Thursday, May 14, 2015

Wars And Rumors Of War: The Nations Continue Build-Up To War As World Economy On The Brink

We see this continuing process now on a daily basis. It has to be this way, as we know from Revelation 6-18 that on different occasions the world's population will be reduced by 1/4 and then 1/3 by warfare. Such losses require a potent build-up towards war and indeed we are seeing this process taking place as we live in the shadow of the Tribulation. Meanwhile, the war-like rhetoric has also increased as one can see from the headlines below:

Saudi Arabian officials are warning that they will seek to match Iran’s nuclear arsenal, a US newspaper reported Thursday, as US President Barack Obama and leaders from six Gulf nations — including Riyadh — convened outside Washington to work through tensions sparked by the US bid for a nuclear deal with Tehran, a pursuit that has put regional partners on edge.

Along with Saudi Arabia, smaller Arab countries also say they also plan to pursue a nuclear weapons program to offset Iran’s, portending a much-feared nuclear arms race in the Middle East, according to the New York Times.

“We can’t sit back and be nowhere as Iran is allowed to retain much of its capability and amass its research,” one Arab leader attending the Camp David summit told the New York Times.

Yet leaders around the region have warned that Iranian nuclear development will lead them to also pursue nuclear programs of their own, a worrying idea in a part of the world already riven by violent conflicts.

Faisal also warned that the Iranian nuclear deal “opens the door to nuclear proliferation, not closes it, as was the initial intention.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said last night that the US needs to clarify its stance on proposed new patrols around the islands being used to establish a claim on key strategic oil and fish stocks.
China urged “the relevant country” to “refrain from taking risky and provocative actions to maintain the regional peace and stability”, Hua told reporters.
Since 2010, China has been actively asserting sovereignty over what it calls the “Nanyang” Sea, known in the West as the South China Sea, a 5.6 million square kilometre stretch of water, islands and reefs between it, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and the Philippines.

These claims even approach the coasts of its Asian neighbours.
Hua said China’s upholds the international principal of freedom of navigation in the area — but that doesn’t mean foreign forces can operate freely there.
China has asserted it is seriously concerned about reports military ships and aircraft will be deployed by the US to challenge Chinese claims.

While the US military already operates in the South China Sea, crossing the 12 nautical mile (22.2 kilometre) territorial limit around the disputed islands could raise dangerous tensions if China chose to respond.

A challenge by the US military in the region could potentially trigger a regional standoff, the newspaper added.

Combat jets adopted Cold-War style tactics and flew dangerously close to US and Japanese patrol aircraft. In December 2013, the cruiser USS Cowpens was almost rammed by a Chinese warship escorting a new aircraft carrier on sea trials in international waters.
Any new push by US or Japanese aircraft or warships into this contested region is likely to evoke more of this kind of aggressive manoeuvring and posturing.
But it remains a dangerous game of international brinkmanship.

The Philippines held its first ever joint naval drill with Japan near the disputed South China Sea, May 12. Just a day before, a senior Philippine military official flew to an island controlled by the Philippines in the region, vowing to defend the territory, reports China's nationalistic tabloid Global Times.

This was the first joint naval exercise between Japan and the Philippines. The two countries did however take part in drills in Australia last year.

Some 600 Japanese soldiers and two Japanese destroyers–the Harusame and Amigiri–as well as a Philippine navy complement of 100 accompanying the warship BRP Ramon Alcaraz, took part in the joint exercise in the waters west of Corregidor island adjacent to the South China Sea.

Sources said Japan's Self-Defense Force is considering joining the US in its air and naval patrol operations in the South China Sea and the Philippines supports this. Agence France-Presse said the Philippines is seeking to strengthen partnerships in the region to counter China's assertiveness in the region.

In what could ring alarm bells for the Indian security establishment, a report of the United States Department of Defence (DoD), has warned about China “destructive” space programme of stalling or destroying satellites of other countries and how its nuclear-powered submarines now make forays into the Indian Ocean.

Released on May 8, the DoD’s annual report to the US Congress on ‘Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2015’ talks about a mystery ‘object’ that Beijing had launched in space on a ballistic trajectory with a peak altitude above 30,000 km. 

This trajectory took it near geosynchronous orbit, where many nations maintain communications and earth-sensing satellites. The “object” re-entered Earth’s orbit 9.5 hours after launch. The US report failed to indentify it and stated: “The launch profile was not consistent with traditional space-launch vehicles, ballistic missiles or sounding rocket launches used for scientific research. It could, however, have been a test of technologies with a counterspace mission.”

“China continues to develop a variety of capabilities designed to limit or prevent the use of space-based assets by adversaries, including the development of directed-energy weapons and satellite jammers”, the US report warned. The US expressed concern “China’s continued development of destructive space technologies represented a threat to all peaceful nations”.

While the war in Ukraine has raged on for more than a year, the growing conflict between the US-NATO and Russia has taken on new dimensions. From economic warfare waged by the West in the form of sanctions, to the diplomatic rows over the commemoration of Victory Day in Moscow, more and more it seems that relations between East and West are fraying beyond repair. Though it may seem that this conflict is escalating into simply an extension of what was once known as the Cold War, the potential exists for a hot war of global dimensions.

Lost amid the cacophony of saber-rattling and chest-thumping in Washington and Brussels is the quietly emerging, and infinitely dangerous, military deployment in the Black Sea. Once seen as a no-go zone for the US and NATO, the Black Sea, with its expansive Russian shores, has recently become the site of a slew of provocative military moves by the US, and equally significant counter-moves by Russia. Adding fuel to this potential fire is the participation of Chinese naval assets in this quietly brewing cocktail of global conflict.

The presence of US military assets all throughout the Black Sea region is undoubtedly provocative as it is pushing perilously close to Russia’s borders. The potential for escalation – premeditated or otherwise – puts the entire region, and indeed the entire world, at risk of catastrophe.

This article will focus on the US-NATO military developments in and around the Black Sea. While by no means a comprehensive listing of all of Washington’s moves in the region, it is an attempt to provide a glimpse into a little discussed theater of deployment for the West – one that is regarded as a very serious threat by Moscow.

Washington is demonstrating unequivocally its commitment to escalating the conflict with Russia.

Nearly a year ago, in June 2014, former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel laid bare US intentions. In the wake of President Obama’s public announcement of $1 billion to expand the US military presence in Eastern Europe, Hagel stated that the billion dollar commitment was for a “stronger presence of US ships in the Black Sea,” and that “[The US] will sustain that tempo going forward.” Put in slightly more understandable terminology, the US committed a significant monetary investment to the permanentexpansion of its military presence in and around the Black Sea.

The permanence of this new commitment is what is striking because, unlike much of the bluff and bluster from Washington over Ukraine and related issues, this represents a military deployment with real tactical value. It is not mere rhetoric, it is military escalation. And, in the year since the announcement was made, this process has evolved in earnest.

The US Army is currently, or will soon be, leading a series of critical military exercises in the Black Sea. One notable one is known as Noble Partner. This series of exercises is being conducted with the de facto NATO member Georgia which has effectively become a forward arm of NATO military forces.

However, as part of the US military training, a significant amount of military hardware is being shuttled across the Black Sea in an unprecedented move by the US which has never so brazenly treated this body of water as its own backyard.

Taken in combination with Hagel’s comments a year ago, it is clear that the US is committed to escalating its military presence in the Black Sea. Of course, it is self-evident that such a strategic development must be seen as an attempt to both outgun and intimidate Russia in its traditional sphere of influence.

At no time during the Cold War did the US engage in such openly hostile and belligerent actions designed more to provoke than to defend. It seems the policy now is to both prepare for war and work to ensure that it comes to fruition. 

There are other important military moves that the US-NATO have made in the Black Sea in recent months, all designed to send a stern warning to Russia. NATO’s Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) recently completed its training exercises “designed to improve interoperability and enhance rapid integration of Alliance maritime assets…

It is interesting to note that Russia’s moves in Crimea in 2014 came within a matter of days of the entrance into the Black Sea of these US naval assets. Anyone who doubts that Moscow’s decision to support Crimea’s vote for reunification with the Russian Federation was motivated by something other than military and strategic pragmatism would do well to examine this timeline of events.

All of this makes plain that the US and its NATO arsenal are gearing up for a “pivot” – to borrow the grossly overused terminology of the Obama administration and the Pentagon – that will see their forces focused on the Black Sea, just as they have shifted attention to the Baltic Sea even more so in recent months. It does not take exceptional powers of deduction to see what the US intends: continued escalation, force preparedness, and intimidation against Moscow. However, it is equally apparent that such provocative moves raise the risk of a misstep, an accident or misunderstanding that could touch off a major military conflict. Considering the players involved, such a blunder could spark World War 3.

According to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, NATO plans to boost its reinforcements in eastern and southern Europe to levels of the Cold War.

 NATO plans to boost its reinforcements in eastern and southern Europe to levels of the Cold War because of an "assertive Russia" and the spread of extremism, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday.

"Today we will discuss all the security challenges in our eastern and southern neighborhoods. To the East the more assertive Russia used force to change borders and intimidate neighbors. To the South extremism has reached a level unprecedented in modern times," Stoltenberg said during a NATO foreign ministers session in Turkey.

Stoltenberg said the alliance will adapt to the new threatening environment by reinforcing its defense to levels only seen during the Cold War.
"In this more dangerous security environment NATO will continue to protect and defend each ally against any threats. That is why we are adapting to a new environment and implementing the greatest reinforcement of the collective defense system since the days of the Cold War," he added.

On Wednesday, Russia's Permanent Mission to NATO said in a statement that the alliance promoted a distorted picture of its relations with Moscow and attempted to persuade the public that its efforts contributed to European security. The mission pointed that in its remarks, the bloc silenced criticism about its military actions in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Libya.

Russia's next-generation Armata tank, recently showcased at the Victory Day parade in Moscow, could be fitted with a bigger, 152mm cannon, the Izvestia daily reported Thursday citing Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

A column of Armata tanks, equipped with 125mm cannons, rolled through Moscow's historic Red Square on May 9 as Russian President Vladimir Putin and a number of foreign heads of state, including Chinese leader Xi Jinping, watched on.

"We have a shell that can burn through a meter-wide steel [plate] for this tank, we will fit it onto the Armata," Rogozin was quoted as saying by Izvestia.

The Armata is a Russian prototype of a heavy tracked vehicle platform, used as a basis to build a next-generation main battle tank and a range of other combat vehicles.

 Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's claims about 11,000 Russian servicemen allegedly deployed in eastern Ukraine are "baseless," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday.

"Such baseless, vague and ungrounded accusations will never produce a positive result, to put it mildly," Peskov said when asked to comment on Poroshenko's claims.

In a Thursday interview with the German public broadcaster ZDF, the Ukrainian leader once again accused Russia of deploying thousands of troops to war-hit southeastern Ukraine.
Peskov said Russia had multiple times denied Kiev's allegations about its involvement in the crisis. Similar accusations have been raised against Moscow by US and NATO officials who cited evidence of Russia's role in the hostilities between Kiev forces and eastern Ukraine's independence supporters. These reports have not been confirmed independently.

Like the ill-fated White Star liner, the global economy is sailing across the ocean with too few lifeboats and an iceberg looming on the horizon, warns HSBC chief economist Stephen King.

And that’s going to be a titanic problem for global policy makers.

It’s been six years since the last U.S. recession and though they don’t come like clockwork, King says we are closer to the next one than the last one.

But unlike past downturns, the weak recovery from the last recession has not allowed monetary policymakers to replenish their arsenals.

“We may not know what will cause the next downswing but, at this stage, we can categorically state that, in the event we hit an iceberg, there aren’t enough lifeboats to go round,” said King.

HSBC Global Research also lists in its report Wednesday four suspects that could cause the next recession:
1) Higher U.S. wage costs along with weak productivity leads to falling profit share in GDP which triggers a collapse in stock prices. This leads to a loss of consumer confidence and then economic contraction. “Put another way, another equity bubble bursts.”

2) A growing series of failures in non-banking financial services as pension funds and insurers find themselves unable to meet future obligations. These trigger a demand for liquid assets which leads to panic selling and then collapse in demand

3) “A recession made abroad, not at home:” China’s economy weakens to the point where Beijing must let the renminbi slide

4) The Federal Reserve raises rates too soon. The tightening exposes how fragile the recovery really is and the economy goes in reverse. The same mistake was made by the European Central Bank in 2011 and Bank of Japan in 2000.

There was a recent article that some 6,000 US retail stores are shutting down permanently. 
In responding to what that means for the US economy Willie states, in a May 4, 2015 interview, “it’s stuck in a depression and all the talk of a sluggish recovery is pure nonsense. 
It means that the people who run the economic statistics rat-labs are a bunch of clown-liars. The US economy has been stuck in a recession on the order of –2% to -5% on a truly, properly inflation-adjusted basis – for the last 6 consecutive years!”

The US is stuck in a vicious recession, which I think after 3 years qualifies for a depression.

This Will Cause a Big Shock to the US Economy
“You mentioned 6,000 stores being closed down. You have 340 Dollar Tree and Dollar Stores closing down.”
Interviewer: That’s an amazing statistic, the Dollar stores. They were a growth business for the longest time and now they’re shutting down. That’s a significant sign in my opinion. Willie continues, “You are not seeing any Walmarts closing down yet, but that’s going to come. 
I think the big shock to the US economy is going to come when Sears announces their bankruptcy.

US Is Using a Fascist Business Model
“The US economy, even now, still has more retail space, per capita, than any other nation in the world. What these clowns in Washington and New York need to do is start building new businesses and expanding existing, successful businesses.
We’re seeing the climax of the failure of the fascist business model that began before 9-11, which began in the Greenspan with financial engineering. That is just a fancy word for saying ‘derivative dependence’ for financial markets. 
The fascist business model started in the 90s and took deep root in the 2000 decade and now you are seeing economic failure in the 2010 decade. Expect during this failure to see the rise of the gold standard. I like to offer hope. It will be coming. The reset will set the stage for that with a shock wave.

“The next financial collapse will resemble nothing in history. . . . Deciding upon the best course to follow will require comprehending a minefield of risks, while poised at a crossroads, pondering the death of the dollar.”
The international monetary system has collapsed three times in the past hundred years, in 1914, 1939, and 1971. Each collapse was followed by a period of tumult: war, civil unrest, or significant damage to the stability of the global economy. Now James Rickards, the acclaimed author of Currency Wars, shows why another collapse is rapidly approaching—and why this time, nothing less than the institution of money itself is at risk.
The American dollar has been the global reserve currency since the end of the Second World War. If the dollar fails, the entire international monetary system will fail with it. No other currency has the deep, liquid pools of assets needed to do the job.
 While Washington is gridlocked and unable to make progress on our long-term problems, our biggest economic competitors—China, Russia, and the oilproducing nations of the Middle East—are doing everything possible to end U.S. monetary hegemony. The potential results: Financial warfare. Deflation. Hyperinflation. Market collapse. Chaos.

It can be difficult to understand the repercussions that would follow a collapse of the global economy, stocks and debt markets. While we know a serious financial event is coming, determining how it will impact our lives and preparing an appropriate strategic plan to mitigate the fallout can be a confusing and stressful undertaking.
The questions being asked by concerned Americans are plenty, but the answers are not so easy to come by. Should I keep money in my retirement accounts? What publicly traded companies are recession-proof? Will gold and silver really be of value if the whole system comes crashing down? Should I have some cash? How much food should I stockpile if the regular flow of commerce is affected? Will there be riots in my city?

In the following interview with X22 Report Spotlight, well known analyst and contrarian thinker Greg Mannarino of Traders Choice succinctly explains the challenges we face as individuals and as a nation. He doesn’t mince words and goes straight to the heart of the problem: out of control debt.
As Mannarino explains it, we are facing an event so serious that it will directly impact just about every person on earth. But before we can prepare for it, we need to understand what it is that’s going to happen and what a worst-case scenario may look like:

The central banks… by us adopting a debt-based economic model, which demands that cash be borrowed from the future in greater and greater amounts to sustain what we have here, have created an alternative universe which would not exist. If we did not have access to all of these funds that we’re borrowing from the future and inflating this debt we would not have the lifestyle that we have now.
It’s created a population boom… a population boom has risen in tandem with the debt. It’s incredible.
So, when the debt bubble bursts we’re going to get a correction in population. It’s a mathematical certainty.
Millions upon millions of people are going to die on a world-wide scale when the debt bubble bursts. And I’m saying when not if…

When resources become more and more scarce we’re going to see countries at war with each other. People will be scrambling… in a worst case scenario… doing everything that they can to survive… to provide for their family and for themselves.
There’s no way out of it.

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Whoah Nellie said...

Hey Scott! Been following the blog for a couple years now - first time commenting though. Great stuff you've got going here, thanks for putting in the time/effort!

I know you've covered some of the blood moon events and I wanted to offer an additional thought. I've watched Mark Biltz's Blood Moons DVD and found it very interesting. Is it possible that this series of celestial events is different from past tetrads in that it mirrors the tribulation?

One set of 7 judgements for each blood moon in the tetrad - 7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 thunders (Rev. 10), 7 bowls/vials. Total solar eclipse in the middle, anti-christ sits on the throne in Jerusalem declaring the ultimate blasphemy mid-way through the tribulation. The later half of the tribulation referred to as the great tribulation, lining up with the last blood moon being a super blood moon.

We know Israel gets to ride out the tribulation. Is it possible that this is the heavenly warning sign that the tribulation is imminent? I don't know...something to ponder though. Keep up the good work!


Scott said...

Personally, I don't think so...I'm not sure about 28 judgments as we usually think of 21 judgments on earth. Not sure about those extra 7.

IMO - the most significant thing is the blood moon and the solar eclipse slated for the end of Sept in the context of Acts 2.