Thursday, May 29, 2014

Elon Musk to present manned DragonV2 spacecraft on May 29


Elon Musk to present manned DragonV2 spacecraft on May 29

May 28, 2014
SpaceX is on the verge of revealing the next generation version of its Dragon spacecraft, one which the company hopes will allow the United States to once again send its own astronauts into space by 2017.
The unveiling will take place on Friday, May 29, at the company’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California. There, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk will personally showcase the company’s latest space taxi, dubbed the “Dragon V2.”
“SpaceX’s new Dragon V2 spacecraft is a next generation spacecraft designed to carry astronauts into space,” read a statement by the company, according to the website Universe Today.
The announcement will also follow through on Musk’s tweet from April, which noted that “actual flight design hardware” of the new Dragon would be shown. In addition to carrying supplies, the Dragon V2 will also be capable of transporting up to seven astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
Elon Musk (Reuters)
Originally designed with the help of NASA through a $1.6 billion Commercial Resupply Services contract, the original Dragon was an unmanned spaceship that could transfer up to 20,000 kg (44,000 pounds) of cargo to the ISS. The Dragon was successfully launched to the ISS in 2012, becoming the first private ship to deliver supplies to the station and return back to Earth.
When NASA retired the space shuttle program in 2011, however, the United States lost the ability to launch astronauts into space on its own. Instead, it has relied on Russia to hitch rides to the ISS, paying about $71 million per seat on the country’s Soyuz spacecraft. According to The Week, the US has racked up a bill of nearly $458 billion over the last three years.
That relationship was thrust into an awkward light in the wake of the Ukraine conflict, with the US applying sanctions on Russia following the accession of Crimea and Moscow criticizing the Americans for encouraging protests against country’s elected leadership under former president Viktor Yanukovych.
In late April, Russia’s deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin took to Twitter and, referring to US reliance on Moscow for transportation to the ISS, suggested sanctions would backfire on Washington “like a boomerang.”
"After analyzing the sanctions against our space industry, I suggest to the USA to bring their astronauts to the International Space Station using a trampoline,” he tweeted.
This prompted a response from Musk, who replied, “Sounds like this might be a good time to unveil the new Dragon Mk 2 spaceship that @SpaceX has been working on w @NASA. No trampoline needed.”
Whether or not the Dragon V2 arrives ready to go in 2017, however, remains to be seen. As noted by Universe Today, Congress has routinely cut NASA’s Commercial Crew Program budget, and manned orbital test flights were already pushed from original dates in 2015 to the current 2017 timeframe.
Meanwhile, the Dragon V2 isn't the only spacecraft battling for NASA’s consideration. Both Boeing and Sierra Nevada are also developing space taxis intended to travel to the ISS, and NASA is expected to distribute the next wave of contracts sometime this summer.

Xi Jinping’s ‘Monroe Doctrine’: Rebuilding the Middle Kingdom Order?

RSIS presents the following commentary Xi Jinping’s ‘Monroe Doctrine’: Rebuilding the Middle Kingdom Order? by Sukjoon Yoon. 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 Republication is allowed subject to prior permission from the Editor.

No. 102/2014 dated 29 May 2014
Xi Jinping’s ‘Monroe Doctrine’:
Rebuilding the Middle Kingdom Order?

By Sukjoon Yoon

Xi Jinping’s declaration that China should strive to become a “true maritime power” is redolent of a Chinese version of the Monroe doctrine or the old Middle Kingdom order. The recent issues in the East and South China seas demonstrate China’s incremental pursuit of its ambition to be the dominant maritime power in the region.
CHINESE PRESIDENT Xi Jinping’s conception of true maritime power is intertwined with several complex issues: internal factors about the legitimacy of his leadership and external factors like territorial disputes in the East and South China seas which concern sovereignty.

East Asian nations must consider the implications of China’s approach and its impact on the region: is it possible to influence and countervail China by standing together, even as Beijing pursues its salami-slicing strategy?

Xi Jinping’s four thrusts: Chinese Monroe doctrine?

From Xi’s remarks it seems that he is more committed to a long-term maritime strategy than his predecessors. He is basically attempting to restore the ancient Middle Kingdom regional order through four thrusts:

First, establishing new high-profile organisations dealing with maritime policy and strategy, especially the States Security Committee; second, upgrading naval capabilities to counter the US pivot to Asia and back up its civil maritime law enforcement; third, reframing issues relating to the East and South China seas away from prevailing international law and towards what China sees as its historical rights; and fourth, demonstrating China’s ostensible goodwill through participation in international forums and multilateral exercises in the region.

Xi Jinping can afford to be patient. Certainly the current maritime policies being pursued by China are intended as a warning, especially to the US, not to intervene in Chinese affairs in any part of the East and South China seas. Xi also expects US influence in the region to continue to weaken. Current Chinese policy is readily understood as a Chinese version of the Monroe doctrine, which the US declared in 1823 to deter the European great powers from interfering in seas the US construed as its natural sphere of influence. Could this be a contemporary rendition of the old Middle Kingdom regional order dominated by China?

China is implicitly challenging the collective defence posture encouraged by Washington, as the self-appointed guardian of the Indo-Pacific region. It is easy to empathise with the concerns of China’s smaller and vulnerable neighbours, who have bitter memories of living as tributary states to the Middle Kingdom, when all of the surrounding seas were a medium for the projection of China’s overwhelming power and influence.

Xi will not be satisfied until this system has been recreated around modern-day China. Despite being very vocal in defence of China’s core national interests, however, he has yet to issue any detailed doctrine concerning how China’s maritime forces should interact with, and, by implication, ultimately protect, its neighbours.

Impact: slicing the salami
Xi Jinping seems determined to establish China as a maritime power through an incremental strategy. Following lessons learned from the historical advances of Western colonial powers, China will gradually become more and more assertive across a wider and wider maritime area, whilst, crucially, avoiding any serious reaction from the US, until the Chinese position in the East and South China seas is beyond challenge.

Those nations that most cherish their ability to act independently will feel the greatest impact, and any who attempt to obstruct Xi’s salami-slicing tactics will quickly experience the consequences of China’s displeasure. The nations of the region must understand the real purpose underlying Xi’s true maritime power policy - nothing less than the restoration of China’s traditional maritime order.

Recent examples of China’s incremental approach include: declaring an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea, in November 2013; enforcing new fishing regulations, in January 2014, which oblige all foreign fishing vessels to apply for permission before entering a vast swath of the South China Sea, including areas contested by Vietnam and the Philippines; and unilaterally moving an oil rig into Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone in the South China Sea on 1 May.

Time and circumstance are on Xi Jinping’s side. A war-weary US is unwilling to chance any serious maritime confrontation with China. Although the US military is attempting to rebalance its naval powers to the Asia-Pacific, after financial sequestration it lacks the resources to do this quickly or effectively; and US forces are also still engaged in other regions like the strife-torn Middle East, as well as acquiring new commitments in Europe to check Russia’s westward advance through Ukraine.

China, meanwhile, can take the long view and lean on its rivals in the disputed areas as opportunity allows, slicing the maritime salami whenever it becomes possible. In this situation, where the struggle between the two great powers of the region is becoming ever more open, the other regional powers, especially those which can be characterised as middle powers - ASEAN, India, Australia, Canada, Japan and South Korea - are therefore seeking to establish strategic cooperative partnerships and networks with one another. Such efforts have, however, so far not been coherent, nor is it clear how effectively they could cooperate to resist China.

In fact, all the countries of the region are fearful of Xi’s drive to turn China into a maritime power, since none has forces on a scale to match China’s, and they have very little military leverage to resist its might.

What can regional nations do?

So where does this leave them? Throughout the region there is an earnest desire to believe that Xi Jinping really does want China to be a responsible player in maintaining maritime peace and stability; they can only hope for greater restraint in the use of “reactive assertiveness”, “tailored coercion” and “forceful persuasion” to pursue its claims in the East and South China seas. At least there is now a policy to avoid the use of naval warships for law enforcement in the disputed waters.

Although none of China’s neighbours in the Asia-Pacific region can match its maritime capabilities on an individual basis, they could work together to respond to China’s long-term policy of its version of the Monroe doctrine. They should do everything possible to deter Xi’s salami-slicing tactics, without escalating maritime tensions, to prevent China from establishing a fait accompli in which the Middle Kingdom regional order is reconstructed.

Captain (ROK Navy Ret.) Sukjoon Yoon is a Senior Research Fellow in the Korea Institute for Maritime Strategy, and visiting professor of the Department of Defence Systems Engineering in Sejong University, Seoul, South Korea.

Europe's Political Mainstream Gets A Wake-Up Call

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Europe's Political Mainstream Gets A Wake-Up Call

The resounding gains made by the anti-EU parties in last week's European parliamentary elections have alerted Europe's mainstream leadership to its fundamentally precarious position. This is a warning Stratfor sounded more than two years ago, when we predicted the rise of the far right and cautioned that these fringe groups should not be underestimated, precisely because they were tapping into very real and deepening sentiments that emerged from the economic and social malaise that has developed since 2008.

The highest levels of European leadership are finally and unequivocally feeling the political consequences of years of unemployment and stagnating growth across much of the continent. The dismal election results for many of the mainstream European parties (particularly in France, Spain and the United Kingdom) overshadowed the small but much-lauded gross domestic product growth figures for the year to date that dominated headlines until last week.

The current European leadership sees the rapid rise of Euroskeptical parties as an existential threat to the postwar order in Europe. This is not only because of old specters of Europe's bloody nationalist past, but also because the economic and financial stability of the continent has been rigged (sometimes haphazardly) around the open market and common currency that these Euroskeptical parties want to recuse.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Kirsten Powers: Glenn Greenwald vs. fellow journalists


Kirsten Powers: Glenn Greenwald vs. fellow journalists

Kirsten Powers5:35 p.m. EDT May 27, 2014

Thank, don't criticize, the man who exposed NSA spying.

Since breaking the National Security Agency spying story for The (London) Guardianlast year, Glenn Greenwald has been the target of attacks fromfellow journalists who seem to labor under the delusion that it's their job to protect the government.
Soon after he reported revelations of government malfeasance provided by whistle-blower Edward Snowden, NBC's David Gregoryasked Greenwald, "To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden ... why shouldn't you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?"
This accusation, dressed up as a question, was nonsensical. That it came from a fellow journalist was bizarre. How could reporting news be "aiding and abetting"? What crime could Greenwald possibly have committed? Most important, which government minion tricked the host of Meet the Press into thinking that reporters can't — and don't — publish government secrets?
Now we have Michael Kinsley doubling down on the chilling notion that certain types of investigative journalism should be criminalized. In his New York Times review of Greenwald's new book, No Place to Hide, Kinsley argues, "There shouldn't be a special class of people called 'journalists' with privileges like publishing secret government documents."
Actually, there should be, and there is. Without that protection, The Times could not have published the Pentagon Papers. Take that protection away, and we have zero oversight of the government from outside forces.
Kinsley writes that the decision of which official secrets can be made public "must ultimately be made by the government." If a reporter violates this norm, there should be "legal consequences."
Kinsley is too smart to believe this. Perhaps he can't see past his contempt for Greenwald, who he complains is "unpleasant" and a "self-righteous sourpuss."
Last year, The Times media writer David Carr drilled down on the strange fury Greenwald inspires in other journalists. Carr discovered that there was a general "distaste" of Greenwald and his ilk because, said one journo, "they are ... not like us."
That Greenwald is not a member of the Washington insider club seems to be the real problem here. Instead, he views himself as an outsider and adversary of the powerful, traits once commonplace among journalists.
Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg noted that the friendly fire against Greenwald is unusual. Ellsberg told an interviewer last year that though he himself was an enemy of the government for leaking secrets during the Vietnam War, "journalists were not turning on journalists."
Political philosopher Hannah Arendt once noted, "To think critically is to always be hostile." This should be the mantra of all journalists. As for Greenwald's critics, perhaps they could turn their hostile gaze from him to a more worthwhile target: the government they've been charged with holding accountable.
Kirsten Powers writes weekly for USA TODAY.

Outcry as David Cameron says ‘Let’s extend the EU towards Asia’

Outcry as David Cameron says ‘Let’s extend the EU towards Asia’

DAVID Cameron triggered a backlash yesterday after suggesting the European Union should open its doors to new members “from the Atlantic to the Urals”.

David Cameron wants to see the EU get even bigger David Cameron wants to see the EU get even bigger
The Prime Minister made the hugely provocative pro-EU speech on the day Croatia became the Union’s 28th member state as he toured the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan.
Talking to Kazakh students in the capital Astana he said: “Britain has always supported the widening of the EU.
“Our vision of the EU is that it should be a large trading and co-operating organisation that effectively stretches, as it were, from the Atlantic to the Urals.
“We have a wide vision of Europe and have always encouraged countries that want to join.”
The Urals mark the unofficial border between Europe and Asia in Russia.
His remarks indicate that he believes that Ukraine, once known as the bread basket of the USSR, should be admitted to the EU.
They come as British MPs prepare for a crunch vote on an in/out referendum this Friday.
They also appear to ignore fears about a huge influx of Romanians and Bulgarians when the restrictions on their rights to work in Britain are lifted early next year.
I am sure the thought of hundreds of thousands and millions of Kazakhs and Ukrainians coming to Britain under the EU’s freedom of movement rules will help people decide in an in/out referendum
Douglas Carswell MP
Conservative MP and eurosceptic Douglas Carswell said: “I am sure the thought of hundreds of thousands and millions of Kazakhs and Ukrainians coming to Britain under the EU’s freedom of movement rules will help people decide in an in/out referendum.
“I think the Prime Minister should be talking about swapping places with these countries.
“We leave the EU and they can have our empty space.”
UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage warned that millions of extra migrants would get access to the UK if Mr Cameron’s “dreams” came true.
nigel, farage, ukipUkip leader Farage was quick to criticise David Cameron's 'dreams' of the EU
He said: “People in the past have had dreams of a Europe that stretched from the Atlantic and the Urals.
“It is not a dream that this country, rightly, has ever shared.”
Mr Cameron has been a staunch advocate of Turkey joining the EU and last week welcomed interest by Serbia. Adding Turkey (70 million), Ukraine (45 million), Kazakhstan (17 million), and Serbia (7 million) would add 139 million to the EU’s population.
Coalition tensions also flared yesterday, with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg saying the Lib Dems would always be “the party of ‘in’” in any referendum battle, while the Tories looked increasingly like “the party of ‘out’”.
Lib Dem and Labour MPs are set to abstain on Friday’s Tory backbench bill which require a referendum by the end of 2017.
Meanwhile Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable said yesterday that leaving the EU is “not a realistic economic option for this country”.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Whose Sovereignty over the Paracels? A Response

RSIS presents the following commentary Whose Sovereignty over the Paracels? A Response by Sam Bateman. 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 Republication is allowed subject to prior permission from the Editor.

No. 100/2014 dated 26 May 2014
Whose Sovereignty over the Paracels?
A Response

By Sam Bateman

Rather than getting into an unproductive debate over matters of detail, this response to the critique of an earlier commentary looks more at the deleterious impact of sovereignty arguments on managing the South China Sea and its resources.
IN THEIR joint RSIS Commentary No. 099/2014 entitled  Sovereignty over Paracels: Article Lets Off Beijing Lightly, Dr Huy Duong and Dr Tuan Pham criticised my viewpoint, New Tensions in the South China Sea: Whose Sovereignty over Paracels? (RSIS Commentary No 088/2014). Their criticism highlights two fundamental issues with the South China Sea disputes more generally. The first is that these disputes and their implications for maritime boundaries are complex and unlikely to be resolved in the foreseeable future. This factor has become the major obstacle to effective governance of the South China Sea.

The second is that strident assertions of sovereignty are unhelpful and do nothing to help establish necessary regimes for managing the sea and its resources. While this is the case, fish stocks are being over-fished, marine habitats are being destroyed, good order at sea is lacking, and there is inadequate marine scientific knowledge to provide for the development of its resources.

Sovereignty over the Paracels

Whether China’s oil rig is established in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) depends largely on which country has sovereignty over the Paracels. The authors criticised my comments about weaknesses in Vietnam’s claim. In doing so, they omit to acknowledge that Woody Island has been continuously occupied by China since immediately after World War Two; presumably they would write this factor out because it is ‘confusing occupation with sovereignty’ – but over 60 years without effective challenge for much of that period is a long time.

The authors misread my comment that geographical proximity alone is not an unequivocal basis for claiming sovereignty or sovereign rights. In saying this, I am not mixing up the concepts of sovereignty and sovereign rights. Rather my comment was aimed at the repeated, simplistic assertions that the Chinese rig is located ‘well within’ Vietnam’s EEZ, presumably on the basis of proximity to mainland Vietnam. ‘Sovereign rights’ in this context was of course a reference to the fact that within an EEZ, a country only exercises rights over the resources of the zone – not sovereignty.

Vietnam can make good arguments to support its claim to sovereignty over the Paracels, but these are just that – arguments. China also has arguments. The respective arguments have ultimately to be tested either through the process of bilateral negotiation or before an international tribunal. In the meantime, there are no agreed boundaries in this part of the sea, and disputes such as the one we are seeing now are becoming more frequent.

Sovereignty assertions
Assertions of sovereignty have become even more strident in recent years. Bordering countries have eschewed cooperation for fear that by cooperation they will somehow be compromising their sovereignty claims.

Largely led by the Indonesia-sponsored workshops on resolving conflict in the South China Sea, countries around the South China Sea appeared to be heading towards a process of effective cooperation in the 1990s and early 2000s. This was evident in the 2002 Declaration on Conduct of Parties (DOC) which listed specific areas for cooperation. However recently, the process has been bogged down by nationalistic assertions of sovereignty.

These assertions have picked up their own momentum due to public fervour and the notion that the islands involved are an integral part of the nation state. The consequences of this have been clearly evident in the recent violent nationalistic protests in Vietnam against China.

At the risk of promoting another storm of protest from Vietnamese scholars, I venture to suggest that among the littoral countries, Vietnam has been the main offender with its strident assertions of sovereignty and a half-hearted response to its obligations under the international law of the sea, particularly UNCLOS Part IX. China at least has proposed the China-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation Fund to facilitate the process of cooperation.

I happily concede that by relying on secondary sources that quote different figures, I may have presented some incorrect distances. But the impact of this oversight is marginal and does not affect my basic concerns. Arguments over detail amount to ‘not seeing the wood for the trees’ where effective cooperative regimes are the ‘wood’.

Even with Woody Island size does not really matter.  It is big enough to meet the criteria of being an ‘island’ in the regime of islands in UNCLOS, and would be a consideration in the delimitation of maritime boundaries. Vietnam with its long coastline onto the South China Sea adopts the line that there are no ‘islands’ in the South China Sea lest they become a factor in boundary negotiations.

Way forward

The South China Sea situation will only be settled when the bordering countries change their mindsets from one of sovereignty, sole ownership of resources and seeking ‘fences in the sea’ (that is, establishing maritime boundaries between neighbouring countries) to one of functional cooperation and cooperative management. This would be in accordance with both the obligation under Part IX of UNCLOS and the spirit of the 2002 DOC.

The authors concluded their criticism by claiming that I could make a more positive contribution to peace and cooperation by encouraging China to submit itself to the dispute settlement procedure in UNCLOS. Might I say the same of Vietnam? 

My heartfelt contribution to regional peace and cooperation is to argue the case for a changed mindset from one of sovereignty, sole ownership of resources and seeking ‘fences in the sea’ to one of functional cooperation and cooperative management of the South China Sea and its resources. The strident assertions of sovereignty, even evident in the response of the authors, are becoming more counter-productive and leading nowhere.

In the long term, all parties will suffer due to the continued lack of effective arrangements for resource management, marine scientific research, marine environmental protection, the safety and security of shipping passing through the area, and the prevention of illegal activities at sea. Ultimately the national interest of all parties requires this cooperation.

Sam Bateman is a Senior Fellow in the Maritime Security Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. He is a former Australian naval commodore with research interests in regimes for good order at sea.

Does The Economy Move In Predictable Waves, Cycles Or Patterns? If So We Are In Trouble

Does The Economy Move In Predictable Waves, Cycles Or Patterns? If So We Are In Trouble

May 26, 2014 | Tom Olago
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Does the economy move in predictable waves, cycles or patterns? According to many economic cycle theorists, it does – and the forecasts all predict economic doom and gloom in the United States over the rest of this decade.

Between 2015 and 2020, many economic cycle trend readings project that the U.S. economy is about to enter a major downturn.

Michael Snyder, in a recent report for the economic collapse blog explains some of the economic cycle theories painting this dire picture. These are summarized as follows:

1. One of the most prominent economic cycle theories is known as "the Kondratieff wave". Snyder explains that it was developed by a Russian economist named Nikolai Kondratiev, described by Wikipedia as having been executed by the Russian government in 1938 because of his economic theories.

In 1939, Joseph Schumpeter suggested naming the cycles "Kondratieff waves" in his honor. The long term business cycles that he identified through meticulous research are now called "Kondratieff" cycles or "K" waves. The K wave is a 60 year cycle (+/- a year or so) with internal phases that are sometimes characterized as seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter:

- Spring phase: a new factor of production, good economic times, rising inflation;

- Summer: hubristic 'peak' war followed by societal doubts and double digit inflation;

- Autumn: the financial fix of inflation leads to a credit boom which creates a false plateau of prosperity that ends in a speculative bubble;

- Winter: excess capacity worked off by massive debt repudiation, commodity deflation & economic depression. A 'trough' war breaks psychology of doom.

Snyder explains that according to work done by Professor W. Thompson of Indiana University, we are heading into an economic depression that should last until about the year 2020. Based on Professor Thompson's analysis, long K cycles have nearly a thousand years of supporting evidence. If we accept the fact that most winters in K cycles last 20 years, this would indicate that we are about halfway through the Kondratieff winter that commenced in the year 2000.

Thus in all probability we will be moving from a "recession" to a "depression" phase in the cycle, predicted to start about the year 2013 and lasting until approximately 2017-2020.

2. The economic cycle theories of author Harry Dent also predict that we are on the verge of massive economic problems. He mainly focuses on demographics, stating that young people cause inflation because they "cost everything and produce nothing", but eventually "begin to pay off when they enter the workforce and become productive new workers (supply) and higher-spending consumers (demand)."

Dent’s findings as summarized by Business Insider are as follows:

- The U.S. reached its demographic "peak spending" from 2003-2007 and is headed for the "demographic cliff." European nations Germany, England, Switzerland are all expected to suffer the same fate, with China being the first of emerging market nations “to fall off the cliff”.

- U.S. stock market will crash. "Our best long-term and intermediate cycles suggest another slowdown and stock crash accelerating between very early 2014 and early 2015, and possibly lasting well into 2015 or even 2016. The worst economic trends due to demographics will hit between 2014 and 2019. The U.S. economy is likely to suffer a minor or major crash by early 2015 and another between late 2017 and late 2019 or early 2020 at the latest…”

- The U.S. and Europe are headed in the same direction as Japan, a country “still in a coma economy precisely because it never let its debt bubble deleverage. The only way we will not follow in Japan's footsteps is if the Federal Reserve stops printing new money."

- Fewer spenders, borrowers, and investors will be around to participate in the next boom…it all comes down to an aging population.

- The big four challenges in the years ahead will be 1) private and public debt 2) health care and retirement entitlements 3) authoritarian governance around the globe and 4) environmental pollution that threatens the global economy.

According to Dent, "You need to prepare for that crisis, which will occur between 2014 and 2023, with the worst likely starting in 2014 and continuing off and on into late 2019."

3. Another economic cycle theory that people are paying more attention to these days is the relationship between sun spot cycles and the stock market.

It turns out that market peaks often line up very closely with peaks in sun spot activity. Based on this theory, first popularized by an English economist William Stanley Jevons, sun spot activity appears to have peaked in early 2014 and is projected to decline for the rest of the decade. If historical trends hold up, that is a very troubling sign for the stock market.

Several other economic cycle theories that seem to indicate that trouble is ahead for the United States as well. Snyder provides a summary from an article by GE Christenson and Taki Tsaklanos, with the relevant source and cycle names provided:

4. According to Charles Nenner’s research, stocks should peak in mid-2013 and fall until about 2020. Similarly, bonds should peak in the summer of 2013 and fall thereafter for 20 years. He bases his conclusions entirely on cycle research. He expects the Dow to fall to around 5,000 by 2018 – 2020.

5. Clif Droke describes Kress Cycles thus: The major 120 year cycle plus all minor cycles trend down into late 2014. The stock market should decline hard into late 2014.

6. Robert Prechter believes that in the Elliott Wave, the stock market has peaked and has entered a generational bear-market. He anticipates a crash low in the market around 2016 – 2017.

7. David Nichols, in the online publication Market Energy Waves, sees a 36 year cycle in stock markets that is peaking in mid-2013 and will cycle down for 2013 – 2016. “… The controlling energy wave is scheduled to flip back to negative on July 19 of this year.” Equity markets should drop 25 – 50%.

8. According to Armstrong Economics, the economic confidence model projected a peak in confidence in August 2013, a bottom in September 2014, and another peak in October 2015. The decline into January 2020 should be severe. He expects a world-wide crash and contraction in economies from 2015 – 2020.

9. Charles Hugh Smith discusses four long-term cycles that bottom in the 2010 – 2020 period. They are: Credit expansion/contraction cycle, Price inflation/wage cycle, Generational cycle, and Peak oil extraction cycle.

Snyder notes that it is disconcerting to a lot of people that 2014 is turning out to be eerily similar to 2007, and that America seems to be repeating mistakes instead of implementing lessons learned.

He further points to indications that the next major economic downturn is just around the corner, such as news that manufacturing job openings have declined for four months in a row. Snyder concludes: “Let's hope that all of the economic cycle theories discussed above are wrong this time, but we would be quite foolish to ignore their warnings.

Everything indicates that a great economic storm is rapidly approaching, and we should use this time of relative calm to get prepared while we still can”.

It is also noteworthy that these predictions are also being currently corroborated by other observers.

Business on the 9th of May published a Business Insider interview with Lakshman Achuthan,the co-founder of the Economic Cycle Research Institute. When asked by Business Insider what he thought was the “most worrisome sign in the economy”, Lakshman in part replied:

“In fact, demographics, along with productivity growth averaging less than 1% for the last three years, have helped keep U.S. trend growth so low that the inevitable growth slowdowns are more likely to end in recession. This is the hallmark of the “yo-yo years,” characterized by more frequent recessions than most expect. There’s no indication that this era will end soon, even if we see occasional 3%-plus GDP growth quarters, given that even Japan in its “lost decades” has seen 3%-plus GDP growth in 30% of the quarters since 1990.”

The context around Lakshman’s recent comments such as “demographics”, “low productivity growth… likely to end in recession”, “no indication that this era will end soon” – are all consistent with the cycles- based conclusions arrived at by Nikolai Kondratiev’s Kondratieff wave theory and Harry Dent’s dire economic predictions, not to mention the many other similar independently established findings.

It will certainly help America to heed the warnings and implement lessons learnt from economic history and forecasts before it becomes too late, or to at least limit the impact of what would be “pure hell for the United States” in these years leading up to 2020.


US-EU Sanction Boomerangs The Coming US-China Energy War

US-EU Sanction Boomerangs
The Coming US-China Energy War
The Battle between Jesus and Satan

eastwind journals 100
By Bernie Lopez

The Emerging ‘New Silk Road’

After a decade of negotiations, Russia has finally inked one of the biggest energy deal of the century with China, a 30-year $400 billion gas supply agreement between Gazprom and CNPC. The US-EU sanction due to the Ukraine conflict has left Russia with no choice but to turn east, conceding gas prices lower than they expected. Britain warned of gas shortages in Europe. Aled Jones of Anglia Ruskin University reports that Britain’s North Sea gas will run out in three years, which will drive up prices in Europe. Russia supplies a third to a quarter of EU’s gas needs.

Branded by many as the ‘New Silk Road’, the 4,000–kilomerter Russo-Sino pipeline promises to be the longest in history, transporting 40 to 60 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Russia offered tax exemptions for gas exports. In return, China will help develop Siberian gas fields and offer cheap credit to Russia. The Russo-Sino economic alliance is being complemented by military cooperation, evident from recent joint military exercises in disputed islands with Japan. (Source.

China’s Despair for Oil

Japanese historians claimed that Japan entered World War II as a pre-emptive strike against Western colonization, the British in Malaysia-Singapore, the Americans in the Philippines, and the Dutch in Indonesia. The Shoguns argued that if they did not attack, they would be attacked soon. If war was inevitable, it was better they had the initiative.

China’s mindset today is similar. When two carriers shamed China in the Taiwan Straits decades ago, China knew that someday push would come to shove, that a future pre-emptive strike against the US was becoming more and more inevitable. China considers that shame as a blessing in disguise. Now, US carriers cannot just move around freely in the South China Sea. China has done its homework. It now has a vast underground Air Force, Mac-10 missiles that can take out US carriers, pro-type twin-hulled carriers that can refuel nuke subs, larger stealth bombers and drones, and thousands of submarine detectors in the entire length of the China Sea. It has been preparing for the same inevitable war in the logic of the Shoguns.

China has become increasingly aggressive in Senkaku and Spratleys in its despair for oil, otherwise its gigantic economy will crash. They unilaterally annexed these islands, as they did Tibet, based on their mere mention in old Chinese chronicles. Yet they refuse to go to court because they know they will lose. It is now a game for soldiers not lawyers.

China believes the US may rattle its saber but will not just go into an escalated confrontation, what with its shrinking economy. Thus, China has been casually ramming Philippine, Vietnamese and Indian vessels at will, with little or no American reaction.

China knows the US has its own pre-emptive strike plans, the Pentagon’s Air/Sea Battle (ASB) scenario. It is now a matter of who is quicker at the draw. Observers say either a Chinese energy crisis or a US economic crisis or both will catalyze a deadly US-China confrontation in the Asia Pacific. In that digital war, the Philippines and Vietnam are mere collateral damage. Japan may be forced to rewrite its Constitution banning nukes and troops abroad. Both China and the US know a failed pre-emptive strike is dangerous. So, for now, no one is reaching for his gun. But energy is the catalyst for war.

The Coming Battle Between Jesus and Satan

I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian
brother will fight against brother
neighbor against neighbor
city against city
kingdom against kingdom

Isaiah 19:2

when the large heavy statue of st. michael the archangel
fell on a windless night at the healing center garden
sister raquel, cancer-healer for the Lord,
knew of the upcoming battle between Jesus and satan
they will grapple for the hearts of men as never before
she says the battle is both among nations and families
and within ourselves, each one of us

pope francis echoes this upcoming battle in his prayer –
weep not for what you have lost, fight for what you have
weep not for what is dead, fight for what was born in you
weep not  for the one who abandoned you, fight for who is with you
weep not for those who hate you, fight for those who want you
weep not for your past, fight for your present struggle
weep not for your suffering, fight for your happiness
with things that are happening to us, we begin to learn
that nothing is impossible to solve, just move forward



Gold Manipulation Is Out In the Open

Gold Manipulation Is Out In the Open

How Long Can It Continue?
Gold Manipulation Is Out In the Open
Image Credits: Giorgio Monteforti / Flickr
by Washington's Blog | May 27, 2014
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We’ve noted for years – for example here, here and here- that gold prices are manipulation.
We pointed out in January and February that gold manipulation is going mainstream.
At least one giant bank has been fined for manipulating gold prices. And see Caught Red-Handed: This Is What Zoomed In Gold Manipulation Looks Like.
And public television channel 3sat – broadcast throughout Europe, and especially popular in Germany, Austria and Switzerland – addressed the issue head on:

Jim Rickards was asked how long the gold manipulation could continue now that the cat is out of the bag. He basically answered: until the physical shortage of gold leads to a large buy order not being filled; especially given the demand shock coming from China and India:

Carlyle A. Thayer

Contributor Carlyle A. Thayer
Carlyle A. Thayer
Carlyle A. Thayer is Emeritus Professor, The
University of New South Wales at the Australian
Defence Force Academy in Canberra. Thayer is a
Southeast Asia regional specialist with special
expertise on Vietnam. He is the author of Southeast
Asia: Patterns of Security Cooperation (Canberra:
Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 2012). He writes
a weekly column on Southeast Asian defense and
security affairs for the The Diplomat. He has held
senior appointments at the International Institute for
Strategic Studies in London; Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu;
School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University; Center for
International Affairs, Ohio University; Australian Command and Staff College; and the
Center for Defence and Strategic Studies at the Australian Defence College. Thayer was
educated at Brown, holds an M.A. in Southeast Asian Studies from Yale and a PhD in
International Relations from The Australian National University. He was in Hanoi
when the Chinese oil rig crisis off Vietnam first broke out in May 2014.
University of New South Wales, Canberra
Contributions by Carlyle A. Thayer
Blog 05.09.14
The China-Vietnam Standoff: How
Will It End?
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Carlyle A. Thayer | ChinaFile Page 1 of 1 13/05/2014
The China-Vietnam
Standoff: How Will It End?
A ChinaFile Conversation
Friday, May 9, 2014
Carlyle A. Thayer
There are three possible interpretations for China’s decision to deploy the giant HD-
981 oil rig to Block 143 inside Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone. These
interpretations are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
The first interpretation posits that the China National Offshore Oil Company
(CNOOC) decided to conduct commercial exploration activities in blocks it had put
out to tender in response to Vietnam’s adoption of the Law on the Sea in mid-2012.
As Susan Shirk notes CNOOC had already carried out seismic surveys and was likely
following up.
This interpretation is questionable given the size and composition of the fleet of 80
Chinese ships and vessels that accompanied the oil rig. As Shirk observes this was
“certainly not business as usual.” Indeed, diplomats in Beijing report that CNOOC
officials were ordered to deploy the rig despite their misgivings about the high daily
costs and the low evaluation of Block 143 as a source of oil and gas reserves.
The second interpretation argues that CNOOC’s actions were in response to the
operations by U.S. oil giant ExxonMobile in nearby blocks. This interpretation too
seems unlikely. ExxonMobile has been operating in Block 119 since 2011 despite
initial Chinese protests. It is unclear how the operations of a Chinese oil rig in Block
143 would deter ExxonMobile from operating elsewhere.
The third interpretation stresses the geo-political motivations behind China’s
actions. The deployment of the CNOOC mega rig was a pre-planned response to
President Barack Obama’s recent visit to East Asia. China was angered by Obama’s
support for both Japan and the Philippines in their territorial disputes with Beijing.
Therefore China manufactured the oil rig crisis to demonstrate to regional states that
the United States was a “paper tiger” and there was a gap between Obama’s rhetoric
and ability to act.
The third interpretation has plausibility. China can make its point and then withdraw
the oil rig once it has completed its mission in mid-August. But this interpretation
begs the question why Vietnam was the focus for this crisis and why China acted on
the eve of the summit meeting of the heads of government/state of the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations.

Q&A: South China Sea Tensions and the Future of Asean

• May 22, 2014, 7:06 AM SGT
Q&A: South China Sea Tensions and the Future of Asean
BySara Schonhardt
This picture, taken from a Vietnam Coast Guard ship on May 14, shows a Vietnamese Coast Guard ship (left) being
challenged by a Chinese Coast Guard ship near to the site of a Chinese oil rig that has set off a tense dispute between the
two countries.
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
A simmering dispute between China and some of its Southeast Asian neighbors over
the South China Sea flared up last week – sparking deadly riots and protests in
Vietnam. China’s increasingly aggressive moves to press its claims to parts of the
waters, believed to be rich in oil, has drawn out deep-seated grievances in Vietnam
and posed challenges to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a body formed
nearly 50 years ago to ensure peace in the region.
Southeast Asia Real Time asked several experts their thoughts on the current
tensions and what they mean for the future security of Southeast Asia.
Carl Thayer, professor humanities and social sciences and an expert on
Vietnamese foreign policy in the Australian Defense Force Academy at the
University of New South Wales.
WSJ: Can the Vietnamese government stand up for itself enough to calm the anger
and protests within the country without forcing China to act even more provocatively?
Mr. Thayer: Yes the Vietnam government has extensive resources to repress any
further protests, violent or otherwise, that take place. The Vietnamese government
has also moved to assuage China by clamping down and arresting workers involved
in the violent attacks on Chinese and other foreign invested properties. But the
Vietnamese government will have its work cut out calming nationalist anti-China
sentiment. Many of those who protested peacefully in the cities are critical by what
they perceive as government inaction.
WSJ: Vietnam obviously can’t stand up militarily to China but also doesn’t seem to
have much support from its Asean neighbors. What would it need to do to strike an
alliance with the U.S. similar to what the Philippines has? And is this something it
Mr. Thayer: Vietnam will not strike an alliance with the United States under any
circumstances. Vietnam is fearful that in the end China and the U.S. will reach
agreement over the South China Sea at Vietnam’s expense. Vietnam has a policy of
three no’s enshrined in the last two Defense White Papers: no foreign military bases,
no military alliances, and no use of a third country against another country. U.S.-
Vietnam defense and security relations are very low level.
WSJ: How serious is the current standoff – worse than the border war in 1979? And
what might it portend for the future?
Mr. Thayer: The current crisis is the worst eruption in bilateral relations since the
1979 border war, but it hardly bears comparison. In 1977 and 1978, prior to the
border war, there were rising deadly incidents along the Sino-Vietnamese border. A
quarter of a million ethnic Chinese (or Hoa people) fled into southern China. After the
border war, the border was tense, featuring frequent Chinese artillery barrages
during Vietnam’s decade-long intervention in Cambodia.
An escalation of violence is always a possibility given the daily confrontation at sea
around the oil rig. China will bluster and get its pound of flesh for the violence
directed at Chinese factories and workers. China will keep up the pressure long
enough to convince Vietnam to adopt a conciliatory and accommodationist posture.
When China put the rig in Vietnam’s waters it claimed it would operate from May 2 to
August 15. China kept the door open for it to de-escalate on its terms. At some point
China will receive a Vietnamese high-level envoy and they will reach terms to
manage this situation. Both sides will put a spin on their agreement as part of a facesaving