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Tag Archives: China

Avoiding Nuclear War Is Our First Priority, by Paul Craig Roberts

Believe or not, there are people in the US government who would dispute the title statement. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.com:

Michel Chossudovsky, a distinguished professor in Canada, directs the Centre for Research on Globalization and the website Global Research, a font of important information unavailable from the presstitute Western media. In this article he tells us that if we do not focus on peace instead of war, we are all going to die: https://www.globalresearch.ca/what-you-need-to-know-about-north-korea-and-the-dangers-of-nuclear-war/5615328

Professor Chossudovsky makes an important point, made to me some years ago by my colleague Zbigniew Brzezinski and recently by former Secretary of Defense William Perry (see: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/12/05/walking-into-armageddon/ ). Professor Chossudovsky reminds us to “bear in mind that mistakes are often what determine the course of world history.” A US attack on North Korea would be a mistake that could precipitate a nuclear war.

There is no doubt that Chossudovsky is correct.

Additionally, the continued demonization of Russia, China, and Iran could precipitate a nuclear war. In other words, we are surrounded by very real threats created by Washington that receive no attention from Western governments and the presstitute media. As I wrote on December 5, we are “walking into Armageddon.” https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/12/05/walking-into-armageddon/

Professor Chossudovsky has amassed a huge amount of information that makes clear the vast difference between the level-headed era of JFK/Khrushchev and the insanity of the post-Reagan era of the re-start of hostilities for the sake of the power and profit of the US military/security complex and the neoconservatives’ ideology of US world hegemony.

I am unsure that the peoples of the Western world can without violence against their governments do anything to prevent nuclear war, because the Western politicians are in the pay of the military/security complex and the financial and corporate interest groups that benefit from US hegemony. American hegemony produces profits, and for the sake of these profits Western leaders will risk the fate of the world.

To continue reading: Avoiding Nuclear War Is Our First Priority

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Asia’s Other Nuclear Standoff, by Conn Hallinan

North Korea is not the only tense situation with possible nuclear ramifications in Asia. From Conn Hallinan at antiwar.com:

With the world focused on the scary possibility of war on the Korean Peninsula, not many people paid much attention to a series of naval exercises this past July in the Malacca Strait, a 550-mile long passage between Sumatra and Malaysia through which pass over 50,000 ships a year.

With President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un exchanging threats and insults, why would the media bother with something innocuously labeled “Malabar 17”?

They should have.

Malabar 17 brought together the US, Japanese, and Indian navies to practice shutting down a waterway through which 80 percent of China’s energy supplies travel and to war game closing off the Indian Ocean to Chinese submarines. If Korea keeps you up at night, try imagining the outcome of choking off fuel for the world’s second largest economy.

While Korea certainly represents the most acute crisis in Asia, the diplomatic maneuvers behind Malabar 17 may be more dangerous in the long run. The exercise elevates the possibility of a confrontation not only between China, the US, and India, but also between India and Pakistan, two nuclear-armed countries that have fought three wars in the past 70 years.

A Wedge Against China

This tale begins more than a decade and a half ago, when then Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Douglas Feith – one of the most hawkish members of the George W. Bush administration – convened a meeting in May 2002 of the U.S.-India Defense Policy Group and the government of India.

As one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement, India traditionally avoided being pulled into the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union. But the Bush administration had a plan for roping India into an alliance aimed at containing China, with a twist on an old diplomatic strategy: no stick, lots of carrots.

To continue reading: Asia’s Other Nuclear Standoff

How “Ghost Collateral” And “Yin-Yang” Property Deals Will Collapse China’s Credit Bubble, by Tyler Durden

SLL has long said that China may well be where the debt bubble implosion gets going in earnest. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

One lesson from the 2007-08 crisis was that the vast majority of financial market participants, never mind the general public, were unfamiliar with subprime mortgages until the crisis was underway. Even now, we doubt many have much understanding of repo, the divergence between LIBOR and Fed Funds from 9 August 2007 and Eurodollar liquidity. In a similar way, when China’s bubble bursts, we doubt the majority will be that familiar with “ghost collateral” and “yin-yang” property contracts either.
 
A second lesson from the 2007-08 crisis was that as the value of the collateral underpinning the vast amount of leverage declined, the surge in margin calls led to cascading waves of selling in a downward spiral.

A third lesson was that the practice of re-hypothecating the same subprime mortgage bonds more than once, meant collateral supporting the most vulnerable part of the credit bubble was non-existent. It only became apparent with the falling prices and margin calls. Few people realised the bull market was built on such flimsy foundations, as long as prices kept rising.

A fourth lesson was that in order for the bubble to reach truly epic proportions, key financial institutions, especially banks, needed to conduct themselves in a negligent fashion and totally ignore increasing risks.

Each of these warning signs from the 2007-08 crisis exists in China’s property market now – and other parts of its financial system – bar one…falling prices leading to cascading waves of selling. However, as we’ll explain, we think it’s only a matter of months away now.

 We should note that our thesis that China’s bubble would eventually be undermined by a “black hole” of insufficient collateral is one that we have been developing for several years. What we came to realise is that insufficient collateral is nothing more than normal business practice in the Chinese economy. It doesn’t matter whether it’s related to commodity-backed loans, property speculation or managing redemptions in the Wealth Management Products (WMPs) sector.

 

Face It, The Mighty U.S. Aircraft Carrier is Finished, by Harry J. Kazianis

New missiles make the US Navy’s pride and joy, aircraft carriers, sitting ducks. From Harry J. Kazianis at theamericanconservative.com:

The first step is acknowledging that in a standoff, it could lose, and badly,

The USS McCampbell and aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in the Persian Gulf. (Wikimedia Commons)

The U.S. Navy (and to be frank, the whole U.S. military) is living in a state of total denial. In the next great powers war, or perhaps even in a conflict with a mid-tier power like Iran, at least one of our aircraft carriers will sink to the bottom of the sea. That means thousands of lives could be lost—and there would be very little we could do to stop it.

We need to get used to a very simple reality: the decades-old age of the aircraft carrier, that great symbol of U.S. power projection, has now passed. We can deny the evidence that is right before our eyes, but innovations in anti-ship missiles over many decades—combined with advanced but short-range carrier-based U.S. fighter aircraft and missile defenses that can be easily defeated—have conspired to doom one of the most powerful weapons ever devised.

If the aircraft carrier is a symbol, an expression of U.S. military dominance stretching from World War II to today, then there’s another symbol that perfectly encapsulates its demise: China’s DF-21D, what many experts describe as a “carrier-killer” ballistic missile.

How the missile works is key to understanding what modern-day U.S. aircraft carriers face. The missile is mobile and can travel anywhere via a truck, making its detection difficult. When launched, the weapon is guided using over-the-horizon radars, new satellite networks, and possibly even drones or commercial vessels being used as scouts. The system also has a maneuverable warhead to help defeat missile-defense systems. When it does find its target, it can descend from the sky and strike at speeds approaching Mach 12. Worst of all, the missile has a range of 1,000 miles. A Pentagon source tells me that Beijing has already deployed “many of them—perhaps in the hundreds,” and is “fully operational and ready for action.”

With one report claiming China could build 1,227 DF-21Ds for every carrier the U.S. military sends to sea, Beijing and other nations will have ample budgetary room to challenge our mighty carriers for decades to come.

To continue reading: Face It, The Mighty U.S. Aircraft Carrier is Finished

From the Caucasus to the Balkans, China’s Silk Roads are rising, by Pepe Escobar

Here’s a good survey of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), from one of its biggest cheerleaders, Pepe Escobar. From Escobar at atimes.com:

With its focus on Central Asia and Eastern Europe, the Belt and Road Initiative can be seen as fulfilling a strategy of challenging the West that can be traced back to Mao

The 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress made it clear that the New Silk Roads – aka, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – launched by President Xi Jinping just four years ago, provides the concept around which all Chinese foreign policy is to revolve for the foreseeable future. Up until the symbolic 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, in 2049, in fact.

Virtually every nook and cranny of the Chinese administration is invested in making the BRI Grand Strategy a success: economic actors, financial players, state-owned enterprises (SOEs), the private sector, the diplomatic machine, think tanks, and – of course – the media, are all on board.

It’s under this long-term framework that sundry BRI projects should be examined. And their reach, let’s be clear, involves most of Eurasia – including everything from the Central Asian steppes to the Caucasus and the Western Balkans.

Representatives of no fewer than 50 nations are currently gathered in Tbilisi, Georgia, for yet another BRI-related summit. The BRI masterplan details six major economic “corridors,” and one of these is the Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor. That’s where Georgia fits in, alongside neighboring Azerbaijan: both are vying to position themselves as the key Caucasus transit hub between Western China and the European Union.

On the first day of the summit, Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili extolled the drive to “strengthen the economic and civilizational ties between Europe and Asia.” In practice, that translates into a push to build an economic free zone, in accordance with the memorandum of understanding signed by the Chinese and Georgian economic ministers.

Caucasus_countries

Add in the recently inaugurated Baku-Tblisi-Kars railway and a new deep-sea port to be built in Anaklia, in the Black Sea, with Chinese investment, and we have Georgia as a key logistical hub in China-EU connectivity. It helps that, thanks to the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) gas pipeline out of the Caspian Sea, Georgia has already been positioned for years as an energy transportation hub.

To continue reading: From the Caucasus to the Balkans, China’s Silk Roads are rising

This Cycle–It’s China, by Kevin Muir

China is tapping the brakes on its economy, and the reverberations will be world-wide. From Kevin Muir at themacrotourist.com:

I know everything is fan-freaking-tastic – with the tax reform bill and global synchronized expansion and all. I figure the last thing you need is some nattering naysayer throwing cold water on this unbelievable party, so I won’t. At least not for the short run. This rally will end when it ends. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, maybe next month, maybe next year. I don’t know and every time I try to guess, I just end up looking foolish.

But I recently listened to this terrific Bloomberg Masters in Business interview of the legendary hedge fund manager, Felix Zulauf, and he articulated such a compelling argument for the timing of the next slowdown, I felt like Felix was my Spirit Bear.

I have always enjoyed Felix’s viewpoint, but Barry Ritholtz did such a great job during this interview, that I have a new found appreciation for Felix’s career, and more importantly, his market calls. I had mistakenly assumed Felix was always bearish, but the truth of the matter is that he definitely switches from side to side, and is not the pro-typical Swiss hard money uber-bear. I didn’t agree with all of his economic philosophy by any means, but his market (and political) analysis was some of the most compelling dialog I have listened to in quite some time. If you haven’t heard it, then give it a listen.

If you don’t want to take the time, don’t fret – I have transcribed the most important part for you.

Felix: China I believe is in an interesting position right now. You heard President Xi’s speech last week, and in 2021 there is the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist party and it’s very clear that they want to have a strong economy at that time. If you want to have a strong economy in 2021, you stimulate in 2020. And they are central planners. So that’s means they have to take their foot off the pedal in 2018, 2019. I think in ‘18 and ‘19, they will address the imbalances in the financial sector and that will slow down the Chinese economy in ‘18 and ‘19, which will also slow down the rest of the world.

To continue reading: This Cycle–It’s China

China To Deploy Elite Troops In Syria To Fight Alongside Assad’s Army, by Tyler Durden

China is escalating its military involvement in Syria. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

According to multiple reports in Middle East regional sources, China plans to send elite military units to Syria to advise and assist the Syrian Army in an attempt to root out the country’s terrorist insurgency, especially Chinese Islamist foreign fighters who have shown up in increasing numbers in Syria’s north since the start of the conflict.

If confirmed this won’t be the first time China – one of the five veto-wielding powers of the UN Security Council – has sent assistance to the Assad government: according to previous reporting by Middle East Eye, China began quietly sending soldiers in an advisory capacity into Syria earlier this year to assist government forces in weapons systems, intelligence collection, logistics, and medicine. But this certainly marks a dramatic and more public escalation in terms of Chinese operations in the region as Beijing will reportedly send special forces to work closely with government troops, and likely in coordination with the Russians as well.


File photo via “Life of Soldiers” blog

Sources told the Saudi Arabia based newspaper New Khaleej that the Chinese Ministry of Defense intends to send two units known as the “Tigers of Siberia” and the “Night Tigers” – both elite special operations units – to assist the Syrian government’s fight against the jihadist insurgency.The news follows a high level meeting last week in China between Syrian Presidential Advisor Bouthaina Shaaban and Chinese Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who praised Damascus’ efforts in fighting foreign militants from the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM, also commonly called the Turkestan Islamic Party, or TIP). The Muslim separatist group was founded by ethnic Uighurs and is based in the Xinjiang province of northwest China.

The militarized Uighur separatist movement has long been a thorn in the side of the Beijing government, which began actively fighting the group soon after 9/11 when reports began surfacing that notable al-Qaeda terrorists as well as Osama bin Laden himself were actively supporting Uighur extremists and their operations. Various Uighur Islamist groups have claimed terror attacks in Chinese cities over the years, most notably a Shanghai blast which occurred days before the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics were set to begin.
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