Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Earthquakes, Fires In California, Further Escalation In S China Sea - More Rumors Of War

5.1-magnitude earthquake strikes in Northern California

A 5.1-magnitude earthquake struck north of the Bay Area on Tuesday, according to the United States Geological Survey.

The earthquake struck near Upper Lake, California, which is about 130 miles north of the Bay Area, at about 7:57 p.m.

The earthquake was originally reported as 5.0 magnitude by the USGS, but was later upgraded to 5.1-magnitude.

Shortly after the initial earthquake, the USGS reported aftershocks of 3.0 and 2.7 magnitude.

The Lake County Sheriff dispatch reported no damage or injuries and stated firefighters were battling a small wildfire nearby, according to ABC affiliate KGO-TV in San Francisco.

KGO-TV said residents and business owners in the region reported swaying light fixtures and scared pets, but no damage or injuries.

A wildfire threatening homes in Southern California's rugged San Bernardino Mountains grew to over 12 square miles Tuesday while authorities reopened Highway 1 on the state's central coast after parts were closed due to the huge wildfire just north of Big Sur.
Mandatory and voluntary evacuations covered 5,300 homes in the Southern California fire area between mountain communities around Lake Arrowhead and the high desert city of Hesperia to the north, said Lyn Sieliet, a U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman. The number of people who left was not known.
Southwest winds pushed the fire northward through the mountains toward the desert.
Schools in Hesperia were closed as a precaution because of the fire's movement and two neighboring districts also shut down for the day due to poor air quality caused by smoke.
Meanwhile, California's biggest wildfire expanded to more than 104 square miles north of scenic Big Sur.
An army of more than 5,000 firefighters and a fleet of air tankers and helicopters made progress, however, surrounding 50 percent of the nearly 3-week-old fire.
Due to increased wind and flames from the spreading fire, Highway 1 was closed Monday night but reopened early Tuesday. More temporary closures could follow.
Some residents have been allowed to return to their homes, but some evacuation orders remained in place, while others were reduced to warnings.
Five state parks on Highway 1 between San Francisco and Los Angeles remained closed.
The fire, which has destroyed 57 homes, damaged three others and led to the death of a bulldozer operator in an accident, was caused by an illegal campfire.

Barack Obama's signature foreign policy initiative was meant to shift Washington's focus from the Middle East to Asia Pacific, but the United States will not be able to counter China and wreak havoc in the region, political analyst Stanislav Tarasov.

"America's foreign policy in the Middle East did pay off, it failed. Washington is now trying to pursue its destabilization strategy in Asia-Pacific. But China's positions in the region are strong and the US will not be able to do anything about it," the analyst said.

Tarasov also mentioned that Washington tried to capitalize on tensions between China and Japan, as well as North Korea's nuclear activities in its standoff with Beijing. This strategy has not been successful and if the US tries to push forward with it, increasing tensions with China will most likely lead to what the analyst described as "a major geopolitical failure of US foreign policy."
The analyst described China's behavior as "increasingly assertive," adding that Beijing has been "rather smart and confident" in its activities. The East Asian nation, he added, has prevented "the US from reinforcing its positions in the region like Washington planned to."

Tarasov's comments came in response to recent developments in the East China Sea. Chinese Coast Guard ships and fishing boats sailed close to the disputed islets, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, three times in less than a week, prompting a harsh response from Tokyo that controls the features.

On Tuesday, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told Chinese ambassador Cheng Yonghua that bilateral ties were "deteriorating markedly" over what Tokyo views as an incursion into its waters. For its part, Beijing claims the islands as its own.

Last week, Beijing deployed several H-6 bombers and Su-30 fighter jets on a patrol mission to the Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal. The Chinese military was performing combat patrols to better respond to "all kinds of security threats and safeguarding national sovereignty, security and maritime interests," Senior Colonel Shen Jinke of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force said.

In addition, China's Defense Minister Chang Wanquan recently said that the country must prepare for the "people's war at sea" to defend national security and territorial integrity from maritime threats.

Vietnam has discreetly fortified several of its islands in the disputed South China Sea with new mobile rocket launchers capable of striking China's runways and military installations across the vital trade route, according to Western officials.

Diplomats and military officers told Reuters that intelligence shows Hanoi has shipped the launchers from the Vietnamese mainland into position on five bases in the Spratly islands in recent months, a move likely to raise tensions with Beijing. 

The launchers have been hidden from aerial surveillance and they have yet to be armed, but could be made operational with rocket artillery rounds within two or three days, according to the three sources.
The move is designed to counter China's build-up on its seven reclaimed islands in the Spratlys archipelago. Vietnam's military strategists fear the building runways, radars and other military installations on those holdings have left Vietnam's southern and island defenses increasingly vulnerable.

Military analysts say it is the most significant defensive move Vietnam has made on its holdings in the South China Sea in decades.

Foreign officials and military analysts believe the launchers form part of Vietnam's state-of-art EXTRA rocket artillery system recently acquired from Israel.

EXTRA rounds are highly accurate up to a range of 150 km (93 miles), with different 150 kg (330 lb) warheads that can carry high explosives or bomblets to attack multiple targets simultaneously. Operated with targeting drones, they could strike both ships and land targets.

In recent years, Vietnam has significantly improved its naval capabilities as part of a broader military modernization, including buying six advanced Kilo submarines from Russia.

Carl Thayer, an expert on Vietnam's military at the Australian Defence Force Academy, said the deployment showed the seriousness of Vietnam's determination to militarily deter China as far as possible.

For all the focus on terrorism, one of the most striking features of the last decade is that the risk of war between the world’s major countries has returned. For the first time since the fall of the Berlin wall, military thinkers in the United States, Europe and Asia are putting serious thought into what such a conflict might look like.
For a world with no shortage of nuclear weapons, that’s alarming. As I wrote last month, there is now not just a credible – if still limited – risk of conflict between Russia and NATO states, but also a real risk any such war would go nuclear.
Last week, U.S.-based think tank RAND Corporation – which also studied the prospects of war in the NATO member Baltic states – unveiled its latest thinking on what a potential clash between the United States and China would look like. The report is not direct U.S. government policy – although RAND has long been regarded as a major generator of thought for the U.S. military – but it does push the envelope further than much that has gone before.

The report stresses that while premeditated war between Washington and Beijing ”is very unlikely,” the mishandling of disputes like the multiple territorial confrontations between China and U.S. allies such as Japan and the Philippines are a “danger” that “cannot be ignored.”
RAND examined two different scenarios, one for an inadvertent conflict taking place in the present day and one in 10 years from now, assuming Beijing’s military and economic buildup continues at roughly its current rate. China will substantially close its military gap with the United States over the next decade, it predicts – but the fundamental dynamics of how things will play out might not be hugely different.
Even now, the People’s Liberation Army is seen as having the ability to give a bloodied nose to U.S. forces in the region.Washington could expect to lose an aircraft carrier and multiple other surface warships in the opening stages, RAND warns, citing Chinese advances in ballistic and guided missiles as well as submarines.
The report does not estimate the number of human casualties, but they could be substantial. The loss of an aircraft carrier or several major surface warships could easily cost thousands of lives in an instant.
At the same time, it’s also generally assumed that both Beijing and Washington would have considerable success with cyber attacks.


Unknown said...

I know this is a strange comment to post, especially with the above referenced material, but it seems like it has been relatively quiet over the last week or so. I know things have happened, but I guess I'm just looking for major events now. There is so much behind the scenes maneuvering, and I know all the end time players are working at a fevered pitch. I expect we will lurch forward any day now.


Scott said...

Im not so sure tho. Sometimes its the things that dont get a lot of press. The meeting between putin and erdogan is HUGE and cant be overemphasized. We have been waiting to see how the turkey-russia alliance would go - esp with their headed to direct conflict due to the differences over syria. Now it looks like turkey is willing to concede to russia on order to consolidate this alliance. Again- huge prophetically. Also tje escalation is s china sea has ramped up considerably. But as far as israel things have been quiet but the UNSC meeting is looming large in sept

Unknown said...

I know you're right....just ready to move on (or up). Patience is a virtue that I lack : )


Scott said...

Patience? Haha. I have little to no patience myself lol. This 25-30 year wait is killing me! But noah waited 100+ years so i cant complain:)

Unknown said...

No least I know I won't be waiting that long!?!? (And we don't have to build a boat!)

ally said...

Tehehe, you guys are killing me!!! We are all in that boat! Yep next labor pain is going to be a real humdinger 0_0