U.S. military could lose next war, report says

A study from the Rand Corp. warns that the U.S. military forces are poorly structured and argues that the military must reform its structure and strategies to better deal with challenges. (Associated Press) Photo by: Andreea Alexandru

 

A new study by the Rand Corp. is warning that U.S. military forces are poorly structured to meet the threats posed by China, Russia and other states, as well as the continuing war against Islamic terrorism.

The study, “U.S. Military Capabilities and Forces for a Dangerous World,” presents the stark conclusion that the American military needs to reform its structure and war fighting plans to better deal with military challenges.

Put more starkly, assessments in this report will show that U.S. forces could, under plausible assumptions, lose the next war they are called upon to fight, despite the United States outspending China on military forces by a ratio of 2.7 to 1 and Russia by 6 to 1,” the report said. “The nation needs to do better than this.” Continue reading

How Russia Expedited Syria’s Victory

 

On Monday, Vladimir Putin unexpectedly interrupted his journey to Egypt, stopping off at Russia’s Hmeymim airbase in Syria and announcing the windup of Russia’s most successful military campaign abroad. Thousands of combat sorties have been flown, tens of thousands of terrorists and their infrastructure have been destroyed, and hundreds of Syrian cities and towns have been liberated. We have previously published accounts of how Russian pilots, special ops, marines, doctors, and diplomats spent two years helping the lawful president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, hold his country together and rid it of terrorists.

Russia enters the conflict

By the fall of 2015, the war in Syria had already dragged on for four long years. The mass anti-government demonstrations that began in March 2011 had quickly escalated into skirmishes with the military. And terrorist factions immediately “hijacked” these popular protests. Soon, the leading role in the battle against the ruling regime was being played by extremists from the Islamic State, Jabhat Al Nusra, Al-Qaeda, and many factions within what has been called the “moderate opposition” – mainly in the Free Syrian Army that has been so championed by the West. Continue reading

US F-22s intercept Russian fighter jets, fire warning flares

Two U.S. F-22 Raptors intercepted and fired warning flares at two Russian Su-25s over the tightly congested air space in Syria along the Euphrates River on Thursday, officials said. (Tech. Sgt. Jason Robertson/Air Force)

 

WASHINGTON — Two U.S. F-22 Raptors intercepted and fired warning flares at two Russian Su-25s over the tightly congested air space in Syria along the Euphrates River on Wednesday.

The Russian fighters had crossed an agreed upon deconfliction line that runs parallel with the Euphrates River. The U.S. and its Syrian partner forces, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, operate on the eastern side of the Euphrates, and it’s a region Russia and its Syrian regime allies are supposed to steer clear from.

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Who Leads the West and Why: Trump or Merkel? Constitutional Cultures in the United States and Germany

Theodor Fontane, the master of German realist fiction, published his first novel, Before the Storm, in 1876. Set during the winter of 1812–13, in and around Berlin, it explores the decisive historical moment when Prussia changed sides—breaking out of its forced alliance with France in order to side with Russia in the anti-Napoleonic war. Yet the dialectic of the moment was such that Germans could join in the rout of the French while nonetheless embracing aspects of the French revolutionary legacy. Thus near the conclusion of the novel, the Prussian General von Bamme, commenting on social changes around him, a reduction in traditional structures of hierarchy, speculates, “And where does all this come from? From over yonder, borne on the west wind. I can make nothing of these windbags of Frenchmen, but in all the rubbish they talk there is none the less a pinch of wisdom. Nothing much is going to come of their Fraternity, nor of their Liberty: but there is something to be said for what they have put between them. For what, after all, does it mean but: a man is a man.”[1]Mensch ist mensch. Continue reading

Lindsey Graham: There’s a 30 Percent Chance Trump Attacks North Korea

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

 

“I don’t know how to say it any more direct: If nothing changes, Trump’s gonna have to use the military option, because time is running out.”

It’s become a grim ritual in Washington foreign-policy circles to assess the chances that the United States and North Korea stumble into war. But on Wednesday Lindsey Graham did something different: He estimated the odds that the Trump administration deliberately strikes North Korea first, to stop it from acquiring the capability to target the U.S. mainland with a long-range, nuclear-tipped missile. And the senator’s numbers were remarkably high.

“I would say there’s a three in 10 chance we use the military option,” Graham predicted in an interview. If the North Koreans conduct an additional test of a nuclear bomb—their seventh—“I would say 70 percent.”

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Russia Sharply Expanding Nuclear Arsenal, Upgrading Underground Facilities

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin / Getty Images

 

Pentagon to boost U.S. weapons under nuclear posture review

Russia is aggressively building up its nuclear forces and is expected to deploy a total force of 8,000 warheads by 2026 along with modernizing deep underground bunkers, according to Pentagon officials.

The 8,000 warheads will include both large strategic warheads and thousands of new low-yield and very low-yield warheads to circumvent arms treaty limits and support Moscow’s new doctrine of using nuclear arms early in any conflict.

In addition to expanding its warheads, Russia also is fortifying underground facilities for command and control during a nuclear conflict. Continue reading

World War 3: Taiwan ‘ready for war’ with China after quick military response to threats

World-War-3-China-Taiwan

Chinese jets carried out “island encirclement patrols” around Taiwan

 

TAIWAN is “confident” in its defences and responded quickly to Chinese air force “island encirclement” drills, the self-ruled island’s government said.

On Monday, Chinese jets carried out “island encirclement patrols” around Taiwan, with state media showing pictures of bombers armed with cruise missiles.

Taiwan presidential spokesman Alex Huang said the defence ministry kept a close watch on the patrols and responded immediately and properly. Continue reading

U.S., North Korea Moving Toward Talks?

Special Representative for North Korea Policy Joseph Yun will be attending a conference at which representatives of the Hermit Kingdom will be in attendance.

 

Thursday and Friday, high-ranking diplomats from both the U.S. and North Korea will be in Chiang Mai, Thailand, sparking hope they might meet on the sidelines to discuss the ongoing nuclear standoff.

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Iran and Russia Just Revealed How They’ll Upend the Petrodollar

 

Iran and Russia just took a page out of Venezuela’s playbook.

Like Caracas announced on Dec. 4, Moscow and Tehran are looking into cryptocurrencies as a means of upending the U.S. petrodollar’s reign over the global oil market, Cointelegraph reported on Dec. 11.

For its part, crypto’s rise in popularity of late does make for an enticing investment choice, especially with Bitcoin’s 150% surge over the past month. Continue reading

Report: North Korea Prepping Bioweapons

U.S. officials were reportedly alarmed by news in North Korean media about the Pyongyang Bio-Technical Institute, which is now believed to be a cover for the Hermit Kingdom’s bioweapons program.

 

The International Business Times reports U.S. officials believe the Hermit Kingdom has acquired the necessary equipment to mass-produce enormous quantities of bacterial and viral bioweapons. And, Kim Jong-un is sending his brightest students overseas to gain the knowledge to make it happen.

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China and India sail into choppy waters in New Great Game

Looking out at the port of Chabahar. Photo: Reuters / Raheb Homavandi

 

This shadow play is a heady vortex, churning with power projections, spheres of influence, security and commerce

The New Silk Roads, known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), will weave and interconnect six major economic corridors. At 12,000 kilometers, the Eurasia Land Bridge Economic Corridor is a rail network from eastern China to western Europe via Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus.

Then there is the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, while the China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor runs from Xinjiang to Istanbul. Nine new road links in the Greater Mekong help make up the China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor. Continue reading

Thousands of Russian private contractors fighting in Syria

Visitors and Russian military police officers walk toward the Citadel, Aleppo’s famed fortress. Russian news outlets say thousands of Russians have been deployed in Syria by a shadowy, private military contractor since 2015. When President Vladimir Putin announced Monday Dec. 11, 2017, that Russia’s campaign in Syria was drawing to a close, he did not mention this secret force.

 

MOSCOW (AP) — Before he was killed by a sniper in Syria at age 23, Ivan Slyshkin wrote a poignant message on social media to his fiancee: “We will see each other soon — and I will hold you as tight as I possibly can.”

But Slyshkin’s name won’t be found among the Russian Defense Ministry’s official casualties in the fight against Islamic State extremists. That’s because the young man who left his hometown of Ozyorsk in the Ural mountains was one of thousands of Russians deployed to Syria by a shadowy, private military contractor known as Wagner, which the government doesn’t talk about.

Slyshkin’s gravestone depicts him holding a machine gun, according to a local news website Znak.com that sent a reporter to his March 2 funeral in Ozyorsk, where friends said he joined Wagner to earn money to pay for his wedding. Continue reading

EU To Restrict Movement of Cash

 

The EU is now developing strict rules for carrying cash when traveling to non-European countries and returning to Europe. The revision of the First Cash Control Regulation from 2005, which stipulated that EU citizens should register cash in excess of € 10,000 when leaving the EU or when returning to the customs authorities have to, is what is under review. They want to lower the number and include gold, gemstones, and cash debit cards. Continue reading

Chinese Diplomat: China Will Open Fire On Taiwan If A US Warship Ever Docks There

Soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy patrol at Woody Island, in the Paracel Archipelago, which is known in China as the Xisha Islands, January 29, 2016. The words on the rock read, “Xisha Old Dragon”. Old Dragon is the local name of a pile of rocks near Woody Island. Picture taken January 29, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer.

 

The day an American warship makes a port call in Taiwan will be the day the Chinese military launches an all-out assault against the island, a Chinese diplomat in the U.S. warned Friday. The senior official’s “words have sent a warning to Taiwan and drew a clear red line,” China’s nationalist tabloid Global Times asserted Monday.

“The day that a U.S. Navy vessel arrives in Kaohsiung, is the day that our People’s Liberation Army unites Taiwan with military force,” Li Kexin, the minister at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, said at an embassy event, Taiwan media reports. Continue reading

Russia May Turn To Cryptocurrencies For Oil Trade

Putin

 

Russia may be looking to use cryptocurrencies for oil trade to avoid payments in U.S. dollars and limit the impact of the U.S. sanctions, Russia’s government-backed outlet RT reports.

The bitcoin mania—on which the jury is still out whether it will be the biggest bubble in history or a success—could be a “fresh catalyst” for countries that want to ditch the U.S. dollar in oil trade, according to Stephen Brennock, an oil analyst at PVM Oil Associates. Continue reading