Trump White House vows to stop China taking South China Sea islands

U.S. President Donald Trump signs an executive order on U.S. withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership while flanked by Vice President Mike Pence (L) and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (R) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington January 23, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

 

The new U.S. administration of President Donald Trump vowed on Monday the United States would prevent China from taking over territory in international waters in the South China Sea, something Chinese state media has warned would require Washington to “wage war.”

The comments at a briefing from White House spokesman Sean Spicer signaled a sharp departure from years of cautious U.S. handling of China’s assertive pursuit of territorial claims in Asia, just days after Trump took office on Friday.

“The U.S. is going to make sure that we protect our interests there,” Spicer said when asked if Trump agreed with comments by his secretary of state nominee, Rex Tillerson. On Jan. 11, Tillerson said China should not be allowed access to islands it has built in the contested South China Sea. Continue reading

Major Powers and their Wars (II)

BERLIN (Own report) – In an article published by the leading German foreign policy journal, an influential diplomat predicts that worldwide, there will be a further increase in the number of wars and their victims, this year. “The number of conflicts, their victims, and their refugees” has been increasing worldwide, for the past five years and this development will “most likely continue this year.” The journal, “Internationale Politik,” substantiates this assumption by presenting an overview of the current wars. Today’s deadliest wars – in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and South Sudan – are indeed a direct or indirect outcome of western hegemonic policies. With its military interventions or subversive support for insurgents, this policy is aimed at provoking pro-western putsches or weakening non-compliant states. “Internationale Politik” assesses the possibility of conflicts in China’s vicinity. During the years of China’s rise, western powers were unsuccessful in knitting strong ties with the resource-rich Arab world, in view of the impending power struggle with the People’s Republic of China. This power struggle is already emerging.

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Returning to the Land or Turning Toward the Sea? India’s Role in America’s Pivot

China is pushing the U.S. and India closer. Are they focusing on the wrong set of challenges?

Few diplomatic overtures have generated loftier expectations in recent years than Washington’s rapprochement with New Delhi. Frequently at loggerheads during the Cold War, then kept apart by the U.S. commitment to counter-proliferation and India’s pursuit of a nuclear deterrent, the two sides have never had a warm relationship. That began to change during the George W. Bush administration, a transformation that was symbolized by a controversial agreement allowing the United States to sell civilian nuclear technology to India, despite its status as a nuclear-armed nation that is not recognized by the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Obama administration has since picked up where its predecessor left off. The president, for example, has called India a “natural ally” of the United States, while his former secretary of defense, Leon Panetta, declared that India was “a linchpin” of America’s pivot to the Asia-Pacific. Continue reading

A Ring of Fire Around China (II)

BERLIN/BEIJING (Own report) – Berlin’s main think tank for military policy has announced “war game exercises” for military confrontations with China. This year’s “Trier China-Dialogue,” to be convened in Berlin at the beginning of June by the Federal College for Security Studies, will focus on analyzing the “combat capabilities” of the Chinese armed forces. The forum will be concluded with two “hypothetical practical tests,” to learn whether the Peoples Republic of China’s military can “take over” and “hold onto” Taiwan or islands in the South China Sea. The conflict with Taiwan, as well as that over various islands in the South China Sea, impinges upon China’s vital interests. In both cases, the USA has adopted the position of China’s adversary as its own, therefore, in the case of armed conflict, NATO – and therefore, the rest of the West – could become directly involved. A supplementary objective for the “war game exercises” is the West’s rapidly expanding military presence in east and Southeast Asia. In the wake of the stationing of US troops, Germany is also strengthening its military cooperation with China’s potential adversaries in Southeast Asia and intensifying arms exports into the region.

China’s Fighting Power

The Federal College for Security Studies (BAKS) has announced its next “Trier China-Dialogue” to be held June 6. This will be the third time – following 2009 and 2011. The name is derived from cooperation between BAKS and the former junior political science professor at the University of Trier, Martin Wagener, who, last October, has transferred to the Federal University of Applied Administrative Sciences in Munich. Wagener is considered an East Asia specialist and will participate also this year in the symposium, which is co-parented by the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation and Trier University’s Political Science Alumni Association. The theme of the symposium is: “Fighting Power: How Capable is China’s Armed Forces?” Continue reading

Past inattention, present budget woes mean US Air Force must keep its aging warhorses flying

As the US Air Force technology becomes outdated, it becomes more expensive to maintain. Ironically and unfortunately, cuts have been made mostly in newer tech which only further compounds the problem of an aging military power.

For decades, the U.S. Air Force has grown accustomed to such superlatives as unrivaled and unbeatable. These days, some of its key combat aircraft are being described with terms like geriatric, or decrepit.

The aging of the U.S. Air Force, a long-simmering topic in defense circles, made a brief appearance in the presidential debates when Republican nominee Mitt Romney cited it as evidence of the decline of U.S. military readiness. His contention that the Navy is the smallest it’s been since 1917 got more attention, thanks to President Barack Obama’s quip that the Navy also has fewer “horses and bayonets.” Continue reading