China military develops robotic submarines to launch a new era of sea power

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Autonomous robotic submarines are expected to be deployed by China in the early 2020s. Graphic: Henry Wong

 

Unmanned AI subs, expected in the 2020s, could challenge the advantage Western naval powers have in strategic waters like the South China Sea

China is developing large, smart and relatively low-cost unmanned submarines that can roam the world’s oceans to perform a wide range of missions, from reconnaissance to mine placement to even suicide attacks against enemy vessels, according to scientists involved in these artificial intelligence (AI) projects.

The autonomous robotic submarines are expected to be deployed in the early 2020s. While not intended to entirely replace human-operated submarines, they will challenge the advantageous position established by Western naval powers after the second world war. The robotic subs are aimed particularly at the United States forces in strategic waters like the South China Sea and western Pacific Ocean, the researchers said. Continue reading

American Power Under Siege

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping / Getty

 

Review: ‘Rise of the Revisionists’: Russia, China, and Iran’ edited by Gary J. Schmitt

In 1991, after the Soviet Union collapsed, the United States gained unchallenged supremacy in the world. Indeed, just three years later, the U.S. alone accounted for about 25 percent of global GDP and 40 percent of world military spending, while Washington’s treaty allies in Europe and the Asia Pacific boasted roughly another 47 and 35 percent, respectively. Potential adversaries, meanwhile, were weak and overmatched: Russia was reeling from the Soviet implosion; China did not have the economic or military weight to compete; Iran was still recovering from its calamitous war with Iraq. In this environment, the U.S. could act with impunity. Democracy was expanding across the globe; the long shadow of communist authoritarianism had disappeared. It was the end of history as we knew it. Or so many thought.

That post-Cold War era has now passed. What comes next is still taking shape, but one thing is clear: America’s relative dominance is declining. U.S. shares of global GDP and defense spending are, while formidable, not what they once were; the same goes for Washington’s core treaty allies. More importantly, the U.S. and its Western allies have been reluctant to use their still-considerable power assertively. At the same time, hostile authoritarian states have pursued in earnest their long-held ambitions to dominate their own regions. These revisionist powers—Russia in Europe, China in East Asia, and Iran in the Middle East—never accepted the world order that followed the Cold War, defined by an open global economic system, international institutions, liberal political norms, and American supremacy. So Moscow, Beijing, and Tehran bided their time, gaining strength and waiting for the right time to try to overturn the order. That time has arrived, and the implications for American interests and global peace and stability are profound—and quite dangerous. Continue reading

Will Donald Trump Make Germany Great Again?

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German ‘Bundeswehr’ army soldiers pictured at the training ground during the preparations of the ‘Landoperationen 2017’ military exercise in Munster, Germany, (Philipp Schulze/picture alliance via Getty Images)

 

The U.S. president wants Germany to be the world’s third-largest military spender.

United States President Donald Trump agrees a lot with the Trumpet when it comes to world news. Certainly not always. But consider his recent trip to Europe.

He warned that Germany was too close to Russia. Last year we called that alliance “The Russian Alliance You Really Have to Worry About.” He said that Europe is attacking America on trade. Ten years ago, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry warned that Europe was waging “a quiet but concerted war on American commerce.” President Trump complains that the U.S. spends billions defending Europe. In the 1950s, Herbert W. Armstrong warned that “in spending unprecedented billions of your dollars and mine—tax dollars—preparing Germany and Europe for defense,” America was making a huge mistake.

A few weeks ago, someone wrote in to ask me why I’m so pro-Trump. This is not about being pro-Trump or anti-Trump. We are saying what we have always said—he just happens to be saying it too.

So there was a lot to like about his Europe trip. But there is also a major danger.

Donald Trump’s Europe trip could be a milestone in making Germany great again, and in turning Germany against America. Continue reading

China Plans to Launch Its Own ‘Blackwater’

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(Photo Credit: BrokenSphere via Creative Commons 3.0)

 

Not surprisingly, Erik Prince is involved in those discussions.

As its sprawling, trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative is struggling with security concerns, the Chinese government is now reportedly turning to an American who is an expert in those matters to meet those needs. Continue reading

China Pushes at Taiwan With ‘Large-Scale’ Military Exercises

 

A six-day live-fire drill gets Xi Jinping’s point across.

China began a six-day military drill in the East China Sea on July 19 as a threat toward the island nation of Taiwan.

Located near Taiwan, these “live-fire” drills are complex and will simulate real combat, according to the Global Times. China’s People’s Liberation Army (pla) will practice their “systematic combat capability, tactics, training methods and capacities of its weaponry and equipment.” Continue reading

Russia Is Liquidating Its US Treasury Holdings

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The buildings of Moscow City, the Moscow International Business Center (MIBC). © Vladimir Sergeev / Sputnik

 

The share of US sovereign debt bonds under Russian control has dramatically decreased in recent months. In March 2018, Russia held $96.1 billion in US Treasures, which it reduced to $48.7 billion in April.

A treasury bond is a fixed-interest government debt security with a maturity of more than 10 years. Treasury bonds make interest payments twice a year. The gradual sell-off of US sovereign debt started in 2011, and has intensified over recent years amid numerous rounds of sanctions imposed by the White House against Russia. Continue reading

Japan’s growing plutonium stockpile fuels fears

As said many times in the past, Japan can go nuclear within three months if it wishes. It’s already secretly working on them. The necessary materials are there and only assembly is required. All that’s needed is a catalyst.

Although it may be a farce, like the last 10-plus times it has committed to denuclearization, North Korea has slowed down the need. China at the moment is the flashpoint since it also controls North Korea, and is projecting its power throughout the Asia-Pacific and eventually into the Western Pacific.

 

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Illustration only.

 

Japan has amassed enough plutonium to make 6,000 atomic bombs as part of a programme to fuel its nuclear plants, but concern is growing that the stockpile is vulnerable to terrorists and natural disasters.

Japan has long been the world’s only non-nuclear-armed country with a programme to reprocess spent nuclear fuel from its power plants into plutonium. Continue reading

Geopolitical crisis : A moribund NATO

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As we have explained on other occasions, NATO is still there, of course, but only because there are no better options at hand. Everyone wants to be rid of it – the Europeans who want a common European defence[1] and Donald Trump who wants Europeans to participate more in their own defence. They are all contributing to a slow process in which NATO continues to get in the way whilst Europeans dither between several strategies:

  • To increase their share[2] and thus acquire an equal say with that of the US within NATO (with the long-term aim of separating off to form a European NATO[3]). Problem: For this strategy to have a chance of success, much greater cohesion is needed in the European camp – something that is still a long way off at the moment. Continue reading

Space Wars: Russia Reveals New Russian Anti-Satellite Warfare Plane

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During a press conference last month, President Donald Trump ordered the Pentagon to “immediately” establish a “space force” as an independent service branch. As we have highlighted before, the Pentagon is preparing for decades of hybrid wars across multiple domains – space, cyberspace, air, land, maritime – against Russia and China in the 2025-2040 timeframe.

According to an unnamed Russian defense industry source, as quoted by Sputnik News, Russia is developing a new electronic warfare aircraft, which can degrade the effectiveness of American spy satellites or render them entirely useless by using advanced radar jamming technology mounted on the exterior of the plane. Continue reading

The U.S. Dollar: A Victim of Its Own Success

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America’s most powerful weapon of war does not shoot, fly or explode. It’s not a submarine, plane, tank or laser. America’s most powerful strategic weapon today is the dollar.

The U.S. uses the dollar strategically to reward friends and punish enemies. The use of the dollar as a weapon is not limited to trade wars and currency wars, although the dollar is used tactically in those disputes. The dollar is much more powerful than that.

The dollar can be used for regime change by creating hyperinflation, bank runs and domestic dissent in countries targeted by the U.S. The U.S. can depose the governments of its adversaries, or at least blunt their policies without firing a shot. Continue reading

China Working to Boost Role in Middle East

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China’s President Xi Jinping gives a speech during the 8th Ministerial Meeting of China-Arab States Cooperation Forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on July, 10, 2018. (WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Growing influence in the region helps China accelerate its Belt and Road Initiative.

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered remarks in Beijing on July 10 at the eighth ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum. Xi’s basic message to the representatives from 21 Arab nations and to the secretary general of the Arab League was that China seeks to become more involved in the Middle East.

He stressed the importance of Sino-Arab relations, saying, “Arab states and China are natural partners.” Continue reading

The Art of the Deal Vs. The Art of War

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At the risk of beating a dead horse on the topic of trade wars, the sequence of unfolding events is making me cautious near term.

Let me explain why.

First, for all those market pundits, analysts and investors who are following the twists and turns of this trade tiff using Trump’s Art of the Deal as their playbook…

I have a better read for you. Pick up a copy of Sun Tzu’s, The Art of War instead! Continue reading

The Road to War: China vs the US

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In 2016 Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, declared that there was no doubt, in his mind, that the US would go to war with China in the South China Sea in the next five to 10 years.

A US-Chinese military conflict would be on top of a vow by Trump in his inaugural presidential address, to not only take on radical Islamic terrorism but to “eradicate it from the face of the Earth.” This would be done by building up America’s already supreme military. “Our military dominance must be unquestioned,” the billionaire businessman, who now controlled the most powerful political office in the world, declared in his first address to the nation.

A year and a half after that speech, the United States is not at war with China, but its economic saber-rattling is arguably the beginning of a confrontation between the world’s largest and second-largest economies. Trump’s tariff threats against not only China but Europe, Canada, Mexico and its other trade partners, are also symbolic of a shift in US foreign policy towards a more isolationist stance – one that may not strictly be due to Trump’s belligerent personality. This article will get into the antecedents of this economic and military showdown and point the way to some possible future scenarios, including a war in space. Continue reading

Trump Calls the European Union a Foe: ‘What They Do to Us in Trade’

 

President Donald Trump said during a Sunday interview with CBS News anchor Jeff Glor that the European Union is a foe.

“What’s your biggest competitor, the biggest foe globally right now?” Glor asked the president

“Well, I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade,” Trump said. “Now, you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe.” Continue reading

Russia moving into Libya

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Libyan National Army forces, under the leadership of Maj. Gen. Khalifah Haftar, is pushing for a Russian military presence in eastern Libya. (The Washington Times/File) Photo by: Mathieu Galtier

 

U.S. intelligence agencies are closely monitoring Russian military activities in Libya for signs that Moscow may soon build a military base in the divided North African state.

Intelligence reports indicate that Russia is planning to expand its Syrian bases at Tartus and Hemeimeem to Libya.

The possible Russian move into Libya represents the most recent failure stemming from the policies of President Obama that backed Islamist rebels who overthrew and killed Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

Mr. Obama has said that the failure to prepare for the aftermath of the ouster of Gadhafi was the worst mistake of his presidency. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also came under fire for failing to provide security for Americans who were attacked and killed in Benghazi after Gadhafi’s fall. Continue reading