Nukes For China

We have heard all the spurious arguments for the nuke policies for Iran and North Korea……but what about a strategy for a nuclear power and one of our biggest opponents? China.

A diverse range of external stimuli, including technological trends and geopolitical shifts, is leading the strategic community of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to reconsider existing nuclear policy, strategy, and operations. According to Chinese open sources, U.S. global conventional precision strike systems, U.S. missile defenses, and India’s nuclear weapons modernization, among other threats, could shake the PRC’s faith in longstanding nuclear doctrine and posture. The 2013 Science of Military Strategy confirms that “the nuclear security circumstances facing China in overall terms are trending toward complexity.”   In response to such challenges, some Chinese analysts have proposed loosening the no-first-use policy and undertaking quantitative and qualitative improvements to China’s nuclear forces.

A departure from enduring nuclear policy and strategy may also reflect China’s growing power and sense of purpose as it seeks to reshape its surroundings and accelerate the erosion of the U.S. position in the Western Pacific. Indeed, Chinese analysts are exploring Cold War history in Europe, from which they may be drawing lessons about the vulnerabilities of U.S. extended deterrence in Asia. While it remains unclear how and to what extent Chinese nuclear strategy will advance Beijing’s expanding ambitions, the internal debates suggest that China may be increasingly inclined to adopt a more coercive nuclear strategy.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2019/07/17/chinese_nuclear_weapons_strategyleaning_towards_a_more_proactive_posture_part_ii_external_drivers_of_potential_changetechnical-military_developments_and_perceptions_of_credibility.html

China continues to confront the US and its Asian allies on many fronts and yet the president is concerned over a country that is not yet a nuclear power…..where is the sanity there?

I believe you ignore China’s nukes at your own peril.

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North Korea And Nukes

While the mindless are focused on the so-called “Squad of Four” the world continues to suck….but that is alright we can start a new mindless chant.

We have all sorts of “good” news on North Korea at least according to Our Own Beloved Supreme Leader…..the most important thing that the Trump admin is thumping its chest over is the possibility that DPRK is that the nukes may soon be a thing of the past…….

The assumption that North Korea will never give up its nuclear weapons, no matter the security guarantees or economic incentives, may finally be put to the test according to a report that the Trump administration is considering a groundbreaking diplomatic proposal to end its decades-long commitment to maximum pressure.

Based on comments from an unidentified source in the White House close to the diplomatic effort, Yeonhap News reported on July 11 that the Trump administration is considering an offer of 12-18 months of sanctions relief on critical coal and textile industries in return for North Korea dismantling its main nuclear complex in Yongbyon and a continued freeze on nuclear weapons development. The administration is also said to be considering a declaration ending the Korean War if Kim Jong-un’s government agrees to this proposal.

Why North Korea May Relinquish Its Nukes

But Not So Fast!

Seems the rhetoric is the same.

North Korea on Tuesday suggested it might call off its 20-month suspension of nuclear and missile tests because of summertime US-South Korean military drills that the North calls preparation for an eventual invasion, the AP reports. The statement by the North’s Foreign Ministry comes during a general deadlock in nuclear talks, but after an extraordinary meeting of the US and North Korean leaders at the Korean border that raised hopes that negotiations would soon resume. The comments ramp up pressure on the United States ahead of any new talks. “It is crystal clear that it is an actual drill and a rehearsal of war aimed at militarily occupying our Republic by surprise attack and rapid dispatch of large-scale reinforcements,” the foreign ministry of North Korea said, per Business Insider.

North Korea has had longstanding antipathy toward US-South Korean military cooperation, which the allies call defensive and routine but the North sees as hostile. At the dramatic June 30 meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump, the leaders agreed to resume nuclear diplomacy that had been stalled since their failed second summit in Vietnam in February. Despite the seeming mini-breakthrough, there has been little public progress since. North Korea wants widespread relief from harsh US-led sanctions in return for pledging to give up parts of its weapons program, but the US is demanding greater steps toward disarmament before it agrees to relinquish the leverage provided by the sanctions.

NK’s new constitution seems to refute the notion that they would give up their nukes….

North Korea released an amended version of its constitution last Thursday, in which the preface continues to identify the country as a nuclear weapons state. This language indicates that Kim Jong Un’s true intent for nuclear negotiations is to preserve his nuclear arsenal despite U.S. demands for verifiable denuclearization.

North Korea’s legislature, the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA), revised the constitution when it met in April, yet Pyongyang did not release the full text of the revised document until last week. One notable change to the constitution is Kim Jong Un’s new status as North Korea’s official head of state, a position previously held by a figurehead. The SPA also deleted multiple references to the Songun, or “military-first,” policy of Kim’s father, former leader Kim Jong Il. This may point toward a stronger emphasis in Pyongyang on economic reforms and strengthening the nation’s science and technology sectors. It would be a mistake, however, to infer that Kim Jong Un is shifting his objectives away from national militarization.

https://www.fdd.org/analysis/2019/07/15/amended-north-korean-constitution-reaffirms-kim-jong-uns-steadfast-faith-in-his-nuclear-arsenal/

Looks like Kim is trying to play Trump ….again.

It could work because this situation, the nukes and DPRK, is the only thing that he, Trump, has to offer the world as far as foreign policy goes.

The three key actors in the Korean Peninsula crisis are demonstrating why a solution should be anchored in an international coalition and international institutions. North Korea’s Kim Jong-un shows signs that he is ready to trade nuclear and ICBM capabilities for security and economic development. US President Donald Trump appears prepared to make a deal, but his advisors and political party oppose UN sanctions relief. And South Korean President Moon Jae-in has so far been unwilling to articulate and promote a deal that would attract Trump and Kim.

Time to internationalise diplomacy with North Korea

What Trump is doing with NK is not diplomacy but rather an ego trip…if it works I will be surprised and will give credit where credit is due.

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Down South Of The Border

We have all heard the vitriol of our president for the region of Central America……he spends time demeaning the people of the region and accusing them of all sorts of crimes that are NOT true.

The US has a long history of interfering in the events of Central America.

A look at the number ot times that the US has stook its nose into affairs it should have let play out……

A national spotlight now shines on the border between the United States and Mexico, where heartbreaking images of Central American children being separated from their parents and held in cages demonstrate the consequences of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance policy” on unauthorized entry into the country, announced in May 2018. Under intense international scrutiny, Trump has now signed an executive order that will keep families detained at the border together, though it is unclear when the more than 2,300 children already separated from their guardians will be returned.

Trump has promised that keeping families together will not prevent his administration from maintaining “strong — very strong — borders,” making it abundantly clear that the crisis of mass detention and deportation at the border and throughout the U.S. is far from over. Meanwhile, Democratic rhetoric of inclusion, integration, and opportunity has failed to fundamentally question the logic of Republican calls for a strong border and the nation’s right to protect its sovereignty.

View this collection on Medium.com

It is time for the US to recognize our part in the misery in Central America that fuels the flow of immigrants.

The condition of the migrants, however, is especially tragic, because of the role America has played in making their lives so miserable. They come from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, all places we have treated like pawns in the Great Game. Our intentions were noble, of course. We wanted only the best for our Southern brothers and sisters. But as we know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. In this case, it was the hell we helped create.

https://gazette.com/opinion/columnists/column-recognizing-our-role-in-central-america-s-misery/article_4dcc968a-9779-11e9-99bd-436825e49362.html

I wish I could put the blame on Trump’s shoulders but that would be disingenuous…..in realty it has been every president from 1932 to present day.

It is time for the US to stop hiding behind the Monroe Doctrine to intervene where we are NOT wanted.

Lear Stuff!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Do We Need Militarism?

The subject of militarism is a subject that we study in conflict management and resolution…..I am talking about armed conflict……

We can think of several examples where it does not end well….Italy in the 1930s and Germany as well are the two most readily available to most people.

First, maybe the definition will help- my reader understand…..

Militarism is a belief that a nation should develop, maintain, and use a strong military to expand its interests. A militaristic country has a large defense force on which it spends a disproportionate share of its income. The society subordinates all other national interests to support a strong military.

In militarism, the government directs the factors of production to strengthen the military. The four factors are entrepreneurship, capital goods, natural resources, and labor. It gives preferential treatment to defense contractors. For example, President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on imports, such as steel, that he said could threaten national security.

An aspect of militarism is the notion that unquestioning obedience is something to be admired. Militarism has a corrosive effect on the ability of both children and adults to think for themselves and speak out when they see something wrong. Armies require people to obey orders without question. Of all the reasons that might be given for killing a human being, surely the very weakest explanation is that you killed because someone told you to.

Militarism and nationalism go hand-in-hand. Nationalists believe their country is superior to all others. They don’t join global organizations or collaborate with other countries on joint efforts. They use the military to defend their country. Nationalists find it easy to justify a large military to attack other countries because they believe them to be inferior. The military enforces the nation’s superiority both internally and externally.  (Does that sound at all familiar?)

Now that the topic has been fleshed out….let’s move on…..

It seems that the US is drowning in militarism and the president is stoking the fire…..

It’s no small thing to lodge a word or phrase of your own in our language. So give Dwight D. Eisenhower credit. In his presidential farewell address to the American people in 1961, the former five-star general of World War II warned – and who would have known better – of the growth of what he called “the military-industrial complex.” (“Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry… We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions… Added to this, 3½ million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment… Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience… In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.”)

Drowning in Militarism

It all began with Ike’s proclamation on the M-IC and has continued to the point where the Defense industry controls damn near everything…..

In 2019, most Americans see the Pentagon and the U.S. military as this country’s protectors — a force for good, perhaps the equivalent of an eagle, that national symbol, soaring over an endangered land. What if, however, we saw the Pentagon not as a noble bird, a symbol of freedom and strength, but as a parasitic one? What if the avian image that came to mind was the opportunistic cowbird?

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/07/09/riptide-american-militarism

We have an election next year…..and we can break this scary cycle…the cash should be spent on education or health or infrastructure…..maybe it is time for someone to come up with an idea of the “Peace Race”. (A post to come)

Learn Stuff!

VOTE!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Has Our Foreign Policy Failed?

AS a student and writer on American foreign policy I feel that ours in the last decades has been a failure.

I say this because in two decades we have gone to endless wars and the threat of even more to come…..Albright, Powell, Clinton and all the Trumpites…..confrontation and armed conflict has become the norm as opposed to the exception.

How to describe U.S. foreign policy over the last couple of decades? Disastrous comes to mind. Arrogant and murderous also seem appropriate.

Since 9/11, Washington has been extraordinarily active militarily—invading two nations, bombing and droning several others, deploying special operations forces in yet more countries, and applying sanctions against many. Tragically, the threat of Islamist violence and terrorism only have metastasized. Although Al Qaeda lost its effectiveness in directly plotting attacks, it continues to inspire national offshoots. Moreover, while losing its physical “caliphate” the Islamic State added further terrorism to its portfolio.

Three successive administrations have ever more deeply ensnared the United States in the Middle East. War with Iran appears to be frighteningly possible. Ever-wealthier allies are ever-more dependent on America. Russia is actively hostile to the United States and Europe. Washington and Beijing appear to be a collision course on far more than trade. Yet the current administration appears convinced that doing more of the same will achieve different results, the best definition of insanity.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/skeptics/understanding-failure-us-foreign-policy-albright-doctrine-60477

Our failures have been shown to be forefront…especially with Trump’s favorite tactic….sanctions…..

The U.S.’s military might be the most powerful weapon in the country’s arsenal, but economic sanctions are being fully exploited to go after “enemies” real or imaged. The U.S. Treasury Dept. identifies 30 active sanctions programs that include, according to one estimate, 7,967 operating sanctions.

The Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) defines an economic sanction “as the withdrawal of customary trade and financial relations for foreign and security policy purposes.”  It notes that the modern sanction era began in the wake of the Cuban Revolution and escalated following the 9/11 attacks when Pres. George W. Bush signed an Executive Order (#13224) that gave the Treasury Department officials “authority to freeze the assets and financial transactions of individuals and other entities suspected of supporting terrorism.”

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/07/05/sanctions-failure-of-u-s-foreign-policy/

It is time for the US to re-learn the use of diplomacy as opposed to direct action…..diplomacy costs less (something that Repubs should be pushing if they truly are deficit hawks) in cash and lives.

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Where The Hell Is “Sahel”?

I am a student of history and of conflict…….I try to let my readers know what is happening around the world because eventually the US may be fighting yet another war.

I have a friend that studies the region in Africa known as the “Sahel”…..but most of my readers will be asking WTF?

Let me help out….

Image result for sahel

I have written about this region on occasion but not in-depth…..most of mine has been about the deaths of American SOF troops or the terror that is Boko Haram….but there is so much more to this region that some small posts of mine.

I introduced my reader to the “Sahel” when I reported on the deaths of American soldiers in Mali and Niger.

There is so much going on in this region with the US and France using soldiers to try and control the developing situations.

thousands of miles away, in the deserts and scrublands of West Africa’s Sahel – a semi-arid belt of land on the southern edge of the Sahara – another jihadist insurgency has been spreading like wildfire, with far less international attention.

The civilian toll in numbers

  • Civilian fatalities rose 7,000 percent in Burkina Faso, 500 percent in Niger, and 300 percent in Mali compared to the previous year
  • 440,000 people displaced by conflict, a five-fold increase over the previous year
  • 1.8 million people face food insecurity
  • 5.1 million people require humanitarian assistance
  • 157 men, women, and children killed in March in one attack in Mali

In recent months, a surge in violence in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger – three Sahelian countries with shared borders and common problems – has left more than 440,000 people displaced and 5,000 dead, as militants – some with links to al-Qaeda and IS – extend their grip across the region.

https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/in-depth/sahel-flames-Burkina-Faso-Mali-Niger-militancy-conflict

The UN has isolated several problems other than the rise in terrorist activity……food, environmental, fragile economies as well as political instability……

https://www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/december-2013/sahel-one-region-many-crises

Let’s be honest the Sahel is quickly becoming a hot bed for terrorist activity……

Violent extremist organizations in the Central Sahel (the Fezzan in Libya’s south, Niger and the Lake Chad Basin) are exploiting environmental change, economic grievances, and longstanding social cleavages to recruit and expand. United States Africa Command is explicitly tasked with countering significant terrorist threats but fluctuating resources and underuse of diplomatic and economic tools risks allowing extremists to consolidate their gains and establish safe havens.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2019/07/08/assessment_of_rising_extremism_in_the_central_sahel_114562.html

I admit that this region does not get the copy it deserves here on IST……a situation I shall try to rectify.

This is a region that the US has entered into with our military and that may not be the best way to handle events in these countries.

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Enrichment

The Iran nuke deal is toast…..Pompeo and the hawks have been beating their anemic chests and sanctions have been installed and now the Iranians are starting to enrich again…..

Iran announced Sunday it will increase its uranium enrichment to an unspecified level beyond the terms of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, reports the AP, breaking another limit set under the accord and furthering heightening tensions between Tehran and the US. Setting another unspecified 60-day deadline for the deal, Iran took further steps toward pressuring Europe while urging further diplomacy to save an agreement that President Trump unilaterally pulled the US from a year ago. Hopes for saving the faltering deal appear increasingly dim, however, as the Europeans have been unable to offer Iran any effective way around US sanctions that block Tehran’s oil sales abroad and target its top officials. But Iran’s recent measures, while of concern to nuclear non-proliferation experts, could be easily reversible if Europeans offer Iran the sanctions relief it seeks.

Iranian officials said the new level of uranium enrichment would be reached later Sunday, but did not give a percentage. Under the nuclear deal, the cap for enrichment was set at 3.67%. “Within hours, the technical tasks will be done and enrichment above 3.67% will begin,” Iran nuclear agency rep Behrouz Kamalvandi said. The IAEA said “inspectors in Iran will report to our headquarters as soon as they verify the announced development.” Kamalvandi also stressed that Iran will continue to use only slower, first-generation IR-1 centrifuges to increase enrichment, as well as keep the number of centrifuges in use under the 5,060-limit set by the nuclear deal. But Kamalvandi stressed that Iran is able to continue enrichment “at any speed, any amount and any level.” “For the enrichment we are using the same machines with some more pressure and some special technical work,” he said. The decision to ramp up uranium enrichment came less than a week after Iran broke the deal’s 660-pound limit on uranium.

Now that Iran has decided to restart their enrichment program what does that mean?

Learn what it is and what it takes to make it a success.

Uranium is a silvery-grey metal, an element found in tiny amounts almost everywhere, but rarely in concentrated densities.

The World Nuclear Association says that uranium mines are operational in some 20 countries, though about half of global production comes from just 10 mines in six countries: Canada, Australia, Niger, Kazakhstan, Russia and Namibia.

Uranium is often mined though a form of “fracking”, or hydraulic fracturing, in which water injected with oxygen is forced at high pressure through rock containing uranium, extracting the element before pumping it to the surface.

The liquid is then filtered, and the dissolved uranium is removed from the water by a process known as ion exchange – a similar chemical process to that used in some household water filters to remove impurities.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/07/beginner-guide-enriching-uranium-190707051824231.html

Learn Stuff!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”