The Anti-Silk Road

BERLIN/BEIJING (Own report) – At this week’s Asia-Europe Meeting in Brussels, the EU will introduce a new “connectivity strategy” to counter China’s “New Silk Road.” As outlined by the EU’s head of foreign policy in September, the strategy is aimed at improving transportation infrastructure as well as digital and energy networks linking Asia and Europe. Beijing is also active in these domains in connection with its Silk Road initiative. Recently, Germany’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched an initial thrust in this project. At the time, Minister of State Niels Annen (SPD) declared in Uzbekistan that social standards and human rights are “priorities” for Brussels. “This is what makes our offer different from China’s Belt and Road initiative.” For years, Germany had supported – even with military assistance – the Uzbek regime that was applying torture. Washington has also launched a new infrastructure initiative in Asia, to which US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that the USA is committed to “honest accords” and would “never seek dominance over the Indo-Pacific.” Continue reading

An end to the dollar’s global hegemony? The Kremlin sees an opportunity.

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An exchange-office screen on a Moscow street shows the currency exchange rate of the Russian ruble and US dollar in April. The Kremlin has begun making moves to insulate the Russian economy from escalating US sanctions. (Pavel Golovkin/AP)

 

The dollar has long been the world’s reserve currency. But some countries, angered by sanctions, are challenging that status, potentially undermining one of the US’s most influential tools for shaping global policy.

For average Russians, a small personal hoard of US dollars has always represented a place of safety amid the wild ups-and-downs that continue to beset the country’s national currency, the ruble.

So it triggered a touch of panic among them when the Russian government confirmed long-standing rumors that it is working on a plan to insulate the economy from escalating US sanctions through “de-dollarization.” Continue reading

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

ECB Hands Italy An Ultimatum: ‘Obey EU Budget Rules Or We Won’t Save You’

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With the Washington Post stepping up to put a floor under US stocks Thursday afternoon by reporting that President Trump would meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at next month’s G-20 summit (while the headline soothed the market, it doesn’t change the fact that, as with everything involving the Trump administration, this too remains subject to change), investors have apparently overlooked the latest ominous headlines out of Italy. To wit, Reuters reported that the ECB won’t come to Italy’s rescue if its government or banks run out of cash unless the Italian government first secures a bailout from the European Union. Of course, this would almost certainly require that the populist coalition end its ongoing game of fiscal chicken with Brussels and abandon its  dreams of lowering the retirement age and extending a basic income to the Italian people – policies that would effectively secure a political future for M5S and the League. 

In effect, the ECB’s latest trial balloon is tantamount to blackmail: Either the Italians agree to fall back in line and obey European budgetary guidelines, or the central bank will sit back and watch as bond yields surge, providing the ratings agencies even more ammunition to cut Italian debt to junk – effectively guaranteeing a Greece-style banking crisis as the liquidity taps are turned off. Continue reading

EXCLUSIVE – Michael Savage: Left’s ‘Orchestrated Mass Hysteria’ Over Trump Must Be Stopped

 

Talk radio star and New York Times bestselling author Michael Savage has a prescient warning for America: Mass hysteria has overtaken rational political discourse and escalated to a crescendo following the election of Donald Trump.

If we don’t learn from past mistakes, Savage argues, the current “collective derangement” which, he says, is being used by power-hungry actors and channeled into “orchestrated mass hysteria,” will lead the country to a very dark future.

Savage sounds the alarm bells in his latest tome, Stop Mass Hysteria: America’s Insanity from the Salem Witch Trials to the Trump Witch Hunt, which will be released on Tuesday on Amazon and in bookstores nationwide. Continue reading

Chinese spy caught in ‘rare’ sting after ‘plot to steal US trade secrets’

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US federal agents lured a Chinese government spy to Belgium, where authorities transferred him to the US for prosecution on economic espionage charges. Photo: AP

 

Yanjun Xu, a senior officer with China’s Ministry of State Security, is accused of seeking to steal trade secrets from leading defence aviation firms, top Justice Department officials said

US agents have arrested a top Beijing intelligence official for allegedly attempting to steal trade secrets from GE Aviation and other US aerospace companies after luring the suspect to Belgium in what the US Justice Department called “an unprecedented extradition”.

Xu Yanjun, who also uses the names Qu Hui and Zhang Hui, was extradited to the US on Tuesday with assistance from Belgian authorities for seeking “to steal trade secrets and other sensitive information from an American company that leads the way in aerospace”, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said in a Justice Department announcement on Wednesday. Continue reading

New Evidence Of Chinese Spy Hardware Found By Ex-Mossad Investigators; Super Micro Shares Plunge

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A major US telecommunications company found “manipulated” hardware from Super Micro Computer Inc. in its network in August – bolstering claims in a Bloomberg report last week alleging that China installed bugging devices on hardware bought by Apple, Amazon and a host of other companies.

According to a new report by Bloomberg, the unnamed telecom company hired former Israeli Intelligence Corps security expert Yossi Appleboum, now of Maryland-based Sepio Systems, who provided “documents, analysis and other evidence of the discovery” following last week’s report detailing how China’s intelligence agencies had ordered subcontractors to install malicious chips in Super Micro motherboards between 2013 and 2015.  Continue reading

A New Era Of Geopolitical Risk In Global Oil Markets

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Amid never ending talk and speculation over how many more barrels of Iranian oil will be removed from global markets once sanctions slated to hit Iran’s oil production on November 6 take effect, some are claiming that geopolitical factors have driven the market just as much as supply fundamentals.

At Russia Energy Week in Moscow last week, both Saudi and Russian energy ministers said they see rising geopolitical risk as driving the recent oil price increase at a time when there is sufficient supply in the market. Of course, the notion of sufficient supply will be tested soon, as will both Saudi Arabia’s and OPEC’s spare production capacity will be called on to maintain this supply. Continue reading

New Report Says Trump Wants Chinese Parts Out Of American Weapons

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Top defense officials said last week that the Pentagon intends to invest in domestic manufacturing to reduce it over-reliance on Chinese and other foreign-made parts in American weapons.

The Pentagon’s reliance on China is a major topic discussed in a new report about the overall status of the defense industrial base that President Trump is scheduled to release. Some other areas include “accelerating workforce development efforts to grow domestic science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and critical trade skills,” said Defense One.

“This assessment recognizes the global nature of our supply chain and really addresses the need for strengthening alliances and partnerships so that we can jointly address industrial base risk,” Ellon Lord, undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment, said Thursday evening during a press briefing at the Pentagon. Continue reading

China Says Interpol Chief Meng Hongwei Under Investigation

Interpol President Meng Hongwei walks toward the stage to address the Interpol World Congress in Singapore on July 4, 2017. /AP

 

China said on Sunday it was investigating Meng Hongwei for suspected wrongdoing after the head of the global law enforcement organization Interpol and Chinese vice minister for security was reported missing in France.

The statement by a Chinese anti-graft body was the first official word from China about Meng since his disappearance was reported in France on Friday. Meng had been reported missing by his wife after travelling last month from France, where Interpol is based, to China. Continue reading

China’s Strategic Force Gears Up for Space and Cyber War

Li Shangfu (3rd left) is seen in this photo

Li Shangfu (3rd left) is seen in this photo / Getty Images

 

NDU report reveals PLA information warfare plans

China’s new Strategic Support Force highlights Beijing’s growing military might and plans to expand both power and influence using space, cyber, and information warfare in both peacetime and a future high-tech war, according to a Pentagon-sponsored study.

The new force, set up in late 2015, is not part of army, navy, air force, or missile force and is directly under the Communist Party’s Central Military Commission, according to a report published this week by the National Defense University. Continue reading

US Pacific Fleet Prepares For Global Show Of Force To Warn China: Media

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The US Navy’s Pacific Fleet has drawn up a classified proposal to carry out a global show of force as a warning to China and to demonstrate the US is prepared to deter and counter their military actions, according to several anonymous US defense officials cited by CNN.

The presumed draft proposal from the Navy recommends the US Pacific Fleet to conduct a series of operations during a single week in November. Continue reading

NATO exercise to be biggest since Cold War

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NATO’s Trident Juncture 18 exercise will draw in 45,000 troops, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday, unveiling what officials confirmed would be the alliance’s biggest manoeuvres since the Cold War. Continue reading

The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies

Recognition of this urgent and grave matter is finally receiving recognition by the mainstream media. Chinese microchips have been planted within every facet of U.S. life, from the military to household PC components, as well as everyday appliances such as irons and microwaves.

Further information previously archived on Global Geopolitics can be found within the following previous posts:

The Secret Ways of Chinese Telecom Giant Huawei (2013)

Security backdoor found in China-made US military chip (2012)

 

Click for a larger animated version. (Illustrator: Scott Gelber for Bloomberg Businessweek)

 

The attack by Chinese spies reached almost 30 U.S. companies, including Amazon and Apple, by compromising America’s technology supply chain, according to extensive interviews with government and corporate sources.

In 2015, Amazon.com Inc. began quietly evaluating a startup called Elemental Technologies, a potential acquisition to help with a major expansion of its streaming video service, known today as Amazon Prime Video. Based in Portland, Ore., Elemental made software for compressing massive video files and formatting them for different devices. Its technology had helped stream the Olympic Games online, communicate with the International Space Station, and funnel drone footage to the Central Intelligence Agency. Elemental’s national security contracts weren’t the main reason for the proposed acquisition, but they fit nicely with Amazon’s government businesses, such as the highly secure cloud that Amazon Web Services (AWS) was building for the CIA. Continue reading

Chinese armed drones now flying across Mideast battlefields

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FILE – In this Oct. 10, 2015, file photo, Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi, center, inspects a first Chinese drone to be used by the Iraqi Air Force before sending it to bomb Islamic State group positions at an airbase in Kut, 160 kilometers (100 miles) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq. Across the Middle East, countries locked out of purchasing U.S.-made drones due to rules over excessive civilian casualties are being wooed by Chinese arms dealers, who are world’s main distributor of armed drones. The sales are helping expand Chinese influence across a region crucial to American security interests and bolstering Beijing’s ambitions of being a world leader in high-tech arms sales. (AP Photo, File)

 

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — High above Yemen’s rebel-held city of Hodeida, a drone controlled by Emirati forces hovered as an SUV carrying a top Shiite Houthi rebel official turned onto a small street and stopped, waiting for another vehicle in its convoy to catch up.

Seconds later, the SUV exploded in flames, killing Saleh al-Samad, a top political figure.

The drone that fired that missile in April was not one of the many American aircraft that have been buzzing across the skies of Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan since Sept. 11, 2001. It was Chinese. Continue reading