Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Saber Rattling Bluff by Erick San Juan

Saber Rattling Bluff by Erick San Juan

In these exciting times it is like we are on the edge of our seats breathtakingly awaiting a possible nuclear world war. Or its just some saber rattling orchestrated by the super elites controlling the alliance of military industrial complex and using real life puppets.

“Why? Because there will be no nuclear launch or missile launch or other military attack. Why? Because to do so would be sheer lunacy. Nobody in his right mind who wants to win a war will never telegraph his punches. Its either an element of surprise, the so called 'first strike policy' vis-a-vis a 'mutually assured destruction'.

The North Korea leadership, Kim Jong-un who's living a good life and has his own 'Ibiza of North Korea', unless it has a death wish, will absolutely not initiate military violence. While it may engage in back-and-forth hyperbolic rhetoric, it will not provide the excuse for a reprisal that will devastate the country and destroy his  government. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his political counsel know that to start a war would be lunatic and suicidal. As Vox notes:

“North Korea is more rational than you think: The assumption that the country is run by a lunatic is not only incorrect — it’s dangerous.”

The rationale political figures on the US side are aware of this as well.

Donald Trump sounds lunatic, but he can’t be considered suicidal in the conventional meaning of the word, as he’ll not be in the line of fire. However, to start a nuclear conflagration that leads to massive deaths of not only North Koreans but South Koreans, Japanese, and American military personnel in the region would be a 'hara kiri' for Trump’s business interests. The devastation and fall-out among allies would render the Trump brand radioactive.

So no, there will not be a military response from either side. The American side could not emerge from initiating such an asymmetric attack with any pretense of international prestige or high standing intact.

The record is clear, no nuclear power has ever dared attack another nuclear power. There has been all kinds of braggadocio but never a military confrontation. Consider the current situation in the Doklam Plateau where there has been a standoff for 50-plus days between two populous nuclear powers, India and China. Neither side has yet resorted to violence.

North Korea has never attacked the US. It is only the US, when it intervened in a Korean civil war, that engaged in battle against North Korea. So what moral authority has the North Korea to threaten the U.S.? After all, when discussing military threats it is the US holding hostile military maneuvers in Korean waters (not North Korea holding military maneuvers in US waters).

The US lack of diplomacy — all stick and little or no carrot — has demonstrated to be a failure in achieving denuclearization. (Source: Kim Petersen @Global Research, August 14, 2017)

I have written some articles on denuclearization and methinks that this is not possible as long as countries with nuclear warheads will not even disclose on the number of such warheads they keep in their nuclear arsenals. Only time will tell when one superpower will push the button that will start a world war and end humanity.

When cooler heads prevail, there is a solution to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula sans the intervention of the 'super elites' through the current leadership of Washington.

According to Stephen Lendman (Challenging America’s Military Madness, Global Research, August 13, 2017) – “It’s time for China, Russia, South Korea, Japan and other world community nations to challenge America’s imperial recklessness.

The risk of possible nuclear war is too great to stay silent. Failure to act could let the unthinkable happen. South Korea especially is threatened.

War on the peninsula risks unthinkable carnage on both sides of the DMZ. Following his May election, President Moon Jae-in urged outreach to resolve longstanding differences with Pyongyang. He suggested meeting Kim Jong-un face-to-face.

Instead, he become hostage to the 'super elites' imperial agenda, supporting illegal sanctions on the DPRK, suggesting they be strengthened.

At the same time, he called for a “complete and thorough overhaul” of Seoul’s already formidable military. He’s more amenable to provocative US THAAD missile systems on South Korean territory, menacing the region.

Over 70 years since WW II ended, South Korea and Japan remain occupied by US forces, provoking North Korea, China and Russia, affording America’s allies the illusion of protection.

Cooler heads among strategic leaders could still neutralize the war threats and preempt the hostile rhetorics which could risk a possible nuclear war on the peninsula, is the best way to stop it.

Big powers are thuggish bully, taking full advantage of the world community’s failure to confront Them responsibly – smashing weaker countries like tenpins.

Suddenly, Kim Jong-un made a news  statement aborting his plan of attacking Guam. It’s the best way, maybe the only way, to save Guam, East Asia and humanity from the risk of devastating nuclear war – affecting all regional countries if launched.

All possible scenario to stop this stupidity of a nuclear war should be considered for humanity to prevail unless we will see the last of the mushroom cloud in the horizon.

Lets still be vigilant.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

US-Russia Historical Legacy by Erick San Juan


US-Russia Historical Legacy by Erick San Juan

During a time of crisis in U.S.-Russia relations, it is not in vogue to talk about their shared history, a time when ideological and political differences didn’t prevent the governments and people of both countries from helping each other and contributing to bringing stability to the world order.

The events of World War II should be another reminder that Russia and the U.S. have a common historical legacy and were close allies when they joined the anti-Hitler coalition. Under the 1941-1945 Lend-Lease Act, the U.S. provided the Soviet Union with more than $11.3 billion in financial aid. In addition, Washington sent a significant amount of food and provisions, in addition to 375,000 American trucks (one-third of all Soviet trucks), 15,000 planes, and 2,000 locomotives. The U.S. delivered the aid partly by its Arctic convoy through Russia’s northern cities of Arkhangelsk and Murmansk.

Even though the Western front in Europe was opened only in June 1944, it was primarily the Soviet Union that had to withstand Nazi Germany and face a great number of casualties. However, it is historically wrong to claim that the U.S. didn’t contribute to the fight against Nazi Germany and just focused their efforts in the Pacific battleground. After all, the Lend-Lease program contributed to the Soviet fight against Germany, both at the front and behind the lines.

Although Russians and Americans may assess the key events of World War II differently, the victory of 1945 was and remains shared. In fact, it is a matter of the common memory: the second front, the Lend-Lease program and even the famous American canned meat, which many Soviet soldiers saw as the best food in the world. The symbol of the Soviet-American alliance as part of the anti-Hitler coalition became and remains the April 25 historic link-up between Soviet and American soldiers at the Elbe River in 1945.

Meanwhile, World War II is not the only example when Russia and the U.S. cooperated closely. During World War I, they were allies as well and fought against Germany as part of the Entente, which also comprised the United Kingdom and France. (Through the lens of history: When Russia and the US were allies by Victoria I. Zhuravleva, May 9, 2016)

And there were other wars and conflicts in history that the US helped Russia and vice versa in order to bring peace and harmony. But today, there are forces who wanted war between the two nuclear superpowers.

“The 'war party' in the U.S. is escalating to a fever pitch for war, not only with Russia but now also with China. While the media and the Congress continue making up new excuses to attack Trump, to subvert his effort to build constructive relations with Putin and Xi Jinping, the 'reptilians' and their assets in the U.S. have dropped any pretense of sanity, demanding preparation for a nuclear world war.

Secretary Tillerson today drew out the battle lines in a press briefing at the State Department. Asked about the new sanctions on Russia passed overwhelmingly by the Congress, Tillerson was direct: “I think the American people want the two most powerful nuclear powers in the world to have a better relationship.... Neither the President nor I is very happy about how Congress went about the sanctions bill, but we can’t let it take us off-track in trying to restore the relationship.”

Some people in the Trump Administration did not get the message—or are out to wreck it. Vice President Mike Pence, speaking at a press conference July 31 in Estonia with the three Presidents of the Baltic states, spoke with the coldest of Cold War rhetoric: “A strong and united NATO is more necessary today than at any point since the collapse of communism a quarter-century ago, and no threat looms larger in the Baltic states than the specter of aggression from your unpredictable neighbor to the east.” Today in Georgia, Pence claimed that Russia was occupying one-fifth of Georgian territory (referring to Abkhazia and South Ossetia), then said: “We stand here today in the gap—on a front line of freedom, a front line compromised by Russian aggression nearly a decade ago.”

The same end-game confrontation is being launched by the Congress against China, going for the kill on Trump’s effort to bring the U.S. and China together in the New Silk Road process. And some strategic think tank are seeing the real agenda of Xi Jinping to allegedly go to war soon.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), speaking on NBC this morning, said that “There is a military option to destroy North Korea’s [nuclear] program, and North Korea itself. If there is going to be a war to stop [Kim Jong-un], it will be over there. If thousands are going to die, they are going to die there, they’re not going to die here.” He claimed President Trump agreed, referencing Trump saying that China could stop North Korea’s nuclear program but wasn’t doing enough.

Not to be outdone is the 'reptilian' imperial “divide and conquer” madness, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sent a letter to the President calling for the suspension of “all mergers and acquisitions in the U.S by Chinese entities.” Keep in mind that Trump wisely invited China to bring its Belt and Road infrastructure development program to the U.S., to help restore the devastated infrastructure and industrial capacity of the nation. Schumer ranted: “It is my assessment that China will not deter North Korea unless the United States exacts greater economic pressure on China. The U.S. must send a clear message to China’s government.”

The message is clear indeed—the Congressional leaders from both parties will not allow the rebuilding of the U.S. economy, and would rather launch World War III than to see Trump’s plan succeed.” (EIR Daily Alerts August 2 and 3, 2017)

With efforts of some countries to maintain peace in the world to achieve development goals in the process there are also war mongers who want war in order to destroy humanity.

Now we really have to repeat the good part of history when US and Russia are partners and allies in keeping the world safe against evil-minded people.

“It should remind people about the feeling of happy unity, which Soviet and American soldiers experienced in 1945. This unity should remain forever in U.S.-Russia relations despite the political environment in the Kremlin or the White House, no matter how different leaders try to reassess their common history. It is very crucial to withstand any attempts to distort history and pass over in silence the shining examples of a common past.” (Victoria I. Zhuravleva)

Methinks Zhuravleva is politically and strategically correct. You can read and hear saber-rattling but the common denominator is their important interest of controlling the outer space.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Checkmate by Erick San Juan

Checkmate by Erick San Juan


Djibouti, a resource-poor nation of 14,300 square miles and 875,000 people in the Horn of Africa, rarely makes international headlines. But between its relative stability and strategic location—20 miles across from war-consumed Yemen and in destroyer range of the pirate-infested western edge of the Indian Ocean—it is now one of the more important security beachheads in the world. Its location also matters greatly to global commerce and energy, due to its vicinity to the Mandeb Strait and the Suez-Aden canal, which sees ten percent of the world’s oil exports and 20 percent of its commercial exports annually.

Since November 2002, the country has been home to Camp Lemonnier, a U.S. Expeditionary base—the only American base on the African continent—along with other bases belonging to its French, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese allies. The United States maintains numerous small outposts and airfields in Africa, but officially regards Lemonnier as its only full-scale military base on the continent. (Source: Joseph Braude and Tyler Jiang @ HuffPost)

For fifteen years (and another renewal for ten years), the US military and its allies dominate the Djibouti nation and now two key players are joining the band – China and Saudi Arabia. In January 2016, the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry announced an agreement with Djibouti to host its first-ever base beyond the South China Sea, and construction commenced days later.Though Beijing called the installation a “logistics and fast evacuation base,” the Asian power’s “near-abroad” rivals, such as Taiwan, opined that it is more likely the beginning of a new, aggressive military buildup to rival the United States. Six weeks later, Saudi Arabia declared that it would construct a base in Djibouti, apparently as part of its newly assertive policy of countering Iranian proxies politically and militarily throughout the region.

Both new players have made substantial economic and soft power investments in the country to boot. Since 2015, Beijing has poured over $14 billion into infrastructure development. Saudi Arabia, itself a prominent donor to Djibouti’s public works, has spent generously on social welfare projects for the country’s poor; built housing, schools and mosques for its swelling Yemeni refugee population; and dispatched teachers and preachers from the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, long a pillar for the promulgation of Saudi-backed interpretations of Islam. Augmenting Saudi aid, moreover, has been further spending by some of its Arab military allies. The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have poured millions into charitable work over the past few months—and the UAE in particular is working to spur economic development along the lines of the “Dubai model.” Even cash-poor North Sudan, newly returned to the Saudi orbit after a year-long alliance with Iran, began construction of a hospital in Djibouti in early February.

Neither the timing nor the confluence of these projects are mere coincidence. America’s perceived diminishing global military footprint has begun to affect the calculation of allies and rivals alike, and the outsized role Djibouti is poised to play in its neighborhood presents a case in point of the consequences. An examination of the changing role the country plays in American, Chinese, and Arab security policy offers a glimpse into potential conflicts as well as opportunities arising from the shift and some steps Americans can take to prepare for both. (Ibid)

The strategic location of Djibouti is the main reason why the above-mentioned countries are maintaining its military presence in that small country.

With the advent of the 'One Belt, One Road' project initiated by China, the new military base in Djibouti will secure China’s interest in the region. This could be China’s main goal due to the presence of US (and its allies) military base there.

In the article ‘US vs China in Djibouti’ by Thomas Mountain, the rivalry between China and US has gone beyond the South China Sea and the new arena also posts a threat in the African and Middle East region.

“The tiny country of Djibouti sitting at the strategically critical entrance from the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea is quickly turning into the latest confrontation between the USA and China in Africa.

Djibouti, home to the only US  permanent military presence in Africa, has recently notified the American military that they have to vacate Obock, a small secondary base which will see the installation of some 10,000 Chinese troops in their place.

The announcement, made the day after US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Djibouti last May (2015) is deeply worrying for Pax Americana for it comes on top of a major package of economic investments by China that has Djiboutian President Guelleh openly talking about the importance of his new friends from Asia. Sounds familiar?

China is about to complete a $3 billion railroad from the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, Africa’s second largest country to Djibouti, Ethiopia’s only outlet to the sea. China is also investing $400 million in modernizing Djibouti’s notoriously undersized port, where for the past 17 years (since the Ethiopians tried and failed to take Eritrea’s port of Assab during Ethiopia’s war against Eritrea from 1998-2000), Ethiopia has been forced to import 90% of its fuel and food from.

The US military pays Djibouti $63 million a year for the use of Camp Lemonnier, home to 4,000 US troops and one of the worlds largest drone bases used to terrorize the populations of Yemen and Somalia. This is a pittance really, when compared to the hundred$ of million$ a year that the Chinese investments will bring into Djiboutian government coffers.

The fact that 10,000 Chinese troops are being installed next door to such a critical US military base is causing powerful members of the US Congress to suddenly discover that Djibouti, long a de facto province of Ethiopia, is a “major violator of human rights”, dangerously “undemocratic”, and that it is time for “regime change” in the tiny country of about half a million people, long one of the poorest and most repressive on the planet. Again, sounds familiar?

So don’t be suprised if we wake up one morning and find that in the name of “democracy” there has been a military coup in Djibouti and that the Chinese, like what they are experiencing in South Sudan, find themselves with the short end of the stick when it comes to their rivalry with the USA in Africa.”

Like what I have been saying for quite some time now, the war between US and China is inevitable and that it will happen either in this region or in Africa-Middle east area.

Let's watch the confluence of events.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

War on Drugs: No End in Sight by Erick San Juan

War on Drugs: No End in Sight by Erick San Juan


The war on drugs is very much on the table in the present administration’s future goals just like in the first State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rody Duterte. Like what PRRD has been emphasizing, that the illegal drug flourished during the past administrations and international drug trafficking is very much active due to the advance technology via the internet.

Given the fast electronic money transfer, undetected, and using various ways of transporting illegal drugs across borders and continents, winning the war against this menace is farfetched. More cooperation from other countries near and far, using the latest technology on how to catch the drug traffickers are very much needed. New out of the box strategies and policy should be the immediate agenda of our national security to preempt other nations agenda of like 'Greek bearing gifts' and a perceived involvement in indirect 'state sponsored' narco operation.

After the self-imposed deadline of the Philippine National Police to end the drug problem in December 2016, the current leadership told the nation that the drug problem is so enormous and that they needed more time and resources. But the hanging question remains, mostly from the netizens (and ordinary people sans the internet), where are the ‘big fish’ and the so-called Chinese drug lords?  Who are the importers of billions of Shabu that even passes the customs Greenlane caught unnoticed? It’s always the petty drug users and pushers ‘in slippers’ that are caught and presented in the media (if they are still alive).

From “Meth gangs of China play star role in Philippines drug crisis” by John Chalmers published @reuters : The arrest of Hong, who has pleaded not guilty, added to the ranks of Chinese nationals seized in the Philippines on narcotics charges. Of 77 foreign nationals arrested for meth-related drug offenses between January 2015 and mid-August 2016, nearly two-thirds were mainland Chinese and almost a quarter were Taiwanese or Hong Kong residents, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

Remember Lim Seng, the mainland Chinese chemist for opium operation branded by Marcos as drug lord whose real boss was Siochi, a Binondo based drug lord and money launderer, friends of top level people during FM time as per record of CANU( Constabulary Anti-Narcotics Unit). The pattern of operation was just modified but the 'signature' is still there. Known in the trade as “cooks” and “chemists,” meth production experts are flown into the Philippines from Greater China by drug syndicates to work at labs like the one caught at Mount Arayat. Thanks to foreign agents. China isn’t only a source of meth expertise – it is also the biggest source of the meth and of the precursor chemicals used to produce the synthetic drug that are being smuggled into the Philippines, especially via Sulu and other parts of the country, according to local drug enforcement officials.

“It’s safe to say that the majority of the meth we have comes from China,” said PDEA spokesman Derrick Carreon.

China’s dominant role in the Philippine meth trade has not dissuaded President Duterte from cozying up to Beijing, even as he declares drugs to be his country’s greatest scourge. Duterte is waging a brutal anti-narcotics campaign that has killed more than 2,000 people and led to the arrest of more than 38,000. Police are investigating some 3,000 more deaths.”

And yet President Duterte announced the intention of China to help in the war against drugs. Duh?

Comes the Chinese-sponsored One Belt One Road initiative. Could this be another soft power op to take the world for a ride? Just asking.

But what is in stake for the nations in the OBOR?

“China’s planned pan-Asia railway network, reaching from Kunming in the north to Singapore in the south, is a signature project in Beijing’s One Belt One Road (Obor) initiative.

The economic benefits, if the 3,900 km network connecting all mainland Southeast Asian states with the Middle Kingdom goes forth as planned, could be enormous. There may also be troublesome aspects to countenance too, however: namely an increase in cross-border drug trafficking.

Infrastructure upgrades facilitate the exchange of people, goods, and culture. Yet they can also empower criminals seeking easier and speedier access to new destinations. Transporting illicit drugs via high-speed rail is nothing new.

The Taiwan High Speed Rail line that runs the length of the island’s west coast is an established pipeline for drug runners. In China, arrests of drug traffickers on its high-speed rail system are not uncommon.

One of the latest and most curious cases involved a Chinese smuggler returning from Myanmar with a batch of hollowed-out dragon fruits containing 1,031.28 grams of methamphetamine tablets.

The planned network is currently only moving ahead on the central sections connecting Kunming, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore, with regional geopolitics stalling the eastern and western routes. Given its reach, this line is the most crucial, however.

The country that stands to benefit most is the landlocked, impoverished nation of Laos. An upland nation of 6.5 million people, currently, it has a very meager railway. With the central line in place, its leaders hope to make it a land-linked regional transit center.

Construction officially commenced in December 2016 for the Laotian portion of the line. Running from the China-Laos border to the capital, Vientiane, the route’s total length is 414 km, with bridges and tunnels comprising 62% of a line that traverses rough mountainous terrain.

International narcotics intelligence believe that High-speed rail suits individual drug runners perfectly, with passengers typically allowed 40 kg of luggage per person. At present, traveling from northern Laos to Bangkok takes close to 30 hours by automobile, and even longer during the rainy season. The Luang Namtha to Vientiane drive can be exceptionally draining due to the terrain. But with high-speed rail, a run from northern Laos to Bangkok will easily be reduced to a comfortable five to seven hours.

Laos is the focus here because it is the starting point of the Southeast Asian drug trade. The recent arrests of prominent Laotian drug lords confirmed the rising status of Laotian nationals as leader players in the regional trafficking web.

Alarmingly, the distribution network of Laotian drug lord Xaysana Keopimpha, mapped by the Thai Narcotic Suppression Bureau, followed almost the exact route of the central line. Drugs purchased from jungle depots near Laos’ border with Myanmar were then transported down to Vientiane before crossing into northeastern Thailand, Bangkok, and onward to the entire region. (Source: Is China’s pan-Asia rail network a drug smuggler’s dream? By By Zi Yang, 6/23/17 @atimes)

Is this the prize we have to pay to be linked in the rail system that will bring about more drugs and more deaths?  In the end, who benefits?

 Unsolicited advice to President Duterte is to catch and jail the big fishes, the main source of drugs. Dont be blackmailed by some people pretending to be your friends. Rumor mill especially in the diplomatic circle is full of innuendos as to who are the brains not only of the drug trade but basically all illegal trade interconnecting with top honchos in the government service. If not addressed immediately, there will always be a repeat of history on how leaders fall and there will be no end in sight against his war on drugs and could even backfire when the family of aggrieved lowly users-pushers will file a class suit in the near future...

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Nation's Prosperity at Stake by Erick San Juan

Nation's Prosperity at Stake by Erick San Juan

First year in power of the Duterte administration and one year after The Hague Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling in favor of the Philippines’ claim in the disputed area in the South China Sea, where are we now? Whether we like it or not, the bottom line here is still economics.

We are nearing the ten-year life of productivity of the Malampaya natural gas and we must look into other sources of energy to supply the growing need of the country’s populace. Economic managers and those in the energy department should have considered such important factor to make the Dutertenomics work. Although the president himself said that in time, he will talk to China’s Xi Jinping when it comes to our claim in the South China Sea which the PCA granted us. But Mr. President, we are being overtaken by events and after a year, China’s massive building of military structures are now in place in the SCS where most of our claim is located.

Unfortunately, China’s aggressiveness was based from its “systematic campaign to delegitimize the tribunal and its judges, adopting a “three-nos” policy of non-participation, non-recognition, and non-compliance with the final verdict. At the time, Beijing dismissed the award as a “null and void” decision and “nothing more than a piece of paper.”

Still, Duterte faces growing domestic pressure to adopt a tougher line with Beijing, which many believe has used cordial ties (translation-soft touch op) as cover to consolidate its control over key features. Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio, a prominent supporter of the arbitration strategy, lambasted the president’s supposed lack of “discernible direction, coherence, or vision” in foreign policy.

He has heavily criticized some of Duterte’s remarks, particularly his announcement that he “will set aside the arbitral ruling” in the interest of better relations with China. “This incident [Dutetre’s remark] graphically explains Philippine foreign policy on the South China Sea dispute after the arbitral ruling,” exclaimed Carpio during a high-profile event marking the arbitration award’s first anniversary.

He reiterated the importance of the ruling, since it secured “the Philippines vast maritime zone larger than the total land area of the Philippines.” Instead of setting aside the arbitration award, the magistrate called upon the government to consider filing additional arbitration cases against Beijing if the latter continues its non-compliance with the award.

Senior former government officials, including former Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario, who played a key role in the arbitration proceedings, have echoed similar sentiments against the president. Others have openly accused the Duterte administration of soft-pedaling territorial issues in short-sighted exchange for Chinese economic incentives.” (Source: Has Duterte’s China engagement backfired? By Richard Javad Heydarian @ Asia Times online)

We have to move fast and firm to our claim which is included in our EEZ in order to survive the years ahead for the generations to come. What is at stake to claim what is rightfully ours?

According to U.S. oilfield services company Weatherford, one concession - SC 72 - contains 2.6-8.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That would be as much as triple the amount discovered at the Malampaya project, an offshore field that powers 40 percent of the main island of Luzon, home to the capital Manila.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration believes that beneath the South China Sea could be 11 billion barrels of oil, more than Mexico's reserves, and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Most foreign firms with capital and technology needed to develop those reserves, however, don't want to risk being caught up in spats over jurisdiction and have avoided concessions offered in disputed waters.

Manila's state-run Philex Petroleum (PXP.PS) has the controlling stakes in two stalled concessions, the 880,000-hectare SC-72 at the Reed Bank and the 616,000-hectare SC-75 off the island of Palawan.

The court verdict on July 12 sparked a surge in energy stocks the next day, with Philex shares up as much as 21 percent.

Philex says it is seeking a meeting with Philippine energy officials regarding the potential to lift a suspension order on drilling activities in the Reed Bank, in place since December 2014.

"It's a matter of national importance. We don't want to move on our own without guidance from the government," Philex Chairman Manuel Pangilinan told reporters.

"We will need a partner ... no local company has the expertise that we need."

Department of Energy spokesman Felix William Fuentebella said there were no immediate plans to lift the suspension as the department awaited guidance from new President Rodrigo Duterte.

"The moratorium stays. We are exploring ways to resolve the conflict peacefully and we follow the lead of the President," he said.

Manila and Beijing have both expressed a desire to resume talks, but the Philippines says it could not accept China's pre-condition of not discussing the ruling. (Source: Philippines' oil still in troubled waters after South China Sea ruling by Enrico Dela Cruz)

Now that President Rodrigo Duterte considers resuming energy exploration in the tension-laden South China Sea before the year ends, let us wait and see for China’s leader’s reaction. If the reason for delaying the talk with China on the arbitral ruling is economics then let it be the reason. It is still economics to assert our rights to our claim in order to develop and make Dutertenomics work.

It's our nation's prosperity on the line Mr. President. Your living legacy.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

War Games: Dress Rehearsal for a Real War by Erick San Juan

War Games: Dress Rehearsal for a Real War by Erick San Juan

“Chinese strategy in the South China Sea is expansionary in aim, incremental by design and realist in orientation.”

A revelation made by three PLAN officers on the real goal of China in the South China Sea from the article of Ryan Martinson and Katsuya Yamamoto posted at The National Interest (July 9, 2017) - Three PLAN Officers May Have Just Revealed What China Wants in the South China Sea.

“Jin, Hui and Wang reflect mainstream thinking in the PLA Navy, their views suggest that the new bases were always intended to alter the military balance in the South China Sea—regardless of how Chinese diplomats prefer to highlight their civilian character. Chinese decision-makers probably believe that the balance now tilts strongly in China’s favor, and this is unlikely to change until American completes its great “pivot” to Asia, if it ever does.

We take some comfort in the trio’s apparent desire to avoid armed conflict in the South China Sea. However, their attitudes suggest that the Chinese military may be too cocksure about its own ability to manage a military crisis at sea. Particularly worrisome, America is the assumed adversary, but never do the authors even mention the role nuclear weapons might play in a crisis.”

For obvious reason that China or its head President Xi Jinping is too stubborn and will never engage in multilateral talks nor even acknowledge the ruling at the Permanent Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague that favors the Philippines on its territorial claim.

In its designed intention to expand and increase its territory, setting up military installations is just secondary to ensure that they have a strong foothold on the said extension from the mainland. And the mere fact that the US is the assumed adversary in their grand design, a military conflict is surely in the offing and the region (and the rest of the world) should be wary on who will strike the first nuclear missile.

It jive with the analysis of Prof. Graham Allison of Harvard Kennedy  School warning the US and China could fall into a "Thucydides Trap", a war between Greeks, a dominant superpower and Sparta, the challenger.

Another was the lecture of RAND think tank last August 2016 entitled "War With China, Thinking Through the Unthinkable talking about who will strike first if a crisis overheated.

As I have written before and lectured since 1998, war between the US and China is inevitable, it can be delayed but it will materialize into a shooting war and it could be sooner given the provocations and tension in the South China Sea.

Like the month-long Exercise Talisman Sabre 2017 war games. This year is the largest ever of the biennial training and interoperability exercise hosted by Australia, with more than 30,000 troops, including personnel from the United States, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and Canada participating.

However, as China continues to grow, and the United States continue to pursue total military supremacy, the system now threatens to inflame the very thing it was designed to prevent, large-scale conflict between the region’s most powerful states. The very scenario simulated in Talisman Sabre.

With conflict of this scale considered likely enough to necessitate such enormous preparations, Australian politicians, policymakers, and media outlets should be deeply engaged in a public dialogue centered around defining national interests, defense priorities, and how our relationships with other states reflect these. Instead, Australia sleepwalks along the path of military expansion and confrontation, incapable and unwilling to diverge from American security priorities where they do not reflect our own.

While the public relation branches of the defense forces involved only ever refer to the objectives of the exercise with ambiguous terms like “high end war-fighting”, in bare fact, Talisman Sabre simulates a large-scale confrontation between conventional forces, requiring coordination between all branches of the US military, as well as those of their Asia-Pacific allies. It is a dress-rehearsal of the new American battle doctrine, the Joint Concept for Access and Maneuver in the Global Commons (JAM-GC), which was developed to ensure continued US military dominance of the Western Pacific and the South China Sea, in the face of growing Chinese military capabilities.

In 2015, during the last iteration of Talisman Sabre, the Australian public was treated to a rare moment of political candour when Greens Senator Scott Ludlam publicly criticized the event, stating that he did not believe that it was in the nation’s best interests “to be preparing for a war with China”. (Source: War games could inflame what they aim to prevent: conflict with China by Stuart Rollo [writer focused on Asia-Pacific politics] @the guardian)

Opposition to such huge military exercise (war games) even from among Australia’s government officials (elected) is not new because they know the already tensed situation in the region will only be aggravated by such military war games by involving big players.

There are bigger problems coming (soon) that the Duterte administration will have to face and find solutions to in order to survive, not for him alone but for the whole country. Let us help this administration if Duterte will realize the nation's predicament and threats. If possible make a Council of Advisers to augment the National Security Council to address immediately what trouble we're facing.  Whether we like it or not he is our president and if ever he will fail, the whole Filipino nation will be dragged and we will be 'Fili-finish'.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

FONOP and the Next World War

FONOP and the Next World War
By Erick San Juan

Our country has its own share of security problems, both from local and foreign threats and we are suffering the backlash of the global war on terror where the stage for these terror groups/network has reached our soil. As we tried to finish this nightmare in our country’s history, the threat outside is still very much alive. I am talking about the South China Sea.

According to a June 30 report from Reuters – “China has built new military facilities on islands in the South China Sea, a U.S. think tank reported on Thursday, a move that could raise tensions with Washington, which has accused Beijing of militarizing the vital waterway.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), part of Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, said new satellite images show missile shelters and radar and communications facilities being built on the Fiery Cross, Mischief and Subi Reefs in the Spratly Islands.

The United States has criticized China’s build-up of military facilities on the artificial islands and is concerned they could be used to restrict free movement through the South China Sea, an important trade route.

Last month, a U.S. Navy warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef in a so-called freedom of navigation operation, the first such challenge to Beijing’s claim to most of the waterway since U.S. President Donald Trump took office.

China has denied U.S. charges that it is militarizing the sea, which also is claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Trump has sought China’s help in reigning in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, and tension between Washington and Beijing over military installations in the South China Sea could complicate those efforts.

China has built four new missile shelters on Fiery Cross Reef to go with the eight already on the artificial island, AMTI said. Mischief and Subi each have eight shelters, the think tank said in a previous report.”

Some pundits observed that because of the ongoing North Korea’s nuclear and missile ops, Trump Administration is easy on China due to Beijing’s help in resolving the said issue peacefully for it is well known that NoKor is a friend of China.

“But the Trump administration needs to make it clear that the current balance of power in Asia, while uneasy, is acceptable, but Chinese hegemony is not."

That is the argument Ely Ratner makes in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs:

“In recent years, however, China has begun to assert its claims more vigorously and is now poised to seize control of the sea. Should it succeed, it would deal a devastating blow to the United States’ influence in the region, tilting the balance of power across Asia in China’s favor.” […]

“U.S. policymakers should recognize that China’s behavior in the sea is based on its perception of how the United States will respond. The lack of U.S. resistance has led Beijing to conclude that the United States will not compromise its relationship with China over the South China Sea. As a result, the biggest threat to the United States today in Asia is Chinese hegemony, not great-power war. U.S. regional leadership is much more likely to go out with a whimper than with a bang.”

The commentary comes amid uncertainty regarding the Trump administration’s foreign policy in the region. Many have noted that North Korea has distracted Washington from the issue of the South China Sea, with some speculating that Trump is holding off pressure on that issue – as he implied he has with trade – in exchange for help on the Korean peninsula.

The foreign policy establishment, led by Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, tried to reassure allies in the region this week that the US is not ceding influence in the Pacific to China.

Speaking to lawmakers on Wednesday Mattis said of naval exercises that” This (Freedom of Navigation exercise) is our policy. We will continue this.” He added, “could it change if circumstances change? Of course, but right now Secretary Tillerson and I give him the military factors — and we’re in league together on this, so I don’t think anything is going to change.” (Ibid)

Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP) has long been a major issue for Uncle Sam because the SCS where China has claimed almost all of the area based on its nine-dash line theory and now that it has been militarizing the area, the threat on FONOP is for real. No matter how China puts it, the reclaimed area is now militarized and for a very obvious reason that it was built.

“When reporting on the South China Sea, it has become commonplace for media around the world to draw upon think tank research detailing China’s developing military capable facilities in the region.

Some use the information to bolster campaigns to convince the US Trump administration that China presents an imminent threat to the country’s interests, including freedom of navigation. But the deepening drumbeat for the US to militarily confront China in the South China Sea should be considered with a healthy dose of skepticism.

One report by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies describes China’s latest construction projects in the South China Sea, concluding that it “can now deploy military assets including combat aircraft and mobile missile launchers to the Spratly Islands at any time.”

This is fact. But the AMTI director also warned in a subsequent interview to “look for deployment in the near future”. This implies that China intends to use these facilities to do so. This is supposition.” (Source: Mark Valencia posted @atimes.com)

The threat of war is for real and this FONOP issue will be the spark that will light the tinderbox to the next world war.

Please wake up to reality!