U.S.: Russian planes spotted near California, Guam

A lot of people might say ‘so what’ and dismiss any threat as the Russians are using Cold War era bombers. The planes themselves may not be the threat, however, the nuclear capable missiles they carry are. Slow and aged Russian bombers don’t even need to be anywhere near the coastal areas of America to launch advanced radar evading missiles from planes that can reach all of the country within minutes. Meanwhile, the United States is down to under 800 nuclear warheads while the Soviet collection ranges from 6,000 – 10,000.

Russians increase air activity as a show of force, gathering intel, says U.S. air forces chief.

The head of U.S. air forces in the Pacific said on Monday that Russia’s intervention in Ukraine had been accompanied by a significant increase in Russian air activity in the Asia-Pacific region in a show of strength and to gather intelligence.

General Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle said the activity had included Russian flights to the coast of California, and around the U.S. Pacific island of Guam. Continue reading

Russia prepares to attack the petrodollar

The US dollar’s position as the base currency for global energy trading gives the US a number of unfair advantages. It seems that Moscow is ready to take those advantages away.

Lately, China has led the BRICS efforts to dislodge the dollar from its position as the main global currency, but the “sanctions war” between Washington and Moscow gave an impetus to the long-awaited scheme to launch the petroruble and switch all Russian energy exports away from the US currency.

The main supporters of this plan are Sergey Glaziev, the economic aide of the Russian President and Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft, the biggest Russian oil company and a close ally of Vladimir Putin. Both have been very vocal in their quest to replace the dollar with the Russian ruble. Now, several top Russian officials are pushing the plan forward. Continue reading

Koreas Trade Fire; Island Residents in Shelters

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North and South Korea fired hundreds of artillery shells into each other’s waters Monday in a flare-up of animosity that forced residents of five front-line South Korean islands to evacuate to shelters for several hours, South Korean officials said.

The exchange of fire into the Yellow Sea followed Pyongyang’s sudden announcement that it would conduct live-fire drills in seven areas north of the Koreas’ disputed maritime boundary. North Korea routinely test-fires artillery and missiles into the ocean but rarely discloses those plans in advance. The announcement was seen as an expression of Pyongyang’s frustration at making little progress in its recent push to win outside aid.

North Korea fired 500 rounds of artillery shells over more than three hours, about 100 of which fell south of the sea boundary, South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said. South Korea responded by firing 300 shells into North Korean waters, he said. Continue reading

Pacific Cmdr.: U.S. lacks ability to conduct successful amphibious assaults

The head of U.S. Pacific Command believes America does not possess the capacity to conduct amphibious assaults in the wake of a crisis, as it did during World War II.

“We have had a good return of our Marines back to the Asia-Pacific, particularly as the activities in the Middle East wind down in Afghanistan. … But the reality is, is that to get Marines around effectively, they require all types of lift. They require the big amphibious ships, but they also require connectors (meaning landing craft and other amphibious vehicles). The lift is the enabler that makes that happen, so we wouldn’t be able to [successfully carry out a contested amphibious assault without additional resources],” Adm. Locklear said, Stars and Stripes reported.

Continue reading

Gates Says US Prevented South Korea Airstrike on North

SEOUL — South Korea declined to comment Wednesday on revelations that the United States talked it down from launching a retaliatory airstrike on North Korea in 2010.

The claims were made in the newly published memoir of former US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in which he also describes former South Korean president Roh Moo-Hyun as “probably a little bit crazy.” Continue reading

China Will Soon Face Arc Of US F-35s, Other Fighters, Bombers

WASHINGTON: The American who leads the leading edge of our sword in the Pacific — the Air Force — worries that China‘s sometimes “aggressive approach” in using its fighters, bombers and ships to signal its territorial claims across the Pacific creates “the potential” for a serious incident in the region.

But the United States and its allies are clearly working well together to remind China that it faces enormous power and cannot act unilaterally without cost. The latest American fighters and bombers will be deployed in an arc from Japan to India, lacing across all of China’s maritime regions, Carlisle made clear. Continue reading

A look at East Asian diplomacy in the Arctic

There have been numerous bilateral visits by political figures and diplomats from East Asia to the Arctic countries over the past year. Former president of South Korea, Lee Myung-bak, visited Norway and Greenland last September, while former Premier Wen Jiabao visited Sweden and Iceland in April 2012. In April 2013, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Russia with 100 Japanese businessmen in tow to discuss energy cooperation, among other issues. Continue reading