Category Archives: Fav-US

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.

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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

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

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

Chinese Media Has Told Rex Tillerson to ‘Prepare for a Military Clash’ | TIME

The U.S. Secretary of State nominee has provoked fury with his hawkish remarks on the South China Sea

China’s state media has responded forcefully to suggestions by U.S. Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson that China should be barred from the artificial islands it has built in the South China Sea, warning that any such attempt would force a “devastating confrontation” and both sides should “prepare for a military clash.”

Chinese Media Has Told Rex Tillerson to ‘Prepare for a Military Clash’ | TIME

Putin’s Real Long Game

“The world order we know is already over, and Russia is moving fast to grab the advantage. Can Trump figure out the new war in time to win it?”

What both administrations fail to realize is that the West is already at war, whether it wants to be or not. It may not be a war we recognize, but it is a war. This war seeks, at home and abroad, to erode our values, our democracy, and our institutional strength; to dilute our ability to sort fact from fiction, or moral right from wrong; and to convince us to make decisions against our own best interests.

First, it is a war. A thing to be won, decisively — not a thing to be negotiated or bargained. It’s all one war: Ukraine, Turkey, Syria, the Baltics, Georgia. It’s what Vladislav Surkov, Putin’s ‘grey cardinal’ and lead propagandist, dubbed ”non-linear war” in his science fiction story “Without Sky,” in 2014.

Putin’s Real Long Game – POLITICO Magazine

“America First” and Global Conflict Next by Nouriel Roubini – Project Syndicate

“When the US pursued similar policies in the 1920s and 1930s, it helped sow the seeds of World War II.”

Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States does not just represent a mounting populist backlash against globalization. It may also portend the end of Pax Americana – the international order of free exchange and shared security that the US and its allies built after World War II.

Trump, however, may pursue populist, anti-globalization, and protectionist policies that hinder trade and restrict the movement of labor and capital. And he has cast doubt on existing US security guarantees by suggesting that he will force America’s allies to pay for more of their own defense. If Trump is serious about putting “America first,” his administration will shift US geopolitical strategy toward isolationism and unilateralism, pursuing only the national interests of the homeland.

When the US pursued similar policies in the 1920s and 1930s, it helped sow the seeds of World War II. Protectionism – starting with the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, which affected thousands of imported goods – triggered retaliatory trade and currency wars that worsened the Great Depression. More important, American isolationism – based on a false belief that the US was safely protected by two oceans – allowed Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan to wage aggressive war and threaten the entire world. With the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the US was finally forced to take its head out of the sand.
Today, too, a US turn to isolationism and the pursuit of strictly US national interests may eventually lead to a global conflict. Even without the prospect of American disengagement from Europe, the European Union and the eurozone already appear to be disintegrating, particularly in the wake of the United Kingdom’s June Brexit vote and Italy’s failed referendum on constitutional reforms in December. Moreover, in 2017, extreme anti-Europe left- or right-wing populist parties could come to power in France and Italy, and possibly in other parts of Europe.

“America First” and Global Conflict Next by Nouriel Roubini – Project Syndicate

In collapse of US-Russian military ties, some see nuke risk – The Washington Post

It’s not quite Cold War II, but the collapse of U.S. military relations with Russia could prove to be one of the most consequential aspects of President Barack Obama’s national security legacy while presenting an early test of Donald Trump’s hope for friendly ties to Moscow.

Beyond the prospect of the two militaries accidentally brushing against each other in Europe or the Middle East, there is concern that a near-complete absence of military-to-military communication could enable a miscalculation or escalation leading to a nuclear confrontation. The United States and Russia possess 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons. Some are continuously on high alert.

In collapse of US-Russian military ties, some see nuke risk – The Washington Post

Well, the tipping point has been around for several years but most people never noticed it. Now they are. That’s probably a sign that we are getting a lot closer.

There is the prospect of war with China too. That’s another tipping point.

Tipping Point: Kaliningrad and the Escalatory Spiral in the Baltics – Carnegie Europe

“Today, the risk is real and growing that a miscalculation on either side may trigger a crisis or spin out of control into a military conflict between NATO and Russia.” That is the definition of a tipping point – where something small can trigger something big.

An arms race is on the way in the Baltics, one that is centered on Kaliningrad and plays out against the backdrop of a potentially devastating nuclear escalation. The Russians continue to up the ante by putting additional hardware into Kaliningrad and conducting more exercises. Such moves send a political message and test NATO’s response time. Meanwhile, NATO allies along the flank are frantically looking for ways to increase deterrence. To counter the increased Russian militarization of Kaliningrad, the Baltic states have accelerated their military modernization programs, including by acquiring antitank missiles. Reflecting a deepening concern about Russian deployments in Kaliningrad and along NATO’s Eastern flank, the U.S. government has agreed to consider supplying Poland with the JASSM-ER missile, a standoff weapon that can be launched from the F-16 fighter aircraft and has a range of up to 1,000 kilometers (621 miles).

Kaliningrad and the Escalatory Spiral in the Baltics – Carnegie Europe

Russia is escalating right into the tipping point and making it even more sensitive.