American Politics Is Now Just Civil War by Other Means

From a pragmatic standpoint, it really is all over for America. The United States has already been in a civil war for at least 10 years. As Martin Armstrong bluntly pointed out in a previous post:

“All we are doing now is waiting for the first shot to be fired that will literally be heard around the world. There will be no return to civility. It will only get worse from here on out. There is no going back. We have actually crossed the point of no return. It is all over.”

The typical ‘civil war’ most Americans think of is the shooting, rioting and tragic violence that takes place. Fact is, that’s only at the end, which lasts anywhere from 48 hours to two weeks, perhaps.

 

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In the wake of the sending of bomb-like devices of uncertain capability to prominent critics of US President Donald Trump and of a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue (both Trump’s fault, of course) – plus a migrant invasion approaching the US through Mexico – there have been widespread calls for toning down harsh and “divisive” political rhetoric. Of course given the nature of the American media and other establishment voices, these demands predictably have been aimed almost entirely against Trump and his Deplorable supporters, almost never against the same establishment that unceasingly vilifies Trump and Middle American radicals as literally Hitler, all backed up by the evil White-Nationalist-in-Chief, Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Those appealing for more civility and a return to polite discourse can save their breath. It’s much, much too late for that. Continue reading

South Korea Readies for a Future Without America

Instead of North Korea coming to terms with the Western world, it’s the Western world that’s being absorbed into China’s sphere of influence in Asia. The Western plan in its current state seems to be backfiring.

 

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A South Korean soldier stands guard before the military demarcation line and North Korea’s Panmun Hall. (ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)

 

‘These disagreements have brought thorny issues over the shape and size of the U.S.-South Korea alliance back to the surface.’

The United States and South Korea are increasingly at odds over North Korea, placing the future of their military alliance in doubt.

Early last month, South Korea opened a liaison office with North Korea despite U.S. opposition to the move. Shortly after, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha publicly criticized the U.S. for its inflexibility regarding an action of good faith that North Korea had asked of the U.S. Also in September, South Korea announced that it might remove a certain set of sanctions on the North, prompting U.S. President Donald Trump to say the South does “nothing without our approval,” a statement that irritated many South Koreans. 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

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

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

Kim Sets Denuclearization Timeline

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(Photo Credit: The White House)

 

The North Korean leader also expresses ‘unwavering faith’ in President Trump.

Proclaiming his ‘unwavering faith’ in President Donald Trump, North Korean dictator Chairman Kim Jong-un has set the date for a third meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, as well as a timeline for denuclearization. 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

North Korea continues to dismantle missile launch site, but no signs of any moves to scrap nuclear weapons

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Satellite imagery from August 3 indicates additional dismantlement activities are ongoing at the Sohae launch facility. Photo: 38 North

 

Satellite images suggest work is continuing to demolish Sohae facilities, but analysts suggest it may want to keep other parts of its arsenal intact for now

North Korea appears to have taken another step towards dismantling its fixed missile launching facilities after the US stepped up the pressure to disarm, but so far it appears to have left other facilities and its nuclear warheads intact.

The hermit state appears to be continuing to take down its key intercontinental ballistic missile facilities (ICBM) at Sohae, located at about 200km (120 miles) northwest of the capital Pyongyang, according to the North Korea monitoring group 38 North on late Tuesday. Continue reading

North Korea sends positive signal by dismantling satellite launch site

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This satellite image courtesy of Airbus Defense and Space and 38 North dated July 22, 2018 shows the apparent dismantling of facilities at the Sohae satellite launch site in North Korea. Photo: AFP/ PlÈiades © Cnes 2018, Distribution Airbus DS / Handout

 

While credibility of denuclearization has still not been established, new moves signal possible North Korean acceptance of US position linking satellites and missile programs

North Korea is dismantling a satellite-launch and rocket-engine test site in a move that seems aimed at boosting confidence in Washington, where signs of frustration have reportedly appeared over the apparent lack of progress on denuclearization.

Authoritative, US-based website 38 North, which boasts a specialized focus on satellite data analysis of North Korea, announced the findings early on Tuesday, complete with photographs of the site, known as the Sohae Satellite Launching Station. Continue reading

American Power Under Siege

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping / Getty

 

Review: ‘Rise of the Revisionists’: Russia, China, and Iran’ edited by Gary J. Schmitt

In 1991, after the Soviet Union collapsed, the United States gained unchallenged supremacy in the world. Indeed, just three years later, the U.S. alone accounted for about 25 percent of global GDP and 40 percent of world military spending, while Washington’s treaty allies in Europe and the Asia Pacific boasted roughly another 47 and 35 percent, respectively. Potential adversaries, meanwhile, were weak and overmatched: Russia was reeling from the Soviet implosion; China did not have the economic or military weight to compete; Iran was still recovering from its calamitous war with Iraq. In this environment, the U.S. could act with impunity. Democracy was expanding across the globe; the long shadow of communist authoritarianism had disappeared. It was the end of history as we knew it. Or so many thought.

That post-Cold War era has now passed. What comes next is still taking shape, but one thing is clear: America’s relative dominance is declining. U.S. shares of global GDP and defense spending are, while formidable, not what they once were; the same goes for Washington’s core treaty allies. More importantly, the U.S. and its Western allies have been reluctant to use their still-considerable power assertively. At the same time, hostile authoritarian states have pursued in earnest their long-held ambitions to dominate their own regions. These revisionist powers—Russia in Europe, China in East Asia, and Iran in the Middle East—never accepted the world order that followed the Cold War, defined by an open global economic system, international institutions, liberal political norms, and American supremacy. So Moscow, Beijing, and Tehran bided their time, gaining strength and waiting for the right time to try to overturn the order. That time has arrived, and the implications for American interests and global peace and stability are profound—and quite dangerous. Continue reading

Japan’s growing plutonium stockpile fuels fears

As said many times in the past, Japan can go nuclear within three months if it wishes. It’s already secretly working on them. The necessary materials are there and only assembly is required. All that’s needed is a catalyst.

Although it may be a farce, like the last 10-plus times it has committed to denuclearization, North Korea has slowed down the need. China at the moment is the flashpoint since it also controls North Korea, and is projecting its power throughout the Asia-Pacific and eventually into the Western Pacific.

 

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Japan has amassed enough plutonium to make 6,000 atomic bombs as part of a programme to fuel its nuclear plants, but concern is growing that the stockpile is vulnerable to terrorists and natural disasters.

Japan has long been the world’s only non-nuclear-armed country with a programme to reprocess spent nuclear fuel from its power plants into plutonium. Continue reading

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

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R-37M / Photo by Reuben F. Johnson

 

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

North Korea asked Israel for $1 billion to stop giving missile technology to Iran

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North Korea offered to stop selling missile technology to Iran and other enemies of Israel in exchange for $1 billion in cash from the Jewish state, according to former senior North Korean diplomat who has now defected. The account of the offer can be read in Password from the Third Floor, a book published earlier this year by Thae Yong Ho. Thae, a member of a prominent North Korean family, defected with his wife and children in 2016, while he was serving as a senior member of the diplomatic staff of the North Korean embassy in London. News of Thae’s defection emerged on August 16, 2016, when a South Korean newspaper reported that he had disappeared from London after having escaped with his family “to a third country”. Thae later emerged in Seoul, from where he publicly denounced the North Korean regime. Continue reading

Taiwan Doubles Down On U.S. LNG

LNG vessel

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

More Countries Start Exploring Alternatives to the US World Order

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There are two countries that more than others show how the Western world order is undergoing a profound change. Japan and Turkey occupy two distinct and diverse geographical areas, yet they share many of the same strategic choices about their future. Their geopolitical trajectory is increasingly drifting away from Washington and moving closer to China, Russia, India and Iran.

Both Japan and Turkey are two important states in the US’s strategy for controlling the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. Both countries have economies that are competitive in comparison to their neighbors, and both often conveniently find themselves allied to countries within Washington’s orbit. Japan has a good relationship with South Korea, and Turkey (until a few years ago) had a privileged relationship with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Keeping in mind that the US aims to prolong and consolidate its regional dominance, Washington has always tried to have excellent relations with these two countries as a way of ensuring its constant presence in regional affairs. Continue reading