Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Beware of the Twin Arrows by Erick San Juan

Beware of the Twin Arrows by Erick San Juan

If one country could not do anything with geographical matters because it is by far a work of nature, man-made strategy has to be done in order to find solutions to the problem.

In an article “China’s Maritime Choke Points” published at GeoPolitical Futures website, the map showing China’s maritime choke points best explain why China created island where there is no land through reclamation and in the process set up military stations which they denied time and time again that they are not militarizing the area.

Based on the map that one can find at GeoPolitical Futures website – “There are two seas to the east of China – the East China Sea to the north and the South China Sea to the south, with Taiwan positioned in between. Air and naval forces based in Taiwan are, at least in theory, able to prevent movement between the two seas. The Taiwan Strait is fairly narrow and movement by the Chinese to Taiwan’s east forces China to pass near the Philippines to the south, and or through the Ryukyu Islands to the north. Passage through the Ryukyu Islands could be blocked by hostile naval forces or by land-based aircraft and missiles.

Therefore, China has a naval problem. It must assume that in war, it will have two different maritime theaters of operation, the East and South China seas, and will have difficulty moving forces from one to the other. Consequently, it needs a strong navy.”

That is why Taiwan and Luzon (the northern part of the Philippines) are the target future provinces of China in order to achieve its goal of creating a safe passage in the region, translation – Chinese-controlled areas.

“Therefore, it is clear why the Chinese care so much about the Spratly and Paracel islands in the South China Sea. Until they can guarantee that these islands are not controlled by hostile forces, their ability to create a Chinese-controlled channel through the islands framing the South China Sea is limited. They need to clear the islands, both to allow themselves access and to deny anyone the ability to use the islands to cripple operations in the first place. The Chinese are trying to take the first step in guaranteeing their access to the global sea lanes.

China’s naval forces remain inadequate for conflict with the United States. The Chinese have adopted an interim strategy of using air- and land-based anti-ship missile systems to keep the U.S. Navy far to the east and south of the choke points. But these missiles are vulnerable to U.S. air and missile suppression. Therefore, the Chinese are combining them with naval operations intended to intimidate regional nations from working with the United States. As we see in the Philippines, these operations have had the opposite effect. But from the Chinese point of view, this does not change the geographic reality and therefore cannot be seen as a failure, but merely reinforcing the core strategic reality.

One alternative option for the Chinese, if they are unable to mount amphibious operations, is to return to a strategy from the 1960s and use support for insurgencies in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines to create political shifts that would eliminate major threats to Chinese movements. But such insurgencies could force an increase in U.S. naval presence in the region.” (Ibid)

Could it be that China has something to do with the latest communist insurgencies and bold activities in the country despite NDF? Just asking.

Methinks that the Chinese initiative in the One Belt, One Road operation especially in the new 21st century Maritime Silk Road has something to do with China’s plan of creating access to several sea lanes for geopolitical and economic reasons. It has to be done especially if the mighty US is always on the guard to every move of China’s military – may it be in sea, land or air.

In the long run Chinese projects that involve several countries in order to help them economically will benefit China more and make the Xi's China Dream a reality. Although reality checks otherwise, China’s big problem is geography and it is in this area that will stop China from expanding its reach and bypassing the rights of other sovereign nations like the Philippines.

China's Xi Jinping has been spending a lot for their global propaganda machine like the every Tuesday's whole page ad at Philippine Star and Manila Bulletin plus their weekly China Daily Asean edition being given free in strategic places including 5 Star hotels showing too rosy pictures of China.

But what was not told is the internal problem in China, both political and economic where capital flight continue due to Xi's expansion program of its military industrial complex allies. A big bubble is in the offing.

We have to be wary at all times in order to avoid a scenario that will make us the next battleground of an impending proxy war. We have to support our president at all cost if it will save our country from dangers.

Beware not only about 'Operation Reverse Arrow' of getting the Philippines without firing a single shot through 'soft touch' op and using their sleepers, dupes and rags to riches ethnic pro China families. And worst the 'Operation Twin Arrows' of attacking Taiwan using their own 'Lily Pad' of islands. I don't want to be an alarmist but be VERY VIGILANT!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Benham Rise Ruckus by Erick San Juan

Benham Rise Ruckus by Erick San Juan

There is so much fuss on the Benham Rise issue that has actually created tensions even President Rodrigo Duterte himself has already said that there is an agreement between Beijing and Manila before his defense secretary, Delfin Lorenzana came out with a statement that the Chinese ship was doing a survey in the area, translation – an incursion.

President Duterte said that the Chinese have no incursion because we have an agreement and that some people are just blowing it up. It was a research ship. We were advised of it way ahead. Unsolicited advice, Who are the “we” here Mr. President? Many netizens are asking. Because the people in your loop, in your cabinet seems at a lost on whatever that agreement was. We mentioned in our past article that foreign policy of the land should involve its people. The perception seems that the “independent” foreign policy that the President wants is also independent from the people – his constituents. And now the President’s detractors especially in the social media are attacking him due to this ‘decision’.

Even some solons were demanding the Palace on the content of the so called ‘agreement’ with China to do ‘research’ in Benham Rise.

Benham Rise is an underwater landmass 250 kilometres (155 miles) off the east coast of the main island of Luzon. In 2012, the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf approved the Philippines' undisputed territorial claim to Benham Rise.

Some pundits fear that like what happened in the South China Sea, the disputed areas before are now claimed by China and structures were already in place.  And it’s not farfetched that because of the strategic location of the Benham Rise, China will use it as its listening post, possibly a place for its submarine and believed to be another entry point in grabbing Taiwan (Xi's China dream) in the process.

Pundits believe that PRRD  allows such ‘incursion’ for economic reason because China is good in using ‘soft power’ to lure other leaders to kowtow to its whims. And unfortunately, our president is perceived being duped due to the billions of dollars loan given by China to help us improve our economy.

We want to help this administration that is why we all have to be vigilant and help our country against people who are taking advantage of our weakness as a nation, particularly our military.

We already given up some territories in the SCS and now this. Could it be that the alleged plan of China's Xi to make our country as its province is true together with Taiwan?

The recent news about what Taipei’s defense minister said recently that “China is aiming advanced medium-range ballistic missiles at Taiwan as part of a growing military threat towards the island is very alarming.

The announcement came after Taiwan said for the first time last week that it is capable of launching missiles at China as it warned of an increased invasion risk.

China still sees Taiwan as part of its territory to be brought back into its fold, by force if necessary, even though the island has been self-governing since the two sides split after a civil war in 1949.

Ties have worsened since Beijing-sceptic President Tsai Ing-wen took power last year, ending an eight-year rapprochement.

The DF-16 (Dongfeng 16) is capable of precise strikes against Taiwan and has been deployed by the Rocket Force of the People’s Liberation Army, defense minister Feng Shih-kuan said.

Feng told lawmakers the development comes as China “strengthens its weaponry modernization and military hard power”.

He did not say how many missiles had been deployed or where.

Taiwan has said China is targeting the island with around 1,500 missiles — this is the first time the defense ministry identified the DF-16 as among them.

Beijing has severed all official communications with Taipei since Tsai became leader in May and has been accused of blocking the island’s political representatives from attending international events. (Source: AFP 3-20-2017)

We knew about this plan of China’s annexation of Luzon with Taiwan for so long and talked about it on our radio program and in writing. The possibilities are getting stronger as we witness the slow but sure way of encirclement of our territories by China using soft 'touch' operation.

Our nation’s patriots are urging PRRD not to let it happen under his term not in the future. God bless the Philippines.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Global War Design by Erick San Juan

Global War Design by Erick San Juan

Another global hotspot is brewing and if not manage with cool heads and by strategic thinkers, another regional conflict is in the offing. We are referring to the Korean Peninsula – the North and South Korea that lately has become another tinderbox that is waiting for a 'spark' that could trigger its explosion.

Like the most talked about controversial ADIZ courtesy of China in the region, there is another far worse controversy that is not welcome in the region – THAAD.

In his article “The Korean Crisis and the THAAD Missile Deployment: A Growing Tinderbox in the South”, Caleb Maupin writes: “As the first military hardware associated with the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, commonly called THAAD, arrives in the southern region of the Korean Peninsula, the tensions around and within the  region seem to be escalating. A number of ongoing crises in South Korea are starting to take their toll, and could have regional and global implications.

The most prominent source of tension is the new missile system being erected in cooperation with the United States. The narrative in US media surrounding THAAD is that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, smeared as “the crazy North Koreans,” is threatening to destroy the Republic of Korea located in the south. The new missile system is said to simply be a mechanism for protecting a vulnerable, democratic US ally, that faces being wiped out. Mark Toner of the US State Department described the erection of THAAD as “frankly a response to a threat.”

Who is mad about THAAD? And Why?

Objections to THAAD are not only coming from Pyongyang. Moscow and Beijing have both spoken up against the new missile system for reasons that are routinely ignored in US media discourse.

South Korea is hardly unprotected and alone. This is the reason why wealthy Koreans are migrating worldwide to avoid a possible shooting war in the offing. Many Koreans in the Philippines are creating their own Korean towns in key cities where they can do commerce.

The United States already has 28,500 troops in South Korea. It also has F-16 fighter aircraft and A-10 bomber jets. South Korea’s military is also very well stocked, with F-35 Fighter Jets, Aegis Destroyers, and all kinds of military hardware purchased from the United States.

The THAAD missile system being erected in a contract with Lockheed-Martin, in cold war terms, is a “strike enabling system.” Once the system is completed, the US and South Korean forces that are already in the Peninsula are free to launch an attack on North Korea, China, or Russia. The THAAD system, modeled after Israel’s Iron Dome, would prevent retaliation strikes aimed at disabling the attackers. THAAD enables the US and South Korea to begin striking countries in the region, while shielding themselves from any response. Furthermore, THAAD includes a radar system that will closely monitor regional activity, not only in North Korea, but also in northern China.

Its not hard to tell why Russia and China are loudly objecting to this multi-billion dollar military project. Strike enabling systems with penetrating radars are not a mechanism of defusing tension, in an already tense region. THAAD is the latest development in the Pentagon’s ongoing “Asian Pivot,” moving forces into the Pacific. Similar moves have already escalated tensions in the South China Sea.”

The Pentagon’s ‘Asian Pivot’ is still very much in place and has already created an arms race and a modern day cold war producing more tension in the already tense region.

Even within South Korea “many Koreans have protested against the completion of the THAAD project. The demonstrators, by and large, are not even subversives nor radicals, but simply patriotic Koreans who believe hostile moves against their Chinese and Russian neighbors do not serve the country’s interest. Among opponents is the well-known politician Lee Jae-myung, who is one of the “big three” likely to run in the upcoming Korean presidential election.

Lee Jae-Myung, who wants the US military presence scaled back, is one of the so called “big three” expected to run in the upcoming election. More and more Koreans agree with his argument that allying with the United States against the north, China, and Russia, is not in the people’s best interest. Furthermore, less than 4% of the population stands behind the disgraced President Park. South Korea could soon be moving in the same direction as the Philippines, where the long standing neoliberal, pro-American status quo was shaken up by the election of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.

With the THAAD controversy boiling, amid bribery scandals, impeachment proceedings, discontent with the status quo, and renewed tensions with the North, and ailing economy, the southern half of the Korean peninsula is gradually becoming more and more of a global hotspot. The point of disagreement seems to be about the role southern Korean will play in the world. Will it remain an extension of US influence in Asia, or will the southern half of the Korean peninsula follow in the footsteps of its powerful Chinese neighbors and northern countryfolk? Will Koreans in the south declare their economic, political, and military independence from the United States and Japan?

These questions, which have driven so many uprisings, protests, military coups, and strikes since 1945 are not going away any time soon. (Source: Caleb Maupin, political analyst and activist based in New York)

It seems more and more flashpoints are created due to geopolitical and economic issues between nations in the hottest spot in the world, the Asia-Pacific region and the programmed design of a global war is inevitable and the delay is getting shorter like a ticking bomb.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

In the Brink of War by Erick San Juan

In the Brink of War by Erick San Juan

The world, is in the brink of war as tensions from different parts of the planet occur almost on a regular basis showing off their latest firepower like what North Korea did recently.

“North Korea’s launch of four missiles on Monday was a training exercise for a strike on US bases in Japan and was supervised by leader Kim Jong-un, Pyongyang’s state media said Tuesday.

Three of the four missiles came down provocatively close to Japan, in waters that are part of its exclusive economic zone, representing a challenge to the US administration. Another was fiund at east asia.

Washington and Tokyo have sought an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the launch, likely to be scheduled for Wednesday.

Under UN resolutions, Pyongyang is barred from any use of ballistic missile technology, and the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said on Twitter that the world “won’t allow” North Korea to continue on its “destructive path55.”

But six sets of UN sanctions since its first nuclear test in 2006 have failed to halt Pyongyang’s drive for what it insist are defensive weapons.

Kim Jong-un ordered his military “to keep highly alert as required by the grim situation in which an actual war may break out anytime”, KCNA reported, and to be ready to “open fire to annihilate the enemies” when ordered.” (By Agence France-Presse, March 7, 2017)

The scud missiles fired by North Korea provocatively near Japan and over the Korean Peninsula are clear signs of war provocations which Kim Jong-un said that “an actual war may break out anytime”.  US allies like Japan and South Korea have reacted strongly against such actions by North Korea :

‘This clearly shows North Korea has entered a new stage of threat’
—Shinzo Abe, Japan’s PM

`The results of the North having a nuclear weapon in its hands will be gruesome beyond imagination’
— Hwang Kyo-ahn, South Korea’s acting President

Even Beijing has become increasingly frustrated with Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile activities, and last month announced a suspension of all coal imports from the North until the end of the year — a crucial source of foreign currency.

Pyongyang wants to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the US mainland — something Trump has vowed would not happen.

It has undoubtedly made progress in its efforts in recent years, although questions remain over its ability to master re-entry technology and miniaturize a nuclear weapon sufficiently to fit it onto a missile warhead. (Ibid)

For over a decade since its first nuclear test and sanctions were already given to NoKor by the United Nations, and now this? How come? What happen to UN’s sanctions? Questions that have to be addressed soon before an actual war of Kim will materialize.

On the other side of the globe, “Trump’s 'Moderate' Defense Secretary Has Already Brought Us to the Brink of War” the title of Mehdi Hasan’s article – “Did you know that the Trump administration almost went to war with Iran at the start of February?

Perhaps you were distracted by Gen. Michael Flynn’s resignation as national security adviser or by President Trump’s online jihad against Nordstrom. Or maybe you missed the story because the New York Times bizarrely buried it in the midst of a long piece on the turmoil and chaos inside the National Security Council.

Defense Secretary James Mattis, according to the paper, wanted the U.S. Navy to “intercept and board an Iranian ship to look for contraband weapons possibly headed to Houthi fighters in Yemen. … But the ship was in international waters in the Arabian Sea, according to two officials. Mr. Mattis ultimately decided to set the operation aside, at least for now. White House officials said, "that was because news of the impending operation leaked.”

Get that? It was only thanks to what Mattis’s commander in chief has called “illegal leaks”, that the operation was (at least temporarily) set aside and military action between the United States and Iran was averted.

Am I exaggerating? Ask the Iranians. “Boarding an Iranian ship is a shortcut” to confrontation, says Seyyed Hossein Mousavian, former member of Iran’s National Security Council and a close ally of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Even if a firefight in international waters were avoided, the Islamic Republic, Mousavian tells me, “would retaliate” and has “many other options for retaliation.”

Trita Parsi, head of the National Iranian American Council and author of the forthcoming book “Losing an Enemy — Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy,” agrees. Such acts of “escalation” by the Trump administration, he tells me, “significantly increases the risk of war.”

So why would a retired Marine Corps general such as Mattis be willing to provoke a conflict with Tehran over a single ship? The fact is that Mattis, too, is perceived to be obsessed with Iran. He has hyperbolically called the Islamic Republic “the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East” and — in a Trump-esque descent into the world of conspiracy theories — suggested Tehran is working with ISIS. “Iran is not an enemy of ISIS,” Mattis declaimed in 2016, because “the one country in the Middle East that has not been attacked” by ISIS “is Iran. That is more than happenstance, I’m sure.”

According to the Washington Post, in the run-up to the talks over Iran’s nuclear program, “Israelis may have questioned Obama’s willingness to use force against Iran. … But they believed Mattis was serious.” The general, in his capacity as head of U.S. Central Command, even proposed launching “dead of night” airstrikes on Iranian soil in 2011, in retaliation for Tehran’s support for anti-American militias in Iraq — a proposal rejected by White House officials who were worried that it “risked starting yet another war in the Middle East.”

Mousavian is puzzled by the defense secretary’s hawkishness: “He is one of the most experienced U.S. generals and he knows … the consequences of confrontation with Iran would be tenfold what the U.S. experienced in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.”

Mattis allegedly has been tied to some of the worst war crimes of the Iraq invasion. It was he who gave the order to attack the village of Mukaradeeb in April 2004 — a decision he would later admit took him only 30 seconds to approve — which killed 42 civilians, including 13 children, who were attending a wedding there. “I don’t have to apologize for the conduct of my men,” he told reporters.

Six months later, in November 2004, it was Mattis who planned the Marine assault on Fallujah that reduced that city to rubble, forced 200,000 residents from their homes, and resulted, according to the Red Cross, in at least 800 civilian deaths.”

We are all living dangerously that any moment a war may broke out and with the political bickering among our country’s 'pulpolitikos', we are really looking for trouble as if nobody is minding the store – again?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

War Cycle is On by Erick San Juan

War Cycle is On by Erick San Juan

“Territorial disputes, coupled with Beijing’s increased militarization of the South China Sea, may sway US policymakers to believe that military conflict with China is inevitable. However, such a conflict is avoidable if the US chooses its policy carefully and implements a strategy that all but eliminates military action.” (Source: Michael Brady, Asia Times online)

Yes, it is still avoidable but for how long can the delay be if Beijing is very firm and confident that nothing can stop them for fortifying the disputed areas in the South China Sea. And according to Brady, the main reason for such actions by China are the resources that are found in the SCS.

The South China Sea is rich with natural resources. According to the US Geological Survey, 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas can be found in the hotly disputed region. The Chinese, however, indicate the area may hold more than 200 billion barrels of oil and up to 750 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Regardless of the exact quantity, these estimates are the primary reason Beijing continues to assert its claim over the region. For China to continue its economic initiatives, unrestricted access to oil and gas remains a national priority.

In addition, 12% of the world’s fish catch is in the South China Sea. Since China consumes about 25% of all seafood globally, it’s no wonder it continues to claim vast swaths of the region and insists its fisherman have the right to catch there.”

So if these vast resources will feed the entire population of China for years to come, the comments of Tillerson and Bannon will make China angry.

What was not told in public were the rare earth metals newly found in the Philippines like Palladium, etc. plus the vast natural gas reserve at Benham Rise near the Pacific.

“At a recent US Senate confirmation hearing, now Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated: “We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops. And second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed.” Tillerson’s comment clearly indicate that President Donald Trump and his administration are willing to use military force if Chinese activities continue. This comment is similar in tone to Steve Bannon’s during a podcast in March 2016 when he stated, “We’re going to war in the South China Sea in five to 10 years.” (Bannon is now senior adviser to President Trump.)

Trump and his national-security team need to understand that China’s claim are primarily driven by the need for resources, not sovereignty. According to recent reports, China’s population will reach approximately 1.4 billion by 2020. As China’s population continues to increase, demand for resources such as fisheries and oil will rise. China’s inability to feed its population in the future may ultimately lead to conflict, with or without US intervention.” (Ibid)

If it’s going to be the US alone that can stop China for grabbing territories in order to take resources to sustain its growing population then so it be. A need that is very basic to humanity but China should also consider the needs of its neighbors so that it will be a win-win solution to every nation in the region.

For Prof. Richard Javad Heydarian’s observation, he writes : “US-China rivalry in the South China Sea is ringing alarm bells in littoral Southeast Asian nations, with fears rising that Donald Trump’s administration could tilt the region’s delicate balance towards conflict.

China has recently expanded its strategic footprint on various disputed features, deploying new weapons systems and establishing advanced military facilities on artificially reclaimed islands in both the Spratly and Paracel chains.

Trump’s administration has indicated it views China’s action as a direct challenge to freedom of navigation and overflight in one of the world’s most important sea lines of trade and communications, and a challenge to American strategic primacy in the Western Pacific.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggested during his confirmation hearing that the US could impose a naval blockade on China’s artificial islands in the Spratlys. The threat was followed by this week’s deployment of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to the South China Sea as part of so-called “routine operations” in the area.

Washington’s deployment of the USS Carl Vinson, accompanied by an armada of warships, was a clear signal that neither will America sit by idly as the strategic balance shifts. The last time America showed such force in the South China Sea was in early 2016, when there were concerns of imminent Chinese reclamation activity on the Philippine-claimed Scarborough Shoal.

That was under the pro-US Philippine President Benigno Aquino administration, which was replaced last July by the at least outwardly more China-friendly Duterte. China’s growing military prowess, its putting pressure on America to develop a stronger naval presence in the region, with power projection capabilities at nearby bases, particularly at Subic and Oyster Bay in the Philippines.

But without stronger engagement and clearer messaging under Trump, it is not clear if those or other regional facilities will be available when America most needs them.”

Not only under US President Donald Trump that should have clearer messaging but most especially our very own President Rody Duterte, because our country can be used by China as its springboard in accomplishing its claim in the SCS and Taiwan in the process to achieve Pres. Xi Jinping's China dream. The current administration of Pres. Duterte allowed it in his belief and in order to avoid conflict for obvious reason that we don’t have the capability to go to war with China.

In order not to tilt the balance towards creating a regional conflict that may end up into a global war in the process, leaders of nation and all the other stakeholders should sit down and talk, after all diplomacy should be on the top of the list to straighten up misunderstandings. In so doing miscalculation will be avoided.

But the Chinese missiles being deployed in the nearby reefs and the perceived war cycle is on and predicted to go all hell by the third quarter of this year is really worrisome.

May God forbid!