Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

Enough Fooling Around, World Politics Again

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Its 4 am, I can’t sleep. Got personal stuff on the brain. But I want to discuss politics, at least in this domain I am not totally ignorant.
I noticed the latest ad from Stratfor, they are pushing subscriptions for their analysis of world affairs as a way to be the smartest guy at the party. Quite a come down from their lofty policy analysis claims. I have read some of their reports, something any well read history, international affairs, or geography major could come up with. They are written for the average idiot who knows nothing of the world except what they see on CNN. I am not impressed.

Syria has become the new center of the cold war. China and Russia are realigning and forming an uneasy alliance to keep the smaller countries around them at bay. That is pretty obvious in the stand they have taken to hold the line in Syria, supporting secular power, and traditional allies, come hell or high water. The west, led by the US are now in an alliance with the Sunni Arab powers of the Arabian Peninsula, Turkey and Israel against Iran in particular but the forming alliance of Russia and China in general. The loss of Libya as a friendly country to the Russians, their aspirations to become the leaders of a new post Soviet Russian sphere of influence, and the rising economic and military might of China, which still needs to some extent the protective shield of the Russian nuclear might to pursue its policy of economic infiltration of the world. As the dominant economic powerhouse, the Chinese have spread to South America, and Africa in particular looking for resources and partners in markets where they can come to offer a serious alternative to the old western European and American hegemony that has existed for the last century or so.

India interestingly is leaning towards the US and Israel as their allies having mostly let go of their old alliance with the Russians. Something that was mostly done I think after independence as a snub to the British who had fought against Russian attempts to reach the Indian Ocean in the 19th century in that region of the world, the so called “Great Game”. Now India sees China as its greatest threat after Pakistan. But the potential if there was a Chinese, Russian and Indian alliance is to create the greatest powerhouse in the world with Russian resources, Chinese organization and Indian ingenuity. Certainly China and India are two of the worlds traditional centers of civilization and power which was usurped by the west in the 18th and 19th centuries. A drop in the historical bucket. It seems that a great realignment of power is about to occur, the USA is rightly focusing on Asia, although the absurd placement of a few troops in northern Australia is mere symbolism. The best they can hope for is to keep Singapore and Indonesia in line and give a little reassurance to the Australian elite who are fearful of the dominance of China as their main consumer of raw materials. Its more a racist reaction than a rational way to think. They are no more historically likely to remain a white island in a yellow sea, than they are of remaining true to the Commonwealth, a rapidly less and less relevant entity as Great Britain becomes little more that a shopping destination for wealthy Chinese and Saudi’s making the grand tour of the quaint world of the old European powers.

The USA in its relatively isolated position in North America has still the greatest physical land in the world with abundant agricultural land and energy resources in primarily coal, but also the great transportation system that the Missouri-Mississippi-Ohio rivers complex offers along with the Great Lakes as a means of moving bulk commodities from one part of the world to another at relatively cheap rates. American Corn is king. If climate change undercuts the ability for this breadbasket to continue to be a cornucopia then American dominance with wither on the vine. This is serious and is not discussed outside of circles of policy wonks. Having recently taken a course in physical geography where the emphasis was on the ongoing environmental transformation being brought on by the green house effect of industrial pollution, this is not something to be poo-pooed away as environmentalist hyperbole. The weather is something to be taken seriously as are earthquakes, tsunami’s and volcanic activity. One good eruption can lower the worlds temperature a couple of degrees for a year or more from the dust thrown up into the atmosphere, as an example.

With China and India developing as fast as they can, the earth will soon be stripped of raw metals and there will have to be an immense recycling industry to reclaim what has been combined into finished goods, or an intense extraction of the oceans floor starting with the continental shelves. China is well aware of the value of the South China Sea and wants to stake its claim to it as the surface minerals are rapidly depleted. At this rate how much longer can we expect current alliances to hold? In my mind what will happen is a further development of the tendencies I have described with places like India swinging back and forth. Poor little Syria will be ripped apart by these political tectonic plates and there is little to do about it but send in aid for the suffering civilians. This is not about democracy, it is about power realignments in the world system. We should not lose sight of that in the desire to mitigate the suffering of the people directly on the ground.

Gates Claims America Cutting Back On Defense, Not Likely

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

I went to the ‘Move On’ rally in Los Angeles. It was pretty lame, only a couple of thousand people showed up, mostly older white union workers. It was nice to be in a crowd where I was not the oldest one there. I was the average age. The Move on union demographic is mid 50’s Anglo and if that is the case across the country, then we are in trouble if we want a revolution. This is the Celebrex generation, and we will have to take our meds before we manage to get out on the street. On the other hand we are soon to be the retired generation and as everybody knows, the old fogies vote. Perhaps we will have our summer of love in our 60’s.

The world transforming, people are taking risks in countries with mad dictators willing to machinegun unarmed civilians. Unarmed civilians with sticks and stones are taking on tanks and helicopter gunships and winning. That is almost unbelievable. The military must have felt guilty and given up after token battles. I can’t imagine American soldiers, trained killers, giving up so easily if ordered to kill citizens. After all they kill civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq almost as a matter of course. But will Americans find out? Not Waco compound armed to the teeth militant Americans, but every - day in the street protesting Americans armed at best with sticks and bricks, up against Americas finest.

America is the heart of the beast. If America gives up then that is it, it’s over. The USA is going to downsize the military, budget considerations. What a joke, they give the banks hundreds of billions, insure the housing industry and the auto industry with billions more, and give insurance companies tens of billions of additional funds, all together perhaps a trillion dollars or more has been spent propping up industries that have a dubious requirement to survive. We are told it would have been worse if the government had not stepped in. If they have a big war to fight, unless they can’t print enough cash to keep it going, they will come up with the military required to do the job. That after all is what America is all about, providing military cover for international capital.

If the USA no longer can provide that function, like the British before them, the nation will implode and perhaps begin to provide for the people who are its citizens instead of the corporate types who lobby Congress and fill their coffers with the funds required to stay in office. Let the Chinese or the Russians be the big man on campus for a change. Or better yet, let’s develop an international system that does not depend on any one big player. Perhaps then war by committee will be harder to fight.


From CNN

Wisconsin budget battle touches all 50 states

By the CNN Wire StaffFebruary 26, 2011 11:03 p.m. EST

Civil rights activist Van Jones speaks at a Washington, D.C., rally in support of Wisconsin public union workers.

(CNN) — A coalition spearheaded by liberal advocacy group held rallies across the country Saturday in support of public employees and others outraged at the Wisconsin budget-cutting bill they consider an attack on unions. and other liberal and labor groups held noon events at all 50 state capitals.

“Save the dream, we are reunited,” a group shouted in Washington, D.C.

The focal point of the protests was the Wisconsin Capitol, where a light snow and cold temperatures failed Saturday to deter about 70,000 who drummed, chanted and marched.

“Hey, hey, ho, ho, Governor Walker has got to go,” chanted the group rallying in Madison.

There were no incidents during the protest, said Joel DeSpain, spokesman for the Madison Police Department

The Wisconsin Assembly has passed a Republican bill that would strip most state workers of the bulk of their collective-bargaining rights.

Among other things, the measure would require workers — with the exception of police and firefighters — to cover more of their health care premiums and pension contributions. Collective bargaining would be limited to wages, though any pay increases beyond the inflation rate would be subject to voter approval.

In Olympia, Washington, two raucous competing rallies over the union fight in Wisconsin drew more than 2,000 people, according to CNN Seattle affiliate KIRO.

More than a half dozen union members decried the bill, while a smaller protest of Tea Party members and conservative groups was held on the Washington Capitol steps. Many of those demonstrators filled petitions to “Stand with Walker.”

Saturday’s marchers in Wisconsin got a boost from Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, who said Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Ohio Governor John Kasich, who also wants to cut collective bargaining rights, “aren’t just asking workers to tighten their belts, they’re demanding they give up their uniquely American rights as workers.”


From Third

Robert Gates Warns Army of New Era, Tighter Budgets

February 26, 2011 6:13 PM

By Laura Phillips.’

Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned cadets during a farewell speech at the U.S. military academy that the Army will have to adjust to light, nimble warfare and tighter budgets.

Gates told the West Point students that future battles are likely to center around naval and air engagements rather than land, making it difficult to justify a large budget.

“The strategic rationale for swift-moving expeditionary forces, be they Army or Marines, airborne infantry or special operations, is self-evident,” Gates said, noting the need for continued counterterrorism and rapid response missions.

“The Army … must confront the reality that the most plausible, high-end scenarios for the U.S. military are primarily naval and air engagements — whether in Asia, the Persian Gulf or elsewhere,” he continued, noting that this would be even more likely when the country lightens its presence in Afghanistan.

When the U.S. does pull troops from Afghanistan, Gates said he is concerned about retaining the talented and battle-tested young officers that return. He urged the Army to help find ways to promote them into meaningful careers.


From RT

Russia’s military spending

25 February, 2011, 12:49

Russia has revealed details of its ambitious plan to upgrade its army over the next ten years, planning to spend US$650 billion on the project.

­The unveiled large-scale plans of the Russian defense ministry propose the spending of vast sums of money up to 2020.

First and foremost, Russian defense will focus on the development of strategic nuclear weapons, construction of over 100 military vessels for Russian Navy, including construction of four originally French-made Mistral-class amphibious assault ships, and the introduction into the Air Force of over 1,000 helicopters and 600 military planes, including fifth generation PAK-FA fighter.

Most of the military hardware will be equipped with next-generation weaponry.

For the first time ever, Russia is planning to buy military equipment from NATO-member countries – two Mistral helicopter carriers will be bought in France (with two more licensed to be built in Russia), as well as samples of armored vehicles from Italy and elements of personal combat systems also from France.

Moscow’s plans to modernize Russian strategic nuclear forces do not contravene the newly-signed New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with the US, which aims at the reduction of up to a third of the strategic nuclear weapons in both Russia and the US.

President Dmitry Medvedev came out and said that he really wants the Russian military to be a source of innovation, and upgrading military forces is what all the spending is based upon.


From China Daily

China Daily, February 16, 2011

Analysts warned that instability may increase in the Asia-Pacific region if the US Congress approves the nation’s increased defense budget.

The defense budget for the 2012 fiscal year, which President Barack Obama sent to Congress on Monday, will rise to a new record despite a significant reduction in overall federal spending.

It is set to increase by $4.2 billion from the level the Obama administration requested for the 2011 fiscal year, which was never approved by Congress, leaving expenditure at 2010 levels under a temporary spending bill.

It remains uncertain whether the latest budget request will get approval, as opinion remains divided on the issue on Capitol Hill.

If approved, increased spending on military deployment in the Asia-Pacific region, which the US has been paying increasing attention to, may cause more instability in the region, said analysts.

“This will also increase the pressure on China as it is surrounded by US deployments,” said Li Qinggong, deputy secretary-general of the China Council for National Security Policy Studies.

The base budget - excluding the part for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - for the 2012 fiscal year beginning Oct 1, reaches $553.1 billion, according to a defense budget blueprint released by the Pentagon.

Growth areas include cyber security, space-based weapons and nuclear security. It also includes $9.7 billion for Lockheed’s F-35 fighter.

In addition to the base defense budget, the Obama administration is also requesting $117.8 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is $41.5 billion below the request made for the 2011 fiscal year.

The latest war funding reflects the planned withdrawal of troops from Iraq by the end of this year and a modest decline in funding for operations in Afghanistan, according to the Pentagon.

The Obama administration plans to withdraw troops from Iraq by the end of 2011 and will start to pull out from Afghanistan in July 2011.

Li noted that with increased attention paid to the Asia-Pacific region, some of the increased US military spending will likely go toward supporting its allies and holding joint military exercises with them.

One week before the Pentagon’s budget report was announced, Washington witnessed a heated discussion among security experts and defense officials about China’s military development, especially in naval and space programs.

Some analysts have said China is an important factor related to the yearly increase in the US defense budget.

China’s defense policy is not aimed at any country, Vice-Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai said at a news conference in January.

The policy will always remain defensive in nature, Cui said, adding that there is no reason for any other country to worry about China’s defense policy, he added.

Abraham Denmark, the Asia-Pacific regional security expert with the Center for a New American Security and former country director for China affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, said that it is legitimate for China, a major economic power, to enhance its military capabilities.

“The major question for American strategists is how China will use its new-found power, economically, militarily and politically,” he said.

Though many defense experts acknowledge that it will take China many years to catch up with US in military development, since the Pentagon is facing possible budget cuts as the administration is trying to reduce the huge federal deficit, these public discussions prior to Congress decision may help the Defense Department get more funding this year, Zheng Wang, senior fellow with the United States Institute of Peace, told China Daily.

However, Li noted it is still unclear whether this spending plan will ultimately be approved by the Congress where opinion remains divided about the scale of the budget cuts and increases.

Some Republican lawmakers are already calling for deeper cuts given the US budget deficit and nearly $15 trillion national debt; others want to add to the defense budget.

Resource Grab Threatens World Stability

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

India and China are growing world powers with China out in the lead at this time. China has rapidly expanded its access to world resources, taking advantage of the NATO military shield. Now that there is no cold war, there are many mini wars going on mostly over trade and access to resources. The world is not as dangerous as it may have been when the US and the Soviet Union were threatening to blow one another up. But the world keeps arming with the USA by far out in the lead.

We live in an age of almost instant communications. Yet there are secret agencies, and not so secret strategic policy planners in most countries determined to play out wars of conquest, now more than ever over the balance of trade and the access to resources, production facilities and markets. The USA has taken the key role of financial and military arbitrage. China has taken on the role of production facility for the world. India is becoming the High tech research back office, Japan and Germany are still the high tech producers.

But there is a major problem. The worlds resources are limited and it is questionable what standard of living will be achieved before oil in particular runs out. The USA and Europe are there so to speak and the rest of the world is clawing its way up the capitalist ladder to get to the material standards of a 1950’s Hollywood movie view of prosperity.

This is not the 1950’s and we are just about at peak oil. The big countries leaders are like a group of sharks swimming around the carcass of a dead milk cow that is now beginning to stink. Meanwhile the players continue to scheme and dream as if nothing is happening.

We the people of the world must demand an end to this dangerous military-economic game. It will not end as long as nation states are out there looking out for numero uno. We need a true United Nations and for that to word there has to be massive disarmament and some form of international socialism. We may be on the way there but the nation states are still playing hard and for keeps. Someone has to step up and stop the nonsense. The time has come to take care of the people of the world first and stop spending so much on plans to blow one another up.

This from Al Jazeera

China and Turkey eye trade boost
Two of the world’s fastest growing economies aim to triple bilateral trade to $50bn within five years.
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2010 16:02 GMT

China and Turkey intend to raise their trade to $50bn by 2015 from an expected $17bn this year [EPA]

Turkey was the last stop on Wen’s European tour, which took him to Greece, Belgium and Brussels.

Turkey’s ties with China have been strained at times, notably over Beijing’s approach to unrest in Xinjiang, home to China’s Muslim Turkish minority Uighurs.

The two leaders did not, however, address one of the few areas of tension in bilateral ties.

Wen’s tour of Europe was also overshadowed by a dispute with the European Union and the US over the level of the yuan.

In the Greek capital Athens, he pledged investment and support to debt-stricken Greece and announced the creation of a $5bn fund to help finance the purchase of Chinese ships by Greek shipping companies.

In Brussels, Wen fended off European pressure to raise the value of the yuan before sealing business deals worth $3.15bn in Rome.

One of the agreements would open the way for the joint construction of 4,500km of railway in Turkey, Erdogan said, adding that efforts would now focus on finding the necessary finance for the project.

Chinese companies are already involved in the construction of railroads for two high-speed train links, he added.

Turkey and China are also involved in projects to build oil pipelines from Iran.

Turkish newspapers reported last week that Chinese warplanes took part in a military training exercise at an airbase in central Turkey, in what appeared to be the first such drill involving Beijing and a Nato member country.

“To the best of our knowledge, US-made F-16s were not involved in the exercise,” Lieutenant Colonel Tamara Parker, a defence department spokeswoman, said on Friday.

For more

Indian concerns over China.

India Predicted Dominant Economy in 100 years.

Economists on India Vs. China

China in Australia, Going For World Resources
From Seeking Alpha

“China has no hidden agenda in its quest for natural resources. It recognizes that the world’s natural resources are finite, and it recognizes its own strengths and weaknesses. China also recognizes that the best use of the capital it accumulated and the technologies it got in exchange for exporting cheap labor is the acquiring control of as much of the world’s natural resources as possible.”

For more of this article

India tries to play catch up with China in World Resource scramble. Bloomberg

“March 17 (Bloomberg) — India, with $254 billion of foreign-exchange reserves, may create a sovereign wealth fund to help state companies compete for overseas energy assets with China, a government official said.
China, with $2.4 trillion of reserves and a $300 billion sovereign fund, has outpaced India in the global quest for resources to feed the world’s fastest-growing major economies. Chinese companies spent a record $32 billion last year buying oil, coal and metals assets abroad, while a $2.1 billion investment by ONGC was India’s sole energy acquisition.”

For more of this article

US Vs. China in Global resource scramble. From Combined Arms Center Blog.

“This past August Iraq and China signed a $3 billion contract to develop a large Iraqi oil field, the first major commercial oil contract Iraq has made with a foreign company since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. How ironic is that? The U.S. invades and occupies Iraq and then, after most of the blood has been mopped up, the Chinese arrive to partner with the Iraqis.

These two powerful nations are making their presence known over the entire globe but they are doing it in dramatically different ways. In the quest to acquire precious natural resources, primarily oil, the world watches as the Chinese appear before nations with contracts in hand while the U.S. appears before certain selected nations with bullets and bombs in hand. That is certainly a unique example of contrasting methods of persuasion.

This difference in strategies was stated in similar terms when, writing in The Nation 11/17/09, Robert Dreyfuss quotes a high Chinese official who said, “When America talks about strategy, it implies military, security, confrontation. In China, we have a much broader view of the idea of ’strategy.’ We mean something that is long-term and systematic.” He could not have portrayed the situation any better.”

For more of this article

Russia tries to strengthen its role in India Defense as counter to China.

US develops closer ties to India, China concerned.

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