Secretary Tillerson Meets PM Trudeau about North Korea and China

The United States seized on an opportunity co-host with Canada a meeting of the United Nations Command Sending States plus the Republic of Korea and Japan after the last DPRK missile test.   The stated purpose of the meeting for the US was to “discuss how the global community can counter North Korea’s threat to international peace.”

But there is no consensus between the co-hosts as to how this is to be achieved.

The US wants to Canada to host the “Tehran Conference (1943)” while Canada is trying for the “Paris Peace Conference (Versailles 1919)”, with the same predictable outcomes.

UN Command Sending States with ROK and Japan is a brilliant term of art that reminded all those who signed the Armistice Agreement with the Korean People’s Army and Chinese People’s Volunteers that they are all technically still at war and bound to uphold the Armistice agreement.

That is supposed to include Canada.

The 16 sending states that committed military forces that are legally bound to “their national commitment to the UNC in the defense of ROK should the armistice agreement fail” are: US, UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Greece, Colombia, Ethiopia, Turkey, Thailand and the Philippines.

Convening a meeting of “sending states” explicitly reminded all the participants that they were, and are, and remain belligerents as no peace treaty was ever concluded.

All of them (including Japan and ROK) have a military stake in the outcome and a treaty obligation to defend the Armistice.

Canada interpreted the mission quite differently from the US.

Chrystia Freeland, the Canadian foreign minister and her staff, did not know about or disregarded the angle of sending state’s legal obligations to uphold the Armistice and took the proposed meeting as a multilateral effort to bring “key players” together for a non-military solution.

Chrystia Freeland, discussed “in great detail” the proposed meeting with PRC’s foreign minister Wang Yi at the APEC meeting in Vietnam (Nov 6-11) and then went ahead to invited the PRC to the meeting in December.

This was almost certainly done without consulting with and obtaining the consent of the US or key allies like Japan.

It is hard to imagine how bringing PRC to this meeting can contribute to forming a consensus on under what circumstances will military options be the necessary.

Japan took exception to Canada’s stratagem.

No sooner had Canada issued an invitation to Japan in December, it was rejected by Foreign Minister Kono because “the pursuit of dialogue may take the emphasis away from pressure [on Pyongyang].”

Then in the classic Japanese diplomatic style, the timing of the meeting initially proposed by Canada in December was termed “inconvenient” as it conflicted with Minister Kono’s commitment in New York.

Finally, Japan objected to inviting all the “Sending States” and by insinuation PRC, because it is “out of step with Japan’s direction”.

For all practical purposes, Japan declined to participate in this Canadian led venture despite the risk of making the US uncomfortable and embarrassing Secretary Tillerson.

 Canada basically sabotaged the meeting before it began by inviting PRC.

Just what did Canada do that so offended Japan and ensured the failure of this joint initiative with the US?

During the APEC/ASEAN meetings, Canada deliberately sabotaged the TPP11 free trade deal that was co-chaired by Australia and Japan.

Canadian Minister for International Trade François-Philippe Champagne deliberately mislead Japan and Australia that Canada agreed to sign TPP11, then issued a tweet stating otherwise at 9:30pm Danang Time the night before without immediately informing the co-chairs.

This resulted in an ambush where PM Abe was only told by PM Trudeau of his refusal to sign 20 minutes before the signing ceremony, ensuring the failure of the entire agreement.

Canada then followed the sabotage of TPP11 with an attempt to parlay an invitation to be an observer at the East Asia Forum into membership when Canada is viewed as “not adding substance to the Group”.

Left unspoken and unsaid is Canada have taken stances that turn a blind eye to the most pressing security interests in the region, namely, the PRC’s “sea grab” of the South China Sea as “territorial waters” in violation of UNCLOS, and similar moves in the East China Sea and dismissing the DPRK and PRC threat to North America and the liberal international order.

The sabotage (rather than graceful withdraw by Canada) of TPP11 and vociferous demands for Canada to join EAS and campaign to become a UNSC member under the Liberal regime makes sense if the intent of Canada is to align with the PRC and serve as their comprador on these forums.

Not surprisingly, right after these two events, Canada’s Liberal regime gleefully tried to get PRC to reward Canada for their efforts by formally starting negotiations for a Canada-PRC free trade deal which the liberals wanted to conclude in time for the 2019 Canadian Federal Election: Only to be disappointed because Canada failed to deliver Bombardier to PRC, and; will likely require a national security review of the PRC takeover of Aecon (Canada’s largest public A&E firm).

Furthermore, the Liberals was unable to guarantee existing NAFTA access for PRC enterprises via Canada despite the best efforts of Canadian officials to sabotage the NAFTA renegotiations to protect the status quo by default.

Canadian politicians and officials had no illusions as to how beneficial negotiating a free trade deal with PRC can be when the Australian Trade Minister and PRC-Australia FTA negotiator Andrew Robb got a A$880,000/year “confidential” contract with a CCP aligned Chinese firm for doing very little after concluding the deal and resigning from Parliament.

Such rewards are just not available from the US for Canadian officials re-negotiating NAFTA or from parties to TPP11.

Canada’s Liberals have expressed no concern or intention to review and strengthen national security, investment, and transparency laws to limit foreign influence and CCP subversion as Australia and other allies are presently doing.

Let us now turn to Canada’s stance on North Korea and consider this as a key part of the formula being generated by the current Canadian government.  

Canada’s top defense official Chief of the General Staff General Jonathan Vance publically stated on December 1 that “I would say it’s [North Korea nuclear ballistic missiles] an emerging threat. It’s not yet developed to be an extant threat, a proven threat.”

He did not believe North Korea has demonstrated that capability and “It’s [the threat] theoretical at this juncture”.

Vance specifically and categorically rejected the idea that Canada should discuss with the US joining the American Ballistic Missile Defense system.

Likewise, the idea that Canada might be asked to contribute forces for a war on the Korean peninsula that require specific preparations now was summarily dismissed even as other close allies began mobilizing and making those preparations.

This is in line with Canada’s official position is that North Korea do not pose a credible existential threat to North America in terms of capabilities.

What about North Korea’s intent?

Global Affairs Canada have alleged that “There has been no direct threat to Canada” and “Pyongyang does not consider Canada as an enemy, but rather as a friendly and peaceful country”.   Global Affairs official Mark Gwozdecky believe, “We must convince Pyongyang that it can achieve its goals through peaceful diplomatic means.”

And that DPRK’s only concern is with regime survival.

To sum up: Canada, categorically, do not see a threat from North Korea either in terms of their nuclear ballistic missiles capabilities, or hostile intentions toward Canada.

Nor do Canada see treaty obligations (UN, UNC, NATO, etc.) that will almost certainly drag Canada into any conflict on the Korean peninsula as binding on Canada.

Contrast this with the US Government consensus on the threat from North Korea: “North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons has aggressive and offensive objectives. Pyongyang, they believe, will use its nuclear weapons to push U.S. forces out of South Korea and then force reunification of the Korean Peninsula on its terms.”

Canada’s official position on DPRK is similar to the PRC’s stance that seeks dialog.

All that remain is for Canada to openly advocate “freeze for freeze” together with PRC and Russia and talk the other participants into accepting it.

With this perception, is it a surprise that Canada took the initiative with Secretary Tillerson to mean that a military solution is off the table and only diplomatic means are viable when Canada’s top defense and security officials have a clear consensus that they do not see a threat (capability and intent) from DPRK toward Canada in the near term?

Indeed, some in Canada have advocated for Canada to be neutral in the conflict (disregarding treaty obligations), or in some cases, to seek protection from the PRC.

PM Trudeau only regard the risk of debris falling on Canada from US intercepts of DPRK missiles heading to America.

Moreover, PM Trudeau specifically suggested using Cuba as a channel to DPRK just because they have diplomatic relations with North Korea. (Singapore has diplomatic relations with DPRK.) Apparently ignorant of, or dismissing the risk of Cuba might leverage that into acquiring nuclear weapons from North Korea like what happened during the Cuban Missile Crisis before Justin Trudeau was conceived.

What about Canada as the champion of “rules based international order”?  

Based on recent behavior, Canada do not appear to regard the legally binding obligations to defend the Armistice to be legally binding, nor do Canada see a binding treaty obligation under NATO Article 5 to defend allies like the USA if attacked, or NATO Article 3 obligations to provide for an adequate self-defense capability that include both mutual defense and mutual offense in general, and defense against DPRK ballistic missiles in particular.

Canadians have a belief that the US will come to Canada’s defense and take such American protection as an entitlement even as Canada is acting in violation of NATO Article 3 and 5 treaty obligations, and routinely sabotaging allied initiatives like the UNC conference often with PRC the prime beneficiary.

David Pugliese, a well-known Canadian defense correspondent and contributor to Defense News explicitly asked, “whether it is worth having an ally that has an official policy to sit back and let a catastrophic attack proceed on its neighbour and one of its closest partners even though it believes it has the means and technology to stop it.”

And called for Canada to find a new ally. PRC, perhaps?

Secretary Tillerson will have the nearly impossible task of fundamentally changing core Canadian beliefs and hallucinations on a brief visit: including rectifying Canadian dismissal of the near term nuclear ballistic missile threat from DPRK to Canada; the medium term threat from PRC that if not checked soon will irrevocably alter the liberal international order.   Critically, the problem of subversion of Canada’s political, government, academic and economic elites by CCP United Front organizations that have so far, been largely ignored by the Canadian Federal, Provincial and local governments.

If he can accomplish that on a brief visit, it be a miracle.

If not, perhaps it is time for a policy review.

Editor’s Note: To gain a sense of the significant gap between Canada and many allies, please compare the current Canadian government’s position to that of Australia.

The New Australian Foreign Policy White Paper: The Perspective of the Australian Institute of International Affairs

Reflections on the Australian Foreign Policy White Paper: Facing the Challenge of Global Engagement, Conflict and Realignment

Promoting Better Missile Defense Burden Sharing

One problem with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018 (H.R. 2810) signed by President Trump on Tuesday is that the costs of defending foreign countries from missile threats is disproportionately paid for by American tax payers.

To sustain funding for the U.S. nuclear modernization, revitalization of the U.S. ground forces, expansion of the full F-35 fleet, and the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMDS) system, it is important to displace more of the costs of protecting foreign countries from missile threats onto those countries themselves.

These states need to spend more on missile defense and cooperate more closely in networking their regional systems

This would allow more of American taxpayer dollars to go to protecting the U.S. homeland.

In Europe, President Trump is but the latest U.S. leader who has decried the persistent imbalance in transatlantic defense spending. Having the United States account for some three-fourths of all NATO military expenditures undermines the long-term foundations of the alliance.

NATO countries need to follow the Polish example and spend more on their national missile defenses.

Poland is building one of the best integrated air and missile defense system in the world through its so-called Wisla program, including by spending billions of dollars on the U.S.-made Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System and U.S. Patriot air-and-missile defense interceptors.

In the future, Poland and Romania should, along with other NATO allies, pay a greater share of the Aegis Ashore SM-3 missile batteries that the United States has been building on their territories as part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach to Missile Defense that guided the Obama administration’s approach.

In Asia, South Korea and Japan need to invest more in their national defense to enable the United States to spend more on protecting its own homeland. If North Korean leaders believe that they can threaten the U.S. homeland with impunity, Pyongyang will escalate its provocations against Japan and South Korea.

For example, Japan and South Korea can rapidly enhance their defenses against North Korean missiles at modest cost by funding a new short-range hypersonic interceptor with already available unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). This proposed “High-Altitude Long-Endurance Boost-Phase Intercept Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (HALE BPI/UAV)” could patrol the airspace off the Korean Peninsula and destroy North Korean missiles soon after their launch.

South Korea and Japan could easily share the modest costs of fielding and maintaining national or joint networks of these systems. Much of the technology for this system is already available or could be developed within a few years. Missile defense experts have already developed detailed proposals for making the concept practical. Like the GMDSthe HALE BPI/UAV would destroy targets through kinetic energy generated by the force of a high-speed collision rather than through an exploding warhead.

Moving beyond their modest and infrequent joint missile defense exercises, Japan and South Korea can pool resources to develop new missile defense systems. They can draw on technologies from missile tracking and interception already under available or under development. Their enhanced cooperation would, by reducing the U.S. burden, make the U.S. forward presence more sustainable..

Middle Eastern partners that have also benefited from missile defense technologies developed and funded by American taxpayers. Israel has received substantial research, development, and deployment subsidies, while Arab partners have been able to buy turn-key defense systems developed thanks to generous U.S. funding.

U.S. allies and friends should also assume a greater share of the costs of researching and developing next-generation missile-defense technologies. These could include laser-based weapons suitable for boost-phase attacks on nearby missiles or enhanced use of F-35 sensors and missiles for close-proximity missile interceptions. More F-35s would enhance the performance and networking capacity of the air and missile defense networks of Europeans, Asians, and Arabs facing the Russian-provided planes of potential regional troublemakers.

These systems would support other types of missile interceptors already deployed or under development by U.S. allies and partners for their national defense by adding another layer to the global missile defense architecture.

Furthermore, they would allow the United States to rebalance funding to increase the size and improve the performance of the Ground-Based Interceptors in Alaska and California. For example, the Pentagon wants to start building additional silos at Fort Greely in Alaska, redesign the kill vehicle that rams into incoming warheads, deploy a new two-stage booster, and accelerate other key GMDS components.

Besides this long-term need to rebalance the defense burden between the United States and its allies, and between U.S. regional and homeland missile defense, the immediate priority is to rescind the 2011 2011 Budget Control Act that caps federal spending through mandatory sequestration. Although the FY2018 NDAA would provide $700 billion for defense spending, the 2011 law restricts actual 2018 defense spending to $550 billion.

As Trump said when signing the NDAA, Congress needs to “finish the job” and end the crazy sequestration requirement for automatic, across-the-board spending cuts regardless of strategic logic or national priorities.


The Impact of Hypersonic Weapons

Recently, our partner Front Line Defence published a piece on the disruptive potential of hypersonic weapons and we republish here.

General James E. Cartwright, who holds the Harold Brown Chair in Defense Studies at CSIS, is the former commander United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM), and 8th Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He discusses disruptive potential of hypersonic technology and weapons with Touraj Riazi of the NATO Association of Canada.

What destabilizing consequences will hypersonic technology have on global strategic stability? 

The definition of destabilizing is when one group generates a capability (advantage) that its adversary does not have (disadvantage). There are two options to restore your advantage – either invest in that technology or an alternative to it, or attempt to take advantage of your adversary before they field that new capability. Hypersonic technology creates that instability and forces a choice.

Generally, there are two means by which survivability and maneuverability are acquired. The primary method for years has been speed. Stealth is a recent alternative. For instance, I have a better chance of surviving and accomplishing my mission if I am moving at a speed that is faster than your ability to maneuver when reacting to me. I also have a better chance of accomplishing the mission if my adversary does not know where I am. Hypersonics represents a return to focusing on speed as an attribute of survivability; but, this shift away from stealth does not mean its total disposal.

It is in this area where hypersonic technology imposes costs on an adversary. If I’m inventing hypersonic capabilities to use against an adversary, they are forced to react and try to offset that. They will certainly be behind, and frankly, there is a premium price to pay in catching up. This is destabilizing for a period of time – although stability eventually resumes, and this imbalance is neutralized. The question then becomes how much will be invested in this technology and how long will it benefit me?

Moore’s Law projects that 30% of the stealth technology on an airplane built today will have been superceded by new technology prior to the fielding of that plane. Therefore, 30% of the total investment is already gone. When the plane is fielded against a ‘near peer’, 100% of that technology will be neutralized. At best, that technology might produce benefits lasting 25 years against low-end opponents. The value of investing in hypersonic technology cannot truly be assessed without these calculations.

Looking at hypersonic technology requires making the distinction between three regimes of hypersonic speed: below Mach 5, Mach 5-10, and above 10. Pushing through the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds requires a lot of sustained energy, which is problematic because of fuel consumption. Travelling 1000 miles probably requires an aircraft the size of an F-16 just to carry the fuel for the engine.

What will the time difference equate to, if that 1000 miles is traversed at a speed of Mach 5 as opposed to Mach 1? It would only be a minute or two. Now the question becomes: what is my adversary unable to accomplish in a minute or two? The operational advantage is relatively small and will not be sustained; therefore, a minute or two would not likely justify such an investment.

However, investing in such a capability would impose costs on my adversary by creating a necessity to develop defensive weapons against an object moving at such speeds. However, there would not be a need to build a great number of them because I cannot afford to build that many weapons in the first place.

If, however, the speed is increased to Mach 20, and the distance to 10,000 miles, then the cost calculation would dramatically alter too because the primary unit of time would then become hours not minutes. This would enable me to be on one side of the country while the adversary thinks I am on the other side. This is really something different.

Most of the current work with hypersonics is taking place in the developmental phase to discover where leverage points exist and how they can be made useful. However, even though we are aware of an advantage a particular technology brings, there may be a need to shelve it because a necessary component of the technology has not yet matured. Today, some of the technology, such as the engine type technology, is starting to mature, while the heat management systems are a real problem for sustained inside-the-atmosphere operations. This again raises the question of whether there is sufficient technology to field a weapon now. If the answer is yes, how many will be built (due to the limited use and advantage)?

The concept of Prompt Global Strike (PGS) creates non-nuclear options. Does America’s willingness to limit a conflict to conventional forces mean an adversary would also refrain from escalating a conflict to the nuclear level? 

A significant number of people concern themselves with the esoteric aspect of this equation – on the premise that if a warhead comes off a long-range missile, it must be carrying a nuclear payload. Therefore, it is assumed that an adversary will automatically react at the nuclear level. That is hardly the criterion a national leader will use in a response, because “going nuclear” will lay waste to the world.

In my opinion, nuclear weapons act more as a self-deterrent than as a means to deter an adversary. A leader will usually question why a nuclear weapon would be necessary to destroy the targets he or she wants to destroy. Eisenhower, when he established the post-WWII nuclear enterprise, separated nuclear weapons and nuclear forces from the rest of the force. What he really did, was separate the manufacture and sale of nuclear weapons from the people who purchase them and from those who use them. In other words, the Department of Defense (DOD) does not buy or make nuclear weapons, since that is someone else’s responsibility. DOD employs the weapons only. That separation of powers, so to speak, has been turned into a separation of forces. Consequently, there are general purpose and strategic forces that do not mix together. That is crazy, especially in deterrence theory. For example, no effective strategy would have a queen on the board but not use it, because it is so powerful.

Integrating STRATCOM into the broader strategy ensured that deterrence is a component of diplomacy from the first encounter with the adversary. Between diplomacy and total destruction of your adversary, are questions that need to be asked to avoid mutual destruction.
The first is how to integrate all those pieces. And then, what are your counter escalatory strategies, and how will they be employed? The difference between striking an ambiguous target and a certain target needs to be examined. If, for instance, a certain building is considered a strategic target, it is a fact that the building will not walk away. Knowing where the building is permits you to destroy it with a 1000-pound bomb instead of a nuclear device.

Some would argue for using a nuclear weapon in this scenario because they want to “impose great penalty.” However, we must recognize that we all live with that penalty because only so many of these weapons can go off before the earth goes cold. This also calls into question the necessity of arsenals containing 30 or 40 thousand nuclear weapons when a lot less is needed to completely disrupt the planet.

This reality makes one think more responsibly at the presidential level of decision-making. Options that the President and national command authority can entertain involve: a conventional choice; a general purpose choice; and a nuclear choice.

What is considered strategic is not the weapon but striking that building (the target). If a strategic target exists half way around the world that needs to be struck quickly, as Vice-Chairman, I probably do not want to force the president into using a nuclear weapon to do it. Previously, the only option a president had to strike a target on the other side of the earth in half an hour was using a nuclear weapon if he did not want to wait four days to respond. Now I have three different ways to hit that target today in an hour. That is Prompt Global Strike!

How dependent is a concept like Prompt Global Strike on radars and intelligence, and what vulnerabilities are created, considering that speed and accuracy need intelligence to be effective?
That question is asked by members of Congress who believe that if they are going to spend money on a weapons system, that system should be able to destroy all of the targets on that Congressman’s list. This is not true of any weapon. There is always a target set out there that you must address.

At the most nascent stage, it is possible to place a completely blind, dumb bomb precisely where it needs to be if it has a target set that is not moving, at least for the duration between the weapon launch and striking its target.

Let’s say there is a truck inside my CEP (Circular Error Probable) going 60 miles per hour. The CEP can be increased if the aperture of the sensor is opened up to at least 60 miles. Doing so allows me to find the truck without having to increase the yield or the explosive power of a weapon. However, consider trying to detect and strike an airplane that’s flying at 500 miles an hour. Since the aperture of my sensor cannot be opened that far, the plane is simply not going to be in my target set. So intelligence is required, but that is not the only aspect. What is really required, is a general area of activity that can be placed within a CEP. As long as that CEP is within the range of my onboard sensors, or the target is detected and unable to move, it can be struck. That alone is a sufficient target set to justify developing a system.

I would begin with a relatively small target set, and state that I can handle all buildings, all bridges, all highways, and all fixed targets – these can be explored with a terminal sensor. That terminal sensor will have at least one phenomenology, say its radar, that detects anything reflecting energy back inside of, for example, a 100-mile circle. Therein is the capability of the weapon to increase the target size and go after more targets.

When intelligence permits the tracking of a target that needs to be eliminated in only a general area, it might then become necessary, especially under time pressures, to increase the yield of a weapon to compensate for the lack of intelligence. What matters to the President is having that option, and that is exactly what PGS provides.

Touraj Riazi is a Research Analyst at the NATO Association of Canada.

This interview was published by the NATO Association of Canada:


Russia and the Middle East: Building Out Bases and Presence

Western governments and commentators have both neglected to analyze Russia’s overall strategic campaign in the Middle East.

Focusing almost exclusively on Syria and/or on the issue of oil prices that Moscow is negotiating with OPEC and especially Saudi Arabia, they have ignored or simply overlooked the strategic dimension of Russia’s overall regional policies.

However, the recent announcements about Russian air and naval bases in Egypt and Sudan impel us to realize that across the Middle East and Eurasia, the Russian Federation pursues a deliberate strategy to negate Western (American) military capabilities while ensuring the expansion of Russian power in all its forms.

These recent announcements about an agreement to share air space in each country and the acquisition of an air base in Egypt and the concurrent discussions with Sudan for a naval base on the Red Sea coast highlight the range of Moscow’s objectives, the capabilities it can increasingly bring to bear in pursuit of those goals, and conversely Western strategic failure.

Air bases in Egypt and the use of Egyptian air space, along with a projected use of a Sudanese base on the Red Sea coast, allows Russia to expand its A2AD bubbles from the Arctic, Baltic, and Black Seas, the Caucasus and Central Asia regions into the Middle East.

It now has naval and air bases in Syria and is angling for another naval base in Egypt; while potentially seeking access to naval facilities and naval and air bases at Cyprus, Libya, and Yemen; and it already has potential access to a base in Iran.

Moscow will undoubtedly use its Egyptian air base to strike at anti-Russian factions backed by the West in Libya.

It also now has for the first time direct reconnaissance over Israeli air space and increasing leverage through its Egyptian and Syrian air bases upon Israel, something Israel has sought to reject since its inception as a state.

And in addition to the projected base in Sudan it now has the capability to strike at Saudi targets as well.

But the dimensions of Moscow’s achievement go further.

These bases register Russian military and political influence throughout the region.

Moscow will now have strike and/or ISR capabilities across the entire Middle East. In practical terms this means that the bases in Syria, Egypt, and probably in Iran give it the capability, along with its other bases inside Russia, including the Crimea, and in Armenia, to project power across the entire breadth and length of the Middle East.

Meanwhile, Russia will probably deploy its fire-strike weapons and integrated air defenses across these bases.

Should Moscow outfit these naval and air bases with UAV, UCAV, UUV, EW, and ISTAR capabilities and long-range cruise missiles, as is likely, Russia could then contest Western aerospace superiority throughout the atmosphere over these areas.

In other words, given the bases already acquired and those that Moscow still seeks, a naval base in Alexandria, bases in Libya and Cyprus, Moscow would be able to contest the entire Eastern Mediterranean.

And given its strong ties with Algeria we should not rule out the possibility that it seeks a deal along these lines with that government as well.

With the ability to contest the entire Mediterranean it will place NATO land, air, and/or naval forces at risk.

The bases in Sudan and Egypt will also have a similar effect in regard to the Suez Canal and Red Sea if not the Persian Gulf’s western reaches. Meanwhile Moscow probably still has the potential to recover the use of an Iranian base as it had at Hamdan and is seeking another one in Yemen as it had in Soviet times at Socotra.

If those new bases come into play and Moscow can deploy its long-range strike capabilities and integrated air defense network there as it has done at its already existing bases, then it will have coverage of the Mediterranean, Black Sea, Caucasus, and Central Asia that would make any Western operation in any of those theaters extremely hazardous and costly.

Given the existing bases in the Black Sea, Caucasus, and the Levant, Turkey is already almost totally surrounded and Balkan states and Italy could be vulnerable as well.

Arguably Russia is attempting to create what Marshal Ogarkov once called a reconnaissance-strike complex across the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Suez Canal, Caucasus, Central Asia, and Persian Gulf.

This is not only an issue of challenging the West’s reliance on an aerospace precision-fire strike in the first days of any war and thus Western and American air superiority.

These capabilities also threaten international energy supplies because Moscow can then use the threat of its naval and/or air power in the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Suez Canal, and Mediterranean to interdict or curtail energy supplies that traverse these waterways.

Thus completion of this network of naval and air bases not only challenge Western aerospace superiority and key NATO or Western allies, these bases also consolidate Russia as an arbiter within each country’s politics where it has bases and as a regional one too.

Moscow also stands to gain enormous leverage on Middle Eastern energy supplies to Europe because it will have gained coverage of both defense threats and international energy trade routes.

Undoubtedly it will then use all these situations and assets to free itself from sanctions and propose a vast but nebulous anti-terrorist campaign that legitimizes its seizure of Crimea and the Donbass.

Meanwhile at the same time, in the Middle East its main interest is not peace but the controlled or managed chaos of so called controlled conflict.

Since “power projection activities are an input into the world order,” Russian force deployments into the greater Middle East and economic-political actions to gain access, influence and power there represent competitive and profound, attempts at engendering a long-term restructuring of the regional strategic order.[1]

One wonders what it will take to arouse regional and Western governments from their continued refusal to think and act strategically before it is too late.

[1] Henk Houweling and Mehdi Parvizi Amineh, “Introduction,” Mehdi Parvizi Amineh and Henk Houweling, Eds., Central Eurasia in Global Politics: Conflict, Security, and Development, International Studies in Sociology and Social Anthropology, Leiden, the Netherlands: Brill, 2004, p. 15.

Stephen Blank is an internationally recognized expert on Russian foreign and defense policies and international relations across the former Soviet Union.

He is also a leading expert on European and Asian security, including energy issues.

Since 2013 he has been a Senior Fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, DC,

From 1989–2013 he was a Professor of Russian National Security Studies at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania.

In 1998–2001 he was Douglas MacArthur Professor of Research at the War College.



What, and When will DPRK Test Next?

North Korea’s weapons programs are distinguished by their sophistication in manipulating both technical and political goals.   Technical goals have been deliberately dialed back in favor of political objectives and vice versa.

Their long term objective is to achieve political aims: expulsion of US from the Korean peninsula and unification of the Koreas on DPRK terms, ideally without having to fire a shot.

DPRK called their goal military “equilibrium” with the US that remove military options for dealing with the regime from the US, and by insinuation, PRC, Russia, Japan and ROK.   Equilibrium in this context is not to say the same size / scale of nuclear arsenal as the US, but a credible and assured capability to inflict on the US (or others) unacceptable destruction.

For this political objective, a large arsenal is not required — only an arsenal that the target believes will be sufficient to (e.g.) destroy a major urban center like (e.g. San Francisco or New York City) that will be unacceptable.

The USSR was able to achieve this level of deterrence with a crude arsenal in the 1950s with SS-N-3 cruise missiles based on Whiskey class submarines and Tu-95 Bear bombers.

PRC, likewise, deterred aggressors with a handful of liquid fueled missiles from the 1970s well into the 1990s.

DPRK’s goal of precluding a US conventional attack that require a large military buildup beforehand have been achieved by their present credible capability to deliver a nuclear strike on US bases in Japan, ROK, and Guam. This, taken with North Korea’s publically stated intention to preemptively strike US bases or ROK and Japan have complicated many military options.

President Moon’s government – the prime target of DPRK’s political strategy – played right into their hands by demanding a veto on US use of force against DPRK.   While this stance may have merit prior to DPRK acquiring a capability to threaten CONUS, it is fantastic and delusional to think that any US President will accede to a ROK veto for a retaliatory strike after a nuclear attack on US soil.   Yet, Moon had the audacity to demand it.

This shows DPRK’s political strategy is working.

The “sunshine policy” announced by President Moon in Berlin and proposed legislation to bind ROK to “the summit agreements of 2000 and 2007”, when combined with the demand for early transfer of OPCON to ROK in effect, precludes US military options except for the use of WMDs on DPRK proper — with collateral damage against allies like Japan.

In the absence of realistic military options by ROK-US forces, DPRK will benefit from the financial boost from “sunshine” and rather than weaken, have the resources to expand and improve their WMD arsenal — and thus, achieving their goal of credibly threatening the US, which in turn, sets the stage for forcing the US out of the Korean peninsula and reunification.

The political goal of the coming round of tests need to be non-threatening to ROK so as to strengthen President Moon and his capitulationist policy, while at the same time, give Americans second thoughts by holding a major city in CONUS at risk with ICMBs.   At the same time, Russia and China have to be not threatened directly even as DPRK gains an assured second strike capability against Beijing.

In order to achieve these technical goals, DPRK must “range” a missile that can plausibly threaten a major city in a weakly defended part of CONUS, while at the same time, demonstrate “end-to-end” capability with a nuclear warhead that can survive re-entry and detonate.   That speaks to an ICBM with a range of 12,000km with a low (or near zero) yield warhead that can still muster the characteristic “double flash”, X-rays, etc. that indisputably announce a nuclear blast that will be detected by US space based sensors.

DPRK have to be cognizant of the risks that the “missile test” may be intercepted.  Allies attacking a North Korean missile “left of launch” or during boost phase, carries considerable risks, i.e. any interception in DPRK territory is a violation of the armistice.   Letting the missile travel outside of DPRK territory before striking it with missiles systems like Aegis or THAAD may not be possible depending on which direction the missile travels. Interception with GMDs in Alaska require depleting scarce interceptors.

In any case, if the test involve a live warhead, DPRK is likely to minimize the risk of mid-course interception by choosing a direction that makes it difficult.   Left of launch and boost phase interception risks can be limited by volley firing multiple missiles.  Ensuring the political and technical goals of such a demonstration are met suggest DPRK will choose a path that minimize interception risks.

An ICBM test overflying ROK and Japan will have to count on allies “letting it go” as per standard practice, which may or may not happen this time.   A minor consideration for an unarmed missile, but not for a nuclear tipped missile test.   There is the option of aiming for the oceans west of Perth, Australia, or overflying PRC onto the Indian Ocean.   Another path is to overfly sparsely populated Siberia and land the missile in unpopulated areas like James Bay, or in the Atlantic Ocean just south of Greenland.   Such a route would have the benefit of indisputably demonstrating range and the weakness of GMDs based in Alaska while being difficult to intercept mid-course – particularly with debris that will fall on Russian soil.

Demonstrating the weakness of US missile defense for East Coast cities will have the most deterrent effect on the US in the short run.

An end-to-end test is a major escalatory step that can serve to either deter or trigger allied military action.

Successful interception of such a test would weaken the DPRK threat, while a failed intercept will impair US credibility in missile defense.

North Korea, will likely aim in such a way as to limit the chances of a successful intercept by firing the ICBM either into the Indian Ocean or into the North Atlantic.

Given the uncertainties in North Korean expertise in predicting yield and the difficulties of calibrating a low yield “demonstration” explosion that don’t fail (e.g. zero yield), the warhead will likely have to be well above “low” yield (i.e. .3 to 1kt) to an “assured success” explosion in the 5kt range. Detonation of such a device in a heavily trafficked maritime area or near a population center will likely bring military action, which DPRK do not want.

Their goal is to stymie allied military action, not to trigger it.

Detonating a 5kt range device limits the options once heavily used shipping lanes (and fishing areas) are excluded.   Unlike the North Korean missile test threatened for Guam, no prior warnings are likely to be given so shipping can avoid the area.   That in turn, limits the areas that can be used likely to a point west of Australia (to limit overflight over PRC and avoid air/sea lanes). Alternatively, an area like James Bay or just West of Greenland.

Finally, there is the question of timing.

Launching such a test in December to coincide with Kim Jong Il’s death, or alternatively Kim Jong Il’s birthday in February are likely under consideration. The February date will be optimal in that it coincides with the Winter Olympics in ROK, and Lunar New Year.   This would provide maximum exposure for DPRK’s tests while at the same time, signaling to ROK that they are not the intended target.

If North Korea successfully execute their ICBM and nuclear warhead tests, it will signal the beginning of the closing of the window for military options and the start of a new era in international relations.

We are running out of road.

The PRC’s Message to President Trump

President Trump’s state visit to PRC began with an explicit warning from the PLA who tested a solid fueled, road mobile ICBM capable of reaching the US on the Monday November 6 when President Trump was in Japan.

This is consistent with past practice where the PLA rolled out a new J-20 fighter in January 2011 when Secretary of Defense Robert Gates visited Hu Jintao.

Previous incidents like the PRC’s 2007 anti-satellite missile test that revealed a central government “in the dark” about the issue;   The abrupt cancellation of the 2007 Kitty Hawk’s routine and previously scheduled port visit in Hongkong – a decision that was subsequently reversed but too late for the families that flew in to Hongkong for the reunion – is indicative of the real China, not the fictional China of Xi’s propaganda.  This incident was most recently repeated (without the reversal) for the April 2016 visit of the carrier strike group John C. Stennis.

These incidents involving the PLA acting on their own apparently with little knowledge, input, or consideration, let alone command and control from the civilian authorities – the CCP – that nominally control the Chinese military, illustrate the extent to which the PLA is a law onto themselves irrespective of the “leading role” of the communist party that is enshrined in the PRC constitution.

Chinese political tradition dating back to Sun Tzu that military trumps civilian authority in war supersedes PRC-CCP institutions that subsume the PLA under CCP.

The ICBM test before President Trump arrived could have been intended by Xi.

But previous incidents suggest that it was likely done without the knowledge and consent of Xi. If President Xi Jinping intended to present himself as a “core leader” “most powerful since Mao”, he apparently failed to either intentionally or negligently recognize the damage done to his claim of peaceful development with the ICBM test.

If it was done without his knowledge, it affirms his standing as the Generalissimo Chiang Kai Sek of the era.

President Trump arrived November 8 with the intention of only a brief 20 minute dinner, but that became a 2 hour discussion with President Xi.

The welcoming parade next day was intended to convey to President Trump the military might of the PRC that is nominally under the command of President Xi.

But at the same time, the schedule that put bilateral issues like trade ahead of security issues reflected Xi’s intention to deflect US demands for PRC to act on DPRK.

However, there were interesting hints in the Joint Press Statement as to what was discussed: President Xi termed it, “in-depth discussions on China-U.S. relations and major international and regional issues of mutual interest”.

At the top of that agenda for the US is PRC’s stance toward DPRK, and how PRC will respond to a US led military solution?

And what ability does Xi have to command and control his own military?

Xi’s statement: “The two sides will maintain communication and cooperation on the Korean Peninsula issue.”   When taken together with JCS Chairman Joe Dunford’s efforts in August during his visit to PRC to “continue to develop our military-to-military relationships, to mitigate the risk of miscalculation in the region and to have cooperation where those opportunities exist.” This required the implementation of a “hotline” between the PRC and US which have been long stalled by the PRC.

What about the PRC’s demand for carving out a sphere of influence in the Pacific?   President Xi referred to: “Pacific Ocean is big enough to accommodate both China and the United States”, which reflected the longstanding demand by the PRC to force the US out of Northeast / East / Southeast Asia.

Moreover, Xi then adds: “It is important to respect each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, respect each other’s choice of development path and our difference.”

From the PRC’s view, “sovereignty and territorial integrity” will include expansive claims to nearly the whole of South China Sea, Senkaku Islands, and Taiwan to start.

But there is more.

The PRC’s iridescent claims based on “history” was used by President Xi to persuade President Trump at Mar-a-lago that Korea was formerly a part of China. By that standard, PRC will have claims to vast stretches of Russian territory ceded under the Treaty of Aigun and the Convention of Peking under the Ching Dynasty, and Outer Mongolia which Republic of China argue was illegally detached from China.

The ramifications of the PRC’s “One Belt One Road” program for PRC sovereignty claims have been little noticed.

If one compares the OBOR scheme with the Mongol Empire’s maximum extension circa 1279 — which by PRC logic is a successor state of the Mongol Empire — would expand territorial claims across Eurasia from the Pacific Ocean to all of the Middle East and Central Europe.

President Trump, in his rejoinder, explicitly called out (without naming PRC) “All responsible nations must join together to stop arming and financing — and even trading with — the murderous North Korean regime.”

This statement made clear the US is fully cognizant of how complicit PRC elements (whether with or without Xi’s knowledge and consent) are actively working to arm, finance and trade with DPRK.

There was no support for Xi’s OBOR scheme or his iridescent territorial claims in President Trump’s remarks.

The State Dinner was a particularly interesting feature —- as this was a sharp deviation from Chinese hospitality where “face” is a quality that is valued above most things.   The menu was austere and featured a $30 Chinese wine.

This matched the basic menu offered by President Trump at Mar-a-lago in April and is one step up from four dishes and one soup.

President Trump’s achievement on the visit was to make clear to President Xi that he has one last chance to “faithfully implement United Nations Security Council resolutons on North Korea” and use his “great economic influence” to denuclearize the Korean Peninsular.   Song Tao, special envoy of President Xi was sent to DPRK on Nov. 17 to negotiate with Cohe Ryong Hae, vice chair of the WPK.

The military threat posed to Beijing by DPRK’s nuclear weapons was underlined by North Korea’s accelerating work on a Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile capability that almost certainly is intended to be a second strike capability aimed at the PRC.

No doubt President Trump impressed on President Xi that he has no credible defense against a DPRK nuclear attack on Beijing.

The PRC strategy of giving President Trump a symbolic victory by announcing $250 billion in non-binding trade commitments was instrumental in limiting any overt public criticism of PRC and President Xi while President Trump was on PRC soil, but as soon as President Trump arrived at APEC, his stance toward PRC was made clear by his commitment to end ““audacious theft” of intellectual property from American companies and the forced transfer of technology”, though he carefully skirted direct criticism of President Xi.

President Xi, on the other hand, successfully pushed for his own view of globalization with Chinese socialist characteristics: the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) alternative to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

But there is more.

In a stunning upset, Canada’s Trudeau regime sabotaged the signing ceremony for the Trans Pacific Partnership 11 (without USA) trade agreement that was co-chaired by Japan and Australia by raising last minute objections and demanding major changes.

The Trudeau Liberals gave lame excuses after the fact as to why they reneged on their prior (less than 24 hours previous) commitment by Canadian Minister for International Trade François-Philippe Champagne to sign the deal.

Minister Champagne reneged on the deal with a Twitter post late in the evening of November 9 (9:30am ET) without informing the Co-Chairs.

Meanwhile, PM Trudeau met with President Nieto of Mexico to undermine the consensus before meeting with PM Abe to demand major changes 20 minutes before the signing ceremony – which collapsed the consensus.

The clear and direct beneficiary of terminating TPP11 was PRC.

Canada and the Trudeau regime’s motives and intentions in acting in a manner that guaranteed the TPP11 to be set back for years, rather than graciously withdrawing from the pact well before the signing ceremony initially puzzled allies.

When viewed with the high priority effort by Canada to join the East Asia Summit and become an elected member of the UNSC, it raises other questions.

Why the sudden interest by the Liberal regime in two forums that are “strategic and security forum[s], focused on practical measures to improve regional co-operation and certainty, not just rhetoric.”

And if Canada joined, what and who’s interest will they be speaking for?

Canada’s sudden interest under the Liberals in joining and participating in strategic and security forums is all the more curious when it is placed in the context of the Trudeau Liberal’s intentional undermining of NATO’s efforts to increase member’s defense spending during the past year by creative (or fraudulent) accounting that saw Canadian defense spending rise from 1% GDP to 1.3% within months. Meanwhile, Canada refused to contribute troops to NATO’s Afghanistan mission.

Both moves are indicative of a substantial decline in Canada’s traditional commitment to security in Europe.

Meanwhile, Canada is curiously silent on many critical and top priority security issues in the Indo-Pacific, including the “sea grab” by the PRC, DPRK’s nuclear threat, etc.

Increasingly, Canada is seen to be more and more siding with the PRC on many issues.

Could it be that America’s longstanding and formerly close ally is becoming a geopolitical ally of the PRC?

The most clear and obvious message from President Xi to President Trump may be that CCP subversion of US allies is working.

In other words, the PRC can get what they want without firing a shot by exploiting America’s allies.



The General Rules for Meeting Russians: Powell Versus Flynn

Lt. General Mike Flynn, former head of Defense Intelligence Agency, (DIA) was appropriately fired for lying to Vice President Pence, full stop.

But all should always note US Army Officer Mike Flynn had over three decades of honorable service including serving our country in combat.

It has been reported that LtGeneral Flynn USA (ret) is under an instigative cloud.

A DOD IG investigation can fall under Military court provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, (UCMJ), for it makes no difference he is retired. However, IG findings can also have legal penalties if only acted on administratively as seen by other cases of General Officers post-retirement loss of rank.

A process in play for an honorable combat officer is what is known in military justice speak — to have issues of mitigation. That is a UCMJ term for essentially showing some mercy in sentencing because of previous honorable service and deeds.

It has been publically reported that he may have violated post-retirement regulations for his lack of correctly reporting his financial contacts while engaging in activities for money with foreign entities and individuals.

However, as far as Special Council or now proven more accurate the Grand Inquisitor Robert Muller, and his legal Torquemada team proceed, I doubt General Flynn will have the same courtesy with any consideration of “ mitigation” and apparently double jeopardy be damned.

The issue of Russian collusion with the Trump team has dominated almost a years’ worth of headlines.

It now looks like high profile indictments are an emerging legal gambit in order to shield the actions of both former FBI Director Muller and Comey and their culpability in the Uranium 1 case.

Any attack on the Trump team with high profile indictments will take the media focus off “U1” and change the subject.

Only time will tell how that national drama will play out.

But there is already, as the late Paul Harvey use to say “the Rest of the Story.”

It goes back to the fall of the wall and involves an earlier Army General during the vaporization of the Soviet Empire.

The first and most significant Big Army engagement with the Russians just before the collapse of the Soviet Union was initiated by then Chairman of the JCS Colin Powell. It could be appropriately said General Flynn was just taking leadership lessons from General Powell.

In October 1990 General Powell escorted General Mikhail Moiseyev, Chief of the Soviet General Staff to the then brand new Cabinet Department of Veterans Affairs. Our mission as directed by the late Secretary Derwinski, who chose not to be present, he really hated Russians, was to show General Moiseyev how America treats our wounded.

“Big Ed” Derwinski was the most senior Polish American in Bush 41’s Cabinet and as stated he really disliked Russians.

He told a joke with biting truth-In Warsaw he said he asked the Chief of the Polish Army what he would do if the Germans and Russian attacked again. Secretary Derwinski was an Army Corporal at the end of WWII, and he well knew personally the very tragic Polish history in that war.

He said the Polish General told him would first swing west to defeat the Germans, then pivot east to crush the Russians –“After all business before pleasure”.

The briefing went well and as General Powell pointed out in his book “My American Journey,” he quotes the supreme Soviet General after seeing the truly world class prosthetic devices the DVA creates:

“We don’t do enough” he (Moiseyev) replied. “We should do more.”

The war in Afghanistan, with the heavy mujahedin use of mines and booby traps, had been hell on Russian limbs.

Remember this is 1990, and our forever war in Afghanistan was yet to come.

After the briefing, I was assigned by Secretary Derwinski to meet with discharged Russian Veteran Organization members who called themselves “Afghanis”.

I truly felt sorry for them they had fought in a lost war some severely wounded and returned to essentially a bankrupt country. To this day I wish we could have done more, when wars end troops are troops and even our past foes need help, this constant Russian bashing for American domestic politics is just wrong on so many levels.

Mike Flynn and his son may soon to be pulled through a symbolic “legal knot hole” and have their lives destroyed. But why was it OK to reach out to Russians in 1990 by General Powell and it is a criminal act today.

Mike Flynn was dealing with Russians as NSC Director designee and then NSC Director with essentially the same rank and honor as Chairman Joint Chiefs.

General Powell is seen as a visionary for even engaging with the Soviet Supreme Military Commander , yet Mike Flynn is facing possible Special Counsel Muller initiated criminal indictments for engaging with today’s Russians and even NATO Allies such as Turkey.

Isn’t Special Counsel Muller’s investigation, now well beyond the initial scope evolving rapidly into perjury traps and process crimes?

As this all plays out, a Democrat amen chorus and their media sycophants are singing full auras that the Russians are only pure evil and they somehow impacted our election.

The huge surprise is that Democrats and their media enablers have been much more successful than many thought possible in focusing national attention on only Republicans and especially President Trump and even his family being in collusion with the Russians.

Meanwhile the Clinton Inc. graft and corruption pay to play with Russians is ignored especially with the emerging Uranium 1 scandal on Secretary Clinton’s watch.

The historic record of the 2016 election will eventually show the truth is the truth and after all the Clinton Inc. and media diversionary fog it will become very clear that the absolute worst inept candidate in US Presidential History was Hillary Rodham Clinton full stop.

The only comfort is deep inside her beliefs, by her words and deeds; she still doesn’t know what a limited person she truly is.

Perhaps Hillary Rodham Clinton is not a real “boomer” but a symbolic member of the millennial generation raised to think by showing up she deserved the ultimate participation trophy.

NATO Modernizes Command Structure: Shaping a More Effective Deterrent Capability

At the recent NATO Defense Ministers meeting held on November 8, 2017 in Brussels, the Ministers decided to modernize the NATO command structure.

As a story published on November 8, 2017 by Radio Free Europe noted:

NATO defense ministers have endorsed a plan to establish two new military headquarters designed to improve the movement of troops across the Atlantic and within Europe, as the alliance looks to counter the growing threat from Russia.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg made the announcement on November 8, the day before an expected decision to boost NATO’s mission in Afghanistan by some 3,000 troops.

Speaking after the ministers’ first day of meetings during the November 8-9 gathering in Brussels, Stoltenberg provided initial details on the two new commands, although he said military commanders would “flesh out the details” and present them to defense ministers in February 2018.

It is the first time the 29-member alliance is expanding its command structure since the end of the Cold War, when 22,000 personnel were working at 33 commands. Numbers have been slashed since to fewer than 7,000 people and seven commands.

In recent years, Russia’s military actions in Ukraine have increased concerns about Moscow’s intentions in NATO nations, particularly former Soviet republics or Warsaw Pact satellites of the Soviet Union.

Russia occupied and seized Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in March 2014 and backs separatists whose war against Kyiv’s forces has killed more than 10,000 people in eastern Ukraine since April of that year.

A series of potentially dangerous close encounters between Russian and NATO warplanes and navy ships in recent months has added to the tension, with the alliance accusing Moscow of aggressive maneuvers in the air and at sea.

Those actions have prompted NATO to step up its defenses in the east, deploying four multinational battle groups in the three Baltic states and Poland — totaling approximately 4,500 troops.

One of the planned new NATO command centers will be tasked with ensuring that “sea lines of communication” between North America and Europe “remain free and secure,” Stoltenberg said.

The other command will “improve the movement of military forces across Europe” and strengthen logistical functions across NATO.

In his speech to the Ministers, The Sec Gen of NATO had this to say about the change:

We took further decisions to continue NATO’s adaptation to the challenges we face.

A key component of our adaptation is a robust and agile command structure.  This underpins both our strengthened deterrence and defence posture and our ability to project stability beyond NATO’s borders.

At the Warsaw Summit last year, we decided to launch an assessment of the NATO command structure in light of the changed security environment. To ensure it can do the job across the full spectrum of Alliance missions. Today, we agreed on the outline design for an adapted NATO Command Structure, which will be the basis for further work.

Let me mention some key elements.

A Command for the Atlantic, to ensure that sea lines of communication between Europe and North America remain free and secure. This is vital for our transatlantic Alliance.

A new Command to improve the movement of military forces across Europe. And ways to strengthen the logistical function across the NATO Command Structure. Our military commanders will now flesh out the details. And the results of their work will be presented to Defence Ministers next February.            

The adaptation of the NATO Command Structure will further strengthen our ability to reinforce Allies quickly and effectively. But military mobility is not only about new commands. It’s also about the ability to move forces and equipment quickly, with the right transport means and the right infrastructure. Since 2014, we have made good progress in improving national legislation. Removing many bureaucratic hurdles to allow us to move forces across Allied territory. But much more needs to be done. We need to ensure that national legislation facilitating border crossing is fully implemented. We need enough transport capacity at our disposal, which largely comes from the private sector. And we need to improve infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, railways, runways and ports. So NATO is now updating the military requirements for civilian infrastructure. 

Of course, military mobility is not just about the military. It requires a whole-of-government approach. So it’s important that our defence ministers make our interior, finance and transport ministers aware of military requirements.  

It’s also important that NATO coordinates with the European Union and we are indeed working closely and actively together on this issue. For instance, we share information on standards, requirements, as well as challenges related to civilian infrastructure. So I envisage that military mobility could become a real flagship of NATO-EU cooperation.

Finally, we discussed ways to strengthen our cyber defences. We must be just as effective in the cyber domain as we are on land, at sea and in the air, with real-time understanding of the threats we face and the ability to respond however and whenever we choose. Today, ministers agreed on the creation of a new Cyber Operations Centre as part of the outline design for the adapted NATO Command Structure.

This will strengthen our cyber defences, and help integrate cyber into NATO planning and operations at all levels. We also agreed that we will be able to integrate Allies’ national cyber capabilities into NATO missions and operations.

While nations maintain full ownership of those capabilities.

Just as Allies own the tanks, the ships and aircraft in NATO missions.



The Legal Consequences of “The Dirty Dossier” Are Just Beginning

Every Code Word program needs a Code Word, so why not call President Obama and his National Security Director’s effort to target surveillance of their political opponents exactly what it is—“Operation Destroy Trump.

Hard evidence of an Intel-op is already in the public domain.

And this inspite of the current best efforts by the Mainstream Media (MSM) to put the entire surveillance effort in a memory hole even before it hits our memory.

This is flat out wrong on so many levels; legally, ethically and even practically, because in America we have elections and parties in power do change.

The evidence presented to date in public makes the case that the Obama White House was using Intelligence/ Counterintelligence practices and procedures against innocent Americans, for political purposes.

Byron York has written an excellent piece of reporting where he puts the aptly named “ Dirty Dossier” as the driving force behind the greatest dirty trick in American Politics.

The Dossier was a fabrication of an MI-6 Officer last seen running for the tall grass.

Many innocent Americans have had their privacy shattered by his effort used by very senior individuals in the Obama Administration to illegally empower the awesome power of deep state surveillance technology.

“Spinning in circles on the Trump dossier”

Whatever else it was, Steele’s decision to take the dossier to the FBI was a brilliant marketing move, because it gave a crucial hook to reporters covering the Trump-Russia affair.

But the fact that the head of the FBI informed the president-elect about the dossier — that was news.

And now, with the dossier fully public, some are caught up in a circular argument in which they cite the dossier’s allegations as proof that the dossier is accurate.

All the more reason for investigators to tell the public everything they know about the dossier as soon as possible.

The next very public full accountability step to get to the bottom of this dirty trick is bringing Congressional sunlight of disinfectant on all of the players taking part in “operation destroy Trump.”

As Congressional Committee’s peels the onion, so to speak, here-to-fore classified surveillance targets will be made public for all to see that the “Dirty Dossier,” had been used in secret courts to allow illegal U.S. government political surveillance.

This first lawsuit, based so far only on open reporting is just the beginning:

This is a defamation case brought by three international businessmen who were defamed in widely disseminated political opposition research reports commissioned by political opponents of candidate Donald Trump.

Just wait until Congress uncovers the full extent of the Obama Administration principals using the Dirty Dossier to illegally bring down the full weight of the USG “Surveillance State” to target political enemies.

As I presented on the Nationwide Radio Lars Larson Show the actions of the Obama/Clinton Democrat Team should terrify all Americans, Republicans and Democrats.

On March 6th 2017 I was a guest Lars to discuss this new electronic wave of terror.

Is America on the Edge of an Electronic Wave of Terror?

March 6, 2017

When it comes to cyber-security, Ed Timperlake has an impressive resume. His roles include the Director, Technology Assessment, International Technology Security (OSD), former DOD rep to the National Counterintelligence Executive Committee (NCIX-DNI), principal DOD liaison to FBI for their Government wide CI “Critical National Asset” project, and NYTimes bestselling author of “Year of the Rat, How Bill Clinton Compromised U.S. Security for Chinese Cash,” to name a few. In light of wire-tap accusations and the increased threat of cyber-terrorism, he joined Lars to discuss this new electronic wave of terror. 

Consequently, it is always a tough challenge to initiate a civil suit against the United States Government and their employees.

Especially with highly classified information as a very insightful article in Wired Magazine points out:

But it is also very true that the Federal Government and USG employees can be sued by persons who have had their privacy violated.

This actually happened to me as an IG investigator looking into CPA/Iraq Corruption.

Secretary Rumsfeld and his team that I was on was hit with a $ 10 Million Dollar Civil Suit privacy violation .

It took me about a year working with DOG General Counsel Office,  FBI and a DOJ Civil Suit Defense Lawyer (who was very capable) to have the entire suit dismissed with prejudice.

The test considered by the Court was as follows: Did we stay inside our USG legal position in trying to bring bad people to justice?

After much review, it was found that we had followed all the rules.

And, if we hadn’t, the suit would have been settled in favor of the plaintiff, who was a very slick and really nasty piece of work.

By the way, I did not have a spare $ 10 Mil.

But the really nasty threat was that if the suit was settled against our IG team the issue of criminal prosecution could then be raised.

By winning our case, a criminal investigation was then not warranted.

In fact, just the opposite occurred, namely, the team which had initiated the suit was the subject of an additional FBI investigation for money laundering and comingling of assets.

Consequently, if those innocent American’s who were illegally unmasked in having their privacy invaded by USG employees either by political appointees or career personnel think about initiating legal action, based on my personal experience, they will clearly have a chance to pursue a law suit against those US Government employees involved.

If they did not follow the law in safeguarding a citizen’s privacy they would then be very vulnerable to private law suits.

Anyone who is illegally un-masked, I believe would have standing to be sued.

The media hiding behind the Absence of Malice standard essentially makes them judgment proof.

However, public information is a dynamic process especially in a Congressional investigation cycle.

And if “Clinton Inc” Spin Doctors continue to make nasty claims based on proven erroneous media reports, then they best be very careful in what they say because it could be very expensive for them as the Civil Suit process might be replicated over and over..

I believe the cascading dynamic of Congress putting the truth out to all in this Dirty Dossier” business could then become the foundation of major libel and slander suits, in addition to invasion of privacy law suits.

The truth is the truth.

Let all see what now happens with all MSM and cable talk shows having “talking heads” apologists and published pundits begin to watch what they are saying and writing.

Over time as the truth comes out, it will be interesting to see how Clinton Inc “hangers on” will go in their defense if it begins to get costly.

History has proven the Clinton’s see everyone as expendable except themselves.

Also, see the earlier piece:

Operation “Destroy Trump”

President Trump Visit to the PRC: Two Days That Could Change the World

President Trump’s begins a 2 day Visit to PRC on November 8 will be his first occasion to meet President Xi since his anointment as a “core leader” by the CCP.

Notwithstanding that this status has been conferred to Mao, Deng, and Jiang before, western “China experts” overwhelming endorsed this, and the delay in designating a successor, as a sign that Xi is the “most powerful leaser since Mao” that may be seeing a third term as President in a break from recent CCP practice post Mao.

With respect to the pressing issues facing the US and allies, namely DPRK’s nuclear arsenal and intentions, the future direction of PRC’s economy, and aggressive moves in the South China Sea and abroad, the “most powerful man in China” either have no interest or intent to address allied concerns, or have so little power to effect change.   President Trump is ready to make up his mind about President Xi.

Is Xi Jinping PRC-CCP’s Joseph Stalin?

Or more likely Chiang Kai Sek?

That is the question that President Trump need to answer when he is in Beijing.

How this question is answered will in many ways, determine the feasibility of US options for North Korea and China. 

First, a bit of history.

Mao Tse Tung was at the height of his power in when he ordered PVA “volunteers” to enter the Korean war in October, 1950 in concert with Soviet forces.  After an initial success, the combined might of DPRK, PRC, and USSR was beaten back until General Ridgeway re-established the status quo ante bellum that became the basis for the armistice.

Few western observers recognized that Mao’s “unlimited manpower” deployed as PVA in Korea was an artifact of the CCP’s need to get rid of many former KMT or warlord soldiers who swelled the PLA ranks.   Human wave attacks on UN forces by these potential traitors to the CCP was an effective means to disposing of them.

American and UN troops saw these “human waves” and presumed that PRC is 10 Japans worth of fanatical soldiers. In fact, it was neither a reflection of the loyalty of the troops to the CCP or the PRC’s ability to raise and fight with a large army.

The CCP was, in fact, husbanding their very scarce supply of trusted CCP loyalists who largely remained behind in rear positions, with only low level (and poorly connected) party cadres serving as political officers with the troops of questionable loyalty. When Mao’s own son was killed in November 1950 in a supposedly safe rear base, his enthusiasm for the war waned once he heard the news.   Correspondingly, as General Ridgeway’s use of massed firepower inflicted unacceptable casualties, the CCP pulled back.

Post Korean war, Mao’s power and prestige declined with the failure to “win” the Korean war; and, as Mao made successive blunders culminating in the “Great Leap Forward” that virtually collapsed the economy, resulting in his removal from power in all but name.

Mao ultimately had to launch a counter-revolution “The Cultural Revolution” that decimated the PRC in order to regain control of a much weakened and wrecked PRC — which paved the way for the de Maoization under Deng after his passing.

Few western analyst that gushed about Xi Jinping’s “core leader” status recognized that maintaining power internally within the PRC was, historically going back dynasties, the “core problem” for any Chinese leader.  

No Chinese leader, even Mao at the height of their power, was in fact safe and secure from the threat of internal rebellion and palace coups.

Do the names Lin Biao, Jiang Qing, Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wen yuan, Wang Hongwen, Hua Gofeng, or more recently, Bo Xilai, or Zhou Yangkong, etc. speak to stability or orderly transfers of power?

On any reasonable set of metrics that measure power internally within and without PRC (i.e. military, economic, prestige, etc.), Xi Jinping is at best, comparable to Chiang Kai Sek prior to the Japanese invasion, but Stalin he is not, and is unlikely to be during his term.

Yet this has not prevented normally sane and reputable publications like the Economist from proclaiming Xi more powerful than President Trump — despite the clear evidence to the contrary.

If President Xi is at least as powerful as his propaganda organs allege, he could have, without resorting to military force, compelled DPRK to denuclearize as the US did for Japan, S. Korea and Taiwan without resorting to force.

Xi and his predecessors could not, and did not do this. Nor does he have a viable military option to denuclearize North Korea by force without risking an attack on PRC.

DPRK is capable of a nuclear attack on PRC/Beijing for much of the past decade, and is closing in on an assured second strike capability against PRC. PLA forces stationed on the DPRK border do not suggest a massive mobilization on the scale of the Korean war. Though there is steady work on roads and infrastructure to support moving in a modern army quickly.

President Xi, for all his alleged power, do not have a conventional or nuclear (except deterrent) option against DPRK.    

Nor do the PRC have the option of compelling DPRK by economic sanctions or non-kinetic means.

That can potentially trigger a nuclear missile attack by DPRK against Beijing for which PRC is defenseless. Beijing China is loath to admit their weakness in the face of DPRK — and until President Trump, their opposition to tight sanctions (i.e. because of fear of DPRK refugees) was taken at face value.

Beijing China being impotent in the face of DPRK is far from the mind of most Western analysts that seem incapable of comparing PRC with the power of USA – who forced denuclearization on many allies under similar circumstances.

President Trump will be visiting Beijing against this backdrop where President Xi’s paper tiger status can no longer be hidden. Nearly seven months have passed since they met at Mar-A-Lago, and despite intense US pressure, Xi have proven himself to be incapable and/or unwilling to resolve the DPRK problem.

The question for President Trump will be whether Beijing China, under President Xi have the willingness and capability to at least, prevent Chinese elements from interfering in a US and allied solution to the problem.  

This brings us to the problem of laws of war.

The last time the PRC fought a major war beyond their borders is against Vietnam in 1979.  It has been decades since the Chinese forces encountered western militaries in force.

PRC forces agreed to a protocol for “Unplanned Encounters at Sea” only in 2014 well after the Hainan Island incident of 2001. This, did not prevent potentially dangerous behavior like radar “lock-onby PRC military units on others or probes of the Senkaku Islands.

Routinely, PRC forces are enforcing maritime claims in the South China Sea in violation of UNCLOS.   These activities suggest that PRC have a view that hybrid warfare by paramilitary and other forces is an acceptable norm in “peacetime”. This begs the question of what the Beijing China will deem to be acceptable conduct short of war with the US in the event of a Korean conflict.

The ideas of neutrality, or non-belligerent status is rooted in the Western tradition of armed conflict. There is no historical precedent to a Chinese regime practicing a “permanent neutrality” policy like Belgium or Switzerland. When CCP organs speaks of “staying neutral” if North Korea “attacked first”, it is temporary neutrality that can change at any time.

But even that declaration leaves much room for doubt when examined from the PRC perspective.

We should bear in mind that the Sino-Vietnam war was termed “self-defensive counteroffensive” against Vietnam irrespective of its offensive and geopolitical nature. PRC have also carefully concealed their offensive posture against US and allied installations in east Asia while formally pleading “no first use” of nuclear weapons.

Thus, Beijing-China’s pronouncements offer few clues as to how they will actually behave regardless of how the Korean war started. Neutrality may simply mean that Beijing will encourage (or do nothing to prevent) “People’s Volunteers” or other means of aiding DPRK. In other words, Beijing China’s official stance may not apply to the “local” governments near North Korea or other Chinese elements.

A critical task for President Trump is to impress upon President Xi the US and Allies understanding of precisely what “being neutral” mean to the US and allies.   That is to say, that any material aid, assistance, covert or overt, that originate from outside DPRK that can be traced as Chinese origin — including from PRC operatives in Japan or South Korea — will be regarded as breaches of neutrality.

Violations of neutrality by PRC CCP operatives will make them legitimate military targets, regardless of their location on PRC or neutral territory or on the high seas. (i.e. PLN “fishing boats” relaying warnings of aircraft taking off from Guam heading toward DPRK).

Covert aid to DPRK like the provision of sensor data by PRC installations anywhere, including space, or assistance in command and control or targeting, or shelter for DPRK officials in hardened PRC facilities will all fall under violations of PRC neutrality.

That will extend to provision of “relief supplies” that act as cover for delivery of military aid.

Neutrality will extend to the idea of “unrestricted warfare” suggested by PLA colonels Qiao Liang and Wang Xiansui, that expressly suggest the use of both armed force and “all means, including armed force or non-armed force, military and non-military, and lethal and non-lethal means to compel the enemy to accept one’s interests”.

That is to say, trade, financial, terror, and ecological war against US and allies are all on the table.

Any effort to weaponized trade, disrupt financial markets, cyber attacks, terror, etc. by Chinese elements, whether formally operating under Beijing China control or not, will be treated as violations of neutrality.

Beyond this, the use of “informationalized warfare” and “hybrid war” will all be regarded as belligerence and subject to allied retaliation and sanctions immediately.

If Beijing China intends to remain neutral, they must demonstrate and prove the ability to control their forces and prevent such violations of neutrality broadly defined.

President Xi must be made to understand that the western concept of neutrality in international law makes no distinction between intentional or unintentional violations of neutrality.  

Xi Jinping, ostensibly the most powerful man in PRC, may not be capable of control his military to abide by these strict rules of war.   The PLA/N, like most traditional Asian militaries, are notable for the short shift they give to training and indoctrination of troops on western notions of the rules of war and the western idea of separation of civilian from military control with the former having primacy.

Chinese military arts was historically based on the personal views of the local commanders, who in the Chinese martial tradition, was, and is historically relieved of any concept of civilian oversight once the military is given command.

This is directly contradictory to western ideas of the primacy of civilian over military rule.   Placing the Chinese military as a branch of the CCP (rather than the state) have only made a nominal dint in this tradition.

Hence, the regular, and frequent, exhortation by top leaders including President Xi to the military to obey the CCP.

The extent to which a Chinese military is still a law onto itself is illustrated by President Xi’s July 2017 90th anniversary PLA celebration speech to the PLA that exhorted them:

“[PLA]… must be unwavering in upholding the bedrock principle of absolute party leadership of the military,” and “Always obey and follow the party. Go and fight wherever the party points.”

It is unthinkable for any US President or close ally like UK, Australia to even imagine such a speech having to be made that would cast doubt on the loyalty and reliability of their armed forces and the supremacy of civilian control.   Yet, in the PRC controlled by the new strongman Xi, it is essential.

President Xi’s plea for the PLA to be loyal was followed by a major reshuffling of personnel that resulted in the appointment of two trusted associates General Zhang Youxia and General Xu Qiliang to the new, smaller, Central Military Commission at the end of the 19th CCP congress to tighten his grip on the military.

This follows a longstanding tradition where a newly installed top CCP leadership require much of the first 5 year term gradually replacing personnel and only comes onto their own in terms of power in the second term when the process migrates to the lower levels so as to build up sufficient momentum and critical mass to replace the most powerful top leaders.

Xi broke from this tradition by targeting Zhou Yongkang’s faction early on that resulted in their fall in 2012 that in turn resulted in wholesale removal of this faction.

But Xi was unable to follow through his purge immediately — he had to wait for the 19th Party Congress.   That is to say, Joseph Stalin he is not.   Stalin would simply order his opponents summarily executed.

Dealing with a weak leader of Beijing China creates problems in the face of war on the Korean peninsula creates other problems. Xi may have sufficient power to prevent the use of the PRC nuclear arsenal — but even that is not absolutely certain.

Command and control of nuclear forces in PRC is shrouded in mystery. Though it is well known that Xi did not have the C2 capabilities of Air Force One when he travels abroad.   That begs the question of who have authority to launch nuclear weapons in PRC.

Allied contingency plans need to be created in the event that it is likely that Xi (or his successor post coup) may seize control of the nuclear arsenal and use them. Or in the event that deterrence against PRC failed.   Chinese political history suggest that if the Chinese nuclear arsenal fall into the hands of a group, they may elect to use it on domestic enemies so as to install a new dynasty.

China is not the Soviet Union that fortunately, collapsed in an orderly fashion without a nuclear mishap.

Returning to deterrence, President Xi and his successors in the PRC need to be cognizant that SSBNs off the coast of PRC can deliver a nuclear strike anywhere in China within 15 minutes.   A submarine launched counterforce strike can potentially disable the majority of the PRC’s nuclear forces before they can be launched or lay waste to PRC.

Although no US President will want to test the theory,

Mutually Assured Destruction may not be operative against the US.   This may be one of the best assurance that PRC will not intervene in the Korean conflict.

The best case scenario may be that Xi, however weak, remains in nominal control much like Generalissimo Chiang Kai Sek, even though he may not be able to control the pro DPRK elements and preventing them from becoming belligerents against allied forces.

Xi can, under that circumstance, accede to the US and Allied use of force against pro DPRK chinese forces, and at the same time, prevent the outbreak of general or nuclear war by the PRC. This will ensure that PRC under Xi survive.

During this two day visit, both Presidents will be using this as the opportunity to take the measure of each other and make up their minds about each other.

President Xi’s propaganda have not fooled President Trump nor altered his determination to eliminate the nuclear threat from DPRK before the US faces a threat from a nuclear armed extortionist.

President Xi face the momentous decision of either believing his own propaganda and attempt to take on the US and allies — with the high probability that it would result in failure that will result in defeat for the PRC in general, and his regime in particular.

Alternatively, President Xi can cooperate with the US and secure peace for at least a generation by preventing the PRC from becoming a belligerent in the Korean war — to the extent he is capable of.

That will give breathing room to the PRC to reform into an acceptable regime to the international community.  PRC’s present course to be an ideological, great power and economic rival to the US and allies is unlikely to be sustainable much longer.

No more will the US and allies tolerate the PRC’s challenge and undermining of the liberal international order without repercussions. The question is, which course will President Xi choose?

The US and allies is more than capable of surviving and winning a cold, or hot war with the PRC.

The PRC, on the other hand, will be severely challenged should the US and allies initiate a cold war by (i.e.) impose a trade embargo and seized PRC assets abroad, as America did to Japan on July 26, 1941. This will almost certainly happen should PRC elements become belligerents.

Momentous decisions will have to be made by two Presidents that will shape the balance of the 21st Century.

Let’s hope they both choose well.