Egypt and her strategic waterways are the heart of the Arab economy. Wars have been waged in the past based upon these important straits. If Egypt falls to militarism or radical Islam like its neighbors Sudan and Libya, numerous Arab and western nations will suffer massive economic loss. You can have unlimited oil and LNG on hand but you need safe shipping routes in which to transport it. With this understanding Egypt is not truly sovereign and that is why it is in a constant state of flux. Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran and other actors and countries are in the midst of a covert battle royal to influence Egyptian affairs.
The United States has expressed concern about Japan’s desire to acquire the ability to attack enemy bases in an overhaul of its defense policies pursued by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a government source said in Tokyo. One of the American officials attending bilateral talks on foreign and defense policy cooperation late last month in Tokyo asked the Japanese side to consider the possible negative fallout on neighboring countries if Abe’s administration embarks on such a policy shift.
South and East Asia have become the world’s major oil consumers, but they lack the supply. Energy security thus lies at the heart of Asia’s economic transformation, prosperity and development. Jean-Pierre Lehmann and Suddha Chakravartti explain how China, India and their smaller neighboring economies are scrambling to find ways to secure and deliver enough oil from suppliers to consumers. The vastness and heterogeneity of Asia contrast with the relative compactness and homogeneity of Europe. Nevertheless, Asia does exist as a geopolitical, geo-economic and analytical entity.
Circle of Blue, with the Wilson Center, is looking at what’s probably the most important drama unfolding on the planet today, and that’s this confrontation between water, food, and energy. We created a project called Choke Point: U.S. Then we backed up and said, “Let’s take a look at China.” Our next Choke Point lens is to take a look at India, the world’s second-largest, second-most-populated nation. Keith Schneider: In the ’60s and the ’70s, the policy was to make energy, electricity, and water free to the agriculture sector in a nation that knew serious starvation.
Japan unveiled its biggest warship since World War II, a $1.2 billion helicopter carrier aimed at defending territorial claims, drawing criticism from regional rival China which accused its neighbour of “constant” military expansion. Japan plans to use the helicopter carrier, named Izumo and expected to go into service in 2015, to defend territorial claims following maritime skirmishes with China, which has demonstrated its own military ambitions in recent years. Tokyo is also locked in a separate territorial dispute with Seoul.
Should a war break out in East Asia, it is likely to be waged mainly at sea. This is conditioned by the geography of the region, where the main players are separated from each other by large expanses of sea. A large-scale military action on the ground, say in Europe, the Middle East or on the Korean Peninsula, could result in a huge loss of life and a lot of material damage, forcing politicians to exercise more caution. Whereas in the ocean, where there is no human life for hundreds of miles, these risks are much lower, which may reduce the threshold for taking the decision to go to war.
On paper, Japan is a pacifist nation. It ranks 6th on the Global Peace Index, a list tabulated by peace activists at Vision of Humanity. Japan’s constitution makes illegal a traditional standing army. But a recently published defense white paper shows the extent to which the country has one of the most well-equipped “invisible” armies in the world. Japan’s armed forces are euphemistically dubbed the “Self Defense Force” (SDF) — officially it’s an extension of the police. But with the world’s 6th best-equipped troops and a nearly $60 billion defense budget last year, the SDF is not composed of your average beat cops.
Beijing drafts plan for symbolic bridge, but lacks approval from Taiwanese authorities. The mainland government has recently approved a national road project that includes two cross-strait highways linking both sides of the Taiwan Strait. If completed, the project would be a literal and figurative bridge between the mainland and Taiwan and would mark a major milestone in cross-strait relations. However, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, the island’s top cross-strait policy planning body, said the project had been “unilaterally worked out by mainland authorities”.
A $US500 million Chinese-built port opens this week in Sri Lanka, giving Beijing a vital foothold on the world’s busiest international shipping lane as it seeks to secure maritime supply routes. The massive terminal in Colombo is located mid-way on the lucrative east-west sea route and has facilities on a par with Singapore and Dubai. The Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT), which is 85 per cent owned by the state-run China Merchant Holdings International, is designed to handle mega ships – a first for Sri Lanka which is aiming to become the region’s shipping hub.
Amid a spate of incursions by China in Ladakh, its troops are also resorting to tactics like preventing the Indian Army from patrolling posts in this sector along the border which was well within India’s territory. In what is being described as an aggressive approach by China, the tactics have come to the fore in the wake of yet another incident last week when Indian troops launched its patrol “Tiranga” from Trade Junction area in North of Ladakh for two posts located 14 km up in the higher reaches along the LAC.
Teams of analysts at GCHQ now have the authority and the technical capacity to tap directly into the nervous system of the 21st century and peer into the lives of others. Dig deeper into the drily worded, acronym-filled files, and there are other insights about the challenges faced by GCHQ, and its own anxieties about meeting them. GCHQ has been tasked with finding the solutions, mindful that the potential rewards are high; never before has the agency had the opportunity to build such a complete record of someone’s life through their texts, conversations, emails and search records.
High-ranking U.S. and South Korean armed forces officials on Tuesday discussed plans to return to Seoul command of its own troops during wartime, Yonhap reported. The command transfer is presently planned to happen at the end of 2015. However, Seoul earlier this month requested that it be delayed — for the second time — amid concerns that South Korean military capabilities are not yet at the desired level. North Korea’s rising nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities also are said to have played a role.
Mongolia’s fairytale economic boom is developing cracks. The failure of the country’s fifth-largest bank and delays to the development of its giant copper mine underscores fears that its growth potential is built on shaky foundations. Yet greater economic realism may ultimately be welcome. The surprise insolvency of Savings Bank, which controlled about 8 per cent of Mongolia’s banking assets, has rattled the country’s economic cheerleaders. The central bank closed down the lender and transferred its deposits to a state-owned rival after it ran up bad loans worth $109-million (U.S.) – more than twice its capital, according to Fitch Ratings.
Rosneft, Russia’s newest energy giant, is a key pillar of this initiative. As one of Putin’s favoured firms, Rosneft owes a great deal of its success to Kremlin’s state-centred energy strategy — itself a part of a larger strategy to re-establish Russia as a global power. In that context, efforts to develop the company seem to have gained pace over the past years, and Russia’s currently rank, first with its 12.7 share in world oil production as of 2012, would likely to stay same, at least in short term.
THE South African National Defence Force (SANDF) would benefit from Chinese military training, discipline and expertise if an exchange programme were initiated, Maj-Gen Ntakaleleni Sigudu of the Department of Defence said on Wednesday. Addressing diplomats and military representatives on the 86th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, Maj-Gen Sigudu said had it not been for China’s contribution to the military training of cadres of the African National Congress and other liberation movements in Africa, the continent’s freedom could have taken much longer.
Washington welcomes visits to its nuclear weapons facilities by Japan as a way to provide “firsthand knowledge” of the U.S. nuclear posture and reassurances of its nuclear deterrent, a former senior U.S. defense official says.
“The nuclear umbrella is a centerpiece of the U.S.-Japan security alliance,” Bradley Roberts, a former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense policy, said in a written response to The Asahi Shimbun’s questions in early July.
Taiwan has earmarked $110 million for the construction of a pier on Spratlys’ Taiping Island, which the Philippines has also laid claims, set to be completed by 2015. The new project can hold frigates, radar-evading corvettes and Taiwanese Navy’s Kuang Hua VI-class missile boats, according to reports by Taiwanese media on Monday. Taiping, largest among the Spratlys Islands in the disputed South China Sea, is the only territory that has fresh water. It has been administered by the Taiwanese government officially since the 1970s.
China’s draconian “one-child” population controls are affecting the country’s military readiness, according to an article circulating in state-run media. The article, originally attributed to Japan’s Asahi Shimbun but picked up by China’s official Xinhua news agency, reflects current thinking in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which fears an aging population will shrink the pool of potential military recruits, analysts said. PLA strategists are also concerned that China’s new generation of “little emperors,”.
The American who leads the leading edge of our sword in the Pacific — the Air Force — worries that China‘s sometimes “aggressive approach” in using its fighters, bombers and ships to signal its territorial claims across the Pacific creates “the potential” for a serious incident in the region. But Air Force Gen. Herb “Hawk” Carlisle carefully calibrated his response, praising the “professionalism” of the pilots engaged in the cat and mouse game across the Pacific.
The Philippines plans to relocate major air force and navy camps to a former U.S. naval base northwest of Manila to gain faster access to waters being contested by China in the South China Sea, according to the country’s defense chief and a confidential government report. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Sunday that as soon as relocation funds are available the government plans to transfer air force and naval forces and their fleets of aircraft and warships to Subic Bay, which has become a busy free port since the 1992 departure of the U.S. Navy.
Kolkata, Guwahati and Shillong have of late emerged as India’s new smuggling hub, due to a spurt in trans-border smuggling through Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal. According to custom department statistics, the three eastern Indian cities are more preferred as routes for narcotics, arms smuggling and transfusion of contraband notes than even Mumbai, the den of underworld bigwigs. The country recorded a total of 35,500 cases of smuggling and commercial fraud in 2012-13 as compared to 33,251 cases in the previous year, according to Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) statistics.
The gas from Myanmar, pumped from offshore fields in the Bay of Bengal, is not expected to reach China via the new pipeline until next month or September. But at full capacity, it will deliver 12 billion cubic meters each year of additional supply to China. This is nearly 30 percent of current annual imports and one-twelfth of the country’s 2012 gas consumption. Beijing fears its maritime oil and gas imports could be targeted in a selective blockade of the straits led by the U.S. Chinese leaders call this potential vulnerability their “Malacca Dilemma.”
The Pentagon has documented a sharp increase in military espionage from the Asia-Pacific region that focuses on specialized electronics designed to withstand radiation, such as that caused by nuclear warfare or accidents, according to an official review released last week. For a number of years, foreign entities from East Asia and the Pacific “have demonstrated a strong interest in obtaining export-controlled U.S. rad-hard circuitry,” states the report by the Pentagon’s Defense Security Service
Downtown Detroit has long been one of the nation’s worst housing markets. Home values have plummeted. Vacancies abound. And foreclosure numbers are through the roof. Not that that’s surprising; who’d want to live in a neighborhood with soaring unemployment and the highest rate of violent crime in the US? “I have people calling and saying, ‘I’m serious—I wanna buy 100, 200 properties,’” she tells Quartz, noting that one of her colleagues recently sold 30 properties to a Chinese buyer. “They say ‘We don’t need to see them. Just pick the good ones.’”
Allowing the US military to use facilities on an almost continuous basis offers a bonanza to weapons manufacturers and may inflame tensions in the region. The proposed Philippines-US bases access accord should be scrutinised for its hidden motives, to remove chaff from grain. The agreement will chain the Philippines as a permanent station for bolstering America’s military presence in the Asia-Pacific region, and its arms trade. Building the Philippines’ “minimum deterrence capability” in territorial feuds with China and ensuring a US shield against external aggression are just sound bytes. The corporate agenda is concealed by security objectives.
While the possibility of anti-satellite weapons, jamming and cyber-attacks aimed at the U.S. military’s fleets of communication satellites is making them vulnerable to adversaries, declining defense budgets constitute an equal threat to the space architecture the services rely upon, according to a report released July 24. Like the Maginot Line that gave the French a false sense of security prior to the German Blitzkrieg in World War II, the U.S. military has assumed since the end of the Cold War that no one would dare launch an physical attack on its satellites because that would violate international norms.
Sri Lanka has signed a deal with a Chinese company to build a $1.4 billion city complex on reclaimed land near the harbour of the capital Colombo, an official said Wednesday. The state-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) will reclaim 230 hectares (568 acres) next to the new Colombo South port, said SLPA chairman Priyath Bandu Wickrama. He said the SLPA finalised a deal under which China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC) will invest $1.43 billion to build a “Port City” that will change the coastline in the capital.
China’s oil security is tightly linked to economic and foreign policies. Rapid economic growth requires resources, and the Chinese are prowling international markets for gas, oil, minerals, and timber. Beijing has worked relentlessly to establish ever-new supply relationships on every continent. China’s quest to confidently secure foreign oil supplies support the dominant rationales behind its energy security policy largely because the country’s increasing dependence on foreign oil is perceived by Beijing as a weak spot—a strategic vulnerability.
China’s new unified coast guard agency has gone into operation, state media reported yesterday amid maritime disputes with its neighbours, and experts said more ships will be armed as a result. The China Coast Guard integrates the functions of marine surveillance, the existing coast guard which came under the police, fisheries law enforcement and Customs’ anti-smuggling maritime police. The divisions “that were not allowed to be equipped with weapons can be armed now”, Yang Mian, professor of international relations at the Communication University of China
As was the case with the Balkans in 1914, on the eve of the First World War, the Eastern Mediterranean is now a pile of “kindling”, ready to trigger a larger explosion. Similar to the ball which deprived the life of Archduke Ferdinand, nobody can predict what could widen the conflict, but surely the possibility should not be ignored. Conflicts Sunni and Shiite boil. In the old sources of tension have been added and new, mainly for gas deposits claimed by Israel, Cyprus, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
A total of $829 million has been raised to explore Africa for metals and minerals over the last two years. While some 65% of drilling on the continent targets gold, rare earths are the fifth most popular prospect after iron ore, copper and coal attracting five companies spending $42 million during the two years to end-May 2013. The renewed interest in Africa’s rare earths come despite dramatic falls in the value of the 17 elements used in a variety of high-tech, green and consumer electronics industries.
Here’s what your stockbroker and the media aren’t telling you: the world is more indebted now than it was at the height of the financial bubble in 2007. That’s right. Despite the extraordinary government intervention of the past six years. Despite continuing optimism of a recovery. Despite the reassuring words of central bankers. We’re worse off in debt terms. Interest rates can’t rise above GDP rates, otherwise debt to GDP ratios will climb further. If they do, you can expect more money printing, budget cuts and tax rises.
The doctrine of the Indian secret agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) is based on the principle of waging continuous secret battles through its agents. Since its creation in 1968, RAW has assumed a significant status in formulation of Indian foreign policy. RAW’s operations against the regional countries are conducted with great professional skill and expertise, which include the establishment of a huge network inside the target countries. It has used propaganda, political dissent, ethnic divisions, economic backwardness and criminal elements to foment subversion and terrorism to weaken these states in consonance with Indian regional ambitions.
The Indian government this week reportedly paved the way for the creation of a new military corps of 50,000 troops near its border with China. If correct, analysts say this is a sign that New Delhi, which has been largely focused on its frontier with Pakistan, is now shifting its attention to the long, disputed Sino-Indian boundary. The creation of a strike corps would give India thousands of war-ready soldiers, trained and equipped to respond rapidly to a military threat, stationed close to the border between India and China, known as the Line of Actual Control.
“When carrying out a mission, the airplane will use its own ‘programs’ to forcefully overpower enemy television stations, radio stations and wireless communication networks, interfere with the enemy’s propaganda dissemination programs, affect the enemy’s military-civilian morale, and create rumors and confusion, thus causing the enemy, from government to everyday citizens, to have ‘nervous breakdowns’ and achieving their goal of rendering them helpless and unable to fight.”
By opening its doors to India, Iran and Pakistan, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will increase its legitimacy and effectiveness among regional and international powers, and enhance its power posture in the international scene. An observation of the map of the Eurasian region, which includes the members as well as observers of the group, clearly shows the interconnectedness of the whole region. The famed Silk Road stands witness to this connectivity and places like Kashgar, Samarkand and Bukhara in the region were once centres of this Silk Road trade.
Britain has issued export licenses worth £$12 billion for the sale of military equipment to states deemed possible rights violators including Syria, Iran and China, lawmakers said. A report by a group of parliamentary panels said 3,000 licenses for arms and other equipment had been issued to those on the Foreign Office’s list of 27 countries of human rights concerns. The countries include Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Belarus and Zimbawe, the Committees on Arms Export Controls of parliament’s lower House of Commons said.
A flotilla of Chinese warships transited an important ocean strait off Japan’s northernmost island for the first time this week, passing within clear sight of observers onshore. The PLA Navy vessels had just completed a major training exercise with Russian warships nearby and were using the Soya Strait to head into the far Pacific. It was just the latest Chinese excursion through narrow and potentially-strategic transit points in and around Japan’s home islands, and another example of China’s growing assertiveness in the region.
Boosting Army’s war fighting capabilities along the line of actual control (LAC), the government on Wednesday has given the go ahead to the creation of a corps including deployment of 50,000 additional troops along the China border at a cost of around Rs 65,000 crore. The Cabinet committee on security headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cleared the proposal in its meeting, sources told PTI. The 1.3 million-strong Army is expected to raise the new corps’ headquarters at Panagarh in West Bengal.
Chinese state-run oil companies hope to develop seven new gas fields in the East China Sea, possibly siphoning gas from the seabed beneath waters claimed by Japan, a move that could further inflame tensions with Tokyo over the disputed area.
Beijing had slowed exploration in the energy-rich East China Sea, one of Asia’s biggest security risks due to competing territorial claims, but is now rapidly expanding its hunt for gas, a cheaper and cleaner energy to coal and oil imports.
Britain has sold industrial materials to Syria that could have been used to make chemical weapons, according to a new report by MPs on arms sales. The Commons Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) said it was just one example of numerous questionable deals between UK contractors and countries the Foreign Office (FCO) deems to have poor human rights records. The CAEC said supplies of sodium fluoride which could be used to make chemical weapons were sent to Syria in the last couple of years.
Alexander Khramchikhin, an independent Moscow-based military analyst, said the massive exercise held in the areas along the border with China was clearly aimed at Beijing. He said: “It’s quite obvious that the land part of the exercise is directed at China, while the sea and island part of it is aimed at Japan.” Mr Khramchikhin, who recently posted an article online painting a grim picture of Russia being quickly routed in a surprise Chinese attack, said that the war games were intended to discourage China from harbouring expansionist plots.
A potential nucleus for a Japanese marine force exists in the form of the Ground Self-Defense Force Western Army Infantry Regiment, which was founded in 2002 with 660 troops to deal with emergencies on the islets that dot the ocean between Japan’s main islands and Taiwan and are claimed by rival parties, according to that year’s defense white paper. China has raised its amphibious capabilities, a report by the U.S. Defense Department said in May, with three brigades and two divisions deployed near the Taiwan Strait, while the Chinese navy has 55 large and medium-size amphibious transport and landing ships.
With massive firepower at its command, the Egyptian security forces are armed with a wide range of mostly U.S-supplied weapons, ranging from fighter planes, combat helicopters, warships and missiles to riot-controlled equipment such as armoured personnel carriers, recoilless rifles, sub-machine guns, rubber bullets, handguns and tear gas grenades.Additionally, Egypt receives grants under the International Military Education and Training (IMET) programme, amounting to about 1.3 million to about 1.9 million dollars annually, plus about 250 million dollars annually in economic aid.
Along with the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf near Iran and Oman, the Strait of Malacca is the world’s most important shipping chokepoint. Linking the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea and Pacific Ocean, the Malacca Strait is by far the shortest maritime route connecting Persian Gulf energy producers to their largest consumers in countries like China, Japan, and South Korea. 50,000 merchant ships carrying 40 percent of all world trade pass through the 900-km long (550 miles) strait each year. It’s particularly strategic for regional energy supplies.
India, China and Pakistan are vying for supremacy in weapon technology as never seen before. The inventory attained by the three is formidable. Kashmir is embroiled in these equations because a sharp tilt in one direction will influence an outcome on politics here. China has a vested interest in Kashmir as demonstrated not only by its belligerency on LAC with India and Ladakh but by stapled visa on passports from Kashmir and provoking inclusion of Indian administered parts of Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh in their official maps as Chinese territory.
Japan may nationalise hundreds of unclaimed islands off its coast in a bid to bolster its territorial claims, reports said, in a move that could complicate already simmering relations with China over existing maritime disputes. Quoting government sources, the Yomiuri newspaper reported yesterday that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government was planning to set up a multi-agency task force to identify around 400 islands that are not already explicitly identified as Japanese territory and confirm their ownership and the names of the islands.
A group of jihadists from Burma, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Pakistan are reported to have formed a “brigade” to fight the Burmese government. A Burmese branch of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami that is based in Karachi, Pakistan and has been in operation since the late 1980s is likely involved in recruiting Pakistanis to fight in Burma. “A brigade of Mujahedeen from Burma, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan under the leadership of Abu Safiya and Abu Arif reached Burma,”.
The Defense Ministry will explain its plans to boost the amphibious and pre-emptive strike capabilities of the Self-Defense Forces. The move underscores the focus the ministry is putting on defending the nation’s outlying islands as tensions with China continue to simmer over the Senkaku Islands dispute. The SDF currently does not have a military branch equivalent to the U.S. Marine Corps. SDF personnel are mainly tasked with landing on enemy-controlled terrain by air or sea ahead of other forces
The United States is negotiating an agreement to allow it to position military equipment and rotating personnel in the Philippines while avoiding the controversial issue of re-establishing US bases in the country, officials from both countries say.
The negotiations for increased military access by the US take place against the backdrop of simmering tensions between the Philippines and China over areas in the South China Sea claimed by both countries. The Philippines, which has a small navy and air force, is relying on support from the United States to modernise its military and upgrade its capabilities.
The much-publicised agreement to speed work on developing a 2,000-km trade corridor linking Gwadar Port on Pakistan’s Makran Coast to Kashgar in China’s Xingjian province has been called a “game changer” by Sharif. While credit must be given to the Pakistan premier for his plans to speed up this ambitious project — perceived as pivotal to the country’s economic prosperity — there are several underlying factors, especially security and political differences within Balochistan, that will have to be incorporated in policy formulation for the corridor’s implementation.
Oil-rich Nigeria has an estimated 37.3 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves as of 2011, according to the “Oil & Gas Journal,” something that makes it appealing to China. “It’s a long-standing policy of China to try to gain access to both energy and other natural resources around the world, but heavily in Africa,” Charles Ebinger, director of the Energy Security Initiative at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., said. China gave Nigeria a $1.1 billion low-interest loan, it was announced this week, and in return China can expect more Nigerian oil, going up from 20,000 barrels per day to 200,000 by 2015.
Greenland, a territory of 2,166,086 km² inhabited by less than 57,000 persons, which got Self Rule within the Kingdom of Denmark in 2009, has everything to attract major powers. Greenland has already become a meeting place for American, European and Asian interests in the Arctic. It is also a strategic territory and a key to future developments in the Arctic. In order to handle such a rising international interest, one of Greenland’s main challenges is capacity building. Greenland has talents, but too few to handle such an interest.
The Commander of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet addressed a recent report Thursday at the Pentagon that outlines a growing Chinese intercontinental ballistic threat that estimates that the Chinese could have over 100 ICBMs able to reach the U.S. in 15 years.
The report in question, called the 2013 Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat Assessment from the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, called China’s ballistic missile development program the “most active and diverse” in the world.
A British intelligence report said Wednesday that other nations are hiring hackers to launch attacks against their enemies, a trend it described as particularly worrying. The warning over cybermercenaries came in an annual report published by Britain’s Intelligence and Security Committee, a watchdog body of senior lawmakers that oversees Britain’s spy agencies. Citing testimony from British eavesdropping agency GCHQ, the report described the mercenaries as “skilled cyber professionals undertaking attacks on diverse targets such as financial institutions and energy companies.
The US presence in the remote northern Australian port of Darwin will soar from its current 250 troops to 1,000 next year and ultimately to 2,200, granting a full Marine Expeditionary Unit an effective base of operations. Although the general agreement had been made in 2011, the renewed commitment is likely to elicit a negative reaction from China, already irked by the Australian’s agreement to effectively base Marines in their country at the most useful port closest to the People’s Republic.
The biggest exporter of unmanned aerial vehicles, which are fast becoming essential to governments worldwide for both military and civilian uses, isn’t the United States, China or other major power. The big winner in this booming global market is Israel. And that creates a lot of geopolitical complications, for the obvious reasons. Thanks to massive budget cuts and tanking economies, many Western governments, especially in Europe and the United States, are slashing defense spending and eliminating big-ticket weapons systems.
The new middle class is “much more likely to engage in political activism to get their way.” Not just protests and civil unrest but revolutions — the kind predicted by the Pentagon a decade ago. This “threatening gap between rapidly rising expectations and a disappointing reality” will have enormous implications for China’s stability. Reading “Middle-Class Revolution” and other Fukuyama works, it is obvious that the “Pentagon 2020” war scenario is accelerating everywhere — across Asia, India, Africa, Europe, South America and the United States — fueled by capitalists who only see population growth as an opportunity for new consumer markets.
You have been hoarding money. You purchased real estate. You’ve invested in Swiss francs. All of this you’ve done to stave off the spectre of inflation, because we’ve watched how national banks have been printing money for years, as never before. And then last week the European Central Bank announced that record-low interest rates would be staying low for years to come. In the opinion of the many currency depreciation prophets out there, that means that sooner or later we’re looking at a second 1923 — an era of hyperinflation, and we’ll soon be using billion or trillion Euro notes.
China and the United States are also encountering a more confident and more unified Latin America. It is a region that has sought autonomy in its own affairs by way of rising blocs such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, MERCOSUR, and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), among others. Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, also seeks a prominent role the region with large investments in research and development and the introduction of social programs to revamp the middle class.
Last year, Russian state-controlled oil conglomerate Rosneft became the largest oil company in the world after acquiring one of its major competitors. The company has had its sights on tapping Russia’s vast, treacherous Arctic reserves, and after making a few huge deals, it looks like it now has the resources needed to do so. Russia’s Arctic is estimated to have 25 to 30 billion tons of recoverable oil reserves, which is stunning when you consider there are around 359 billion proven reserves worldwide, including shale oil and oil sands.
In intellectual terms, Air-Sea Battle is the biggest of the military’s big ideas for its post-Afghanistan future. But what is it, really? It’s a constantly evolving concept for high-tech, high-intensity conflict that touches on everything from cyberwar to nuclear escalation to the rise of China. In practical terms, the beating heart of AirSea Battle is eleven overworked officers working in windowless Pentagon meeting rooms, and the issues they can’t get to are at least as important as the ones they can.
Aynak is a copper resource in Afghanistan’s Logar province, located southeast of Kabul. One of the largest copper deposits in the world, Aynak copper is trumpeted as a future bedrock of Afghanistan’s new economy. Aynak requires $2-3 billion to develop the mine and another $2-3 billion to build ancillary infrastructure. The benefits of such an investment are significant. According to the World Bank, a low-range estimate for Aynak is 4,500 direct, 7,600 indirect, and 62,500 induced jobs and $250 million annually for 250,000 tons of copper per year.
Had anyone asked back in January what kind of risks you thought might be giving financial markets a jolt by mid-year, odds are that you would have talked about the Federal Reserve’s intentions with respect to quantitative easing, the outlook for economic growth and whether S&P 500 companies are delivering the kind of earnings that analysts had been expecting. That is the problem with geopolitical events, in a nutshell. They tend to fall into the category that former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld famously referred to as “unknown unknowns”: They can’t be predicted.
India and South Korea share remarkable common interests – all the more remarkable considering how far apart they are geographically, in area, population, average income, living conditions and climate. And then consider how different are Indians and Koreans in ethnic and linguistic backgrounds, religious beliefs and influences. It’s hard to imagine two such important nations and societies with so little in common, yet so closely bound by security and economic considerations.
How many nuclear weapons and delivery systems does a country need as an effective deterrent against the threats of attack? Finding an acceptable balance is critically important in Asia, where four of the world’s nine nuclear-armed states are located.Asia may be sliding into a nuclear arms race, aggravated by underlying tensions and mistrust. As one nuclear weapons state enlarges its arsenal, other regional atomic powers do the same. SIPRI estimated that China, India and Pakistan had each added about 10 warheads to their operational stockpiles in 2012.
Egypt’s evolution after the armed forces removed President Morsi from office will be a determinant in the geopolitical definition of the southern and eastern Mediterranean, according to the Euromed Survey presented by the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed) today.
The survey was released at an event in Brussels with representatives of research centres, the European Commission, the European External Action Service, the European Parliament and diplomatic delegations. The Survey, which has been conducted annually since 2009, is funded by the European Union.
While it may be a lesser-known region, Gilgit-Baltistan serves as a buffer between Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India. The development of water resources flowing from Gilgit-Baltistan could improve the livelihood of rural Pakistan and thus lessen manpower heading towards extremist groups. Empowerment of the region could be accomplished through development assistance and encouragement of the local population by the transatlantic community. The dispute between India and Pakistan over the territory of the former princely state Jammu and Kashmir is mostly referred to as the Kashmir dispute.
China, Japan and Korea are all exercising increased diplomatic and political thrusts into the Arctic countries, but in different manners. While the visits of Chinese and Korean officials target the Nordic countries to talk Arctic and environmental cooperation, China’s diplomatic representation is actually strongest in Russia. China has five consulates in Russia, the same number as it has in the U.S., perhaps pointing to at least a traditional equivalence in the weight that the U.S. and Russia hold in Chinese foreign policy.
India will sign a trilateral maritime cooperation agreement with Sri Lanka and the Maldives, in a move to counter China’s bid to spread its strategic footprint in the Indian Ocean region, the Deccan Herald reported. Sources told Deccan Herald that the agreement, to be signed during the NSA’s visit to Sri Lanka, will seek to set up a mechanism for trilateral cooperation in maritime security, information sharing, cooperation on search and rescue in the Indian Ocean region, surveillance of the Exclusive Economic Zones, collective response to marine oil pollution and capacity building through training and exercises.
Japan is planning to launch satellites to monitor the world’s oceans, a report said Sunday, as Chinese government ships plied waters around islands controlled by Tokyo and claimed by Beijing.
The Cabinet office plans to launch nine satellites in the next five years to counter piracy and monitor the movements of foreign ships intruding into Japanese territorial waters, the business daily Nikkei reported. They will also collect data for forecasting natural disasters such as tsunamis, it said.
With his party comfortably ahead in opinion polls, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is showing more confidence in taking a tougher stance against China. For the first time, Abe referred to a new Chinese project in the East China Sea as “a clear violation” of a 2008 agreement between Japan and China for joint development of gas fields. Abe’s harsher comment, made on a TV program on July 5, could potentially turn the gas field development issue into a contentious one similar to the territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands.
The Indian navy and army are looking East and pursuing strategic defence ties with regional allies FOUR Indian Navy ships’ voyage last month through the strategic Malacca Straits, calling at Port Klang, Da Nang and Manila, though not extraordinary, points to a significant trend. Slowly, India seems to be shedding what critics call its “landlocked mindset” and is surveying the vast expanse of water around it. A country conducting maritime trade from times immemorial rarely flaunted its naval power. Its navy came into being, thanks to the British East India Company only four centuries ago.
Higa and others admit that few islanders would actually seek independence for Okinawa, the southernmost Japanese island chain, which is home to 1.4 million residents and more than half of the 50,000 U.S. troops and sailors based in Japan. But discontent with the heavy U.S. presence and a growing perception that the central government is ignoring Okinawans’ pleas to reduce it have made an increasing number of islanders willing to flirt publicly with the idea of breaking apart in a way that local politicians and scholars say they have not seen in decades.
China National Petroleum Co is set to acquire a stake in Kashagan, a huge oilfield in the Kazakh sector of the Caspian Sea, according to a senior executive in the Kazakh state oil company, in a deal worth $5bn.
It would represent the largest overseas acquisition by CNPC and reinforce China’s dominant position in Kazakhstan’s oil industry. Chinese groups already account for more than a quarter of the country’s oil and gas production.
China and Pakistan set their sights Friday on developing a transport link from northwestern China through rugged Pakistani mountains to the Arabian Sea, a route they hope will boost economic growth and slash shipping times. A broad agreement for the “economic corridor” was among eight pacts signed following a meeting in Beijing between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The transport link was described as a “long-term plan” to connect the Chinese city of Kashgar to the port of Gwadar, more than 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) away across the towering Karakoram mountains and Pakistan’s lawless Baluchistan province.
First it was the Pacific Century, then the Asia Pacific Century, then the Asian Century with a recent nod towards the Chinese Century. Now we are hearing of the Indo-Pacific Century. Hollywood to Bollywood, as one US military officer put it recently. A great sweep of ocean from India to the eastern shores of California is the strategic big picture, we are told. But while Australian policymakers debate every chess move by China, India and the US a more urgent Indo-Pacific shift, this time Indonesia versus the Pacific, is happening in two areas not even named in the Australian defence white paper 2013: West Papua and Melanesia.
Jiaolong, the manned deep-sea submersible, is helping China tap a treasure of iron-manganese deposits that were first discovered in the South China Sea on Wednesday. Tang Jialing, an oceanaut on the submersible, told Xinhua News Agency that although the exact area of the deposits was still unknown, he was sure that it was large. “Since one of the samples was broken by the sub’s robotic arm, a round core inside could be identified as volcanic lava. The materials covering the core are iron and manganese oxides, which need tens of thousands of years to form,” he said.
The Defense Ministry has launched a rare charm offensive to woo the public in a campaign to popularize the Self-Defense Forces, Japan’s armed forces, which are denied “military” status by the pacifist Constitution of Japan.
In May, a DVD featuring SDF tanks became an instant hit with the public when it sold more than 15,000 copies during the first week of release. It marked the first time that a DVD themed on a cultural or pedagogical subject had beaten all other entries from music, movie and other categories to lead Oricon Inc.’s weekly sales chart, sources said.
Western economic commentary on China and Russia is usually colored by monetarist assumptions not necessarily shared in Moscow and Beijing. For this reason, Russian and Chinese fiscal and monetary policies are misunderstood in financial markets, as well as the reasons their governments buy gold.
China has been notably relaxed about her own people acquiring gold, and the government itself appears to be absorbing all of China’s mine output. Russia is also building her official reserves from her own mine supply. The result over time has been the transfer of aboveground gold stocks toward these countries and their allies. The geo-political implications are highly important, but have been ignored by western governments.
Beijing sent paramilitary police into the streets this weekend and dispatched its top law enforcement official to the northwestern province of Xinjiang in a high-profile show of force after a week when at least 35 people died in the worst sectarian violence since large-scale unrest in 2009.
Eyewitnesses in the capital, Urumqi, where a large security force presence was deployed on Saturday, said the situation had calmed by Sunday and travellers returning from areas affected by the violence reported no unrest and only slightly heightened security along the way.
Russia’s ultimate geo-strategic goal is to re-frame a continental block against the Atlantic powers, by making use of the vast strategic and demographic potential of the Eurasian continent. Following this approach, Russia should adopt a multi-dimensional foreign policy waiving close relations with the EU, China and the regional powers, such as Iran and Turkey. The Post-Soviet Space stresses the historical and cultural affinities with the Slavic communities and represents a pivotal area for Moscow’s external projection. Energy links are the key tools of political leverage for Russia’s power projection.
The Philippines on Sunday accused China of a “massive military buildup” in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), warning a Southeast Asian security forum that Beijing’s tactics were a threat to peace in the region.
Following the harsh rhetoric of Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, China agreed to hold formal talks with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) on a proposed code of conduct to ease tensions in the West Philippine Sea.
International concerns have been raised by Pakistan’s growing nuclear arsenal, while Beijing has faced much criticism for its co-operation over nuclear energy with Islamabad.
Pakistan’s newly elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who turned the country nuclear in 1998, sought Chinese assistance in the field of civil nuclear technology to overcome the country’s energy crisis during a meeting with visiting Premier Li Keqiang in Islamabad last month. Indeed, there are indications that nuclear co-operation is now going to be the prime driver of the Sino-Pakistan strategic partnership.
This morning, Xinjiang made it into the news again with another violent clash. In Lukqun township, outside the city of Turpan, protesters attacked a police station, government offices, and a construction site. The mob apparently carried knives in the attack and set police cars on fire, which caused the death of nine security personnel and eight civilians. Information about violent incidents in Xinjiang is always difficult to ascertain. The news is strictly controlled by the Chinese government and foreign media coverage usually consists of state media reports.
After intruding into the Indian territory of Ladakh, China has made a foray into Bhutan, India’s neighbor and one of its closest allies, according to an intelligence note in possession of the Indian news channel, Times Now.
The channel reported that China’s People Liberation Army (PLA) had intruded into Bhutan and set up three camps and was carrying out patrols. The report comes just months after New Delhi and Beijing had a diplomatic row over a border dispute.
The Philippine military has revived plans to build new air and naval bases at Subic Bay, a former U.S. naval base that American forces could use to counter China’s creeping presence in the disputed South China Sea, senior navy officials said.
The bases would allow the Philippines to station warships and fighter jets just 124 nautical miles from Scarborough Shoal, a contentious area of the South China Sea now controlled by China after a tense standoff last year.
On blogs and social media, agitated Vietnamese are bypassing their authoritarian government’s monopoly on mass communication, reporting on its failings and galvanizing discontent with its rule.
Faced with economic trouble, infighting and unprecedented public criticism, Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party is cracking down on dissent. Forty-six bloggers or activists have been sentenced to jail so far this year, surpassing the total of 40 in the whole of 2012.
RUSSIA, the world’s largest crude producer, is shying away from Europe – as far as crude supplies are concerned – ramping up instead supplies to China. And as the process gains pace, new alliances are springing up on the global energy chessboard while the old ones are being discarded. The small, yet, strategic shift in target markets is providing Moscow not only with an opportunity to end its reliance on weak, saturated and somewhat fragmented European markets, but is also a major source of instant, handy cash at a time of great need.
Bank of China, the country’s leading commercial bank, has denied a media report claiming the bank had defaulted earlier on Thursday. The bank’s statement came after the official Sina Weibo account for 21st Century Business Herald said the bank had defaulted on Thursday afternoon, deferring transactions for half an hour due to a fund shortage, citing anonymous sources. The bank responded in a post on its official Sina Weibo that it has never had monetary defaults and had completed all outbound payments on Thursday in a timely manner.
The new contingent of Filipino marines replaced troops at the Second Thomas Shoal, where the arrival last month of Chinese ships sparked diplomatic protests from the Philippines.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said that the shoal lies within the Philippines’ internationally recognized 200-nautical mile (370-kilometer) exclusive economic zone. China claims almost the entire South China Sea as its own and last year took control of another shoal in the Philippines’ economic zone, prompting Manila to seek U.N. arbitration.
The emergence of China and India as global powers may become inevitable and may have significant implications for the Gulf region and beyond. The U.S. National Intelligence Council in its latest report ‘Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds,’ describes a world that will be radically transformed from what we know today. In a tectonic shift, by 2030, the reports says ‘Asia will have surpassed North America and Europe combined in terms of global power, based upon GDP, population size, military spending, and technological investment.’
A Mongolian company has tapped one of the world’s most closed markets by taking a stake in a North Korean oil refinery, to help Asia’s fastest growing economy ease its energy reliance on Russia and China.
HBOil JSC, an oil trading and refining company based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, said it acquired 20 percent of the state-run entity operating North Korea’s Sungri refinery, according to an e-mailed statement yesterday. It intends to supply crude to Sungri, which won’t be fully operational for up to a year, and export the refined products to Mongolia.
The agency said the scale of credit was so extreme that the country would find it very hard to grow its way out of the excesses as in past episodes, implying tougher times ahead.
“The credit-driven growth model is clearly falling apart. This could feed into a massive over-capacity problem, and potentially into a Japanese-style deflation,” said Charlene Chu, the agency’s senior director in Beijing. “There is no transparency in the shadow banking system, and systemic risk is rising.
It would seem that police brutality is not just for ordinary – powerless – citizens in China. A policewoman from central China’s Henan Province was recently arrested when visiting her daughter in the provincial capital Zhengzhou. Mistakenly accused of being sex workers, the woman and her daughter were beaten, tortured and detained for hours by local police. After media reports led to public outcry, the policemen who were responsible for arrest were suspended from active duty.
Psst. Hey mister. Wanna buy a UAV? China’s got drones for shooting, drones for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and drones for target practice. Cheap prices and no arms export restrictions.“Surging domestic and international market demand for UAVs, from both military and civilian customers, will continue to buoy growth of the Chinese industry. Chinese defense firms do not face the same export restrictions as top UAV-exporting countries, such as the United States and Israel. As a result, China could become a key UAV proliferator, particularly to developing countries.”
You absolutely cannot underestimate the importance of the Panama Canal to the modern global economy. The existence of the canal has done more to promote free trade and globalization than all of the international summits in history. It has massively reduced costs and transit times and allowed for much tighter economic integration between the countries of the Americas and between the Americas and the Old World. Maybe China is betting that world trade will be high enough to justify two Central American canals by the year 2025, but I believe its motivation is less economic and more geopolitical.
China has offered Sri Lanka new loans for infrastructure projects, worth US$ 2.2 billion dollars. In a reply to a question, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Mr. Hong Lei told the news media that in addition to infrastructure loans, both countries agreed to further deepen defence cooperation and maintain exchanges between two defence ministries, whilst they continue to carry out in cooperating defence technology, personal training and other fields. Yet, the spokesperson did not reveal further details regarding the nature of the new strategic cooperation.
The Chinese plan to build a canal across Nicaragua is not the first time that that nation has been at the center of international efforts to open a new route between the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans. In the 19th century there were several attempts to establish a transit route or build a canal. That led to meddling by Americans, among others. These included the notorious filibustero, William Walker, who seized power in Nicaragua for a while in the 1850s, but ended up facing a firing squad.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter what is right or wrong. What matters is what is practical. For this week eurocrats went a step further and— having already exasperated many of the EU’s own members— they managed to alienate the one of the block’s biggest trading partners too, by slapping tariffs on cut-price Chinese solar panels. The scrap has become so petty that even the country which started it, Germany, wants no part in the fight, while France, which will be hit the hardest by any Chinese wine tariffs, is posturing angrily on the point of principle.