Wars that we know are coming. Don't forget, in one of the 21 judgments of the Tribulation, 1/4 of the world's population will perish in war. In another judgment, 1/3 of the world's population will perish. Those are some huge numbers. As we live in the shadow of the Tribulation, it is inevitable that we would see the build-up and preparations for war and indeed we are. Right on schedule:
Stroking fears in Russia that NATO will attack its citizens is not in anyone's interest, Finland’s Foreign Minister Erki Tuomioja said Tuesday. He warned that beefing up NATO's military presence at the Russian-Finnish border was not a good idea because it could prompt Russia to retaliate.
"The border between Finland and Russia is one of the most stable and calm in the world, there are no problems there. Russia thinks the same. And there are no reasons for Russia to want any problems there [in the border area]. However, NATO’s presence at this border may have such effect. I personally do not think that NATO plans to attack [Russia], but such an opinion exists in Russia, and we should take it into account. We don’t want any difficulties," Tuomioja said. "We are part of EU, take part in the implementation of jointly adopted decisions, in particular on sanctions [against Russia], but not because we want to inflict long-term damage on Russia, but with the aim of facilitating ceasefire in Ukraine in accordance with the agreements reached in Minsk."
Finland is not part of NATO. In February, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said Finland’s possible accession to NATO will be put up for a vote. "The latest public opinion poll showed that only 26 percent of Finns are for accession to NATO, while 43 percent are against. To make such a decision, we also need at least two-thirds of votes in the parliament. These are facts. Moreover, the current situation shows that many people in the West are saying that filing for accession [to NATO] now is not very wise," he said.
In Poland, doctors, shopkeepers, lawmakers and others are heeding a call to receive military training in case of an invasion. Neighboring Lithuania is restoring the draft and teaching citizens what to do in case of war. Nearby Latvia has plans to give university students military training next year.
The drive to teach ordinary people how to use weapons and take cover under fire reflects soaring anxiety among people in a region where memories of Moscow's domination — which ended only in the 1990s — remain raw. People worry that their security and hard-won independence are threatened as saber-rattling intensifies between the West and Russia over the conflict in Ukraine, where more than 6,000 people have died.
Poland has been at the forefront of warnings about the dangers of the Ukraine conflict. Just 17 hours by car from the battle zone, Poland has stepped up efforts to upgrade its weapons arsenal, including a possible purchase of U.S.-made Tomahawk missiles. It will host a total of some 10,000 NATO and other allied troops for exercises this year. Its professional army is 100,000-strong, and 20,000 reservists are slated for test-range training.
It's the grassroots mobilization, however, that best demonstrates the fears: The government has reached out to some 120 paramilitary groups with tens of thousands of members, who are conducting their own drills, in an effort to streamline them with the army exercises.
Russia is using its long-range bomber fleet to send a message to the US, and the general charged with protecting the homeland says those flights will continue, or even expand, in the coming months.
Adm. Bill Gortney said the flights by long-range Russian bombers are "messaging" for the US, a reminder that there is another nation capable of power projection.
"They are messaging us. They are messaging us that they are a global power," Gortney told reporters Tuesday, before noting that "we do the same sort of thing."
Gortney said the number of Russian flights near the US has gone up since tensions between the two nations began to rise following the former's invasion and annexation of Crimea last February, with North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) keeping a close eye on where those planes are and what they are doing.
Those flights could expand in the coming months, with Russia traveling even further into territory the US considers under its purview.
Asked about a report that Russian officials are planning to send bomber patrols through the Gulf of Mexico, Gortney said, "it wouldn't surprise me if they do that."
Those flights would likely be conducted by Russia's Tupolev Tu-160 "Blackjack" bombers, Gortney added, as opposed to the Tupolev Tu-95 "Bear" bombers that have been conducting regular flights in Europe.
Two pairs of B-52H Stratofortress bombers, from Barksdale AFB and from Minot AFB, streaked north last week on a long-range exercise dubbed “Polar Growl.” One set of bombers would end up over the far reaches of the North Sea, while the other would cruise high above the Polar Icecap, both areas where Putin's Russia is increasing its presence. This doesn't seem like a coincidence.
The whole affair had three main objectives. First, to test and see how US Strategic Command could handle two separate missions, heading into two separate areas, at the same time. Second, to inter-operate with allied air forces and give crews familiarity with mock foreign intercepts. And third, to give B-52 crews experience navigating the extreme northerly latitudes. STRATCOM boss Admiral Cecil Haney described the value of the exercise:
“These flights, demonstrating the credible and flexible ability of our strategic bomber force in internationally-recognized flight information regions, are the culmination of months of planning and coordination... They are one of many ways we demonstrate interoperability, compliance with national and international protocols, and due regard for the safety of all aircraft sharing the air space.”
Such a statement is somewhat of a slap in the face to the Russians who have become increasingly brazen when it comes to their near constant long-range strategic aircraft drills, even turning off their transponders when flying in dense international airspace.
During Polar Growl, the B-52Hs practiced dissimilar air intercepts and maneuvering with Royal Canadian AF, Royal AF and Royal Netherlands AF fighters. All have been intercepting Russian bomber, surveillance and fighter aircraft with alarming regularity over the past year. Major Nathan Barnhart, a 343rd Bomb Squadron instructor radar navigator describes the utility of such a training sortie:
"The long-range nature of the mission, coupled with the opportunity to interact in real-time with allied aircraft was an invaluable experience that simply can't be replicated out of the cockpit... Training like this ensures we are ready to respond to any and all mission directives across the globe."
The website of the US-based National Interest magazine published an article on April 4 laying out four more Chinese weapons that the US Navy should be concerned about, following a previous piece published in March detailing three weapons.
The three weapons listed in March were the DF-21D "carrier killer" anti-ship missile, combined missile strikes and sea mines.
The first weapon mentioned in the April piece, penned by freelance defense-aerospace reporter and consultant Dave Majumdar, was the J-20 fighter. The fighter, developed in Chengdu, is China's first attempt at building a fifth generation stealth fighter and could challenge US control over Pacific airspace, the article said. Although many details about this new fighter are unclear, the little that has been revealed so far may concern the US Navy, the piece stated.
J-20 Stealth Fighter
The J-20 is a large twin-engine jet and is likely equipped with active electronically scanned array radar and a nose-mounted electro-optical targeting system (EOTS) similar to that of the US F-35, according to the article.
The article stated that the J-20 will likely use a Russian engine, as China does not yet have the technology to create a powerful enough engine itself.
YJ-12 Anti-ship Cruise Missile
In the article Majumdar said that despite the focus on the threat of the DF-21D missile mentioned in the March article, the supersonic YJ-12 anti-ship missile also poses a significant risk to the US Navy in the Pacific region. The missile has a range of 320 km, which would allow the PLA Navy to attack US carrier fleets from beyond the range of the US Standard Missile-2 Block IV terminal-phase interceptors developed by Raytheon.
HQ-9 Anti-aircraft Missile
Although China sources many of its anti-aircraft missiles from Russia, some of its domestically developed weapons, such as the HQ-9 anti-aircraft missile, are also worthy of the US Navy's attention, according to the article.
With a range of 200 km, the HQ-9 can hit targets at an altitude of 30,000 m, the article said. The missile has a speed of Mach 4.2 and is equipped with active radar homing for terminal guidance, the article stated. China's 052D destroyer can carry the missile, according to the article.
Type 039A Diesel-electric Submarine
The article pointed to the Yuan-class Type 039A diesel-electric submarine as the fourth major Chinese weapon that poses a threat to the US Navy. The submarine is China's first diesel-electric submarine to incorporate an air independent propulsion system, which gives it a longer range under water, according to the magazine.
The United States’ airspace defense military is planning to move its communications equipment back to its iconic nuclear Cold War-era bunker which was abandoned nearly a decade ago, the head of the agency announced.
The Cheyenne Mountain bunker in Colorado Springs, which was the filming location for the popular Stargate SG-1 science fiction TV series, was first built in 1965 to resist a Soviet nuclear attack. It was a key center for United States Space Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which scanned Canadian and US airspace via a worldwide system of missiles.
The site was abandoned in 2006 due to heavy costs, and since then the complex has been merely on "warm standby," meaning it is only staffed when required.
Now NORAD and US Space Command have decided to move back to the Cold War-era bunker. Admiral William Gortney, chief of NORAD and Northern Command, said it was necessary to safeguard sensitive sensors and servers from a potential electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack.
“Because of the very nature of the way that Cheyenne Mountain's built, it’s EMP hardened. [It] wasn't really designed to be that way, but the way it was constructed makes it that way,” Gortney said at a Department of Defense press briefing.
On Tuesday night, CNN cited a source that claimed Russia had hacked the White House’s computers, saying those to blame “worked for the Russian government.”
“In regard to CNN’s sources, I don’t know who their sources are. We know that blaming everything on Russia has already turned into some sort of sport. But what’s most important is that they aren’t looking for any submarines in the Potomac River like has been seen in other countries,” Peskov said.
Washington repeatedly accused Moscow of cyberattacks but provided no evidence for these claims. In February, US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper named Russia, China, Iran and North Korea as the leading cyberthreats to the United States.