WASHINGTON/BEIJING – The U.S. Navy sent a guided-missile destroyer close to China’s man-made islands in the disputed South China Sea on Tuesday, drawing an angry rebuke from Beijing, which said it warned and followed the American vessel.
The patrol by the USS Lassen — which is deployed to the U.S. Navy’s base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture — was the most significant U.S. challenge yet to 12-nautical-mile territorial limits China asserts around the islands in the Spratly archipelago and could ratchet up tensions in one of the world’s busiest sea lanes.
One U.S. defense official said the USS Lassen sailed within 12 nautical miles of Subi Reef. A second defense official said the mission, which lasted a few hours, also included Mischief Reef and would be the first in a series of so-called freedom-of-navigation exercises aimed at testing China’s territorial claims. Continue reading
There are only losers in the agreement clinched on Monday at dawn by Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras and his eurozone partners. First and foremost the Greek people and the German and European leaders, believes the European press.
After a deal between Greek and eurozone leaders was hammered out following 17 hours of arduous negotiations, there is really nothing to cheer about, writes Michał Sutowski in Krytyka Polityczna. “With PM Tsipras’ back against the wall, the German government has pushed through nearly all its conditions; it’s a minor consolation for the Greeks that a ‘temporary Grexit’ turned out to be a negotiation stunt rather than a real proposal and that the restructuring fund will be located in Athens instead of Luxembourg”, writes Sutowski. He stresses that the negotiations have clearly shown the EU leaders’ goal was “to crush the Greeks’ resistance and not to reach a compromise” –
American flags fly fore and aft on the US missile cruiser Shiloh as it docks at a pier across a narrow waterway from decrepit, decaying buildings of an abandoned US naval base at Subic Bay. The dock was once a bulwark of American power in the South China Sea after US forces seized the base from the Spanish in 1899.
At the end of a long walkway from the pier to shore, eager shopkeepers again sell souvenirs and taxi drivers lie in wait for sailors primed for a night of carousing in the bars of Olongapo, the base town in the Philippines. Now, nearly a quarter of a century after the US Navy had to give up its Subic Bay base and the Clark Air Base across the Zambales mountains to the east, Americans are once again ready to defend the Philippines, and the region.
China has dramatically ramped up its land reclamation efforts in the South China Sea this year, building artificial islands at an unprecedented pace to bolster its territorial claims in the disputed area, US officials said Friday.
The rapid construction of artificial islands in the strategic waters comes to 2,000 acres (800 hectares), with 75 percent of the total in the last five months, officials said.
“China has expanded the acreage on the outposts it occupies by some four hundred times,” said a US defense official. Continue reading
Russia’s latest military exercise could be it’s latest step toward claiming maritime borders in the Arctic.
Tensions have increased a notch in the Arctic with the news that the Russians have started a major military exercise in the region. Nearly 40,000 servicemen, 41 warships and 15 submarines will be taking part in drills to make them combat-ready—a major show of strength in a region that has long been an area of strategic interest to Russia.
Russia might be reshaping national borders in Europe as it reasserts its geopolitical influence, but the equivalent borders in the Arctic have never been firmly established. Historically it has proven much harder for states to assert sovereignty over the ocean than over land, even in cases where waters are ice-covered for most of the year. Continue reading
Lest we forget the Russian invasion of Georgia was well planned years in advance, and even admitted by Putin himself. When articles state that Georgia provoked it, they have virtually no clue. It was a land grab as Russia did Crimea, plain and simple. The Russians provoked Georgia’s move that gave Putin the excuse to go in — a manufactured crisis. Although the article is correct in saying the taking of Georgian land to push the West out is correct. It’s goal is to be able to project power into Europe, North Africa and the Middle East from the Mediterranean. For more on Georgia, see HERE.
Russia tightened its control Monday over Georgia’s breakaway province of Abkhazia with a new treaty envisaging closer military and economic ties with the lush sliver of land along the Black Sea.
The move drew outrage and cries of “annexation” in Georgia and sent a chill through those in Abkhazia who fear that wealthy Russians will snap up their precious coastline. It also raised further suspicions in the West about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s territorial aspirations after his annexation of Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in March.
Under the treaty signed by Putin and Abkhazia’s leader in the nearby Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russian and Abkhazian forces in the territory will turn into a joint force led by a Russian commander.
Putin said Moscow will also double its subsidies to Abkhazia to about 9.3 billion rubles (over $200 million) next year. Continue reading
Speaking to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Albuquerque in 2001, George W. Bush declared that, as Mexico was a friend and neighbor, “It’s so important for us to tear down our barriers and walls that might separate Mexico from the United States.”
Bush succeeded. And during his tenure, millions from Mexico exploited his magnanimity to violate our laws, trample upon our sovereignty, walk into our country and remain here.
In 2007, supported by John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Teddy Kennedy and Barack Obama, Bush backed amnesty for the 12 million people who had entered America illegally.
The latest mass border crossing by scores of thousands of tots, teenagers and toughs from Central America has killed amnesty in 2014, and probably for the duration of the Obama presidency. Continue reading
Just three days before Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his plan to annex Ukraine’s peninsula, a U.N. commission gave him sovereignty over the Sea of Okhotsk, located off Russia’s southeastern coast near Japan. Those waters, it was decided, are part of Russia’s continental shelf.
Russia’s Environment Minister Sergey Donskoy called the 20,000 square miles of once-international waters a “real Ali Baba’s cave” because of its natural-resource reserves. “It took Russia many years to achieve this success,” he said, logic that rings true for the acquisition of Crimea.
But Russia’s appetite for territory does not end at its southern shores. The country is hungry for more control over the top of the globe, and has been for a long time. Continue reading
- Crimean parliament votes to secede from Ukraine
- Obama tells Putin: sanctions for ‘violation of sovereignty’
- German chancellor Angela Merkel: ‘We’re ready to act’
The United States and the European Union on Thursday unveiled sanctions to punish Russia for occupying Crimea, imposing visa restrictions on individuals and sharpening rhetoric in what has rapidly degenerated into the worst east-west crisis since the end of the cold war.
In their first concrete response to Russia’s move to wrest the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine, Washington and Brussels also warned of further sanctions, such as asset seizures, if Moscow does not relent in the stand-off. Continue reading
SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine — As Russian-backed armed forces effectively seized control of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula on Saturday, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia requested —and received — authorization from the Russian Senate to use military force in Ukraine.
The actions signaled publicly for the first time the Kremlin’s readiness to intervene militarily in Ukraine, and it served as a blunt response to President Obama, who just hours earlier pointedly warned Russia to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty.
Within hours after receiving Mr. Putin’s request, Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, voted to approve it, after a debate that warned of the apocalyptic consequences of failing to stop a fascist threat from spreading to Russia’s borders. The lawmakers directed considerable fury at President Obama and others in the West they accused of fomenting the upheaval in Ukraine. Continue reading
For Russian planners, as was in 2008 with the invasion of Georgia, the 2014 Winter Olympics might be used as a distraction for Moscow to ‘act’.
Kiev: A senior Kremlin aide accused the United States on Thursday of arming Ukrainian “rebels” and, urging the Kiev government to put down what he called an attempted coup, warned Russia could intervene to maintain the security of its ex-Soviet neighbour.
Sergei Glazyev, an adviser to President Vladimir Putin with responsibility for relations with Ukraine, told a newspaper that US “interference” breached the 1994 treaty under which Washington and Moscow jointly guaranteed Ukraine’s security and sovereignty after Kiev gave up its Soviet-era nuclear arsenal. Continue reading
The best warfare strategy is to attack the enemy’s plans, next is to attack alliances. – Sun Tzu, The Art of War
A growing chorus of nations is decrying Washington’s unrestrained cyber espionage. However, there is only one country with both the means and motivation for using mounting international resentment to challenge American hegemony. The NSA surveillance of America’s allies has opened up two vital fronts in which China can erode American global dominance. Continue reading
The Defense Ministry has drafted plans for the Self-Defense Forces to shoot down foreign drones that intrude into Japan’s airspace if warnings to leave are ignored, a source close to the government revealed Sunday.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued his approval when Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera briefed him on the plan Oct. 11, the source said. Continue reading
German plans include forming a combined air force with the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.
Rather than create a European army all at once, Germany should focus on building it bit by bit, according to a paper published this month by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAF). Germany should develop “islands of cooperation”—small groups of countries whose militaries work together—that can be used as “building blocks” of a pan-European military power, it wrote.
To dedicated Trumpet readers, this should sound very familiar. It is exactly what we described Germany doing in the August print edition of the Trumpet. Now you can read it in black and white, from a think tank that describes itself as “closely associated with the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU)”—the party of Angela Merkel.
As noted in the August article, persuading all 28 nations of the EU to sign over their sovereignty and merge their armies into one force has been taking far too long. Germany wants results now. Continue reading