system, and its use to eliminate challenges to the state is glorified.

Given the massive changes imposed on Russian society in the past several years, it’s easy to argue that, under Putin, the country is turning into at least a quasi-Fascist state.

The rebirth myth is a near-constant theme for Putin, who has for years now been feeding the Russian people a steady narrative about the global conspiracy to weaken Russia, and the need to rise to greatness again.

The erosion of civil liberties and the rise of ultra-nationalism are, likewise, obvious features of Russia in 2015. …

As for increased militarism and expansionist tendencies, the Russian government has greatly accelerated its spending on the military, even as its economy slides into recession. …

Another characteristic typical of Fascist states is the conflict of interest between the business community and the ruling political party. Enterprise and private profit are typically encouraged within the context of service to the state. It has been well established that many of the country’s top business leaders have close ties to Putin, and earlier this year, the Kremlin announced that members of Putin’s cabinet would begin to serve on the boards of directors of ostensibly private companies.

Finally, there is Putin himself.

Historically, Fascist governments have relied on strong, charismatic individual leaders in the mold of Hitler or Mussolini, while at the same time encouraging a sort of masculine ideal for the population at large – Hitler’s idealized Aryan, or Mussolini’s “new Man.” In today’s Russia, Putin seems to play both roles.

In the end, whether Russia in 2015 really has transformed into a Fascist state, or is breaking new ground in the area of oppressive totalitarianism is a question for academics. Regardless of how the system is eventually labeled, the newly aggressive power on Europe’s Eastern doorstep is exhibiting many of the traits of past regimes that have caused untold human suffering. Today, the world should be paying close attention.

Putin Isn’t Reviving the USSR, He’s Creating a Fascist State – Yahoo Finance

China warns U.S. surveillance plane – CNNPolitics.com

“He added that China’s aggressive growth hints at a broader trend as the Asian economic superpower continues to expand its influence and strength – one that Morell said could “absolutely” lead to war between the U.S. and China.”

China’s alarming creation of entirely new territory in the South China Sea is one part of a broader military push that some fear is intended to challenge U.S. dominance in the region. Beijing is sailing its first aircraft carrier; equipping its nuclear missiles with multiple warheads; developing missiles to destroy us warships; and, now, building military bases far from its shores.

That’s exactly what Morell warned may be coming if China continues down its current path. He warned on CNN that “there’s a real risk, when you have this kind of confrontation, for something bad happening.”

He added that China’s aggressive growth hints at a broader trend as the Asian economic superpower continues to expand its influence and strength — one that Morell [Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell] said could “absolutely” lead to war between the U.S. and China.

Exclusive: China warns U.S. surveillance plane – CNNPolitics.com

Violent warfare is on the wane, right? — Bull Market — Medium

Many optimists think so. But a close look at the statistics suggests that the idea just doesn’t add up

A spate of recent and not so recent books have suggested that “everything is getting better,” that the world is getting more peaceful, more civilized, and less violent. Some of these claims stand up. In his book The Better Angels of Our Nature, psychologist Steven Pinker made the case that everything from slavery and torture to violent personal crime and cruelty to animals has decreased in modern times. He presented masses of evidence. Such trends, it would certainly seem, are highly unlikely to be reversed.

Pinker also suggested?—?as have others, including historian Niall Ferguson?—?that something big has changed about violent warfare since 1945 as well. Here too, the world seems to have become much more peaceful, as if war is becoming a thing of the past. As he wrote,

… wars between great powers and developed nations have fallen to historically unprecedented levels. This empirical fact has been repeatedly noted with astonishment by many military historians and international relations scholars…

Nassim Taleb criticized Pinker’s arguments a few years ago, arguing that Pinker didn’t take proper account of the statistical nature of war as a historical phenomenon, specifically as a time series of events characterized by fat tails. Such processes naturally have long periods of quiescence, which get ripped apart by tumultuous upheavals, and they lure the mind into mistaken interpretations. Pinker responded, clarifying his view, and the quotes above come from that response . Pinker acknowledged the logical possibility of Taleb’s view, but suggested that Taleb had “no evidence that is true, or even plausible.”

That has now changed. Just today, Taleb, writing with another mathematician, Pasquale Cirillo, has released a detailed analysis of the statistics of violent warfare going back some 2000 years, with an emphasis on the properties of the tails of the distribution?—?the likelihood of the most extreme events. …

Violent warfare is on the wane, right? — Bull Market — Medium

Wars follow a feedback-loop process. That means there will always be wars. The time between major wars is increased due to the presence of nuclear weapons. That’s bad news because when a major war happens it is going to be really bad.

A feedback-loop process is a lot like snow falling on a mountain. Eventually there will be an avalanche. And that avalanche is not optional. Also, more time equals more snow which equals bigger avalanches.

Could U.S. Brinksmanship in the South China Sea Mean War with Beijing? | National Review Online

The security world is buzzing over a Wall Street Journal article yesterday that the Obama administration is considering sending U.S. naval vessels and military planes into the 12-mile territorial limit of China’s newly reclaimed islands in the South China Sea.

If adopted, the U.S. moves could lead to the most direct response yet to China’s policies in Asia — but they could also spark an armed encounter between U.S. and Chinese forces pretty soon.

Now, however, both players are committed: the U.S. to showing that its words are backed up with actions, and the Chinese to showing that it is not a paper tiger that cannot defend the territory it is claiming. It is up to the Obama administration to make the first move, but if it does so, then the risks of an armed encounter with China rise significantly over the next few months. If it does not, then Asian nations will find themselves with an emboldened China pushing ever more expansionist claims. With an already boiling Middle East and Eastern Europe, East Asia may now get added to the list of crisis hotspots.
 

How America and Russia Could Start a Nuclear War | The National Interest

Part of the problem is that Russia now openly considers the use of nuclear weapons in any scenario in which they begin to lose to a superior force.In an ironic reversal of the situation during the Cold War, NATO is now the dominant conventional coalition in Europe, while Russia is a weak state with a large but less powerful army. The Russian Federation has no significant ability to project power far from its borders, and likely cannot sustain a major conventional engagement with a capable opponent for any prolonged period.

As a result of this imbalance, the Kremlin has embraced a doctrine of “de-escalation” in which Russia would threaten to use nuclear weapons during a conflict in order to deter an opponent from pursuing further military gains. (While China maintains a public pledge never to be the first to use nuclear arms, Beijing likely has a similar plan should war with the Americans go badly.)

How might this doctrine come into play during a crisis? There is far less at stake between Russia and the West now, and the Russians are not commanding a global empire dedicated to a revolutionary ideology. That does not mean, however, that Russian leaders, including President Vladimir Putin, accept the outcome of the Cold War.

How America and Russia Could Start a Nuclear War | The National Interest

Is Vladimir Putin a Fascist? | Newsweek

A growing number of Russian analysts, in Russia and abroad, have taken to calling Vladimir Putin’s regime “fascist.” And they don’t use the term casually or as a form of opprobrium. They mean that Putin’s Russia genuinely resembles Mussolini’s Italy or Hitler’s Germany.

One of the most recent examples was Mikhail Iampolski. According to the Russian-born NYU professor, “the appeal of quasi-fascist discourse was predictable” as the Russian economy tanked. Moscow rejects “[a]nything that could be seen as a sign of weakness or femininity,” including liberalism and homosexuality, and then projects these qualities onto the enemy. Consequently, “Ukrainians are systematically accused of fascism, while Russian fascism is displaced by a false idealization of one’s own image.”

In March, Moscow commentator Yevgeni Ikhlov charged Putin with introducing a “left fascism” that, while “anti-market and quasi-collectivist,” is “fascism because it is a form of a militant and most primitive Philistinism.”

But are the analysts right? The evidence is compelling.

Is Vladimir Putin a Fascist? | Newsweek

I think the terminology is not quite right. Fascism is an economic system with another name – state capitalism. Correct terminology would be that Russia is a modern day Nazi state. And that I believe is true. China is also a modern day Nazi state or mafia state.

Showdown: US Slams Russia over Nuclear War Threats | The National Interest Blog

Gottemoeller’s comments come on the heels of another report that former Russian military officials have told their American counterparts that Moscow would consider using nuclear weapons over disputes involving Ukraine and the Baltics.

Specifically, The London Times reported that during a “high-level meeting” between former U.S. and Russia security chiefs last month, the Russian side said that Putin would consider “a spectrum of responses from nuclear to non-military” if NATO continues to build-up its forces in the Baltic states. They also said there was three flashpoints that could lead to a possible nuclear showdown between the former Cold War adversaries: Crimea, Eastern Ukraine and the Baltic States. According to the report, the former security chiefs had been briefed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov before the meeting.

Showdown: US Slams Russia over Nuclear War Threats | The National Interest Blog

China and Russia vs. America: Great-Power Revisionism Is Back | The National Interest

Growing tensions between the West and Russia and between the United States and China go well beyond competing interests in a rustbelt in eastern Ukraine or over uninhabited rocks in the South China Sea. Fundamentally, they are about whether Russia and China will acquire sphere of influences in their neighborhood. Russia seeks special influence in the former Soviet Union and China is looking to make its nine-dash line in the South China Sea a reality.

Accommodation remains a bad idea, however, both for old and new reasons. The only case in which accommodation has ever truly “worked” was in the case of Britain’s appeasement of the United States in the late nineteenth century. But it worked for a very particular reason. British appeasement of the United States certainly did not satiate Americans. The United States pocketed the concessions and kicked Britain out of the western hemisphere. The story had a happy ending only because the United States acted in a way commensurate with Britain’s long-term interests. Specifically, the United States intervened on Britain’s behalf in two world wars. American hegemony worked out pretty well for Britain, if not for the British Empire.

China and Russia vs. America: Great-Power Revisionism Is Back | The National Interest

So Russia and China are in the process of acquiring spheres of influence. Accommodation is not likely to work. Sounds like we are headed for one of two things: Success (by Russia and China) or war. There are significant problems with Russia and China being successful: The Baltic nations (Nato members) and Japan.

Will Nato allow Russia to undermine and dominate the Baltic nations? That seems hard to believe.

Will Japan allow itself to be dominated by China? Again, that is hard to believe. Japan is not backing down over the Senkaku Islands and is gearing up for the prospect of confrontation.

If Russia and China have little chance of being fully successful, then the only remaining option (short of regime change in both countries) is war.

“These thinkers point out that most revisionist states are not the second coming of Nazi Germany, so a negotiated settlement stands a better prospect of success.”

It turns out that both Russia and China look a lot like modern Nazi states. Their economic systems are fascist – state capitalist. We are looking at the reincarnation of Stalin and Mao for current leaders. And we are seeing the rise of nationalism in both countries.

Interestingly, two recent articles on the prospect of war were published at The National Interest:

1. Russia and America: Stumbling to War | The National Interest – http://goo.gl/7OKNZ2
2. China and America: Sleepwalking to War? | The National Interest – http://goo.gl/dWNtza

Countdown to War: The Coming U.S.-Russia Conflict | The National Interest

“Putin and Obama think they’ve got this crisis contained. Two prominent experts say they may be wrong.”

The United States and Russia may be unwittingly stumbling down a path to deeper confrontation and even war, cautioned two prominent American national-security experts at a panel in Washington, D.C. Tuesday. Graham Allison, director of Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and Dimitri K. Simes, president of the Center for the National Interest and publisher of this magazine, suggested that while leaders in both countries may not intend to escalate their disagreements on matters like the Ukraine crisis, poorly structured decision processes, opposing goals and divergent narratives can still produce conflict. “Even as they state that they don’t want a confrontation—with full conviction,” said Simes, “they are seeking a victory without war…Both sides show little inclination to compromise on what they consider to be fundamental and what they believe they are entitled to.”

Worse, warned Allison, Russia may believe that the use of threats and military force will produce the best outcomes in a serious confrontation with the West. “Russia has escalation dominance,” said Allison, and “from a Russian point of view,” shaping the confrontation in such a way “sends a very powerful message, especially to the Europeans.” Allison and Simes suggested that a diplomatic resolution is still very possible—“we are not predicting World War Three,” in Simes’ words—but that “this is not [a] time in the U.S.-Russian relationship when you want to be too polite about stating what the danger is.”

… “President Obama and President Putin may genuinely believe that we are not on a dangerous track.” They may be wrong.

Countdown to War: The Coming U.S.-Russia Conflict | The National Interest