Military & Political Trends Of 2017 That Will Shape 2018

Via Southfront.org,
2017 presented the world with a number of crises, among which were the continued wars in the Middle Ease and the spread of terrorism, the humanitarian crises in Africa and Asia, the rising military tensions over North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs, and the militarization of both the South China Sea and eastern Europe. Throughout the past year regional and global powers have repeatedly been on the verge of open military conflict, any of which may yet still lead to large regional wars.
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In the Middle East the war on ISIS, the Iran nuclear deal, the crisis in Lebanon, and Israeli-Arab tensions took center stage.
By the end of the year, the self-proclaimed caliphate of ISIS had fully collapsed in both Syria and Iraq. Thanks to the efforts of the alliance between Syria, Iran, Russia, and Hezbollah, along with the Iraqi forces and the US-led coalition, this group was driven out from almost all of the areas it had held in the two countries. ISIS has lost control of such strategic locations as Mosul, al-Qaim, Raqqah, al-Tabqah, Deir Ezzor, al-Mayadin, al-Bukamal, as-Sukhna, Deir Hafer, Maskanah, and al-Resafa.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 12/30/2017.

China Resists US Push To Blacklist Ships Caught Trading With North Korea

After the US Treasury Department released satellite images purporting to show Chinese ships transferring oil to a North Korea-flagged vessel in blatant violation of UN Security Council sanctions, the US is pressing for 10 ships, several of them Chinese, to be added to the list of entities banned by the UN.
But there’s one problem: China, which like the US holds a permanent veto over UN Security Council decisions, is pushing back. It says it will only accept sanctions on four ships, according to the Wall Street Journal.
While there’s some skepticism about how well these rules are enforced, UN sanctions would require members to bar blacklisted ships from their ports.
A Security Council resolution passed last week gives member states more authority to seize the ships that have breached international sanctions and ban them from their ports. And the satellite images mentioned above have shown just how easily North Korea has managed to circumvent sanctions managed to restrict energy flowing into the country while also choking off its exports of North Korean coal.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Fri, 12/29/2017 –.

Will War Cancel Trump’s Triumphs?

Asked what he did during the French Revolution, Abbe Sieyes replied, ‘I survived.’
Donald Trump can make the same boast.
No other political figure has so dominated our discourse. And none, not Joe McCarthy in his heyday in the early ’50s, nor Richard Nixon in Watergate, received such intensive and intemperate coverage and commentary as has our 45th president.
Whatever one may think of Trump, he is a leader and a fighter, not a quitter. How many politicians could have sustained the beatings Trump has taken, and remained as cocky and confident?
And looking back on what may fairly be called The Year of Trump, his achievements have surprised even some of his enemies.
With the U. S. military given a freer hand by Trump, a U. S.-led coalition helped expel ISIS from its twin capitals of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq, driving it back into a desert enclave on the Iraq-Syria border. The caliphate is dead, and the caliph nowhere to be found.
The economy, with the boot of Barack Obama off its neck, has been growing at 3 percent. The stock market has soared to record highs. Unemployment is down to 4 percent. And Trump and Congress just passed the largest tax cut since Ronald Reagan.
With deregulation, which conservative Republicans preached to deaf ears in the Bush I and Bush II eras, Trump and those he has put into positions of power have exceeded expectations.
Pipelines Obama blocked have been approved. Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuge has been opened to exploratory drilling. We have exited a Paris climate accord that favored China over the U. S.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Fri, 12/29/2017 –.

TENSIONS FLARE AS US RECON SATELLITES EXPOSE CHINESE SHIPS ILLEGALLY SELLING OIL TO NORTH KOREA

According to South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo, U. S. recon satellites have photographed around 30 illegal transactions involving Chinese vessels selling oil to North Korea.
Washington, D. C. – United States reconnaissance satellites have allegedly caught Chinese ships violating UN sanctions by engaging in illegal oil trades with North Korean vessels nearly 30 times in October.
The images were captured in the West Sea on October 19, prior to the most recent round of sanctions on the DPRK, which caps oil product shipments at 500K barrels per year, going into effect.
The satellite footage reveals a North Korean ship, named Ryesonggang 1, connected with a Chinese ship in what was deemed a ship-to-ship oil transfer, which is prohibited and deemed illegal by U. S. authorities.
According to the U. S. Department of the Treasury’s official report on the incident:

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on DECEMBER 27, 2017.

China Tests Hypersonic Weapon, Rendering US THAAD Powerless

The art of (future) war is rapidly evolving with Beijing spearheading the push into the first modern operational hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV). According to The Diplomat, the weapon, known as the Dong Feng (‘East Wind’), DF-17 for short, is designed to challenge existing missile defense systems, such as America’s anti-ballistic missile defense system called: Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).
An unnamed U. S. government source, who has studied recent intelligence reports on the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF), said China conducted two separate tests of the hypersonic missile back in November. The first test was conducted on November 01 and the second test took place on November 15. The Diplomat signals, that the November 01 test was the first Chinese ballistic missile launch to take place after the Communist Party of China’s 19th Party Congress in October.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Fri, 12/29/2017 –.

Dystopian Vietnam Launches 10,000-Strong Cyber-Unit To Combat “Fake News”

Reuters has revealed a rather disturbing Orwellian tale of Communist-ruled Vietnam marching towards a complete censorship of the internet.
Government officials have announced a new, 10,000-strong military cyber warfare unit used to combat ‘fake news’, amid a much larger crackdown on critics of the state.
The announcement came in a speech on Christmas Day given by Lieutenant General Nguyen Trong Nghia, a deputy head of the military’s political department. According to state-run media, Lt Gen Nguyen revealed the 10,000-strong army of state-owned hackers called ‘Force 47’, will be targeting enemies of the Communist party who ‘create chaos’ online.
Lt Gen Nguyen further said, ‘in every hour, minute, and second, we must be ready to fight proactively against the wrong views.’
‘Force 47’ could be compared to the so-called 50-cent army, employed by Communist China, who are paid 50 cents for every website that is censored. Communist-ruled Vietnam has certainly escalated this latest attempt to control the internet, especially the ability to censor political dissidents on social media.
Bloomberg reports, the disclosure of the unit is the government’s effort to put more pressure on YouTube Inc. and Facebook Inc. to remove accounts promoting anti-party views.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Thu, 12/28/2017 –.

26/12/17: U.S. Wars Budgets: More Lessons Never Learned

An interesting report on the official accounts for war-related spending in the U. S. is available here: Which is, of course, a massive under-estimate of the full cost of 2001-2017 wars to the U. S. taxpayers.
It is worth remembering that war-related expenditures are outside discretionary budgetary allocations (follow links here: And you can read more here: The problem, as I repeatedly pointed out, is that no one can tell us what exactly – aside from misery, failed states, collapsed economies, piles of dead bodies etc – did these expenditures achieve, or for that matter what did all the adventurous entanglements the U. S. got into in recent year deliver? In Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and Syria, in Pakistan and Sudan, in Ukraine, in Somalia and Egypt. The sole bright spot on the U. S. ‘policy horizon’ is Kurdistan. But the problem is, the U. S. has been quietly undermining its main ally in the Syria-Iraq-Turkey sub-region in recent years. In South China Seas, Beijing is fully running the show, as multi-billion U. S. hardware bobbles up and down the waves to no effect. In North Korea, a villain with a bucket of uranium is in charge, and Iran is standing strong. In its historical backyard of Latin America, the U. S. is now confronting growing Chinese influence, while losing allies.

This post was published at True Economics on Tuesday, December 26, 2017.

‘Prepare For a Big Ass Fight’ U.S. General Tells Marines ‘There’s A War Coming’

As much of the world celebrates the Christmas Holiday, it’s business as usual on the geo-political front. And as we have repeatedly warned in recent years, numerous countries including military super powers Russia and China are actively mobilizing their armies for a widespread armed conflict.
With North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowing this weekend to never give up his nuclear ambitions and President Trump having made it clear that the United States will not allow the North to possess nuclear weapons capable of striking America, it appears that confrontation is inevitable.
Further signaling what may come to pass in 2018 is General Robert Neller, who spoke to Marines in Europe during his annual Christmas tour:
Neller emphasized to the Marines that they should remain ready to fight at all times, predicting a ‘big-ass fight’ on the horizon.
‘I hope I’m wrong, but there’s a war coming,’ Neller said. ‘ … You’re in a fight here, an informational fight, a political fight, by your presence.’

This post was published at shtfplan on December 25th, 2017.

America’s Collapsing Prestige

The Niki Haley moron appointed as US ambassador to the UN by Trump to destroy America’s reputation in the world is today sucking her thumb. All her threats to cut off US money to countries that voted against Trump’s illegal and unilateral action of establishing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital had no effect. The world gave Nikki and Trump the bird, voting 129 to 9 against the rogue governments of the US and Israel. The Chinese government referred to Trump’s effort to impose Israel’s will on international law as typical ‘American arrogance.’

This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on December 22, 2017.

WW3 Alert: US And China Preparing For ‘All Hell To Break Loose’ On Korean Peninsula

The United States and China are preparing for a situation in which all hell breaks loose on the Korean Peninsula. Both nations are taking unprecedented steps as tensions toward a nuclear war ramp up even more.
The US has stepped up military drills, practiced air raids, and reportedly started preparing to seize North Korea’s nuclear weapons by force, a feat South Korea has declared won’t be all that easy. South Korean officials have been talking up a pause in military drills in hopes that it will lead to a peaceful Winter Olympics in February, but the US has yet to agree to halt said drills. Instead, the US brought in a record number of stealth aircraft this month to train up on an air war against North Korea. Immediately after the drill, which featured a marked increase in simulated bomb runs on North Korean targets, the US and South Korea reportedly engaged in drills to infiltrate North Korea and neutralize its weapons of mass destruction.
At a speech at the Atlantic Council last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US was preparing plans to seize loose nuclear weapons, should North Korea somehow collapse or become unstable.

This post was published at shtfplan on December 20th, 2017.