ALERT The Winds of War Blow in Korea and The Far East

jward

passin' thru
World Events Live
@IdeologyWars

9m

#UPDATE: Japanese coast guard has issued a warning to aircraft and ships to be aware that #NorthKorea has potentially launched a ballistic missile.

Two projectiles reported landed at sea, neither entered the Japanese EEZ.
North Korea has launched an “unidentified projectile” into the East Sea
Aurora Intel
@AuroraIntel

11m

At 0709JST (17 minutes ago) The Japan Coast Guard issued an alert about the possibility of ballistic missile launch from North Korea

Replying to
@nknewsorg

NK News has confirmed this, per South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

EndGameWW3
@EndGameWW3

7m

(URGENT) N. Korea fires unidentified projectile into East Sea: JCS
View: https://twitter.com/EndGameWW3/status/1374851379991347201?s=20

Doge

@IntelDoge

·
1m

2 projectiles that appear to be ballistic missiles were fired from eastern North Korea around 7:06am according to Japanese media outlets. 2 projectiles did NOT land inside Japan's EEZ.
Doge

@IntelDoge

·
1m

2 projectiles that appear to be ballistic missiles were fired from eastern North Korea around 7:06am according to Japanese media outlets. 2 projectiles did NOT land inside Japan's EEZ.
 

jward

passin' thru





Doge
@IntelDoge

8m

So far, before any real information on what was launched has come in, it sounds like North Korea fired off some of its smaller SRBM's like it's done in the past. Not at all a major provocation if the case.
Regardless, each successful weapons test by North Korea is a massive massive win for the regime. Will be interesting to see how North Korea pokes and prods the newly installed Biden administration over the coming months.
 

jward

passin' thru
More ‘Wolf Warrior’ Diplomacy, Please
Judah Grunstein Wednesday, March 24, 2021

If anyone was still holding out any hopes that the change of administrations in Washington would cool down tensions with China, last week’s first meeting between the Biden administration’s two top foreign policy officials and their Chinese counterparts should put them to rest. In a no-holds-barred exchange of remarks in front of reporters before the private discussions began, both sides lambasted each other with a litany of grievances, perceived slights and criticisms.
The Chinese delegation’s willingness to forcefully challenge the American side in such a public forum serves as further confirmation, if any were still needed, that the days when China would seek to hide its strength and bide its time are over. Beijing has clearly concluded that the United States is a global power in decline, and that the time is ripe for China to press its perceived advantages.

In reading the American press these days, it’s hard not to get the sense that many observers in the U.S. agree with that assessment. Of course, American declinism is an old pastime in the U.S., as close as the country gets to a national religion. But after four shambolic years of Donald Trump’s presidency and a year into America’s failed pandemic response, the current mood, as reflected in much of the commentary and analysis of the U.S.-China rivalry, seems to be one of resignation and shaken confidence.

Fortunately, a series of Chinese diplomatic missteps in Europe suggests that, in its competition with China, Washington can count on help from an unlikely source: Beijing.
Recall that as recently as late December, China had seemingly succeeded in driving a wedge between Europe and the incoming Biden administration, when it offered last-minute concessions to seal a languishing investment deal with the European Union. Led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, the EU pressed ahead with finalizing the deal even after Jake Sullivan, the incoming national security adviser, made it as clear as U.S. law permits that the Biden team was counting on coordinating positions with Europe on China.

The move reflected the EU’s different perspective on the challenge that China represents. As Nathalie Tocci, a special adviser to EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, told me at the time in a Trend Lines podcast interview, “We don’t have an issue with our economic engagement with China strengthening China economically or perhaps even politically. That is not the way in which we approach the China question.” Still, Tocci added, “we want to make sure that our engagement with China, while it will not necessarily change China, does not change us either.”

Not three months later, China has now given the EU cause for reflection on that score twice in the space of a week.
First, the Chinese Embassy in Paris used schoolyard insults on its official Twitter feed to attack French analyst Antoine Bondaz for having defended the right of a French parliamentary delegation to meet with its Taiwanese counterparts on a trip to Taiwan. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian summoned the Chinese ambassador to express Paris’ displeasure with the latest example of China’s “wolf warrior” diplomacy.
Then, after the EU sanctioned Chinese government officials responsible for policy in Xinjiang province, where the Uyghur ethnic minority has been targeted with a repressive campaign that some have characterized as a genocide, Beijing responded by slapping sanctions on a prominent German think tank, the Mercator Institute for China Studies, as well as several European researchers critical of its human rights violations in Xinjiang.

Both moves are attempts to intimidate researchers and analysts from expressing themselves on topics China considers sensitive, and as such they represent an infringement on their right to work free from state coercion. Of course, the danger in Europe is not the risk of state censorship, but of individual and institutional self-censorship out of a fear of offending Beijing.
In our interview, Tocci alluded to such a danger. “We need to ensure that we have the safeguards in place, the protection mechanisms in place, to ensure that it’s not China’s norms, rules and values that filter into our own system and therefore threaten the premises and the practice of our liberal democracies,” she said.
A series of Chinese diplomatic missteps in Europe suggests that, in its competition with China, Washington can count on help from an unlikely source: Beijing.
If the red line, then, is interference with Europe’s liberal values, China just crossed it. And it is not an isolated incident, but rather part of a trend.
China has long used coercive trade practices to “punish” states for policies and practices it disapproves of. In recent years, however, the list of what qualifies for punishment began to move beyond official government positions on historical tripwire issues, like Tibet and Taiwan.

Now, it seems, Beijing has begun to target individuals exercising their free speech rights in democracies. In the case of Australia, for instance, China used trade reprisals to signal its displeasure with the government’s calls for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. But included on a publicly distributed list of 14 Chinese grievances was “an unfriendly or antagonistic report by media, poisoning the atmosphere of bilateral relations.”
At the time of Australia’s standoff with China, Sam Roggeveen wrote in WPR that Australia would have to “defend itself and its interests against China’s aggression … largely independently,” because its partners would always put their economic self-interest ahead of their sense of solidarity.

China certainly seems to be counting on this to be the case, for Australia, but also more broadly. But its recent moves in Europe demonstrate the ways in which, for all its strengths and advantages, Beijing is often its own worst enemy—in this case because it is confirming precisely everyone’s worst fears about the implications of a global order dominated by China.
It also demonstrates that for all of China’s vaunted long-term strategic vision, its diplomacy seems to be more and more calibrated to the immediacy of a social media feed—its wolf warrior diplomats more eager to dunk on critics on Twitter than to promote China’s image abroad.

That might have been a reasonable approach when the U.S. president was busy provoking outrages of his own on Twitter, alienating allies and adversaries alike. But the Biden administration’s disciplined conduct of diplomacy, which has so far treated Twitter as just another platform for broadcasting boilerplate communiqués, suggests Beijing’s wolf warrior ethos won’t age well.
Of course, the U.S.-China rivalry will not be won or lost on a Twitter feed. But China’s inability to rein in its worst instincts should be a cause for encouragement. Its most recent move has raised the hackles of Belgium, Denmark and Germany, which, like France, also summoned Beijing’s ambassadors to condemn the sanctioning of private individuals and institutions for exercising their free speech rights. And the European Parliament, which must ratify the EU-China investment deal that was finalized in December, has put any consideration of the agreement on ice until the Chinese sanctions are removed.

It should also serve as a cautionary tale for those in the U.S. who increasingly advocate for adopting pages from China’s playbook, like embracing industrial policy and trade protectionism, and closing off channels of academic and cultural exchange. Instead, the U.S. should redouble its commitment to repairing its liberal model, confident in its attractiveness, if not to all the governments of the world, then to most of the world’s people.
As Ali Wyne recently argued in a WPR briefing, Washington should not frame its foreign policy exclusively through the lens of competition with China. A much better approach is to focus on America’s many enduring strengths as a problem-solving nation, one with a vocation for collective effort and partnerships, and let China continue to amplify its own shortcomings, as it seems intent on doing. As the maxim attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte goes, Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
Judah Grunstein is the editor-in-chief of World Politics Review. His WPR column appears every other Wednesday. You can follow him on Twitter @Judah_Grunstein.

Posted For Fair Use
 

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment
The "Wolf Warrior" tact only works if everyone else is craven and has someplace to retreat to and doesn't have a Musashi to take over, particularly in the nuclear age.....never mind having read and taken to heart Sun Tsu.....
 

jward

passin' thru





Indo-Pacific News - Watching the CCP-China Threat
@IndoPac_Info

2m

4 #Chinese Coast Guard Ships Enter #Japanese Waters near #Senkakus It was the first intrusion into Japanese waters off the East China Sea islands by Chinese government ships since Feb. 21 and the 10th this year.
2) The four Haijing ships entered Japanese waters south of Minamikojima in the Senkaku chain between around 4:20 p.m. (7:20 a.m. GMT) and 4:35 p.m. and left the waters east of the island between around 5:45 p.m. and 6:05 p.m., according to the Japan Coast Guard.
View: https://twitter.com/IndoPac_Info/status/1374911899121328129?s=20
 

jward

passin' thru
Indo-Pacific News - Watching the CCP-China Threat
@IndoPac_Info

42m

#Philippines: Armed Forces chief orders more ships to the #WestPhilippineSea amid the continuing presence of many #Chinese vessels at Julian Felipe Reef (Whitsun Reef) The #US Embassy said it shares Filipinos’ concerns over the the Chinese flotilla
2) “I directed the Philippine Navy to deploy additional naval assets to the West Philippine Sea to increase our visibility, ensure the safety of our fishermen, our marine resources & the integrity of our territory,” Sobejana said on Wednesday.
View: https://twitter.com/IndoPac_Info/status/1374940991732412419?s=20
 

northern watch

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Taiwan Reveals It's Mass Producing Long-Range Missiles That Can Hit Mainland China

BY TYLER DURDEN
ZERO HEDGE
THURSDAY, MAR 25, 2021 - 08:40 PM

Taiwan's military has made an extremely rare admission that could hasten China's efforts to bring the democratic island to heel. A top official acknowledged on Thursday that Taiwan has initiated mass production of long-range missiles capable of striking mainland China.

In addition to one missile type now in production, the military said three others are currently in development. The information which is sure to raise alarm bells in Beijing came during testimony by Taiwan's Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng in front of parliament.

While taking lawmakers' questions he indicated that putting in place a long-range attack capability is seen as "a priority" by the nation's armed forces amid a broader modernization and overhaul of its defenses - efforts backed by the United States.



Via SCMP


The key part of the exchange was captured by Reuters as follows:

"We hope it is long-range, accurate, and mobile," he said, adding research on such weapons by the state-owned National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology had "never stopped."

Standing next to Chiu, the institute's deputy director Leng Chin-hsu said one long-range, land-based missile had already entered production, with three other long-range missiles in development.

Leng said it was "not convenient" for him to provide details on how far the missile could fly.
The region is already on edge given what are now weekly and almost daily incursions by Chinese aerial patrols. In the past months this has sometimes included a half-dozen Chinese H-6K strategic bombers or more making aggressive maneuvers in breach of Taiwan's defense zones.

The United States as the main supplier of arms to the island has also been condemned by Beijing for violating the 'One China' status quo, particularly because of the series of major weapons sales approvals during the last six months of the Trump administration.



While Biden said Thursday during his first presidential press conference that he "doesn't want confrontation" with China he's done little in terms of rolling pack 'confrontational' Trump policies - but quite the opposition - he's arguably actually increased the pressure.

Taiwan Reveals It's Mass Producing Long-Range Missiles That Can Hit Mainland China | ZeroHedge
 

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment
Hummm.......

Posted for fair use.....

The North Korea Policy Review: Key Choices Facing the Biden Administration


The Biden administration will soon complete its review of US policy toward the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). In its review, the Biden team will need to make several critical choices, the most important of which is between two fundamentally different approaches: ramping up pressure against the North to compel it to make the “strategic choice” to abandon its nuclear weapons capabilities completely and in a relatively short period of time or, alternatively, pursuing DPRK denuclearization as a long-term process to be achieved in phases and without gaining a near-term North Korean commitment on when that goal will eventually be realized. Between the two options, the phased approach to denuclearization is much more likely to result in near-term limits that can arrest the growth of North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities, better enable the United States and its Northeast Asian allies to develop and deploy effective means of countering the constrained DPRK threat, and leave the door open to further steps toward denuclearization in the future.

Background

The Biden administration is moving expeditiously to develop its diplomatic strategy towards North Korea. In their recent visit to Asia, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin consulted with their South Korean and Japanese allies about how to address the North Korean challenge, and later met with senior Chinese officials in Anchorage, where North Korea was also high on the agenda. Earlier, the administration reached out to the DPRK, including through the two governments’ diplomatic missions in New York, but the North dismissed the overture as a trick to play for time, which was most likely a temporizing posture by North Korea as it waits for the new US administration to define its approach.[1]

North Korea provided a reminder in the last several days of the threat it poses to the security of the United States and its allies in Northeast Asia. On Sunday, March 21, it test fired two short-range cruise missiles, an activity not banned by United Nations (UN) resolutions and later downplayed by Biden administration officials as nothing new. On Thursday, March 25, it flight tested two short-range ballistic missiles, which is a violation of Security Council restrictions and a growing concern to US allies within range of the DPRK. Although North Korea has not tested nuclear weapons or intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)-range missiles since late 2017, these gradually escalating steps provide a warning of what may be in store if the new US administration adopts what the North considers to be a “hostile,” pressure-based policy toward the regime.

Compelling the North’s Complete and Early Abandonment of Nuclear Weapons

The option of stepping up pressure to force North Korean acceptance of early and complete denuclearization assumes that, notwithstanding periodic declarations of North Korea’s willingness to give up nuclear weapons (including in the 2018 Singapore Joint Statement that it will “work toward” complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula), Kim Jong Un has no intention of eliminating the nuclear deterrent that he regards as critical to ensuring the survival of his regime. According to this approach, the key to denuclearization is changing the North Korean leader’s “strategic calculus”—forcing him to regard the continued possession of nuclear weapons as more damaging to prospects for regime survival than abandoning what he has called the regime’s “treasured sword.”[2] Proponents of this approach believe the dire economic conditions currently faced by Pyongyang may provide an opportunity to bring Kim Jong Un to the desperate conclusion that only by reaping the economic, political and security rewards that would follow North Korea’s complete denuclearization can he escape the regime-threatening pressures that could spell the end of the Kim dynasty.

The case for this approach is forcefully argued by Evans Revere, a Brookings nonresident senior fellow and former senior State Department official with vast experience dealing with North Korea. Revere calls for a policy that,

…by shaking the foundations of the DPRK economy, intensifying Pyongyang’s international isolation, drying up its foreign exchange, pressuring its military, and taking advantage of its current difficult economic straits, could convince the North Korean leader to either change course or put his regime at risk.

Such a policy, according to Revere, would have to be much more intense and far-reaching than the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign. It would include building an international coalition of the willing to impose much stronger sanctions; shutting down North Korean “embassies, consulates, and overseas trading companies engaged in illicit activities”; increasing “the frequency and scope” of US, South Korean and Japanese military exercises; interdicting North Korean “ships and aircraft suspected of sanctions busting”; sanctioning Chinese firms engaged in sanctions-evasion; and employing covert means to “disrupt the DPRK’s economy, including its electric power grid.”

Acknowledging that the North Korean regime managed to survive past periods of extreme economic distress and that China seems determined to ensure the regime’s survival, Revere recognizes the difficulty of compelling the North to give up its nuclear weapons. But he believes that the current situation may provide the last chance for denuclearization and that the alternative phased approach will kill off any “remaining hopes for denuclearization.” He therefore maintains that an intensified pressure strategy aimed at changing the North’s strategic calculus should be given a serious try.

Maximum Pressure 2.0 Is Unlikely to Succeed

Revere and other proponents of the first approach point out that a combination of sanctions, natural disasters, poor economic policies and self-imposed isolation adopted to combat COVID-19 has placed North Korea under tremendous stress. And some sanctions experts, including Andrea Mihailescu, suggest there are still opportunities to further intensify the pressure.[3] But it is highly doubtful that a doubling down on a policy of maximum pressure would force North Korea to give up the capability it has sacrificed so much to achieve and on which it has placed so much importance.

At the very least, maximum pressure 2.0 would require reviving the kind of unified support for pressuring North Korea that existed in 2016-2017, when DPRK nuclear and missile tests alarmed North Korea’s neighbors and resulted in the harshest UN Security Council sanctions ever adopted against Pyongyang. But reassembling that coalition of the willing is exceedingly improbable.

In the wake of summit-level diplomacy in 2018-2019, China and Russia have become increasingly complicit in North Korean sanctions evasion, impeded the work of the UN Sanctions Committee on North Korea and proposed a relaxation of existing DPRK sanctions. With the sharp deterioration of Washington’s bilateral relations with both Beijing and Moscow in recent years, their cooperation on Pyongyang—which was valuable during the 2003-2008 Six Party Talks and would be necessary for any heightened pressure campaign—has become much more problematic.

As the near-monopoly supplier of North Korea’s critical needs and the recipient of most of its exports, China is essential to any effort to compel DPRK denuclearization. But after a pre-2018 period of estrangement between Beijing and Pyongyang, China has worked actively to tighten its strategic bonds with North Korea and shield it from regime-threatening pressures. While continuing to express support for the eventual goal of a nuclear-weapons-free Korean Peninsula, China places a lower priority on denuclearization than on stability for both the DPRK regime and the region. As former senior State Department official Joseph DeThomas points out: “Preventing state failure in a bordering communist state is a vital interest to the Chinese Communist Party.” China would strongly oppose several elements of Revere’s pressure campaign, including increasing allied military exercises, interdicting North Korean ships and aircraft and sanctioning Chinese entities.

Moreover, the US can hardly count on the administration of South Korean President Moon Jae-in to be a wholehearted supporter of dramatically ramping up pressures. In his remaining year in office, Moon is more likely to favor the relaxation of existing sanctions to permit progress on his ambitious agenda of improving North-South relations.

So, a strategy aimed at changing Pyongyang’s strategic calculus and forcing it to abandon its nuclear deterrent completely and in the relatively near term would almost surely fail, and Biden officials presumably know this.

A More Promising Phased Approach to Denuclearization

The Biden administration is more likely to favor a long-term, phased approach to denuclearization. Like supporters of insisting on early and complete denuclearization, the Biden team also believes that Kim Jong Un has no intention to give up his nuclear deterrent. It also shares the view that powerful pressure must continue to be brought to bear on Pyongyang to force it to negotiate seriously. But unlike supporters of the first approach, administration officials see little if any prospect of pressuring North Korea to denuclearize completely, at least for the foreseeable future. And they recognize that insistence on a futile effort to achieve early, complete denuclearization could forfeit the opportunity to place near-term limits on the growing North Korean nuclear and missile threat.

Given North Korea’s apparent determination to hold onto its nuclear weapons capability indefinitely, some observers say it is time to throw in the towel on complete denuclearization and accept the DPRK as a permanent nuclear-armed state. But the Biden team knows that abandoning the goal of complete denuclearization and accepting the DPRK as a nuclear power would be deeply unsettling to South Korea and Japan, could increase the likelihood of their pursuing nuclear programs of their own, and would be a serious setback to the global nonproliferation regime.

To square the circle—to reconcile its skepticism that complete denuclearization can be achieved with its unwillingness to renounce that goal—the Biden administration is likely to adopt an approach that reaffirms the goal of complete denuclearization (however much it may privately doubt the target will ever be realized) while pursuing near-term measures to limit North Korean nuclear and missile capabilities as initial steps in a long-term process explicitly aimed at reaching that ultimate objective.

At his March 25 press conference, President Biden stopped short of tipping his hand on which approach his administration will adopt. He said he is “prepared for some form of diplomacy, but it has to be conditioned upon the end result of denuclearization.” That remark makes clear that denuclearization will be the declared goal but leaves open whether denuclearization must be achieved completely and at an early date or whether it can be pursued in stages and over an extended period of time.

Continued.....
 

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment
Continued.....


From their previous experience dealing with Pyongyang, Biden officials know the North Koreans will not do anything unilaterally but will insist that their concessions in the nuclear area be reciprocated at each step along the way by actions by the United States and others to address their demands in the economic and security realms, including sanctions relief and measures to eliminate what they claim is US “hostile policy” toward the DPRK.

Choosing First-Stage Limits on DPRK Capabilities

If the Biden administration is prepared to adopt a phased approach, it will need to decide, in consultation with other interested states (first and foremost South Korea and Japan and also China and Russia), on its negotiating position for a first-stage agreement. In particular, it will need to decide on the nuclear and missile constraints it calls on North Korea to accept and what it is prepared to offer North Korea in return.

At the Hanoi Summit in February 2019, Kim Jong Un offered to shut down the Yongbyon nuclear complex in exchange for the removal of the most consequential UN Security Council sanctions. President Trump understandably rejected this one-sided proposal but counter-proposed his own one-sided proposal for the complete elimination of all North Korean weapons of mass destruction programs and delivery systems. The summit immediately broke down, and negotiations during the remainder of the Trump presidency never got back on track.

Shutting down Yongbyon would have considerable value. It would deprive the North of its ability to produce plutonium and perhaps also the ability to produce the tritium gas used to boost the explosive power of nuclear weapons. It would also close down North Korea’s only declared facility for producing highly enriched uranium (HEU) for its nuclear program. And it could be verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with high confidence.

But the problem with only shutting down Yongbyon in a first-stage agreement is that it would not address undeclared nuclear facilities elsewhere in North Korea, including some facilities known to Western intelligence and suspected of being engaged in the production of HEU. An agreement confined to Yongbyon, especially one that provided significant compensation to North Korea, could be heavily criticized for not preventing the DPRK from continuing to produce HEU and thereby continuing to expand its nuclear arsenal.

In addition to shutting down Yongbyon, therefore, a first-stage agreement should require the suspension of all enrichment and reprocessing activities—and eventually the elimination of all enrichment and reprocessing facilities—anywhere in North Korea.

The DPRK has so far refused to discuss or even admit the existence of nuclear activities and facilities outside of Yongbyon and could be expected to resist such a proposal. Although most countries, even Iran, have accepted the kind of IAEA access and inspections arrangements that would be required to provide confidence in compliance with a nation-wide ban on the production of fissile material (i.e., enriched uranium and plutonium), such arrangements would clearly be a hard sell with the hyper-secretive North Koreans.

In anticipation of Pyongyang’s objections, the Biden administration and its foreign partners could consider how best to approach a nationwide ban on fissile material production in a first-stage agreement. For example, the agreement could initially apply only to Yongbyon and one or two suspect facilities outside Yongbyon, which would at least require the North from the outset to admit those facilities and allow the IAEA to monitor them. Then, perhaps after a year or so—during which North Korea would be required to declare any remaining facilities in the country and agree on procedures to verify the accuracy of its declaration—the nationwide ban and associated IAEA monitoring arrangements would kick in. Inducements to North Korea would be structured to give it significant incentives to proceed from the initially limited scope of the ban to its nationwide application.

In addition to prohibiting fissile material production, a first-stage agreement should turn the current de facto moratorium on nuclear tests and flight tests of long-range missiles into a permanent and formal ban. To reinforce the ban on testing, the parties should agree to follow through on measures offered by the North during the Trump years but never completed: the shutting down of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site and the Sohae Satellite Launching Station.

While the requirements of the nuclear test prohibition would be well understood, the ban on missile flight testing would have to be clearly defined—for example, whether it would apply to cruise missiles as well as ballistic missiles; whether it would apply only to ICBM-range or also to shorter-range missiles (which would be important to South Korea and Japan); whether space launch vehicles would be banned or constrained; how missile range would be defined and measured; whether there would be constraints on permitted missile flight tests (e.g., no multiple warheads or hypersonic systems); and whether advanced notification would be required for allowable missile flight tests.

If clearly defined, the missile flight test ban could be effectively verified, including by the parties’ national technical means of verification. The nuclear test ban would be easier to verify, in particular by the International Monitoring System of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization.

A first-stage agreement should also prohibit North Korean exports of equipment and technology included in the control lists of the multilateral export control regimes, the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime.

The agreement should contain a commitment to continue negotiations toward the goal of complete and verifiable denuclearization. But it would not specify a timeframe in which that eventual objective would have to be achieved. Additional agreements would have to be reached in the future to move further down the road toward complete denuclearization.

Some Desirable but Not Essential Elements of a First-Stage Agreement

In developing its negotiating position, the Biden administration may consider whether to propose—and, if so, how hard to press for—several elements that would be desirable but not strictly needed to support the main objective of a first-stage agreement: capping North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat by impeding the expansion and improvement of its capabilities.

For example, an initial deal might provide for some token reductions in existing nuclear weapons or fissile material, which would create a precedent for further reductions, demonstrate and validate procedures by which future reductions could be carried out, and significantly boost the political appeal of the agreement. However, not wishing to set any precedents for reductions, the North Koreans are likely to resist measures dealing with nuclear weapons and fissile material they have already produced, including token reductions.

Similarly, Pyongyang can be expected to resist providing a declaration of its current inventory of nuclear weapons and fissile material. It rejected the Trump administration’s proposal calling for such a declaration. While an accurate declaration would usefully provide a better understanding of the current dimensions of the North Korean threat and the task ahead in seeking to eliminate it, the North Koreans would regard the full disclosure of existing capabilities as unacceptably compromising the effectiveness of their nuclear force as a deterrent. In any event, an unverified declaration would have little value, and agreement on procedures to verify it would be hard to reach, especially with North Korean negotiators able to make the case that limits designed to prevent additional or new capabilities—such as bans on further nuclear and missile testing and fissile material production—could be implemented and verified without disclosing existing capabilities.

The Trump administration also sought DPRK agreement on the meaning of “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula”—the end state of negotiations—but did not succeed. An agreed definition of the end state could address such questions as to whether North Korea could have a civil nuclear energy program and, if so, what elements of such a program would be permitted; whether existing nuclear facilities would have to be dismantled or could be converted to other uses or simply shut down; whether the DPRK would have to return to the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as a non-nuclear-weapon state; and so on.

It would also be an opportunity to make clear that the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula does not require actions that the North Koreans have previously demanded to end what they argue is US “hostile policy” toward the DPRK, such as the end of the US-ROK security alliance, the withdrawal of US military forces from South Korea, and the removal of the US nuclear umbrella.

But however desirable it might be for a first-stage agreement to contain a mutual understanding of the end state—especially in making the goal of complete denuclearization seem somewhat more attainable—it is extremely unlikely that the parties could come to terms on such an understanding, especially at this stage. It is one thing for Kim Jong Un to play along with previous DPRK expressions of support for the aim of complete denuclearization because he could define that objective as he pleases; it is another thing to be pinned down to a specific meaning of that goal that could inhibit his flexibility to make demands that could be used to scuttle negotiations in the future.

Token reductions, a declaration of existing nuclear weapons and fissile material inventories and agreement on the end state would all be desirable additions to a first-stage agreement. The Biden administration may wish to make them part of its negotiating position, even if they are not essential to the near-term objective of capping DPRK capabilities. But the administration would eventually need to decide on the importance of those elements relative to other negotiating objectives and whether to insist on them in an initial deal.

Addressing North Korean Demands

Continued.....
 

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment
Continued.....

A first-stage agreement will have to provide compensation to the North. The DPRK would insist that any near-term limits on its nuclear and missile capabilities be balanced by concessions in areas of importance to it. The US-DPRK Joint Statement at the 2018 Singapore Summit meeting—which calls for parallel progress toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, improved US-DPRK relations, a lasting and stable peace on the Korean Peninsula and the recovery of US POW/MIA remains—provides a reasonable framework for balancing the demands of the United States, the North and other interested parties. The Biden administration could usefully endorse the basic framework embodied in the Singapore Statement—its key goals and the idea of parallel and concurrent progress in achieving those objectives. Support for that framework, if not the specific language of the statement, would be regarded by Kim Jong Un as a positive indication that the new administration was prepared to build on one of his personal accomplishments.[4]

If experience is any guide, North Korean negotiators can be expected to make highly inflated demands for compensation in a first-stage agreement, perhaps including the removal of all UN and US sanctions, the termination of US-ROK joint military exercises and other measures to reduce the US “military threat,” and the explicit recognition of the DPRK as a nuclear-weapon state. But for an interim deal that would only limit but not eliminate the North’s nuclear and missile capabilities, they would have to scale way back on their demands. For the United States and its partners, it would be essential to withhold critical rewards to ensure that sufficient leverage would remain to incentivize North Korea to take further steps toward complete denuclearization.

A reasonable package of incentives for a first-stage agreement might include a declaration to end the Korean War; the beginning of negotiations on a permanent peace treaty; the establishment of liaison offices in Washington and Pyongyang; constraints on US-ROK joint military exercises consistent with sustaining allied readiness; humanitarian assistance; a commitment not to pursue new US or UN sanctions; sanctions exceptions to permit certain inter-Korean projects to proceed; and time-limited suspensions of some existing UN sanctions, with periodic Security Council decisions to renew the suspensions as long as the DPRK remains in compliance.

A first-stage agreement should be multilateral. While the United States and North Korea will be key protagonists and will often need to engage directly with one another, other neighboring states—especially South Korea and China but also Japan and Russia—have huge stakes in the outcome and must play critical roles in both the negotiation and implementation of any agreement.

Criticism of the Phased Approach

A first-stage agreement would be controversial. Critics would argue that, notwithstanding any commitment to continue negotiations towards complete denuclearization, there would be no guarantee, and very little prospect, that the goal would ever be reached. The euphoria accompanying an initial agreement, they would contend, would significantly erode support for enforcing remaining sanctions, which would undermine the leverage needed to press the North to agree to further steps. A first-stage agreement would, therefore, turn out to be the end of the road for denuclearization, not a starting point, and would amount to de facto acceptance of North Korea as a permanent nuclear-armed state. Moreover, the critics would claim, the DPRK’s track record with previous agreements would mean that, sooner or later, it would either violate or simply walk away from the first-stage deal when it no longer suited its interests.

Clearly, a phased approach starting with a first-stage cap on DPRK capabilities is far from ideal. But the critics don’t have a credible alternative. Doubling down on pressure in the hope of forcing North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons completely and in the relatively near term would almost surely fail, leaving the North free to expand and improve its nuclear and missile capabilities and pose a growing threat to the United States and its regional allies.

The Potential Benefits of a First-Phase Deal

A first-stage agreement along the lines discussed here is the most promising way to cap and bound the North Korean threat. A ban on nuclear testing would impede the DPRK’s ability to improve the sophistication of its nuclear warheads, including their miniaturization, and could therefore increase the difficulty of developing tactical weapon systems and multiple-warhead missiles. Kim Jong Un has said that he wants to make North Korean nuclear weapons smaller and more powerful.[5]

A ban on flight testing would constrain its ability to improve the reliability and accuracy of its ballistic missiles and its ability to penetrate US and allied missile defenses, including with multiple-warhead missiles. Most experts believe North Korea would have to conduct additional tests of its ICBM-range missiles, including at operational ranges and with realistic trajectories, before it could have reasonable confidence in their performance.

A ban on the production of fissile material would bound the amount of nuclear material available for fabrication of the North’s nuclear weapons and, therefore, would limit the size of its nuclear arsenal.

These restrictions would better enable US and allied defense planners to develop and deploy effective responses to the North Korean threat, including missile defenses. Those responsible for defending allied territory and the US homeland would clearly prefer to work against a constrained and therefore less capable and responsive threat.

A first-stage agreement, especially if it contained extensive monitoring and consultative arrangements, could provide greater insights into DPRK intentions and capabilities than would otherwise exist, and it could potentially open channels of communication that could be used to reduce misperceptions and miscalculations that could lead to armed conflict.

Although a first-stage deal would fall short of the Security Council’s repeated calls for complete denuclearization, it would be welcomed by China, Russia and the current South Korean government (and perhaps with greater hesitation by Japan) as a pragmatic step that could reduce tensions and the likelihood of military confrontation, while at least keeping the door open to the eventual goal of complete denuclearization should future developments in North Korea and the region make that possible.

Moreover, China would probably regard a first-stage deal along the lines suggested here as realistic and not excessively demanding of North Korea. Importantly, Beijing might calculate that, if successful, such a deal could reduce incentives for the United States to respond to North Korean advances by building up US and allied military capabilities that it would find threatening to its own security interests, including more robust regional and homeland missile defenses or increased deployment of US strategic assets (e.g., nuclear-capable delivery systems) in the region. This could enhance the possibility of persuading the Chinese to enforce existing sanctions more conscientiously and press the North Koreans to negotiate seriously and accept a reasonable deal.

But Even a Less Ambitious Agreement May Be Hard to Achieve

Getting the North Koreans to accept a first-stage agreement that would not require them to abandon their nuclear deterrent in the near term should, in theory, be easier than getting them to part with their nuclear arsenal completely and soon. But gaining their approval for an initial deal that would effectively and verifiably cap their nuclear and missile capabilities would not be easy.

At a minimum, it would require mobilizing active support for such a deal among North Korea’s neighbors (especially China and Russia at a time of acrimonious relations between them and the United States); maintaining sufficient economic pressure against the North to give it strong incentives to reach agreement; and, not least, ensuring that, with or without a deal, the United States and its allies will work together to maintain the deterrence and defense capabilities required to meet the North Korean challenge.

In the end, even with support from China and Russia, continued sanctions pressure and strong alliance unity and resolve, negotiations may not succeed. North Korea may simply refuse to accept meaningful and verifiable constraints on its nuclear and missile programs, the compensation it demands may be unreasonable and more than the United States and its partners would or should be willing to pay, or both.

In that case, the Biden administration should be prepared to walk away from the negotiating table and fall back on the strategy the United States and its allies have relied on for decades and with considerable success: a long-term strategy of pressure, containment and deterrence. And having adopted a reasonable and balanced approach to the negotiations—one that commanded broad international support but was rejected by North Korea—the United States and its allies would be in a stronger position to sustain such a strategy over the long haul.

Such an outcome would be disappointing but not surprising. No US administration has achieved more than temporary and partial success in resolving the North Korea nuclear issue. To be confident today of making a decisive breakthrough would require a major leap of faith. Still, before giving up on diplomacy—or doubling down on an all-or-nothing approach to denuclearization that would likely produce nothing and result in a rapidly advancing threat to US and allied security—the Biden administration should opt for a phased approach that, while far from perfect, offers the best opportunity to curb the North Korean threat and serve the interests of the United States and its allies.

  1. [1]
    “Statement of First Vice Foreign Minister of DPRK,” KCNA, March 18, 2021.
  2. [2]
    “Second Plenum of Seventh WPK Central Committee,” KCNA, October 9, 2017.
  3. [3]
    Mihailescu argues that, whatever approach the Biden administration may take toward North Korean denuclearization, it will need to further intensify pressures. See Andrea R. Mihailescu, “It’s Time to Get Serious about a Pressure Strategy to Contain North Korea,” Atlantic Council Issue Brief, March 2021, https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/North-Korea-IB-v3.pdf.
  4. [4]
    38 North supports the idea of endorsing the Singapore Summit framework as an element of its detailed recommendations for addressing North Korea, including a first-phase agreement that balances a denuclearization agenda and a peace agenda. See “A Principled US Diplomatic Strategy toward North Korea,” 38 North, February 22, 2021, A Principled US Diplomatic Strategy Toward North Korea | 38 North: Informed Analysis of North Korea.
  5. [5]
    “Great Programme for Struggle Leading Korean-style Socialist Construction to Fresh Victory On Report Made by Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un at Eighth Congress of WPK,” DPRK Ministry of Foreign Affairs, January 9, 2021, http://www.mfa.gov.kp/en/on-report-at-eighth-congress-of-wpk/.
 

jward

passin' thru




Global: MilitaryInfo
@Global_Mil_Info

2m


North Korea has responded to Biden: - Will increase overwhelming military power.
- New U.S. administration took first wrong steps.
- Recent U.S. acts and statements are a serious security threat.
- Ends with ominous threat: "We know very well what we must do."
 

jward

passin' thru




Will Ripley
@willripleyCNN



New statement from North Korea: If the US continues "thoughtless remarks" then NK will increase "overwhelming military power” Pyongyang is unhappy with Biden’s warning at Thursday’s news conference there would be "responses" if North Korea continues to fire ballistic missiles
 

northern watch

Has No Life - Lives on TB
EXPLAINER: North Korean missiles getting more agile, evasive

In resuming its ballistic testing activity after a yearlong pause, North Korea has demonstrated a potentially nuclear-capable weapon that shows how it continues to expand its military capabilities amid a stalemate in diplomacy with the United States

By KIM TONG-HYUNG and HYUNG-JIN KIM Associated Press
26 March 2021, 03:53


On Location: March 26, 2021



SEOUL, South Korea -- In resuming its ballistic testing activity after a yearlong pause, North Korea has demonstrated a potentially nuclear-capable weapon that shows how it continues to expand its military capabilities amid a stalemate in diplomacy with the United States.

The two short-range missiles the North fired into the sea this week were its first meaningful provocation since the inauguration of President Joe Biden, who on Thursday delivered a restrained response to the launches, saying “there will be responses if they choose to escalate.”

Since a provocative run in North Korean nuclear and missile tests in 2016 and 2017, much of the U.S. focus has been on North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missiles that pose a direct threat to the American homeland.

But experts say North Korea’s growing arsenal of shorter-range solid-fuel weapons are more destabilizing for U.S. allies South Korea and Japan. And the latest launches underscored the North’s efforts to improve its capacities for delivering nuclear strikes and overwhelming missile defense systems.

——

THE MISSILE

North Korea’s state media said Friday the weapons it fired a day earlier from its eastern coast were a new type of "tactical guided projectile” that borrowed the core technology of an earlier system.

According to the Korean Central News Agency, the new solid-fuel missiles, which are designed to be fired from land vehicles, could be armed with warheads weighing as much as 2.5 tons. During Thursday’s tests, the missiles demonstrated low-altitude, maneuverable flight and accurately hit a sea target 600 kilometers (372 miles) away.

Analysts say the North likely tested an upgraded version of a system modeled after Russia’s Iskander mobile ballistic missiles. Their flatter trajectories compared to conventional ballistic weapons make them fly at an altitude where air is dense enough to allow for maneuverability. The unpredictability makes them harder to be intercepted by missile defense systems, experts say.

South Korea’s military took an unusually long time to release its assessment on the launches Thursday before it said hours later that the missiles traveled as far as 450 kilometers (279 miles).

Kim Dong-yub, a professor from Seoul’s University of North Korean Studies, said the discrepancy between the South Korean and North Korean assessments possibly shows how difficult it is for radar systems to accurately track these missiles during flight.

“Even if our military got things wrong, it doesn’t matter for now as they could easily adjust their assessment after analyzing satellite data,” said Kim, a former South Korean military official. “But how are you going to do that in times of war?”

——

THE WARHEAD

Whether missiles traveled 450 kilometers or 600 kilometers, that’s more than enough range to hit any corner of mainland South Korea. And experts say the North’s efforts to arm them with huge warheads indicate they are being designed for nuclear strikes.

The tests came after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a January ruling party congress vowed to bolster his nuclear deterrent in face of U.S.-led sanctions and pressure and issued a broad wish list of military hardware that included new tactical nuclear weapons.

If North Korea successfully develops an operational system, these missiles will provide an ability to launch tactical nuclear attacks on military bases and other strategic targets in South Korea, said Yang Wook, a military expert who teaches at South Korea’s Hannam University.

“We have long said it would be difficult for North Korea to put nuclear warheads on (short-range) missiles if it fails to make them small and light enough,” said Yang. But North Korea would no longer have to do so if its missiles could reliably deliver a warhead of 2.5 tons, which Yang said would be more than three times heavier than most warheads on existing North Korean missiles.

Lee Choon Geun, a missile expert at South Korea’s Science and Technology Policy Institute, said the missiles would pose a huge threat for South Korea even if they are conventionally armed.

“A conventional warhead of 2.5 tons would be enough to bust deeply built bunkers,” he said. “That capacity would also allow for something more powerful than tactical nuclear weapons, possibly thermonuclear devices.”

——

MORE TESTING

North Korea has a history of testing new U.S. administrations with weapons demonstrations aimed at forcing the Americans back to the negotiating table.

Kim Jong Un so far has nothing to show for his ambitious summits with former President Donald Trump, which collapsed in 2019 over disagreements in exchanging the release of crippling U.S.-led sanctions against North Korea and the North’s disarmament steps.

While Thursday’s launches were less provocative compared to the nuclear and ICBM tests in 2017 that inspired war fears before the North shifted toward diplomacy with the Trump administration in 2018, most experts say the North is likely to dial up its testing activities.

The North conducted more than a dozen short-range launches amid stalled diplomacy in 2019 and 2020 as Trump dismissed the tests despite the threat they posed to South Korea and Japan. The United States stations a total of 80,000 troops in the two Asian countries, the core of America’s military presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

“These missiles are no joke because it seems pretty clear they’re aiming to mount nuclear warheads,” and evade missile defense systems, said Duyeon Kim, a senior analyst at the Washington-based Center for a New American Security.

She said the nature of these missiles would require U.S. and South Korea to develop an effective response by returning to their normal scale and scope of joint military exercises, which have been downsized under the Trump administration to make room for diplomacy.

——

AP writer Aamer Madhani contributed to the story from Washington.

EXPLAINER: North Korean missiles getting more agile, evasive - ABC News (go.com)
 

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment
Either Pyongyang is going to put a very large blivet into orbit or drop it in the South Pacific near the Chilean coast or they're going to put on a very bright light show over the North Pacific, either one is only a matter of time now.
 

jward

passin' thru

omar r quraish
@omar_quraishi


Pakistan conducts a successful test of Shaheen 1A surface-to-surface ballistic missile with a range of 900 kms. Rawalpindi - March 26, 2021 The test flight was aimed at re-validating various design & technical parameters of the weapon system including advanced navigation system
View: https://twitter.com/omar_quraishi/status/1375418076515164161?s=20
 

jward

passin' thru
Heshmat Alavi
@HeshmatAlavi



#BREAKING Iran and China to sign 25-year economic, strategic cooperation pact on Saturday This read breaks down the threats this deal will pose to the people in region & the world over.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The dark nature of a new deal between Iran and China
Heshmat Alavi
Heshmat Alavi


Jul 11, 2020 · 8 min read



The threat posed by China is very real, especially seen in a military and economic deal with Iran.

-$400 billion pledged by China
-Sino-Russian bombers, fighter jets & etc. to have unrestricted access to Iran’s air bases
-China gets privilege, discounts on all of Iran’s oil/gas/petrochemical
January 2016 — China’s Xi meets with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, after Obama’s nuclear deal came into effect.
March 2019 — Xi sends letters to Khamenei, emphasizing on “maintaining & strengthening ties with Iran”
August 2019 — Draft 25-year Iran-China deal presented to Khamenei
Sep 2019 — Mohammad Bagheri, Iran’s Armed Forces Chief of Staff, traveled to China. This sheds light into the role of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) in this 25-year deal.
Reminder: The IRGC is designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S.


Nov 2019 — Fars news agency
“Bagheri: The relationship between Iran and China is strategic/Drafting a 25-year cooperation document between the two countries”

Deal “will involve complete aerial/naval military co-op between Iran & China, with Russia also taking a key role.” If an August meeting goes as planned, “as of November 9, Sino-Russian bombers, fighters, and transport planes will have unrestricted access to Iran’s air bases.”


Bombers to be China versions of the Russian Tupolev Tu-22M3s, with a range of 6,800 km (2,410 km with a typical weapons load).
Fighters will be the all-weather supersonic medium-range fighter bomber/strike Sukhoi Su-34, plus the newer single-seat stealth attack Sukhoi-57.

It is apposite to note that in August 2016, Russia used the Hamedan airbase to launch attacks on targets in Syria using both Tupolev-22M3 long-range bombers and Sukhoi-34 strike fighters.

Chinese and Russian military vessels will be able to use newly-created dual-use facilities at Iran’s key ports at Chabahar, Bandar-e-Bushehr, and Bandar Abbas, constructed by Chinese companies.


Deployments to include Chinese/Russian electronic warfare (EW) capabilities, encompassing key EW areas — electronic support (including early warning of enemy weapons use) plus electronic attack (including jamming systems) plus electronic protection (including of enemy jamming).




Part of the new roll-out of software and hardware from China and Russia in Iran, according to the Iran sources, would be the Russian S-400 anti-missile air defence system: “To counter U.S. and/or Israeli attacks.”

The Krasukha-2 and -4 systems are also likely to feature in the overall EW architecture, as they proved their effectiveness in Syria in countering the radars of attack, reconnaissance and unmanned aircraft.

Part of the new military co-operation includes an exchange of personnel between Iran and China and Russia, with up to 110 senior Iranian IRGC men going for training every year in Beijing and Moscow and 110 Chinese and Russians going to Tehran for their training.




“…Chinese companies will be given the first refusal to bid on any new, stalled or uncompleted oil/gasfield developments. Chinese firms will also have first refusal on opportunities to become involved with any & all petchems projects in Iran,” according to a report back in September 2019.
“This will include up to 5,000 Chinese security personnel on the ground in Iran to protect Chinese projects, and there will be additional personnel and material available to protect the eventual transit of oil, gas and petchems supply from Iran to China…”

“China will also be able to buy any and all oil, gas, and petchems products at a minimum guaranteed discount of 12% to the six-month rolling mean price of comparable benchmark products, plus another 6–8% of that metric for risk-adjusted compensation.”

One of Iran’s goals in this 25-year deal with China is to sell 8.4 million barrels of oil per day, according to Ali Agha-Mohammadi, head of the Economic Group in Khamenei’s office.

“China will be granted the right to delay payment for Iranian production up to two years. China will also be able to pay in soft currencies that it has accrued from doing business in Africa and the Former Soviet Union (FSU) states,” according to petroleum-economist.com.
“… in addition to using renminbi should the need arise — meaning that no US dollars will be involved in these commodity transaction payments from China to Iran.”

“Given the exchange rates involved in converting these soft currencies into hard currencies that Iran can obtain from its friendly Western banks — including Europäisch-Iranische Handelsbank [in Germany], Oberbank [in Austria] and Halkbank [in Turkey] — China is looking at another 8–12pc discount [relative to the dollar price of the average benchmarks], which means a total discount of up to 32pc for China on all oil, gas and petchems purchases,” the source says.


September 2010 — US Treasury sanctions Europäisch-Iranische Handelsbank
June 2018 — Oberbank will withdraw from Iran because of increased risk for European companies in light of potential U.S. sanctions
October 2019 — US prosecutors accuse Halkbank of scheme to evade Iran sanctions



Tabriz, home to a number of key oil, gas and petchems sites, and the starting point for the Tabriz-Ankara gas pipeline, will be a pivot point of the 2,300km New Silk Road that links Urumqi (the capital of China’s western Xinjiang Province) to Tehran, connecting Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan along the way, and then via Turkey into Europe, says the Iranian source.

Iran’s benefits
-Veto power from China & Russia in the UN Security Council
-China to increase investment in Iran’s oil/gas industry, especially Phase 11 of the giant South Pars gas field & West Karoun oil fields
  • China has agreed to increase imports of Iranian oil



There is talk of Iran providing even further privileges to China, including the “Reuter concession.”
The Reuter concession was a contract signed in 1872 between Baron Julius de Reuter (born Israel Beer Josaphat), a British banker and businessman, and Nasir al-Din Shah, Qajar king of Persia. The concession gave him control over Persian roads, telegraphs, mills, factories, extraction of resources, and other public works in exchange for a stipulated sum for 5 years and 60% of all the net revenue for 20 years. The concession was so immense that even imperialists like Lord Curzon characterized it as the most complete grant ever made of control of resources by any country to a foreigner.
Terms similar to D’Arcy Concession, a petroleum oil concession that was signed in 1901 between William Knox D’Arcy & Mozzafar al-Din, Shah of Iran.
The oil concession gave D’Arcy the exclusive rights to prospect for oil in Persia (now Iran).
China is also seeking to “develop banking, financial and insurance cooperation” with Iran’s regime. And it is quite obvious how the mullahs will use the money.


Iran is also seeking China’s participation in its technology & communications industry, including search engines, email, social messengers, GPS, servers, database, mobile phones, tablets and laptops.


History:
Last year the regime gave away Iran’s historical share of the Caspian Sea to Russia to attract Putin’s support on the global stage.
Apparently, that wasn’t enough & Moscow is cashing in on this new deal between Iran & China.
Iran’s regime went to concede the commercial Chabahar port to India, to attract economic agreements in hope of circumventing U.S. sanctions.

By allowing China to use trawling ships in Iran’s southern waters, the mullahs’ regime has literally forced thousands of local fishermen into poverty.
This thread sheds light on the appalling nature of China’s bottom-trawling techniques & how the mullahs’ regime is allowing Chinese ships destroy Iran’s precious marine life.

And while Iranians inside & abroad are furious over this deal between the regime & China, Jason Rezaian of The Washington Post uses his column in an attempt to score cheap political points against US President Donald Trump by running Tehran’s talking points.




Final thoughts:
-The regime in Iran is desperate, but don’t expect to see mainstream media highlight that aspect.
-The regime is selling out all of Iran to foreign countries, further fueling domestic anger.
-Many things can happen before Tehran ever profits from this deal.
Freedom Star
Reflecting Iran Developments For Democratic Change


Please see source for additional photos
Posted for fair use

 

jward

passin' thru
ETA




The Associated Press
@AP

4m

BREAKING: Police say two suicide bombers detonate outside Catholic cathedral on Indonesia's Sulawesi island, wounding several people.
View: https://twitter.com/AP/status/1376038168714174466?s=20


FJ
@Natsecjeff

8m

Explosion reported at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral in Makassar, Indonesia, during Sunday mass. Casualties reported. Initial unconfirmed reports that it was a suicide bombing.
View: https://twitter.com/Natsecjeff/status/1376029961841180673?s=20
 
Last edited:

northern watch

Has No Life - Lives on TB
A Taiwan Crisis May Mark the End of the American Empire

America is a diplomatic fox, while Beijing is a hedgehog fixated on the big idea of reunification.

By Niall Ferguson
Bloomberg
March 21, 2021, 2:00 PM PDT

In a famous essay, the philosopher Isaiah Berlin borrowed a distinction from the ancient Greek poet Archilochus: “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”

“There exists,” wrote Berlin, “a great chasm between those, on one side, who relate everything to … a single, universal, organizing principle in terms of which alone all that they are and say has significance” — the hedgehogs — “and, on the other side, those who pursue many ends, often unrelated and even contradictory” — the foxes.

Berlin was talking about writers. But the same distinction can be drawn in the realm of great-power politics. Today, there are two superpowers in the world, the U.S. and China. The former is a fox. American foreign policy is, to borrow Berlin’s terms, “scattered or diffused, moving on many levels.” China, by contrast, is a hedgehog: it relates everything to “one unchanging, all-embracing, sometimes self-contradictory and incomplete, at times fanatical, unitary inner vision.”

Fifty years ago this July, the arch-fox of American diplomacy, Henry Kissinger, flew to Beijing on a secret mission that would fundamentally alter the global balance of power. The strategic backdrop was the administration of Richard Nixon’s struggle to extricate the U.S. from the Vietnam War with its honor and credibility so far as possible intact.

The domestic context was dissension more profound and violent than anything we have seen in the past year. In March 1971, Lieutenant William Calley was found guilty of 22 murders in the My Lai massacre. In April, half a million people marched through Washington to protest against the war in Vietnam. In June, the New York Times began publishing the Pentagon Papers.

Kissinger’s meetings with Zhou Enlai, the Chinese premier, were perhaps the most momentous of his career. As a fox, the U.S. national security adviser had multiple objectives. The principal goal was to secure a public Chinese invitation for his boss, Nixon, to visit Beijing the following year.

But Kissinger was also seeking Chinese help in getting America out of Vietnam, as well as hoping to exploit the Sino-Soviet split in a way that would put pressure on the Soviet Union, America’s principal Cold War adversary, to slow down the nuclear arms race. In his opening remarks, Kissinger listed no fewer than six issues for discussion, including the raging conflict in South Asia that would culminate in the independence of Bangladesh.

Zhou’s response was that of a hedgehog. He had just one issue: Taiwan. “If this crucial question is not solved,” he told Kissinger at the outset, “then the whole question [of U.S.-China relations] will be difficult to resolve.”

To an extent that is striking to the modern-day reader of the transcripts of this and the subsequent meetings, Zhou’s principal goal was to persuade Kissinger to agree to “recognize the PRC as the sole legitimate government in China” and “Taiwan Province” as “an inalienable part of Chinese territory which must be restored to the motherland,” from which the U.S. must “withdraw all its armed forces and dismantle all its military installations.” (Since the Communists’ triumph in the Chinese civil war in 1949, the island of Taiwan had been the last outpost of the nationalist Kuomintang. And since the Korean War, the U.S. had defended its autonomy.)

With his eyes on so many prizes, Kissinger was prepared to make the key concessions the Chinese sought. “We are not advocating a ‘two China’ solution or a ‘one China, one Taiwan’ solution,” he told Zhou. “As a student of history,” he went on, “one’s prediction would have to be that the political evolution is likely to be in the direction which [the] Prime Minister … indicated to me.” Moreover, “We can settle the major part of the military question within this term of the president if the war in Southeast Asia [i.e. Vietnam] is ended.”

Asked by Zhou for his view of the Taiwanese independence movement, Kissinger dismissed it out of hand. No matter what other issues Kissinger raised — Vietnam, Korea, the Soviets — Zhou steered the conversation back to Taiwan, “the only question between us two.” Would the U.S. recognize the People’s Republic as the sole government of China and normalize diplomatic relations? Yes, after the 1972 election. Would Taiwan be expelled from the United Nations and its seat on the Security Council given to Beijing? Again, yes.

Fast forward half a century, and the same issue — Taiwan — remains Beijing’s No. 1 priority. History did not evolve in quite the way Kissinger had foreseen. True, Nixon went to China as planned, Taiwan was booted out of the U.N. and, under President Jimmy Carter, the U.S. abrogated its 1954 mutual defense treaty with Taiwan. But the pro-Taiwan lobby in Congress was able to throw Taipei a lifeline in 1979, the Taiwan Relations Act.

The act states that the U.S. will consider “any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by boycotts or embargoes, a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States.” It also commits the U.S. government to “make available to Taiwan such defense articles and … services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capacity,” as well as to “maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people on Taiwan.”

For the Chinese hedgehog, this ambiguity — whereby the U.S. does not recognize Taiwan as an independent state but at the same time underwrites its security and de facto autonomy — remains an intolerable state of affairs.

Yet the balance of power has been transformed since 1971 — and much more profoundly than Kissinger could have foreseen. China 50 years ago was dirt poor: despite its huge population, its economy was a tiny fraction of U.S. gross domestic product. This year, the International Monetary Fund projects that, in current dollar terms, Chinese GDP will be three quarters of U.S. GDP. On a purchasing power parity basis, China overtook the U.S. in 2017.

1616969074535.png

In the same time frame, Taiwan, too, has prospered. Not only has it emerged as one of Asia’s most advanced economies, with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. the world’s top chip manufacturer. Taiwan has also become living proof that an ethnically Chinese people can thrive under democracy. The authoritarian regime that ran Taipei in the 1970s is a distant memory. Today, it is a shining example of how a free society can use technology to empower its citizens — which explains why its response to the Covid-19 pandemic was by any measure the most successful in the world (total deaths: 10).

As Harvard University’s Graham Allison argued in his hugely influential book, “Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?”, China’s economic rise — which was at first welcomed by American policymakers — was bound eventually to look like a threat to the U.S. Conflicts between incumbent powers and rising powers have been a feature of world politics since 431 BC, when it was the “growth in power of Athens, and the alarm which this inspired in Sparta” that led to war. The only surprising thing was that it took President Donald Trump, of all people, to waken Americans up to the threat posed by the growth in the power of the People’s Republic.

Trump campaigned against China as a threat mainly to U.S. manufacturing jobs. Once in the White House, he took his time before acting, but in 2018 began imposing tariffs on Chinese imports. Yet he could not prevent his preferred trade war from escalating rapidly into something more like Cold War II — a contest that was at once technological, ideological and geopolitical. The foreign policy “blob” picked up the anti-China ball and ran with it. The public cheered them on, with anti-China sentiment surging among both Republicans and Democrats.

Trump himself may have been a hedgehog with a one-track mind: tariffs. But under Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. policy soon reverted to its foxy norm. Pompeo threw every imaginable issue at Beijing, from the reliance of Huawei Technologies Co. on imported semiconductors, to the suppression of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, to the murky origins of Covid-19 in Wuhan.

Inevitably, Taiwan was added to the list, but the increased arms sales and diplomatic contacts were not given top billing. When Richard Haass, the grand panjandrum of the Council on Foreign Relations, argued last year for ending “strategic ambiguity” and wholeheartedly committing the U.S. to upholding Taiwan’s autonomy, no one in the Trump administration said, “Great idea!”

Yet when Pompeo met the director of the Communist Party office of foreign affairs, Yang Jiechi, in Hawaii last June, guess where the Chinese side began? “There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. The one-China principle is the political foundation of China-U.S. relations.”

So successful was Trump in leading elite and popular opinion to a more anti-China stance that President Joe Biden had no alternative but to fall in line last year. The somewhat surprising outcome is that he is now leading an administration that is in many ways more hawkish than its predecessor.

Trump was no cold warrior. According to former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s memoir, the president liked to point to the tip of one of his Sharpies and say, “This is Taiwan,” then point to the Resolute desk in the Oval Office and say, “This is China.” “Taiwan is like two feet from China,” Trump told one Republican senator. “We are 8,000 miles away. If they invade, there isn’t a f***ing thing we can do about it.”

Unlike others in his national security team, Trump cared little about human rights issues.

End of Part 1 of 2
 

northern watch

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Part 2

On Hong Kong, he said: “I don’t want to get involved,” and, “We have human-rights problems too.” When President Xi Jinping informed him about the labor camps for the Muslim Uighurs of Xinjiang in western China, Trump essentially told him “No problemo.” On the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, Trump asked: “Who cares about it? I’m trying to make a deal.”

The Biden administration, by contrast, means what it says on such issues. In every statement since taking over as secretary of state, Antony Blinken has referred to China not only as a strategic rival but also as violator of human rights. In January, he called China’s treatment of the Uighurs “an effort to commit genocide” and pledged to continue Pompeo’s policy of increasing U.S. engagement with Taiwan. In February, he gave Yang an earful on Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet and even Myanmar, where China backs the recent military coup. Earlier this month, the administration imposed sanctions on Chinese officials it holds responsible for sweeping away Hong Kong’s autonomy.

In his last Foreign Affairs magazine article before joining the administration as its Asia “tsar,” Kurt Campbell argued for “a conscious effort to deter Chinese adventurism … This means investing in long-range conventional cruise and ballistic missiles, unmanned carrier-based strike aircraft and underwater vehicles, guided-missile submarines, and high-speed strike weapons.” He added that Washington needs to work with other states to disperse U.S. forces across Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean and “to reshore sensitive industries and pursue a ‘managed decoupling’ from China.”

In many respects, the continuity with the Trump China strategy is startling. The trade war has not been ended, nor the tech war. Aside from actually meaning the human rights stuff, the only other big difference between Biden and Trump is the former’s far stronger emphasis on the importance of allies in this process of deterring China — in particular, the so-called Quad the U.S. has formed with Australia, India and Japan. As Blinken said in a keynote speech on March 3, for the U.S. “to engage China from a position of strength … requires working with allies and partners … because our combined weight is much harder for China to ignore.”

This argument took concrete form last week, when Campbell told the Sydney Morning Herald that the U.S. was “not going to leave Australia alone on the field” if Beijing continued its current economic squeeze on Canberra (retaliation for the Australian government’s call for an independent inquiry into the origins of the pandemic). National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has been singing from much the same hymn-sheet. Biden himself hosted a virtual summit for the Quad’s heads of state on March 12.

The Chinese approach remains that of the hedgehog. Several years ago, I was told by one of Xi’s economic advisers that bringing Taiwan back under the mainland’s control was his president’s most cherished objective — and the reason he had secured an end to the informal rule that had confined previous Chinese presidents to two terms. It is for this reason, above all others, that Xi has presided over a huge expansion of China’s land, sea and air forces, including the land-based DF‑21D missiles that could sink American aircraft carriers.

While America’s multitasking foxes have been adding to their laundry list of grievances, the Chinese hedgehog has steadily been building its capacity to take over Taiwan. In the words of Tanner Greer, a journalist who writes knowledgably on Taiwanese security, the People’s Liberation Army “has parity on just about every system the Taiwanese can field (or buy from us in the future), and for some systems they simply outclass the Taiwanese altogether.” More importantly, China has created what’s known as an “Anti Access/Area Denial bubble” to keep U.S. forces away from Taiwan.

As Lonnie Henley of George Washington University pointed out in congressional testimony last month, “if we can disable [China’s integrated air defense system], we can win militarily. If not, we probably cannot.”

As a student of history, to quote Kissinger, I see a very dangerous situation. The U.S. commitment to Taiwan has grown verbally stronger even as it has become militarily weaker. When a commitment is said to be “rock-solid” but in reality has the consistency of fine sand, there is a danger that both sides miscalculate.

I am not alone in worrying. Admiral Phil Davidson, the head of U.S. forces in the Indo-Pacific, warned in his February testimony before Congress that China could invade Taiwan by 2027. Earlier this month, my Bloomberg Opinion colleague Max Hastings noted that “Taiwan evokes the sort of sentiment among [the Chinese] people that Cuba did among Americans 60 years ago.”

Admiral James Stavridis, also a Bloomberg Opinion columnist, has just published “2034: A Novel of the Next World War,” in which a surprise Chinese naval encirclement of Taiwan is one of the opening ploys of World War III. (The U.S. sustains such heavy naval losses that it is driven to nuke Zhanjiang, which leads in turn to the obliteration of San Diego and Galveston.) Perhaps the most questionable part of this scenario is its date, 13 years hence. My Hoover Institution colleague Misha Auslin has imagined a U.S.-China naval war as soon as 2025.

In an important new study of the Taiwan question for the Council on Foreign Relations, Robert Blackwill and Philip Zelikow — veteran students and practitioners of U.S. foreign policy — lay out the four options they see for U.S. policy, of which their preferred is the last:

The United States should … rehearse — at least with Japan and Taiwan — a parallel plan to challenge any Chinese denial of international access to Taiwan and prepare, including with pre-positioned U.S. supplies, including war reserve stocks, shipments of vitally needed supplies to help Taiwan defend itself. … The United States and its allies would credibly and visibly plan to react to the attack on their forces by breaking all financial relations with China, freezing or seizing Chinese assets.

Blackwill and Zelikow are right that the status quo is unsustainable. But there are three core problems with all arguments to make deterrence more persuasive. The first is that any steps to strengthen Taiwan’s defenses will inevitably elicit an angry response from China, increasing the likelihood that the Cold War turns hot — especially if Japan is explicitly involved. The second problem is that such steps create a closing window of opportunity for China to act before the U.S. upgrade of deterrence is complete. The third is the reluctance of the Taiwanese themselves to treat their national security with the same seriousness that Israelis take the survival of their state.

Thursday’s meeting in Alaska between Blinken, Sullivan, Yang and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi — following hard on the heels of Blinken’s visits to Japan and South Korea — was never likely to restart the process of Sino-American strategic dialogue that characterized the era of “Chimerica” under George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The days of “win-win” diplomacy are long gone.

During the opening exchanges before the media, Yang illustrated that hedgehogs not only have one big idea – they are also very prickly. The U.S. was being “condescending,” he declared, in remarks that overshot the prescribed two minutes by a factor of eight; it would do better to address its own “deep-seated” human rights problems, such as racism (a “long history of killing blacks”), rather than to lecture China.

The question that remains is how quickly the Biden administration could find itself confronted with a Taiwan Crisis, whether a light “quarantine,” a full-scale blockade or a surprise amphibious invasion? If Hastings is right, this would be the Cuban Missile Crisis of Cold War II, but with the roles reversed, as the contested island is even further from the U.S. than Cuba is from Russia. If Stavridis is right, Taiwan would be more like Belgium in 1914 or Poland in 1939.

But I have another analogy in mind. Perhaps Taiwan will turn out to be to the American empire what Suez was to the British Empire in 1956: the moment when the imperial lion is exposed as a paper tiger. When the Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal, Prime Minister Anthony Eden joined forces with France and Israel to try to take it back by force. American opposition precipitated a run on the pound and British humiliation.

I, for one, struggle to see the Biden administration responding to a Chinese attack on Taiwan with the combination of military force and financial sanctions envisaged by Blackwill and Zelikow. Sullivan has written eloquently of the need for a foreign policy that Middle America can get behind. Getting torched for Taipei does not seem to fit that bill.

As for Biden himself, would he really be willing to jeopardize the post-pandemic boom his economic policies are fueling for the sake of an island Kissinger was once prepared quietly to trade in pursuit of Cold War detente? Who would be hurt more by the financial crisis Blackwill and Zelikow imagine in the event of war for Taiwan – China, or the U.S. itself? One of the two superpowers has a current account deficit of 3.5% of GDP (Q2 2020) and a net international investment position of nearly minus-$14 trillion, and it’s not China. The surname of the secretary of state would certainly be an irresistible temptation to headline writers if the U.S. blinked in what would be the fourth and biggest Taiwan Crisis since 1954.

Yet think what that would mean. Losing in Vietnam five decades ago turned out not to matter much, other than to the unfortunate inhabitants of South Vietnam. There was barely any domino effect in Asia as a whole, aside from the human catastrophe of Cambodia. Yet losing — or not even fighting for — Taiwan would be seen all over Asia as the end of American predominance in the region we now call the “Indo-Pacific.” It would confirm the long-standing hypothesis of China’s return to primacy in Asia after two centuries of eclipse and “humiliation.” It would mean a breach of the “first island chain” that Chinese strategists believe encircles them, as well as handing Beijing control of the microchip Mecca that is TSMC (remember, semiconductors, not data, are the new oil). It would surely cause a run on the dollar and U.S. Treasuries. It would be the American Suez.

The fox has had a good run. But the danger of foxy foreign policy is that you care about so many issues you risk losing focus. The hedgehog, by contrast, knows one big thing. That big thing may be that he who rules Taiwan rules the world.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Niall Ferguson at nferguson23@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Tobin Harshaw at tharshaw@bloomberg.net



Niall Ferguson: A Taiwan Crisis May End the American Empire - Bloomberg
 

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On TB every waking moment
Part 2

On Hong Kong, he said: “I don’t want to get involved,” and, “We have human-rights problems too.” When President Xi Jinping informed him about the labor camps for the Muslim Uighurs of Xinjiang in western China, Trump essentially told him “No problemo.” On the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, Trump asked: “Who cares about it? I’m trying to make a deal.”

The Biden administration, by contrast, means what it says on such issues. In every statement since taking over as secretary of state, Antony Blinken has referred to China not only as a strategic rival but also as violator of human rights. In January, he called China’s treatment of the Uighurs “an effort to commit genocide” and pledged to continue Pompeo’s policy of increasing U.S. engagement with Taiwan. In February, he gave Yang an earful on Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet and even Myanmar, where China backs the recent military coup. Earlier this month, the administration imposed sanctions on Chinese officials it holds responsible for sweeping away Hong Kong’s autonomy.

In his last Foreign Affairs magazine article before joining the administration as its Asia “tsar,” Kurt Campbell argued for “a conscious effort to deter Chinese adventurism … This means investing in long-range conventional cruise and ballistic missiles, unmanned carrier-based strike aircraft and underwater vehicles, guided-missile submarines, and high-speed strike weapons.” He added that Washington needs to work with other states to disperse U.S. forces across Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean and “to reshore sensitive industries and pursue a ‘managed decoupling’ from China.”

In many respects, the continuity with the Trump China strategy is startling. The trade war has not been ended, nor the tech war. Aside from actually meaning the human rights stuff, the only other big difference between Biden and Trump is the former’s far stronger emphasis on the importance of allies in this process of deterring China — in particular, the so-called Quad the U.S. has formed with Australia, India and Japan. As Blinken said in a keynote speech on March 3, for the U.S. “to engage China from a position of strength … requires working with allies and partners … because our combined weight is much harder for China to ignore.”

This argument took concrete form last week, when Campbell told the Sydney Morning Herald that the U.S. was “not going to leave Australia alone on the field” if Beijing continued its current economic squeeze on Canberra (retaliation for the Australian government’s call for an independent inquiry into the origins of the pandemic). National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has been singing from much the same hymn-sheet. Biden himself hosted a virtual summit for the Quad’s heads of state on March 12.

The Chinese approach remains that of the hedgehog. Several years ago, I was told by one of Xi’s economic advisers that bringing Taiwan back under the mainland’s control was his president’s most cherished objective — and the reason he had secured an end to the informal rule that had confined previous Chinese presidents to two terms. It is for this reason, above all others, that Xi has presided over a huge expansion of China’s land, sea and air forces, including the land-based DF‑21D missiles that could sink American aircraft carriers.

While America’s multitasking foxes have been adding to their laundry list of grievances, the Chinese hedgehog has steadily been building its capacity to take over Taiwan. In the words of Tanner Greer, a journalist who writes knowledgably on Taiwanese security, the People’s Liberation Army “has parity on just about every system the Taiwanese can field (or buy from us in the future), and for some systems they simply outclass the Taiwanese altogether.” More importantly, China has created what’s known as an “Anti Access/Area Denial bubble” to keep U.S. forces away from Taiwan.

As Lonnie Henley of George Washington University pointed out in congressional testimony last month, “if we can disable [China’s integrated air defense system], we can win militarily. If not, we probably cannot.”

As a student of history, to quote Kissinger, I see a very dangerous situation. The U.S. commitment to Taiwan has grown verbally stronger even as it has become militarily weaker. When a commitment is said to be “rock-solid” but in reality has the consistency of fine sand, there is a danger that both sides miscalculate.

I am not alone in worrying. Admiral Phil Davidson, the head of U.S. forces in the Indo-Pacific, warned in his February testimony before Congress that China could invade Taiwan by 2027. Earlier this month, my Bloomberg Opinion colleague Max Hastings noted that “Taiwan evokes the sort of sentiment among [the Chinese] people that Cuba did among Americans 60 years ago.”

Admiral James Stavridis, also a Bloomberg Opinion columnist, has just published “2034: A Novel of the Next World War,” in which a surprise Chinese naval encirclement of Taiwan is one of the opening ploys of World War III. (The U.S. sustains such heavy naval losses that it is driven to nuke Zhanjiang, which leads in turn to the obliteration of San Diego and Galveston.) Perhaps the most questionable part of this scenario is its date, 13 years hence. My Hoover Institution colleague Misha Auslin has imagined a U.S.-China naval war as soon as 2025.

In an important new study of the Taiwan question for the Council on Foreign Relations, Robert Blackwill and Philip Zelikow — veteran students and practitioners of U.S. foreign policy — lay out the four options they see for U.S. policy, of which their preferred is the last:

The United States should … rehearse — at least with Japan and Taiwan — a parallel plan to challenge any Chinese denial of international access to Taiwan and prepare, including with pre-positioned U.S. supplies, including war reserve stocks, shipments of vitally needed supplies to help Taiwan defend itself. … The United States and its allies would credibly and visibly plan to react to the attack on their forces by breaking all financial relations with China, freezing or seizing Chinese assets.

Blackwill and Zelikow are right that the status quo is unsustainable. But there are three core problems with all arguments to make deterrence more persuasive. The first is that any steps to strengthen Taiwan’s defenses will inevitably elicit an angry response from China, increasing the likelihood that the Cold War turns hot — especially if Japan is explicitly involved. The second problem is that such steps create a closing window of opportunity for China to act before the U.S. upgrade of deterrence is complete. The third is the reluctance of the Taiwanese themselves to treat their national security with the same seriousness that Israelis take the survival of their state.

Thursday’s meeting in Alaska between Blinken, Sullivan, Yang and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi — following hard on the heels of Blinken’s visits to Japan and South Korea — was never likely to restart the process of Sino-American strategic dialogue that characterized the era of “Chimerica” under George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The days of “win-win” diplomacy are long gone.

During the opening exchanges before the media, Yang illustrated that hedgehogs not only have one big idea – they are also very prickly. The U.S. was being “condescending,” he declared, in remarks that overshot the prescribed two minutes by a factor of eight; it would do better to address its own “deep-seated” human rights problems, such as racism (a “long history of killing blacks”), rather than to lecture China.

The question that remains is how quickly the Biden administration could find itself confronted with a Taiwan Crisis, whether a light “quarantine,” a full-scale blockade or a surprise amphibious invasion? If Hastings is right, this would be the Cuban Missile Crisis of Cold War II, but with the roles reversed, as the contested island is even further from the U.S. than Cuba is from Russia. If Stavridis is right, Taiwan would be more like Belgium in 1914 or Poland in 1939.

But I have another analogy in mind. Perhaps Taiwan will turn out to be to the American empire what Suez was to the British Empire in 1956: the moment when the imperial lion is exposed as a paper tiger. When the Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal, Prime Minister Anthony Eden joined forces with France and Israel to try to take it back by force. American opposition precipitated a run on the pound and British humiliation.

I, for one, struggle to see the Biden administration responding to a Chinese attack on Taiwan with the combination of military force and financial sanctions envisaged by Blackwill and Zelikow. Sullivan has written eloquently of the need for a foreign policy that Middle America can get behind. Getting torched for Taipei does not seem to fit that bill.

As for Biden himself, would he really be willing to jeopardize the post-pandemic boom his economic policies are fueling for the sake of an island Kissinger was once prepared quietly to trade in pursuit of Cold War detente? Who would be hurt more by the financial crisis Blackwill and Zelikow imagine in the event of war for Taiwan – China, or the U.S. itself? One of the two superpowers has a current account deficit of 3.5% of GDP (Q2 2020) and a net international investment position of nearly minus-$14 trillion, and it’s not China. The surname of the secretary of state would certainly be an irresistible temptation to headline writers if the U.S. blinked in what would be the fourth and biggest Taiwan Crisis since 1954.

Yet think what that would mean. Losing in Vietnam five decades ago turned out not to matter much, other than to the unfortunate inhabitants of South Vietnam. There was barely any domino effect in Asia as a whole, aside from the human catastrophe of Cambodia. Yet losing — or not even fighting for — Taiwan would be seen all over Asia as the end of American predominance in the region we now call the “Indo-Pacific.” It would confirm the long-standing hypothesis of China’s return to primacy in Asia after two centuries of eclipse and “humiliation.” It would mean a breach of the “first island chain” that Chinese strategists believe encircles them, as well as handing Beijing control of the microchip Mecca that is TSMC (remember, semiconductors, not data, are the new oil). It would surely cause a run on the dollar and U.S. Treasuries. It would be the American Suez.

The fox has had a good run. But the danger of foxy foreign policy is that you care about so many issues you risk losing focus. The hedgehog, by contrast, knows one big thing. That big thing may be that he who rules Taiwan rules the world.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Niall Ferguson at nferguson23@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Tobin Harshaw at tharshaw@bloomberg.net



Niall Ferguson: A Taiwan Crisis May End the American Empire - Bloomberg
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