Saturday, March 24, 2018

Should The World Take China's Threat Of War Against Taiwan Seriously?

Soldiers operate an M10 tank destroyer during a military exercise at an army base in Kaohsiung County, southern Taiwan. Reuters/Pichi Chuang

Gordon G. Chang, National Interest: The World Should Take China's War Threats Seriously

The risk the world faces is the one Xi has promised: a Chinese takeover of Taiwan.

Taiwan’s national-security and counterespionage chief, in a question-and-answer period at the national legislature, this week warned that China might invade the island republic.

“Beijing is prepared to retaliate forcibly once senior U.S. officials touch down on the island,” the National Security Bureau’s Director-General Peng Sheng-chu said, referring to visits encouraged by the Taiwan Travel Act, which recently became U.S. law.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I have been watching China for almost 35 years .... and I have never seen the rhetoric from its leadership as threatening as it is now.  What concerns me is that they have not only raised expectations among their own population that China will assert its territorial claims, but they have also expanded their claims to not only include Taiwan but even Japan's claim to Okinawa .... China Continues To Lay Claims To Okinawa (May 16, 2013). If China did not have the military that it has now .... I would ignore their rhetoric. But they have been developing for the past decade the means to enforce territorial claims with a military that most countries in Asia cannot match .... and this trend of Chinese military superiority is only escalating.

North And South Korea Have Agree To Hold High-Level Talks At The Truce Village Of Panmunjom On March 29

ABC News Online/Agencies: North Korea agrees to hold high-level inter-Korea talks on March 29, Seoul says

North Korea has agreed to meet South Korean officials at the end of this month to prepare for the inter-Korean summit later in April, South's Unification Ministry says.

The summit aims to improve relations and resolve the standoff over the North's nuclear program.

Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon will lead the South's delegation at the March 29 meeting at the border village of Panmunjom.

The Koreas agreed to a summit in late April when South Korea President Moon Jae-in's envoys visited North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang earlier this month.

Read more ....

More News On North And South Korea Agreeing To Hold High-Level Talks At The Truce Village Of Panmunjom On March 29

N. Korea agrees to high-level inter-Korean talks March 29: ministry -- Yonhap News
Koreas to hold high-level talks next week to set up summit -- AP
South Korea says North agrees to hold summit preparation talks on March 29 -- Reuters
North Korea agrees to inter-Korean talks next week to discuss possible April summit -- SCMP/AFP
North and South Korea to Hold Preparatory Talks for Summit Meeting -- New York Times
North and South Korea schedule talks at Panmunjom within days -- The Guardian
North Korea agrees to talks with South ahead of leaders' summit -- DW
Koreas agree to hold pre-summit preparation talks -- Asia Times
South Korea says North Korea agrees to hold high-level talks -- CNN
The two Koreas agree to talk again — and a Kim-Trump summit remains possible -- Los Angeles Times

A Look At The M777 Howitzer

Daniel Brown/Business Insider

Daniel Brown/Business Insider: This is the huge M777 howitzer that US Marines burned out while fighting ISIS in Syria

FORT BLISS, Texas — US Marines fired so many M777 howitzer rounds in support of Syrian Democratic Forces to oust the terrorist group ISIS from Raqqa that they burned out two barrels.

"They fired more rounds in five months in Raqqa, Syria, than any other Marine artillery battalion, or any Marine or Army battalion, since the Vietnam war," Army Sgt. Maj. John Wayne Troxell, a senior enlisted adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Marine Corps Times at the end of January.

"In five months, they fired 35,000 artillery rounds on ISIS targets, killing ISIS fighters by the dozens," Troxell said.

Business Insider got to see one of these M777s, often referred to as the "Triple 7," during a recent trip to Fort Bliss.

Here's what we saw.

Read more ....

WNU editor: You are in trouble when this happens .... An Army sergeant explains why you don't want to see the massive M777 howitzer lowered all the way down (Business Insider).

Is Jared Kushner's Middle East Peace Iniative Working?

General Raheel Sharif dining with Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and Saudi Crown Prince and Defence Minister Muhammad Bin Salman. PHOTO: Twitter

Noah Feldman, Bloomberg: Jared Kushner's Dreams of Mideast Peace Are Alive

His strategy of developing a relationship with the Saudi crown prince is a step in the right direction.

It was easy to miss it, what with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson being fired and President Donald Trump fueling rumors of more personnel shake-ups. But last week Jared Kushner, presidential adviser and son-in-law, presided over a highly unusual White House conference on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Who participated was noteworthy: Israel was there, alongside Arab states with which it does not have diplomatic relations, such as Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Who didn’t participate was noteworthy too: the Palestinians, who have been boycotting Trump since his announcement that the U.S. will have an embassy in Jerusalem.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Too soon to say where this is all going to end up, and the Palestinians have shown no interest to "play ball" after President Trump announced that he was moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. On a side note .... I guess this does not bother Jared Kushner .... Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Boasts That He Has President Trump's Son-In-Law Jared Kushner In His Pocket (March 22, 2018).

Insulting Turkish President Erdogan Will Put You In Jail

Hurriyet Daily News: Turkish singer, actress Zuhal Olcay sentenced to 10 months in prison for ‘insulting Erdoğan’

Turkish singer and actress Zuhal Olcay has been sentenced to 10 months in jail for “insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,” finalizing an indictment approved by the 46th Criminal Court of Peace.

A lawsuit was filed against Olcay for “insulting” Erdoğan during a concert last year, with the prosecutor seeking a four-year prison sentence for the singer.

The indictment prepared by the Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office said a citizen told the police that Olcay had made an insulting hand gesture about Erdoğan during a concert in the Kadıköy district of Istanbul on Aug. 5, 2016. An investigation was subsequently launched and footage from the concert was examined, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Dec. 12, 2017.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: An ominous sign on what is happening in Turkey.

Saudi Journalist Tells Israelis To Not Worry If Saudi Arabia Acquires Nuclear Weapons

Times of Israel: Don’t worry about us having nukes, Saudi journalist tells Israelis, in Hebrew

Loay al-Shareef, reportedly close to royal family, posts video message assuring Jewish people that Saudi Arabia poses no threat, is only interested in self-defense.

A Saudi Arabian journalist posted a Hebrew-language video message telling Israelis and the Jewish people to not fear the possibility of his country acquiring nuclear weapons, as they would not be a threat to Israel but rather would be intended for self-defense against regional aggressors.

Loay al-Shareef published the short clip on his Facebook page March 19. In it he talked about the concerns in Israel after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in a US television interview earlier this month that Saudi Arabia would arm itself with nuclear munitions if Iran ever obtained the weapons.

Read more ....

WNU editor: I would be worried.

Antidrone Lasers And Microwave Weapons Will Be A Multi-Billion Market By 2023

Next Big Future: High Energy lasers and microwave anti-drone weapons will be a multi-billion market by 2023

Antidrone lasers and microwave weapons will be a several billion dollar market over the next five years.

The mini-drone threat is a high priority for the Pentagon, along with anti-aircraft defenses in general. Daesh has used commercial drones to drop hand grenades. Hezbollah has used similar setups to strike Daesh. The Iraqi police and military have used commercial drones for similar purposes. And the Russians have used drones large and small to target Ukrainian troops for devastating artillery strikes.

It’s getting so anyone can buy a drone for $1,000 or less, fiddle with it a bit and turn it into a reconnaissance and strike platform. It can’t drop 1,000 pound bombs but it can track you, kill a few people and keep on going. A swarm of such drones was recently used to attack Russia’s largest base in Syria.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:  They will need to miniaturize these weapons.

This Is The U.S. Military's Technique To Fall Asleep In Two Minutes

The Art Of Manliness: How to Fall Asleep in 2 Minutes or Less

Have you ever unexpectedly found yourself with a snatch of time in which to steal a nap? You tried to settle into the chair or nook in which you found yourself, closed your eyes, and then . . . you just sat there, drowsy but awake. Despite feeling quite tired, you couldn’t fall asleep, and soon the time was up before you had gotten in so much as a wink. Talk about frustrating! Not only did you not get to nap, you didn’t do anything else either; if you weren’t going to fall asleep, you could have done something productive instead!

It’s quite a knack to be able to fall asleep at the drop of a hat, regardless of where you are and what’s going on around you. To steal some shuteye at airports and on flights, on break times and car rides, in public places and private spaces — in all the interstices of life. Not to mention how grand it is to be able to go out like a light as soon as your head hits the pillow each night.

It probably seems, however, that this is simply a knack that some folks have and others don’t, with the latter group being much larger than the former.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This technique works. The GF hates thefact that I can fall asleep in less than two minutes .... and literally anywhere. Her .... it takes one hour or more.

Tweets For Today

The 7 Best Movie Aerial Dogfights

We Are The Might: 7 of the best movie aerial dogfights, ranked

Despite their popularity on the silver screen, many of the best military action scenes don’t depict the heroic storming the beaches of Normandy or cutting through the enemy frontlines in the jungles of Vietnam. In fact, some of the most intense sequences are of the deadly dogfights in the sky.

Several awesome films get overlooked just because there isn’t any land warfare involved. So, to even things out a bit, here are a few of our favorite films that feature dogfights and keep us on the edges of our seats.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I agree with the selection of Les Chevaliers du Ceil (Sky Fighters) as number one on the list (trailer above). It is a French film from 2005, and that movie is intense.

Picture Of The Day

A child runs along a street in front of clouds of billowing smoke following a reported air strike on Douma, the main town of Syria's rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta. March 20. © AFP 2018/ Hasan Mohamed

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... This Week in Pictures: March 17-23 (Sputnik)

Some Believe That America's 'Deep State' Is In Deep Trouble

Roger Simon, PJ Media: The Deep State Is in Deep Trouble

Why would some "concerned citizen" suddenly leak information to ABC that Jeff Sessions was under investigation for perjuring himself (about Russia, of course) during his confirmation hearing now almost a year behind us?

Could it have something to do with the fact that the man who instigated that investigation was none other than Andrew McCabe, only recently fired by Sessions? Was someone or some group -- the ABC report specifies "sources" with an "s" -- trying to make the attorney general's act seem one of revenge, and thus illegitimate?

No doubt. But the problem is that Sessions was long ago exonerated of this charge by none other than Robert Mueller.

Read more ....

WNU editor: Roger Simon is using an anonymous Internet character with the moniker @NameRedacted7 as proof that those who run Washington are in deep trouble. I personally hate anonymous sources .... but I will admit that whoever @NameRedacted7 is, his (or hers) recent thread that sumamrizes what is happening in Washingon is an interesting read .... Unrolled thread from @NameRedacted7. And while I do not know if this thread is accurate, I do know that many are now openly questioning many of the assessments and conclusions that the U.S. intelligence community have made in the past year and a half .... House Intel Republicans think there's something wrong with Trump-Russia intelligence community assessment (Byron York), and that the groundwork is probably being laid for an independent investigation on the justice and intelligence community at a later date. Case in point .... I think everyone is now worried on what the Justice Department's Inspector General is doing .... Bombshell reveal: A grand jury already is hearing evidence on DOJ and FBI scandals (Thomas Lifson, American Thinker). And unlike the Mueller Counsel that is focused on finding evidence of collusion/crimes/etc, the firing of the FBI Deputy Director gave all of us a heads-up that Inspector General already has a lot of evidence that he can use .... and he is using it.

Update: Why am I now surprised that former MI6 agent Christopher Steele is expected to confirm he did nothing to confirm some of the allegations in his Russian dossier .... UK court documents reveal details about Christopher Steele's dossier deposition (FOX News).

Friday, March 23, 2018

Why The F-35 Is A Key Symbol Of President Trump's Trade Dispute With China

J-31 Vs The F-35

CNBC: America's most expensive weapons system, the F-35, is a key symbol of Trump's trade gripe with China

* Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson welcomed President Donald Trump's executive memorandum that penalizes China for stealing U.S. companies' intellectual property.
* The Chinese J-31 fighter jet is believed to be a knockoff of Lockheed Martin's F-35.
* The F-35, a fifth-generation stealth fighter, is the Pentagon's most expensive weapons system.

President Donald Trump signed an executive memorandum Thursday that penalizes China for trade practices such as stealing American companies' intellectual property.

The new measures impose retaliatory tariffs on about $60 billion in Chinese imports.

On hand for the signing was Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson, who oversees the Pentagon's most expensive weapons system, the fifth-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

"We buy billions and billions of dollars worth of that beautiful F-35," Trump said before asking Hewson — whom he introduced as "Marillyn Lockheed" — to say a few words.

Hewson, who didn't react to Trump's mixup, said intellectual property is the "lifeblood" of the defense industry and welcomed the action taken by the Trump administration.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:There are many reasons why there is a trade dispute between the U.S. and China .... stealing intellectual property and not respecting patents is certainly one of them. But while the Chinese fighter jet J-31 does have many similarities to the F-35, they are still two very different planes .... If it's true that China copied using hacked plans, will they produce a better F35 type plane faster? (Quora).

Chinese Navy To Conduct Combat Drills In The South China Sea

Marine Link: Chinese Navy Plans Combat Drills in South China Sea

China's navy will carry out combat drills in the South China Sea, the military's official newspaper said on Friday, describing the move as part of regular annual exercises.

Taiwan's defence ministry said this week it had shadowed a Chinese aircraft carrier group traversing the Taiwan Strait in a southwesterly direction - meaning into the disputed South China Sea - in what Taiwan judged to be a drill.

In a brief report on its WeChat account, the People's Liberation Army Daily said the combat exercises would take place shortly, though it gave no details of timing, location or what ships would participate.

Read more ....

Update #1:Chinese Navy to Hold Military Drills in South China Sea – Reports -- Sputnik
Update #2: Chinese Navy to conduct combat drills in South China Sea -- ECNS

WNU Editor: The Chinese want to show everyone who is the boss.

China Successfully Pressures Vietnam To Cancel A Major Oil Project In The South China Sea

BBC: South China Sea: Vietnam 'scraps new oil project'

Vietnam has cancelled a major oil project in the South China Sea for the second time in a year, in the wake of Chinese pressure, the BBC has learned.

State-owned PetroVietnam ordered Spanish energy firm Repsol to suspend a project off the south-east coast, a well-placed industry source said.

It means Repsol and partners could lose up to $200m of investment already made.

The news is unexpected as final preparations for commercial drilling were under way.

China is likely to regard this move as a significant victory. The Vietnamese decision seems to demonstrate that the recent show of force in the South China Sea by the United States has not changed Vietnam's strategic calculations.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: China must have really put the squeeze on Vietnam to cancel this project.

More News On China Successfully Pressuring Vietnam To Cancel A Major Oil Project In The South China Sea

Vietnam halts South China Sea oil drilling project under pressure from Beijing -- Reuters
Vietnam Halts Oil Project In South China Sea --
The craziness of China's island claims -- Washington Examiner
Why March 2018 Was an Active Month in Vietnam's Balancing Against China in the South China Sea -- The Diplomat

Tonight's Movie Is 'The Fighting Sullivans'

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- March 23, 2018

John Burton, Asia Times: Trump rolls the dice on China trade

The US president appears to have decided there is no longer any call for restraint on piling trade pressure on China

US President Donald Trump has sharply escalated a trade war with China by deciding to impose annual tariffs high enough to effectively block about US$60 billion worth of Chinese products from entering the US.

The tariffs are in retaliation for the theft of intellectual property and forced technology transfers by Chinese companies. China exported US$505 billion worth of goods to the US in 2017, while the US exported only US$130 billion in goods to China during the same time period.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- March 23, 2018

Did Donald Trump really just launch a trade war with China? -- Michael Knigge, DW

China is winning because it can fill a 'black hole' that other countries have left behind -- Tara Francis Chan, Business Insider

Tensions Rise Between China and Taiwan -- Euan Graham, Lowy Interpreter

The Saudi Crown Prince is in Washington and Has Iran on His Mind -- Behnam Ben Taleblu, Foundation For Defense Of Democracies

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Convinced Me He’s a Force to Be Reckoned With -- James Stavridis, Time

Will Saif al-Islam Gaddafi run in Libyan elections? -- Fouad Diab, Al Jazeera

Is the Merkel Approach Still Viable? -- Wolfgang Klapper, RCW

Russia’s malign shadow -- John Lloyd, Reuters

Russian Spy Attack Offers a Glimpse of Britain's Future Place in the World -- Simon J. Smith, RCD

The End Of The American Way of War; The Cold War Really Is Over -- Paul McLeary, Breaking Defense

Bolton appointment lets Trump negotiate from position of strength -- Andrew Salmon, Asia Times

People are freaking out after John Bolton was picked to become Trump's national security adviser -- David Choi, Business Insider

With Bolton, Trump shakes off generals’ restraints -- Peter Apps, Reuters

Escalation With Russia Just Became More Likely -- Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg

Pompeo’s rise ups odds of Middle East war -- Gregory Aftandilian, Asia Times

World News Briefs -- March 23, 2018 (Evening Edition)

Reuters: Syrian army celebrates as rebels quit most of their Ghouta stronghold

Syrian rebels left one besieged enclave on Friday and agreed to abandon another, leaving only the city of Douma still in insurgent hands in eastern Ghouta after a month-long army assault to drive them from the stronghold near Damascus.

It brings President Bashar al-Assad to the cusp of his biggest victory over the rebels since driving them from Aleppo in December 2016, though they remain entrenched in areas of northwestern and southwestern Syria.

The offensive to capture the towns and villages on the outskirts of the capital, which began on Feb. 18 with a massive bombardment, has brought 90 percent of eastern Ghouta back under government control. More than 1,600 people have been killed, a war monitor said.

Read more ....


Idlib province: last Syrian rebel stronghold.

'Dozens burned to death' in Syrian regime strikes on East Ghouta. Activists: Hours before cease-fire, 37 killed in Syrian town.

Syria war: Eastern Ghouta rebels announce ceasefire. Rebels cornered as Syria and Russia pummel Ghouta.

Nearly 170,000 flee violence in Syria's Afrin: UN.

Amnesty International slams Western arms sales to Saudi Arabia and allies in Yemen war.

Turkey still discussing missile defense purchases from U.S., Eurosam.

Turkey opens airspace to northern Iraq on Friday: prime minister.

Israel-bound plane flies over Saudi Arabia for first time.


Car bomb kills 14 in southern Afghanistan.

Asian markets jittery over trade war fears.

Russia 'arming the Afghan Taliban', says US.

US will have role in Afghan reconciliation with Taliban.

Vietnam halts South China Sea oil drilling project under pressure from Beijing.

US destroyer sails close to contested island in South China Sea.

China condemns U.S. navy operation in South China Sea.

Communist Party will regulate China’s media, film industry.

U.S. and China clash at U.N. rights forum on Beijing text.

Australia: 150 beached whales prompts South West shark warning.


Libya's Mufti: Egypt is conspiring against Libya.

UN troops find 8 bodies after bloodshed in eastern DR Congo.

At least 14 dead, several hurt in car bomb in Somali capital.

Mali PM in first top-level visit to restive Kidal since 2014.

Zambia opposition seeks to impeach president. Zambia's main opposition party seeks to impeach President Lungu.

Report: Western states aided Egypt's military power consolidation.

Deputy takes over after Mauritius president's resignation.

South Sudan says US oil sanctions will undermine search for peace.


Europeans promise more steps against Russia over UK spy attack.

Mass protests in Poland against tightening of abortion law.

France strikes: Public sector workers march against Emmanuel Macron's economic reforms.

Spanish supreme court charges 13 Catalan leaders with rebellion. Spain charges 13 Catalan leaders with rebellion.

Europeans to unveil new steps against Russia over UK spy attack.

Russian spy: EU recalls Russia ambassador after nerve agent attack.

Ukrainian MP Savchenko accused of plotting to overthrow parliament.

EU warns US on data control flaws.

Sarkozy vows to vanquish 'Gaddafi gang', fights barring order.

Nerve agent attack may have left former Russian spy with limited mental capacity.

Nearly 20 percent of Scots living in poverty, gov't figures show.


Trump signs budget deal after raising government shutdown threat.

Trump threatens to veto spending bill, risking shutdown.

US Congress passes huge spending bill ahead of shutdown deadline.

Bolton replacing McMaster as Trump national security adviser.

Government knows DNC hacker was Russian intel officer: report.

Venezuela to knock three zeros off currency amid hyperinflation.

Venezuelans suspicious of currency rebrand amid hyperinflation.

Mexican leftist extends lead in presidential race, poll shows.

Incoming Peru president a political novice facing tough odds.

Hackers demanding bitcoin ransom attack Atlanta city computers.


Islamist gunman attacks French supermarket, kills three.

ISIS gunman screaming 'Allahu Akbar' kills two people and demands the release of Paris terrorist after taking hostages at French supermarket following drive-by shooting that injured off-duty cop. Deadly 'Islamic State' hostage situation in France. 2 killed, dozen hurt in French supermarket hostage-taking.

Lawsuit alleges Saudi, Iran support for 9/11 hijackers.

Jihadist threat haunts northern Mozambique.


Wall Street nosedives as investors flee on trade war fears.

Tough talk on global trade escalates as Trump claims results.

Markets edgy on US-China trade war fears. World stock markets tumble on Trump trade war fears.

EU deplore US tactics in negotiating tariffs.

Can Zuckerberg’s media blitz take the pressure off Facebook?