A New Era for the China-Russia-U.S. Triangle

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Nearly a half-century ago, President Richard Nixon’s secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, established a successful U.S. strategy for dealing with America’s two most dangerous rivals. He sought closer ties to both the Soviet Union, with its more than 7,000 nuclear weapons, and Communist China, with the world’s largest population.

Kissinger’s approach was sometimes called “triangulation.” But distilled down to its essence, the phrase meant ensuring that China and Russia were not friendlier to each other than each was to the United States

Given that the Soviet Union was much stronger than China at the time, Kissinger especially courted Beijing. Continue reading

China steps up spying on U.S. military

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Li Shangfu (center), who was slapped with U.S. sanctions this week for buying arms from Russia, is director of the Equipment Development Department of China’s Central Military Commission. The department announced a database that will likely benefit from China’s theft of 22.1 million records on American federal workers, including those with security clearances, from the Office of Personnel Management in 2015. (Photo by: Mark Schiefelbein/Associated Press/File)

 

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is stepping up open-source spying on the U.S. military and other foreign militaries that will utilize artificial intelligence means.

According to a procurement notice from China’s Central Military Commission, the new database is a six-month project to set up an “Open Source Intelligence Database on Foreign Militaries.”

The revealing notice was published by the commission’s PLA Equipment Development Department, whose director, Lt. Gen. Li Shangfu, was slapped with U.S. sanctions this week for buying arms from Russia.

The database will likely benefit from China’s theft of 22.1 million records on American federal workers, including those with security clearances, from the Office of Personnel Management in 2015. Chinese hackers also stole an estimated 80 million records on Americans from health care insurance giant Anthem. Continue reading

Japanese Prime Minister Wants to Revise Pacifist Constitution to Create Military Force

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and wife Akie Abe arrive at Marka international airport on April 30, 2018 in Amman, Jordan. Abe is on a Middle East tour visiting the UAE, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories. (Getty Images)

 

Prime Minister Shinzō Abe steps up efforts to change Japan’s constitution to allow the creation of a military force by 2020.

“Let’s fulfill our mission by clearly writing in the constitution the Self-Defense Forces that protect peace and independence of Japan,” Prime Minister Shinzō Abe said on September 9, reiterating his support for changing Japan’s constitution to allow for a military.

The second clause of Article 9 of Japan’s constitution says that “Land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained.” Nonetheless, Article 9 allowed Japan to create its own military strictly for the purpose of defending its own borders. This de facto military is known as Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (sdf).

Prime Minister Abe wants to officially change this policy. And he wants to do it by next year. Continue reading

Stocking Up for World War III

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Nuclear nonproliferation efforts are ending. A new arms race has begun.

Since the United States and the Soviet Union backed away from the precipice of nuclear war in the 1980s, the world’s stocks of nuclear weapons have declined from an estimated 60,000 to an estimated 10,000.

According to a 2014 study by science journal Earth’s Future, however, it would take just 100 nuclear detonations to create a worldwide climate catastrophe causing massive famine and death. Continue reading

U.S. Looks To Find Alternatives To Iranian Oil For Allies

 

The United States—which is pushing to have all Iranian oil customers stop importing crude from Tehran—is looking for alternative oil supplies for its allies whose imports will be disrupted by the U.S. sanctions on Iran, the Financial Times reported on Thursday, citing a senior U.S. administration  official. Continue reading

Japan conducts first submarine drill in disputed South China Sea

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Japan has carried out its first submarine drill in the South China Sea, a newspaper said Monday, a move that could provoke Beijing which claims most of the disputed waters.

Submarine Kuroshio on Thursday joined three Japanese warships in waters just southwest of the China-controlled Scarborough Shoal, the Asahi Shimbun said. Continue reading

China ‘nearing mass production’ of J-20 stealth fighter after engine problems ironed out

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China’s new J-20 stealth fighter could soon go into mass production as earlier problems with its engine have now been resolved, sources say. Photo: EPA

 

Improved power train will give Chinese jet ability to fly undetected at supersonic speeds, on par with United States’ F-35

A new and improved engine designed to make China’s J-20 stealth fighter a world-class combat jet should be ready for mass production by the end of the year, military sources have said.

The WS-15 engine features cutting-edge single-crystal turbine blades and has been in development for several years, but Chinese technicians have struggled to get it into mass production. Continue reading

Signs Point to a Global Slowdown

Signs Point to a Global Slowdown

 

As gold has struggled through 2018, (down over 10% from $1,363/oz. on January 25 to $1,215/oz. today), my forecast for a strong year-end for gold has remained unchanged.

This forecast is based on a better-late-than-never realization by the Fed that they are overtightening into fundamental economic weakness, followed quickly by a full-reversal flip to easing in the form of pauses on rate hikes in September and December.

Those pauses will be an admission the Fed sees no way out of its multiple rounds of QE and extended zero interest rate policy from 2008 to 2013 without causing a new recession. Once that occurs, inflation is just a matter of time. Gold will respond accordingly. Continue reading

Japan Deploys Aegis Ashore, Becoming a Link in the US Global Missile Defense

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On July 30, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera announced a plan to deploy the Aegis Ashore missile-defense system by 2023. The military training grounds in the Akita and Yamaguchi prefectures are prospective sites.  This decision is a “big-ticket purchase” that could also help Tokyo smooth trade friction with Washington, amidst the Trump administration’s threats to hit Japan’s auto imports with new tariffs.  Reuters cited Japanese media reports that have put the cost of the two sites, which will include the Aegis air-defense system, missile launchers, and interceptors, at around $6 billion. Japan has chosen the Lockheed Martin Corp’s SSR radar, with a far greater range than the Aegis radars currently operated by the US Navy. Officially, the move is being justified by pointing to the threat from North Korea. Continue reading

Who Does America Belong to?

Not to Americans

The housing market is now apparently turning down. Consumer incomes are limited by jobs offshoring and the ability of employers to hold down wages and salaries.  The Federal Reserve seems committed to higher interest rates—in my view to protect the exchange value of the US dollar on which Washington’s power is based.  The arrogant fools in Washington, with whom I spent a quarter century, have, with their bellicosity and sanctions, encouraged nations with independent foreign and economic policies to drop the use of the dollar.  This takes some time to accomplish, but Russia, China, Iran, and India are apparently committed to dropping  or reducing the use of the US dollar. Continue reading

Radioactive Cesium-137 From Fukushima Found In California Wine

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Following the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan – which left Japanese residents contending with toxic water and radioactive wild boars, World Health Organization (WHO) officials said that particles of radioactive fallout which made its way to the Western United States and elsewhere was no biggie and didn’t pose a health risk.

California wine lovers will get to test that theory, after researchers at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) discovered cesium-137 in several golden-state vintages. The researchers tested 18 bottles of California rosé and cabernet sauvignon from 2009 onward – finding increased levels of the radioactive isotope in bottles produced after the Fukushima disaster. The cabernets had double the radiation of the other wine, according to the study. 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

Russia, China Could Soon Outmatch U.S. in Combat Aviation

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New Russian air-to-air missile has advantage in speed and reach

KIEV, UkraineRussia’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced that a new weapon is very near completion of its test validation trials and will soon be placed into service.

If reports of its operational performance are accurate, it will threaten the survivability of every U.S. combat aircraft currently in service—particularly the newest U.S. fighter, the Lockheed Martin F-35. Continue reading

Leaked Chinese Memo Warns Of “Thucydides Trap” With US, “War Is Unavoidable”

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A series of leaked internal documents reveal that China’s military reforms are aimed at allowing Beijing to “manage a crisis, contain a conflict, win a war” and overtake the United States in military strength, according to the Express.

The leaked documents were published by the Central Military Commission in February for the purpose of spreading President Xi Jinping’s “thought on strengthening the armed forces”.

If the reforms go ahead, they will lead to heightened tensions with China’s neighbouring countries, including Japan, in the East and South China Seas and the US. –Express Continue reading

Taiwan Doubles Down On U.S. LNG

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LNG Vessel. Source: OilPrice

 

Taiwan, which has seen increased military exercises off its coast by Chinese forces this year, has just inked a major energy deal with a U.S. energy firm.

On Monday, Taiwan’s CPC Corp., a major LNG importer, announced a preliminary deal to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) from U.S. based LNG producer Cheniere Energy for a period of 25 years. CPC signed a Heads of Agreement to purchase 2 million tonnes of LNG annually from the major gas exporter, which is gearing up to start exports from its second export plant at Corpus Christi, Texas. Continue reading