Wassup in Africa?

There is one continent that the western world seems to dismiss as often as it can….like it does not matter…..but it does.

For instance….China is heavily invested in Africa…..the problem is their presence is having a negative effect…..

On a sticky morning on the slopes of Mount Kenya, Solomon Wambogo Munyua sprinkles water on the long and sturdy green shoots of the garlic crop he planted in January.

His farm is just one-eighth of an acre, perched on the humid mountainside in the fertile East African Rift Valley, over which glacier-capped peaks loom.

It isn’t an easy existence, and his concerns include issues ranging from transportation costs to the low prices paid for produce.

But these complaints are dwarfed by a new challenge farmers such as Munyua feel powerless to fight: imports of Chinese garlic flooding into the Kenyan market.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/china-s-relationship-africa-illustrated-garlic-tensions-n994486

That is a great example…….

But China is not alone….Russia seems to be back in Africa……

Russia’s recent activities in Sudan and the Central African Republic have been the subject of intense speculation.

That’s because along with renewed economic ties, private Russian military contractors are reported to have been active in both countries.

This is particularly sensitive in Sudan, where there have been widespread, often violent anti-government protests.

Moscow has been increasingly turning its attention to sub-Saharan Africa, developing trade, security and defence links.

So, what do we know about Russia’s activities in Africa, and how extensive are they?

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-45035889

Russia is on the rise in Africa……

Six African Heads of State will be among global leaders and foreign dignitaries to eye-witness the official ceremony inaugurating the newly elected Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, scheduled to take place on May 7 in Moscow.

The importance of this ceremony is that Putin will continue to keep the symbols of power – the national seal, the national flag and a specially bound copy of the Constitution after taking the oath of office as President.

 
I bring up the two situations with two of the biggest competitors of the US because I would like to know what the US has in store for Africa……

Africa is not likely to emerge as one of US President Donald Trump’s foreign policy priorities. But the continent is almost certain to be affected by the fallout from his hardline foreign policy views, his strong anti-Muslim pronouncements, his vow to eliminate Islamic terrorism, and his “America First” economic policies.  And the prospects are probably bleak for any bold new development initiatives targeted at Africa like those rolled by his predecessors Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Over the past two decades, US Africa policy has enjoyed strong bipartisan congressional support from both Democrats and Republicans working together. But without a strong commitment to Africa in the White House or Executive Branch under Trump, the major programmes that have defined US policy in Africa for the past two decades will probably struggle to sustain the previous funding levels and state support.

https://africanarguments.org/2017/02/01/trumps-africa-policy-unclear-and-uncertain/

Newsweek offered n small look at what the Trump Africa Agenda will look like……

The U.S. faces an ever-connected, dynamic, and often dangerous world. Nowhere are the obstacles and opportunities presented by these conditions more evident than in U.S.-Africa policy.

Despite offering little insight into this foreign policy thinking during the campaign, the president-elect will enter office facing a number of serious challenges to U.S. interests in Africa, but also an unprecedented chance to deepen a partnership with the fastest-growing continent in the world and advance American security and economic interests.

The following priorities should be of particular interest to the Trump administration:

https://www.newsweek.com/three-priorities-donald-trump-africa-521375

As usual the US seems to care little for the Africa nations….only what can be pulled from their natural resources…..(see map to help one understand)……

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Vlad Meets Li’l Kim

We have seen the two “summits” between Li’l Kim and Don the Orange and the results that have been no where to be seen.

Not to be left on the sidelines Putin (Vlad) is set to have his “summit” with Li’l Kim….for security reasons the exact date has not been released…..but according to Russian speculation it will be soon…..

When North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin for their first one-on-one meeting, he’ll have a long wish list and a strong desire to notch a win after the failure of his second summit with President Trump. But it’s not entirely clear how much Putin can or will oblige, the AP notes. Kim has two urgent concerns as he heads to the summit, the date of which hasn’t yet been announced. More than 10,000 North Korean laborers still employed in Russia, many working in the logging industry in the Russian Far East, are being kicked out by the end of this year as a 2017 UN sanctions resolution takes effect. The laborers, who previously numbered as many as 50,000, have provided a revenue stream estimated by US officials in the hundreds of millions of dollars that the Kim regime would like to keep flowing.


Kim is also looking at the possibility of a food shortage this summer. Russia has shown a willingness to provide humanitarian aid and just last month announced it had shipped more than 2,000 tons of wheat to the North Korean port of Chongjin. But his decision to more actively court Putin undoubtedly goes deeper than that. Despite all the talk in Washington about denuclearization, Kim’s primary concern is improving his country’s economy. Per internal documents obtained by a South Korean researcher and published this week in a Japanese newspaper, Kim wants to boost trade with Russia tenfold—to $1 billion—by 2020.
That would obviously require some significant easing of sanctions, which seems unlikely. But it would also require a change in Russian behavior. The AP has more on what the Kim-Putin summit could mean, and what could emerge as a result

Want more information?

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-northkorea-russia/north-korea-confirms-leader-kim-jong-un-to-visit-russia-for-summit-with-putin-idUKKCN1RY1KF

Since the US has massive sanctions in place any deal Kim makes with Putin would make things worse?  This will be interesting to watch the reaction from our Supreme Leader.

Ukraine Prepares

The new year brings a bunch of hair pulling over the decision by Trump to withdraw troops from Syria and lessen the amount of troops in Afghanistan…..

The media and its pundits have trotted out every pro-war person they could find to crap on this decision….but while the whole M-IC and the Neocon establishment are fretting over this announcement half way around the world there is a real chance that a war could break out……

While western media frets over Trump’s withdrawal from Syria, Ukraine is trying to start a war with Russia.

While much of the western media is fretting over the decision by US President Donald Trump to withdraw American troops from northern Syria there is another potential conflict brewing. This time, the trouble is, once again, coming from Ukraine, where NATO may end up getting the confrontation with Russia they so desire.

Last month, the long-simmering tension between Russia and Ukraine came to a head when Ukrainian Navy ships entered the Sea of Azov heading towards the Kerch Strait. According to Moscow, this was a violation of Russia’s territorial waters and resulted in the Ukrainian ships being stopped by Russian vessels and 24 sailors being detained.

https://theantimedia.com/syria-ukraine-war-russia/

If hostilities turn into a shooting war then we know that the US will come to the aid of Ukraine….the M-IC will demand it.

Rasputin….Rasputin…..Let Down Your Hair

Or was that Rapunzel?

This post is not a nursery rhyme instead about the history of Russia early 20th century…..and one of my favorite figures in Russian history.

Grigory Rasputin…..a Russian monk that became the center of Russian foreign policy……the story goes that he was so hated that a few Russian military officers invited Rasputin to a party knowing he would not resist because of his love of drink and fast women…….Rasputin got drunk and the officers poisoned him, stabbed him, shot him and eventually drowned him…..any way his influence over the tsarina was eliminated……

But his life until his death was fascinating……

Grigory Yefimovich Rasputin (1872-1916) was the infamous ‘holy man’ whose ability to heal the Tsar and Tsarina’s son Alexis led to his being adopted as a supreme mystic at court.  Growing in influence to the point where he effectively dictated policy he was eventually assassinated by a group of court conspirators in December 1916.

Born in 1872 at Pokrovskoye in Siberia to a peasant family, Rasputin’s limited education left him without the ability to either read or write. Even at a young age he earned himself such a reputation for devoted debauchery that his actual name of Grigory Yefimovich Novykh was replaced with the surname ‘Rasputin’ – Russian for ‘debauched one’.

https://www.firstworldwar.com/bio/rasputin.htm

His life is interesting but the circumstances around is death and damn well fascinating……

The mysterious Grigory Efimovich Rasputin, a peasant who claimed powers of healing and prediction, had the ear of Russian Czarina Alexandra. The aristocracy held negative views about a peasant in such a high position, and peasants disliked the rumors that the czarina was sleeping with such a scoundrel. Rasputin was seen as “the dark force” who was ruining Mother Russia.To save the monarchy, several members of the aristocracy attempted to murder Rasputin. On the night of Dec. 16, 1916, they tried. The plan was simple. Yet on that fateful night, the conspirators found that killing Rasputin would be very difficult indeed.

The next time you play Triaval Pursuit and the hstory question is….who in history was strangled, stabbed, shot, poisoned and finally drowned?  You will know the answer.
History is just great stuff…..plus it is always good to learn stuff…..
A New Year and more history to delight some and dismay others……
Class Dismissed!

A “Gulf Of Tonkin” Moment!

As I research I see a couple of “Gulf Of Tonkin” moments…..I see a couple of situations that could be pushed to the point of no return…..but what is a “Gulf of Tonkin” incident?

I could waste your time with a wordy description or I could make it simple……I chose simple….

Now that we know what I mean where can there be the situations that could be disastrous?

Russia/Ukraine in the Sea of Azov…….

Ukraine, Russia and US Navies are in close contact in this region and a small incident could explode into more troubles……

The jockeying for position goes on……Ukraine wants the West to up its sanctions on Russia…..

Speaking at a meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the foreign minister of Ukraine denounced the recent seizure of three Ukrainian naval vessels and their crew by Russian forces off Crimea, saying it represented another assault on international law.

“It is a matter of urgency to provide a prompt and consolidated international response to this act of aggression. Declarations are not enough. There must be action,” Pavlo Klimkin told the annual gathering of OSCE ministers.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-ukraine-crisis-osce/ukraine-asks-west-to-ramp-up-sanctions-on-russia-idUKKBN1O51J3

There are those that do not think Ukraine deserves undying loyalty……

The recent clash between Russian and Ukrainian naval vessels in the Kerch Strait has generated a flurry of alarm. NATO was compelled to call an emergency meeting with Ukraine and the UN Security Council convened an urgent session to discuss the crisis. Exercising their usual tendency to oversimplify murky geopolitical rivalries, Western officials and journalists embraced the knee-jerk narrative that the incident is yet another case of Vladimir Putin’s blatant aggression and “outlaw behavior” against its peace-loving, democratic neighbor. Right on cue, CNN, MSNBC, and other media outlets dispatched stridently anti-Russian editorials masquerading as news stories.

In reality, the Kerch Strait incident involves a complex mixture of factors. They include the tense Russian-Ukrainian bilateral relationship, Kiev’s broader foreign policy objectives, and Ukraine’s volatile domestic politics.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/ukraine-doesnt-deserve-americas-blind-support/

There is more to watch in region around the Sea of Azov……

No one wants war, but this is how one gets a war. Two angry states are poking and probing at the flammable edges of an extended war zone, each acting in what it believes is a controlled fashion with little risk of escalation, but each ready to risk the next step if the price of retreat seems too high. Here begins the chain of actions and reactions coupled with miscalculations leading to a conflagration neither wants or expects.

The violent incident on the approach to the Kerch Strait is not how many in the West envisage the path to war in Europe. That path is different from Russia using stealth to take a bite out of the Baltic states. It is also not Moscow heating up the war in Donbas before launching an assault on all of eastern Ukraine or conquering a land bridge from Donbas to Crimea. Nor was it Russia using a snap exercise to disguise an attack on a soft portion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s defenses.

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/nightmare-how-war-ukraine-could-go-regional-37557

That region is a possible hot spot and there is another Gulf of Tonkin incident waiting to happen…..Iran.

There are those that see a war in the making…….

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani repeated an earlier threat to block ships from leaving the Persian Gulf if the U.S. government continues to seek to block Iranian oil exports. Rouhani’s comments came a day after the U.S. sent an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf on Monday in an apparent “show of force,” ending the longest period the U.S. had gone without an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf over the past two decades.

While some – at the time – anticipated that the U.S.’ deployment of the aircraft carrier was an empty threat meant to intimidate Iran, new developments suggest that there may soon be a military showdown in the Persian Gulf’s strategic Strait of Hormuz as Iranian and regional media have reported that the Iranian Navy has deployed a large naval contingent of 58 fleets to the northern waters of the Indian Ocean near the Persian Gulf. According to Iranian naval commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, the naval contingent is closely monitoring the area as they await orders from the Iranian government.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/persian-gulf-of-tonkin-ingredients-all-in-place-for-us-war-on-iran/5662075

Seriously?

This seems inevitable……all we can do is hope that calmer heads will prevail…..but with these Neocons in positions of power around Trump….calmer heads are out numbered.

The Azov Affair

First the US has decided that the old INF Treaty is not as good as it could be……then shortly after Trump’s spoke of his decision the Sea of Azov incident happened…..

Thoughts I had earlier……https://lobotero.com/2018/10/30/the-inf-in-the-rear-view-mirror/

Then my thoughts on the Russia/Ukraine mash-up……https://lobotero.com/2018/11/26/will-calmer-heads-prevail/

Then I read that the US was giving Russia days to comply or suffer……

 After years of claiming Russia is violating the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Tuesday that the US is giving Russia 60 days to comply with the deal.

The big obstacle to this is, despite the US making such allegations for several years, and getting NATO to endorse their narrative, Russia has denied ever violating the deal in the first place, and insists the missile in question, the 9m729, is not banned by the treaty.

The question is based on the missile’s range, with INF banning everything from 500 km to 5,500 km. Russia has only tested the missile to about 400 km, and it is intended to replace a missile that itself was only 400 km. US officials, however, have speculated that the missile has a much longer range

https://theantimedia.com/russia-comply-nuclear-treaty-60-days/

In response to rising tensions…..the Treaty thing and the Azov Affair…..Russia has given their answer by deploying missiles…..

Russia will target countries hosting U.S. missiles if Washington goes ahead with plans to pull out of a landmark Cold War arms treaty, General Staff chief Valery Gerasimov said Wednesday.

“If the INF treaty is destroyed, we won’t leave it without a response,” he said in a presentation to foreign military attaches in Moscow, according to an official transcript. “You as military professionals must understand that the target for Russian retaliation won’t be U.S. territory but the countries where the intermediate-range missiles are deployed.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-05/russia-touts-combat-lasers-amid-u-s-missile-treaty-ultimatum

Just what our military needs yet another conflict to worry about….I think they have their hands full with all the armed conflicts these days…..why not try something novel like….DIPLOMACY?

But then does Ukraine deserve blind support by the Trump Boyz?….My thought is NO…no country deserves blind support…..but I may be alone….or not……

The recent clash between Russian and Ukrainian naval vessels in the Kerch Strait has generated a flurry of alarm. NATO was compelled to call an emergency meeting with Ukraine and the UN Security Council convened an urgent session to discuss the crisis. Exercising their usual tendency to oversimplify murky geopolitical rivalries, Western officials and journalists embraced the knee-jerk narrative that the incident is yet another case of Vladimir Putin’s blatant aggression and “outlaw behavior” against its peace-loving, democratic neighbor. Right on cue, CNN, MSNBC, and other media outlets dispatched stridently anti-Russian editorials masquerading as news stories.

In reality, the Kerch Strait incident involves a complex mixture of factors. They include the tense Russian-Ukrainian bilateral relationship, Kiev’s broader foreign policy objectives, and Ukraine’s volatile domestic politics.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/ukraine-doesnt-deserve-americas-blind-support/

These situations with Russia have the possibility of turning ugly quickly……

Learn Stuff!

Thoughts?

What Of A World War 3?

This report I read got me to thinking and that got me to the research mode that I do enjoy…..

There was something that a British general had to say……

A British general is warning his country and the West about Russia—a threat he calls worse than anything posed by ISIS or al-Qaeda, the BBC reports. “The Russians seek to exploit vulnerability and weakness wherever they detect it,” General Mark Carleton-Smith tells the Telegraph. “Russia today indisputably represents a far greater threat to our national security than Islamic extremist threats such as al-Qaeda and [ISIS].” Carleton-Smith, who led Britain’s fight against ISIS and in June became head of the British army, says military action has weakened Islamic militants. But in the wake of alleged poisoning and cyber-attacks, Russia looms large.

“Russia has embarked on a systematic effort to explore and exploit Western vulnerabilities, particularly in some of the non-traditional areas of cyber, space, undersea warfare,” he says. But he opposes any notion (perhaps like French President Emmanuel Macron’s) that would weaken the military strength of NATO. He says the “center of gravity of European security” should hold fast. “In my experience, we should reinforce success.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov derided Carleton-Smith’s remarks while visiting Lisbon, Radio Free Europe reports. “We cannot influence the British government’s decisions as to whom they trust to head its armed forces,” says Lavrov. “I hope they check the appropriateness of such decisions.”
What are the reports that will help us fight any war against Russia or China?

America’s military superiority has “eroded to a dangerous degree,” leaving the U.S. in a “crisis of national security,” especially if faced with more than one conflict at once, a new congressionally mandated report concluded.

“The U.S. military could suffer unacceptably high casualties and loss of major capital assets in its next conflict,” reads the report, issued Wednesday by the National Defense Strategy Commission. “It might struggle to win, or perhaps lose, a war against China or Russia. The United States is particularly at risk of being overwhelmed should its military be forced to fight on two or more fronts simultaneously.

https://www.defensenews.com/pentagon/2018/11/14/a-crisis-of-national-security-new-report-to-congress-sounds-alarm/

In case you were speed reading…..the report said that the US could possibly lose any conflict against China or Russia…..do I need to repeat that?

Russia or China?….does not look good…the predictions can be wrong but most times they are accurate…..time to re-think the “strong man” attitude and embrace a form of diplomacy.
But until we do that embracing…..read on and on…..

Congress commissioned a report from the National Defense Strategy Commission on Pentagon readiness. It is relatively predictable what these reports would boil down to, because they always come down to the same conclusion.

Despite vastly outspending every other country in the world on the military, the report concludes that US military superiority “has eroded to a dangerous degree,” and is facing a “crisis.” The solution they counsel is, as ever, a massive increase in military spending.

The report uses the typical scare-mongering to try to justify an increase in expenditures, claiming that the US “might struggle to win, or perhaps lose, a war against China or Russia,” and that the US might be “overwhelmed” in the even of two or more war fronts simultaneously.

This echoes, if perhaps in even more dire terms, past reports that also claimed the constant fighting of several wars is eroding readiness, and that the US needs to spend even more money. The problem is, the increased spending has kept being approved, and every time, it leads to a new round of reports warning that they need all the more money.

The US is always spending many-fold more money than anyone else, and fighting more wars than anyone else. Yet despite nations like Russia increasingly limiting their military goals, the reports are forever claiming Russia is seriously a threat to carry out attacks on the US home-front. Such claims are preposterous, but have reliably worked in getting more money.

(antiwar.com)

Time to re-think the tactics of 50 years…..time to embrace diplomacy over the bully on the block attitude.

P.S. Don’t take it out on me…I am just passing along what some are reporting within the defense industry…..