Category Archives: Favorites

Is a new Middle East war on Israel’s horizon? – BBC News

Professor Asher Susser, a senior fellow at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University, summed it up in one sentence.

“The changes in Syria,” he told me, “have brought Iran closer to Israel’s borders than ever.”

He told me that at least in theory it creates “the possibility of Iranian-Hezbollah co-operation not only along the border between Israel and Lebanon but along the border between Israel and Syria as well”.

In his view there is “a dangerous potential for a long border from the Mediterranean, across Lebanon and Syria, with Hezbollah and Iran at very close quarters with Israel.

“Israel,” he stressed, “has never faced that kind of situation on its northern border before.”

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Is a new Middle East war on Israel’s horizon? – BBC News

Recently Iran threatened war with Israel over settlement activity:

Iranian Revolutionary Guards Spokesman: Settlements Will Spark War That Will Lead to Israel’s Destruction

Ongoing Israeli settlement construction will spark a war that will lead to the Jewish state’s “complete destruction,” an Iranian military official said on Thursday, the Tehran regime-aligned Tasnim news agency reported.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards Spokesman: Settlements Will Spark War That Will Lead to Israel’s Destruction | Jewish & Israel News Algemeiner.com

Backing Into World War III | Foreign Policy

“Accepting spheres of influence is a recipe for disaster.”

Americans tend to take the fundamental stability of the international order for granted, even while complaining about the burden the United States carries in preserving that stability. History shows that world orders do collapse, however, and when they do it is often unexpected, rapid, and violent. The late 18th century was the high point of the Enlightenment in Europe, before the continent fell suddenly into the abyss of the Napoleonic Wars. In the first decade of the 20th century, the world’s smartest minds predicted an end to great-power conflict as revolutions in communication and transportation knit economies and people closer together. The most devastating war in history came four years later. The apparent calm of the postwar 1920s became the crisis-ridden 1930s and then another world war. Where exactly we are in this classic scenario today, how close the trend lines are to that intersection point is, as always, impossible to know. Are we three years away from a global crisis, or 15? That we are somewhere on that path, however, is unmistakable.

The Dark Ages 2.0

… Now, the question is whether the United States is willing to continue upholding the order that it created and which depends entirely on American power or whether Americans are prepared to take the risk — if they even understand the risk — of letting the order collapse into chaos and conflict.

Backing Into World War III | Foreign Policy

I’ve been following this problem since 2003. From what I can see a global crisis is a lot closer to three years than 15. And it might even be less than three years.

Donald Trump and China on dangerous collision course, say experts | US news | The Guardian

“Report says ties between the two nuclear-armed countries could deteriorate into an economic or military confrontation”

The group’s report, which was handed to the White House on Sunday and will be published in Washington DC on Tuesday, says ties between the two nuclear-armed countries could rapidly deteriorate into an economic or even military confrontation if compromise on issues including trade, Taiwan and the South China Sea cannot be found.

It says China’s increasingly assertive actions in the region – which include placing sophisticated weapons systems on artificial islands – coupled with growing domestic nationalism risks setting the US and China on “a dangerous collision course”.

Donald Trump and China on dangerous collision course, say experts | US news | The Guardian

Gen. McChrystal is right — in fact, Russian leaders think they already are at war | Foreign Policy

General Stanley McChrystal perhaps shocked many when he spoke out on the chance of a war in Europe — aside from the continuing conflict in Ukraine. He stated that “A European war is not unthinkable. People who want to believe a war in Europe is not possible might be in for a surprise.” He is absolutely correct, and it is with Russia.

The common idea on how this will happen is that increased activity can lead to incidents and unintentional escalation. That is, however, only focusing on the direct issues. The underlying issue is that Russia believes itself to be in a war with the West, albeit, for now, a non-military one (coincidentally the topic of my PhD).

The economic sanctions imposed on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine are not perceived as a moderate response from the West to a breach of international law. Rather, as the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov stated, they are seen as an attempt to provoke regime change in Russia. Moreover, this perception has a longer story than economic sanctions.

Gen. McChrystal is right — in fact, Russian leaders think they already are at war | Foreign Policy

China ‘steps up preparedness for possible military conflict with US’ | South China Morning Post

China is stepping up preparedness for a possible military conflict with the US as the Donald Trump presidency has increased the risk of hostilities breaking out, state media and military observers said.

Beijing is bracing itself for a possible deterioration in Sino-US ties, with a particular emphasis on maritime security.

The People’s Liberation Army said in a commentary on its official website last Friday, the day of Trump’s inauguration, that the chances of war have become “more real” amid a more complex security situation in Asia Pacific.

China ‘steps up preparedness for possible military conflict with US’ | South China Morning Post

Israeli Defense Minister: Next War Will Be Fought ‘Until Enemy Raises White Flag’

Israel will fight its next war “with full force,” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Tuesday, adding that the Israeli army will not stop fighting the next conflict until its enemy surrenders completely.

“There is no confrontation with half of the power or a quarter of the power, only at full force,” Liberman said. “You don’t stop in the middle – this is the instruction at the moment for the IDF. The next confrontation will be with full force until the other side raises a white flag. It must be a war with the most forceful possible profile,” the defense minister said, according to Hebrew-language newspaper Maariv.

Israeli Defense Minister: Next War Will Be Fought ‘Until Enemy Raises White Flag’

War With China? Effects Of A U.S. Blockade In The South China Sea

Associating the Trump Team’s mooting of a blockade with war is therefore a self-defeating half-truth at best, and leaves China’s own culpability hidden. From a normative perspective, was it not an “act of war” when China constructed the islands in the Philippines’ EEZ in the first place? Was it not an “act of war” when China ignored the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague and refused to vacate its military from those islands that are within the Philippines’ EEZ? Is the conclusion of the quoted experts then that China’s acts of war should be answered with silence and continued back-sliding, including in the case of the U.S. defense treaty with the Philippines?

The Philippines has been thunderously silent on Tillerson’s comments, and Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay could even be read to support the idea of a blockade, but without putting the Philippines’ thin neck on the line. I don’t blame him.

War With China? Effects Of A U.S. Blockade In The South China Sea

China’s South China Sea grab was just asking for war from the beginning. There was always going to come a time when China would restrict movement in the South China Sea and lead us right back to where we are now. There is really no escaping the path to confrontation (and possibly war) with China. And forcing a confrontation sooner is always better than later when China has more nuclear weapons.

Is Trump ready for war in the South China Sea, or is his team just not being clear? – The Washington Post

“The U.S. is going to make sure that we protect our interests there,” Spicer said when asked if President Trump agreed with his nominee.

“It’s a question of if those islands are in fact in international waters and not part of China proper, then yeah, we’re going to make sure that we defend international territories from being taken over by one country.”

Experts had initially thought Tillerson might have misspoken, but Spicer’s remarks appeared to raise the likelihood that the administration was indeed considering blocking China’s access to its new islands in the Spratlys.

Is Trump ready for war in the South China Sea, or is his team just not being clear? – The Washington Post

Trump White House warns against Beijing ‘takeover’ of South China Sea | World news | The Guardian

The United States will take steps to foil Chinese efforts to “take over” the South China Sea, the White House has indicated, amid growing hints that Donald Trump’s administration intends to challenge Beijing over the strategic waterway.

Chinese media responded by warning that any attempt to prevent China accessing its interests in the region risked sparking a “large-scale war”.

At his first question and answer session with the press on Monday Spicer again hinted Trump’s administration would take a harder line on the South China Sea.

“I think the most dangerous scenario was the one we were heading towards: a lot of tough talk on the South China Sea, but China continuing to encroach and the United States not really putting a lot of muscle behind the statements it was making.”

Trump White House warns against Beijing ‘takeover’ of South China Sea | World news | The Guardian

Under President Trump, we’ll enter an age of global confrontation | Timothy Garton Ash | Opinion | The Guardian

A narcissistic bully will face nationalist leaders just as dangerous. Prepare for a direct clash with China

No, I’m not predicting the third world war. But a 21st-century variant of the Cuban missile crisis? Entirely possible. So let’s have no illusions. Up on the magic mountain in Davos, Trump’s smooth-talking mouthpiece Anthony Scaramucci tries to persuade us that everything is going to be fine. He says “the path to globalism for the world is through the American worker” (unpick that if you can), and that Trump’s “disruptive change” is going to be “a positive thing in [our] lives”.

Don’t be fooled; don’t be Scaramuccied. We are in for a dangerous, rough ride over the next few years, and we’d better be ready for it.

Under President Trump, we’ll enter an age of global confrontation | Timothy Garton Ash | Opinion | The Guardian