The Road to War: China vs the US

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In 2016 Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, declared that there was no doubt, in his mind, that the US would go to war with China in the South China Sea in the next five to 10 years.

A US-Chinese military conflict would be on top of a vow by Trump in his inaugural presidential address, to not only take on radical Islamic terrorism but to “eradicate it from the face of the Earth.” This would be done by building up America’s already supreme military. “Our military dominance must be unquestioned,” the billionaire businessman, who now controlled the most powerful political office in the world, declared in his first address to the nation.

A year and a half after that speech, the United States is not at war with China, but its economic saber-rattling is arguably the beginning of a confrontation between the world’s largest and second-largest economies. Trump’s tariff threats against not only China but Europe, Canada, Mexico and its other trade partners, are also symbolic of a shift in US foreign policy towards a more isolationist stance – one that may not strictly be due to Trump’s belligerent personality. This article will get into the antecedents of this economic and military showdown and point the way to some possible future scenarios, including a war in space. Continue reading

Leaked Chinese Memo Warns Of “Thucydides Trap” With US, “War Is Unavoidable”

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A series of leaked internal documents reveal that China’s military reforms are aimed at allowing Beijing to “manage a crisis, contain a conflict, win a war” and overtake the United States in military strength, according to the Express.

The leaked documents were published by the Central Military Commission in February for the purpose of spreading President Xi Jinping’s “thought on strengthening the armed forces”.

If the reforms go ahead, they will lead to heightened tensions with China’s neighbouring countries, including Japan, in the East and South China Seas and the US. –Express Continue reading

Trade war threats get real as US and China impose tariffs

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Donald Trump has turned his threats of a trade war into reality. (Photo: AP)

 

US President Donald Trump fired the biggest shot yet in the global trade war by imposing tariffs on $US34 billion ($46 billion) of Chinese imports. China immediately said it would be forced to retaliate.

The duties on Chinese goods started at 12:01 am Friday in Washington (2:01 pm AEST), which was just after midday in China. Another $US16 billion of goods could follow in two weeks, Trump earlier told reporters, before suggesting the final total could eventually reach $US550 billion, a figure that exceeds all of US goods imports from China in 2017.

US customs officials will begin collecting an additional 25 per cent tariff on imports from China of goods ranging from farming plows to semiconductors and airplane parts. China’s officials have previously said they would respond by imposing higher levies on goods ranging from American soybeans to pork, which may in turn prompt Trump to raise trade barriers even higher.

Continue reading

The Havana Whodunnit: What Nation Just Built An “Unprecedented” Spy Radar Base In Cuba?

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A time sequence of the construction of radome containing parabolic antenna at Bejucal sigint facility. (Source: Victor Robert Lee & Digital Globe)

 

According to a new surveillance report from The Diplomat, exclusive satellite imagery from March 2017 to May 2018 reveals a newly expanded “signals intelligence” military facility near Bejucal, Cuba.

The report focuses on a massive radome sitting on top of an elevated concrete mounting structure. From satellite imagery, the structure looks like a giant golf ball, but it is actually a protective dome housing a super sophisticated radar antenna inside. As mentioned by The Diplomat, this radome is the first of its kind among the various spy antennas at Bejucal, which have been used to intercept electronic communications, ballistic missile monitoring, and tracking of satellites from the United States. Continue reading

Taiwan Doubles Down On U.S. LNG

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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

“This Is What It Feels Like To Be Offset”: China To Achieve “First Strike” Capabilities Using AI, US Officials Warn

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In comments made at a recent defense technology forum hosted by the hawkish Center for a New American Security, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as well as a former deputy secretary of defense warned that the United States will lose its military technological superiority to China in two years if it doesn’t immediately move deeper into fields such as artificial intelligence (A.I.), robotics, hypersonics, and big data.

Former Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work painted a dire picture while calling for the US to put its $700 billion defense budget into “areas that really matter” in order to keep up with China, which he said is quickly becoming the world’s leader in A.I., robotics, and machine learning — all of which the Chinese will harness toward “first strike” capabilities against US military networks.  Continue reading

American Military Aircraft Targeted By Lasers in Pacific Ocean, U.S. Officials Say

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Officials said all the incidents occurred in and around the East China Sea, typically where the Chinese military or other Chinese civilians operate. An Air Force bomber, above, in August on a flight over Japan, the East China Sea and Korean Peninsula. Photo: Gerald Willis/U.S. Air Force/EPA/Shutterstock

 

U.S. officials wouldn’t definitively confirm Chinese personnel were behind laser incidents

WASHINGTON—Lasers have targeted pilots of American military aircraft operating over the western Pacific Ocean more than 20 times in recent months, U.S. officials say, following a series of similar incidents in which Pentagon officials said Chinese personnel used lasers against U.S. pilots in East Africa.

Officials said all of the incidents occurred in and around the East China Sea, typically where the Chinese military or other Chinese civilians operate. The laser signals directed at American aircraft appeared to be coming from fishing boats operating in the area and from shore, multiple officials said. Continue reading

China Industrial Policy Seeks to Steal ‘Crown Jewels’ of U.S. Tech

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White House exposes Chinese economic aggression

China’s government is using a multi-pronged strategy to systematically steal advanced American technology as part of economic aggression against the United States, according to a White House report.

The report, based in part on declassified intelligence from the Pentagon and intelligence agencies, provides some of the first public details on China’s industrial policies that have produced the world’s second largest economy, often at the expense of American companies. Continue reading

Here Are The Six Ways China Could Retaliate In Trade War With The U.S.

For those who missed the overnight fireworks, late on Monday, President Trump asked the US Trade Representative to identify USD 200BN in Chinese goods for further tariffs of 10% which will be imposed if China refuses to change its practices and goes ahead with its retaliation threat, while he also stated that China raising tariffs is unacceptable and that the US will pursue tariffs on another USD 200bln of Chinese goods if China increases tariffs yet again.

Predictably, China – which last week reacted instantly to Trump’s first round of $50BN in tariffs – again responded immediately, wasting no time in accusing Trump of “blackmail.” China’s commerce ministry said on its website that if the US “irrationally” moves forward with the tariffs then China has no choice but to “forcefully fight back” with “qualitative” and “quantitative” measures. Continue reading

China Now Holding Americans Hostage

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(Photo Credit: The Kremlin/www.kremlin.ru)

 

Beijing is using ‘exit bans’ to exert pressure on American families and officials.

According to a new report the Chinese government has found a new way to attempt to gain leverage over the U.S. by preventing American citizens from leaving, effectively holding them hostage for political or economic gain. Continue reading

China Adds Advanced Missiles to South China Sea Islands

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Pentagon plans major response to Chinese hegemony

China’s military has stepped up militarizing disputed islands in the South China Sea by deploying advanced missile systems on the Spratly islands, according to the Pentagon.

Defense officials disclosed to the Washington Free Beacon that the militarization has raised alarm bells about China’s creeping takeover of the strategic waterway used for some $5 trillion annually in international trade. Continue reading

US struggles to counter Chinese maritime hegemony

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has spoken out against China’s strategy of “intimidation and coercion” in the South China Sea, including the deployment of anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles and electronic jammers, and, more recently, the landing of nuclear-capable bomber aircraft at Woody Island. There are, Mattis warned, “consequences to China ignoring the international community.”

But what consequences? Two successive US administrations – Barack Obama’s and now Donald Trump’s – have failed to push back credibly against China’s expansionism in the South China Sea, which has accelerated despite a 2016 international arbitral tribunal ruling invalidating its territorial claims there. Instead, the US has relied on rhetoric or symbolic actions. Continue reading

As the G-7 Implodes, SCO Meeting Confirms the New Century of Multipolarity

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The historical changes we are witnessing have never been so evident as in the last few days. The G7 summit highlighted the limits of the Atlantic alliance, while the SCO meeting opens up unprecedented possibilities for Eurasian integration.

At the G7 meeting in Canada in recent days, we witnessed unprecedented clashes between Trump and G7 leaders over the imposition of tariffs on trade. We must now conclude that the event has been relegated to irrelevance, as the G7 has heretofore derived its clout from speaking as one voice. Trump even went further, refusing to sign the final draft of the organization’s joint statement after Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau lashed out at Trump’s trade decisions. Trump showed how little he cares for his allies, leaving the summit a day early to arrive early for the meeting with Kim Jong-un in Singapore to make preparations for the long-awaited encounter between the two leaders. Continue reading

As G7 feuds, Xi and Putin play up their own club

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The leaders of China and Russia Sunday praised the expansion of their regional security bloc at a summit which put on a show of unity in stark contrast to the acrimonious G7 meeting.

President Xi Jinping gave the leaders of Pakistan and India a “special welcome” to their first summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao, since their countries joined the group last year. Continue reading