US struggles to counter Chinese maritime hegemony

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has spoken out against China’s strategy of “intimidation and coercion” in the South China Sea, including the deployment of anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles and electronic jammers, and, more recently, the landing of nuclear-capable bomber aircraft at Woody Island. There are, Mattis warned, “consequences to China ignoring the international community.”

But what consequences? Two successive US administrations – Barack Obama’s and now Donald Trump’s – have failed to push back credibly against China’s expansionism in the South China Sea, which has accelerated despite a 2016 international arbitral tribunal ruling invalidating its territorial claims there. Instead, the US has relied on rhetoric or symbolic actions. Continue reading

Some Provocative Thoughts from Bukovsky

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(Screenshot 112 Ukraine TV)

 

Vladimir Bukovsky has been giving some pretty interesting Russian-language interviews lately.

Earlier this month, he spoke with Kiev-based112 Ukraine TV. Below is an excerpt from the English translation by Alissa Ordabai that should get some attention.

Dmitry Gordon: You recently said, “If two ballistic missiles were launched at Lubyanka, the level of terrorism worldwide would drop by 80 percent.”  What did you mean by that?

Vladimir Bukovsky: The thing is that a huge part of the world’s so-called terrorism is being organized by Lubyanka (the popular name for the headquarters of the FSB on Lubyanka Square in Moscow – translator). They control Islamic terrorism, ever since the war in Afghanistan when they were supporting the most extremist parts of the Afghan resistance, people like Gulbuddin.  You wouldn’t remember these names.   Continue reading

Germany starts to build Nord Stream 2

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Danish and Swedish permits still pending (Photo: nord-stream2.com)

 

Germany has started to pour concrete on a Russian gas pipeline that risks dividing the EU and harming its energy security.

The construction began in Lubmin, on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast, on Thursday (3 May), with the laying of foundations for a terminal that will receive 55bn cubic metres (bcm) a year of Russian gas via the Nord Stream 2 pipeline when it goes online in 2020. Continue reading

Ukraine: Is Russia Planning A New Invasion?

Pictured: A Russian-backed rebel observing Ukrainian army positions near Donetsk, Eastern Ukraine, May 17, 2015. (Image source: Mstyslav Chernov/Wikimedia Commons)

 

  • Russia’s aggression into Ukraine came in direct violation of its obligations under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum.
  • “After four years of war, Russia has at least 260,000 troops deployed along the Ukrainian border,” ready to advance. — Oleksandr Turchynov, Chairman of Ukraine’s National Defense and Security Council, April 13, 2018.
  • The First Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Security Service, Viktor Kononenko, recently reported that Russia might be planning another attempt to destabilize Ukraine in the fall “under the pretext of protecting the Russian-speaking population”.

This April marks the fourth year of the ongoing war in Ukraine between the Ukrainian military and Russian backed separatists in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics in eastern Ukraine, also known as the Donbas region. Prior to the beginning of the war in eastern Ukraine in April 2014, Russia annexed Crimea.

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The Deep State Closes In On The Donald: Mueller’s War, Part 2

Part 1 can be found here:

The Deep State Closes In On The Donald, Part 1

 

 

What is going on in the eastern Mediterranean and over the skies and on the ground in Syria is absolutely nuts; it’s also scary dangerous and utterly unnecessary, too.

After all, the imminent Russian/American military clash is over the skeleton of an artificial backwater nation confected in 1916 by two swells in the British and French foreign offices. At length, what was never a nation anyway has finally been reduced to rubble, misery and sectarian fragments.

So there is nothing to contest now, and, in fact, there never was. The sovereign government of Syria long ago invited the Russians in and Washington out. Period. Continue reading

Escalation Dominance

 

On March 1, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin delivered a speech that effectively declared Russia has overwhelming nuclear superiority and war-winning capability against the United States, NATO, and the entire world.

While President Obama neglected modernizing the U.S. nuclear deterrent, questing for a “world without nuclear weapons” – Russia achieved what the USSR never could against any U.S. president during the Cold War, the holy grail of nuclear superiority, what strategists call “escalation dominance.” Continue reading

Ukraine Gets Official NATO Status: Weighing Up the Pros and Cons

 

NATO has granted Ukraine the status of an aspirant country. Macedonia, Georgia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina have similar status. This means Kiev has been offered a real chance to make its dreams come true. The next step will be obtaining its Membership Action Plan (MAP), a set of criteria to meet before the country is allowed to join. It is tailored to each applicant country’s individual profile. This type of plan can be granted at any time; there is no need to wait for summits or ministry-level meetings. Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina are aspirants with a MAP.

Last summer, Ukraine’s parliament (Rada) adopted a resolution recognizing full membership in NATO as a foreign policy goal. In 2008, NATO agreed that Ukraine and Georgia should become members at a future date. Continue reading

Putin’s Russia: From basket case to resurgent superpower

In this photo taken on Friday, March 2, 2018 and released Saturday, March 10, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during an interview with NBC News’ Megyn Kelly in Kaliningrad, Russia. In the some times combative interview Putin denied the charge by U.S. intelligence services that he ordered meddling in the November 2016 vote, claiming any interference was not connected to the Kremlin. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

 

MOSCOW (AP) — Vladimir Putin and his Russia look more invincible today than at any other time in his 18 years in power.

Since Putin last faced an election in 2012, Russians have invaded Ukraine, annexed Crimea, blanket-bombed Syria, been accused of meddling in the U.S. presidential election and claimed to have a scary new nuclear arsenal.

“No one listened to us. You listen to us now,” he said earlier this month, boasting about those weapons. Continue reading

Russia Claims to be Ready for SWIFT Cutoff

 

U.S. And Its Allies Are Considering The Move To Ensure Russia Complies To UN Sanctions On North Korea.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich reportedly told state-run media his country’s banking system is fully prepared to “survive” if the U.S. and its Western allies cut off access to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. Continue reading

US Strikes Kill 100 Russian Fighters In Syria

 

Following up to last night’s bombshell report  that at least two Russian mercenary fighters in Syria had been killed by US-led coalition forces, this morning Bloomberg is out with an exclusive, according to which the body count is far greater than had been disclosed: U.S. forces reportedly killed “scores” of Russian contract soldiers in Syria last week “in what may be the deadliest clash between citizens of the former foes since the Cold War“, Bloomberg reported.

According to the unnamed US and Russian sources, “more than 200 mercenaries, mostly Russians fighting on behalf of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, died in a failed attack on a base and refinery held by U.S. and U.S.-backed forces in the oil-rich Deir Ezzor region” In terms of total body count, the U.S. official put the death toll at about 100, with 200 to 300 injured. Continue reading

NATO’s Real Existential Threat: The Surrender of Western Values

 

The alliance’s elites have come down with a case of civilizational cluelessness

On January 17, Petr Pavel, a Czech army general and NATO’s military committee chairman, led meetings with his counterparts from Ukraine and Georgia, which he tweeted were “Sessions dedicated to Projecting Stability.” Yet while NATO’s collaboration with nations historically intertwined with Russia could lead to a number of possible outcomes, “stability” seems the least likely one. Like so much of what the alliance does, the purpose of these meetings is to push the alliance ever eastward.

That raises a question. Why should Americans participate in an alliance in which a general—from a minuscule military power that spends 1 percent of its GDP on defense—hosts a meeting that is more likely to provoke a catastrophic U.S.-Russia war than to prevent one? As Ted Galen Carpenter recently explained here at TAC, this is the dangerous calculus that results from interlocking the United States with so many NATO nations, including some that Moscow regards as within its sphere of influence.

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Russia and Europe moving closer to WAR warns shock new report

Russia war

Russia’s foreign policy has sparked concern across Europe [Getty]

 

RUSSIA and Europe are moving closer to all-out war, a shocking new report has warned.

The report said the erosion of arms control agreements, deployment of additional weapons and tensions over military exercises have increased the risk of an inadvertent armed clash.

The annual Munich Security Report, this year entitled ‘To The Brink – And Back?’ also cited growing pressure on nuclear disarmament treaties and ongoing security concerns in eastern and central Europe as cause for concern.  Continue reading

NATO’s Northern Expansion (II)

 

BERLIN/BRUSSELS/STOCKHOLM(Own report) – Officially neutral Sweden can be considered a “de facto member” of NATO, a Swedish foreign policy expert confirmed in a new German foreign policy periodical. Last fall’s large maneuver in Sweden sent a clear “message” that the country’s neutrality has “de facto been suspended,” completely changing the entire military “map” of the Baltic region “to NATO’s advantage.” In fact, back already in the 1990s, Sweden had begun to build links to the western war alliance; crucial decisions had been taken already before the Ukraine conflict’s escalation and Crimea’s integration into the Russian Federation. The Bundeswehr is heavily involved in integrating the Swedish armed forces into NATO’s structures, focusing on naval cooperation. This cooperation is aiming at including the Swedish military into NATO’s naval operations. The cooperation of the naval forces is not limited to NATO’s framework, but may also be within that of the EU.

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Russia Steadily Cultivating Electronic Warfare While U.S., NATO Lag Behind

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin / Getty Images

 

U.S. deprioritized investment in electronic warfare capabilities in past two decades

Russia has steadily improved its electronic warfare capabilities to prepare for potential conflict with the West, while the United States and its NATO partners have suffered a lapse in training for battle against regional powers amid ongoing counterterrorism operations, according to a leading analyst of Moscow’s military developments. Continue reading

Europe at the Crossroads

MUNICH/BERLIN(Own report) – The organizers of the Munich Security Conference (MSC), one of the world’s most important military policy conferences, are urging that the EU’s transformation into a war alliance be accelerated. The European Union of states should be able to take on “missions,” similar to the 2011 military operation against Libya, at any time, according to a recent report by the Munich Security Conference, the McKinsey management consulting firm and the elite Hertie School of Governance. Not only drastic increases in the military budgets are being demanded of the EU members, but, above all, investments in modern military equipment. The authors of the report not only emphasize the harmonization of European weapon system standards but are also demanding that EU-states invest more in research, and to a growing extent, involve universities, branches of civilian industries and so-called start-up enterprises. According to the MSC Chairman, the German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger, these are “essential” decisions, because it is “unsustainable” for the EU to continue to rely on US “protection.”

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