Sunday, September 20, 2015

Hi-Tech Warfare by Erick San Juan

Hi-Tech Warfare by Erick San Juan

Advance science and technology has its good and bad effects depending on the purpose of the creator of the project. No matter what the intention is, sometimes accident happen and thus creating unfortunate effects on mankind. Like the EMP – electromagnetic pulse.

“In 1962, during the depths of the Cold War, the U.S. military exploded a nuclear weapon high above an atoll in the Pacific Ocean. Dubbed 'Operation Starfish', this exercise was part of a larger project to evaluate the impact of nuclear explosions in space. The missile, launched from Johnson Island, 900 miles from Hawaii, was armed with a 1.4 megaton warhead, programmed to explode at 240 miles above the earth. It detonated as expected. What was not entirely expected was the magnitude of the resulting electromagnetic pulse (EMP).

The EMP was powerful enough to affect the electric grid in Hawaii, blowing out streetlights, resulted in telephone outages and radio blackouts.

Dr. William Graham was active in the follow-up of the project, working out of the Air Force weapons lab in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After the blast, it was his job to understand the data collected, find out just what had happened in Hawaii, and what the defense implications were of this phenomenon.

According to Dr. Graham, the effects were bizarre and almost entirely unanticipated.  One effect was an electromagnetic pulse, but nobody knew it was going to be anywhere nearly as large it proved to be.  They had all this data and they didn’t understand very much of it, including the EMP's that had been observed and the effects produced…all kinds of electrical disturbances were seen over 1,000 kilometers away in Oahu. "The Air Force brought in a bunch of us…and asked us to explain it.  With the leadership of scientists from Los Alamos, we figured it out.  It was a fairly subtle piece of physics.  At that time we were worried it could be used as a precursor attack on the U.S. and suppress our retaliatory capability.  Since the effect wasn’t really understood before 1962, our military system hadn’t protected against it up to that point.” (Source: Peter Kelly-Detwiler,

Back in May this year, a report in a Wall Street Journal by missile defense expert Henry Cooper and electromagnetic-pulse (EMP) attack specialist Peter Vincent Fry brought home just how dangerous letting the nuclear genie out of the lamp has become.

An EMP strike, most likely from the detonation of a nuclear weapon in space, would destroy unprotected military and civilian electronics nationwide, blacking out the electric grid and other critical infrastructure for months or years. The staggering human cost of such a catastrophic attack is not difficult to imagine.

What is your president doing to protect you against these inevitable threats? Not enough, of course. They write:

"US President Barack Obama has not acted on the EMP Commission’s draft executive order to protect national infrastructure that is essential to provide for the common defense. Hardening the national electric grid would cost a few billion dollars, a trivial amount compared with the loss of electricity and lives following an EMP attack. The U.S. also should deploy one of its existing transportable radars in the Philippines to help the ground-based interceptors at California’s Vandenberg Air Force defend the country against an attack from the south.

Congress hasn’t been doing much better, but presidential leadership and commitment could perhaps overcome congressional inertia.

Congress also has failed to act on the plans of its own EMP commission to protect the electric grid and other civilian infrastructure that depends on a viable electric grid—such as communications, transportation, banking—that are essential to the economy. In recent years, the GRID Act, the Shield Act, and the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act have gained bipartisan and even unanimous support in the House, yet they died in the Senate.”

Imagine, the US Congress failed to secure their electric grid against a possible electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack and to think they were supposed to have the most advanced technology to do so, aside from the fact that their enemies are growing strong in the same field.

Such scenario is not farfetched here in our country when it comes to our own electric grid. Unfortunately the irony of its name (NGCP) National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, is partly owned by the State Grid Corporation of China and the Board of Directors are dominated by Chinese and Chinoy Taipans. So what else is new?

The backbone of any country’s electric supply and other forms of communication are crucial and should be owned and operated by the state because it involves national security. It is about time to rethink and nationalize our public utilities.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Show of Force? By Erick San Juan

Show of Force? By Erick San Juan

Chinese leaders are torn by two conflicting goals: The desire to regain “lost” islands and waters and a need to maintain stable relations with neighbors and America.
(By Ryan Martinson)

The irony that is China – wanted to maintain a peaceful region and at the same time raising the tension by building military structures in their reclamation projects in the contested areas.
Moreover the ‘parade’ of China’s military capabilities last September 3 “to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the surrender of Japan and the end of World War II is perceived by pundits as a real show of force. The parade was the largest since at 2009, when the Chinese Communist Party celebrated 60 years in power. Considering that China is a nation with a fast modernizing military, Stratfor watched the events closely, keeping an especially attentive eye out for the potential display of new weaponry and equipment.

China showed off a large number of cruise and ballistic missiles during the parade, highlighting the scale of its expanded missile arsenal. The designations of these missiles were written in non-Chinese characters, indicating that Beijing wanted to show the world its missile prowess. (Stratfor)
The show of China’s military might which was supposed to be the commemoration of the end of WWII only proved that the world never learned from history.  The mere fact that top level overseas ethnic Chinese were invited and well represented with their local media assets in tow. Is this a deliberate provocation and at the same time a warning to a ‘perceived enemy’?

If that is the intention, how can there be stability in the region? Actually this is the reason why there is an arms race, every nation (especially claimants in the SCS) in the region has started stockpiling military hardware. Aside from the fact that former allies (and non-allies) turned to the ‘big brother’ for armaments and other support to secure their country in case a war broke out.

As what Stratfor observed – “the Chinese undoubtedly will continue to invest heavily in their conventional ballistic and cruise missile arsenal. These missiles will become more capable over time, giving Beijing a powerful tool it can use to threaten, deter or target its potential enemies. As China’s missile arsenal becomes more prominent, the United States and its allies in East Asia will continue developing means to mitigate this threat. The continuing development of Chinese missiles with US and allied countermeasures will remain an important component in the evolution of the security balance in the Pacific.”

Security balance cannot be achieved, it is more on the question of the real intention of such military build up and how can it affect the stable relations among the countries in the region.

In Ryan Martinson article (September 11, 2015) he wrote - "During a July 2015 television news show, Renmin University professor Shi Yinhong was asked to define China’s strategy in the South China Sea. After first declining to answer the question—'I can’t tell this to outsiders. I can’t tell you.', the raspy-voiced professor quickly found a compromise between discretion and the academic’s inherent need to expatiate. With fellow guest, naval analyst Li Jie, nodding on, Shi described China’s strategy in four characters: which means 'bubu weiying' : “Building fortifications after each new advance.”

Professor Shi’s image of an army on the march, carefully consolidating its position after new territory is gained, is only the latest in a long line of metaphors used to depict China’s recent expansion in maritime East Asia. Most are products of American minds. They range from the sartorial to the salacious. Some, like “salami slicing,” are standard terms used by political scientists for decades. Many will doubtless serve as fodder for future scholars seeking to understand both the observers and the observed.”

Therefore no one will know the actual intention and how far will it go in order to achieve its goals. In the end, it’s the weaker nations that will suffer the consequences due to selfishness.
As long as mankind will not heed to the lessons of history especially during the past world wars, lives will be wasted and nothing will be gained but sufferings and more hatred.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Conflict: Outside Looking In by Erick San Juan

Majority of Filipinos are concerned about the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China, according to United States-based Pew Research Center.

In the regional poll, nine out of 10 respondents from the Philippines expressed the most concern about territorial conflicts in the region. Some 56 percent were very concerned while 35 percent were somewhat concerned.

This was followed by Vietnam and Japan, whose 83 percent of citizens were worried about the sea dispute with China.

More Vietnamese are very concerned (60 percent) than the Japanese (52 percent). Those saying they are somewhat concerned were 23 percent in Vietnam and 31 percent in Japan.
Others who expressed fears of the territorial dispute were South Korea (78 percent), Australia (63 percent), India (62 percent), Pakistan (45 percent), Malaysia (45 percent) and Indonesia (41 percent). (From various sources)

Such survey is long overdue to state that Filipinos and other countries in the region are worried and very concerned over territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The mere fact that China has been very vocal on their increased military budget and display of firepower plus the massive reclamation operations are enough reasons that people in this part of the region should be very concerned. And actually the rest of the world to be nervous because any miscalculation and stupidity may cause a regional conflict that can actually lead to a global war.

This survey has also created a somewhat division among observers and analysts, one issue in point is who is the real threat in the region, the US or China? Who benefits from the survey? And most of all what could be the real motive of the said survey? 
What worries pundits outside looking in was the recent statement of China's President Xi Jinping at the Commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japan and the World Anti-Fascist War in Beijing, to quote: "In the interest of peace, China will remain committed to peaceful development. We Chinese love peace. No matter how much stronger it may become, China will never seek hegemony or expansion. It will never inflict its past suffering on any other nation....." Most intelligence analysts believe that the address of Xi could be following the line of Sun Tzu's Art of War, a double speak. Translation-war,war,war!

Could this be the reason why more foreign warships of allies are in the area to protect nation-states?

In one social network group through yahoo mail where I am an active participant, I gave my rejoinder by saying that to argue and fight over who the real threat is and how are we going to deal with China in the issue of the South China Sea are actually of lesser concern. I shared with the group that to argue over spilled milk will not help, we have to prepare for the worst. The worst mistakes our leaders did.

The reality is – we are not prepared at all to fight an external threat. What we have to face right now, domestically, is too much corruption veiled in the guise of rhetorics and play of words like 'daan matuwid’ where officials are beholden to bribe givers, conniving with power brokers and foreign governments with vested interests.

There's NO ACCOUNTABILITY. "Nilalahat ko na." After 'waltzing' with their scheming funders, some of them even attempted to defy their local and foreign 'boss'. Look what happened to them? Planned killing disguised as plane crash, assassination, proxy killing due to greed for power and vengeance against people who don't want to tow the line anymore. Putting them behind bars to teach them a lesson and so many kinds of treachery in the 'Book'.

We have to be ever vigilant. The immediate external enemies will not attack us frontally. The enemy is again from within. We have to review our history, especially the possible pattern of scenario when before the Second World War where the Japanese were the poor OFW's who were actually 'sleepers' (hibernated agents, spies and operators) who metamorphosed as officers and members of the Japanese Imperial Army.

I don’t want to sound like an alarmist but how sure are we that our friendly ethnic wealthy Chinese neighbors and siblings are still with us? Most of them strategically control in their pockets barangay officials, local politicians (few are now in the government service, military and law enforcement).

This is a nagging question that we have to consider in order to protect our country from forces within. Are we united to stand against such threat? This is the time we have to be serious and gather our act together if we want to win this battle. Be ever be vigilant and may God bless us all.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Which Interest Will Prevail? by Erick San Juan

Which Interest Will Prevail? by Erick San Juan

The U.S. regards itself as the leader of the world, which clearly reveals its mentality of hegemony. It also holds that hegemony and contributes to stability, but this is not the fact.

A good example is the Iraq war, launched by the U.S. more than ten years ago and caused unprecedented turmoil. The reason why the U.S. was repeatedly set back is it seeks to shape an unfair global order in which it tends to monopolize benefits. (Source: Zhang Yuan (People's Daily Online), August 27, 2015)

This statement only proves that countries like China and Russia will always seek ways to change this US tendency to be the dominant superpower and divert to multi-polar world. And according to Zhang Yuan, “Sino-Russian" relations are closer than they have been at any time in the past fifty years, giving them the chance to reshape the global order to their liking.

Indeed China and Russia intend to improve the global order instead of ruining it. Both will carry forward good things from the current order. Moreover, U.S. dominance has damaged the development and security of international community, so any U.S. wishful actions to overthrow other countries’ regime must be thwarted.

China proposes to join the U.S. to build a new type of major power relationship, which is different from the order dominated by Washington: never seek confrontation and conflicts. The U.S. should change its mentality to work with China to build a mutually beneficial new type of relationship.”

But despite the rhetorics, China and then USSR had been in conflict for so long. According to Agence France Presses 9/1/15 beneath the Sino-Russian warmth, there is still a border fear and betrayal. It reportedly started during China's cultural revolution where anyone who had contact with foreigners was held liable to be branded a spy. Despite China and Russian current closeness and shared communist past, the neighbors were once bitter rivals, their enmity reaching the brink of war during the time of Chairman Mao Zedong.

This is the reason why the meeting of the G2 (US and China) leaders this September is crucial as we mentioned in our last article on the events to look out for this month. Although – "Assessing US national security adviser Susan Rice’s weekend consultations in Beijing, the Global Times acknowledged that tensions have been building up in the relations and the root problem is that China’s rise is 'causing a sense of crisis' in the US thinking, which manifests as China-bashing. Whereas China’s past attitude has been to ignore the 'hawkish noises at critical times of China-US ties,' it has not yielded positive results and, therefore, Chinese authorities could consider some systemic adjustment in order to enhance the effectiveness of their responses, and resources home and abroad need to be mobilized.” (BY M.K. Bhadrakumar on Asia Times online)

Remember that the visit to Beijing by US National Security Advisor Susan Rice last August 28-29 prior to President Xi Jinping’s US visit was also met with opposition: “On the eve of Rice’s arrival in Beijing, Chinese navy conducted a live fire drill in the East China Sea. According to Xinhua, the “exercise involved more than 100 warships, dozens of aircraft and several missile launch battalions. Nearly 100 missiles and several hundred shells and bombs were fired during the exercise.”

A commentary featured by People’s Daily on the eve of Rice’s arrival in Beijing asserted that China cannot accept the global order that is “shaped to the US liking” as it “jeopardized China’s legitimate interests.” It said the US’ “mentality of hegemony … seeks to shape an unfair global order in which it tends to monopolize benefits” and this adversely impacts stability and security. The commentary asserted that China and Russia “intend to improve the global order” without disrupting it and will “thwart” the US’ agenda of regime change.

Equally, an article last week in the National Interest magazine penned by the Chinese ambassador in Washington, Cui Tiankai, in the run-up to Xi’s visit to the US was noticeably lacking in effusiveness. Somber in tone, it urged the US to foster “good habits of cooperation,” which Cui explained in these lines – “never lose focus, stick to shared goals and interests, accommodate each others legitimate concerns, benefit from each others wisdom, overcome obstacles that hold us back – and most importantly – prevent our differences from dominating the agenda of the bilateral relationship.”

Although China’s Xi Jinping’s visit to Washington was met by opposition even from US presidentiables, it will be an event that will alter the geopolitical stage.

In spite of the propaganda and counter propaganda coming from different camps, the best interest will surely prevail.

Assessments coming from some experts in geopolitics see this meeting of Obama and Xi as an effort to somehow ease the tension in the Pacific region. But for whatever its worth, let us give peace a chance so that development of countries in the region can be realized.