Category Archives: U.S.

The U.S. Military Is In Really Bad Shape | The National Interest Blog

These troubling findings by the services echo those laid out by The Heritage Foundation in its 2017 Index of U.S. Military Strength, which rated the Army as “Weak” and the other three branches as “Marginal” in terms of their ability to fight and win major conflicts.

What was noteworthy about the vice chiefs’ testimony beyond these startling numbers, however, was their brutal honesty.

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For eight years under the Obama administration, top defense officials were largely silenced and prevented from articulating their concerns about budget cuts and decreased readiness to policymakers with the ability to reverse undeniable decline.

The U.S. Military Is In Really Bad Shape | The National Interest Blog

U.S. Navy Planning More ‘Freedom of Navigation’ Operations in South China Sea – Breitbart

The plan would see U.S. warships conducting more “Freedom of Navigation Operations,” or FONOPs, within 12 nautical miles of the islands.

The U.S. Navy routinely conducts FONOPs in waters considered to be part of the international domain which would otherwise be claimed by some countries to be within their territorial waters, or a 12-nautical mile distance from their shores.

The plan has already been approved by U.S. Pacific Command, led by Adm. Harry Harris. If approved by Mattis, it will next go to the National Security Council, and then to the president, the official told Breitbart News.

The San Diego-based USS Carl Vinson strike group is in the Pacific Ocean on its way to the East Asian region. It left U.S. Naval Base Guam on Monday after a several-day visit.

U.S. Navy Planning More ‘Freedom of Navigation’ Operations in South China Sea – Breitbart

China warns U.S. against fresh naval patrols in South China Sea | Reuters

China’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday warned Washington against challenging its sovereignty, responding to reports the United States was planning fresh naval patrols in the disputed South China Sea.

On Sunday, the Navy Times reported that U.S. Navy and Pacific Command leaders were considering freedom of navigation patrols in the busy waterway by the San Diego-based Carl Vinson carrier strike group, citing unnamed defense officials.

China warns U.S. against fresh naval patrols in South China Sea | Reuters

Don’t Be Fooled: We Are Getting Tougher With China

However, in private multiple sources told the paper Mattis said the U.S pledged

to take an active role in protecting freedom of navigation, suggesting a more aggressive stance than the previous administration in an effort to restrain military buildup. Specifically, the U.S. is set to increase the frequency of patrols within 12 nautical miles of man-made islands China has constructed in the sea.

In other words, Trump’s “One China” comments might just be a carrot while the new administration promises the big stick of U.S. naval power in a way far more active than what President Barack Obama originally set forth.

Don’t Be Fooled: We Are Getting Tougher With China

Why Europe Is Warning of Pax Americana’s End – Bloomberg Quint

Last year, the global security establishment was mildly worried about a growing U.S. disengagement overseas. This year, the worry has given way to a realization that the “liberal world order” — another name for Pax Americana — may be finished, and that new security arrangements are needed.

That’s the conclusion that can be drawn from this year’s edition of the Munich Security Report, an agenda-setting document put out annually by the organizers of the Munich Security Conference, the world’s most prestigious geopolitical gathering. The conference will open on February 17, and dignitaries such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence are expected to attend. Perhaps for the first time since the Soviet Union’s demise, the participants will try to map out strategy in a world in which they cannot see more than one or two moves ahead.

Why Europe Is Warning of Pax Americana’s End – Bloomberg Quint

US, Chinese Aircraft in ‘Unsafe’ Encounter Over S. China Sea – The New York Times

A Chinese early warning aircraft and U.S. Navy patrol plane had an “unsafe” encounter over the South China Sea this week, the U.S. Pacific Command said Friday, in the first such incident known to have taken place under President Donald Trump’s administration.

The interaction between a Chinese KJ-200 and a U.S. Navy P-3C plane took place on Wednesday in international airspace, Pacific Command spokesman Robert Shuford said. He did not say what was unsafe about the encounter, although the term usually implies planes flying too close to one another.

US, Chinese Aircraft in ‘Unsafe’ Encounter Over S. China Sea – The New York Times

Something that ‘usually only happens in recessions’ is popping up in the US economy

The Federal Reserve’s latest quarterly survey of lending conditions showed a tightening of standards in some sectors that suggests banks are already retrenching, even as the central bank considers additional interest-rate increases.

Banks also reported weaker demand for most types of mortgage loans over the fourth quarter, the Fed said, perhaps reflecting higher borrowing costs in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential victory.

The most worrisome sign, however, was a pattern seen among large and medium companies.

Fed’s Senior Loan Officer Survey Q4 2016 recession warning – Business Insider

The risk of an escalating trade war between China and the US is rising fast.

US President Donald Trump’s trade advisor, Peter Navarro, proposed a blanket 45% tariff on all Chinese-made goods.

And Goldman Sachs analysts Andrew Tilton and Alec Phillips said they saw “little reason to believe” that Trump would back down on imposing restrictions on Chinese imports such as on steel and machinery.

“We believe the Trump administration is likely to make an announcement on China’s currency policy and impose unilateral tariffs on a number of products,” the analysts said in a note to clients. …

GOLDMAN SACHS: How Donald Trump will escalate a trade war with China – Business Insider

Challenging the U.S., Moscow Pushes Into Afghanistan – WSJ

Russia is making fresh inroads into Afghanistan that could complicate U.S. efforts to strengthen the fragile Kabul government, stamp out the resilient Taliban insurgency and end America’s longest war.

But the revelation coincides with other Russian moves in Afghanistan that appear aimed, as in the Middle East and Europe, at undermining U.S. influence and seeking regional parity with Washington.

Challenging the U.S., Moscow Pushes Into Afghanistan – WSJ