Category Archives: Favorites

China: The Window Is Closing [for Waging War]

“There is a two-year window until Obama leaves office. China is well aware that that window is closing and he will be replaced by someone likely to prove less feckless.”

As the denouement of the China economy approaches, the Politburo’s window for waging war is closing.  Their best chance is when they still have an air of inevitability.

And China continues to prepare for war.  They have done a good job of convincing their neighbors that one is coming. Over 60% of people in countries bordering the South China Sea fear Chinese aggression and expect war.  They continue to convince themselves that war is inevitable.  A Chinese Government film made in late 2013 made for consumption within the party and the military, Silent Contest, began with these words:

“The process of China’s achieving a national renaissance will definitely involve engagement and a fight against the U.S.’ hegemonic system.  This is the contest of the century, regardless of people’s wishes.”

The basis of the film is that the US used cultural engagement with the Soviet Union to destroy that country and is also using cultural engagement to contain and divide China.  The fact that China considers itself to be involved in a titanic “contest of the century” with the U.S. would be news to most Americans.  Now if the Chinese were actually planning on a war with the U.S., they would have a schedule and a list of things to do.  Things like demonising contact with foreigners, tightening control of public opinion and stockpiling of oil. Well, check, check and check.

China: The Window Is Closing

Russia accuses West of seeking regime change in Moscow – CNN.com

With tensions simmering over the deadly crisis in Ukraine, Russia has accused the West of seeking regime change in Moscow, prompting renewed comparisons with the Cold War era.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov of Russia made the comments at an event Saturday as he attacked Western sanctions on Russian interests.

“As for the concept behind the use of coercive measures, the West is making it clear it does not want to try to change the policy of the Russian Federation … they want to change the regime — practically no one denies this,” Lavrov said at a meeting of a foreign and domestic policy council in Moscow.

Russia accuses West of seeking regime change in Moscow – CNN.com

Russia was already on the path to regime change all by itself. Now the West is just helping it along a little faster. That the foreign minister is openly discussing this threat is serious. It means the regime is very worried (and it should be) about the possibility of revolution – just like in Ukraine. Only in Russia regime change for Putin will mean death.

What does the threat of regime change (and death) really mean?

It means now the regime can afford to be much more aggressive with its handling of foreign policy. If the regime is going to go under anyway, then for the leaders what do they have to lose? Now anything is possible. The impossible becomes the possible.

HAGEL: The World Is ‘Damn Dangerous’ And Our Army Is Not Ready

“We live in this imperfect, dynamic, changing, threatening, dangerous, interconnected world that we have never seen before, that we have never seen anything like this before,” Hagel said.

“The world is dangerous. It is damn dangerous,” Hagel said.

Earlier on, Hagel conceded to an array of US foreign policy failures read aloud by Rose from the op-ed pages of The New York Times, adding they came in response to an unprecedented and uniquely volatile global environment.

“We live in this imperfect, dynamic, changing, threatening, dangerous, interconnected world that we have never seen before, that we have never seen anything like this before,” Hagel said. “And so policies, yes, are predicated on historical knowledge and cultural awareness and all that goes into that. Have we made mistakes over a series of many years? Yeah, I think we have. I think anybody would agree to that. But that’s not the issue. That’s not the responsibility I have now or the president has or John Kerry. Our responsibilities now are to find ways that we can make it better, find strategies and policies that work within a world of uncontrollables.”

HAGEL: The World Is ‘Damn Dangerous’ And Our Army Is Not Ready – Business Insider

“We live in this imperfect, dynamic, changing, threatening, dangerous, interconnected world that we have never seen before, that we have never seen anything like this before,” Hagel said.

So we’ve never seen anything like the current world before, says Hagel.

I’ve talked about this in past but it’s been awhile. We are currently stuck in the middle of a phase change – like going from water to ice. In the current state things won’t work like they did in the past. Things are very sensitive. Things that worked in the past now don’t seem to work all that well. These are signs of an impending crisis which I talk about here and the Fourth Turning discusses as well. The Fourth Turning points out that the US reaches a big crisis every 80 to 100 years since the beginning of the last crisis period due to demographics. When the people who experienced the last crisis are almost all gone, then the US becomes susceptible all over again. The last crisis period ran from 1925 to 1945 and the new one goes from 2005 to 2025.

Does Russia Think Their New Nuclear Weapons Could Win World War III?

The recent START 3 treaty was overwhelmingly favorable to Russia, and they have taken advantage of it with gusto.

Russia has developed long-range cruise missiles of a new generation that will soon be deployed on submarines of the Black Sea Fleet and missile ships of the Caspian Flotilla.

The U.S. State Department admitted as much in a report published at the beginning of September, stating that Russia has passed us in nuclear weapons capability for the first time in 40 years.

In the end, however, our nuclear force crews, and the American public, see the threat of full-scale nuclear war as “simply nonexistent.”

Not so in Russia. They’re ready. And what would we do if they used these tactical nukes against one of its neighbors? Would we start World War III? Would our weapons actually work?

This same question never seems to go away.

Does Russia Think Their New Nuclear Weapons Could Win World War III?

Japan’s Military Is Revving Up To Meet China’s Growing Regional Ambitions [and War]

‘If ever there was a formula for world wars, it’s minor disputes between countries backed by big allies.’ If China and Japan go to war, then so do China and the US.

“All those hotspots, and what’s the common denominator? It’s China,” Gordon Arthur, a journalist focusing on Asian Pacific defense, told Business Insider. “I think they’ve been very assertive under president Xi Jinping, so I think it’s very possible that an accident or escalation could happen.”

That case is the main driver for Japan’s renewed defense priorities, and for its move to base its new amphibious capability — including a radar station — in southwestern Japan.

If ever there was a formula for world wars, it’s minor disputes between countries backed by big allies (“it’s likely that there will be a third world war to fight for sea rights,” reads one op-ed by a professor at a a Chinese military university). Even Shinzo Abe, a man in leadership rather than academia, this year compared the trade-heavy relationship between China and Japan to that of the UK and Germany before World War I.

Japan’s Military Is Revving Up To Meet China’s Growing Regional Ambitions – Business Insider

China, U.S. moving closer to viewing war as inevitable | The Japan Times

Thucydides described this “natural” process regarding Athens and Sparta as a combination of “rise” and fear — which inevitably leads to war. Today this is known as the “Thucydides trap.” The international relations question of our age is: Can China and the U.S. avoid it?

This may sound like Chicken Little warning that “the sky is falling.” But the situation really is quite bad and growing worse by the day. It is now clear that China expects to play a role at “the center of the world’s political system.” It wants to be a new rule maker and an old rule breaker if it is in its national interest to do so. It wants to be an “exceptional” country like the U.S.

China, U.S. moving closer to viewing war as inevitable | The Japan Times

China think tank accuses Japan of preparing for war | GlobalPost

Recent increases in the frequency of Japanese military exercises suggest that the country is preparing for war, a think tank with close ties to China’s military said in a report released Wednesday.

“Island landing” and other readiness drills conducted by Japan’s Self-Defense Forces “are not only provocative and confrontational, but also meant for war preparedness,” the China Strategic Culture Promotion Association said in its third annual report on Tokyo’s military capabilities.

China think tank accuses Japan of preparing for war | GlobalPost

Navy Intel Officer Was Right About China’s Prep for “Short, Sharp War” with Japan | RealClearDefense

China prefers “short, sharp wars.”

Whether one looks at China’s war with India (1962), the Soviet Union (1969) or with Vietnam (1979), it is clear that its strategic aims revolve around the desire to achieve rapid, limited results leaving them in an advantageous position, in addition to teaching the other side “lessons” about China’s will and power. Captain Fanell’s assessment of recent operations by the PLAN confirm that—lo and behold!—China is training to conduct war in a manner that China prefers. One wonders what third parties thought of the talk of “shock and awe” that preceded our campaign in Iraq in 2003. That the identified opponent of China’s future aggression was Japan should not be surprising, given the rising acrimony over disputed territory that is driven in no small measure by the very transparent intent Fanell identifies with Chinese leadership.

Navy Intel Officer Was Right About China’s Prep for “Short, Sharp War” with Japan | RealClearDefense

The nuclear gun is back on the table – FT.com

“Both in private and in public, Russia is making explicit references to its nuclear arsenal”

“Thirty years on and the nuclear peace is still holding. But I am becoming a little less secure in my belief that nukes will never be used.”

“My third reason for worry is more immediate: a significant increase in threatening nuclear talk from Russia.”

There are three reasons for my anxiety. First, the spread of nuclear weapons to unstable countries such as Pakistan and North Korea. Second, the growing body of evidence about how close the world has come, at various times, to nuclear conflict. My third reason for worry is more immediate: a significant increase in threatening nuclear talk from Russia.

Both in private and in public, the Russians are now making increasingly explicit references to their country’s nuclear arsenal. A couple of weeks ago, I witnessed a prominent Russian warn an audience, at a private seminar in Washington, that “President [Vladimir] Putin has put the nuclear gun on the table.” The Russian president has indeed told an audience at home that outsiders should not “mess with us”, because “Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers”.

Last week, Pravda – the Soviet mouthpiece during the cold war – ran an article headlined, “Russia Prepares Nuclear Surprise for Nato”. It crowed that Russia has parity with the US in strategic nuclear weapons and boasted: “As for tactical nuclear weapons, the superiority of modern-day Russia over Nato is even stronger. The Americans are well aware of this. They were convinced before that Russia would never rise again. Now it is too late.”

My only hesitation in writing about this is that I have little doubt that one aim of all this nuclear posturing from Moscow is precisely to get western commentators talking about a Russian nuclear threat. Russia is desperate to stop the west supplying military aid to Ukraine. So, they want to get across the message that any such escalation would provoke a ferocious reaction from Moscow and – who knows – perhaps even the use of nuclear weapons.

… Sadly, we may now be returning to an era in which the threat of nuclear warfare can no longer be treated as the stuff of science fiction.

The nuclear gun is back on the table – FT.com

We’ve gone almost 70 years since the introduction of nuclear weapons without a nuclear war. Why should we be worried now? Why is this time different?

You should be worried because the vast majority of people in the US, Russia and China who actually experienced the horrors of war are dead. The new generations that are alive now don’t fear nuclear war, and that is a game-changer. The US has gutted its nuclear arsenal and what remains is rotting – because of no fear. Russia and China have no fear of nuclear war and are actively getting ready for it. They sure as hell aren’t acting like the US. I think that’s a big problem.

Here Are 2 Ways Russia’s Provocative Stunts Could Lead To War

Left unchecked, this unprecedented level of intimidation could lead to war, according to Tom Nichols, a professor at the US Naval War College and a senior associate at the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs.

“Putin believes NATO is a weak alliance led by a weak America that will shatter at the first real military confrontation and he is trying to send that message with increasingly daring and increasingly stupid stunts,” Nichols told Business Insider by email. “My greatest fear is that he does not really understand how wrong he is about how the US or NATO really works, and that he is eventually going to run out of luck.”

Here Are 2 Ways Russia’s Provocative Stunts Could Lead To War – Business Insider

China and the United States Are Preparing for War

“Many people outside the Pentagon may be surprised by just how many senior American officials are worried about a war with China. These include no less than the last U.S. two secretaries of defense, and a former secretary of state.”

Despite the Obama-Xi handshake deal, the probability of confrontation will only heighten as long as the PLA remains a black box.

Should we really be worried about war between the United States and China? Yes. Over the last four decades of studying China, I have spoken with hundreds of members of China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), and read countless Chinese military journals and strategy articles. Chinese military and political leaders believe that their country is at the center of American war planning. In other words, Beijing believes that the United States is readying itself for the possibility of a conflict with China — and that it must prepare for that eventuality.

Tensions are high not just because of Beijing’s rapidly expanding military budget, or that the United States continues to commit an increasingly high percentage of its military assets to the Pacific as part of its “rebalance” strategy. Rather, the biggest problem is Chinese opacity. While it’s heartening to hear Xi agree to instruct the PLA to be more open with regards to the United States, its doubtful this will lead to any real changes.

China and the United States Are Preparing for War

The rhymes of history echo from World War I – LA Times

In other words, industrialized war, communism, the U.S. as the dominant world power and the modern Middle East had their origins in World War I. No event of the last 1,000 years has so decisively rearranged the architecture of global power.

The first is the fact of a declining imperial power being confronted by a rapidly growing upstart. …

Today, the dominant global power is the United States. It is being challenged, at least economically, by China. …

The second parallel is the forming of global states into blocs, or alliances. …

Today, world powers are again forming alliances. …

The final parallel is conflict in the Middle East. World War I was fundamentally about who would control the collapsing Ottoman Empire, with its oil riches in the Persian Gulf. …

The conflict in the Middle East today is about oil as well. …

The rhymes of history echo from World War I – LA Times

In other words, today looks an awful lot like the time right before the start of World War I.

If you aren’t worried then you haven’t been paying attention.

China’s Dangerous Game – Howard W. French – The Atlantic

Asked if it were possible for a Chinese leader to speak publicly of compromise with China’s neighbors, Wu Jianmin, a former Chinese diplomatic spokesman and a retired president of China Foreign Affairs University, told the Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese daily, “You would be a ‘traitor.’?”

Captain James Fanell, argued that Beijing was already preparing its forces “to be able to conduct a short, sharp war to destroy Japanese forces in the East China Sea, followed with what can only be expected, a seizure of the Senkakus or even the southern Ryukyus.”’

‘Arguably, it [China´s South China Sea claim] would achieve the greatest territorial expansion by any power since imperial Japan’s annexation of large swaths of Asia in the first half of the 20th century.’

If China can impose its will in the South China Sea, at least five rival claimants—all much smaller, weaker Asian states—will be limited to a narrow band of the sea along their coastlines. China would gain greater security for its crucial supply lines of oil and other commodities; exclusive access to rich fishing areas and potentially vast undersea oil deposits; a much larger buffer against what it regards as U.S. naval intrusions; and, not least, the prestige and standing it has long sought, becoming in effect the Pacific’s hegemon, and positioning itself to press its decades-old demand that Taiwan come under its control. Arguably, it would achieve the greatest territorial expansion by any power since imperial Japan’s annexation of large swaths of Asia in the first half of the 20th century.

Early this year, speaking at a conference in San Diego, the director of intelligence and information operations for the United States Pacific Fleet, Captain James Fanell, argued that Beijing was already preparing its forces “to be able to conduct a short, sharp war to destroy Japanese forces in the East China Sea, followed with what can only be expected, a seizure of the Senkakus or even the southern Ryukyus.” The Pentagon eventually distanced itself from Fanell’s comments, which some other regional experts have called alarmist. Whatever China’s true intentions, though, Fanell’s remarks conveyed a strong sense of American foreboding about the mounting tensions between Japan and China.

If hostilities broke out today, many analysts believe that Japan would prevail. In addition to their top-drawer American weapons systems, Japanese forces benefit from years of joint training alongside their American counterparts, and are probably more battle-ready than the navy of the People’s Liberation Army.

And yet, paradoxically, China’s new behavior appears to be a reflection not only of rising capability or self-confidence, but also of rising insecurity among the Communist Party leadership, whose legitimacy in the country’s post-ideological era has always rested on the narrow twin pillars of strong economic performance and nationalism. The explosion of social media in China has amplified the voice of populist hard-liners who constantly demand that their country stand tall and not shrink from using force. This seems to have instilled fear in the leadership of looking weak. Asked if it were possible for a Chinese leader to speak publicly of compromise with China’s neighbors, Wu Jianmin, a former Chinese diplomatic spokesman and a retired president of China Foreign Affairs University, told the Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese daily, “You would be a ‘traitor.’?”

China’s Dangerous Game – Howard W. French – The Atlantic

If China´s current direction puts it on a path toward war, and its leaders can’t back down, then the US should be preparing for nuclear war with China. That it isn’t preparing means that war is even more likely. At this time the only issue is timing. When might a war happen? In my opinion I think we are at risk right now. However, any war will most likely start due to some random event that is impossible to predict. The best I can say is to be prepared personally and keep watching closely.