sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Monday, May 15, 2017

Here and There (Geopolitical Commentary)

China: One Belt - One Road

We've discussed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor before on this blog. The Chinese concept of "all roads lead to China" is not a new one. It stretches back into antiquity. During the Bronze Age (The period is divided into three phases: Early Bronze Age(2000–1500 BC), Middle Bronze Age (1500–1200 BC), and Late Bronze Age (1200 – c. 500 BC), most of the tin used in the production of bronze was imported to the Mediterranean region from Afghanistan. It was the beginning of the Silk Road. Modern China wants to recreate this to bring new wealth to China.

On 14 and 15 May, 29 heads of state or government gathered for China’s One Belt, One Road infrastructure summit in Beijing, and the US press covered it to varying degrees. The corrupt, smug, elite media did a poor job of explaining the historic context and precedence along with the implications of those to take Chinese money to facilitate the New Silk Road.


This is the second major international event in which China has asserted a leadership role as the advocate for world economic integration. The first was President Xi Jinping’s speech at the World Economic Forum at Davos in January. China is laying the groundwork for shifting the focus of the world economy of the future towards the Central Kingdom, China.

The One Belt, One Road project offers the promise of wealth, but most of that will go to China, as Pakistan has discovered. One Pakistani economist found that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) already has increased Pakistan’s national debt by $2.5 billion, with no benefit for Pakistan. 

According to Asia Times, a leading Pakistani industrialist said, “There is absolutely nothing in the CPEC for the local trade and industry; even the labor is coming from China, which will cause a steep escalation in the operational cost of the project.” Pakistan is obliged to grant tax exemptions and holidays to Chinese companies that are doing the actual work and importing the construction materials, not Pakistani companies. Pakistanis guard the Chinese. CPEC is a form of economic indenture.

If it sounds too good to be true, it is probably related to the One Belt, One Road project. 

Yemen

The Yemen government announced an emergency in Sana’a because of a cholera outbreak that has killed 51 people since late April.

The World Health Organization said on 11 May that 2,752 people are suspected cases. Fifty-eight more cases have been confirmed. The war is pointless, but its effects continue to ripple through the civilian population. As usual, disease, hunger and pestilence cause more casualties than combat. The water is fouled. 

The situation is complicated by the different factions, all trying to assert control over Yemen. There are the Saudis exercising heavy pull in the north (along the Saudi Border); the Southern Transition Council in Aden, backed by United Arab Emirates and Abu Dhabi; The Iranian Houthis; and the various local groups, each of which wants to carve out their own turf and sovereignty.

The war will continue and the decaying degradation of basic human services for the civilian infrastructure will continue and more people will simply die of disease and hunger. It's a familiar refrain to those of us who have seen war.

Turkey

On 12 May, Turkish authorities again extended the purge into the financial world. They arrested 102 stock exchange workers who are suspected of being sympathetic to the coup plotters of last July. Security officials conducted raids in six major cities.

The official story is that a secret clique of stock exchange employees was embedded in the country’s stock exchange – Borsa Istanbul (BIST). The last time the purge executives arrested workers in the financial world was July 2016. 

The reality is that a totalitarian state is being formed from what was once free Turkey. Round-ups such as this will continue as will the genocide against the Kurds. As to the Kurdish situation, murdering Kurds passes for recreation in the Turkish Army.

Central African Republic

The anti-Balaka Christian militias have again attacked UN peacekeepers and Muslims in Bangassou. The head of the UN mission, MINUSCA, said that up to 30 people might have died in weekend atrocities.

The sectarian killings apparently surged after the departure of French and Ugandan peacekeepers. The anti-Balaka attacks against the UN base appear to stem from a belief that the MINUSCA forces are protecting Muslims, which they are...

It's one of the few places in the world where Christians are fighting back against Islam.

However, in Africa, as with most places, it's more about local war lords and control of land and resources than it is about 'faith'.

The USA

The corrupt, lying, elite, smug, mainstream media and their masters in the Democrat Party (though I'm not sure who is really in charge) continue to project a US image abroad of a hopelessly divided nation and of a President who is incapable of governing. Because they have a political agenda and strive to make news (thus to make 'reality') rather than merely report it, nothing that they say can be taken with even so much as a grain of salt. But that's not the image.

Much of the world is perplexed at the near worship of trans-gender behavior, of sodomy and other "culture" in the USA. They need to dig down to the vast portion of the population who voted for Donald Trump to see that most of the nation by geographic measure still operates outside of the corrupt media guidelines and don't take marching orders from "their betters".

A US President lives in a bubble - literally, and I think that for President Trump, it's disconcerting. That notwithstanding, his pace of repealing Obama's executive orders has been remarkable and effective as he strives to make America great again.


And then there are the investigations:



This and That


Monday Sermonette: 

There are lots of memes out there. This is one of my favorites (left). Life produces only two things - time and the choice of how to spend it. There are lots of people with other ideas, but it comes down to that. Wise use of that time requires that you be true to yourself. Loving and being loved without condition is the key to happiness and friendship. 

Thus ends the sermonette.

My son-in-law took a photo of my oldest daughter and his three boys/my grandsons for Mother's Day. She's a professional photographer and he's taking credit for having pulled off a miracle. He told all three boys to look at him and smile and they did. Yes, raising three boys is akin to herding cats.

The corrupt, elite, smug, lying mainstream media irritates me.  And it irritates my family, whose political belief follow closely in line with my own. Thus, some of the Mother's Day talk around the table was devoted to blaggarding the network news and the Democrat Party - which is the same thing, for being generally full of deceit. The only thing that is certain is that they hate President Trump more than anything else. It becomes a ringing endorsement for Trump, who may not be the 'ideal president' - somebody define that for me without bringing up the infinitely corrupt Hillary R. Clinton, Bitch of Benghazi, or the equally corrupt, metrosexual, social justice warrior, Barack Obama.

North Korea

On 14 May, North Korea conduced a successful ballistic missile launch.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported: 
“A test-fire of a new ground-to-ground medium long-range strategic ballistic rocket, Hwasong-12, was successfully carried out on Sunday, 14 May, by scientists and technicians in the field of rocket research, who are bravely advancing toward a new goal to be proud of in the world, true to the far-sighted idea of Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea, chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK and supreme commander of the Korean People's Army, for building a nuclear power.” 
“Kim Jong Un guided the test-fire on the spot.” 
“Looking at the Hwasong-12, he expressed his satisfaction over the possession of another ‘Juche weapon’, a perfect weapon system congruous with the military strategic and tactical idea of the Workers’ Party of Korea and the demand of the present times.” 
“The test-fire was conducted at the highest angle in consideration of the security of neighboring countries." 
“The test-fire aimed at verifying the tactical and technological specifications of the newly-developed ballistic rocket capable of carrying a large-size heavy nuclear warhead.”

“The rocket accurately hit the targeted open waters 787km away after flying to the maximum altitude of 2 111.5km along its planned flight orbit.” 
“The test-fire proved to the full all the technical specifications of the rocket, which was newly designed in a Korean-style by defense scientists and technicians, like guidance and stabilization systems, structural system and pressurization, inspection and launching systems and reconfirmed the reliability of new rocket engine under the practical flight circumstances.” 
“It also verified the homing feature of the warhead under the worst re-entry situation and the accurate performance of the detonation system.”
Hwasong 10 missile - which looks a lot like the variant
fired in the general direction of Russia on Mother's Day.
Kim warned that the US should not underestimate North Korea’s capability to strike the US mainland and its Pacific Ocean operations.

The Allied experts told the press that the missile flew 700 kms (430 miles) from the launch site, but reached an altitude of more than 2,000 kms (1,245 miles). They supported the accuracy of the North Korean statement. Several analysts judged the missile could have flown at least 4,000 kms in a standard trajectory.

South Korea's newly elected President Moon Jae In said it was a "reckless provocation".

The KCNA article has the same style of the past reports on successful missile launches. It contains accurate information on the missile’s altitude and range. The North Korean engineers also specified the subsystems this launch tested.

This missile incorporates the new rocket engine that the North Koreans tested successfully in March. It probably can carry a heavier nuclear warhead.

The missile test signifies continuing progress towards developing an intercontinental ballistic missile. Technically, this missile has the range to reach Guam, which is about 3,400 kms from Pyongyang.

The test also means the end of the incipient efforts to arrange talks. 

Last week, North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly sent a letter to the US Congress requesting relief from sanctions. On 13 May, a North Korean official said direct talks with the US were possible under the right circumstances. On 14 May, the South Korean delegation to the Chinese infrastructure summit in Beijing spoke briefly with the North Korean delegation. 

The actions of the North Korean diplomats and the non-military officials appear out of step with those of the military missile lobby. Kim Jong Un evidently cares more about missiles than diplomacy. The missile launch undermines the talks initiatives and restores the atmosphere of hostility. 

As for South Korean President Moon, the timing of the launch makes his promises of more conciliatory policies towards North Korea appear to have been rejected. 

The defector website The Daily NK published a report about malnutrition in the Korean People’s Army in a North Korean province that borders China. The source reported that a significant number of the officers and soldiers are malnourished, but were forced to continue working. Army units keep a log of those who are malnourished and senior officers manipulate the distribution of food based on the work performed.

Malnutrition has been a recurring problem in the North Korean army since the mid-1990s, just as it has been for the general population. The malnutrition of the soldiers starkly contrasts with the health of Kim Jong Un and his missile program, neither of which appear malnourished.