Friday, June 28, 2013

Information Warfare 3.0: Weapons of Mass Effectiveness

RSIS presents the following commentary Information Warfare 3.0: Weapons of Mass Effectiveness by Michael Raska. It is also available online at this link. (To print it, click on this link.). Kindly forward any comments or feedback to the Editor RSIS Commentaries, at

No. 119/2013 dated 28 June 2013

Information Warfare 3.0:
Weapons of Mass Effectiveness

By Michael Raska


The information revolution over the past two decades has led to significant changes in security threats, vulnerabilities, character and conduct of warfare. The next wave of future information warfare may evolve further, with the development of ‘Weapons of Mass Effectiveness’ (WMEs).


THROUGHOUT HISTORY, the control and use of information and intelligence has played a vital role in diplomatic relations as well as combat, primarily as a ‘first line of defence’ in reducing the possibility of strategic surprise. In 500 B.C., Sun Tzu noted that ‘all warfare is based on deception’ – a thought that inspires intelligence tradecraft to this day as ‘there are friendly nations, but not friendly intelligence services’.

With the increasing political, military, and socio-economic challenges of globalisation amplified by growing strategic uncertainties and threats in nearly every security domain, intelligence agencies worldwide have been developing increasingly sophisticated ways of collecting intelligence. These are based on innovative information and cyber strategies and capabilities to safeguard their freedom of action and to provide political decision-makers with timely actionable intelligence.

‘Three Waves’ of Information Revolution

In the process, they have learned to take advantage of global information and communications interdependence. This essentially enables unprecedented intelligence collection opportunities: the ability to operate quickly, against adversaries located far away without risking the lives of intelligence operatives; the ability to act in secret, while minimising the exposure and risks of counterattack; the ability to access communications systems, banking and finance, logistics and transportation systems, national databases; the ability to penetrate and disrupt specific targets using low entrance threshold in technology, knowledge, and capital.

The ‘digital’ transformation of intelligence has evolved in parallel with the global information revolution and related conceptual developments of information and cyber-warfare in the military domain over the past two decades. The first IW wave began in the early 1990s when the United States military experimented with ‘defensive information operations’ vis-à-vis Iraq during the Gulf War, which gave the US military an edge in battlefield intelligence, targeting, and command and control.

From mid-1990s, a second wave emerged with the considerable developments in computer and communications technologies, which sparked a conceptual debate on future conflicts in the information age. While the information warfare debate was still confined primarily to the military domain, particularly with emerging concepts such as ‘cyberwars’ in both offensive and defensive modes, its scope gradually included intelligence-based warfare, economic warfare, cyber-warfare, and hacker warfare.

Indeed, one of the most influential concepts became the idea of ‘netwars’ – information-related conflict at the grand strategic level between nations and societies, involving various forms of networks in economic, political, and social domains.

With each technological wave, the global diffusion of information technologies has accelerated, resulting in unprecedented global connectivity options that provided individuals, groups, and governments with unparalleled capabilities to deny, disrupt, deceive, and destroy information systems and environment. Currently, we are in the third wave of ‘integrated information operations’ that include electronic warfare, computer network operations, psychological operations, military deception, intelligence and cyber-espionage.

Future of Information Warfare

From limited hacker incursions to attacks by politically-motivated hacktivists, corporate and military intelligence agencies, organised crime and terrorist groups, to advanced information warfare programs of nation-states, cyber and information warfare is about exploiting and protecting information in diverse survival contests. For many, however, information warfare is still an enigma.

This is due to the continuously evolving and multidimensional character of IW that absorbs advancing information and communications technologies, while blurring distinctions between its civil and military domains, types of conflict, targets, modes and magnitude of attacks.

Indeed, today’s information revolution focuses on types of information conflict that empowers individuals and groups such as WikiLeaks or Anonymous to organise, collaborate, and network in new ways in order to force political and social change.  In their view, it is no longer possible for governments, corporations, militaries, or other traditionally powerful organisations and institutions to monopolise information or to significantly restrict access to information.

The recently exposed global surveillance programmes run by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) coupled with the debate of  the cyber-espionage capabilities of NATO, China and Russia, shows the new direction for information conflicts.

In particular, the next wave of information warfare may be propelled by the idea of Weapons of Mass Effectiveness or WMEs. These will combine select elements of cyber and information warfare, including mass-media information denial, disruption, destruction and manipulation campaigns, confrontations in cyberspace, attacks on computerised systems, cyber-attacks on physical infrastructure systems, cyber-espionage, electronic warfare, and perception management.

WMEs will essentially integrate conflicts for information, through information, against information in a new form of information warfare between individuals, states, and non-state networks. WMEs will target traditional governmental bureaucracies, intelligence agencies, and military organisations that will become increasingly vulnerable in their ability to control the flow of information.

Michael Raska is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies (IDSS), a constituent unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

Unrestricted: China’s Plan to Use Terror Tactics Against the U.S.

Unrestricted: China’s Plan to Use Terror Tactics Against the U.S.

6/28/2013 12:01:00 AM

In the wake of hacking attacks on financial, intelligence and defense assets here in the U.S. that have been consistently reported for over 15 years in the United States, it’s time to label China what it really is: a terrorist nation.
In fact it is the thought leader when it comes to methods of terror.
Even before Osama Bin Laden and 19 of his followers rocked the western world by slamming three planes into prominent financial and military landmarks China published “Unrestricted Warfare” as an attempt to compensate militarily for the West’s unrivaled technological edge.
More than just seeking to compensate, the book outlines how to use the West’s intricate financial, technological and sociological infrastructure as weapons in a war where there are “no rules, and nothing forbidden.” It advocates methods that have been become all-too familiar: hacking into websites, urban warfare, targeting financial institutions and using the media to create terror by unconventional, as well as conventional, military means.
“In future wars,” predict the authors, “there will be more hostilities like financial warfare, in which a country is subjugated without spilling a drop of blood…. such situations are by no means impossible, and if it had not been for the collapse of the Russian financial market, which caused the financial speculators to be under attack from the front and the rear, it is still hard to predict how things would have turned out.”
The book marvels at the technological changes that have occurred over the last 30 years.
But not in wonderment, it is rather in fear.
It calls George Soros’ attack on Asian currency financial terrorism, and points to Powell, Schwartzkopf and Ariel Sharon as politician/warriors that have blurred the distinction between statesmanship and war.
It seeks to create the impression that somehow America has broken the rules in warfare by promoting some or all of these phenomena and in doing so ushered in an era of change where only hope lies in unrestricted warfare.
Most startling is the book’s the contention that the 20th century has proven that war is far too important to be left to politicians. While, it acknowledges that politicians, scientists and even bankers all have some stake in war and war fighting, the authors seem to imply that the hierarchy of politicians has only pursued the chimera of making war less dangerous, while all the while making it more potent.
In consequence, it seems, they are arguing that China should do away with all moral or ethical considerations in the pursuit of warfare, and that that can be best left to soldiers.
“Even in the so-called post-modern, post-industrial age,” write the authors in the preface, “warfare will not be totally dismantled. It has only re-invaded human society in a more complex, more extensive, more concealed, and more subtle manner. It is as Byron said in his poem mourning Shelley, "Nothing has happened, he has only undergone a sea change." War which has undergone the changes of modern technology and the market system will be launched even more in atypical forms. In other words, while we are seeing a relative reduction in military violence, at the same time we definitely are seeing an increase in political, economic, and technological violence. However, regardless of the form the violence takes, war is war, and a change in the external appearance does not keep any war from abiding by the principles of war.”
In tenor it’s kind of an oriental Mein Kampf- the horror shows classic from Adolf Hitler on conquering Russia and the extermination of the Jews - seeking to harness global forces that it feels is breaking an old comfortable order. That they seek to do it unashamedly through a “blood and iron” war should give us all pause.
One of the great challenges of the modern age is getting China to take it’s next great leap forward without dragging us all off the cliff with her. And while the relationship between the tactics advocated in “Unrestricted Warfare” and those followed by Al-Qaida are close, there is no reason think that there was any kind of formal relationship between Bin Laden and the world’s most populous nation.  But it certainly reasonable to assume that Al Qaida is familiar with the work.
“War in the age of technological integration and globalization has eliminated the right of weapons to label war and, with regard to the new starting point, has realigned the relationship of weapons to war,” says Unrestricted, “while the appearance of weapons of new concepts, and particularly new concepts of weapons, has gradually blurred the face of war. Does a single "hacker" attack count as a hostile act or not? Can using financial instruments to destroy a country's economy be seen as a battle? Did CNN's broadcast of an exposed corpse of a U.S. soldier in the streets of Mogadishu shake the determination of the Americans to act as the world's policeman, thereby altering the world's strategic situation? And should an assessment of wartime actions look at the means or the results? Obviously, proceeding with the traditional definition of war in mind, there is no longer any way to answer the above questions. When we suddenly realize that all these non-war actions may be the new factors constituting future warfare, we have to come up with a new name for this new form of war: Warfare which transcends all boundaries and limits, in short: unrestricted warfare.”
But one has to believe that any nation-state that advocates these terror tactics is a danger in proportion to its means.
Indeed, that is official U.S. policy, succinctly stated.
Because China certainly has the means.
George Bernard Shaw once described the German people post-1918 as a people with contempt for common sense.
Let’s hope that same sentiment doesn’t apply to the leaders of China; but let’s have a plan if it does.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

‘Air-Sea Battle’ Is a Plan for War on China

ment of the country is dependent upon providing suitable
international conditions through interactional and
constructive orientation. The development of a country
depends on the creation of an environment without any
tension in foreign relations and with profitable global
facilities like high technology and international financial
facilities, as much as possible, as well as a foreign
policy that is based on constructive interaction with the
world, as it is in ‘The 20-Year Vision Plan’ document.
This document can provide a suitable environment by
creating balanced relations without any tension and
moving toward creating trust, security, and peace, so
that foreign investment and new technologies may develop
the country.”

Dr. Vaezi also argues for matching utterances of the
policy with the aims of the nation, rather than achieving
rhetorical effects and gaining populist sympathy: “As a
country that makes developmental progress its main
goal in the next 20 years, Iran needs a constructive foreign
policy to make the required infrastructure for the
country’s development in this light. On this route, in the
first instance, the progress of development should be
treated as one of the main priorities in both the words
and attitude of foreign policy, in a way that it often is

Vaezi lists 15 objectives of Iran’s new foreign policy,
all of which are relevant; however, we take objective
number 9 as representative of the general approach:

“9. The necessity of interaction with the world
economy for the realization of development: Since, in
the new world, realization of development on national
levels, through constructive interaction with the world
economy, is easier and quicker, every government that
has adopted development as a necessity and an end of
its foreign policy, should make a constructive and active
interaction with elements of global economy.”

Lyndon LaRouche and EIR have long emphasized
the key concept of “peace through economic development,”
especially with regard to the war-torn, but strategically
important areas of the world. In Iran, it seems
that this concept has met a matured host.

These presidential elections and a definite positive
shift in Iran’s outlook has to be met with openness and
trust from the United States specifically, and the West
generally. Diplomacy and the pursuit of happiness of
every nation lies in the realization that the “benefit of
the other,” and scientific and cultural progress, are the
universal language that should be spoken by all nations
and peoples.

June 28, 2013 EIR

Leading U.S. Institutions Warn

‘Air-Sea Battle’ Is a
Plan for War on China

by Michael Billington

June 20—Over recent weeks, several leading analysts
and institutions in Washington have released studies
which directly challenge the operative U.S. war-fighting
doctrine under the Obama Administration, known
as Air-Sea Battle (ASB), demonstrating that the very
existence of the doctrine threatens to bring the United
States into a confrontation with China which would
lead, perhaps quickly, into a thermonuclear war. While
Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, both in his practice and in his public
presentations, has made abundantly clear that confrontation
with China is neither necessary nor wise,
and that he would continue building ties between the
two nations, and between their military forces, the fact
remains that the Air-Sea Battle doctrine has been put
in place and is influencing policy decisions which, in
the words of one leading analyst, have “no good outcome.”

EIR has consistently warned of the danger and insanity
of the ASB doctrine, 1 tracing its origin to the
work of Andrew Marshall—the 91-year-old director of
the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, who has, for
the past 20 years, been painting China as the military
threat of the future—and of his kindergarten of think-
tankers, notably Andrew Krepinevich, now the head of
the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments,
who is largely responsible for formulating the ASB

This role of Marshall and Krepinevich in creating
and implementing this doctrine was noted by Amitai
Etzioni, a professor of international affairs at George
Washington University, in a paper, titled “Who Authorized
Preparations for War with China?,” published in
the current issue of the Yale Journal of International
Affairs, On July 10, a forum under the same name as

1. For example, see Carl Osgood, “Obama’s Asia Pivot Is Aimed at
China,” EIR, May 3, 2013.
International 29

Carnegie Endowment

Michael Swaine: Anyone who thinks China will just throw up
its arms and say “game’s up—we give up,” is crazy. “There is
no good outcome for this,” Swaine concluded.

Etzioni’s paper is scheduled to take place at the Segur
Center for Asian Studies at George Washington University
in Washington, D.C., co-sponsored by the Institute
for Communitarian Policy Studies, and the
Kissinger Institute on China and the United States,
featuring Etzioni, together with former U.S. Ambassador
to China Stapleton Roy—perhaps the most
senior of American diplomats—and National Defense
University senior fellow T.X. Hammes. The issue of
ASB leading to war is clearly being taken quite seriously.

“The Pentagon has concluded that the time has
come to prepare for war with China,” Etzioni writes,
noting that the Pentagon has adopted the policy as part
of its 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review. He calls this a
“momentous conclusion” that “will shape the United
States’ defense systems, force posture and overall strategy
for dealing with the economically and militarily resurgent
China.” He warns that this “may well lead to an
arms race with China, which could culminate in a nuclear

Etzioni points out, as have other critics, that ASB’s
purpose is to defeat China, and that this is a “long cry
from containment or any other strategies that were seriously
considered in the context of confronting the
USSR after it acquired nuclear arms.” The Cold War,
Etzioni notes, was characterized by mutual deter

30 International

rence, and was structured around a series of red lines
that each side knew they were not to cross. “In contrast,
ASB requires that the United States be able to
take the war to the mainland with the goal of defeating
China, which quite likely would require striking first,”
he writes. “Such a strategy is nothing short of a hegemonic
intervention.” He quotes Joshua Rovner of the

U.S. Naval War College, who said that deep inland
strikes could be mistakenly perceived by the Chinese
as preemptive attempts to take out its nuclear weapons,
thus cornering them into “a terrible use-it-orlose-
it dilemma.” That is, ASB is prone to lead to nuclear
A 13-page unclassified report by the Air-Sea Battle
Office within the Pentagon, titled “Air-Sea Battle—
Service Collaboration to Address Anti-Access and Area
Denial Challenges,” acknowledges that the doctrine is
not a strategy, but a battle plan to counter an adversary
which has the potential to prevent access (using the
now ubiquitous acronym A2/AD, for Anti-Access/Area
Denial) to some or all of the U.S. military capacities—
air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace. The report describes
in simple, but hair-raising terms, how to use the
full array of U.S. military power to take out all aspects
of this adversary’s A2/AD capacities, at sea and on
land. While not naming China, the constant refrain of
the “China threat” being trumpeted by the governments
and the media in the U.S. and Europe, repeating ad nauseum
that China is developing dangerous A2/AD capacities,
removes any doubt of the intended target of
this U.S. military doctrine.

Carnegie’s Warning

The second major intervention against this madness
was made by a team of nine analysts at the Carnegie
Endowment for International Peace in May, in a
study titled “China’s Military and the U.S.-Japan Alliance
in 2030: A Strategic Net Assessment.” The project
was headed by Michael Swaine, a former RAND
analyst, who spoke on aspects of the report at a a Sigur
Center forum on June 18, on “Japan as a Global
Power.” Swaine said that, if you ask Pentagon or other
government officials what the ASB policy actually is,
you get a different answer from each one. The Japanese
and the Chinese, he said, are asking, “What is
this,” questioning if it really is a plan for a preemptive
strike on China, as it appears to be. Some in Japan support
this, he said, and want to prepare Japan to block
China’s access to the Pacific by fortifying the Ryukyu

EIR June 28, 2013

Islands. Anyone who thinks China will just throw up
its arms and say “game’s up—we give up,” he said, is
crazy, concluding: “There is no good outcome for
its arms and say “game’s up—we give up,” he said, is
crazy, concluding: “There is no good outcome for

Swaine also emphasized that the U.S. presumption
that it has the right and the necessity to have absolute
domination and military superiority over the entire
Pacific, right up to the 12-mile territorial limit of
China, and that China’s efforts to establish its own security
in the East China Sea and the South China Sea
translates into a threat to the United States and its
allies, is simply false. China is emerging as a major
power, as everyone recognizes, and therefore, has serious
security concerns in its immediate neighborhood.

Here it is important to recall that General Dempsey,
in a speech to the Carnegie Endowment in May of 2012,
engaged in a masterly war-avoidance intervention regarding
precisely this issue of dealing with China’s rise.
Dempsey warned the West not to get caught in the
“Thucydides trap.” This trap, he said, “goes something
like this: It was Athenian fear of a rising Sparta that
made war inevitable. Well, I think that one of my jobs
as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and as an advisor to
our senior leaders, is to help avoid a Thucydides trap.
We don’t want the fear of an emerging China to make
war inevitable. So, we’re going to avoid the Thucydides

Also, as Etzioni points out in his paper, former JCS
vice chairman Gen. James Cartwright stated in 2012
that “Air-Sea Battle is demonizing China. That’s not in
anybody’s interest.”

The Carnegie report makes the following points regarding
the Air-Sea Battle doctrine:

 “Many Chinese defense analysts are increasingly
concerned that the United States will adopt (or has
already adopted) the goal of acquiring all the elements
of a so-called Air-Sea Battle (ASB) operational
military concept, designed to neutralize China’s A2/
AD type capabilities, using bomber strikes at tactical
inland C4ISR [Command, Control, Communications,
Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance—
ed.] targets, along with precision-guided
munitions, stealth, cyber, and other capabilities. . . .
Although still largely undefined, the ASB concept
would ostensibly involve a networked, domain-integrated,
deep-strike-oriented force structure designed
to disrupt, destroy, and defeat all relevant Chinese
A2/AD-type capabilities, encompassing both offshore

June 28, 2013 EIR

weapons systems and supporting onshore assets. . . .

“Such doctrines could fuel a level of Chinese hostility
and distrust that would make efforts at establishing
credible, inclusive multilateral security assurances virtually
meaningless. Indeed, a likely mid- to high-capacity
China would almost certainly respond to the military
aspects of this strategy by developing more potent,
and escalatory, countermeasures. . . . This robust approach
could also empower hardline leaders in Beijing,
who could more easily rationalize their arguments for
adopting a more assertive approach toward Japan and
the region by pointing to evidence that the alliance is
being utilized in an effort to contain and encircle the

U.S.-China Relations

The June 7-8 Summit in California between President
Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping was
generally successful, with the two sides finding
common ground on a desire to de-nuclearize the
Korean Peninsula, setting up regular 2+2 talks between
the military and foreign ministers/secretaries,
and other important issues. Of course, any intentions
by Obama’s team to bash China at the summit, for alleged
Chinese cyber warfare against the U.S., as trumpeted
in the press for weeks leading into the conference,
were neutered in the days leading up to the
summit, by the exposure of massive U.S. surveillance
and cyber-spying.

Nonetheless, the Air-Sea Battle doctrine is in place,
and, as Etzioni argues, as military acquisition decisions
are increasingly shaped by the ASB doctrine, and the
force structure is shifted in that direction, it becomes
increasingly locked in. Etzioni makes the mistake of
covering for President Obama, arguing that he appears
to be oblivious to the existence of the ASB doctrine,
despite his role as Commander in Chief. To support this
argument, Etzioni foolishly claims that the so-called
Pivot (Rebalancing) of U.S. military and economic
power to the Asia-Pacific is not related to the Air-Sea
Battle plan against China.

In fact, as Lyndon LaRouche noted in response to
these recent institutional attacks on the ASB policy,
as the world becomes increasingly aware of, and
alarmed by, the madness of Obama’s war policies,
both in Southwest and East Asia, the more rapidly he
is being discredited, and thus, subject to removal from

International 31

Li Keqiang’s India Visit: Impact on Asian Geopolitics

RSIS presents the following commentary Li Keqiang’s India Visit: Impact on Asian Geopolitics by Rupakjyoti Borah
. It is also available online at this link. (To print it, click on this link.). Kindly forward any comments or feedback to the Editor RSIS Commentaries, at

No. 118/2013 dated 27 June 2013
Li Keqiang’s India Visit:
Impact on Asian Geopolitics
By Rupakjyoti Borah

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s landmark visit to India failed to achieve anything substantive. The ill-timed intrusion of Chinese troops into Indian territory in Ladakh queered the pitch for the visit even before it began.
THE VISIT of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to India on 19-22 May 2013 served to show the new Chinese leadership’s interest in strengthening its ties with India. That is not surprising given the burgeoning economic ties between the two countries and the problems that China has in its extended neighbourhood. In addition, the geopolitics of the region is rapidly changing with the upcoming withdrawal of Western forces from Afghanistan.

The run-up to the Chinese premier’s visit was queered by the intrusion of Chinese troops into Indian territory in the Depsang Bulge area of the border state of Jammu and Kashmir. Chinese troops intruded almost 19km into Indian territory, which rang alarm bells in the political and diplomatic establishment in India. After much brouhaha, the Chinese troops withdrew in time for the Indian External Affairs Minister’s visit to China which took place on May 9-10.

Whither China-India ties?
That Li Keqiang chose India to be his first stop on his maiden foreign tour shows that the new Chinese leadership is willing to recognise India’s importance in Chinese foreign policy. Premier Li knows very well that both India and China have a stake in ensuring the stability of Afghanistan, especially as continuing instability in Afghanistan would only add to China’s problems in its restive Xinjiang region.

There is no denying that relations between the two Asian giants have been bedevilled by a series of contentious issues.

Firstly, though China-India trade stood at US$66.5 billion in 2012 and is projected to increase to $100 billion by 2015, the balance of trade is hugely tilted in China’s favour with the trade deficit standing at $29 billion in 2012. Meanwhile, Indian pharmaceutical companies have been complaining that China has not given them liberal access to the Chinese market. While welcoming growth in the trade volume with China, India has to keep in mind that it is important to reduce this large trade deficit.
Secondly, the border issue has seen no progress for a long time. China claimsthe whole of the Indian province of Arunachal Pradesh as Chinese territory, which rankles India. Then there is the issue of the Dalai Lama and a large Tibetan refugee population in India. While China is in no mood to engage with the Dalai Lama, the recent spate of self-immolations in Tibet has brought the Tibet issue once again to the forefront. Thirdly, the sharing of river waters is another contentious issue; it is in New Delhi’s interests to press Beijing to have a water sharing agreement in place before China builds dams on rivers which flow to India.

In the recent past, there have been reports that China has built dams on the Yarlung Tsangpo (which flows as the Brahmaputra in Northeastern India), but the Chinese have denied that and said that these are only run-of-the-river dams and are not meant to store water.

There was no progress on the vexed boundary question between India and China during the visit of Premier Li. The joint statement issued at the end of his visit merely noted that “the leaders expressed satisfaction over the work done so far by Special Representatives of the two countries on the Boundary Question and encouraged them to push forward the process of negotiations and seek a framework for a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement….”

With elections in India due next year, the ruling Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) would not like to be seen as being soft towards China. In addition, there has been growing competition between Indian and Chinese state-owned oil companies in various parts of the world. Li Keqiang’s visit to India therefore served to underscore that there are plenty of issues that need to be settled between the two countries before normalcy can be restored in the relations between the two Asian behemoths.

While many observers across the world have been talking and writing about an “Asian Century”, what the coming decades will look like will depend to a large extent on how relations develop between China and India, which are also the two most populous countries in the world.

Implications for wider Asia
China has realised that backing Pakistan as a bete noire to India has achieved limited success and has largely backfired,  resulting in India moving closer to the United States and to Asian powers like Japan and Vietnam. With the reinstatement of a nationalistic Shinzo Abe-led government in Japan, China has had its fair share of troubles to its east.

Towards the north, although China’s relations with Russia have been cordial, the Russians are still suspicious of China’s growing influence, especially in the Russian Far East. There is no doubt that the Chinese have tried to repair that front as Russia was the first destination for the new Chinese President Xi Jinping on his maiden foreign tour.

The new Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi visited four Southeast Asian countries - Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei - between April 30 and May 5 to reassure them of China’s good-neighbour policy. While this is welcome, it also reflects China’s desire to counter the US “pivot” towards the Asia-Pacific. One of the ways of doing so is by increasing economic engagement with these countries.

It is noteworthy that the foreign minister did not visit Vietnam and Philippines, with which China has been mired in territorial disputes. This, in itself, is a clear indication that China would not be willing to give up on what it terms as its core national interests and the new Chinese leadership will not be very different from the previous regime when it comes to vigorously pursuing its national interest.

Rupakjyoti Borah is a Visiting Fellow at the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy at the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra and an Assistant Professor of International Relations at the School of Liberal Studies, Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University, India. He contributed this personal commentary for RSIS Commentaries.

U.S. Naval Update Map: June 27, 2013

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U.S. Naval Update Map: June 27, 2013

June 27, 2013 | 1002 GMT
 U.S. Naval Update Map: June 27, 2013
The Naval Update Map shows the approximate current locations of U.S. Carrier Strike Groups and Amphibious Ready Groups, based on available open-source information. No classified or operationally sensitive information is included in this weekly update. CSGs and ARGs are the keys to U.S. dominance of the world's oceans. A CSG is centered on an aircraft carrier, which projects U.S. naval and air power and supports a Carrier Air Wing, or CVW. The CSG includes significant offensive strike capability. An ARG is centered on three amphibious warfare ships, with a Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked. An MEU is built around a heavily reinforced and mobile battalion of Marines.

Carrier Strike Groups

  • The USS Nimitz CSG with CVW 11 embarked is conducting missions supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR.
  • The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower CSG with CVW 7 embarked is underway in the Atlantic Ocean after conducting missions supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR.
  • The USS George Washington is underway in the Pacific Ocean after a four-month Selected Restricted Availability (SRA) while moored at Fleet Activities Yokosuka Berth 12, Japan.
  • The USS Carl Vinson is underway in the Pacific Ocean for routine training.
  • Amphibious Ready Groups/Marine Expeditionary Units

  • The USS Kearsarge ARG with the 26th MEU embarked is underway in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR supporting maritime security operations and conducting theater security cooperation efforts.
  • The USS Boxer ARG with the 1st MEB embarked is in the Pacific Ocean for Dawn Blitz 2013, a two-week multinational amphibious exercise.
  • The USS Bonhomme Richard is on a scheduled port visit to Okinawa, Japan, while in U.S. 7th Fleet AOR for its summer patrol.
  • The USS Wasp is underway in the Atlantic Ocean for routine training.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Why The War Will Never End

Why The War Will Never End

6/25/2013 9:47:00 AM - Bill Murchison
The Waw-uh -- as some in my neck of the woods probably still call the Late Unpleasantness of 1861 to 1865 -- may be over officially, but we can depend on the federal government prolong it for as long as possible.
The U. S. Supreme Court's decision Monday to kick a college affirmative action case back to the lower courts for more intensive review reminds us of the interminableness of the race-based admissions issue. Neither Abigail Fisher, the white student who filed the suit originally, nor the University of Texas, which rejected her application, finds repose in the court's 7 to 1 judgment that the same tired legal ground needs more treading.
Can a university not just accept but actually prefer students of a particular race? That's the question at hand. What's the right racial ratio for a student body? How do we get there?
We have to get the racial ratio right, whatever "right" means, or draw the unwanted attention of the federal courts and a federal bureaucracy charged with wiping out the legacy of slavery, whatever wiping out a legacy means.
The University of Texas, which denied Abigail Fisher admission while opting to accept less qualified candidates, is a non-federal enterprise to be sure. But the whole world, it sometimes seems, operates to some degree under federal jurisdiction; in the present instance, it's judicial interpretations of the 14th Amendment and civil rights laws that give local people -- the sort who operate state universities -- the obligation to achieve racial "balance." This kind of balance contrasts real opportunity or guarantees of impartiality.
Even flag-waving ex-Confederates have to acknowledge in 2013 the virtue of cutting away old legal barriers to individual achievement irrespective of race. The greatest irony is the federal government's failure to acknowledge that this effort's ultimate success rests with individual Americans.
The federal government is so hung up when it comes to racial policy that it can't believe that anyone would do the right thing without compulsion.
As go racial ratios, so go voting policy. The other big civil rights case on the Supreme Court's docket this year concerns Congress' insistence on overseeing elections in the Southern states, on the theory that you can't trust these reformed Confederates any more than you can trust South Chicago, but that's, um, another story.
Nearly half a century after passage of the first Voting Rights Act, the federal government continues to make and enforce highly specific rules regarding polling places and ballot make-up -- pretty trivial stuff against Jim Crow tactics like literacy tests and the all-white primary. Southern voting officials, marking this astounding progress, would appreciate the freedom and the trust to carry on unmolested from the present point.
The government, on the other hand, wants to keep the Waw-uh going just for the sake, it would seem, of keeping it going. Dig down a bit, of course, and you strike the real reason. Declaring the war finally over, and leaving the management of local affairs largely to local people, would mean renouncing a central purpose of modern federal policy -- to wit, signaling to blacks and whites and everyone else that the local yokels can't ever earn their government's trust or indulgence, never mind how they behave.
The bigness of big government isn't accidental. It stems from big government's unwillingness ever -- ever -- to lay aside a power or policy, once taken up. This is singularly bad news to impart. Worse, it's not even news any more.

WW3 Alert: Battle Of Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque Rages As Clashes Erupt All Over Lebanon

WW3 Alert: Battle Of Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque Rages As Clashes Erupt All Over Lebanon

Monday, June 24, 2013 12:26

The Lebanese Army continued its battle with Kataib al-Muqawama al-Hurr led by radical Sunni Salafist preacher Shiekh Ahmad al Assir in Sidon, Lebanon. The LAF (Lebanese Armed Forces) stomed the mosque from which al-Assir s directing the fighting and he fled.  Now sure where he fled to. Some sorces say he is wounded and some sources say he is now in the custody of the FSA who are allies of Mr. Assir.  
Some 21 Lebanese soldiers were killed and 85 wounded in 2 days of fighting.  Over 40 of Assir’s miltants were killed and some 60 captured.  Fighting also erupted in the Northern Lebanese city of Tripoli killed 1 LAF soldier and wounding 3.  Fighting has also erupted in the suburbs of Beirut.  Syrian Jihadist group al-Nusra is calling for jihad against the lebanese govt now as is several sunni clerics in Lebanon.  6 Civilians are also said to have died in the clshes in Sidon.
Meanwhile, 47 people died and 81 others wounded across Iraq as Shia celebrated Shabaniya, the anniverdary of the birth of the Imam Mahdi.  In Baghdad alone, 10 different bominbgs killed 39 and wounded 65 others. 
The consequences are clear, a middle-east wide sectarian war between shia and sunnis and possibly even world war 3.  This batte reminds me of the Siege of Lal Masjid in Pakistan back in 2007.  Pakistani forces were attacked by the followers of two radical jihadist clerics who preached at the Red Mosque in Islamabad.  Security forces then surrounded and eventually stormed the complex killing both clerics.154 people died and the event started the 3rd Waziristan War which led to the death of 3,000 more people. 
In Syria, 136 people were killed across the country yesterday,most of which occured in Aleppo where the SAA (Syrian Arab Army) and allied shia militias continued its offensive against FSA and jihadist forces.  
And lastly in Egypt, sectarian tensions are showing after a crowd of 3,000 salafists attacked shias in Giza village killed 4 shia and injuring others.  Religious war is in full swing and its turning the middle east intoo one big civilwar which could engulf major world powers until it becomes a world war.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Intelligence-Gathering in the Digital Age: Building Trust in PRISM?

RSIS presents the following commentary Intelligence-Gathering in the Digital Age: Building Trust in PRISM? by Damien D. Cheong
. It is also available online at this link. (To print it, click on this link.). Kindly forward any comments or feedback to the Editor RSIS Commentaries, at

No. 115/2013 dated 24 June 2013
Intelligence-Gathering in the Digital Age:
Building Trust in PRISM?
By Damien D. Cheong

A recent poll suggests that the US Government’s controversial PRISM programme has some support among Americans. This raises the question of how governments can build trust among its citizenry for modern intelligence-gathering methods that are highly invasive by nature.
PRISM IS a covert US Government intelligence-gathering programme designed to carry out surveillance of foreign suspects by analysing their private conversations and/or electronic exchanges made online. Allegedly, access to such data is made either directly through the main servers of the major companies or through a formal channel requesting the required data from such companies. The companies involved are all based in the US, and include Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo among others. The PRISM programme has reportedly been in operation since 2007.

When news reports revealed two weeks ago that the above-mentioned companies as well as several countries were involved in the PRISM programme, critics were quick to lament the “killing [of] trust in web freedom. They claimed that such intelligence-gathering methods threatened individuals’ online privacy as well as raised serious questions about transparency and accountability.

Invasive nature of modern intelligence-gathering
The US government has admitted to the existence of PRISM, but has reassured the public that: (a) PRISM is used only when there is a “valid foreign intelligence purpose; (b) US citizens and individuals based in the US are not “intentionally targeted; (c) companies “supply information to the Government when they are lawfully required to do so; and (d) intelligence-gathering via PRISM is scrutinised by the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches. As could be expected, critics and naysayers remain unconvinced.

This raises three key questions: (a) should we expect contemporary intelligence-gathering techniques especially those conducted online to be more intrusive?; (b) can a balance ever be struck between privacy and national security concerns?; and (c) how can governments convince their citizens that such activities will not be misused?   

Intelligence-gathering post 9-11 has grown increasingly more complex due mainly to the changing nature of contemporary national security threats as well as the corresponding shift in focus from state to non-state actors. This has resulted not only in an increase in the number of consumers of intelligence but also to the variety and types of intelligence products that are in demand.

As non-state actors are growing more sophisticated, intelligence agencies must likewise improve their tradecraft or better yet, stay ahead of their targets to be effective. A common medium of communication often used by non-state actors is the Internet and social media, and as such, intelligence-gathering has correspondingly shifted into this domain. The need for timely intelligence requires a quick and efficient method to sieve through voluminous Internet traffic and identify relevant data so that analysts can analyse and transform this into information. Hence, new techniques of gathering intelligence online, such as the PRISM programme, have been, and continue to be, developed.

Around the world, intelligence agencies are planning and/or are in the process of improving their online surveillance capabilities. For instance, Der Spiegel reports that the German Foreign Intelligence Service (BND) will spend 100 million euro over the next five years to expand its online surveillance programme.

It would be safe to assume that online intelligence-gathering techniques will continue to expand, and be highly intrusive.

Balancing national security concerns
The on-going debate on striking the right balance between privacy and security concerns is unlikely to result in any real breakthrough in the foreseeable future. During times of peace, the debate often skews towards increased protection of individual privacy, whereas in times of conflict/tension, increasing security at the cost of privacy is regarded more favourably. In any case, the reality, as US President Obama has pointed out, is that “it’s important to recognise that you can’t have 100 per cent security and also then have 100 per cent privacy and zero inconvenience.

Given that online intelligence-gathering techniques are highly intrusive and will continue to raise concerns about privacy issues, it is imperative for the US government and indeed governments around the world to build and enhance their citizens’ trust in the system. This will help negate (although not eliminate) the aversion, cynicism and suspicion often associated with intelligence-gathering and intelligence agencies.

In addition to having the necessary checks and balances in place within the system, such as the ability of a citizen to seek legal recourse in the event that his/her privacy has been unnecessarily breached, and the extensive scrutiny by the three branches of government (legislature, executive and judicial), it might be useful to apply the UK think-tank DEMOS’ six ethical principles of intelligence-gathering to guide such activities. These principles are:

1: There must be sufficient, sustainable cause;

2: There must be integrity of motive;

3: The methods used must be proportionate and necessary;

4: There must be right authority, validated by external oversight;

5: Recourse to secret intelligence must be a last resort if more open sources can be used; and

6: There must be a reasonable prospect of success.

Seventh principle?
In relation to the PRISM incident, a CNN/ORC poll conducted in the US last week showed that while 61% of American respondents disapproved of how the Obama administration was carrying out surveillance of its citizens in general, 66% did support the government’s actions to gather and analyse online data obtained from IT companies provided it was done to “locate suspected terrorists.

The spectre of 9-11 is a contributory factor to this outcome, but more importantly, the statistics seem to suggest that Americans will tolerate breaches of privacy for national security, and that they have sufficient trust in the system – an outcome that governments should aspire to achieve. 

The ethical principles mentioned above serve primarily as a guide, and operational realities must also be taken into account. For instance, many intelligence-gathering activities must remain secret as their revelation could jeopardise the individuals, organisations or states involved. Also, open source data may be incomplete and/or inaccurate and therefore must be complemented with closed source data to provide a clearer perspective.

Perhaps in the interests of further transparency and accountability, a seventh principle should be added to the above-mentioned: the need to withhold information must be validated through independent review. Ultimately, intelligence serves to reduce uncertainty in decision-making, and is not meant to be used to victimise particular individuals or groups.

Damien D. Cheong is a Research Fellow at the Centre of Excellence for National Security (CENS), a constituent unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University.


Financial Turbulence Signals Global Meltdown in Process

The terminal collapse of the western financial system has moved into a new, desperate stage, as this article from the June 21, 2013 issue of Executive Intelligence Review reports.   Mike Billington

Financial Turbulence Signals Global Meltdown in Process

by EIR Economics Staff
June 18—The world financial system has entered a twilight zone of uncontrolled hyperinflation, characterized by the fact that no amount of monetary expansion can any longer sustain the rate of growth of the British Empire's cancerous financial aggregates bubble. As a result, massive "unexpected" turbulence and capital flows are rapidly spinning out of control.
The nature of the problem can only be understood from the standpoint of Lyndon LaRouche's famous Typical Collapse Function graphic, or triple curve. We have now entered the region of that collapse function, where the rate of growth of financial aggregates not only has dropped below the curve of the rate of growth of the monetary pumping, but has begun to plunge rapidly downwards. In this new geometry, massive monetary infusions such as quantitative easing (QE) both fail to bail out the financial aggregates, and actually accelerate their meltdown, all the while, driving the physical economy deeper into hell.
It's like a heroin addict who is so hooked on the "fix" of the increasing QE of the last few years, that it is no longer a matter of what happens when the QE stops. You can't stop the QE; you can't talk about stopping it; and you can't even think about the topic of eventually "tapering" it. In fact, global markets today are already undergoing full-fledged junkie withdrawal symptoms and wild contortions, even as the financial heroin continues to flow freely.
Indeed, the current system cannot be saved, nor does the ruling British-based financial oligarchy intend to do so. As Lyndon LaRouche commented on June 14, the British Empire has something different in mind, and is deliberately taking steps that will mean mass death in the U.S., and elsewhere, very quickly. What will happen when the food supplies are cut, when people can no longer eat? That is the Queen's policy for reducing the population from 7 billion to 1 billion.
Symptoms Abound
The symptoms of the terminal illness of the system are myriad, from rising interest rates on long-term government bonds in Japan and the United States, to huge market volatility. The following reports are indicative:
  • Global bond markets are collapsing, and this is "threatening to halt a global refinancing wave," the Financial Times warned June 14. They noted that "US sales of investment grade corporate debt ... have this week almost come to a complete halt." The recent weekly average of such sales had been about $23.2 billion; this week it is only $3.2 billion—an almost 90% drop. The same thing is happening in the junk bond market.
  • Massive reverse carry-trade flows are underway out of the so-called emerging markets (EM), such as Brazil. The World Bank has issued a statement warning of the EM implosion, while the International Monetary Fund has demanded that the U.S. Fed not even think about exiting from QE. In reporting on the EM crisis, the Daily Telegraph's Ambrose Evans-Pritchard noted June 14 that "the emerging market rout has become pervasive," with huge outflows occurring from Brazil, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, Mexico, etc. Brazil alone has spent $5.7 billion in reserves this month to try to stop the capital flight, and has also used derivatives contracts to do the same.
    Evans-Pritchard quoted a Brazilian asset manager saying: "Brazil seems to be under speculative attack. We are losing reserves very fast. We should not forget that Russia lost $210 billion in reserves in a few weeks during the Lehman crisis in 2008." Brazil has $375 billion in reserves. In the last week they have dropped their 6% tax on foreign bond investors, and lifted their 1% tax on currency derivatives.
  • FT Alphaville fretted June 14 that current levels of QE-smack are no longer producing the desired high: "The smoke and mirrors are fading. What is worrying, however, is that a move of this size has been prompted by simple talk of tapering [the QE purchases]. If that's what tapering does, what will the first hint of a proper QE exit inspire?"
  • Bloomberg wire service demanded the same day that its dope distributor continue to deliver the stuff, big time: "Bernanke needs to emphasize on June 19 [after the next Federal Open Market Committee meeting] that 'policy will remain quite accommodative.' "
The Fed Prints—for Whom?
Bloomberg vastly understated the pressure on the FOMC, which opens its meeting today. In fact, recently released figures show that the Fed is currently playing the role of Atlas, holding up the entire financial system by issuing liquidity—including to the failing European banks.
According to the reliable website, the Fed's flow-of-funds reports from the fourth quarter of 2012 and first quarter of 2013 show that the majority of the Federal Reserve's money-printing continues to go to support the liquidity and cover the losses of European banks—and not to lending.
The site demonstrates that more than all net bank lending in the United States in the first quarter was done by a single bank—the Federal Reserve! Its $303 billion increase in assets dwarfed the $158 billion increase in assets of the whole banking system; in other words, all the other banks had a net decline in lending by $145 billion. And again in the first quarter, more than half of all of this "reserve creation" by the Fed went to the U.S.-based branches of British and Eurozone banks.
On the U.S. side, the Federal Reserve now holds 15% of all U.S. Treasury debt, as well as a huge portfolio of mortgage-backed securities—pure bailouts for the Wall Street banks. And when interest rates suddenly began to rise in May—without any sign of a Fed "exit"—the central bank lost $155 billion in one month, according to estimates by Forbes. This is three times its total equity capital.
Since Jan. 1, 2011, the fiction has been created that the Fed never need recognize such losses, but can simply book them as offsets to the interest payments which the Treasury will make to it on those securities. For one thing, this means Fed payments of its profits to the Treasury will stop, creating more U.S. government debt.
More importantly, the process will lead to a hyperinflationary meltdown, further stripping the real economy, which is already bereft of productive credit. LaRouche's Typical Collapse Function shows the process, which his Three-Step Economic program—Glass-Steagall, a Hamiltonian credit system, and NAWAPA—can uniquely stop

Triple Crisis Raises Threshold for Global War

This article appears in the June 21, 2013 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.   Mike Billington 

Triple Crisis Raises
Threshold for Global War

by Jeffrey Steinberg
June 16—The convergence of three global crises has placed the world on the very edge of a potential war of extinction. While no one—not even the most deranged genocidalists within the upper echelons of the Anglo-Dutch imperial system—necessarily intends to provoke global war, the situation surrounding the Syria crisis has reached the point that any one of a number of triggers could ignite the global conflagration.
This danger was reflected in the past 48 hours by a senior Israeli strategist, an advisor to the chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, who commented that Israel is "caught in a Greek tragedy," with no clear exit. He warned that Israel could be driven to carry out a military attack on Russia in the form of the threatened Israeli destruction of Russian S-300 air defense systems that have been promised to Syria, fully recognizing that this could spark a much larger confrontation. The Israeli strategist blamed especially President Obama, asserting that the U.S. had put Israel in an impossible situation, starting with the overthrow of Qaddafi in Libya.
The triple threat can be summarized as follows:
  • First, the entire trans-Atlantic financial system has reached a new break point, characterized by increased market turbulence, the strong likelihood that a major international financial institution has gone over the cliff.
  • Second, the multiplying scandals hitting the Obama Administration have created even further desperation on the part of the President and his inner circle.
  • Third, faced with this crisis of his Presidency, Obama chose to redirect attention to Syria.
A Confluence of Dangers
The financial system is at a breakpoint: There is a growing recognition that the hyperinflationary quantitative easing policies of the U.S. Fed and the European Central Bank have created an impossible situation in which any effort to halt the hyperinflation could cause an immediate collapse of the entire system. The IMF and the BIS both issued stark warnings this week that the monetary emissions had to continue . Those committed to "saving" the current system have reached the end of the line, where there is no possibility of avoiding another financial explosion—except by reinstating Glass-Steagall bank separation, starting in the United States. The level of desperation has contributed significantly to the escalation of the crisis centered around Syria.
Obama is desperate as scandals close in: The revelation that the National Security Agency and the FBI have been spying on Americans, in gross violation of the First and Fourth Amendment guarantees of free speech and due process, has caused such a public outcry that even some members of Congress have awoken and are threatening action against Obama. The pile-up of impeachable crimes by this President has been highlighted by the sequence of revelations over the past month: Benghazi-9/11; the Internal Revenue Service targeting of an Obama "enemy's list" of conservative organizations; the spying on journalists from Associated Press and Fox News; and now, the NSA mass spying on every American with a telephone, a cell phone , or an Internet account. Gen. Keith Alexander, the director of the NSA, and Robert Mueller, the outgoing head of the FBI, were grilled on Capitol Hill last week, and a group of conservative Republican Congressmen and Senators, joined by Constitutional lawyer Bruce Fein and by the American Civil Liberties Union, have announced class-action suits against the President over the mass spying.
Obama's decision to arm the Syrian rebels raises the threshold for a wider war: A much-publicized "national security review" of the Syria crisis took place beginning on June 9, when the National Security Council Deputies Committee, which includes the CIA, the NSC, the State Department and the Pentagon, held a number of meetings that culminated June 13 with the announcement by Obama's national security spokesman Ben Rhodes that the U.S. would begin arming the Syrian rebels. Rhodes claimed that the U.S. intelligence community had concluded "with high certainty" that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons against the rebels, resulting in between 100-150 documented deaths.
Within 24 hours of the announcement, the New York Times and Washington Post were reporting that the decision to arm the Syrian rebels had been made at least a week earlier, and that the Syria chemical weapons "red line" was used as the pretext for the escalation in U.S. involvement in the Syria conflict, which has expanded into a regional war, with increasingly sectarian dimensions.
It has been British policy for the past several years to provoke a permanent Sunni versus Shi'ite war within the Islamic world, as part of the policy of permanent chaos and population reduction. In April 2013, the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), the leading military think tank of the monarchy, released a briefing paper, "A Return to East of Suez? UK Military Deployment to the Gulf," boasting that Britain was resuming its role as the dominant power over the Gulf, a role that it had turned over to the Americans in 1971.
In fact, the Obama "decision" to escalate American involvement in the Syria war was imposed on Washington—against the strenuous objections of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other government agencies. Long before Obama made his announcement, British Prime Minister David Cameron had announced that London had concluded that Syria had used chemical weapons against its citizens and the European Union arms embargo had to end. Cameron was joined by French President François Hollande in pressing Obama to break from the "realists" in his Administration, and jump head-first into the regime-change program against the Assad government.
Russia: WMD Déjà Vu
The great danger emanating from the new phase of the Syria crisis is that it will lead to a direct confrontation between the United States and Russia. Top Russian officials have warned that the so-called "evidence" of chemical weapons (CW) use by Assad is unconvincing. Contrary to wild propaganda claims to the contrary in the Western media, Putin's Russia is not about to throw Syrian President Assad to the wolves.
Russian arms deliveries to Syria have increased, and as the result, the Syrian Army continues to make military advances on several fronts in the war. When Secretary of State John Kerry met with Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow in mid-May, the Russians promised that they would not deploy the S-300 advanced air defense systems to Syria until after the scheduled Geneva II peace conference.
However, the recent military gains by the Syrian Army—even without the advanced air defenses—have added to the desperation in London, Paris, and at the White House that Assad must be removed from office as soon as possible. The danger of a head-on confrontation with Russia, as the result of this madness, is exactly what the Israeli strategist was warning about. In a Washington Post interview published June 15, Israeli President Shimon Peres made it clear that he did not favor escalating the crisis, drawing the United State potentially into another war. His recommendation was for the issue to be handled by the Arab League, leaving the United States, Russia, China, and Europe out of the picture altogether.
Regardless of what level of material support the U.S. provides in the coming days and weeks, the shift in policy by the Obama Administration has already been seen as a green light for others. Saudi Arabia has announced that it will be providing shoulder-held anti-aircraft weapons to the Syrian rebels. The Saudis have concentrated their financial and military aid towards the al-Nusra Front and other hard-core jihadist factions of the Syrian opposition; and it can be assumed that the more advanced weapons will go to the same players. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the head of Saudi intelligence, who was deeply implicated in the 9/11 attacks on the U.S., has been pouring resources into the jihadists in northeastern Lebanon, extending the Syrian war directly into that neighboring country. Ironically, there is now a de facto Saudi-Israeli military alliance against Hezbollah, spreading the war beyond the Syrian borders and greatly increasing the likelihood of a regional or even global war.
Democratic Party sources with close ties to the Putin circles in Russia say that the Russian President has given up on any possibility of a "reset" of relations with the United States so long as President Obama remains in office. This view was reinforced when Obama named Dr. Susan Rice as his new National Security Advisor. Rice was the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, when the United States double-crossed Russia and China over the Libya regime-change campaign. Rice has gone overboard on numerous public occasions, assailing Russia and China for continuing to support the Assad regime. Her arrival at the White House as head of national security will deepen the distrust and animosity between Washington and Moscow. Kerry is reportedly furious over the White House actions, which have undermined the joint effort he initiated with Lavrov to reach a diplomatic settlement of the Syria crisis.
In the immediate days ahead, any one of the three simultaneous crises—the trans-Atlantic financial collapse, the danger of a major miscalculation to general war around the Syria conflict, and the desperation of President Obama, facing a barrage of Watergate-type scandals—could push the global situation over the edge.

Yamaguchi: China Military Build-Up Risks Accident

Yamaguchi: China Military Build-Up Risks Accident

June 23, 2013 | Politics & Government

By Anthony Fensom
The Diplomat
Image credit: Official U.S. Navy Imagery

Image credit: Official U.S. Navy Imagery

Inexperienced Chinese naval officers ran the risk of sparking a confrontation with Japan in the East China Sea, a leading Japanese military academic has warned.

Speaking at the Griffith Asia Institute in Brisbane, Australia, Lt. Gen. Noboru Yamaguchi of Japan’s National Defense Academy said China’s rapid build-up could see it match the United States in military expenditure by 2030, but the greater danger was an “accident” provoking an incident.

“Equipment can be expanded very rapidly, but navy captains take 20 years to train – and if that’s not the case, then many young captains and untrained sailors piloting ships and submarines may cause quite a dangerous situation,” he said in his June 13 speech.

“You have to talk to the Chinese to avoid any unnecessary accident which could escalate into a confrontation.”

The row over the uninhabited islands known as Diaoyu in China and the Senkaku Islands in Japan has seen a number of incidents involving Chinese and Japanese vessels, including claims by Japan that a Chinese frigate locked weapons-targeting radar onto a Japanese destroyer and helicopter on two occasions in January.

China’s Ministry of Defense denied the reports, accusing Japan of “creating a tense atmosphere and wilfully misleading international public opinion.”

“A Chinese helicopter came within 90 meters of a Japanese destroyer – this was dangerous for them, as even our cadets could shoot them with their own eyesight,” said Yamaguchi, a former Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) aviator.

“One of our [Japanese] helicopters hit the mast of a Japanese vessel two years ago and all six crew members were killed. The only thing that happened to the ship was some cracked paint.”

Yamaguchi noted that both the Japanese and Chinese publics were aware of the row over the potentially resource-rich islands, despite claims by Tokyo that their sovereignty was unquestioned.

However, he said the Japanese public was misguided if it considered the United States would automatically come to the defense of the disputed isles.

Under the Japan-U.S. mutual security treaty, Yamaguchi said there were three conditions to U.S. intervention: it was in an area under Japanese administration; it was a military attack; and it required joint action with Japanese Self-Defense Forces.

The question is often asked, ‘Is the U.S. going to defend the Senkakus?’ My short answer is the question is wrong…If Japan does not stand up [to a foreign military incursion] then the U.S. has no reason to stand up,” he said.

U.S. v China?

Yamaguchi said China’s military spending had grown 18 times larger over the past 20 years, reaching $198 billion in 2011 compared to just $12 billion in 1991. Japan’s spending had barely grown over the same period, rising to $60 billion from $33 billion.

While U.S. military spending was $717 billion in 2011, Yamaguchi said China would match it by 2030 or 2050 at the latest, “but that does not necessarily mean the same military power.”

“Military strength and performance is not represented by how much money you’ve spent this year, but how much you’ve spent in the last 20 to 30 years,” he said, pointing to the U.S. F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft that took 20 years to develop.

“The U.S. has allies and friends so the question is not necessarily China versus the U.S., or in the worst case, China versus U.S. plus Australia plus Japan plus South Korea and other European countries. If we have better relations with China, we don’t have to compare Chinese military expenditure with ours,” he added.

On June 14, Australia’s defense minister Stephen Smith announced that 1,150 U.S. Marines would train in northern Australia in 2014, with the number to reach 2,500 by 2016.

Yamaguchi welcomed the decision by Australia to host U.S. marines, saying it would take the pressure off Japan and help ensure the “political sustainability” of the U.S. pivot toward the Asia-Pacific region.

“If we have another helicopter accident near Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa, we will have a very serious problem with the continued stationing of U.S. forces in Japan as a whole. So [Australia’s] efforts to accommodate some Marines helps to reduce their presence in Japan, and that makes the U.S. presence more sustainable,” he said.

Nevertheless, the Japanese government advisor said he was optimistic on China’s rise, saying the two nations had common interests in securing sea lanes and in combating regional security threats such as North Korea.