Category: Kings of the East

Nov 06

As China aims for ‘world-class army’, Asia starts to worry

AFPNovember 1, 2017

China’s sole aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, is expected to enter service in 2020

China’s sole aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, is expected to enter service in 2020 (AFP Photo/ANTHONY WALLACE)

Beijing (AFP) – Chinese President Xi Jinping’s pledge to build a “world-class army” by 2050 is making his neighbours nervous, but analysts say Beijing’s military ambitions do not constitute a strategic threat — for now.

With purchases and construction of fighter jets, ships and hi-tech weaponry, China’s military budget has grown steadily for 30 years, but remains three times smaller than that of the United States.

Now, Beijing wants to catch up.

“We should strive to fully transform the people’s armed forces into a world-class military by the mid-21st century,” Xi told 2,300 delegates of the Chinese Communist Party, which he heads and which controls the army.

The comments, made during the party’s twice-a-decade congress, were aimed in part at domestic nationalists, but also intended to show other countries “China’s desire to be strong economically as well as militarily,” said James Char, a military analyst at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.

During China’s so-called Century of Humiliation, starting around the mid-19th century, the country lost almost every war it fought, and was often forced to give major concessions in subsequent treaties.

“That’s why China, more than any other country, dreams of a strong army. Not to bully other countries, but to defend ourselves,” said Ni Lexiong from Shanghai University of Political Science and Law.

– Worried neighbours –

But Xi’s call to build a military that can “fight and win” has alarmed China’s neighbours, several of whom are embroiled in tense border disputes with the superpower.

This summer India and China engaged in a bitter, weeks-long military confrontation over a disputed area in the Himalayas.

Japan regularly faces off with Chinese maritime patrols close to the Senkaku islands, which are called the Diaoyu in Mandarin and claimed by Beijing.

And Beijing asserts sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea, despite rival claims from countries including Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia.

Beijing has reclaimed islands it controls in the sea in order to cement its claims and installed military aircraft and missile systems on them, causing tensions to spiral in recent years.

“Chinese activities are a security concern for the region encompassing Japan and for the international community,” said a recent Japanese defence report.

“It is incontestable that the country’s rise as a military power is setting off an arms race in Asia,” said Juliette Genevaz, China researcher at the France-based Military School Strategic Research Institute.

“This arms race in Asia has several causes,” she said, noting North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme as one of the contributors.

But, “China’s military build-up and reclaiming activities in the South China Sea is a major factor.”

China’s military expenditure in 2016 was an estimated $215 billion, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, putting it in first place in Asia, well ahead of India ($56 billion), Japan ($46 billion) and South Korea ($37 billion).

The country has not participated in any conflict since a month-long border war against Vietnam in 1979 that killed tens of thousands of people and a 1988 skirmish, also with Hanoi, over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, that left 64 dead.

But it has been busy boosting its military activities abroad.

This year, Beijing opened its first foreign military base, in Djibouti. Since 2008, its navy has participated in anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden.

The country is the largest contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations among the permanent members of the security council, with some 2,500 soldiers and military experts deployed.

The moves are all part of a larger, decades-long effort to modernise the country’s military, which had become riddled with corruption, incompetence and waste.

– ‘Absolute control’ –

But while Xi flexed his muscles at the head of China’s central military commission during his first term, he is likely to observe more caution in future, having consolidated his power base by bringing down two of the country’s highest-ranking army officers for corruption, said James Char.

He also reaffirmed the party’s “absolute control” over the army during the recently concluded congress.

“Now that it’s done, he does not need to risk an external crisis any more. Therefore, we can reasonably expect Beijing will conduct less coercive diplomacy in the near- to medium-term,” Char said.

“The Chinese military will continue to operate further and further away from China’s shores, and probably also establish more overseas bases,” he added.

But, while it will continue to aggressively defend its own territorial claims, “it will likely act cautiously abroad and will not engage in overseas constabulary missions such as those carried out by the US military in Iraq or Afghanistan for example.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8803

Oct 30

US Air Force Preparing To Put Nuclear-Equipped Bombers Back On 24-Hour Ready Alert Status As Global Tensions Rise

“I’ve challenged…Air Force Global Strike Command to help lead the dialog, help with this discussion about ‘What does conventional conflict look like with a nuclear element?’ and ‘Do we respond as a global force if that were to occur?’ and ‘What are the options?’” he said. “How do we think about it — how do we think about deterrence in that environment?” Asked if placing B-52s back on alert — as they were for decades — would help with deterrence, Goldfein said it’s hard to say. “Really it depends on who, what kind of behavior are we talking about, and whether they’re paying attention to our readiness status,” he said.

by Geoffrey Grider October 22, 2017

The U.S. Air Force is preparing to put nuclear-armed bombers back on 24-hour ready alert, a status not seen since the Cold War ended in 1991.

That means the long-dormant concrete pads at the ends of this base’s 11,000-foot runway — dubbed the “Christmas tree” for their angular markings — could once again find several B-52s parked on them, laden with nuclear weapons and set to take off at a moment’s notice.

“This is yet one more step in ensuring that we’re prepared,” Gen. David Goldfein, Air Force chief of staff, said in an interview during his six-day tour of Barksdale and other U.S. Air Force bases that support the nuclear mission. “I look at it more as not planning for any specific event, but more for the reality of the global situation we find ourselves in and how we ensure we’re prepared going forward.”

Goldfein and other senior defense officials stressed that the alert order had not been given, but that preparations were under way in anticipation that it might come. That decision would be made by Gen. John Hyten, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, or Gen. Lori Robinson, the head of U.S. Northern Command. STRATCOM is in charge of the military’s nuclear forces and NORTHCOM is in charge of defending North America.

This B-52 Air Force Bomber Can Hold 70,000 Lbs. in Weapons:

Putting the B-52s back on alert is just one of many decisions facing the Air Force as the U.S. military responds to a changing geopolitical environment that includes North Korea’s rapidly advancing nuclear arsenal, President Trump’s confrontational approach to Pyongyang, and Russia’s increasingly potent and active armed forces.

Goldfein, who is the Air Force’s top officer and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is asking his force to think about new ways that nuclear weapons could be used for deterrence, or even combat.

“The world is a dangerous place and we’ve got folks that are talking openly about use of nuclear weapons,” he said. “It’s no longer a bipolar world where it’s just us and the Soviet Union. We’ve got other players out there who have nuclear capability. It’s never been more important to make sure that we get this mission right.”

During his trip across the country last week, Goldfein encouraged airmen to think beyond Cold War uses for ICBMs, bombers and nuclear cruise missiles.

“I’ve challenged…Air Force Global Strike Command to help lead the dialog, help with this discussion about ‘What does conventional conflict look like with a nuclear element?’ and ‘Do we respond as a global force if that were to occur?’ and ‘What are the options?’” he said. “How do we think about it — how do we think about deterrence in that environment?”

Asked if placing B-52s back on alert — as they were for decades — would help with deterrence, Goldfein said it’s hard to say.

“Really it depends on who, what kind of behavior are we talking about, and whether they’re paying attention to our readiness status,” he said.

Already, various improvements have been made to prepare Barksdale — home to the 2d Bomb Wing and Air Force Global Strike Command, which oversees the service’s nuclear forces — to return B-52s to an alert posture. Near the alert pads, an old concrete building — where B-52 crews during the Cold War would sleep, ready to run to their aircraft and take off at a moment’s notice — is being renovated.

Inside, beds are being installed for more than 100 crew members, more than enough room for the crews that would man bombers positioned on the nine alert pads outside. There’s a recreation room, with a pool table, TVs and a shuffleboard table. Large paintings of the patches for each squadron at Barksdale adorn the walls of a large stairway.

A Rare Peek Inside The E-4B ‘Doomsday’ Plane:

One painting — a symbol of the Cold War — depicts a silhouette of a B-52 with the words “Peace The Old Fashioned Way,” written underneath. At the bottom of the stairwell, there is a Strategic Air Command logo, yet another reminder of the Cold War days when American B-52s sat at the ready on the runway outside.

Those long-empty B-52 parking spaces will soon get visits by two nuclear command planes, the E-4B Nightwatch and E-6B Mercury, both which will occasionally sit alert there. During a nuclear war, the planes would become the flying command posts of the defense secretary and STRATCOM commander, respectively. If a strike order is given by the president, the planes would be used to transmit launch codes to bombers, ICBMs and submarines. At least one of the four nuclear-hardened E-4Bs — formally called the National Airborne Operations Center, but commonly known as the Doomsday Plane — is always on 24-hour alert.

Barksdale and other bases with nuclear bombers are preparing to build storage facilities for a new nuclear cruise missile that is under development. During his trip, Goldfein received updates on the preliminary work for a proposed replacement for the 400-plus Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles, and the new long-range cruise missile.

“Our job is options,” Goldfein said. “We provide best military advice and options for the commander in chief and the secretary of defense. Should the STRATCOM commander require or the NORTHCOM commander require us to [be on] a higher state of readiness to defend the homeland, then we have to have a place to put those forces.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8786

Oct 23

Xi Jinping Seeks Permanence to His Presidency

October 19, 2017

As China’s Communist Party convenes its 19th quinquennial congress, there is little doubt President Xi Jinping will be re-elected to a second five-year term.

Last week, however, ahead of the National People’s Congress convening in Beijing, the state-run media began referring to Xi by the title “Supreme Leader,” rather than his official title of “Secretary-General of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.” And while the move could have been purely for the sake of bolstering his image ahead of the important party gathering, many believe it was in fact a culminating move to consolidate his power and authority.

The latest news from China, however, all but confirms the latter.

According to the Xinhua News Agency, the main propaganda arm of the Chinese government, on Thursday, Xi’s political philosophy is being added to country’s constitution. The report states Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era is a “historic contribution to the Party’s development” and “represents the latest achievement in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context, and is an important component of the system of theories of socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

The report continues:

The Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era builds on and further enriches Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development, according to a report delivered by Xi Jinping at the opening of the congress. The report listed 14-point fundamental principles of the Thought, ranging from ensuring Party leadership over all work to promoting the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Xi’s plan is to be carried out in two stages over the course of 30 years. Xinhua also quotes a party official who said the president’s “core status and authority” must be “firmly safeguarded.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8783

Oct 09

China Plans to Invade Taiwan by 2020

According to a new book, China has put together a plan to invade Taiwan sometime between now and the year 2020, which will likely lead to a broader war with the U.S.

October 03, 2017

According to The Washington Free Beacon, China has drawn up a secret plan to invade Taiwan sometime between now and the year 2020—an action that likely would lead to a broader conflict with the U.S.

The report, published Tuesday, states:

The secret war plan drawn up by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the Chinese Communist Party’s armed forces, calls for massive missile attacks on the island, along with a naval and air blockade that is followed by amphibious beach landing assaults using up to 400,000 troops.

The plans and operations are outlined in a new book published this week, The Chinese Invasion Threat by Ian Easton, a China affairs analyst with the Project 2049 Institute, a think tank.

The danger of a Taiwan conflict has grown in recent years even as current tensions between Washington and Beijing are mainly the result of U.S. opposition to Chinese militarization in the South China Sea and China’s covert support of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

“Of all the powder kegs out there, the potential for a war over Taiwan is by far the largest and most explosive,” the 290-page book states, adding that the growing likelihood of a war over Taiwan will dominate worries within the Pentagon for years to come.

“China has made clear that its primary external objective is attaining the ability to apply overwhelming force against Taiwan during a conflict, and if necessary destroy American-led coalition forces,” the books says.

Taiwan, which officially goes by the name Republic of China, poses a threat to the Communist Party’s rule on the mainland because of its success under a capitalist, democratic form of government. Just last week, its new premier, William Lai Ching-te, became the first Taiwanese leader to declare the island is an independent, sovereign state.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8752

Sep 27

Shinzo Abe, The Prime Minister Of Japan, Wants War With North Korea, And Declares That The Days Of Dialogue With North Korea Are Over

By Theodore Shoebat

Shinzo, the Prime Minister of Japan, just said that the days of dialogue with North Korea are over. Translation? Japan wants war. And its not just about North Korea, its about using the situation of North Korea as a pretext for reviving Japanese militarism. According to one report:

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday (Sept 20) declared the time for dialogue with North Korea is over and rallied behind a US warning that “all options” are on the table.

Addressing the UN General Assembly, Abe said “there is not much time left” to take action on North Korea which in recent weeks has detonated another nuclear bomb and fired a series of missiles over or near Japan.

A day after US President Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if it attacks, Abe said: “We consistently support the stance of the United States: that ‘all options are on the table.’”

Abe said that the world has already tried exhaustively to reach a negotiated settlement with North Korea, starting with the US-backed 1994 Agreed Framework which collapsed a decade later.

“Again and again, attempts to resolve issues through dialogue have all come to naught. In what hope of success are we now repeating the very same failure a third time?” he said.

“What is needed to do that is not dialogue, but pressure,” he said.

He voiced alarm at North Korea’s military progress, which he said had brought the regime to the threshold of mastering hydrogen bombs and intercontinental ballistic missiles, which would be able to strike the United States.

Abe demanded the strict implementation of UN sanctions on Kim Jong-Un’s regime, the latest round of which includes a ban on the country’s textile exports and a freeze on work permits to North Korean guest workers.

But years of sanctions have had limited effects on North Korea, which follows a “juche” ideology of self-reliance and counts on neighbouring China as its economic lifeline.

China – which has grown frustrated by Kim’s actions but also fears the consequences of his regime’s collapse – has repeatedly urged dialogue, with Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday urging an end to the “current deepening vicious cycle.”

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, responding to Trump’s bellicose speech, called for dialogue in tandem with implementation of sanctions.

“There is no military solution because that would be a disaster, not only for North Korea but for South Korea, the whole peninsula, Japan,” Lofven told reporters.

But Abe warned that global credibility was on the line, saying that only North Korea has been “allowed such self-indulgence” in its defiance of the Security Council.

“North Korea is attempting to dismiss with a smirk the efforts towards disarmament we have assiduously undertaken over the years,” Abe said.

Abe, Japan’s longest-serving post-World War II prime minister, rose to political prominence on his calls for a tough line on North Korea over its past abductions of Japanese civilians.

He has also pressed for a shedding of defense taboos in Japan, whose US-imposed constitution forbids the country from ever again waging war.

Japan using the tensions with North Korea for militarism.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8737

Sep 18

WWIII Fears Sparked As North Korea Fires Nuclear-Capable Missile From Pyongyang Into Japanese Air Space

North Korea carried out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3, worsening already fraught U.S.-North Korea relations. In response, the United Nations Security Council voted to intensify sanctions, including imposing a limit on oil imports, against the hermit state. While the duration and scope of such a conflict would be difficult to measure, North Korea remained an immense risk, Fordham said.

by Geoffrey Grider September 14, 2017

Japan issued a missile alert to mobile phones and on national television, notifying citizens that a missile may have been launched by North Korea, Bloomberg News reports.

EDITOR’S NOTE: With each passing few weeks, North Korea keeps firing missiles, many of them nuclear capable. President Trump has been showing tremendous restraint, choosing for the time being to use sanctions instead of a military option. But as the missiles continue to fly across Japanese airspace, the military option is growing more and more likely. 

The unidentified missile passed over Japan airspace near Hokkaido on Friday at 7.06 am local time. The missile was fired from North Korea in an eastern direction, according to South Korea military.

The outbreak of military conflict on the Korean Peninsula would be destabilizing and could possibly result in a global war, according to Citi’s top global political analyst.

While it was impossible to put a number on the scale of the North Korea risk, war games carried out through history have simulated what could happen as a result, said Tina Fordham, managing director and chief global analyst at Citi.

“A conflict on the Korean Peninsula would not only be very disruptive in the region, but could potentially lead to World War III because of the U.S. security guarantee, so it would be internationalized overnight,” Fordham told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on the sidelines of the Milken Institute Asia Summit in Singapore.

North Korea carried out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3, worsening already fraught U.S.-North Korea relations. In response, the United Nations Security Council voted to intensify sanctions, including imposing a limit on oil imports, against the hermit state.

While the duration and scope of such a conflict would be difficult to measure, North Korea remained an immense risk, Fordham said.

“It is the single biggest geopolitical threat and one that would also move markets … When we look at political risk, we look at whether it’s likely to cause an oil price shock or a growth shock. And in the North Korea case, if the worst were to happen, it would be both,” she added

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8718

Sep 11

BOOM! North Korea Successfully Tests Nuclear Bomb As Showdown With Rogue State Draws Ever Closer

In a televised statement, North Korea described the underground explosion, which triggered a large earthquake, as a “perfect success in the test of a hydrogen bomb for an ICBM.” Pyongyang said “the creditability of the operation of the nuclear warhead is fully guaranteed.” The explosion at the nuclear test site at Punggye-ri in North Korea’s mountainous northeast triggered an initial magnitude-6.3 earthquake, followed by a magnitude-4.1 temblor that was possibly caused by a structural collapse, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

by Geoffrey Grider September 3, 2017

North Korea said it conducted a sixth and significantly larger nuclear test Sunday, stepping up pressure on President Donald Trump in what is shaping up to be his biggest foreign policy crisis.

EDITOR’S NOTE: North Korea is a nuclear power today because the capabilities for those weapons of global destruction were given to him by former Democrat President Bill Clinton. Today’s detonation of a massive hydrogen nuclear bomb by North Korea makes it clear that the only thing that will stop them is military force. Sanctions accomplish nothing. President Trump, at some point, must call for military action to curb Kim Jong-Un’s appetite for destruction. 

In a televised statement, North Korea described the underground explosion, which triggered a large earthquake, as a “perfect success in the test of a hydrogen bomb for an ICBM.” Pyongyang said “the creditability of the operation of the nuclear warhead is fully guaranteed.”

The test came just hours after leader Kim Jong Un showed off what he described as a hydrogen bomb capable of being mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The explosion at the nuclear test site at Punggye-ri in North Korea’s mountainous northeast triggered an initial magnitude-6.3 earthquake, followed by a magnitude-4.1 temblor that was possibly caused by a structural collapse, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

While it was unclear what set off the second quake, satellite imagery has captured evidence of tunneling activity at the nuclear test site in recent months. Any structural collapse might have been related to that.

According to the logarithmic scale used to measure earthquakes, the initial magnitude-6.3 tremor was 10 times bigger than the one triggered by the North’s previous nuclear test in September 2016, which the USGS said had a magnitude of 5.3.

The Korea Meteorological Administration in Seoul put the magnitude of Sunday’s initial earthquake at 5.7

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization said seismic signals were picked up by 35 monitoring stations, suggesting that the size of the explosion was much larger than last time, when signals were picked up by 26 stations.

The latest nuclear test was estimated to have a yield of as high as 100 kilotons—about 10 times the power of the North’s previous test and roughly five times that of the atomic bomb that the U.S. dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945, according to Kim Young-woo, a South Korean lawmaker who is chairman of the legislature’s defense committee and received a briefing from military authorities.

A spokesman for the defense ministry declined to comment.

South Korea’s national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, said after a 90-minute emergency meeting of the National Security Council that Seoul would consider the possible deployment of what he described as the “most powerful strategic assets that the U.S. possesses,” without elaborating, according to a statement from the presidential Blue House.

The phrase “strategic assets” typically refers to stealth bombers, aircraft carriers or possibly nuclear weapons. The U.S. withdrew the last of its nuclear weapons from South Korea in 1991.

Mr. Chung, who also spoke by phone with Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, his counterpart at the White House, said that Moon Jae-in, the South Korean president, had called for the “strongest punitive measures” against Pyongyang. That includes diplomatic measures and a new United Nations Security Council resolution to “completely isolate North Korea.”

In Sunday morning tweets, Mr. Trump said North Korea’s “words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States.” He added: “North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success.” He also added: “South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!”

While North Korea has made steady advances in both its nuclear and missile programs over the course of decades, Mr. Kim has greatly accelerated the pace of testing as the isolated country nears the ability to deliver a nuclear-tipped missile to the continental U.S.

Just this year, it has conducted a string of successful missile tests that have extended the proven range of its arsenal and introduced new capabilities that allow Pyongyang to fire missiles more quickly and with less warning. In July, it test-fired two ICBMs that experts say they believe are capable of reaching many parts of the U.S. mainland.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8699

Aug 18

The U.S. Military Will Be Conducting ‘A Major Military Exercise’ On The Korean Peninsula During The Solar Eclipse

By Michael Snyder, on August 16th, 2017

On August 21st, approximately 25,000 U.S. troops will join “tens of thousands” from the South Korean military to conduct a “major military exercise” that is already triggering threats from North Korea.  Considering the fact that any sort of provocation could cause a nuclear war to erupt on the Korean peninsula, is this really a wise thing to do?  The more research that I do on this upcoming solar eclipse, the stranger things become.  When I first started hearing about this eclipse many months ago, I didn’t pay too much attention, but now after looking into it extensively I do believe that it is going to be quite significant.

And I didn’t even know about this major military exercise that will happen during the eclipse until today.  The following comes from MSN

The U.S. military is preparing to launch a major military exercise with South Korea in coming days, and faces a dangerous balancing act: How do you reassure allies in the region that you are ready for a war with North Korea without provoking an actual conflict in the process?

The annual Ulchi-Freedom Guardian exercise is scheduled for 10 days beginning Aug. 21, and will include about 25,000 U.S. troops along with tens of thousands of South Koreans. The exercise focuses on defending South Korea against an attack from the north, and each year triggers threats and rebukes from North Korea. But it comes at an especially sensitive time now, following the exchange of a series of threats between President Trump and North Korea.

Another thing that we just found out is that meteorologists are warning that a major hurricane could potentially start approaching the east coast of the United States during the time of the solar eclipse.  It has been almost 12 years since a major hurricane made landfall in this country, and so it is very odd that this would be happening all of a sudden.

As I have discussed previously, many believe that the upcoming solar eclipse and the 40 day period that follows may be some type of “warning” for America.  And traditionally, this 40 day period has been a time of repentance for the people of Israel

On August 21, a total solar eclipse will mark a trail from the Northwest US to the Southeast Atlantic Seaboard. The eclipse will occur on the last day of the Hebrew month Av, a day known as Yom Kippur Katan, the “small day of repentance.” The morning after the eclipse, Jews will  begin blowing the shofar every morning for a 40-day period of profound repentance leading up to Yom Kippur. This corresponds to the 40 days Moses was on Mount Sinai atoning for the Jewish people.

It is also very interesting to note that this eclipse comes exactly 33 days before the “Revelation 12 sign” that will appear in the heavens on September 23rd.  The first state that the solar eclipse of August 21st will cross will be Oregon, and many have noted that Oregon is our 33rd state.  And the solar eclipse will finish crossing the nation on the 33rd parallel in the state of South Carolina.

So is that just a coincidence?

It might be.

Another extremely interesting fact is that the very first large city that the path of the eclipse will cross is Salem, Oregon.  Of course Salem is short for Jerusalem, and it turns out that the path of the eclipse will reach Salem at just about the same time that the sun is setting in Jerusalem.

Another coincidence?

Maybe.

Seven years after the eclipse on August 21st, another one will cross our nation in 2024.  Together, the paths of those two eclipses will mark a giant “X” directly over the middle part of the country.  And amazingly, the combined time of the totality of those two eclipses will be seven minutes.

And this eclipse is just the beginning.  Over the subsequent 40 days there are quite a few critical events that people are buzzing about.  The following list comes from one of my previous articles

August 23 – A FEMA exercise known as “EarthEX2017” will simulate “catastrophes such as mega earthquakes, cyber terrorism or high altitude electromagnetic pulse attacks”

An exercise sponsored by FEMA and the U.S. Department of Energy set to take place on August 23 called EarthEX2017 will wargame responses to catastrophes such as mega earthquakes, cyber terrorism or high altitude electromagnetic pulse attacks.

The exercise will simulate a “subcontinent-scale, long duration power outage, with cascading failures of all other infrastructures,” according to the official Earth Ex website.

“Black sky events” are defined as, “Catastrophic occurrences caused by man or nature that bring society to its knees.”

September 1 – This marks the start of FEMA’s annual “National Preparedness Month“.

September 1 – The U.S. State Department’s ban on U.S. citizens traveling into North Korea goes into effect.  Many are concerned that this is yet another sign that we are moving toward war with North Korea.

September 11 – This will be the 16th anniversary of 9/11.

September 20 – Rosh Hashanah begins at sunset.

September 21The UN International Day Of Peace

September 23 – This is the date of what has become known as “the Revelation 12 sign”.  If you are not familiar with this alignment yet, the following is a very brief summary

On September 23rd a unique astronomical alignment of the Sun, Moon, constellation Virgo, constellation Leo, and planets Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, and Venus is going to fulfill this passage from the book of Revelation:

And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.  She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.

September 24 – Very important national elections will be held in Germany.

September 29 – Yom Kippur begins at sunset, and it concludes on September 30th.  Of course September 30th will be the end of a 40 day period that began back on the day of the Great American Eclipse on August 21st.

September 29 – U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says that the debt ceiling will be breached on this day if Congress does not raise it by then.

September 30 – If Congress does not pass a budget by the end of this day, there will be a government shutdown just like we witnessed in 2013.

And all of this comes at a time when anger, hatred and racial tension are reaching a fever pitch in this country.

Let us pray for peace both at home and abroad, because at this moment we are rapidly approaching a boiling point.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8675

Aug 16

China implements UN sanctions against North Korea, as Trump trade probe looms

Published August 14, 2017

Fox News

In an unprecedented move against North Korea, China on Monday issued an order to carry out the United Nations sanctions imposed on the rogue regime earlier this month.

China made the announcement amid not only Pyongyang’s escalating war of words with the United States regarding the North Korea nuclear missile program, but also as President Trump was reportedly set to order an investigation into China’s trade practice — a probe which could lead the U.S. to levy its own sanctions on Beijing.

Trump has sought China’s help in dealing with North Korea, as China has remained one of the last defenders of dictator Kim Jong Un and could apply enormous financial pressure should it turn on the North Korean leader.

But in recent months, Trump has grown increasingly wary of getting any substantial aid from China, leading to the trade probe, as Axios has reported. Trump, as a presidential candidate, heavily criticized China, only to initially soften his tone upon winning the White House.

Trump tweeted Monday he was set to “focus on trade,” but didn’t specifically cite China.

Just hours before Trump was believed ready to announce the trade investigation, however, China’s Commerce Ministry on Monday announced that all imports of coal, iron ore, lead concentrates and ore, lead and seafood from North Korea would be banned.

There was some disagreement about when the sanctions would go into effect. The Associated Press reported the ban would start at midnight on Sept. 5, but Reuters wrote it could begin as early as Tuesday.

The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved the tough new sanctions on Aug. 5 in a bid to punish North Korea for its escalating nuclear missile programs. The sanctions include a ban on exports valued at more than $1 billion.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un salutes members of his nation’s military.  (Reuters)

The U.S.-drafted resolution looks to increase economic pressure on North Korea in an attempt to open up negotiations on the nuclear missile program.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley praised the resolution, calling it “the single largest economic sanctions passage” against Pyongyang.

However, she cautioned other council members that sanctions were not enough: “We should not fool ourselves into thinking we have solved the problem, not even close.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8667

Aug 14

This Is The Closest That The U.S. Has Been To Nuclear War Since The Cuban Missile Crisis

By Michael Snyder, on August 8th, 2017

Are we on the verge of a nuclear war with North Korea?  It has now been confirmed that North Korea has successfully created a miniaturized nuclear warhead, and last month they tested a missile that can reach at least half of the continental United States.  Since 1994 the U.S. has been trying to stop North Korea’s nuclear program, and every effort to do so has completely failed.  Last September, the North Koreans detonated a nuclear device that was estimated to be in the 20 to 30 kiloton range, and back in January President Trump pledged to stop the North Koreans before they would ever have the capability to deliver such a weapon to U.S. cities.  But now the North Koreans have already achieved that goal, and they plan to ultimately create an entire fleet of ICBMs capable of hitting every city in America.

Right now, North Korea and the Trump administration are locked in a game of nuclear chicken.  Kim Jong Un’s regime is never, ever, ever going to give up their nuclear weapons program, and so that means that either Donald Trump is going to have to back down, find another way to deal with North Korea, or use military force to eliminate their nuclear threat.

And time is quickly running out for Trump to make a decision, because now that North Korea has the ability to produce miniaturized nuclear warheads, the game has completely changed.  The following comes from the Washington Post

North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles, crossing a key threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power, U.S. intelligence officials have concluded in a confidential assessment.

The new analysis completed last month by the Defense Intelligence Agency comes on the heels of another intelligence assessment that sharply raises the official estimate for the total number of bombs in the communist country’s atomic arsenal. The U.S. calculated last month that up to 60 nuclear weapons are now controlled by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Some independent experts believe the number of bombs is much smaller.

The truth is that nobody actually knows how many nukes North Korea has at this point, and they are pumping out more all the time.

Yes, the Trump administration could order an absolutely devastating military strike on North Korea.  But if the North Koreans even get off one nuke in response, it will be the greatest disaster for humanity since at least World War II.

But at this point Trump doesn’t sound like someone that intends to back down.  In fact, on Tuesday he threatened North Korea with “fire and fury” if they keep threatening us…

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Trump said from the clubhouse at his golf course in Bedminster, N.J. “He has been very threatening beyond a normal state, and as I said they will be met with the fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

In response to Trump’s comments, the North Koreans threatened to hit Guam with a pre-emptive strike…

If Trump thought that his bluff would be sufficient to finally shut up North Korea, and put an end to Kim’s provocative behavior, well… bluff called because North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency reported moments ago that not only did N.Korea escalate the tensions up another notch, but explicitly warned that it could carry out a “pre-emptive operation once the US shows signs of provocation”, and that it is “seriously considering a strategy to strike Guam with mid-to-long range missiles.”

Most Americans appear to be completely oblivious to the seriousness of this crisis.  Once we hit North Korea, they will respond.  A single nuke could potentially kill millions in Tokyo, Japan or Seoul, South Korea.  And the North Koreans also have some of the largest chemical and biological weapons stockpiles on the entire planet.  If things take a bad turn, we could see death and destruction on a scale that is absolutely unprecedented.

And if the North Koreans launch an invasion of South Korea, we will instantly be committed to a new Korean War and thousands upon thousands of our young men and women will be sent over there to fight and die.

There is no possible way that a military conflict with North Korea is going to end well.  If things go badly, millions could die, and if things go really badly tens of millions of people could end up dead.

But members of the Trump administration continue to insist that “a military option” is on the table…

In an interview broadcast Saturday on MSNBC’s Hugh Hewitt Show, national security adviser H.R. McMaster said the prospect of a North Korea armed with nuclear-tipped ICBMs would be “intolerable, from the president’s perspective.”

“We have to provide all options . . . and that includes a military option,” he said.

Of course letting North Korea construct an entire fleet of ICBMs that could endanger the entire planet is not exactly a palatable option either.  The Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations all kicked the can down the road year after year, and now we facing a nightmare problem that does not appear to have a good solution.

Unfortunately for Trump, time has now run out and a decision has to be made

“Today is the day that we can definitely say North Korea is a nuclear power,” Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest, told USA TODAY. “There is no more time to stick our heads in the sand and think we have months or years to confront this challenge.”

Let us pray that a way can be found to derail North Korea’s nuclear program that does not involve us going to war.

Because the moment that U.S. forces start striking North Korea, the North Koreans could literally unleash hell if they are inclined to do so.

It appears that we are now closer to nuclear war than we have been at any point since the Cuban missile crisis.  A nuclear holocaust was avoided back then, and hopefully a way will be found to avoid one now.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8660