Using Water As A Weapon Of War

Herschel Smith · 03 Aug 2014 · 11 Comments

Next City: In a war, anything can be a weapon. In a particularly ruthless war, such as the conflict that has been raging in Syria for more than three years, those weapons are often turned against civilians, making any semblance of normal life impossible. Such is the case, experts say, with the way the nation’s water supply is being manipulated to inflict suffering on the population. According to an article posted by Chatham House, a London-based independent policy institute, water…… [read more]

Struggle For Supremacy In Space: Chinese ASAT Tests

BY Glen Tschirgi
3 years, 6 months ago

Does anyone else get the feeling that we may have elected possibly the least qualified, least competent and worst ideologue to the Presidency at a time in history when we can least afford this kind of mistake?

When I read this string of articles, that is exactly the feeling I get.   We may be witnessing a tsunami of policy errors that will be no less devastating to the U.S. than those that hit Japan recently.

Here is a disturbing article in The Daily Telegraph that sets the stage:

The “star wars” arms race was began in January 2007 when China shocked the White House by shooting down one of its weather satellite 530 miles above the Earth.

The strike, which resulted in thousands of pieces of debris orbiting the earth, raised fears that the Chinese had the power to cause chaos by destroying US military and civilian satellites.

In February 2008, America launched its own “test” strike to destroy a malfunctioning American satellite, which demonstrated to the Chinese it also had the capability to strike in space.

America stated at the time that the strike was not a military test but a necessary mission to remove a faulty spy satellite.

The leaked documents appear to show its true intentions.

One month before the strike, the US criticised Beijing for launching its own “anti-satellite test”, noting: “The United States has not conducted an anti-satellite test since 1985.” In a formal diplomatic protest, officials working for Condoleezza Rice, the then secretary of state, told Beijing: “A Chinese attack on a satellite using a weapon launched by a ballistic missile threatens to destroy space systems that the United States and other nations use for commerce and national security. Destroying satellites endangers people.”

****

A month after the Chinese strike, America shot down one of its own satellites, ostensibly to stop it returning to earth with a toxic fuel tank which would pose a health hazard. The Chinese did not believe the explanation.

In secret dispatches, US officials indicated that the strike was, in fact, military in nature.

This was the state of affairs as the Bush Administration wound down and the Obama Administration took over.  When the Chinese launched another ASAT test, the Obama Administration reacted:

The most recent cable in the collection was sent from the office of Mrs Clinton in January 2010.

It claimed that US intelligence detected that China had launched a fresh anti-satellite missile test. Crucially, Washington wanted to keep secret its knowledge that the missile test was linked to China’s previous space strikes.

The cable, marked “secret” said the Chinese army had sent an SC-19 missile that successfully destroyed a CSS-X-11 missile about 150 miles above the Earth.

“This test is assessed to have furthered both Chinese ASAT [anti-satellite] and ballistic missile defense technologies,” stated the memo to the US embassy in Beijing.

Mrs Clinton’s cable stressed that “the Obama administration” retained the Bush-era concerns over Chinese space weapon plans.

So far so good.  Until we come to this article by  Eli Lake in the Washington Times that points out that the U.S. is on the verge of agreeing to a European Union protocol on space activities that could hamper our ability to develop space capabilities while leaving the Chinese free rein:

The administration has signaled that it is preparing to accept the European Union’s draft Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities with minimal changes to the document. An administration interagency review concluded last month that the code of conduct — aimed at reducing the amount of space debris that could collide into satellites — would not damage U.S. national interests in space or limit research and development into classified programs.

The United States and France are expected Tuesday to sign a bilateral agreement to share data on space debris.

Peter Marquez, who served as National Security Council director of space policy for President George W. Bush and for President Obama until Sept. 29, raised concerns about the U.S. strategy. He said it could lead other states to set limits on U.S. defenses in space.

“Implementation of the space strategy is going to be key. International norms could unintentionally limit U.S. deployment and development of satellites that track orbital debris and other satellites in space,” he said.

“It leaves open the door also for the United States to be forced to disclose the nature of its intelligence collection activities and capabilities from orbit.”

Rick Fisher, a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said the strategy fails because it does not adequately account for the Chinese threat to U.S. satellites. “One gets the impression from this document that the Obama administration simply wants to ignore the Chinese threat in hopes it will just go away,” he said. “There is apparently no consideration of developing U.S. active defenses for space that would more effectively deter China.”

This President is doing major damage to virtually every aspect of the United States.  Here we find that he is possibly eroding our future defenses against attacks on our vital communications and information systems to the Chinese.  At this rate, 2013 may be too late.

The National Debt and A Loan Shark Named China

BY Glen Tschirgi
3 years, 8 months ago

This article in CNBC.com yesterday highlights the lengths to which the U.S. government went to appease China during the fiscal crisis of 2008 and 2009.

Confidential diplomatic cables from the U.S. embassies in Beijing and Hong Kong lay bare China’s growing influence as America’s largest creditor.As the U.S. Federal Reserve grappled with the aftershocks of financial crisis, the Chinese, like many others, suffered huge losses from their investments in American financial firms — from Lehman Brothers to the Primary Reserve Fund, the money market fund that broke the buck.

The cables, obtained by WikiLeaks, show that escalating Chinese pressure prompted a procession of soothing visits from the U.S. Treasury Department.

In one striking instance, a top Chinese money manager directly asked U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner for a favor.

Lest anyone think that China’s obvious leverage does not affect our foreign policy, there is this:

The concern in certain influential Washington and Wall Street circles is that Beijing would leverage its position as the main enabler of U.S. overspending. And the cables provide a glimpse into how much politics inform relations between the world’s two largest economies.

One cable cites Chinese money managers expressing concern that U.S. arms sales to Taiwan — a major, longstanding irritant in the relationship — could sour the Chinese public on Treasury purchases.

Get that?  It is the “Chinese public” that is so concerned about arms sales to Taiwan.  The authoritarians in Beijing are at the mercy of public opinion.  Who knew? I guess another Tienanmen Square is about to break out any time now.

Is there any better example of the malignancy of our soaring debt than this?

China has the Treasury Secretary running to them with assurances that their investments will be protected, at a time when American pension funds and ordinary American investors are taking massive losses.

Not only that, China more or less demands that its plan to buy over $1 Billion of Morgan Stanley shares get immediate Treasury Department approval (rather than wait the customary 2-week review period) and, magically, the approval is obtained the next day, without any formal application having been filed.

And, oh, by the way, the Chinese public is very concerned about arms sales to Taiwan so the U.S. had better knock that off, too.  (And the Chinese public is also very concerned about any actions that might interfere with Iran’s nuclear weapons program).

One of the unmistakable messages from this article is that China exercises enormous leverage simply by threatening to stop buying up U.S. treasury bonds.   Although the article also claims that China needs to buy treasuries, the article never explains or supports that claim.  The “need” is clearly a one-way street.   China has other places to invest their cash whereas the U.S. cannot find any, other investor that can buy up treasury bills on anything like the scale of China.

This should serve as an urgent wake-up call, particularly to those in Congress who are debating the remaining funding of the federal government for 2011 and the budget for 2012.  The U.S. simply cannot afford to get any deeper into debt, especially not with China.

In our own, personal lives, it is one thing to take a short-term loan from a friendly relative.  No one in their right mind would get deeply in debt to a hostile co-worker.  What the U.S. is doing amounts to getting into deep debt with a loan shark.  Even a community organizer should have some experience with that outcome.

Make no mistake, the only reason that the U.S. has not gone off the financial cliff at this point is because we continue to enjoy incredibly low borrowing costs for our bond sales.  The article makes clear that there is a direct connection between China’s actions in the U.S. debt market and the interest rate that the U.S. has to pay on its short-term and long-term borrowing.  If the cost to the U.S. of borrowing rises in any substantial way, interest payments will eat up huge amounts of the federal budget.   At that point, the U.S. will either have to default on that debt which would have calamitous consequences, or the U.S. will have to print huge amounts of money which would likely result in the kind of hyperinflation that hit, for example, Argentina in the late 1990′s.

Of course, China has to be careful.  It is not in their interest to push the U.S. into default or devaluation of the dollar.  And, as the article notes, the U.S. is the single, biggest purchaser of Chinese exports.  All the same, this is not “mutually assured destruction.”   This enormous leverage that China now holds over the U.S. can render us paper tigers, afraid to take any action that might upset or anger our Chinese overlords.   To put it in loan sharking terms:  while it may not be in China’s interest to kill us, there is plenty of pain that they can inflict short of death.

So, bearing all of this in mind, we are confronted with a President proposing a $3.8 Trillion 2012 budget that requires over $1.4 Trillion (!!) in new borrowing from China, among others.

This is beyond a “lack of leadership” as some have said.  Given the realities of our fiscal situation, I suggest that the President’s budget comes very close to a “high crime and misdemeanor.”


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