Chinese scholar offers insight into Beijing’s strategic mindset

Essay by security expert Professor Zhang Wenmu gives a glimpse of China’s geostrategic outlook, from the ‚Western Pacific Chinese Sea‘ to the far side of the moon

Quelle: Chinese scholar offers insight into Beijing’s strategic mindset

No matter how it appears, Trump isn’t getting out of Syria and Afghanistan

what's left

He’s just shifting the burden to allies and relying more on mercenaries

December 23, 2018

By Stephen Gowans

The announced withdrawal of US troops from Syria and the drawdown of US occupation forces in Afghanistan very likely do not represent the abandonment of US aims in the Middle East, and instead more likely reflect the adoption of new means of achieving longstanding US foreign policy goals. Rather than renouncing the US objective of dominating the Arab and Muslim worlds through a system of veiled colonialism and direct military occupation, US president Donald Trump is merely implementing a new policy—one based on shifting the burden of maintaining the US empire increasingly to allies and private soldiers bankrolled by oil monarchies.

Trump’s foreign relations modus operandi have been guided consistently by the argument that US allies are failing to pull their weight and ought to contribute more to the US security architecture…

Ursprünglichen Post anzeigen 1.862 weitere Wörter

Strategic Waterways and “The Kerch Strait Incident”: Towards Military Escalation?

Datum: Dienstag, 27. November 2018 um 08:05

Strategic Waterways and “The Kerch Strait Incident”: Towards Military Escalation?

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, November 26, 2018

https://www.globalresearch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/tchernobyl-ukraine-map-400x296.jpgOn November 25, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) reported that

“three Ukrainian warships had illegally crossed Russia’s state border in the Black Sea and entered Russia’s territorial waters performing dangerous maneuvers…

All three Ukrainian Navy vessels … were detained in the Black Sea” (TASS, November 25).

The incident took place in proximity of the Kerch Straits, the narrow maritime entry from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov.

Since the union of Crimea with Russia in March 2014, the entry into the sea of Azov is fully controlled by Russia. (see image below). https://www.globalresearch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/kerch.jpg

Since May 2018, a new bridge links Eastern Crimea to Russia’s Krasnodar region. (image right)

Are we gearing towards a Kerch Strait Incident, namely a “Pretext” which could potentially lead to armed conflict?
.
In response to these events, the Ukrainian armed forces have been put on full combat alert, in consultation with NATO. The adoption of martial law was put forth by President Poroshenko (to be debated in the Kiev parliament)

Meanwhile Moscow has called for the convening of an emergency UN Security council meeting. According to the Guardian

“Russia’s foreign ministry has accused Ukraine of coordinating with the US and the EU in a “planned provocation” aimed at securing further sanctions against Moscow, as tensions mount after a dangerous clash between the two countries. (Guardian, 26, November 2018)

Will the Kerch Straits Incident lead to a process of military escalation? In recent developments (November 26), Russia has reopened the Kerch Strait to maritime navigation.

To understand these unfolding events, it is important to analyse the strategic role of the Kerch strait. The naval access from Ukraine Odessa’s port the sea of Azov transits through the Kerch Strait (see map below)

https://www.globalresearch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/kerch2.png

Strategic Waterways and the Kerch Strait

The following section is an edited version from an earlier 2014 GR article by Michel Chossudovsky

The union of Crimea in 2014 with Russia redefines both the geography as well as the geopolitical chessboard in the Black Sea basin.

It constitutes a major setback for US-NATO, whose longstanding objective has been to integrate Ukraine into NATO with a view to undermining Russia, while extending Western military presence in the Black Sea basin.

With the March 18, 2014 Treaty signed between Russia and Crimea, the Russian Federation has extended its control over the Black Sea as well over the Sea of Azov, the West coastline of which borders on Eastern Ukraine and the Donesk region. (see map below)

Under the agreement between Russia and Crimea announced by president Putin, two “constituent regions” of Crimea joined the Russian Federation: the “Republic of Crimea” and the “City of Sevastopol”. Both have the status of “autonomous regions”. The status of Sevastopol as an autonomous entity separate from Crimea is related to the location of Russia’s Naval base in Sevastopol.

Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, Russia retained its naval base in Sevastopol under a bilateral agreement with Ukraine. With the signing of the March 18th 2014 Treaty, that agreement is null and void. Sevastopol including the Russian naval base become part of an autonomous region within the Russian Federation. The naval base is no within Ukraine under a lease agreement. Moreover, Crimea’s territorial waters now belong to the Russian Federation.

Following the union of Crimea to Russia now controls a much larger portion of the Black Sea, which includes the entire coastline of the Crimean peninsula. The Eastern part of Crimea –including the Kerch straits– are under Russia’s jurisdiction control. On the Eastern side of the Kerch straits is Russia’s Krasnodar region and extending southwards are the port cities of Novorossiysk and Sochi.

Novorossiysk is also strategic. It is Russia’s largest commercial port on the Black Sea, at the cross-roads of major oil and gas pipelines between the Black Sea and Caspian sea.

https://i2.wp.com/www.globalresearch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/blackseamap.gif
Historically, the Kerch strait has played a strategic role. It constitutes a gateway from the Black Sea to Russia’s major waterways including the Don and the Volga.

During World War II, the Kerch peninsula occupied by Nazi Germany (taken back by the Red Army) was an important point of transit by land and water. In the coldest months of Winter, it became an ice bridge linking Crimea to the Krasnodar region.

The Kerch strait is about 5 kilometers in length and 4.5 km. wide at the narrowest point between the tip of Eastern Crimea and the peninsula of Taman. Kerch is a major commercial port linked to railway, ferry and river routes.

[image right: Kerch straits, photo taken from Crimean side, (prior to the construction of the bridge) narrow width, below aerial view of straits]

https://i2.wp.com/www.globalresearch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/kerchstraits.png

The Sea of Azov: New Geopolitical Hub

Of significance, the integration of Crimea into the Russian Federation means that Moscow is now in full control of the Kerch Straits linking the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov. The Ukrainian authorities are no longer in control of the port of Kerch in Eastern Ukraine. The bilateral agreement between Russia and Ukraine governing the maritime route through the Kerch straights was scrapped.

Kerch Straits prior to construction of bridge

The straits also constitute an entry point into Russia’s major river waterways. The Sea of Azov connects with the Don River and the Volga, through the Volga Don Canal. In turn, the Volga flows into the Caspian sea.

The Kerch straits are strategic. The Kerch-Yenikalskiy Canal allows large (ocean) vessels to transit from the Black sea to the Sea of Azov.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/76/Volgarivermap.png/300px-Volgarivermap.png

Moreover, the Kerch Strait links the Black Sea to the Volga which in turn connects to the Moscow river through the Volga-Moskva canal.

Full control of the narrow Kerch strait by Russia ensures unimpeded maritime transit from the Black Sea to Russia’s capital as well as the maritime route to the Caspian Sea. (Black Sea- Sea of Azov -Don- Volga Don Canal -Volga -Caspian Sea)

In December 2013 Moscow signed a bilateral agreement with the Yanukovych government in Kiev pertaining to the construction of a bridge across the Kerch Strait, connecting Eastern Crimea (which was part of Ukraine) with Russia’s Krasnodar region. This agreement was a followup to an initial agreement signed in April 2010 between the two governments.

The Russia-Ukraine 2013 agreement pertaining to the construction of the bridge had, for all purposes already been scrapped before March 16, 2014.

Crimea’s union to Russia was already in the pipeline prior to the referendum, it was a fait accompli. Less than two weeks before the March 16 Referendum, at the height of the crisis in Ukraine, Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered the state-road building corporation Avtodor, or “Russian Highways” “to create a subsidiary company that will oversee the building of a bridge across the Kerch Strait”.

This bridge would largely be geared towards train transport routes linking Western and Eastern Europe to the Caspian Sea basin, Kazakhstan and China. It is therefore an integral part of the Eurasian Project (linking up with China’s Belt and Road initiative)

The Kerch bridge inaugurated in May 2018 is under Russian ownership and control. The Kerch strait is within Russian territorial waters on both sides of the strait.

* * *

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The ‘War Party’ Wins the Midterm Elections, Accelerating the Transition to a Multipolar World Order – Federico PIERACCINI | 10.11.2018

Federico PIERACCINI: The outcome of the American midterm elections gives us an even more divided country, confirming that the United States is in the midst of a deep crisis within its establishment.

Quelle: The ‘War Party’ Wins the Midterm Elections, Accelerating the Transition to a Multipolar World Order

Here is the full declassified national assessment provided by the French foreign ministry in English

Evidence Of No Evidence Declassified Here is the full declassified national assessment (of alleged chemical attacks on Douma) provided by the French foreign ministry in English:

By Reuters

April 15, 2018 „Information Clearing House“ –  PARIS: France concluded after technical analysis of open sources and „reliable intelligence“ that a chemical attack on Douma on April 7 was carried out by Syrian government forces, a declassified intelligence report showed on Saturday.

Here is the full declassified national assessment provided by the French foreign ministry in English: I. SEVERAL LETHAL CHEMICAL ATTACKS TOOK PLACE IN THE TOWN OF DOUMA IN THE LATE AFTERNOON OF SATURDAY,7 APRIL 2018, AND WE ASSESS WITH A HIGH DEGREE OF CONFIDENCE THAT THEY WERE CARRIED OUT BY THE SYRIAN REGIME.

Following the Syrian regime’s resumption of its military offensive, as well as high levels of air force activity over the town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta, two new cases of toxic agents employment were spontaneously reported by civil society and local and international media from the late afternoon of 7 April.

Non-governmental medical organizations active in Ghouta (the Syrian American Medical Society and the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations), whose information is generally reliable, publicly stated that strikes had targeted in particular local medical infrastructure on 6 and 7 April. (…)

See highlighted Document: Report 20180415

The British Government’s Legal Justification for Bombing is Entirely False and Without Merit

Craig MURRAY 15.04.2018

UPDATE Perhaps you will forgive me for pointing out that the argument in the legal opinion by Professor Dapo Akande of Oxford University, published today by the Labour Party, is identical in every respect and in detail to the analysis I published yesterday. So for all the trolls who claimed I do not know international law…

I have published Prof Akande’s summary at the end of this post. (…)

Quelle: The British Government’s Legal Justification for Bombing is Entirely False and Without Merit

About Craig Murray 2


Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010.

Personal Biography:

Craig Murray was born in West Runton in October 1958 and educated at Sheringham Primary and Paston Grammar schools.

He graduated from the University of Dundee in 1982 with a MA (Hons) 1st Class in Modern History.

From 1982 to 1984 he was President of Dundee University Students Association and he was a member of Dundee’s tournament winning Granada TV University Challenge team in 1983.

The SAKER We’re Headed To War With Russia, and No One Seems to Care

https://russia-insider.com/en/were-headed-war-russia-and-no-one-seems-care/ri22900

We’re Headed To War With Russia, and No One Seems to Care

„Russia is ready. NATO sure ain’t! Oh, they have the numbers and they think they are strong. The truth is that these NATO midgets have no idea of what is about to hit them, when the Russians go to war these NATO statelets won’t even understand what is happening to them.“

Frankly, I am awed, amazed and even embarrassed. I was born in Switzerland, lived most of my life there, I also visited most of Europe, and I lived in the USA for over 20 years. Yet in my worst nightmares I could not have imagined the West sinking as low as it does now.

I mean, yes, I know about the false flags, the corruption, the colonial wars, the NATO lies, the abject subservience of East Europeans, etc. I wrote about all that many times. But imperfect as they were, and that is putting it mildly, I remember Helmut Schmidt, Maggie Thatcher, Reagan, Mitterrand, even Chirac! And I remember what the Canard Enchaîné used to be, or even the BBC. During the Cold War the West was hardly a knight in white shining armor, but still – rule of law did matter, as did at least some degree of critical thinking.

I am now deeply embarrassed for the West. And very, very afraid.

All I see today is a submissive herd lead by true, bona fide, psychopaths (in a clinical sense of the word)

And that is not the worst thing.

The worst thing is the deafening silence, the way everybody just looks away, pretends like “ain’t my business” or, worse, actually takes all this grotesque spectacle seriously. What the (expletive deleted) is wrong with you people?! Have you all been turned into zombies?! WAKE UP!!!!!!!

Let me carefully measure my words here and tell you the blunt truth.

Since the Neocon coup against Trump the West is now on exactly the same course as Nazi Germany was in, roughly, the mid 1930s.

Oh sure, the ideology is different, the designated scapegoat also. But the mindset is *exactly* the same.

Same causes produce the same effects. But this time around, there are weapons on both sides which make the Dresden Holocaust looks like a minor spark.

So now we have this touching display of “western solidarity” not with UK or the British people, but with the City of London. Now ain’t that touching?!

Let me ask you this: what has been the central feature of Britain’s policies towards Europe, oh, let’s say since the Middle-Ages?

That’s right: starting wars in Europe.

And this time around you think it’s different?

Does: “the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior” somehow not apply to the UK?!

Let me also tell you this: when Napoleon and Hitler attacked Russia she was undergoing deep crises and was objectively weak (really! research it for yourself!). In both cases Russian society was deeply torn by internal contradictions and the time for attack as ideal.

Not today.

So I ask this simple question: do you really want to go to war against a fully united nuclear Russia?

You think that this is hyperbole?

Think again.

The truth is that the situation today is infinitely worse than the Cuban missile crisis. First, during the Cuban missile crisis there were rational people on both side. Today there is NOT ONE SINGLE RATIONAL PERSON LEFT IN A POSITION OF POWER IN THE USA. Not ONE! Second, during the Cuban missile crisis all the new was reporting on was the crisis, the entire planet felt like we were standing at the edge of the abyss.

Today nobody seems to be aware that we are about to go to war, possibly a thermonuclear war, where casualties will be counted in the hundreds of millions.

All because of what?

Because the people of the West have accepted, or don’t even know, that they are ruled by an ugly gang of ignorant, arrogant psychopaths.

At the very least this situation shows this:

Representative democracy does not work.

The rule of law only applies to the weak and poor.

Western values have now been reduced to a sad joke.

Capitalism needs war and a world hegemony to survive.

The AngloZionist Empire is about to collapse, the only open question is how and at what cost.

Right now they are expelling Russian diplomats en masse and they are feeling very strong and manly. Polish and Ukrainian politicians are undergoing a truly historical surge in courage and self-confidence! (hiding, as they do, behind Anglo firepower)

The truth is that this is only the tip of a much bigger iceberg. In reality, crucial expert-level consultations, which are so vitally important between nuclear superpowers, have all but stopped a long time ago. We are down to top level telephone calls. That kind of stuff happens when two sides are about to go to war.

For many months now Russia and NATO have made preparations for war in Europe. And Russia is ready. NATO sure ain’t! Oh, they have the numbers and they think they are strong. The truth is that these NATO midgets have no idea of what is about to hit them, when the Russians go to war these NATO statelets won’t even understand what is happening to them. Very rapidly the real action will be left to the USA and Russia. Thus any conflict will go nuclear very fast. And, for the first time in history, the USA will be hit very, very hard, not only in Europe, the Middle-East or Asia, but also on the continental US.

I was born in a Russian military family and I studied Russian and Soviet military affairs all my life. I can absolutely promise you this, please don’t doubt it for one second: Russia will not back down and, if cornered, she will wipe out your entire civilization. The Russians really don’t want war, they fear it (as they should!) and they will do everything to avoid it. But if attacked then expect a response of absolutely devastating violence. Don’t take it from me, take it from Putin who clearly said so himself and who, at least on that issue, is supported by about 95% of the population. From the Eastern Crusades to the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, enough is enough, and the Russians will not take one more western attack, especially not one backed by nuclear firepower. Again, please ponder Putin’s words very, very carefully: “what need would we have a world if there is no Russia?

All that for what? The USA and Russia have NO objective reasons to do anything but to collaborate (the Russians are absolutely baffled the fact the leaders of the USA seem to be completely oblivious to this simple fact). Okay, the City of London does have a lot of reasons to want Russia gone and silent. As Gavin Williamson, the little soy-boy in charge of UK “defense”, so elegantly put it, Russia should “go away and shut up”. Right. Let me tell you – it ain’t happening! Britannia will be turned into a heap of radioactive ashes long before Russian goes away or shuts up. That is simply a fact.

What baffles me is this: do American leaders really want to lose their country in behalf of a small nasty clique of arrogant British pompous asses who think that they still are an Empire? Did you even take a look at Boris Johnson, Theresa May and Gavin Williamson? Are you really ready to die in defense of the interest of these degenerates?!

I don’t get it and nobody in Russia does.

Yeah, I know, all they did is expel some diplomats. And the Russians will do the same. So what? But that’s missing the point!

LOOK NOT WHERE WE ARE BUT WHERE WE ARE HEADING!!

You can get 200,000 antigun (sigh, rolleyes) protesters in DC but NOBODY AT ALL ABOUT NUCLEAR WAR?!

What is wrong with you people?!

What happened to the West where I was born in in 1963?

My God, is this really the end of it all?

Am I the only one who sees this slow-motion train-wreck taking us all over the precipice?

If you can, please give a reason to still hope.

Right now I don’t see many.

The Saker

 

PS: yes, I know. The rules of the blog prohibit CAPS as this is considered shouting. Okay, but this time around I AM TRYING TO SHOUT! So, for this one time only, feel free to use caps if you want. The world badly needs some shouting right now, even virtual shouting.

Source: Vineyard of the Saker

 

 

 

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