Sunday, May 3, 2015

"Alliances are not based on a piece of paper. They're the result of real trust and interaction," he said. "There may be some agreements ahead, but in reality, I don't see an alliance emerging." - China calls for new security pact with Russia, Iran - CBS News | "The battlefield is now clearly drawn between NATO and Russia/China/Iran." - The Pentagon’s ‘Long War’ Pits NATO Against China, Russia and Iran | Global Research

M.N.: This article below apparently expresses the views, visions and geopolitical interpretations of Russian military-political leadership, summarizing and appending the litany of grievances, charges and warnings (consistent with rather primitive but habitual psychological mechanism of projection) verbalized at the so called Moscow Security Conference of 2015 (4.16-17.15, see also these blog's posts: 1, 2) and a week later at the Russian Defense Ministry military-scientific conference

The key points are: 
"As much as US President Barack Obama tried to dismiss it, the Russian sale of the S-300 missile system to Iran is a monumental game-changer... And after the S-300s Iran inevitably will be offered the even more sophisticated S-400s, which are to be delivered to China as well."
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"Washington’s Maidan adventure has yielded not only a crystallization of a new Iron Curtain deployed from the Baltics to the Black Sea. This is NATO’s visible game. What’s not so visible is that the target is not only Russia, but also Iran and China. 

The battlefield is now clearly drawn between NATO and Russia/China/Iran. 

So no wonder they are getting closer. Iran is an observer at the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) and is bound to become a member of the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) by 2016.
...

Eurasian geopolitics hinges on what happens next with Iran. Some selected Washington factions entertain the myth that Tehran may “sell out” to the US — thus ditching its complex Russia/China strategic relationships to the benefit of an expanded US reach in the Caucasus and Central Asia.
...

The Supreme Leader as well as President Rouhani have already made it clear that won’t happen. They know Washington trying to seduce Iran away from Russia and turn it into a client state does not mean Washington ever accepting Iran’s expanded sphere of influence in Southwest Asia and beyond. So the multi-vector Russia-China-Iran strategic alliance [hlnk - M.N.] is a go. Because whatever happens with the nuclear negotiations this summer, and as much as Tehran wants cooperation and not confrontation, Iran is bound to remain — alongside Russia — a key US geostrategic target.
...

It gets even juicier when we know that notorious Long War practitioners such as current Pentagon supremo “Ash” Carter, his deputy Robert Work, and Pentagon intelligence chief Mike Vickers are now in charge of the self-described “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” Obama administration’s military strategy. What the Pentagon — with customary hubris — does not see is Moscow and Tehran easily identifying the power play; the US government’s hidden agenda of manipulating a “rehabilitated” Iran to sell plenty of oil and gas to the EU, thus undermining Gazprom. Technically, this would take years to happen — if ever. Geopolitically, it’s nothing but a pipe dream. Call it, in fact, a double pipe dream. As much as Washington will never “secure” the Middle East with Iran as a vassal state, thus enabling it to transfer key US military assets to NATO with the purpose of facing the Russian “threat”, forget about going back to 1990s Russia under disaster capitalism, when the military industrial complex had collapsed and the West was looting Russia’s natural resources at will. The bottom line: the Pentagon barks, and the Russia/China/Iran strategic caravan goes on."


The Pentagon’s ‘Long War’ Pits NATO Against China, Russia and Iran | Global Research

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Whatever happens with the nuclear negotiations this summer, and as much as Tehran wants cooperation and not confrontation, Iran is bound to remain — alongside Russia — a key US geostrategic target.
As much as US President Barack Obama tried to dismiss it, the Russian sale of the S-300 missile system to Iran is a monumental game-changer. Even with the added gambit of the Iranian military assuring the made in Iran Bavar 373 may be even more efficient than the S-300. This explains why Jane’s Defense Weekly was already saying years ago that Israel could not penetrate Iranian airspace even if it managed to get there. And after the S-300s Iran inevitably will be offered the even more sophisticated S-400s, which are to be delivered to China as well.
The unspoken secret behind these game-changing proceedings actually terrifies Washington warmongers; it spells out a further frontline of Eurasian integration, in the form of an evolving Eurasian missile shield deployed against Pentagon/NATO ballistic plans. A precious glimpse of what’s ahead was offered at the Moscow Conference on International Security (MICS) in mid-April. Here we had the Iranian Defense Minister, Brigadier-General Hussein Dehghan, openly stating that Iran wanted BRICS members China, India, and Russia to jointly oppose NATO’s uncontrolled eastward expansion, and characterizing NATO’s for all practical purposes offensive missile shield as a threat to their collective security. We also had Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan emphasizing their military ties are an “overriding priority”; plus Tehran and Moscow stressing they’re strategically in synch in their push towards a new multipolar order. Tearing up the New Iron Curtain Washington’s Maidan adventure has yielded not only a crystallization of a new Iron Curtain deployed from the Baltics to the Black Sea. This is NATO’s visible game. What’s not so visible is that the target is not only Russia, but also Iran and China. The battlefield is now clearly drawn between NATO and Russia/China/Iran. So no wonder they are getting closer. Iran is an observer at the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) and is bound to become a member of the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) by 2016.
Russia providing S-300 systems to Iran; S-400 systems to China (with new, longer-range guided missiles); and developing the S-500 systems, which are capable of intercepting supersonic targets, for itself, all point to an ultra high-tech counterpunch. And NATO knows it. This budding military Eurasia integration is a key subplot of the New Great Game that runs parallel to the Chinese-led New Silk Road(s) project. As a counterpunch to encroachment, it was bound to happen; after all Beijing is confronted by US encroachment via the Asia-Pacific; Russia by encroachment via Eastern Europe; and Iran by encroachment via Southwest Asia. Washington would also go for encroachment via Central Asia if it had the means (it doesn’t, and especially now with the New Silk Roads bound to crisscross Central Asia). Eurasian geopolitics hinges on what happens next with Iran. Some selected Washington factions entertain the myth that Tehran may “sell out” to the US — thus ditching its complex Russia/China strategic relationships to the benefit of an expanded US reach in the Caucasus and Central Asia.
The Supreme Leader as well as President Rouhani have already made it clear that won’t happen. They know Washington trying to seduce Iran away from Russia and turn it into a client state does not mean Washington ever accepting Iran’s expanded sphere of influence in Southwest Asia and beyond. So the multi-vector Russia-China-Iran strategic alliance is a go. Because whatever happens with the nuclear negotiations this summer, and as much as Tehran wants cooperation and not confrontation, Iran is bound to remain — alongside Russia — a key US geostrategic target. That long and winding road And that brings us — inevitably — to GWOT (Global War on Terror). The Pentagon and assorted US neo-cons remain deeply embedded in their strategy of actively promoting Sunni-Shi’ite Divide and Rule with the key objective of demonizing Iran. Yemen is just yet another graphic example. Only fools would believe that the Houthis in Yemen could get away with mounting a power play right in front of a CIA drone-infested US military base in Djibouti.
Once again, this is all proceeding according to the Divide and Rule playbook. Washington did absolutely nothing to “protect” its Yemeni puppet regime from a Houthi offensive, while immediately afterwards providing all the necessary “leading from behind” for the House of Saud to go bonkers, killing loads of civilians  — all in the name of fighting “Iranian expansion”. US corporate media, predictably, has gone completely nuts about it. Nothing new under the sun. This was already foreseen way back in 2008 by the RAND Corporation report Unfolding the Future of the Long War. Yes, this is the good ol’ Pentagon Long War as prosecuted against enemies, fabricated or otherwise, all across the “Muslim world”. What RAND prescribed has become the new normal. Washington supports the petrodollar GCC racket whatever happens, always in the interest of containing “Iranian power and influence”; diverts Salafi-jihadi resources toward “targeting Iranian interests throughout the Middle East,” especially in Iraq and Lebanon, hence “cutting back… anti-Western operations”; props up al-Qaeda — and ISIS/ISIL/Daesh — GCC sponsors and “empowers” viciously anti-Shi’ite Islamists everywhere to maintain “Western dominance”.
The Long War was first formulated in the “axis of evil” era by the Highlands Forum, a relatively obscure, neo-con infested Pentagon think tank. Not accidentally the RAND Corporation is a major “partner”.It gets even juicier when we know that notorious Long War practitioners such as current Pentagon supremo “Ash” Carter, his deputy Robert Work, and Pentagon intelligence chief Mike Vickers are now in charge of the self-described “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” Obama administration’s military strategy. What the Pentagon — with customary hubris — does not see is Moscow and Tehran easily identifying the power play; the US government’s hidden agenda of manipulating a “rehabilitated” Iran to sell plenty of oil and gas to the EU, thus undermining Gazprom. Technically, this would take years to happen — if ever. Geopolitically, it’s nothing but a pipe dream. Call it, in fact, a double pipe dream. As much as Washington will never “secure” the Middle East with Iran as a vassal state, thus enabling it to transfer key US military assets to NATO with the purpose of facing the Russian “threat”, forget about going back to 1990s Russia under disaster capitalism, when the military industrial complex had collapsed and the West was looting Russia’s natural resources at will. The bottom line: the Pentagon barks, and the Russia/China/Iran strategic caravan goes on.
__________________________________________


Beijing sees common cause with other CICA members such as Russia and Sri Lanka in promoting a political model that pairs autocratic government with a market-oriented economy in defiance of the Western liberal democratic model.
CICA was formed in 1992 at the initiative of Kazakhstan but has been little more than a discussion forum. Other members include U.S. allies such as Israel, Mongolia and Uzbekistan. Japan, seen by Beijing as a strategic rival, is an observer.
The group is unlikely to produce a real security alliance, said Ross Babbage, chairman of Australia's Kokoda Foundation, a security think tank.
"Alliances are not based on a piece of paper. They're the result of real trust and interaction," he said. "There may be some agreements ahead, but in reality, I don't see an alliance emerging."

China calls for new security pact with Russia, Iran - CBS News


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» Hybrid Warfare: Where’s the Beef?
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Hybrid Warfare: Where’s the Beef?

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For the past 5+ decades, the U.S. military has been sent into (invaded) one country or location after another, occupied those lands, and often replaced by force or assassination its then current leader or government. Some of these occupations lasted for lengthy periods of time as in Vietnam, Iraq, and continuing in Afghanistan while others as in Somalia and Lebanon 1982 were of a shorter duration. A small number of these invasions (such as in Grenada, Panama, and most notably during the 1990-1991 Gulf War) succeeded. Interestingly, those invasion operations which were successful did not include a occupation component. The military carried out its assigned mission and then rapidly departed. Contrarily those invasions with a follow on occupation, intended or not and regardless of length of time, all resulted in this nation suffering costly strategic failures – and soon will in Afghanistan.
It is the attempt at occupying a foreign land and imposing our will on the native peoples of the occupied lands that have consistently failed – and a forcefully occupied land relying almost totally on the most basic of ground war operations little different in style than that of the previous centuries. While the weapons occupying soldiers carry are more advanced in their rate of fire and gasoline powered vehicles and helicopters have replaced horse and wagons, these occupations are NOT high technology military operations. Today’s occupation forces conduct operations in much the same manner as their did their predecessors in the horse and wagon era.
These consistently failed occupation missions have not in the least relied on the “silver bullet” of high-technology.” Instead, they have failed because those responsible for their occurrence have for decades failed to understand that those leading anti-occupation forces have developed a culturally based (low tech) approach to resisting invasions aimed at securing success by depleting the invading nation’s political will – not by defeating its military forces in low tech tactical engagements. And, those nations conducting offensive operations to advance their territorial control have similarly determined and employ strategies which nullify the conventional military power of the U.S. and (perhaps) that of other Western Militaries.
The author has made and substantiated absolutely no connection between the claim that “statesmen and strategic analysts have become surprised by the crisis over Ukraine” due to the U.S. allegedly relying too much on the “silver bullet” of high-technology.”
He is, however, quite correct that “the fact that not all states or other agents capable of generating military force will abide to the rules of war defined by the West (read: the United States).” And, therein lies much of the reason for this country’s successive record of foreign policy strategic failures.
What this country’s National Security leadership (civilian and military) have failed / are failing to understand is that the leaders of other nations (countries) which are contending with the U.S. for local / regional supremacy, or who are leading elements of occupied peoples in opposition to an American occupation have carefully assessed America’s military capabilities and the weaknesses inherent in its political nature. They have grasped the fact that the U.S. military remains conventionally powerful, and that our forces possess and have at their disposal substantial (and often overwhelming) fire power. Thus they (America’s opponents) pursue anti-occupation or expansion strategies that nullify the seemingly operational strengths relied on by the U.S. / Western Forces – and have done so successfully for decades.
As an example, they grasp the fact that this Nation (Western Nations in general) are not culturally suited for lengthy / protracted occupation campaigns from which this nation’s politicians and people can perceive no foreseeable gain worth the cost; and the anti–occupation forces know they cannot match U.S. firepower. Accordingly, they willingly sacrifice their manpower and local economy (such as it is) in order to draw the Western forces into battles where they can inflict continuing casualties (costs) on the Western forces, knowing that sooner or later the Western Nation will become politically and / or economically exhausted and withdraw from the effort – even if their military forces win (almost) every (low tech) tactical engagement. Un-phased by their seemingly defined tactical failures the anti-occupation forces retreat to repeat the process into eternity, i.e. as long as the occupation lasts. As Ho Chi Minh told the French, You will kill ten of us for everyone of you we kill, but you will tire of this first. That is not a concept of war an economically advanced country’s political and military leaders can grasp – thus they lose when having to contend with it.
However, their initial reaction to such an anti-occupation effort is decidedly NOT high-tech in nature. Instead it is modeled in accordance with the low tech processes documented in the Army’s decidedly low tech COIN Doctrine.
The Russians in the Ukraine and the Chinese in the South China Sea have employed strategies aimed at “slowly” taking control of those areas. The Chinese Salami Slicing “Three Warfare’s Strategy” has been well described for the DOD Office of Net Assessment and the resulting documented descriptions and analysis are available on line. The Russian strategy is somewhat similar, relying albeit on more violence, but at a comparatively low level and on both Russian Military forces and local ethnic (and pro) Russians Ukrainian residents.
Both China and Russia have strategically maneuvered the U.S. into a situation where we would have to intervene in geographic locations thousands of miles from our shores and in the backyards of China and Russia – where they will have the advantage of local superiority and close at hand forces. Were we to intervene, the peoples of those countries would view us as the aggressor and they would overwhelmingly support their government. If the effort became protracted and costly, our opponents realize our population’s political support for the military effort would erode.
The Russians, Chinese, and others realize that America’s Achilles Heel is our population’s cultural / political dislike for protracted wars thousands of miles from home from which they perceive no meaningful value. And, if the side which the U.S. plans to support using our combat forces is a Dictatorship or one with a corrupt government, the population’s support in this country will erode even faster.
The strategic difficulty lies in the fact that the U.S. is attempting to impose its political will on the governments / peoples of distant foreign lands – and they view that effort as aggression and interference in their internal affairs — despite the U.S. viewing it as our need to protect the people’s and sea and air commons of the globe.
America’s strategic problem isn’t that” it [has been] relying too much on the “silver bullet” of high-technology.” Instead, it rests on our failing to comprehend the societal and cultural views of (the peoples of) other nations which view our attempt to impose (through military force or economic sanctions) our political will on their society as unwarranted aggression, not as liberation. Our strategic problem also rests on the fact that we refuse to grasp that the peoples of seemingly weaker lands have developed cultural based methods of resisting our occupation against which we have no effective 20th / 21rst Century response.
Again, this nation’s successive strategic failures have nothing to do with any alleged “reli[ance] on the “silver bullet” of high-technology,” but instead has resulted from our failure to grasp the changing political nature of the world in which we reside.
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Turkey Breaks From West on Defense

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ISTANBUL—Since the Ottoman Empire traded swords for guns two centuries ago, Turkey’s military has relied on Western arms and know-how. Now, the country’s leadership is pushing to end that arrangement in a shift that is rattling its North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies.
Ankara has recently moved to diminish Turkey’s military dependence on the West, including last month inaugurating rocket testing and a radar technologies facilities. Both are part of Turkey’s effort to boost a fast-growing arms export industry that also is supplying its own forces with locally built tanks, warships, drones, missiles and—by the republic’s centenary in 2023—a jet fighter.
Ankara has also rejected bids by its NATO allies for a missile-defense system in favor of a Chinese-built one that one these partners say is incompatible with their technology and threatens intelligence cooperation.
Turkey’s Islamist-rooted government argues it needs a more independent military force to avoid the fate of the Ottomans, whose empire collapsed after banking on alliances with Germany and Austria-Hungary, only to be invaded by the U.K. and France—a bitter historical chapter that still fuels mistrust toward the West.
“We lost World War I because the Ottoman state did not have its own combat technique,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said at a March ceremony at the 100th anniversary of the Turk victory over the Allies in the Dardanelles. “A nation that doesn’t have its own defense industry cannot have a claim to independence.”
The government’s historically grounded concerns also have modern precedents: The U.S. imposed a crushing arms embargo on Turkey for more than three years after Ankara’s 1974 military intervention in Cyprus. And only after long and contentious discussions did NATO allies agree to deploy Patriots to protect the country during the 1991 Gulf War and 2003 Iraq war.
Still, the policy shift is roiling Turkey’s decadeslong alliance with the West, just as both sides seek each other’s help to counter security threats, particularly in the battle against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq.
ENLARGE
“Turkey is recasting itself as a nonaligned country in its rhetoric, which is making NATO very uncomfortable,” said a Western official in Brussels. “Turkey’s stance will be an issue for years to come, not only if the Chinese missile deal happens, but also because of its politics.”
Many officials in Washington and Brussels view the developments as part of a broader pivot by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose efforts to forge an independent foreign policy also led to other strains—over Syria, Egypt and Israel, for example.
Coming to power in 2003, the Turkish leader for years embraced close Western ties as the country bid to join the European Union. But accession talks stalled in recent years amid mounting Western concerns that Mr. Erdogan was becoming more autocratic, while he accused the West of undermining Turkey’s progress.
Still, Ankara has repeatedly stressed its commitment to NATO; the president’s spokesman said in February that Turkey’s membership in the alliance wasn’t up for debate. Turkey still cooperates closely with NATO.
Mr. Erdogan’s government said it deported 1,000 would-be jihadists and boosted intelligence sharing following Western criticism that Turkey wasn’t doing enough to combat Islamic State. Last month, Turkey let the U.S. deploy armed drones at the Incirlik Air Base to help fight the militants. Since 2013, it has hosted 750 NATO troops and five Patriot batteries from the alliance. And Turkey joined NATO’s antipiracy operation off Africa’s coast in March and participated in the U.K.-hosted Joint Warrior drill this month.
The Turkish Air Force performed during celebrations of the 31st anniversary of proclamation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus last year.ENLARGE
The Turkish Air Force performed during celebrations of the 31st anniversary of proclamation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus last year. Photo: yiannis kourtoglou/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
“Turkey contributes to strengthening our collective defense in response to Russia’s aggressive actions against Ukraine, and Turkey is also making a significant contribution to our missions in Kosovo and Afghanistan,” NATO spokeswoman Carmen Romero said.
But Turkey—which has the second-largest land force in NATO after the U.S.—is also making an aggressive push to carve out a more independent military, making old friends nervous.
“You’re not in a situation where people in Washington and Brussels are asking, ‘Whose side is Turkey on?’ But one or two more big negative decisions, and you’ll be there,” said Marc Pierini, a former European Union ambassador to Ankara who is now at the Carnegie Endowment in Brussels.
Exhibit A is Ankara’s plan to buy a $3.4 billion national missile-defense system produced by China Precision Machinery Import & Export Corp., a company sanctioned by the U.S. multiple times since 2003—most recently in 2013 for violating a nonproliferation act targeting Iran, North Korea and Syria. Mr. Erdogan picked China over vehement NATO objections because its offer was cheaper and promised more technology transfers than bids from Western companies Raytheon, RTN 1.04 %Lockheed Martin LMT 1.29 % and Eurosam (though Ankara says the bid from Franco-Italian Eurosam could be revived if the China deal falls through).
“No one else is giving up their technology to Turkey,” a Turkish defense industries official said.
“They don’t want a strong Turkey,” Mr. Erdogan said as he opened weapons manufacturer AselsanAS ASELS -0.71 % ’s Radar and Electronic War Center in Ankara in March, referring to the West. “Supposedly these are countries that we cooperate with, that we are together with in NATO.”
The Chinese deal is risky. Western officials and analysts say the technology is outdated and couldn’t be integrated into NATO’s defense shield. That would increase Turkey’s vulnerability as Syria’s government deploys Scud missiles against rebels, these people said.
Turkish officials have sent mixed signals on the matter. Defense Minister Ismet Yildiz has said Turkey is seeking to build an independent national missile-defense system that wouldn’t be integrated with NATO. But the presidency’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, recently said the Chinese system can be integrated while protecting Beijing from spying on NATO—something the alliance rejects. “It is out of the question for the missile system not to be NATO compatible,” Mr. Kalin said.
But a Chinese system also would undermine a 2010 NATO initiative for members to collectively build a ballistic missile-defense system to protect the whole alliance.
“This sort of missile defense capability as such will reduce efficiency, harming the integrated approach that today’s threat environment invariably necessitates,” according to the Turkish authors of a mid-March report published by the German Marshall Fund, an American think tank. While alliance members can purchase weapons as they see fit, Ms. Romero said, “In general, it is important for NATO that the capabilities allies acquire can operate together.”
—Naftali Bendavid in Brussels contributed to this article.
Write to Emre Peker at emre.peker@wsj.com
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Watching our potential enemies - The Times: Columnists

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Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2015 10:12 pm
Watching our potential enemies Col. Dave Shaver, Guest Column <a href="http://mywebtimes.com" rel="nofollow">mywebtimes.com</a> |

While much of the world is watching the Islamic State (ISIS) and militant Islamists in the Mideast and in Africa, I am watching Russia. Why? Here are some news headlines from recent Drudge Reports:
  • New Russian military doctrine says NATO top threat.
  • Increasing Russian military moves in European airspace.
  • Russian air incursions rattle Baltics.
  • NATO warns of very serious military buildup in Ukraine.
While the Russians continue provocative tactical actions to harass NATO countries in Europe and our forces in the Pacific, there are two more serious actions taking place.
First, Russia is withdrawing from historical treaties between east and west. Russia recently announced withdrawal from the last vestiges of the 45-year-old Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) — the joint consultative group. Participation has ended. All bets are now off on transparency of how large the future size of Russian armed forces will become. The previous 25 years have seen a genuine interest by NATO and the Russian federation to discuss their concerns in a diplomatic process. Now things are changing, and not for the better.
Although the withdrawal from existing negotiations and treaties is problematic for our future relationship with the Russian Federation, it is not as big a threat producer as the alignment taking place among old Communist countries. North Korea and Russia have entered into what appears on the surface as a political, economic and cultural bilateral agreement. Such cooperation between these countries can easily turn to military alliance.
In the waning years of the Bush administration China and Russia signed a friendship pact for the first time in more than 50 years. They have signed at least two natural gas agreements, a symbolic agreement to move away from dependence on the American dollar, as well as signing 30 agreements on energy, finance, and even high-speed rail. And CBS reports “China's president called ... for the creation of a new Asian structure for security cooperation based on a regional group that includes Russia and Iran and excludes the United States.”
Iran and Russia? Yes. They have entered into a military agreement which is reported to be “long term and multifaceted” military cooperation.
The changes in our world have not made us more secure. We are certainly less secure if China, the Russian federation, North Korea and Iran, and other nations in Asia, Africa and South America join together in an alliance which includes economic, financial, cultural and military agreements. We need to rethink what we are trying to accomplish. I see no grand strategy on the books or under development, but there needs to be one, and the classification of effort should be urgent.
We need to take operational steps immediately to unhook our military budget from the sequester and start expanding our armed forces and ammunition stockpiles. We need more than ever to “batten down the hatches” and secure our borders. We need to develop stronger relations with our European partners through significant increases in forward stationing of our forces. We need to show increased military presence in support of all our allies around the world.
The only alternative I see to increasing our military strength is to become a total isolationist state, surrounded by our protective oceans and seas. I wonder how long that would last until our weakness was exploited all over the world.
  • COL. DAVE SHAVER is a retired U.S. Army officer and former tenured faculty member of the U.S. Army War College, where he held the General MacArthur Academic Chair of Research. He may be contacted by email at dshaver630@aol.com.
Posted in Opinion/columnists on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 10:12 pm.
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The Russia-China axis and its threat to West

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Can anything stop Vladimir Putin's ambition?
As NATO representatives work up a plan that will place its troops behind the former Iron Curtain to counteract Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin isn’t batting an eyelid.
The Russian president is running a multi-pronged operation that isn’t just focusing on military incursions into Ukraine, but also includes continuing to build up Russia’s nuclear power. Just a few days ago, news broke that the forces responsible for Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal will conduct major exercises this month involving more than 4,000 soldiers, 400 technical units and substantial use of air power.
Russia and China are formidable combatants in one of the 21st century’s primary battlegrounds: cyber warfare.
Troops will practice countering irregular units and high-precision weapons as well as "conduct combat missions in conditions of active radio-electronic jamming and intensive enemy actions in areas of troop deployment," according to Dimitry Andreyev, a major in the strategic rocket forces.
But that isn’t all. A Kremlin adviser added that Russia is planning on updating its military doctrine this year in light of the Ukraine crisis and soured relationship with NATO.
Russia is already the world’s third highest military spender behind the United States and China and they’re clearly going to keep amping it up. But they won’t be doing it alone.
As has been the case for the last decade, Russia can look to China for support. The two nations’ alliance is more powerful than most are willing to acknowledge. Consider their support for one another throughout the Ukraine crisis.
When Russia invaded Crimea in March, China tacitly supported the move by abstaining from a vote in the United Nations. And when new EU sanctions against Russia came out last week, Beijing suggested that additional sanctions “may lead to new and more complicating factors” in Ukraine.
And that’s not all. Russia and China cooperate along economic, technological, military, and political lines. What’s more, in all of these areas they have something the U.S. lacks: strategy and the will to put it into practice.
Examples of the China-Russia alliance abound.
The signing of a 30-year, $400 billion natural-gas deal between China and Russia in May was the biggest in the history of the natural-gas industry.
“This will be the biggest construction project in the world for the next four years, without exaggeration,” Vladimir Putin said in Shanghai, as he raised a glass to drink a toast with Chinese president Xi Jinping. Under the terms of the deal, Russia would supply the Chinese with natural gas for the first time—38 billion cubic meters of gas per year, through pipelines and other mas­sive infrastructure investments.
Militarily, the two nations are cooperating and collaborating like never before. Also in May, the Russian and Chinese navies held large-scale joint drills in the East China Sea—sending a message to Japan, which has found itself in increasing tension with Beijing.
“Moscow and Beijing have found advantages in working together to diminish U.S. influence and create greater room for them to pursue international economic and strategic interests,” Brian Spegele and Wayne Ma note in the Wall Street Journal. “Mr. Putin is widely depicted in Chinese official media as a powerful leader unafraid to take on the West.”
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel spoke to the China-Russia alliance in the lead-up to last week’s NATO summit. He said, “China and Russia have been trying to close the technology gap by pursuing and funding long-term, comprehensive military modernization programs.” The two countries are “developing anti-ship, anti-air, counter-space, cyber, electronic warfare and special operations capabilities that appear designed to counter traditional U.S. military advantages.”
Russia and China are formidable combatants in one of the 21st century’s primary battlegrounds: cyber warfare. In the fall of 2012, then Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned that the US could someday face a cyber “Pearl Harbor” at the hands of China and Russia who “have advanced cyber capabilities.”
The Justice Department indicted five Chinese officers of the People’s Liberation Army for cyber espionage in May. And Russian hackers almost certainly affiliated with Moscow have been wreaking havoc on American corporations. Home Depot looks to be the latest victim since news broke in August that Russian hackers had amassed over a billion internet passwords.
Moreover, China and Russia aren’t doing all the work themselves. As Russia and China flex their muscle, rogue nations have often looked to one or both of them for support—whether tacit or explicit. Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad stands in a stronger position than he has for years, thanks to Putin’s staunch support. 
The Islamic theocracy that runs Iran is closing in on achieving its goal of becoming a nuclear power, thanks again, in large part, to Russian support. And a new Defense Intelligence Agency report shows that North Korea has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles. The murderous regime, propped up by China, threatens the peace and stability not only of Asia, but the world.
It follows that this alliance between China and Russia is not new, but a longstanding evolution and cooperation in a wide range of spheres. This makes it all the more disappointing – and frightening – that U.S. and Western policy does not reflect a true understanding of this alliance and the threat that it poses to our way of life.
Americans must begin by acknowledging the realities. It took us too long to grasp the threat from militant Islam, and we continue to pay the price as ISIS destroys the region and takes innocent American lives.
We can ill-afford to keep our head in the sand any longer. Russia and China emerged immeasurably stronger from America’s War on Terror, with a clear plan to advance their strategic interests at the expense of our own. We must defend ourselves before it’s too late.
Douglas E. Schoen has served as a pollster for President Bill Clinton. He has more than 30 years experience as a pollster and political consultant. He is also a Fox News contributor and co-host of "Fox News Insiders" Sundays on Fox News Channel and Mondays at 10:30 am ET on FoxNews.com Live. He is the author of 11 books. His latest, co-authored with Malik Kaylan is "The Russia-China Axis: The New Cold War and America’s Crisis of Leadership (Encounter Books, September 2014).Follow Doug on Twitter @DouglasESchoen.
Melik Kaylan is co-author of "The Russia-China Axis." An international journalist, he has reporting from conflict zones throughout the world, including from the North Korean border to the Caucasus, the Middle East, and the former Iron Curtain countries.
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PressTV-Iran-Russia-China alliance US nightmare

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A prospective security alliance between Iran, China and Russia will give the cash-strapped United States a nightmare, an Iranian academic tells Press TV.
Foad Izadi, a professor at the University of Tehran, made the comment in an interview with Press TV after Chinese President Xi Jinping called for the creation of a new Asian organization for security cooperation with the participation of Iran and Russia.
“I think the Chinese-Iranian-Russian alliance is a nightmare for the United States,” he said.
Izadi also stated that the current state of relations between Iran, China and Russia enables these “three partners” to “form an alliance with other Asian countries and basically defend their national interests against the United States and a number of European countries.”
He said US President Barack Obama is showing inclination for Asia in light of his understanding that the “hegemony of the United States is coming to an end.”
“I think the fact that they (the Americans) want to pivot toward Asia is a signal that they understand that Asia is gaining power and influence internationally,” said Izadi.
The Iranian academic added that no American official would be happy with the landmark 400-billion-dollar gas deal signed between Russia and China.
“We have a situation where the financial deal is obviously important, but bypassing of the US dollar I think is a major step toward getting rid of the dollar for international economic transactions and this would be quite devastating for the United States.”
Addressing the fourth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Shanghai, China, on Tuesday, the Chinese president said, “We need to innovate our security cooperation (and) establish new regional security cooperation architecture.”
KA/HSN/SL

Frightening Pentagon report warns that China, North Korea and Iran will soon be armed with nuclear missiles capable of striking the United States

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Published: 18:38 EST, 11 July 2013 Updated: 18:40 EST, 11 July 2013
A sobering assessment of the nuclear threat the United States faces over the next decade has been published - which has been jumped upon by supporters of the beleaguered missile defense shield.
The Pentagon report states that China, Iran and North Korea are aggressively developing nuclear missiles capable of striking the United States and proliferation among these nations of technology is rife.
According to the Department of Defense, China, marked as the chief rival of the U.S. over the next century, will imminently be able to deploy submarine-launched ballistic missiles capable of hitting the United States from Chinese territorial waters.
Military Build-Up: This is China's latest Jin class SLBM - which will be capable of carrying up to 12 missiles capable of striking the United States with a nuclear strike from within Chinese territorial waters
The 2013 Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat Assessment, produced by the Department of Defense's National Air and and Space Intelligence Center, adds that the number of Chinese land-based nuclear missiles able to hit the U.S. 'could expand to well over 100 within the next 15 years'.
Indeed, Beijing's growing nuclear arsenal will soon include the submarine launched JL-2 ballistic missile which has a range of 4,500 miles - and the Communist country whose defense budget has grown exponentially over the past decade will launch these from its new Jin Class subs.
As the Obama administration and the United States continues its much vaunted 'pivot' to the Pacific, some are worried by the lack of progress in the United States' troubled missile defense shield - which to date has cost $35 billion.
'For too long the Obama administration has allowed our missile defense program to languish when they should have been working to prepare for these imminent threats,' said Rep. Michael Turner, a Ohio Republican and a member of the House Committee for Armed Services.
Frightening: The People's Liberation Army Navy JL-2 is a 2nd -generation submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) which can carry single or multiple warheads nuclear warheads up to 5,500 miles away
The report also confirms the revelation, first reported by The Washington Times, that rogue state North Korea has already deployed its new road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, known as the Hwasong-13.
In theory, military analysts predict that the Hwasong-13 is capable of flying 3,500 miles - but the Pentagon report also states that the missile has yet to be tested by the secretive communist nation - although during the recent military stand-off between North and South Korea, a test-flight was threatened.
'North Korea has an ambitious ballistic missile development program and has exported missiles and missile technology to other countries, including Iran and Pakistan,' says the assessment, which was released this week.
Worryingly for Israel and the West, the Department of Defense report confirms the assessment of U.S. intelligence agencies that Iran is set to test an ICBM as early as 2015 - a prediction which should set off red lights in the White House.
Terrifying: The Hwasong-13 missile could give North Korea the capability of striking Alaska or Hawaii - but is yet to be tested
'Iran has ambitious ballistic missile and space launch development programs and continues to attempt to increase the range, lethality, and accuracy of its ballistic missile force,' the assessment states.
In March, China announced it was to boost military spending by 11.2 percent this year in response to President Obama's Asian 'pivot'.
China announced a 10.7 percent increase in military spending to $114 billion in March, the Pentagon report said. Publicly announced defense spending for 2012 was $106 billion, but actual pending for 2012 could range between $135 billion and $215 billion, it said. 
U.S. defense spending is more than double that, at more than $500 billion.Asian neighbors, however, have been nervous about Beijing's expanding military, and this double-digit rise could reinforce disquiet in Japan, India, Southeast Asia and self-ruled Taiwan, which China considers part of its territory.
Obama has sought to reassure Asian allies that the United States will stay a key player in the area, and the Pentagon has said it will 'rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region'.
Iranian Ambitions: The report also states that by 2015 Iran may have a missile capable of striking the United States - a sobering reminder for the White House of the ever present Iranian threat
'Eleven percent, for a Chinese defense budget, is what I would characterize as a reasonably sizeable increase,' said C. Uday Bhaskar, a former director of India's Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi.
Beijing has sought to balance long-standing wariness about U.S. intentions with steady relations with Washington, especially as both governments focus on domestic politics this year, when Obama faces a re-election fight and China's ruling Communist Party undergoes a leadership handover.
First Line Of Defense: A ground-based missile interceptor is lowered into its missile silo at the Missile Defense Complex at Fort Greely, Alaska. Eighteen interceptors are emplaced in two fields on the 800-acre complex
But the U.S. 'pivot' has fanned unease in China, with some PLA officers calling it an effort to fence in their country and frustrate Beijing's territorial claims.
China has advertised its long-term military ambitions with shows of new hardware, including its first test flight of a stealth fighter jet in early 2011 and its launch of a fledgling aircraft carrier in August - both trials of technologies that remain years from deployment.
Allies: Chinese and Russian naval vessels are seen during a military review of the "Joint Sea-2013" drill at Peter the Great Bay in Russia, July 10, 2013
Beijing is also building new submarines, surface ships and anti-ship ballistic missiles as part of its naval modernization.
Japan and China have locked horns over islands each claims in the East China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines and other nations have challenged Beijing over claims to swathes of the South China Sea that could be rich in oil and gas.
A spokesman for Philippines' Department of National Defence, Peter Paul Galvez, said the latest increase in PLA spending was not cause for alarm. Others were more anxious.
'China shares its land border with 14 countries; it used to make sense that a country in such a position maintains strong conventional forces,' said Kazuya Sakamoto, a professor at Osaka University in Japan who researches international security.
'But in this nuclear age, it does not really make sense that China, a nuclear-armed country, continues to build up its military at such a pace.'

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NATO Military Power Message to Russia,China,Iran,N Korea - YouTube

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Published on Oct 29, 2014
NATO Military Power Message to Russia,China,Iran,N Korea

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO /ˈneɪtoʊ/; French: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique Nord (OTAN)), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on 4 April 1949. The organization constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party. NATO's headquarters are in Brussels, Belgium, one of the 28 member states across North America and Europe, the newest of which, Albania and Croatia, joined in April 2009. An additional 22 countries participate in NATO's Partnership for Peace program, with 15 other countries involved in institutionalized dialogue programmes. The combined military spending of all NATO members constitutes over 70 percent of the global total.[4] Members' defense spending is supposed to amount to 2 percent of GDP.[5]

NATO was little more than a political association until the Korean War galvanized the organization's member states, and an integrated military structure was built up under the direction of two US supreme commanders. The course of the Cold War led to a rivalry with nations of the Warsaw Pact, which formed in 1955. Doubts over the strength of the relationship between the European states and the United States ebbed and flowed, along with doubts over the credibility of the NATO defence against a prospective Soviet invasion—doubts that led to the development of the independent French nuclear deterrent and the withdrawal of the French from NATO's military structure in 1966 for 30 years. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the organization was drawn into the breakup of Yugoslavia, and conducted its first military interventions in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995 and later Yugoslavia in 1999. Politically, the organization sought better relations with former Warsaw Pact countries, several of which joined the alliance in 1999 and 2004.

Article 5 of the North Atlantic treaty, requiring member states to come to the aid of any member state subject to an armed attack, was invoked for the first and only time after the 11 September 2001 attacks,[6] after which troops were deployed to Afghanistan under the NATO-led ISAF. The organization has operated a range of additional roles since then, including sending trainers to Iraq, assisting in counter-piracy operations[7] and in 2011 enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973. The less potent Article 4, which merely invokes consultation among NATO members, has been invoked four times: by Turkey in 2003 over the Iraq War, twice in 2012 by Turkey over the Syrian Civil War after the downing of an unarmed Turkish F-4 reconnaissance jet and after a mortar was fired at Turkey from Syria and in 2014 by Poland following the Russian intervention in Crimea.
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KEN ALLARD: What Hagel's exit means

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It took almost 40 years but the VietCong finally nailed Chuck Hagel, the only Vietnam enlistee to serve as Secretary of Defense. He was one of three people at the White House podium, taking a bullet for his Commander-in-Chief and offering his resignation like a good soldier even though his leadership was the only one not seriously in question.
Whether he was fired or voluntarily resigned, Chuck Hagel’s decision signified only one thing: Barack Obama no longer enjoys the confidence of the American military establishment. Basically, SergeantHagel resigned because his generals either would not or could not.
By law, the Secretary of Defense is the President’s alter ego, his twin in a Pentagon chain of command that begins at the top with a collective entity known as the NCA, or National Command Authorities. In the American civil-military relationship, civilians decide the proper course of action for the nation before turning over those decisions and orders to the generals and admirals who are sworn to carry them out. Generals declare war only in republics where, speaking historically, bananas have been grown. But here in these semi-United States, civilians decide either to make wars or to end them.
Before Mr. Obama came to Washington, we had a constitutional system that separated powers and divided authority over the armed services – remember those good old days? Under that system, the NCA shares its collective authority with Congress, which raises armies and equips navies.
So it was fitting that Congressman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, praised the defense secretary for coordinating closely with Congress and always putting the troops first. “Chuck Hagel was an excellent Defense Secretary, and a friend. He was given a thankless task of an underfunded Defense Department, growing threats, and intrusiveWhite House micromanagement.” Our Constitution makes Chairman McKeon one of the principal players in the American military establishment: yet apparently he has no confidence in Mr. Obama’s leadership either.
So who does that leave?
Inevitably, attention will now shift back to the generals and admirals, particularly the individual and collective leadership of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. All of them of course serve at the pleasure of the president, who has dismissed more flag officers than any chief executive since Joseph Stalin.
But Congress has certain rights all well, a principle thus far not actively disputed by the White House, but these days who knows? If it is still operational, our system of checks and balances givesCongress the right to require the armed service chiefs to present their congressional testimony with sworn certifications: that their testimony is based on their best professional judgment, and that it is given independently, despite what the executive chain of command might think.
Once those clarifications are better understood on both sides of the witness table, the new Congressional leadership is better prepared to ask the Chiefs some urgent questions:

When you testified last fall that sequestration might mean that your service could not provide the combatant forces required to execute our wartime contingency plans, did you receive any criticism from your superiors in the military chain of command?
And can you tell us what bottom-line military capabilities are most threatened by sequestration?
How would U.S. military capabilities in the Persian Gulf, and globally, be affected if Iran actually succeeds in acquiring nuclear weapons?
Are our military capabilities in the Middle East already so short-handed that the prospect of Iranian “boots on the ground” is the only realistic way to destroy ISIS?
When should a serving military officer feel obliged to resign his or her office? Does such an action either threaten or strengthen the American civil-military tradition?
Mr. Hagel’s departure means that these questions, while urgent, will only be part of the larger task of assessing the damage done to American defenses by Barack Obama. What makes that responsibility more painful is the certainty that parallel judgments are being made simultaneously in other places. Russia, China, Iran and North Korea are only the most obvious adversaries who may be tempted to make operational judgments based on the presumption of American weakness.
Even as Americans belatedly awaken to their president’s weaknesses, why should we wait until things become more difficult? In its long history of unpreparedness, America has always triumphed because their enemies allowed them time to recover. So why should we similarly complacent? Why not strike now?
Such logic is why the Romans believed that preparing for war was the only sure path to peace. The Chinese are more subtle and wish only for us to “live in interesting times.” Interesting for them, maybe but much tougher for us.
Ken Allard, a retired Army colonel, is a military analyst and author on national security issues.
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MINA Breaking News - US led NATO now firmly pitted against Russia-China-Iran

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Talk about joint efforts between China, India, Russia and Iran against NATO expansion was augmented with plans for tripartite military talks between Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran.

Defense ministers and military officials from all over the world gathered on April 16 at the landmark Radisson Royal or Hotel Ukraina, one of the best pieces of Soviet architecture in Moscow, which is known as one of the “Seven Sisters” that were constructed during Joseph Stalin’s time. The two-day event hosted by the Russian Defense Ministry was the fourth annual Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS).
Civilian and military officials from over seventy countries, including NATO members, attended. Fifteen defense ministers took part in the event. However, aside from Greece, defense ministers of NATO countries did not participate in the conference.

Unlike previous years, the MCIS organizers did not send Ukraine an invitation for 2015’s confab. According to Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov, “At this stage of the brutal information antagonism in regard to the crisis in southeastern Ukraine, we decided not to inflame the situation at the conference and at this stage made the decision not to invite our Ukrainian colleagues to the event.”

On a personal note, as a matter of interest I have followed these types of conferences for years, because important statements about foreign and security policies tend to come out of them. This year I was keen for the inauguration of this particular security conference. Aside from it taking place at a time where the geopolitical landscape of the globe is rapidly shifting, I was interested to see what the conference would produce since I was asked in 2014 through the Russian Embassy in Canada if I was interested in attending the IV MCIS.

The rest of the world speaks: Hearing non-Euro-Atlantic security concerns


The Moscow conference is the Russian equivalent to the Munich Security Conference held at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof in Germany. There, however, are critical differences between the two events.

While the Munich Security Conference is established around Euro-Atlantic security and views global security from the ‘Atlanticist’ standpoint of NATO, the MCIS represents a much broader and diverse global perspective. It represents the rest of the non-Euro-Atlantic world’s security concerns, particularly the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. Ranging from Argentina, India, and Vietnam to Egypt and South Africa, the conference at the Hotel Ukraina brought a variety of big and small players to the table whose voices and security interests, in one way or another, are otherwise undermined and ignored in Munich by US and NATO leaders.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, who holds the rank of a flag officer that is equal to that of a four-star general in most NATO countries, opened the conference. Also speaking and seated next to Shoigu were Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and other high-ranking officials. All of them addressed Washington’s multispectral warfare that has utilized color revolutions, like EuroMaidan in Ukraine and the Rose Revolution in Georgia, for regime change. Shoigu cited Venezuela and China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region as failed color revolutions.

Foreign Minister Lavrov reminded the attendees that the possibilities of a dangerous world conflict were increasing due to the lack of concern by the US and NATO for the security of others and a lack of constructive dialogue. When making his argument, Lavrov cited US President Franklin Roosevelt by saying, “There can be no middle ground here. We shall have to take the responsibility for world collaboration, or we shall have to bear the responsibility for another world conflict.” “I believe that they formulated one of the main lessons of the most devastating global conflict in history: it is only possible to meet common challenges and preserve the peace through collective, joint efforts based on respect for the legitimate interests of all partners,” he explained about what world leaders learned from the Second World War.

Shoigu had over ten bilateral meetings with the different defense ministers and chiefs who arrived in Moscow for the MCIS. During a meeting with the Serbian Defense Minister Bratislav Gasic, Shoigu said that Moscow considers Belgrade a reliable partner in military cooperation.

Chinese-Russian-Iranian coalition: Washington’s nightmare


The myth that Russia is internationally isolated was shot down again during the conference, which has also resulted in some important announcements. Kazakhstani Defense Minister Imangali Tasmagambetov and Shoigu announced that the implementation for a joint Kazakhstani-Russian air defense system had begun. This is not only indicative of the integration of the air space of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, but part of a trend. It heralded other announcements against NATO’s missile defense shield.

The most vigorous statement though was that of Iranian Defense Minister Hussein Dehghan. Brigadier-General Deghan said that Iran wanted China, India, and Russia to stand together in jointly opposing the eastward expansion of NATO and the threat posed by the alliance’s missile shield project to their collective security.

During a meeting with Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan, Shoigu emphasized that Moscow’s military ties with Beijing are its “overriding priority.” In another bilateral meeting the defense honchos of Iran and Russia confirmed that their cooperation will be part of the cornerstones of a new multipolar order and that Moscow and Tehran were in harmony in their strategic approach to the US.

After Dehghan and the Iranian delegation met with Shoigu and their Russian counterparts, it was announced that a tripartite summit may take place between Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran. The idea was later endorsed by the Chinese delegation. The geopolitical environment is changing and it is not sympathetic to US interests. Not only has a Eurasian Economic Union been formed by Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia in the post-Soviet heart of Eurasia, but Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran — the Eurasian Triple Entente — have been in a long process of coming together politically, strategically, economically, diplomatically, and militarily.

Eurasian harmony and integration challenges the US position in its “Western perch” and bridgehead in Europe and even orients US allies to act more independently. This is one of the central themes explored by my book The Globalization of NATO. Former US security bigwig Zbigniew Brzezinski warned US elites against the formation of a Eurasian “coalition that could eventually seek to challenge America’s primacy.” According to Brzezinski such a Eurasian alliance would arise as a “Chinese-Russian-Iranian coalition” with Beijing as its focal point.

“For Chinese strategists, confronting the trilateral coalition of America and Europe and Japan, the most effective geopolitical counter might well be to try and fashion a triple alliance of its own, linking China with Iran in the Persian Gulf/Middle East region and with Russia in the area of the former Soviet Union,” Brzezinski warns.

“In assessing China’s future options, one has to consider also the possibility that an economically successful and politically self-confident China — but one which feels excluded from the global system and which decides to become both the advocate and the leader of the deprived states of the world — may decide to pose not only an articulate doctrinal but also a powerful geopolitical challenge to the dominant trilateral world,” he explains.

More or less, this is the track that the Chinese are following. Minister Wanquan flatly told the MCIS that a fair world order was needed. The threat for the US is that a Chinese-Russian-Iranian coalition could, in Brzezinski’s own words, “be a potent magnet for other states dissatisfied with the status quo.”

Countering the US and NATO missile shield in Eurasia


A new “Iron Curtain” is being erected by Washington around China, Iran, Russia, and their allies through the US and NATO missile infrastructure. This missile network is offensive and not defensive in intent and motivation.

The Pentagon’s goal is to neutralize any defensive responses from Russia and other Eurasian powers to a US ballistic missile attack, which could include a nuclear first strike. Washington does not want to allow Russia or others to have a second strike capability or, in other words, have the ability to respond to an attack by the Pentagon.

In 2011, it was reported that Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who was Moscow’s envoy to NATO at the time, would be visiting Tehran to speak about the NATO missile shield project. Various reports were published, including by the Tehran Times, claiming that the governments of Russia, Iran, and China were planning on creating a joint missile shield to counter the US and NATO. Rogozin, however, refuted the reports. He said that missile defense was discussed between the Kremlin and its military allies in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

The idea of defense cooperation between China, Iran, and Russia against the NATO missile shield remained afloat since 2011. Since then Iran has moved closer to becoming an observer in the CSTO, like Afghanistan and Serbia. Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran have all moved closer together too due to issues like Syria, EuroMaidan, and the Pentagon’s “Pivot to Asia.” Deghan’s calls for a collective approach by China, India, Iran, and Russia against the missile shield and NATO expansion coupled with the announcements at the MCIS about tripartite military talks between China, Iran, and Russia point in this direction too.

Russia’s S-300 and S-400 air defense systems are being rolled out across Eurasia from Armenia and Belarus to Kamchatka as part of a state-of-the-art countermove to the new “Iron Curtain.” These air defense systems make Washington’s objectives to neutralize the possibility of a reaction or second strike much harder. Even NATO officials and the Pentagon, which referred to the S-300 as the SA-20 system, admit this. “We have studied it and trained to counter it for years. While we are not scared of it, we respect the S-300 for what it is: a very mobile, accurate, and lethal missile system,” US Air Force Colonel Clint Hinote has written for the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations.
Although it has been speculated that the sale of the S-300 systems to Iran mark the start of an international arms sales bonanza in Tehran as a result of the Lausanne talks and that Moscow is trying to have a competitive edge in a reopening Iranian market, in reality the situation and motivations are much different. Even if Tehran buys different quantities of military hardware from Russia and other foreign sources, it has a policy of military self-sufficiency and primarily manufactures its own weapons. A whole series of military hardware — ranging from tanks, missiles, combat jets, radar detectors, rifles, and drones to helicopters, torpedoes, mortar shells, warships, and submarines — are made domestically inside Iran. The Iranian military even contends that their Bavar-373 air defense system is more or less the equivalent of the S-300.

Moscow’s delivery of the S-300 package to Tehran is more than just about unpretentious business. It is meant to cement Russo-Iranian military cooperation and to enhance Eurasian cooperation against Washington’s encircling missile shield. It is one step closer to the creation of a Eurasian air defense network against the missile threat posed by the US and NATO against nations that dare not bend the knee to Washington.

This article was originally published by RT on April 23, 2015. Please click here for a Russian-language synopsis by RIA Novosti.
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The Return of Geopolitics | Foreign Affairs

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So far, the year 2014 has been a tumultuous one, as geopolitical rivalries have stormed back to center stage. Whether it is Russian forces seizing Crimea, China making aggressive claims in its coastal waters, Japan responding with an increasingly assertive strategy of its own, or Iran trying to use its alliances with Syria and Hezbollah to dominate the Middle East, old-fashioned power plays are back in international relations.
The United States and the EU, at least, find such trends disturbing. Both would rather move past geopolitical questions of territory and military power and focus instead on ones of world order and global governance: trade liberalization, nuclear nonproliferation, human rights, the rule of law, climate change, and so on. Indeed, since the end of the Cold War, the most important objective of U.S. and EU foreign policy has been to shift international relations away from zero-sum issues toward win-win ones. To be dragged back into old-school contests such as that in Ukraine doesn’t just divert time and energy away from those important questions; it also changes the character of international politics. As the atmosphere turns dark, the task of promoting and maintaining world order grows more daunting.
But Westerners should never have expected old-fashioned geopolitics to go away. They did so only because they fundamentally misread what the collapse of the Soviet Union meant: the ideological triumph of liberal capitalist democracy over communism, not the obsolescence of hard power. China, Iran, and Russia never bought into the geopolitical settlement that followed the Cold War, and they are making increasingly forceful attempts to overturn it. That process will not be peaceful, and whether or not the revisionists succeed, their efforts have already shaken the balance of power and changed the dynamics of international politics.
A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY
When the Cold War ended, many Americans and Europeans seemed to think that the most vexing geopolitical questions had largely been settled. With the exception of a handful of relatively minor problems, such as the woes of the former Yugoslavia and the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, the biggest issues in world politics, they assumed, would no longer concern boundaries, military bases, national self-determination, or spheres of influence.
One can’t blame people for hoping. The West’s approach to the realities of the post–Cold War world has made a great deal of sense, and it is hard to see how world peace can ever be achieved without replacing geopolitical competition with the construction of a liberal world order. Still, Westerners often forget that this project rests on the particular geopolitical foundations laid in the early 1990s.
In Europe, the post–Cold War settlement involved the unification of Germany, the dismemberment of the Soviet Union, and the integration of the former Warsaw Pact states and the Baltic republics into NATO and the EU. In the Middle East, it entailed the dominance of Sunni powers that were allied with the United States (Saudi Arabia, its Gulf allies, Egypt, and Turkey) and the double containment of Iran and Iraq. In Asia, it meant the uncontested dominance of the United States, embedded in a series of security relationships with Japan, South Korea, Australia, Indonesia, and other allies.
This settlement reflected the power realities of the day, and it was only as stable as the relationships that held it up. Unfortunately, many observers conflated the temporary geopolitical conditions of the post–Cold War world with the presumably more final outcome of the ideological struggle between liberal democracy and Soviet communism. The political scientist Francis Fukuyama’s famous formulation that the end of the Cold War meant “the end of history” was a statement about ideology. But for many people, the collapse of the Soviet Union didn’t just mean that humanity’s ideological struggle was over for good; they thought geopolitics itself had also come to a permanent end.
At first glance, this conclusion looks like an extrapolation of Fukuyama’s argument rather than a distortion of it. After all, the idea of the end of history has rested on the geopolitical consequences of ideological struggles ever since the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel first expressed it at the beginning of the nineteenth century. For Hegel, it was the Battle of Jena, in 1806, that rang the curtain down on the war of ideas. In Hegel’s eyes, Napoleon Bonaparte’s utter destruction of the Prussian army in that brief campaign represented the triumph of the French Revolution over the best army that prerevolutionary Europe could produce. This spelled an end to history, Hegel argued, because in the future, only states that adopted the principles and techniques of revolutionary France would be able to compete and survive.
Adapted to the post–Cold War world, this argument was taken to mean that in the future, states would have to adopt the principles of liberal capitalism to keep up. Closed, communist societies, such as the Soviet Union, had shown themselves to be too uncreative and unproductive to compete economically and militarily with liberal states. Their political regimes were also shaky, since no social form other than liberal democracy provided enough freedom and dignity for a contemporary society to remain stable.
To fight the West successfully, you would have to become like the West, and if that happened, you would become the kind of wishy-washy, pacifistic milquetoast society that didn’t want to fight about anything at all. The only remaining dangers to world peace would come from rogue states such as North Korea, and although such countries might have the will to challenge the West, they would be too crippled by their obsolete political and social structures to rise above the nuisance level (unless they developed nuclear weapons, of course). And thus former communist states, such as Russia, faced a choice. They could jump on the modernization bandwagon and become liberal, open, and pacifistic, or they could cling bitterly to their guns and their culture as the world passed them by.
At first, it all seemed to work. With history over, the focus shifted from geopolitics to development economics and nonproliferation, and the bulk of foreign policy came to center on questions such as climate change and trade. The conflation of the end of geopolitics and the end of history offered an especially enticing prospect to the United States: the idea that the country could start putting less into the international system and taking out more. It could shrink its defense spending, cut the State Department’s appropriations, lower its profile in foreign hotspots -- and the world would just go on becoming more prosperous and more free.
This vision appealed to both liberals and conservatives in the United States. The administration of President Bill Clinton, for example, cut both the Defense Department’s and the State Department’s budgets and was barely able to persuade Congress to keep paying U.S. dues to the UN. At the same time, policymakers assumed that the international system would become stronger and wider-reaching while continuing to be conducive to U.S. interests. Republican neo-isolationists, such as former Representative Ron Paul of Texas, argued that given the absence of serious geopolitical challenges, the United States could dramatically cut both military spending and foreign aid while continuing to benefit from the global economic system.
After 9/11, President George W. Bush based his foreign policy on the belief that Middle Eastern terrorists constituted a uniquely dangerous opponent, and he launched what he said would be a long war against them. In some respects, it appeared that the world was back in the realm of history. But the Bush administration’s belief that democracy could be implanted quickly in the Arab Middle East, starting with Iraq, testified to a deep conviction that the overall tide of events was running in America’s favor.
President Barack Obama built his foreign policy on the conviction that the “war on terror” was overblown, that history really was over, and that, as in the Clinton years, the United States’ most important priorities involved promoting the liberal world order, not playing classical geopolitics. The administration articulated an extremely ambitious agenda in support of that order: blocking Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons, solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, negotiating a global climate change treaty, striking Pacific and Atlantic trade deals, signing arms control treaties with Russia, repairing U.S. relations with the Muslim world, promoting gay rights, restoring trust with European allies, and ending the war in Afghanistan. At the same time, however, Obama planned to cut defense spending dramatically and reduced U.S. engagement in key world theaters, such as Europe and the Middle East.
AN AXIS OF WEEVILS?
All these happy convictions are about to be tested. Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, whether one focuses on the rivalry between the EU and Russia over Ukraine, which led Moscow to seize Crimea; the intensifying competition between China and Japan in East Asia; or the subsuming of sectarian conflict into international rivalries and civil wars in the Middle East, the world is looking less post-historical by the day. In very different ways, with very different objectives, China, Iran, and Russia are all pushing back against the political settlement of the Cold War.
The relationships among those three revisionist powers are complex. In the long run, Russia fears the rise of China. Tehran’s worldview has little in common with that of either Beijing or Moscow. Iran and Russia are oil-exporting countries and like the price of oil to be high; China is a net consumer and wants prices low. Political instability in the Middle East can work to Iran’s and Russia’s advantage but poses large risks for China. One should not speak of a strategic alliance among them, and over time, particularly if they succeed in undermining U.S. influence in Eurasia, the tensions among them are more likely to grow than shrink.
What binds these powers together, however, is their agreement that the status quo must be revised. Russia wants to reassemble as much of the Soviet Union as it can. China has no intention of contenting itself with a secondary role in global affairs, nor will it accept the current degree of U.S. influence in Asia and the territorial status quo there. Iran wishes to replace the current order in the Middle East -- led by Saudi Arabia and dominated by Sunni Arab states -- with one centered on Tehran.
Leaders in all three countries also agree that U.S. power is the chief obstacle to achieving their revisionist goals. Their hostility toward Washington and its order is both offensive and defensive: not only do they hope that the decline of U.S. power will make it easier to reorder their regions, but they also worry that Washington might try to overthrow them should discord within their countries grow. Yet the revisionists want to avoid direct confrontations with the United States, except in rare circumstances when the odds are strongly in their favor (as in Russia’s 2008 invasion of Georgia and its occupation and annexation of Crimea this year). Rather than challenge the status quo head on, they seek to chip away at the norms and relationships that sustain it.
Since Obama has been president, each of these powers has pursued a distinct strategy in light of its own strengths and weaknesses. China, which has the greatest capabilities of the three, has paradoxically been the most frustrated. Its efforts to assert itself in its region have only tightened the links between the United States and its Asian allies and intensified nationalism in Japan. As Beijing’s capabilities grow, so will its sense of frustration. China’s surge in power will be matched by a surge in Japan’s resolve, and tensions in Asia will be more likely to spill over into global economics and politics.
Iran, by many measures the weakest of the three states, has had the most successful record. The combination of the United States’ invasion of Iraq and then its premature withdrawal has enabled Tehran to cement deep and enduring ties with significant power centers across the Iraqi border, a development that has changed both the sectarian and the political balance of power in the region. In Syria, Iran, with the help of its longtime ally Hezbollah, has been able to reverse the military tide and prop up the government of Bashar al-Assad in the face of strong opposition from the U.S. government. This triumph of realpolitik has added considerably to Iran’s power and prestige. Across the region, the Arab Spring has weakened Sunni regimes, further tilting the balance in Iran’s favor. So has the growing split among Sunni governments over what to do about the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots and adherents.
Russia, meanwhile, has emerged as the middling revisionist: more powerful than Iran but weaker than China, more successful than China at geopolitics but less successful than Iran. Russia has been moderately effective at driving wedges between Germany and the United States, but Russian President Vladimir Putin’s preoccupation with rebuilding the Soviet Union has been hobbled by the sharp limits of his country’s economic power. To build a real Eurasian bloc, as Putin dreams of doing, Russia would have to underwrite the bills of the former Soviet republics -- something it cannot afford to do.
Nevertheless, Putin, despite his weak hand, has been remarkably successful at frustrating Western projects on former Soviet territory. He has stopped NATO expansion dead in its tracks. He has dismembered Georgia, brought Armenia into his orbit, tightened his hold on Crimea, and, with his Ukrainian adventure, dealt the West an unpleasant and humiliating surprise. From the Western point of view, Putin appears to be condemning his country to an ever-darker future of poverty and marginalization. But Putin doesn’t believe that history has ended, and from his perspective, he has solidified his power at home and reminded hostile foreign powers that the Russian bear still has sharp claws.
THE POWERS THAT BE
The revisionist powers have such varied agendas and capabilities that none can provide the kind of systematic and global opposition that the Soviet Union did. As a result, Americans have been slow to realize that these states have undermined the Eurasian geopolitical order in ways that complicate U.S. and European efforts to construct a post-historical, win-win world.
Still, one can see the effects of this revisionist activity in many places. In East Asia, China’s increasingly assertive stance has yet to yield much concrete geopolitical progress, but it has fundamentally altered the political dynamic in the region with the fastest-growing economies on earth. Asian politics today revolve around national rivalries, conflicting territorial claims, naval buildups, and similar historical issues. The nationalist revival in Japan, a direct response to China’s agenda, has set up a process in which rising nationalism in one country feeds off the same in the other. China and Japan are escalating their rhetoric, increasing their military budgets, starting bilateral crises with greater frequency, and fixating more and more on zero-sum competition.
Although the EU remains in a post-historical moment, the non-EU republics of the former Soviet Union are living in a very different age. In the last few years, hopes of transforming the former Soviet Union into a post-historical region have faded. The Russian occupation of Ukraine is only the latest in a series of steps that have turned eastern Europe into a zone of sharp geopolitical conflict and made stable and effective democratic governance impossible outside the Baltic states and Poland.
In the Middle East, the situation is even more acute. Dreams that the Arab world was approaching a democratic tipping point -- dreams that informed U.S. policy under both the Bush and the Obama administrations -- have faded. Rather than building a liberal order in the region, U.S. policymakers are grappling with the unraveling of the state system that dates back to the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement, which divided up the Middle Eastern provinces of the Ottoman Empire, as governance erodes in Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria. Obama has done his best to separate the geopolitical issue of Iran’s surging power across the region from the question of its compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, but Israeli and Saudi fears about Iran’s regional ambitions are making that harder to do. Another obstacle to striking agreements with Iran is Russia, which has used its seat on the UN Security Council and support for Assad to set back U.S. goals in Syria.
Russia sees its influence in the Middle East as an important asset in its competition with the United States. This does not mean that Moscow will reflexively oppose U.S. goals on every occasion, but it does mean that the win-win outcomes that Americans so eagerly seek will sometimes be held hostage to Russian geopolitical interests. In deciding how hard to press Russia over Ukraine, for example, the White House cannot avoid calculating the impact on Russia’s stance on the Syrian war or Iran’s nuclear program. Russia cannot make itself a richer country or a much larger one, but it has made itself a more important factor in U.S. strategic thinking, and it can use that leverage to extract concessions that matter to it.
If these revisionist powers have gained ground, the status quo powers have been undermined. The deterioration is sharpest in Europe, where the unmitigated disaster of the common currency has divided public opinion and turned the EU’s attention in on itself. The EU may have avoided the worst possible consequences of the euro crisis, but both its will and its capacity for effective action beyond its frontiers have been significantly impaired.
The United States has not suffered anything like the economic pain much of Europe has gone through, but with the country facing the foreign policy hangover induced by the Bush-era wars, an increasingly intrusive surveillance state, a slow economic recovery, and an unpopular health-care law, the public mood has soured. On both the left and the right, Americans are questioning the benefits of the current world order and the competence of its architects. Additionally, the public shares the elite consensus that in a post–Cold War world, the United States ought to be able to pay less into the system and get more out. When that doesn’t happen, people blame their leaders. In any case, there is little public appetite for large new initiatives at home or abroad, and a cynical public is turning away from a polarized Washington with a mix of boredom and disdain.
Obama came into office planning to cut military spending and reduce the importance of foreign policy in American politics while strengthening the liberal world order. A little more than halfway through his presidency, he finds himself increasingly bogged down in exactly the kinds of geopolitical rivalries he had hoped to transcend. Chinese, Iranian, and Russian revanchism haven’t overturned the post–Cold War settlement in Eurasia yet, and may never do so, but they have converted an uncontested status quo into a contested one. U.S. presidents no longer have a free hand as they seek to deepen the liberal system; they are increasingly concerned with shoring up its geopolitical foundations.
THE TWILIGHT OF HISTORY
It was 22 years ago that Fukuyama published The End of History and the Last Man, and it is tempting to see the return of geopolitics as a definitive refutation of his thesis. The reality is more complicated. The end of history, as Fukuyama reminded readers, was Hegel’s idea, and even though the revolutionary state had triumphed over the old type of regimes for good, Hegel argued, competition and conflict would continue. He predicted that there would be disturbances in the provinces, even as the heartlands of European civilization moved into a post-historical time. Given that Hegel’s provinces included China, India, Japan, and Russia, it should hardly be surprising that more than two centuries later, the disturbances haven’t ceased. We are living in the twilight of history rather than at its actual end.
A Hegelian view of the historical process today would hold that substantively little has changed since the beginning of the nineteenth century. To be powerful, states must develop the ideas and institutions that allow them to harness the titanic forces of industrial and informational capitalism. There is no alternative; societies unable or unwilling to embrace this route will end up the subjects of history rather than the makers of it.
But the road to postmodernity remains rocky. In order to increase its power, China, for example, will clearly have to go through a process of economic and political development that will require the country to master the problems that modern Western societies have confronted. There is no assurance, however, that China’s path to stable liberal modernity will be any less tumultuous than, say, the one that Germany trod. The twilight of history is not a quiet time.
The second part of Fukuyama’s book has received less attention, perhaps because it is less flattering to the West. As Fukuyama investigated what a post-historical society would look like, he made a disturbing discovery. In a world where the great questions have been solved and geopolitics has been subordinated to economics, humanity will look a lot like the nihilistic “last man” described by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche: a narcissistic consumer with no greater aspirations beyond the next trip to the mall.
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China calls for new security pact with Russia, Iran - CBS News

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Beijing sees common cause with other CICA members such as Russia and Sri Lanka in promoting a political model that pairs autocratic government with a market-oriented economy in defiance of the Western liberal democratic model.
CICA was formed in 1992 at the initiative of Kazakhstan but has been little more than a discussion forum. Other members include U.S. allies such as Israel, Mongolia and Uzbekistan. Japan, seen by Beijing as a strategic rival, is an observer.
The group is unlikely to produce a real security alliance, said Ross Babbage, chairman of Australia's Kokoda Foundation, a security think tank.
"Alliances are not based on a piece of paper. They're the result of real trust and interaction," he said. "There may be some agreements ahead, but in reality, I don't see an alliance emerging."

New Russia-China alliance latest diplomatic, strategic blow to Obama

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From the moon to the Mediterranean to the heart of MoscowChina and Russia in recent days have announced a striking number of moves to strengthen military, financial and political ties, raising the specter of a deeper alliance between the U.S. rivals.
Adversaries during the long Cold War, Beijing and Moscow have increasingly found common cause in challenging the U.S. and Western-dominated order in Europe and Asia, finding ways both symbolic and concrete to challenge what they see as Washington’s efforts to contain their rise.
The latest sign of closer ties emerged Thursday with the announcements of the first joint naval exercises in the Mediterranean and that Russia will be one of the biggest outside investors in China’s proposed development bank, which the Obama administration tried to undercut.
Russia and China are now becoming, as we wanted, not only neighbors but deeply integrated countries,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told reporters on a trip to the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou this week.
The two sides discussed making China the “main partner” in a Russian program to establish a scientific station on the moon by 2024. Russia has been trying to revive the space program carried out under the Soviet Union, and China has been gearing up its own manned lunar mission.
Analysts even see a budding “bromance,” as the BBC recently put it, between Russian PresidentVladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
President Obama and virtually all other Western political leaders declined Mr. Putin’s invitation to attend commemorations in Red Square next week to mark the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany, so Mr. Xi is perhaps the most prominent foreign leader who will be there.
The two men met five times last year and “will meet at least as many times this year,” said Andrey Denisov, Russia’s ambassador to Beijing.
“While the Russians and the Chinese expect the United States to continue to be the most powerful nation in the world for several more decades, they see its grip on the rest of the world rapidly loosening,” Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, wrote in a lengthy analysis of the “Sino-Russian entente” in April.
“Both Moscow and Beijing see the world going through an epochal change away from U.S. domination and toward a freer global order that would give China more prominence and Russiamore freedom of action,” he wrote. “They also see the process of change gaining speed.”
Mr. Putin and Mr. Xi sparked talk of a major change in bilateral relations in April 2014 with the announcement of a 30-year, $400 billion deal to sell Russian natural gas for the first time to China, followed by the announcement in November of plans to build a second major pipeline to bring Russian oil and gas to Chinese customers.
Going deeper
At the time, some portrayed the deals less as an alliance than a desperation move by Mr. Putin, who is facing international isolation and economic sanctions from the United States and Europe over the clash in Ukraine and Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. But this year has brought a string of signals that the rapprochement between the two capitals is going much deeper.
Those moves include:
• In March, Russia’s state-owned airplane manufacturer announced the production schedule for a joint venture with Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China to build a long-haul wide-bodied commercial airliner by 2025, with the bulk of the $13 billion project coming from China. In April, China became the first foreign customer for the advanced S-400 anti-aircraft missile system, in a $3 billion deal set to be completed by 2017. The S-400 sale “underlines once again the strategic level of our relations,” Anatoly Isaikin, chief executive of the state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, told the Russianbusiness newspaper Kommersant.
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Cartoon: Putin's Latest Action

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The Heritage Foundation’s Lee Edwards wrote about Vladimir Putin’s latest aggression earlier this week:
Washington policymakers are overlooking a potentially serious foreign policy crisis: the mounting Russian pressure, economic, political and military, on the tiny but strategically located Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Within the Baltic states, all of which have sizeable Russian populations, Moscow is conducting an intensive Russification campaign. It is, for example, underwriting pro-Russian non-governmental organizations, supporting Russian cultural and sports events, helping the Russian Orthodox Church expand its reach and directing private Russian companies to pressure their Baltic partners to make pro-Russian business decisions.
All this activity is calculated to build a Russian presence in the Baltics that would justify Moscow coming to the aid of “threatened” compatriots as it has done in eastern Ukraine.
Then there is the multi-million dollar Russian effort to sow confusion and uncertainty about what is happening in Ukraine, whose future is intertwined with that of the three Baltic states. With a mammoth $300 million budget personally approved by President Putin, the Russian TV channel RT (formerly Russia Today) highlights the most extreme spokesmen of the left and right, who fulminate about the pro-Kyiv “hooligans” who started the shooting in eastern Ukraine. At an all-day conference sponsored by the Joint Baltic American National Committee, I was stunned to learn that RT—barely two years old—is the most popular international channel on YouTube with a billion hits in recent months.
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It was not all doom and despair at the conference, run with usual smooth efficiency by Karl Altau, the committee’s managing director. Speakers, including President Toomas Hendrik Ilves of Estonia, Artis Pabriks, the former foreign minister and defense minister of Latvia, and Andrius Kubilius, the former prime minister of Lithuania, offered specific actions the West should take to block the imperial ambitions of Russia’s Putin, particularly in Ukraine:
  • Place meaningful defensive weapons in the hands of the Ukraine military now, not next month. “Ukraine cannot go it alone,” Kubilius said. “The West must help.” If the U.S. does not supply the right weapons and economic assistance soon, every speaker agreed, Russia will move to acquire more of Ukraine. And that would encourage Russia to attempt to annex some part of the Baltics.
  • Facilitate Ukraine’s membership in the European Union. Economically, Ukraine is where the Baltics were in the early 1990s. European Union membership would be a giant economic step forward for Ukraine. Otherwise it likely will remain a Russian colony.
  • Toughen the economic sanctions against Russia, which already has seen a 30 to 40 percent reduction of its GDP.
The West must resolve, and not just by governmental means, to counter RT and the other instruments of Russian soft power, especially online. Non-governmental organizations have a key role to play in establishing and disseminating the truth.
One speaker said Ukraine reminded him of someone trying to build a ship while at sea. Another, who had visited Kyiv recently, noted the growth of young armed brigades taking on the responsibility, instead of the police, of guaranteeing the security of people and neighborhoods. It was agreed the oligarchs still control too much of the Ukraine economy as they do in Russia—another legacy of communism.
There has always been a special relationship between Americans and the Baltic nations, whose seizure by the Soviets in 1939 we never recognized. By their courage and perseverance throughout the decades of the Cold War, the Baltic peoples set an inspiring example for the world. We must not ignore or overlook them now in their hour of trial. We also have a strategic obligation to them under our joint membership in NATO, whose charter states that if one member is attacked all members must respond.
America, as much as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, would do well to remember the words of Winston Churchill, who, in his famous Iron Curtain speech 60 years ago, said:
“I am convinced that there is nothing [Russians] admire so much as strength, and there is nothing for which they have less respect than weakness, especially military weakness.”
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The Pentagon’s ‘Long War’ Pits NATO Against China, Russia and Iran | Global Research

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Whatever happens with the nuclear negotiations this summer, and as much as Tehran wants cooperation and not confrontation, Iran is bound to remain — alongside Russia — a key US geostrategic target.
As much as US President Barack Obama tried to dismiss it, the Russian sale of the S-300 missile system to Iran is a monumental game-changer. Even with the added gambit of the Iranian military assuring the made in Iran Bavar 373 may be even more efficient than the S-300. This explains why Jane’s Defense Weekly was already saying years ago that Israel could not penetrate Iranian airspace even if it managed to get there. And after the S-300s Iran inevitably will be offered the even more sophisticated S-400s, which are to be delivered to China as well.
The unspoken secret behind these game-changing proceedings actually terrifies Washington warmongers; it spells out a further frontline of Eurasian integration, in the form of an evolving Eurasian missile shield deployed against Pentagon/NATO ballistic plans. A precious glimpse of what’s ahead was offered at the Moscow Conference on International Security (MICS) in mid-April. Here we had the Iranian Defense Minister, Brigadier-General Hussein Dehghan, openly stating that Iran wanted BRICS members China, India, and Russia to jointly oppose NATO’s uncontrolled eastward expansion, and characterizing NATO’s for all practical purposes offensive missile shield as a threat to their collective security. We also had Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan emphasizing their military ties are an “overriding priority”; plus Tehran and Moscow stressing they’re strategically in synch in their push towards a new multipolar order. Tearing up the New Iron Curtain Washington’s Maidan adventure has yielded not only a crystallization of a new Iron Curtain deployed from the Baltics to the Black Sea. This is NATO’s visible game. What’s not so visible is that the target is not only Russia, but also Iran and China. The battlefield is now clearly drawn between NATO and Russia/China/Iran. So no wonder they are getting closer. Iran is an observer at the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) and is bound to become a member of the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) by 2016.
Russia providing S-300 systems to Iran; S-400 systems to China (with new, longer-range guided missiles); and developing the S-500 systems, which are capable of intercepting supersonic targets, for itself, all point to an ultra high-tech counterpunch. And NATO knows it. This budding military Eurasia integration is a key subplot of the New Great Game that runs parallel to the Chinese-led New Silk Road(s) project. As a counterpunch to encroachment, it was bound to happen; after all Beijing is confronted by US encroachment via the Asia-Pacific; Russia by encroachment via Eastern Europe; and Iran by encroachment via Southwest Asia. Washington would also go for encroachment via Central Asia if it had the means (it doesn’t, and especially now with the New Silk Roads bound to crisscross Central Asia). Eurasian geopolitics hinges on what happens next with Iran. Some selected Washington factions entertain the myth that Tehran may “sell out” to the US — thus ditching its complex Russia/China strategic relationships to the benefit of an expanded US reach in the Caucasus and Central Asia.
The Supreme Leader as well as President Rouhani have already made it clear that won’t happen. They know Washington trying to seduce Iran away from Russia and turn it into a client state does not mean Washington ever accepting Iran’s expanded sphere of influence in Southwest Asia and beyond. So the multi-vector Russia-China-Iran strategic alliance is a go. Because whatever happens with the nuclear negotiations this summer, and as much as Tehran wants cooperation and not confrontation, Iran is bound to remain — alongside Russia — a key US geostrategic target. That long and winding road And that brings us — inevitably — to GWOT (Global War on Terror). The Pentagon and assorted US neo-cons remain deeply embedded in their strategy of actively promoting Sunni-Shi’ite Divide and Rule with the key objective of demonizing Iran. Yemen is just yet another graphic example. Only fools would believe that the Houthis in Yemen could get away with mounting a power play right in front of a CIA drone-infested US military base in Djibouti.
Once again, this is all proceeding according to the Divide and Rule playbook. Washington did absolutely nothing to “protect” its Yemeni puppet regime from a Houthi offensive, while immediately afterwards providing all the necessary “leading from behind” for the House of Saud to go bonkers, killing loads of civilians  — all in the name of fighting “Iranian expansion”. US corporate media, predictably, has gone completely nuts about it. Nothing new under the sun. This was already foreseen way back in 2008 by the RAND Corporation report Unfolding the Future of the Long War. Yes, this is the good ol’ Pentagon Long War as prosecuted against enemies, fabricated or otherwise, all across the “Muslim world”. What RAND prescribed has become the new normal. Washington supports the petrodollar GCC racket whatever happens, always in the interest of containing “Iranian power and influence”; diverts Salafi-jihadi resources toward “targeting Iranian interests throughout the Middle East,” especially in Iraq and Lebanon, hence “cutting back… anti-Western operations”; props up al-Qaeda — and ISIS/ISIL/Daesh — GCC sponsors and “empowers” viciously anti-Shi’ite Islamists everywhere to maintain “Western dominance”.
The Long War was first formulated in the “axis of evil” era by the Highlands Forum, a relatively obscure, neo-con infested Pentagon think tank. Not accidentally the RAND Corporation is a major “partner”.It gets even juicier when we know that notorious Long War practitioners such as current Pentagon supremo “Ash” Carter, his deputy Robert Work, and Pentagon intelligence chief Mike Vickers are now in charge of the self-described “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” Obama administration’s military strategy. What the Pentagon — with customary hubris — does not see is Moscow and Tehran easily identifying the power play; the US government’s hidden agenda of manipulating a “rehabilitated” Iran to sell plenty of oil and gas to the EU, thus undermining Gazprom. Technically, this would take years to happen — if ever. Geopolitically, it’s nothing but a pipe dream. Call it, in fact, a double pipe dream. As much as Washington will never “secure” the Middle East with Iran as a vassal state, thus enabling it to transfer key US military assets to NATO with the purpose of facing the Russian “threat”, forget about going back to 1990s Russia under disaster capitalism, when the military industrial complex had collapsed and the West was looting Russia’s natural resources at will. The bottom line: the Pentagon barks, and the Russia/China/Iran strategic caravan goes on.
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EU, NATO try to counter Russian propaganda - Yahoo News

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Yahoo News

EU, NATO try to counter Russian propaganda
Yahoo News
"In Russia, the EU is described as though it is a conspiracy of homosexuals ... the old myths of the Cold War are back," Robert Pszczel, spokesman in Moscow for NATO, told AFP. "Propaganda is so pervasive. About 90 percent of Russians get news from ...
Analysis: US experts on Russia fear escalation over Ukraine crisis, see a ...Minneapolis Star Tribune
Philip Breedlove: Russia exploiting Ukraine cease-fireWashington Times
Ukraine Attacks Donetsk People's Republic With Tanks, Grenade Launchers: Is ...International Business Times
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