Wednesday, April 23, 2014

In The News:

As China And Japan Prepare For War, American Forces Battle Over Turf

Many readers of American Thinker may be thinking that a war between China and Japan, with or without the US being involved, is precluded by the fact that it would be stupid and destructive.  Nevertheless, the people who are actually going to fight that war are continuing to prepare for it.  In the US forces, the Marines are seeing off an attempt by the Army to gain a role.  The Marines believe that they won’t need any help in retaking the Senkakus from China. They are also concerned that the Army attack helicopters would suffer from corrosion while sitting on flat-decked ships at sea.

Foreign Policy has come to the realisation that if China seizes the Senakakus, they might as well seize the southern half of the Ryuku island chain, the Yaeyama Islands, while they are at it.  Militarily and morally, the Yaeyamas would be only a little bit more difficult than seizing the Senkakus but would come with plenty of basing opportunities and the benefit of partially enveloping Taiwan.

On the subject of airfields, China built one specifically for this war -- the Shuimen Airbase at 26° 56' 43"N, 120° 4' 37"E.  It was built on top of a ridge about as close as one can get to the Senkakus on the Chinese mainland.  From the Shuimen Airbase it is 400 km to the Senkakus and 500 km to the Yaeyamas.  The Google Earth imagery shows an interesting camouflage pattern on the taxiways to the hardened shelters.  The Shuimen Airbase also has a lot of apron area adjacent to the runway suggesting that it will be used to surge aircraft coming from other airbases in China. 

With plenty of signs from the protagonists that a war is coming, what should Republican legislators do to get ahead of the curve, instead of just being reactive and flat-footed?  The best thing that could be done right now is a bill requiring the expropriation of all Chinese-owned assets in the US upon the announcement by Japan that it has been attacked by China.  The internment of Chinese nationals could follow, but it is important to freeze and seize Chinesefinancial assets immediately upon the outbreak of hostilities.  This may end up being a warning system in that a sudden capital flight might mean that the attack was only hours away.
Back to the Army’s problem of having a role in this war.  What the Army could do is establish a field base for its helicopters on one of the larger, less-populated islands of the Yaeyamas, such as Iriomote-jima.  They won’t miss out on the war -- China will come to them.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has begun to react to subtle U.S. military deployments in the periphery of Russia.

In an act deemed by the Pentagon as “provocative,” a Russian Sukhoi-24 fighter jet repeatedly buzzed the U.S.S. Donald Cook as low as 500 feet over a 90-minute period April 12 as the U.S. warship trolled the Black Sea in international waters near Crimea.
With enhanced Russian military presence in Crimea, the prospect of further provocations against ships and military aircraft from the U.S. and its partners of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is expected to increase, sources say.

In turn, such an episode would only increase Russian surveillance of Western military assets, possibly affecting their ability to conduct normal reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering operations.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon is considering the deployment of up to 10,000 ground troops to Poland to show U.S. commitment to allied security in the area.
After a meeting with Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak last week, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Poland would play a major role in the NATO buildup of troops in Eastern Europe “under U.S. patronage.”
Signaling a change in overall strategic defense policy, Hagel said the U.S. needs to “re-pivot back to Europe from Asia to confront “Russian aggression” in Ukraine.

A forward contingent already is on the ground in Poland to oversee what may become a series of military exercises with NATO allies in the region. It’s a response to Putin’s apparent intention of taking over all of Ukraine and possibly other areas of Eastern Europe where there is a concentration of ethnic Russians.
The prospect has prompted concern among NATO countries in the region, which have assessed that the Russian military is stronger than all of their militaries combined. Consequently, the NATO members are hoping the U.S. will increase its presence to confront what they consider “Russian aggression.”
Putin’s motive is to set up buffer zones against the eastern encroachment of NATO, as Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia seek to join the Western alliance.

The sources believe Putin will remain assertive in his determination to set up buffers while keeping out elements of NATO. For that reason, the Russian president last week reacted forcibly against the deployment of NATO anti-missile defenses, including the U.S.S. Cole, an Aegis-equipped missile warship, near Crimea.
Putin views the moves as a threat to the nuclear defenses of southwestern Russia, which include Crimea for the first time in Russia’s strategic doctrine.

[Footnote: You can bet that any arms supplied to the terrorist groups will ultimately be used against Israel]

According to an April 21st report in Time Magazine, the White House is now considering sending the rebels shoulder-fired surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles known as manpads. In the wrong hands, such missiles could be used to take out commercial aircraft.

Senator John McCain is pushing the Obama administration to take that risk. To combat the Assad regime’s use of barrel bombs dropped on civilian populations from government helicopters, McCain said in a March interview with Time Magazine that he was “willing to take the risk of a manpad, the risk of them falling into the wrong hands.”

McCain’s willingness to take the risk of anti-aircraft missiles getting into the wrong hands is wrong-headed for several reasons.  The most obvious reason is the blowback the United States and its allies will suffer when jihadists fighting in Syria take the weapons they have looted from the so-called “moderate” rebels and use them against us. Nearly half of the rebel fighters are “jihadists or hardline Islamists,” according to a summary by The Telegraph of a report the IHS Jane’s defense consultancy group issued last year. And they are the best trained and equipped forces amongst the Syrian opposition.

President Obama’s apparent openness to providing more advanced weaponry to the Syrian rebels at this stage of the conflict could well be the result of his meeting with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah last month, where Saudi concerns about U.S. resolve in dealing with the Assad regime and Iran’s nuclear threat were discussed. In bowing to the wishes of the Saudi government for more direct U.S. military aid to the Syrian rebels, Obama may have gotten some breathing room from the Saudi leaders as he tries in vain to negotiate a comprehensive, verifiable nuclear deal with Iran. If so, Obama is putting the interests of the United States behind those of a fanatical Sunni Muslim regime that has spawned global jihad and sees Syria as another beachhead to advance that cause.

As the world seems to hurdle from one crisis to another, today a 43-year market veteran warned King World News that massive volcanic eruptions are now wreaking havoc on the world.  Jeffrey Saut, Chief Investment Strategist at Raymond James, also warned this trend is going to continue for many years, even though no one in the mainstream media is talking about this.
Eric King:  “Jeffrey, we’ve seen skyrocketing food prices.”
Saut:  “This has a lot to do with the weather.  You’ve had a drought in Brazil, so the price of Brazilian coffee is up over 80% year-to-date.  I know a farmer in California who used to produce a bunch of alfalfa.  He’s about to lose his entire crop because he can’t get water….
“You also have a drought in Texas.  One of my themes, Eric, has been the weird weather.  The world is actually cooling, not warming.  What’s causing this is the volcanic ash in the air.  You’ve got more volcanic ash in the air than at any time in recorded history.

Former Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., says an attack one year ago on a power plant in California was a “dry run” for something bigger, and American needs to be paying attention.

WND reported the utility company, whose operation was disabled in the attack, has offered a $250,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators.
According to authorities, a team of attackers apparently cut a series of underground fiber optic telephone lines then fired guns at 17 transformers and shot out their cooling systems.
Experts have called the attack an act of terrorism, and West agrees.

He wrote on his website that just a year ago Americans were riveted by the Islamic terror attack at the Boston Marathon.
“But a year ago, there was another attack that while not horrific, was disturbing, and has gone largely unnoticed,” he wrote.
“On April 16, 2013, snipers waged a 52-minute attack on a central California electrical substation. According to reports by Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, the sniper attack started when at least one person entered an underground vault to cut telephone cables, and attackers fired more than 100 shots into Pacific Gas & Electric’s Metcalf transmission substation, knocking out 17 transformers. Electric officials were able to avert a blackout, but it took 27 days to repair the damage,” he wrote.

He said while the FBI doesn’t consider the incident terrorism, the chief of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at the time, Jon Wellinghoff, does.

“Wellinghoff … based his conclusion that this was terrorism on the analysis of experts he brought to the crime scene. The analysis pointed to the shell casings having no fingerprints and evidence that the shooting positions had been pre-arranged. No arrests have been made in the case,” West wrote.

“My concern is that this may have been a dry run for something far bigger. We should be demanding an update on the investigation as to the perpetrators of this attack who escaped without detection,” he said.

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