US, Allies ‘Unprepared’ to Face New Global Threats

The US and The NATO flag flie in front of two US Air Force F-22 Raptor fighter aircrafts at the Air Base of the Lithuanian Armed Forces in Šiauliai, Lithuania, on April 27, 2016.

© AFP 2016/ Petras Malukas

 

Former Australian national-security adviser Andrew Shearer claims that the United States and its allies around the world remain unprepared to deal with a new era of emerging global threats.

Although the United States and its allies “face an unprecedented range of threats,” they are “neither psychologically nor materially prepared for these threats,” Shearer, who was an adviser to prime ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott, said Monday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Continue reading

Australia’s Abbott: Western culture superior to Islam

The idea of killing in the name of God, says former PM, ‘is a recipe for catastrophe’

SINGAPORE — Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday defended his comments suggesting that Western culture is superior to that of Islam, and called for US-led assistance in defeating the Islamic State group.

In a Sydney Daily Telegraph opinion piece published earlier in the day, Abbott, a staunch Catholic, wrote of a need to “modernize” Islam, saying it propagates a culture that is inferior to that of the West. Continue reading

Budget 2015: Federal Government set to introduce tax on bank deposits, Labor accuses Tony Abbott of backflipping on election promise

In Australia it will now cost you to deposit your own money into your own bank account, courtesy of the government and against the banking industry’s wish.

 

The Federal Government looks set to introduce a tax on bank deposits in the May budget.

The idea of a bank deposit tax was raised by Labor in 2013 and was criticised by Tony Abbott at the time.

Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has indicated an announcement on the new tax could be made before the budget. Continue reading

China’s Influence Set to Climb as U.S. Thwarted on New Bank

Power VisionChinese President Xi Jinping’s vision of achieving the same great-power status enjoyed by the U.S. received a major boost this month when the U.K., Germany, France and Italy signed on to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The AIIB will have authorized capital of $100 billion and starting funds of about $50 billion.

Canada is considering joining, which would leave the U.S. and Japan as the only Group of Seven holdouts as they question the institution’s governance and environmental standards. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s cabinet approved negotiations to join too, according to a government official who asked not to be identified as the decision hasn’t been made public. Continue reading

“Colossal Defeat” For Obama As Australia Joins China’s Regional Bank

Having attacked its “closest ally” UK for “constant accomodation” with China, we suspect President Obama will be greatly displeased at yet another close-ally’s decision to partner up with the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). As The Australian reports, “make no mistake,” the decision by Australia’s Abbott government to sign on for negotiations to join China’s regional bank, foreshadowed by Tony Abbott at the weekend,  “represents a colossal defeat for the Obama administration’s incompetent, distracted, ham-fisted dip­lomacy in Asia.” Continue reading

‘France, Germany, Italy to join China-led development bank’: report

We’re watching America being abandoned by a German-led Europe in real time.

 

European officials tell the Financial Times their countries will join the institution, ignoring reservations expressed by the United States about how the new lender will be run

France, Germany and Italy have agreed to follow Britain’s lead and join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a major setback for Washington, the Financial Times reported.

The state-run Xinhua news agency in China said South Korea, Switzerland and Luxembourg were also considering joining. Continue reading

Russian military provided MH17 missile launcher, says report

London: There is strong evidence that the missile launcher that shot down flight MH17 was provided by the Russian military, a long, crowd-sourced investigation into the tragedy has concluded.

However the investigators could not say who ‘pushed the button’ to launch the missile: whether it was Ukrainian separatists, or Russian soldiers working with them.

The new analysis comes as Prime Minister Tony Abbott prepares for his long-anticipated face-to-face encounter with Russian president Vladimir Putin over MH17: either at an APEC conference in Beijing on Monday and Tuesday, or at this weekend’s G20 meeting in Brisbane.

Mr Abbott promised last month to ‘shirtfront’ Mr Putin, saying “Australians were murdered… by Russian-backed rebels using Russian-supplied equipment”.

Mr Abbott has since toned down his language, saying last week he would tell Mr Putin that “Australia expects full Russian cooperation with the investigation” into the crash.

MH17 was shot down over separatist-held eastern Ukraine on July 17, killing 298 people including 38 Australians. Continue reading

Islamic State: US-led air strikes on militant group’s makeshift oil refineries ‘not a real target’, monitoring group says

Truthfully speaking, as was al Qaeda, ISIS was created by the US government and is now the latest cover for a war on Syria that Obama previously backed down from last year when Putin called his bluff. He fumbled and now this is his second attempt. What’s being bombed at the moment in Syria is the infrastructure in order to cripple the nation.

ISIS is not sophisticated enough, nor ever was, to run oil refineries. This is also why you see Russia threatening retaliation against America for its bombing campaign in Syria. This is war under the radar with a terrorist group used as a ruse that almost no one has picked up on. Whether all the targets are real or not is anyone’s call at the moment.

This isn’t about ISIS.

Air strikes believed to have been carried out by US-led forces have hit three makeshift oil refineries in Syria’s Raqqa province as part of an assault to weaken Islamic State (IS) militants, a monitoring group said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attacks occurred shortly after midnight on Sunday (local time), adding that they also hit a plastic factory.

Islamic State fighters have control over oil produced in eastern Syria and have set up small, makeshift refineries to distil the crude into fuel, one of their main sources of income. Continue reading

US unsettled by China’s ‘three warfares’ strategy: Pentagon report

The US and its military partners are reaching for new tools to counter an unconventional ”three warfares” strategy that China is using to advance aggressive territorial claims, according to a Pentagon report.

It says the People’s Liberation Army is using what it calls ”legal warfare”, ”media warfare” and ”psychological warfare” to augment its arsenal of military hardware to weaken the resolve of the US and its regional partners to defend islands and oceans in the East and South China seas. Continue reading

Australian military planners in Washington work on Syrian war plans

NEITHER Kevin Rudd nor Tony Abbott will talk of armed intervention in the Syrian crisis, but Australian officers are already working with US allies on a plan if one is needed.

No such plans are being made in Canberra, but concerns are growing in the wake of chemical weapons claims and strong words from the Prime Minister.

Asked on Channel 10’s The Project whether he supported Australian intervention in the country in the wake of reports up to 1300 were killed in a chemical massacre, the PM would not go that far, but left the door open. Continue reading