The US will be courting danger in Syria but staying out is a greater risk, writes David Gardner
President Barack Obama’s decision to send unspecified “direct military support” to Syria’s rebels may have as its proximate cause the now firm US conviction that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons against them. But it will be seen across the Middle East as a choice by America to throw its weight behind a Sunni alliance against Iran-led Shia forces across the region – a conflict in which Syria is the frontline.
Tag Archives: Barack Obama
President Barack Obama has authorized sending weapons to Syrian rebels for the first time, US officials said, after the White House disclosed that the United States has conclusive evidence President Bashar Assad’s government used chemical weapons against opposition forces trying to overthrow him.
Obama has repeatedly said the use of chemical weapons would cross a “red line,” suggesting it would trigger greater US intervention in the two-year crisis that has killed 93,000 people.
Chinese President Xi Jinping told U.S. President Barack Obama during their recent talks in California that the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea are a “core interest” of China, a source close to U.S.-China ties said Tuesday.
Xi’s remarks during his first summit with Obama indicate that Beijing wants Washington to prod Tokyo to make concessions to ease tensions over the issue, political analysts said.
China has made clear in the past that it is willing to go to war over its core interests. Japan’s strategy seems to be less confrontational, but nevertheless it will not acquiesce to China’s demands. The situation is slowly ratcheting upward toward a forceful confrontation since neither will step backward.
Given that China’s economy is starting to lose steam, domestic instability could start increasing from its current level of instability. Chinese leaders have to be worried about this. Additionally, this domestic instability could push China to be more forceful over the Senkaku Islands reducing the time to direct conflict with Japan. A Chinese think tank thinks a military clash is a clear possibility.
Chinese think tank warns of military clashes with Japan – The Economic Times
It warned that a military clash with Japan could happen if the dispute escalates, saying the confrontation between the two countries over disputed Diaoyu Islands in East China Sea may extend from the sea to the air.
He warned that this is a dangerous game that could spiral out of control and finally hurt the US.
In my About page I heavily discuss the way things collapse. When a system reaches a point where a small event can have a large impact, then the system has reached a pre-collapse state or tipping point. Once it reaches this point then it’s probably too late. Either the system has to make fundamental changes or it will eventually collapse. The most likely outcome is collapse.
In the case of the Senkaku Islands conflict one can see that it is headed for collapse – war. The only real issue is timing, which brings us to Israel.
If the conflict in the Middle East between Israel and Syria escalates to the point where Israel uses nuclear weapons, then that crosses a red line. That represents a first use of nuclear weapons by the US. It doesn’t matter that the US didn’t actually use them. It is enough that Israel uses them. Now China (and Russia too) has an excuse for a preemptive nuclear strike on the US.
Everybody knows that China and Russia would never attack the US unprovoked because of retaliation. However, this is a ground-zero error. You do not know what Chinese and Russian leaders are thinking. You do not know if they are willing to sustain heavy losses in order to get rid of the US. And thanks to recent US nuclear reductions, an enemy (China and Russia) willing to accept heavy losses can defeat the US.
CHINA’S president, Xi Jinping, is unlikely to quote Thucydides when he meets his American counterpart, Barack Obama, at a summit in California on June 7th and 8th. But the spirit of the Greek historian will hover over the Sunnylands ranch. Chinese policy wonks are struck by his argument that it was the Spartans’ fear of the growing power of Athens that made war inevitable. Their insistence that China wants a “peaceful rise” is intended to calm such worries in America.
The ploy is not working. China’s relations with America have deteriorated in recent years, raising the spectre of conflict in East Asia. Buoyed up by its own economic success and Western stagnation, China has been asserting its claims in the region more aggressively, sending the neighbours scuttling back to the American security umbrella. Barack Obama’s response has been a “pivot” towards Asia. In the absence of trust, both sides will build up their military strength and responsible defensive behaviour could spiral into conflict.
America and China are currently on a path that will put them into direct conflict. And if there is a conflict then it will probably mean war.
America is now under credible threat of war with China and Russia. One can see the mechanism for war in both cases. For China it would be a conflict surrounding the Senkaku Islands (Japan) or Scarborough Shoal (Philippines). For Russia it would be surrounding the issue of the Syrian conflict and the involvement of Israel.
Someone steals your most sensitive secrets. Then, planning a face-to-face meeting, he says he wants to develop “a new type” of relationship with you. At what point, exactly, would you start thinking he was planning to drink your milkshake?
Ahead of the first summit meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping of China on June 7, the two nations are on the brink of geopolitical conflict. As its officials acknowledge, China is a classic rising power, poised to challenge U.S. dominance. In historical terms, the sole global superpower never gives up without a fight.
But the message should nevertheless be communicated clearly: The U.S. won’t tolerate being subject to cyber-attacks designed to change the military-strategic balance. A country that steals your trade secrets can become your economic enemy; one that steals your national-security secrets is signaling that it may become an actual security enemy.
In Russia, a decision to go public with Fogle could have been made only at the highest level of political authority. Apparently, Putin gave the go-ahead after his first meeting with Kerry last week in the Kremlin. He evidently decided the Barack Obama administration is an easy pushover, which needs Russian cooperation on Syria and other issues so badly, it will swallow with hardly a whimper the use of a US diplomat as PR fodder together with the deployment of S-300 missiles with Russian crews to Syria. In Moscow, Secretary Kerry, among other things, agreed to sponsor together with Russia an international conference on Syria that would bring together the Syrian rebels and President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. After a meeting in the Kremlin, Kerry told journalists: “A good new relationship with Russia is beginning” (Interfax, May 8). After the Fogle scandal erupted, Russian journalists triumphantly reported on State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell meekly insisting the affair would not spoil relations: “We have a very broad and deep relationship with the Russians across a whole host of issues and we will continue to work on our diplomacy with them directly” (RIA Novosti, May 14).
That, in turn, has prompted China to declare the islands a “core interest” in a bid to force Tokyo and Washington to back down, a move that’s unlikely to work.
“I think the potential calculated escalation is high,” said Wallace “Chip” Gregson, former assistant defense secretary for Asian and Pacific security affairs under President Barack Obama. “China seems to feel it is in their interests to keep tensions high, and Japan’s tough response meets with political approval across the country. The potential for miscalculation is always there with so many ships and airplanes confronting each other.
“I think China takes US obligations seriously, and they are working to drive a wedge between the US and Japan. I don’t think they expected a strong response from Japan, but now that national prestige is involved in each country, they are stuck,” Gregson said.
Start thinking the unthinkable. We as a nation have to start talking about the prospects for nuclear war.
President Barack Obama says Iran might have a bomb in a year. To hold back the day, the United States and Israel have conducted cyberwar, and Israel apparently has assassinated Iranian scientists. Even if Israel attacks to stop Iran’s bomb making now, however, the day will dawn.
What will we do if Israel threatens Tehran with nuclear obliteration? What if North Korea aims a warhead at Seoul? And what if the missiles start flying?
Two dozen North Korean nuclear weapons fired at Seoul and Toyko could kill more people than all the Allied bombings of Germany and Japan in World War II. A nuclear battle in the Middle East, one-sided or not, would be the most destabilizing military event since Pearl Harbor.
Few American military and political leaders have thought seriously about nuclear strategy since the end of the Cold War. No president has had a serious talk with the nation about the world’s nuclear arsenal since Ronald Reagan took a long hard look into the abyss 30 years ago.