Category: Kings of the East

Trump Just Poked The Dragon In The Eye, And U.S.-China Relations Just Took An Ominous Turn For The Worse

June 6, 2019 by Michael Snyder

After what President Trump just did, the odds of the U.S. and China being able to reach a trade agreement this year officially just went from slim to none.  For China, there is no issue more sensitive than the status of Taiwan.  For the Chinese, it is unthinkable for anyone to even suggest that Taiwan is not a part of China, and the Chinese are prepared to defend their “one China” policy to the death if necessary.  On the other hand, most Americans are entirely clueless about Taiwan.  In fact, if you gave them a blank map of the world the vast majority of Americans wouldn’t even be able to find Taiwan thanks to our exceedingly poor system of public education.  So for most Americans, a news story about how President Trump plans to sell 2 billion dollars worth of arms to Taiwan is completely and utterly meaningless.  But for the Chinese, such news is a deep national insult

The United States is pursuing the sale of more than $2 billion worth of tanks and weapons to Taiwan, four people familiar with the negotiations said, in a move likely to anger China as a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies escalates.

An informal notification of the proposed sale has been sent to the U.S. Congress, the four sources said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the possible deal.

This arms sale barely made a blip in the U.S. news cycle, but over in China they are officially freaking out about this.  According to one report, this deal would send “over 100 tanks and almost 2,000 missiles” to Taiwan…

The US, which is the main weapons dealer to Taiwan, would send over 100 tanks and almost 2,000 missiles to the island. There was outrage in China, who said they were seriously concerned after Taiwan’s defence ministry confirmed the sale. The move is believed to further heighten tensions between Beijing and Washington.

It comes days after Chinese defence minister Wei Fenghe said: “If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military has no choice but to fight at all costs.”

You can do quite a bit of damage with 2,000 missiles.

Most Americans may not realize this, but the truth is that U.S.-China relations just took a really ominous turn for the worse.

And in addition to announcing this arms sale to Taiwan, President Trump also just threatened China with even more tariffs

DONALD Trump threatened to hit China with tariffs on “at least” another $300bn worth of goods today – as a Beijing propaganda campaign painted the US as evil bullies.

Tensions between the world’s two largest economies have soared sharply since talks aimed at ending a festering trade war broke down in early May.

But trust me, the announcement of the arms sale to Taiwan was far, far more insulting to China than the tariff threat was.

On the Chinese side, they have decided to hit the U.S. right in the farm belt by “putting purchases of U.S. soybeans on hold”

China is reportedly putting purchases of U.S. soybeans on hold amid the growing trade war with the U.S., according to a report from Bloomberg News. As the world’s largest soybean buyer, China’s move could ramp up the economic pressure on American farmers.

This has already been the worst year for U.S. farmers in decades, and this move by the Chinese is going to make things even worse.  For much more on this, please see an article that I posted earlier today entitled “U.S. Farms Are Facing Their Worst Crisis In A Generation – And Now Here Comes Another Monster Storm”.

Also, anti-American rhetoric in China has now reached a fever pitch.  According to CNN, the Chinese just issued an official alert warning Chinese travelers of “shooting, robbery and theft” in major U.S. cities…

On Tuesday, China’s Culture and Tourism Ministry warned its citizens of the risks of traveling to the US in an alert, citing frequent recent cases of “shooting, robbery and theft.”

On the same day, the country’s Foreign Ministry — along with China’s embassy and consulates in the US — issued a security alert for Chinese citizens, alleging “repeated harassment” of Chinese nationals in the US by local law enforcement officials.

Of course the Chinese are correct when they warn about the violence in our cities.  For example, more than 50 people were shot in the city of Chicago last weekend alone.

In addition to the travel warnings, Chinese state media is doing all that it can to put the U.S. in a bad light.  In fact, one major Chinese paper just called the United States the “enemy of the world”

The new travel advice did not come in isolation.

China’s ruling Communist Party has launched a trade war propaganda campaign, with recent efforts — delivered via state media — focusing on US “trade bullying” and “hegemony.” In one noteworthy article, published Tuesday in party mouthpiece the People’s Daily, the US was labeled the “enemy of the world.”

Does it sound to you like the Chinese are ready to surrender and head back to the negotiating table?

No, the truth is that they are just getting angrier with every week that goes by.  Most Americans don’t even know that we fought against the Chinese during the latter stages of the Korean War, but right now over in China those old battles against “the evil American invaders” are being publicly celebrated

President Xi Jinping’s state media has even begun to refer to a very bloody battle between America and Chinese forces during the Korean War.

The 1952 battle of Triangle Hill – or Shangganling in Chinese – has been glorified in China for decades as a turning point in the war.

School children are told how the sacrifice of Chinese soldiers eventually led to the “defeat of the evil American invaders”.

At this point, most Americans may be vaguely aware that some sort of a trade war is going on, but over in China they are taking this deadly seriously.  And without a doubt, the stage is being set for a full-fledged global showdown between the two superpowers.

This is not a game, and if things go badly we could potentially be facing apocalyptic consequences.

So hopefully Trump knows what he is doing, because right now things appear to be starting to spiral out of control very rapidly.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9878

China Rising in the Caribbean

by Gordon G. Chang
April 10, 2019 at 5:00 am

About 55 miles east of Palm Beach, Florida on Grand Bahama Island, a Hong Kong-based business is spending about $3 billion on a deep-water container facility, the Freeport Container Port.

  • The concern is that the port will become another debt-trap, like the port of Hambantota in Sri Lanka. There are concerns that Hambantota will eventually become a Chinese naval base. Will the Pentagon have to contend with Chinese warships at Freeport?
  • The Chinese military is already in the Caribbean, in Cuba, apparently to collect signals intelligence from the U.S. Washington splashes plenty of cash around the Middle East, for instance, but American policymakers need also to be concerned, urgently, about critical needy locations closer to home.

There’s a “Red Storm Rising” just miles from America’s shores. “In point of fact, the entire hemisphere is on fire,” said Lou Dobbs on his widely watched Fox Business Network show on April 4. “China and Russia are engaging us in almost every quarter in this hemisphere. Russia and China in Venezuela, but China throughout the hemisphere and throughout the Caribbean.”

Throughout the Caribbean, China’s influence is growing fast. Trade and investment have made Beijing a power. Chinese motives are not solely commercial, however, and do not appear benign.

We begin on the island of New Providence, in the Bahamas. The Export-Import Bank of China in 2011 extended a $2.45 billion construction loan for the Baha Mar resort, near the capital of Nassau. The project, troubled from the start, is the largest and most expensive in the Caribbean.

The project’s size is a curiosity, and China’s large commitment to the Caribbean is, from an economic viewpoint, intriguing. As Evan Ellis of the U.S. Army War College points out, China, on a per capita basis, has more equity invested in the Caribbean than in the rest of Latin America. This is noteworthy in that the Caribbean has, in comparison to the rest of that region, far fewer natural resources and only a tiny market for Chinese goods. As Ellis told Roll Call, “It really isn’t about the market or the materials if you look at the amount that they are investing.”

So, what is China’s motivation? Another large Bahamian investment provides a clue.

About 55 miles east of Palm Beach, on Grand Bahama Island, a Hong Kong-based business is spending about $3 billion on a deep-water container facility, the Freeport Container Port.

The commercial rationale is that Freeport will be able to take advantage of traffic from the recently expanded Panama Canal, but the concern is that the port will become another debt-trap, like Hambantota in Sri Lanka. China in December 2017 took control of the port Hambantota, by grabbing 70% of the equity and signing a 99-year lease after that project could not repay high-interest loans extended by China. China’s takeover was inevitable because Hambantota was misconceived from the get-go.

There are concerns that Hambantota will eventually become a Chinese naval base. China’s admirals have long eyed Sri Lanka for its strategic location. In both September and October 2014, the Sri Lankan government allowed a Chinese submarine to dock at the Chinese-funded Colombo International Container Terminal. Will the Pentagon have to contend with Chinese warships at Freeport?

The Chinese military is already in the Caribbean, in Cuba. According to an October 2018 staff report of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, China maintains physical presences at Soviet-era intelligence facilities at Lourdes, Bejucal, and Santiago de Cuba, apparently to collect signals intelligence from the U.S.

Of these locations, Bejucal, south of Havana, is of special concern. Satellite imagery shows a new radome protecting the radar there, and the installation could well be China’s. China, after all, has been at Bejucal for some time. Marco Rubio, the Republican senator from Florida, in 2016 referred publicly to “this Chinese listening station in Bejucal.”

Ellis, in a podcast with Bonnie Glaser of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, noted that Beijing views the Caribbean Sea in much the same way it perceives the South China Sea. This assessment goes a long way toward explaining China’s otherwise unusual focus on the 13 island states and 17 “dependent territories” — what once were known as “colonies” — in the region.

That focus also goes some way to understanding the tirade of Haigang Yin, China’s chargé d’affaires in the Bahamas, last month. Days before U.S. President Donald Trump’s March 22 meeting with five Caribbean leaders — including the Bahamas’ — at Mar-a-Lago, Yin accused the U.S. of attempting to “disintegrate solidarity and cooperation between China and other developing countries.”

Chinese arrogance has now become breathtaking. Despite Beijing’s efforts, Trump met with the Caribbean leaders. Yet Washington’s intensified engagement with the region is still inadequate to meet Chinese challenges. As Fox Business anchor Trish Regan said on her prime-time show on April 5, “Not since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 had we had such an enemy present in our own hemisphere.”

Up to now, America has mostly left the Caribbean alone. As is often said, the Caribbean is “too democratic and not poor enough” to get U.S. attention. It is, however, correctly called America’s “third border” and “soft underbelly.”

This underbelly is now being remade with Chinese cash. For instance, five countries there — Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, and the Dominican Republic — have joined Beijing’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, an infrastructure plan meant to tie global trade routes to China.

As Beijing pushes the initiative in the region, there are concerns that more countries will be “debt trapped,” like Sri Lanka. USAID Administrator Mark Green is right to label Beijing’s loans to Caribbean borrowers “predatory financing.” American warnings, however, do not mean much if the U.S. is not offering alternatives, as Margaret Myers of the Inter-American Dialogue told Roll Call.

After Trump’s Mar-a-Lago meeting with Caribbean leaders, the U.S. promised to send a delegation to the region. Moreover, the State Department has its own plan, labeled “Caribbean 2020.” Despite catchy names, American programs need cash to back them up.

Washington splashes plenty of cash around the Middle East, for instance, but American policymakers need also to be concerned, urgently, about critical, needy locations closer to home.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9733

U.S. sails massive, F-35-laden warship in disputed South China Sea

by Jesse Johnson

Apr 9, 2019

In the latest show of military muscle in the South China Sea, the U.S. has apparently sailed its USS Wasp amphibious assault ship near a strategic reef claimed by Beijing and Manila that lies just 230 km (140 miles) from the Philippine coast.

Filipino fishermen near the site known as the Scarborough Shoal initially spotted what appeared to be the massive U.S. vessel on Tuesday, according to ABS-CBN News. It said planes were seen landing and taking off from the ship, some 5 km (3 miles) away from the fishermen’s boat. A video clip shown by the news network appeared to corroborate their account.

Contacted by The Japan Times, a U.S. military spokeswoman would not confirm or deny the Wasp’s presence near the collection of outcroppings that barely jut out above water at high tide, citing “force protection and security.” However, the spokeswoman did confirm that the Wasp “has been training with Philippine Navy ships in Subic Bay and in international waters of the South China Sea … for several days.”

Scarborough Shoal, which is also claimed by Taiwan, is regarded as a potential powder keg in the strategic waterway. It was seized by Beijing in 2012 after an extended standoff with Manila. China later effectively blockaded the lagoon, which is rich in fish stocks, and routinely dispatches scores of fishing vessels and government-backed “maritime militia” ships to the area to continue its de facto blockade.

The Wasp was taking part in the annual Balikatan U.S.-Philippine military training exercise “that focuses on maritime security and amphibious capabilities, as well as multinational interoperability through military exchanges,” said U.S. Marine Corps Second Lt. Tori Sharpe, a spokeswoman for the exercises, adding that the exercises were “unrelated to current events.”

Still, beyond the location of the exercises, the Wasp’s presence alone in the South China Sea was likely to draw Beijing’s attention since this year’s Balikatan exercise was the first to incorporate the Wasp paired with the U.S. Marines Corps’ cutting-edge F-35B Lightning II stealth aircraft. The F-35B is the short takeoff and vertical landing variant of the aircraft.

“Together they represent an increase in military capability committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Sharpe said.

China covets Scarborough Shoal for its strategic significance, experts say, as it would be the crowning jewel in a bid to solidify Beijing’s iron grip over the South China Sea. They say building at Scarborough would create a large “strategic triangle” comprising Woody Island in the Paracel Islands to the northwest and its Spratly islet outposts to the south, giving Beijing the ability to police an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the South China Sea.

The impact of such a strategic triangle — which would bring the entire region under Chinese radar, missile and air coverage — would be tremendous for both the United States’ and Japan’s strategic planning, some experts say, and could be a game-changer in regional power relations.

But any decision by China to forcefully take over the collection of outcroppings for land-reclamation purposes would likely be met with resistance by the U.S., the Philippines and others.

In an effort to push back against China’s behavior near Scarborough, the U.S. Navy sent a guided-missile destroyer within 12 nautical miles (22 km) of the site in January last year as part of its larger “freedom of navigation operations” (FONOPs) program in the South China Sea and across the globe.

Washington has lambasted Beijing for its moves in the South China Sea, including the construction of man-made islands, some of which are home to military-grade airfields and advanced weaponry. The U.S. fears the outposts could be used to restrict free movement in the waterway — which includes vital sea lanes through which about $3 trillion in global trade passes each year — and regularly conducts FONOPs in the area.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9727

Huge Game Changer As China Doubles Down With Russia And Three Major Nuclear Powers Converge On Venezuela

By Stefan Stanford – All News Pipeline – Live Free Or Die


In this new story over at The Stranger that both the Drudge Report and Steve Quayle had linked to on Wednesday, they give us the latest update on the staggering situation in Venezuela, where the Chinese People’s Liberation Army has just sent a team from the world’s largest standing army into Venezuela with The Stranger story pointing out what this means: three major nuclear-weapon countries are converging on Venezuela.

While President Trump national security advisor John Bolton recently admonished Russia on their sending of troops to the country, claiming that ‘anything was on the table‘ in regards to a US response, China has doubled-down upon Russia’s moves in what this story over at News Click calls “a game changer. And while China’s troops are allegedly there to deliver humanitarian aid, we should remember that China and Russia recently held THE biggest wargames in history during ‘Vostok 18’ back in September, prompting complaints from NATO that the drills were “a rehearsal for a major conflict.

Might we soon witness World War 3 unfolding with Chinese and Russian troops now in Venezuela and Bolton and the US having threatened Russia to get their troops out already? From this story over at The Stranger titled “If You Are Not Paying Attention, the World-Ending Storm of a Third World War Is Gathering in Venezuela“:   

At first, the US’s aggressive position on Venezuela seemed uncomplicated. Troops were quickly on the mind of the top hawk in D.C.—White House National Security Adviser John Bolton, the man who, in the first years of the 2000s, played a key role in leading the US into an adventure—the second Iraq war—that proved to be disastrous, and placed American imperial power in a terminal crisis (the collapse of the Project for the New American Century).

The fickle public had forgotten about all that. Bolton, a member of the “old gang” (Cheney, Rummy, Wolfowitz), could resume the war drumming he loves so much. The press could be expected to amplify it. And old allies would fall into line. Venezuela has oil, a socialist government in turmoil, and pro-American opponents who are ready to exploit the oil and turmoil. What could go wrong with the regional exertion of basic imperial power?

Then the Russians arrived and began supporting the socialist leader that the US wants to oust, Nicolas Maduro. And now a team from the largest standing army in the world, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, have, according to Al-Masdar News, been deployed to a crisis that’s becoming more and more dangerous. What this means is that three major nuclear-weapon countries are converging on Venezuela.

china_arrives_in_VZ.png

If things weren’t complicated enough already in Venezuela where the people have been starving under Nicolas Maduro for several years now, the nation has also seen several electrical grid outages over the past few weeks and with the world’s biggest superpowers converging, as The Stranger story points out, these latest moves by China muddy the waters even more, and at a time when the US’s dominance in war is in great question should we go up against Russia and China. 

As globalist think tank RAND had warned back in March following their carrying out of a World War 3 simulation featuring a war between the US and Russia/China, the U.S. continues to lose against Russia and China two top war planners had warned. “In our games, when we fight Russia and China, blue gets its ass handed to it” RAND analyst David Ochmanek said. Once again, from The Stranger story.: 

There are more complications. Bolton’s policy positions are clear enough:

Since joining Trump’s White House, Bolton has pursued an agenda that includes trying to break Iran financially, oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, shield Americans from the reach of the International Criminal Court and toughen the U.S. posture toward Russia. He coordinated with key lawmakers, U.S. diplomatic and defense officials and the Israelis to compel Trump to slow an abrupt withdrawal of American forces from Syria.

But his position in the White House is not so clear. His expanding public profile, Bloomberg reports, seems to be getting at Trump’s goat (or, put another way, big ego). The growing split between Bolton the globalist hawk and Trump the anti-globalist is certainly on the radar of Russian and Chinese intelligence. This state of things is bound to throw US foreign objectives into a confusion that will debilitate the main peaceful way out of the crisis—diplomacy.

But what would trigger a third world war? Simply the escalating costs of maintaining the key capitalist directive, which is limitless growth, in the face of real limits posed by climate change. We can expect this situation to be exacerbated by the world-historical development at this conjecture, which is the transition of political/economic power from Washington, D.C./New York City to Beijing/Shanghai. What the history of capitalism makes very clear is that such transitions (the Dutch to the British, the British to the US) are not gradual and peaceful, but always accelerated by war.

As we’ve reported previously on ANP, while those who seek out war against Russia (Bolton?) seemingly do so because they believe that we will be able to win such a war, as Dr. Peter Vincent Pry had reported on ANP back on March 14th of 2018, we’ve entered a new era of warfare where ‘mutually assured destruction is no longer mutual‘ after Russia achieved ‘the holy grail of nuclear superiority over America, escalation dominance, largely thanks to Barack Obama’s NEW START treaty. 

While Bolton and others seeking out war for Venezuela’s recourses may have believed a short time ago that they’d be able to send US troops into the region and secure the nation, the arrival of first Russian troops there now followed by the arrival of China absolutely muddies the water and complicates any ‘invasion‘ strategy the US might have had with any such moves potentially pitting US troops against soldiers from the PLA or Russian special forces who are already there

And should we ignore the many warnings from experts such as Dr. Pry and get into a ‘skirmish‘ in Venezuela that triggers WW3, a war that we probably cannot win should it be against Russia and China, we’ll remind folks here like John Bolton of what we’d now be up against. 

Russia’s Satan 2 nuclear missiles, allegedly with the power to completely destroy an area the size of Texas or France, might be the least of our worries, Mr. Bolton, and according to experts, we can’t stop them. As we had reported on ANP back on March 31st:

Back on March 22nd of 2018, the website ‘Task and Purpose’ reported that while testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, US Air Force General John Hyten warned lawmakers “the U.S. isn’t completely prepared to stave off adversaries’ hypersonic missile technologies.”

Within that same story they reported that according to US Senator Jim Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, America was powerless against Russia’s new hypersonic weapons, a warning Inhofe repeated again back in November of 2018, that Russia was perhaps light years ahead of the US in their development of hypersonic nuclear weapons.

As Paul Craig Roberts warned back in October of 2016, just prior to the presidential election, “Five or six of these ‘Satans’ as they are known by the US military, and the East Coast of the United States disappears“, potentially leaving much of the Eastern half of the United States completely uninhabitable for hundreds if not thousands of years. 

VLADIMIR Putin’s nuclear stockpile could completely destroy the east coast of the US in one clean swipe should the Russian leader launch an attack on the West, an expert has warned.

A staggering 112.6million people could be at risk of extermination from the deadly missiles.

Russia has the largest haul of nuclear weapons of any country in the world and reportedly has the most powerful bomb named the SS-18 – menacingly nicknamed the Satan.

Experts estimate Russia has 55 of the deadly weapons, but only five would be needed to destroy the East Coast of the US. 

“Five or six of these ‘Satans’ as they are known by the US military, and the East Coast of the United States disappears.”

Dr Roberts said: “The atomic bombs that Washington dropped on these helpless civilian centres while the Japanese government was trying to surrender, were mere popguns compared to today’s thermo-nuclear weapons.

 

And as Dr. Pry had also reported on ANP back on June 20th of 2018, Russia now has a new ‘nuclear apocalypse machine‘ named ‘POSEIDON‘, an AI-powered nuclear submarine allegedly capable of unleashing a tsunami of up to 1,600 feet high which travels hundreds of miles inland, leaving everything in its path a flooded nuclear wasteland.

And should tensions in Venezuela escalate to the point that Russia/China decide that they have no choice but to retaliate against the US but decide NOT to drop a nuclear bomb upon US cities, instead choosing to do to us what some have accused the US of doing to Venezuela, taking down the electrical grid via EMP, it’s long been warned that such a scenario would eventually lead to the deaths of 90% of Americans or more through violence and starvation as ‘the system‘ collapses.

So we pray that cooler heads prevail in Venezuela and pray for the people of Venezuela who have for far too long been suffering.

In the first video below from Ruptly we see China’s PLA arriving in Venezuela while in the 2nd and final video below from videographer ‘Hedgehog‘ titled “World War 3: Something Prophetic Is Happening“, our videographer takes a look at a medley of different news stories surrounding Venezuela and the converging of nuclear powers there while warning of more ‘end times signs‘. 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9720

Airstrikes, Tanks Heading To The Border And Planes Shot Down – India And Pakistan Are In A State Of War

War has erupted in Asia.  India is the second largest country in the world by population, and Pakistan is the fifth largest, and they both possess large nuclear arsenals.  If this conflict continues to escalate, things could get really, really bad very quickly.  On Wednesday, military aircraft were shot down by both sides, there was shelling across the border by both armies, and in recent hours videos have been posted of Pakistani tanks and Indian tanks both heading to the border.  Once one army crosses the “Line of Control”, it is going to be very difficult to get the two sides to sit down at the negotiating table.  War is one of the elements of “the perfect storm” that I have been warning you about, and I have a feeling that this is just the beginning of the conflict that we are going to see in 2019.

The Pakistani military was greatly embarrassed by the successful Indian airstrikes on Monday, and on Tuesday military aircraft from both sides were shot down

Earlier today Pakistan and India said they had shot down each other’s warplanes, in a dramatic escalation of the dangerous confrontation between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Pakistan said it downed two Indian jets in its airspace and captured two pilots, later amended to one: whom they then seemingly paraded – blindfolded and bloodied – for the camera.

On Tuesday evening, Islamabad used heavy calibre artillery to shell 12 to 15 places along the Indian side creating panic among the populace on the border where bunkers are being hastily thrown up to ease their fears.

When the Indian pilot that was shot down was discovered by locals in Pakistan, they started beating the living daylights out of him.  The following comes from the Mirror

The brief clip shows the cameraman approach a group of people huddled around the stricken pilot in what appears to be a small creek.

The pilot, whose arms are being held above his head, is struck in the face twice before being kicked in the back of the head, with someone behind him appearing to attempt to knee him.

The Pakistani military was able to rescue the pilot from the locals, and they are now holding him in a detention facility.

In addition to airstrikes, it is being reported that both armies “have been shelling across the LoC (Line of Control)”.  Needless to say, a lot of civilians that live along the border are really freaked out, and on the Indian side of the border a total of 14,000 bunkers are hastily being constructed to give concerned citizens some shelter.

Most westerners don’t really think of India and Pakistan as prominent global military powers, but the truth is that they both have very large standing armies.  And at this point India is allocating even more money than the UK toward military spending…

India, home to 1.3 billion people, has a conventional army of about 1.4 million soldiers. Pakistan, with a population of over 200 million people, has about 650,000 troops. Both countries have spent billions developing conventional arms. Last year, Pakistan spent about $11 billion or about 3.6 percent of its gross domestic product on defense. India meanwhile allocated about $58 billion, or 2.1 percent of its GDP on defense, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies. India’s ballooning military spending has propelled it to the world’s fifth-biggest defense spender, surpassing the United Kingdom, according to the IISS.

But the big concern is that this crisis could go nuclear.

If India and Pakistan fought a war and it stayed strictly conventional, the rest of the world would probably not be affected too much.

However, it is being reported that India and Pakistan both “possess more than 100 nuclear warheads each”, and if such weapons are actually used the global impact would be “devastating”…

Both India and Pakistan are believed to possess more than 100 nuclear warheads each and have conducted atomic weapon tests. Both countries have test-fired nuclear-capable missiles. Pakistan also has refused to renounce a first-strike option with its atomic bombs should it feel outgunned in a conventional war. It takes less than four minutes for a missile fired from Pakistan to reach India. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists warns that “computer models have predicted that the physical impacts of a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan, or even a single strike on a large city, would be devastating and would reverberate throughout the world.”

Approximately one out of every five people on the entire planet lives in either India or Pakistan.

So the death toll in a nuclear conflict between these two nations could result in a death toll that would be unimaginable.

And let us not forget that it looks like the U.S. is about to enter another new war as well.  In an article that I posted yesterday, I discussed the fact that Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev has just accused the United States of shipping troops to Colombia and Puerto Rico in preparation for an invasion of Venezuela.  China has come out very strongly against western military intervention in Venezuela, and the Russians already have special forces there.

If someone makes the wrong move, it could end up sparking World War 3.

We are living in one of the most pivotal times in all of human history, and most people don’t even realize it.

If India backs down, Pakistan will probably be willing to go to the negotiating table.  But if India’s tanks cross the Line of Control, Pakistan may feel forced to resort to using nukes because they can’t match India’s military strength, and then all hell could break loose.

Similarly, if the U.S. backs down and doesn’t arm the opposition in Venezuela, there probably won’t be a bloody war in that nation.  But if the U.S. arms the opposition and decides to invade on top of that, it is going to unleash a series of negative consequences that we will not be able to control.

Critical decisions are being made right now that are going to greatly alter our future, and let us hope that cooler heads prevail.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9659

Pakistan says it shot down 2 Indian warplanes, shut down its airspace

By Edmund DeMarche | Fox News

Tensions between two of the world’s nuclear powers were raised dramatically Wednesday after Pakistan’s air force said it shot down two Indian warplanes that crossed the disputed Kashmir border and captured each of the aircraft’s pilots.

Police officials in Indian-occupied Kashmir told Reuters two Indian pilots and a civilian on the ground died when the planes crashed. The officials did not confirm the planes were shot down by Pakistani forces.

Raveesh Kumar, a spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, also claimed an Indian plane shot down a Pakistani fighter jet — although Pakistan denied any of its jets had been hit and photographic evidence had yet to emerge.

The Pakistani official said one of the Indian planes crashed in the Pakistani part of Kashmir and the other went down in Indian-controlled Kashmir. Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor told the Associated Press one of the pilots was injured and was being treated in a military hospital. He did not elaborate on the pilot’s injuries. Ghafoor said the other pilot was in custody.

News sites out of Pakistan posted unconfirmed pictures and videos of one of the pilots who appeared blindfolded and with a bloody nose. Pakistan’s information ministry also tweeted out apparent footage of one of the downed Indian jets as well as a message congratulating the Pakistan Air Force.

A senior Indian police officer said earlier that an Indian Air Force plane crashed in the Indian-controlled sector of Kashmir. No information about injuries or deaths was immediately available.

Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority said later it closed its airspace to all commercial flights as tensions with India escalated.

Tensions have been simmering between the two nuclear-powers after India launched an airstrike Tuesday following a suicide bombing that killed more than 40 soldiers in India’s section of the disputed territory of Kashmir earlier this month.

Indian air force spokesman Anupam Banerjee in New Delhi told the Associated Press he had no information on Wednesday’s incident.

Tensions have been simmering between the two nuclear-powers after India launched an airstrike Tuesday following a suicide bombing that killed more than 40 soldiers in India’s section of the disputed territory of Kashmir earlier this month. (AP)

In a televised address, Imran Khan, the Pakistani prime minister, warned against further escalation between the two countries.

“If we let it happen, it will remain neither in my nor [Indian prime minister] Narendra Modi’s control,” he said.

Referring to air strikes by Pakistan earlier Wednesday, he said Pakistan had been obliged to respond to Tuesday’s action by India.

“Our action is just to let them know that just like they intruded into our territory, we are also capable of going into their territory.”

Sushma Swaraj, the Indian foreign minister, said India “does not wish to see further escalation of the situation.”

Residents on both sides of the de-facto frontier, the so-called Line of Control, said there were exchanges of fire between the two sides through the night. In Pakistan’s part of Kashmir, hundreds of villagers have fled border towns.

The airport in Srinagar, the main city in Indian-controlled Kashmir, was closed in what was described as a “temporary and precautionary measure,” an Indian official told the Associated Press.

Asian News International reported that commercial flights between Indian and Pakistani airspace are affected. Its report said Pakistan immediately stopped domestic and international flight operations from Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Sialkot and Islamabad airports.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9649

Japanese Government Declares Push For Rapid Militarization In Preparation For Conflict With China

By Andrew Bieszad on January 17, 2019 in Featured, General

Japan has wanted to return to militarism for years, only being restrained by the post-World War II shackles imposed upon them by the US. Now that President Trump has been removing them more so than any president before, Japan is doing exactly what Ted and I warned she would, which is rapidly push for militarism. In a recent statement, Japan explicitly stated this, and while she would not say which nation she was preparing for conflict with, US sources confirm that it is without any surprise China:

Most Japanese military officials won’t name the potential adversary that has spurred rapid Japanese modernization across its ground, maritime and air Self Defense Forces, in a nod to sensitive diplomatic relations.

But it’s not Russia that has spurred Japan’s recent commitment to purchase up to 147 F-35s, or moved Japan to produce the country’s first aircraft carrier since World War II. It’s not North Korea that’s caused Japan to rapidly train, for the first time ever, an amphibious assault brigade to seize or retake the Senkaku Islands to its southwest if they have to.

It’s China. But among many U.S. and Japanese military officials in Japan, it’s “a competitor,” or “that country.”

“We have some weakness to defending Japan, especially on the southwest islands,” Maj. Gen. Shinichi Aoki, commander that Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade, said. “So that’s why our Self Defense Force is now trying to set up a strong posture toward that country.”

Japan’s new amphibious rapid deployment brigade has 2,100 troops now and is on track to have more than 3,000 trained by March, Aoki told Military Times during a December visit to Okinawa.

The surge comes amid an intensifying internal discussion in Japan on what types of capabilities are allowed under Japan’s constitution, which “renounce[s] war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.” By literal reading it seems to forbid Japan from maintaining forces at all, but in the 1950s Japan determined self-defense only was allowed.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the ruling LDP party have pushed for a rewrite of that Article 9 clause to wording that says the Self Defense Forces are constitutional. But Japan’s constitution has never been amended, and political analysts who spoke with Military Times and other visiting reporters in Japan through a trip sponsored by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA said it was unlikely Abe would risk the political capital on an Article 9 vote in the near future.

Instead, in some respects, Japan’s military is moving ahead — constitutional revision or not. From some military officials’ point of view, the changes are still about the defense of Japan and its interests in the Pacific, even if that means it is also about becoming a more expeditionary force that also looks out for its allies.

On board the Izumo, Japan’s three-year-old helicopter destroyer that will be converted to carry F-35Bs, Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces briefed reporters on their expanding role, which calls not just for a regional presence in the East and South China Seas, but also for a regular presence off the coast of Djibouti, where China established a military base in 2017.

“We will never accept a compromise with any attempt to prevent us from keeping the Indo-Pacific free and open,” said Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces deputy director of plans and programs, Capt. Toshiyuki Hirata, without naming China specifically.

Other Japanese officials are more direct.

“Actually this trigger … to be straight out [is] China. The expansion of China. I think it’s clear,” said Keitaro Ohno, parliamentary vice minister for defense for Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party. “There is no need for us to operate such kind of aircraft carrier if we don’t have to respond to China in the Pacific Ocean.”

Those Japanese officials emphasized that they do not seek conflict with China, and some pointed to a recent warming of diplomatic relations between the two countries after the U.S. launched a trade war with China. But Japan’s Self Defense Forces are still responding to a rising number of Chinese military aircraft incursions, regular and expanded reach of Chinese warships, including submarines, and other activities that are irritants, such as the regular presence of Chinese civilian fishing craft lingering by the Senkakus.

Japanese defense officials call them “little green fishermen.”

“It’s just … face to face that we are smiling, but under the table that we are some sort of, like, kicking each other,” Ohno said.

On Tuesday, the Defense Intelligence Agency released a new assessment of China’s military power and concluded that the sheer numbers of advanced ships, forces, aircraft, satellites and missiles China has fielded over the last 15 years has increased the risk it will engage in a regional conflict. However, it’s likelier that conflict would arise with Taiwan, not Japan.

“It’s obviously a different situation

[than Taiwan]

because Japan … has a significant capability to defend their territory,” a defense intelligence official said as he briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity.

“I think … neither side has an interest or an intention to escalate the conflict at this point, although there’s a lot of air and naval activity on a small confined space, so there’s always potential for something.”

In response to the increased activity by Chinese aircraft, Japan moved a second squadron to the military side of Naha Airport to be able to more rapidly sortie against aircraft incursions over Japan’s Air Defense Identification Zone. In 2016, Japanese fighters sortied 1,168 times — 70 percent of those were against Chinese jets. The numbers for 2017 and 2018 fell a bit, but were an “unbelievable climb” from just a few years before, said U.S. Forces Japan commander Air Force Lt. Gen. Jerry Martinez.

You can see the activity in person on Okinawa, where Japanese fighters take regular flight and have the primary responsibility for conducting intercepts in the South China Sea and East China Sea, said Air Force Brig. Gen. Case Cunningham, who commands the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base.

“Every time I fly out of Naha and see [Japan’s] 15s take off, it’s very likely they are headed out to an intercept of some type or other,” Cunningham said.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9575

US report says rapidly modernizing Chinese military has set sights on Taiwan

By Ryan Browne and Barbara Starr, CNN

Updated 12:48 AM ET, Wed January 16, 2019

(CNN)Over the last few years China has made a series of ambitious military reforms and acquired new technology as it aims to improve its ability to fight regional conflicts over places like Taiwan, according to a new report from the US Defense Intelligence Agency.

“Beijing’s longstanding interest to eventually compel Taiwan’s reunification with the mainland and deter any attempt by Taiwan to declare independence has served as the primary driver for China’s military modernization,” said the agency’s report, titled “China’s Military Power.”

The report, which was published Tuesday, added that “Beijing’s anticipation that foreign forces would intervene in a Taiwan scenario led the (People’s Liberation Army) to develop a range of systems to deter and deny foreign regional force projection.”

Earlier Tuesday in Beijing, China made plain to the US military that it is will countenance no interference on Taiwan, according to a report on the Chinese military’s English-language website.

“If someone tries to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military will do whatever it takes to safeguard national reunification, national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Gen. Li Zuocheng, a member of China’s Central Military Commission, told the US chief of naval operations, Adm. John Richardson, who is on a four-day visit to China.

The US DIA report estimates that Chinese spending on its armed forces “probably exceeded $200 billion” in 2018, “a threefold increase since 2002.”

In a written introduction accompanying the report, the Defense Intelligence Agency’s director, Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, wrote that China has used a variety of means to acquire advanced technology to bolster its military capabilities despite some countries attempting to limit its access to that technology over international concerns about Beijing’s human rights policies.

“China shifted funds and efforts to acquiring technology by any means available. Domestic laws forced foreign partners of Chinese-based joint ventures to release their technology in exchange for entry into China’s lucrative market, and China has used other means to secure needed technology and expertise,” Ashley said.

While the report acknowledges that China spends significantly less on defense than the some $700 billion invested by the US in 2018, it says Beijing enjoys an advantage due to the fact that “China has not had to invest in costly R&D of new technologies to the same degree as the United States.”

“Rather, China has routinely adopted the best and most effective platforms found in foreign militaries through direct purchase, retrofits, or theft of intellectual property. By doing so, China has been able to focus on expediting its military modernization at a small fraction of the original cost,” it said.

‘Most modern weapon systems in the world’

China is “on the verge of fielding some of the most modern weapon systems in the world. In some areas, it already leads the world,” Ashley wrote.

A senior defense official said the US was concerned that China’s increased capabilities may lead its military commanders to advise its political leaders that they were confident of military success with regard to a campaign against Taiwan.

“The biggest concern is that they are going to get to — they are getting to a point where the PLA leadership may actually tell Xi Jinping that they are confident in their capabilities,” the official said, referring to China’s leader.

The report notes that the vast majority of China’s missile arsenal is capable of hitting Taiwan while also pointing out that Beijing has developed new weapons systems like the H-6 bomber armed with CJ-20 cruise missiles, which it says is capable of striking areas farther afield, such as US military installations on Guam.

It says, “China has built or acquired a wide array of advanced platforms,” including submarines, major surface combat ships, missile patrol craft, maritime strike aircraft and land-based systems that employ new, sophisticated anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missiles.

“China also has developed the world’s first roadmobile, anti-ship ballistic missile, a system specifically designed to attack enemy aircraft carriers,” it says.

“China’s leaders hope that possessing these military capabilities will deter pro-independence moves by Taiwan or, should deterrence fail, will permit a range of tailored military options against Taiwan and potential third-party military intervention,” the report said.

Earlier this month Xi called on Taiwan to reject independence and embrace “peaceful reunification” with China in a conciliatory speech that nevertheless took a hard line on the self-governing island’s political sovereignty and freedoms.

And the Chinese leader added that “we make no promise to renounce the use of force. We reserve the option for all the necessary means.”

In response to Xi’s speech, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said the island will “never accept” a “one country, two systems” arrangement with China.

While the report says China has increased its military footprint in the South China Sea and has placed additional military facilities on man-made islands there, the Pentagon assesses that China is seeking to avoid a conflict.

“I think both sides have managed to operate professionally. And we have — it’s not in the Chinese interests for a crisis to spiral in the South China Sea. I think that they are fairly comfortable with the progress they’ve made in building out this infrastructure down there, and then working on negotiations with the other claimant states over a longer term,” the senior defense official said.

Photos show encounter with Chinese warship

Photos show encounter with Chinese warship 03:42

During his China visit, Adm. Richardson said the US Navy would continue to send warships wherever international law allows, something the Pentagon says when undertaking so-called “freedom of navigation” operations near Chinese-claimed territory in the South China Sea.

“The US Navy will continue to conduct routine and lawful operations around the world, in order to protect the rights, freedoms and lawful uses of sea and airspace guaranteed to all,” Richardson said in a China-datelined story posted on the US Navy’s website.

He also called on China to avoid dangerous maneuvers during those US operations.

“It important for all military, law enforcement, and civilian vessels and aircraft, including those in the PLA Navy, the Chinese Coast Guard, and the People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia, to operate in a safe and professional manner, in accordance with international law,” Richardson is quoted as saying. “Consistent operations and behavior are critical to preventing miscalculation.”

Last fall, the Chinese destroyer Lanzhou came within 45 yards (41 meters) of the guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur near the Spratly Islands in an encounter the US called “unsafe.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9568

Be ready for war, crisis: Chinese President Xi Jinping tells army

January 07, 2019 Sutirtho Patranobis – Hindustan Times

China’s armed forces should be ready for combat and be prepared for unexpected crisis and war, President Xi Jinping said on Friday in his first meeting with the military top brass in Beijing in 2019.

The massive and rapidly modernizing, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) should have enhanced awareness of danger, crisis and war, Xi told a meeting of the central military commission (CMC), the top military organization in the country of which he is the chairperson.

It is effectively being seen as Xi’s first order to the military in 2019 where he also signed a mobilization command for the training of the armed forces through the year.

Besides the festering land border problem with India, Xi’s command comes against the background of continuing maritime territorial disputes with multiple countries in the South China Sea and growing tension with the US over Beijing’s aim to reunify Taiwan, which it considers a breakaway nation.

Xi, in fact, said on Wednesday that China reserved the right to use force to achieve “reunification” with Taiwan, which is an independent and democratically-run country.

He brought up Taiwan days after US President Donald Trump signed the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act into law, reaffirming the US commitment to the island’s security.

“The entire armed forces should have a correct understanding of China’s security and development trends, enhance their awareness of danger, crisis and war, and make solid efforts on combat preparations in order to accomplish the tasks assigned by the Party (the ruling Communist Party of China) and the people,” Xi said.

“The world is facing a period of major changes never seen in a century, and China is still in an important period of strategic opportunity for development,” Xi was quoted as saying by the official news agency, Xinhua, warning that various risks and challenges were on the rise.

The Chinese President stressed the armed forces’ ability to respond quickly and effectively to contingencies, asking them to upgrade commanding capability of joint operations, foster new combat forces, and improve military training under combat conditions.

China and India, in fact, had come close to a military clash in 2017 when border troops from the two countries had a 73-day standoff near the Sikkim border at Doklam.

Diplomatic negotiations finally separated the troops and defused the situation, which had threatened to trigger a border clash.

Interestingly, Chinese state media made an international splash this week by publicizing the testing of the “mother of all bombs” or MOAB, the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in the PLA’s arsenal.

The new bomb’s destructive powers were publicized in a short video this week for the first time, the Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday on its mobile application.

The report said it is China’s most powerful non-nuclear bomb, and that the H-6K bomber could only carry one at a time due to its size.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9543

‘Sink two aircraft carriers’: Chinese Admiral’s chilling recipe to dominate the South China Sea


Beijing has a devastating plan to force the world out of the East and South China Seas — and it could cost the US 10,000 lives.
Jamie Seidel
News Corp Australia Network January 2, 201910:17am
Chinese Military Might
They’re the pride of the US fleet: enormous 100,000 tonne, 333m long nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. But Beijing thinks they’re Washington’s achilles heel.
Rear Admiral Lou Yuan has told an audience in Shenzhen that the ongoing disputes over the ownership of the East and South China Seas could be resolved by sinking two US super carriers.
Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) reports Admiral Lou gave a wide-ranging speech on the state of Sino-US relations. The high-profile, hawkish military commentator reportedly declared the current trade spat was “definitely not simply friction over economics and trade,” but was instead a “prime strategic issue”.
His speech, delivered on December 20 to the 2018 Military Industry List summit, declared that China’s new and highly capable anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles were more than capable of hitting US carriers, despite them being at the centre of a ‘bubble’ of defensive escorts.
“What the United States fears the most is taking casualties,” Admiral Lou declared.
He said the loss of one super carrier would cost the US the lives of 5000 service men and women. Sinking two would double that toll.
“We’ll see how frightened America is.”
FIGHTING WORDS
Rear Admiral Lou Yuan is deputy head of the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences.
In his speech, he said there were ‘five cornerstones of the United States’ open to exploitation: their military, their money, their talent, their voting system — and their fear of adversaries.
Admiral Lou, who holds an academic military rank — not a service role — said China should “use its strength to attack the enemy’s shortcomings. Attack wherever the enemy is afraid of being hit. Wherever the enemy is weak …”
It’s not the controversial commentator’s first aggressive outburst.
And its part of a steadily escalating war of words between the two nations.
Earlier in December, the Chinese state-run Global Times published the views of a panel of such ‘military commentators’ concerning Beijing’s sovereignty claims over Taiwan and the East and South China Seas.
“If the US naval fleet dares to stop in Taiwan, it is time for the People’s Liberation Army to deploy troops to promote national unity on (invade) the island,” Admiral Lou said.
 “Achieving China’s complete unity is a necessary requirement. The achievement of the past 40 years of reform and opening-up has given us the capability and confidence to safeguard our sovereignty. Those who are trying to stir up trouble in the South China Sea and Taiwan should be careful about their future.”
It was just one of a string of similarly hawkish views.
“The PLA is capable of taking over Taiwan within 100 hours with only a few dozen casualties,” said retired lieutenant general Wang Hongguang. “2018 is a year of turmoil for Taiwan, and a possible military conflict may take place in Taiwan soon. (But) As long as the US doesn’t attack China-built islands and reefs in the South China Sea, no war will take place in the area.”
Beijing has annexed several reefs in the South China Sea, engaging in an enormous geo-engineering project to build artificial islands upon which it has placed heavily fortified airfields and ports.
STEEL DINOSAURS?
The United States’ enormous aircraft carriers are considered the centrepieces of its navy and highly visible embodiments of that nation’s power.
At $US8.5 billion ($A12 billion) each, they’re also a huge economic investment.
And questions have been growing over their continued relevance to modern warfare.
As with the ‘gunboat diplomacy’ of huge armoured and heavily gunned battleships before World War II, some military analysts technological advances have made these ships obsolete.
Once, aircraft carriers were able to project military might (through their aircraft) while unseen and outside the reach of defences.
Now, with modern satellite and over-the-horizon radar systems, they can no longer rely upon being unseen. And land-based missiles potentially out-reach their aircraft — forcing carriers to move into ‘danger zones’ before they can be effective.
But heavily networked radars, decoys and antimissile systems aboard the aircraft carriers themselves and their escorts are believed capable of warding off attacks from current-generation missiles.
However, both China and Russia have claimed they are rapidly bringing into service a new generation of hypersonic weapons which simply move too fast to counteract.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9533