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The new B-52: How the Air Force is prepping to fly century-old bombers

The new B-52: How the Air Force is prepping to fly century-old bombers.....»»

Category: topSource: yahooFeb 12th, 2024

Revolutionary Military Weapons That Redefined Warfare

Weapons have been used on the battlefield for centuries. Evidence of the early appearance of firearms was seen in the Middle East between the late 13th and early 14th centuries, with the first recorded use of a firearm around 1364. While today’s weapons have advanced tremendously since these early guns, these earlier models paved the […] The post Revolutionary Military Weapons That Redefined Warfare appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.. Weapons have been used on the battlefield for centuries. Evidence of the early appearance of firearms was seen in the Middle East between the late 13th and early 14th centuries, with the first recorded use of a firearm around 1364. While today’s weapons have advanced tremendously since these early guns, these earlier models paved the way for the advancement in weapons that is seen currently. Before the introduction of some early weapons, armies conducted warfare in a certain way that took advantage of what they had. As weapons were introduced and revolutionized, armies and battlefields had to fundamentally change how they fought to overcome it. Many inventions helped soldiers do their jobs better, but only a few redefined warfare at its core. The way wars are fought, the way battles and battlefields develop, and how commanders plan their strategies have all changed. These revolutionary military weapons redefined warfare. Only weapons are included on this list, not tools or technology that, while revolutionary and game-changing, were not used to directly kill people. This includes things like radar, GPS, the stirrup, fortified walls, trenches, barbed wire, and so on. This won’t include every single weapon that redefined warfare, for each period of history and every continent had their own weapons that redefined their game of war. Only a few of the most impactful are included here. #1 Cavalry The Battle of Eylau during the War of the Fourth Coalition. One of the most significant changes came with cavalry. Nothing in the history of warfare and humankind has been as impactful as the domestication of the horse. No military innovation since has surpassed the impact the horse had on the battlefield. From the introduction of the cavalry soldier onto the battlefield thousands of years ago, as far back as 1,550 BCE, all the way to World War I, the fastest and most lethal weapon system on the battlefield was a man on a horse. Most ancient cavalry forces were limited to chariots, given the difficulty of raising, training, and keeping horses, along with training soldiers to ride them effectively. However, the true rise of cavalry on the battlefield was developed by the nomads of the Eurasian Steppe: the Iranic Parthians, Sarmatians, Scythians, and later the Mongols, among many others. The role of horse archers on the battlefield was so powerful that steppe tribes remained a significant threat to their neighbors until the 1800s. European armies didn’t implement large cavalry forces until the late Middle Ages, and even then, the soldiers would mostly dismount before entering combat. Europe lagged behind most of the world in combat innovation and effectiveness until relatively recently. #2 Airplane The Polikarpov U-2 or Po-2 served as a general-purpose Soviet biplane. Shortly after its invention in 1903, the airplane was adapted to be a weapon of war and it forever changed the way soldiers thought about the battlefield. No longer did they have to just worry about the enemy in front of them, they had to keep an eye on the sky, too. Fighters, interceptors, bombers, and reconnaissance planes made their big entrance during the First World War, which was the stage for many weapon innovations. Front lines now didn’t seem so well-defined, as airplanes flew over the chaos and could drop bombs or shoot at important targets far behind what was once an impenetrable wall of trenches and barbed wire. New technology had to be invented to defend ground-based targets against airplanes and to attack targets in the air. The flurry of technological progress that occurred in response to the introduction of the airplane changed the battlefield more quickly than almost anything else in history. #3 Artillery A field cannon. Every time the defenses of a city grew stronger, the tools for knocking down or overcoming those defenses improved. Siege weapons of various types have been employed as long as there were walls to tear down, but none had such an impact as the cannon artillery. Although artillery in the form of mortars has been around since about the 9th or 10th century CE, they were large, cumbersome, dangerous, and difficult to use correctly. It wasn’t until the 1400s when artillery became much more powerful, the barrels longer, and the construction more reliable and safer that artillery became a regular sight on the battlefield. Typically, during a siege, the defending side has a significant advantage over the attackers. With the introduction of the cannon and mortar, that advantage turned to the attacking army. The difference was that gunpowder artillery was able to completely demolish walls and accurately hit targets within the city. Mehmet the Conqueror was able to take Constantinople in 1453 when his artillery destroyed the legendary walls of the city. Castles, forts, and cities with large stone walls soon became prisons if cannons were brought to bear. Armies were now incentivized to fight outside a city instead of retreating within the walls for safety. #4 Hand-held firearms Every gun builds upon the success of the last, but all modern warfare relies on a man with a gun in some way. Like the crossbow that came before it, the hand-held firearm revolutionized the battlefield because it allowed untrained, unskilled people to become deadly forces of destruction. But unlike the crossbow, which was banned in some parts of Europe because it was unsporting and broke the rules of chivalry, the hand-held firearm changed the landscape of the battlefield so drastically that any nation that wanted to compete militarily was forced to adopt firearms into their armies. After their usefulness was demonstrated in battlefields from Asia to Europe, armies quickly learned how best to use guns instead of bows and hand-held weapons. For the first time since pre-history, the most effective killing tool was not a sword or a spear or arrowhead. Every innovation and change to the hand-held firearm ever since simply built upon the monumental game-changer that was the first gun. #5 Warships An English warship. Naval warfare has been just one aspect of wars that were exclusively fought on land for most of human history. When battles did happen at sea, it was usually between ships that carried troops who fought just as they would on land, but on flat barges and decks instead. Ramming was a common tactic, then boarding and anti-boarding tactics. The only reason naval warfare happened at all was simply because it was a useful way to transport troops long distances, not because it was useful in any meaningful way. That all changed with the introduction of ships that could both transport troops and defend themselves without soldiers, archers, or marines. It began with loading cannons on ships before the advent of the Age of Sail, and soon large ships became the determining factor of land battles. They controlled trade, stopped armies from retreating by sea, blockaded cities, and starved empires into surrender. Commanders couldn’t wage an effective war by ignoring the sea anymore as they had for millennia beforehand. Ignoring the power of ships was a quick way to lose a war. As the size of empires expanded to include multiple oceans and seas, the landscape of the battle became ever more blue. #6 Rifled Muskets The Springfield rifled musket. The only way to ensure that enough shots hit your enemy to force them to retreat was to fire many muskets at the same time. The adoption of the hand-held firearm forced armies to abandon plate armor and swords and adopt massed infantry firing lines. The musket was powerful and easy to use, but it was inaccurate. With the rifled musket, that tactic soon became a death wish. Rifled muskets, especially breech-loader rifles, had longer range and were much more accurate. Whereas typical formations only had time for a handful of shots before one side retreated, rifles could fire dozens of shots well before the other side was even in range to fire once. Armies soon abandoned the mass infantry tactic and adopted trench warfare and other tactics that didn’t put so many men in danger. #7 Maxim Gun A Finnish Maxim gun. The look of the battlefield was still relatively unchanged even with the introduction of the hand-held firearm. Large armies marched in open fields against each other, opening fire before engaging in hand-to-hand combat. Even with guns grenades and cannons, the battlefield would still be familiar to an ancient Assyrian. With the introduction of the Maxim gun, that was no longer the case. Invented in 1884, the Maxim gun was the first fully automatic machine gun in the world. It is called the “weapon most associated with imperial conquest” and was the primary tool used to conquer and subdue other countries by the colonial powers. It was used during the Russo-Japanese War, World War I, World War II, and beyond. It was the predecessor to modern machine guns. Its impact was just as much physical as it was psychological. Armies could not march against each other in rank and file to do battle without being obliterated by a single Maxim gun. Warfare retreated to trenches, artillery bombardments, and large-scale assaults. Squad warfare began to develop during this time, presenting smaller targets to Maxim gun emplacements and diminishing their impact on the battlefield. Never again after the introduction of the Maxim gun would armies march against each other in open fields. #8 Chemical Weapons Doctors demonstrate how patients contaminated by mustard gas are washed as soon as they reach the hospital. Biological warfare has been a common feature of warfare since ancient times. Poisoning wells, catapulting decaying bodies into cities, and releasing sick prisoners were all examples. Chemical warfare, however, didn’t begin until World War I with the introduction of chlorine gas. In 1915, German soldiers opened almost 6,000 canisters of poisonous gas at the Ypres battlefield in Belgium. There were 7,000 total casualties, of which 350 died. Chlorine gas was terrifyingly lethal in almost every way: it was cheap, it was easy to deploy, it was heavier than air so it would sink into enemy trenches, and all it took was one inhale to kill enemy soldiers. Both sides began to develop and deploy even more lethal gasses throughout the war. One of the gasses, phosgene, was entirely odorless and responsible for around 80% of the gas-related fatalities during the war. This led to no soldier entering any battlefield without the equipment and the training to deal with chemical warfare. Soldiers can no longer plunge head-long into an abandoned enemy position for fear they might have left behind undetectable chemical weapons ready to kill whoever sets them off. Chemical weapons were banned by the Geneva Convention after World War I, but that hasn’t stopped countries from using them, including the United States, Iraq, Syria, and other dictatorships. During the U.S. invasion of Iraq, U.S. soldiers used a combination of white phosphorus and explosives they called “shake ‘n’ bake”. The white phosphorus produces phosphorus pentoxide smoke that burns on contact with moisture and causes severe eye burns and permanent damage. They killed women and children during the massacre in Fallujah. When it comes to holding on to power or letting a foreign power conquer your country, it is doubtful most world leaders would resist deploying chemical weapons. #9 Tanks A Sherman tank Many similar lists will include tanks, but they miss the point of why. Why were tanks such an important innovation and how did they change warfare? There were motorized vehicles in war long before the tank was invented. Trucks and cars had been used for years filling the role of cavalry where horses were in short supply but they had their limitations. Tanks were the only vehicles that could reliably traverse the barbed wire and trenches of no-mans-land in World War I, withstand the fire of machine guns, and reach the other side with enough firepower to fight. They were initially used as infantry support, but their true potential was finally realized when fully mechanized tank divisions fought together, blazing through enemy defenses that would tear soldiers apart and pursue fleeing soldiers before they had time to set up another defensible position. Today, tanks are still used in the same manner: a spearhead pushing through enemy defenses or obstacles for infantry to secure an area. #10 U-Boat A German U-Boat. The submarine has existed ever since the 1700s, but it wasn’t until the 1800s that the technology took off. Even then, they had no significant impact on warfare until the 20th century. The reason the German U-boat was so much more successful than previous versions, and even contemporary versions in greater numbers, was a combination of technology and innovative submarine tactics developed especially for submarine combat. The unprecedented success of German U-boats highlighted the changing state of war on the oceans, and the need to develop new weapons to engage with submarines. Submarines were the most effective anti-ship weapon used by the United States during the Second World War and destroyed over 60% of the Japanese merchant fleet and destroyed more ships than all other weapons (on land, air, or sea) combined. The advancement of stealth technology allows modern submarines to remain a hidden and ever-present threat to every navy. #11 Aircraft carrier Aircraft carriers are the undisputed kings of the ocean. Naval warfare was always a competition of who had the biggest ships, the most ships, and who could keep them afloat the longest. It evolved from infantry combat aboard floating barges to a focus on large battleships through the 19th and early 20th centuries. World War II showed the world that the age of the battleship was over with the introduction of the aircraft carrier. As a result of aircraft carriers, you are most likely never going to see a large-scale ship battle again. The ability to scout far in advance of a fleet and engage enemy ships from the air has made the aircraft carrier the dominant power of the seas. This point was made during the Battle of the Pacific in which aircraft carriers obliterated enemy battleships from far beyond the horizon. The United States’ focus on developing carrier technology is what helped them secure their hold over the Pacific and win the war. #12 Strategic Stealth Bombers The B-2 Bomber. Just as planes changed the battlefield when they first entered the scene, strategic stealth bombers changed the game by refusing to participate. While everyone else is playing checkers, stealth bombers never come to the party and instead drop a bowling ball on the table during a video call. Even high-altitude bombers are vulnerable to enemy aircraft and anti-air weapons. Heavy armor, fighter escorts, and powerful guns help them stay in the air long enough to drop their bombs and come home. But it is hard to defend against an enemy you can’t see and is already halfway home by the time the bomb hits you. There is no real defense against a stealth bomber that is already overhead. The introduction of strategic stealth fighters has forced armies to adapt to an enemy that can strike them nearly from space without being seen. Large armies cannot muster and march together without presenting a large target. Large military bases are no longer safe. Small squads must rely on concealment and camouflage to avoid detection and continue fighting. However, the use of stealth bombers is rare due to their significant cost. #13 Atom bomb Trinity Test mushroom cloud. Nothing is more revolutionary than a weapon that not only changes the game but completely replaces the one you’re playing. Whatever the moral and ethical questions surrounding the atomic, and later nuclear, bomb might be, there is no arguing that the way we fight wars is forever changed as long as there is even one still around somewhere. The ability to obliterate not only an army, but entire cities or a country in a moment finally made world powers hesitate before going to war. The Cold War was only the first of what will probably be many dangerous stand-offs in the future. Wars between powerful states are no longer fought on the battlefield but have been forced into the digital realm and live out in proxy wars. Nobody knows what will happen if the armies of the world powers ever do meet in open conflict, and world leaders are even less eager to find out. Sponsored: Attention Savvy Investors: Speak to 3 Financial Experts – FREE Ever wanted an extra set of eyes on an investment you’re considering? Now you can speak with up to 3 financial experts in your area for FREE. By simply clicking here you can begin to match with financial professionals who can help guide you through the financial decisions you’re making. And the best part? The first conversation with them is free. Click here to match with up to 3 financial pros who would be excited to help you make financial decisions. The post Revolutionary Military Weapons That Redefined Warfare appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.......»»

Category: blogSource: 247wallstFeb 22nd, 2024

The new B-52: How the Air Force is prepping to fly century-old bombers

The new B-52: How the Air Force is prepping to fly century-old bombers.....»»

Category: topSource: yahooFeb 12th, 2024

13 Military Weapons That Were Game-Changers

What does it mean to be a game changer? It means that after the introduction of this weapon, armies and battlefields had to fundamentally change how they fought in order to overcome it. There are many inventions that helped soldiers do their job better, but only a few that changed warfare at its core. They […] The post 13 Military Weapons That Were Game-Changers appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.. What does it mean to be a game changer? It means that after the introduction of this weapon, armies and battlefields had to fundamentally change how they fought in order to overcome it. There are many inventions that helped soldiers do their job better, but only a few that changed warfare at its core. They changed the way wars are fought, the way battles and battlefields develop, and how commanders plan their strategies. Here are 13 weapons that were game-changers. For this list, we will include only weapons, not tools or technology that, while revolutionary and game-changing, were not used to directly kill people. This includes things like radar, GPS, the stirrup, fortified walls, trenches, barbed wire, and so on. Of course, this won’t include every single weapon that changed warfare, for each period of history and every continent had their own weapons that changed their game of war. We will include only a few of the most impactful. #1 Cavalry The Battle of Eylau during the War of the Fourth Coalition. Nothing in the history of warfare and of humankind has been as impactful as the domestication of the horse. No military innovation since has surpassed the impact the horse had on the battlefield. From the introduction of the cavalry soldier onto the battlefield thousands of years ago, as far back as 1,550 BCE, all the way to World War I, the fastest and most lethal weapon system on the battlefield was a man on a horse. Given the difficulty of raising, training, and keeping horses, along with training soldiers to ride them effectively, most ancient cavalry forces were limited to chariots. However, the true rise of cavalry on the battlefield was developed by the nomads of the Eurasian Steppe: the Iranic Parthians, Sarmatians, Scythians, and later the Mongols, among many others. So powerful was the role of horse archers on the battlefield that steppe tribes remained a significant threat to their neighbors until the 1800’s. European armies didn’t implement large cavalry forces until the late Middle Ages, and even then, the soldiers would mostly dismount before entering combat. Europe lagged behind most of the world in combat innovation and effectiveness until relatively recently. #2 Airplane The Polikarpov U-2 or Po-2 served as a general-purpose Soviet biplane. Immediately after its invention, the airplane was adapted to be a weapon of war and it forever changed the way soldiers thought about the battlefield. No longer did they have to just worry about the enemy in front of them, they had to keep an eye on the sky, too. Fighters, interceptors, bombers, and reconnaissance planes made their big entrance during World War I, which was the stage for many weapon innovations. Suddenly, front lines didn’t seem so well-defined, as airplanes flew over the chaos and could drop bombs or shoot at important targets far behind what was once an impenetrable wall of trenches and barbed wire. New technology had to be invented to defend ground-based targets against airplanes and to attack targets in the air. The flurry of technological progress that occurred in response to the introduction of the airplane changed the battlefield more quickly than almost anything else in history. #3 Artillery A field cannon. Every time the defenses of a city grew stronger, the tools for knocking down or overcoming those defenses improved. Siege weapons of various types have been employed as long as there were walls to tear down, but none had such an impact as the cannon artillery. Artillery in the form of mortars has been around since about the 9th or 10th century CE, but they were large, cumbersome, difficult to use correctly, and dangerous to use. It wasn’t until the 1400s when artillery became much more powerful, the barrels longer, and the construction more reliable and safer that artillery became a regular sight on the battlefield. Typically, during a siege, the defending side has a significant advantage over the attackers. With the introduction of the cannon and mortar, that advantage turned to the attacking army. The difference came in that gunpowder artillery was able to completely demolish walls and accurately hit targets within the city. Mehmet the Conqueror was able to take Constantinople in 1453 when his artillery destroyed the legendary walls of the city. Castles, forts, and cities with large stone walls soon became prisons if cannons were brought to bear. Armies were now incentivized to fight outside a city instead of retreating within the walls for safety. #4 Hand-held firearms Every gun builds upon the success of the last, but all modern warfare relies on a man with a gun in some way. Like the crossbow that came before it, the hand-held firearm revolutionized the battlefield because it allowed untrained, unskilled people to become deadly forces of destruction. However, unlike the crossbow, which was banned in some parts of Europe because it was unsporting and broke the rules of chivalry, the hand-held firearm changed the landscape of the battlefield so drastically that any nation that wanted to compete militarily was forced to adopt firearms into their armies. After their usefulness was demonstrated in battlefields from Asia to Europe, armies quickly learned how best to use guns instead of bows and hand-held weapons. For the first time since pre-history, the most effective killing tool was not a sword or a spear or arrowhead. Every innovation and change to the hand-held firearm ever since simply built upon the monumental game-changer that was the first gun. #5 Warships An English warship. Naval warfare has been just one aspect of wars that were exclusively fought on land for most of human history. When battles did happen at sea, it was usually between ships that carried troops who fought just as they would on land, but on flat barges and decks instead. Ramming was a common tactic, then boarding and anti-boarding tactics. The only reason naval warfare happened at all was simply because it was a useful way to transport troops long distances, not because it was useful in any meaningful way. That all changed with the introduction of ships that could both transport troops and defend themselves without soldiers, archers, or marines. It began with loading cannons on ships before the advent of the Age of Sail, and soon large ships became the determining factor of land battles. They controlled trade, stopped armies from retreating by sea, blockaded cities, and starved empires into surrender. Commanders couldn’t wage an effective war by ignoring the sea anymore as they had for millennia beforehand. Ignoring the power of ships was a quick way to lose a war. As the size of empires expanded to include multiple oceans and seas, the landscape of the battle became ever more blue. #6 Rifled Muskets The Springfield rifled musket. The adoption of the hand-held firearm forced armies to abandon plate armor and swords and adopt massed infantry firing lines. The musket was powerful and easy to use, but it was inaccurate. The only way to ensure that enough shots hit your enemy to force them to retreat was to fire many muskets at the same time. With the rifled musket, that tactic soon became a death wish. Rifled muskets, especially breech-loader rifles, had longer range and were much more accurate. Whereas typical formations only had time for a handful of shots before one side retreated, rifles could fire dozens of shots well before the other side was even in range to fire once. Armies soon abandoned the mass infantry tactic and adopted trench warfare and other tactics that didn’t put so many men in danger. #7 Maxim Gun A Finnish Maxim gun. Even with the introduction of the hand-held firearm, the look of the battlefield was still relatively unchanged. Large armies marched in open fields against each other, opening fire before engaging in hand-to-hand combat. Even with guns grenades and cannons, the battlefield would still be familiar to an ancient Assyrian. With the introduction of the Maxim gun, that was no longer the case. The Maxim gun was the first fully automatic machine gun in the world, invented in 1884. It is called the “weapon most associated with imperial conquest” and was the primary tool used to conquer and subdue other countries by the colonial powers. It was used during the Russo-Japanese War, World War I, World War II, and beyond. It was the predecessor to modern machine guns. Its impact was just as much physical as it was psychological. Armies could not march against each other in rank and file to do battle without being obliterated by a single Maxim gun. Warfare retreated to trenches, artillery bombardments, and large-scale assaults. Squad warfare began to develop during this time, presenting smaller targets to Maxim gun emplacements and diminishing their impact on the battlefield. Never again after the introduction of the Maxim gun would armies march against each other in open fields. #8 Chemical Weapons Doctors demonstrating how patients contaminated by mustard gas are washed as soon as they reach the hospital. Biological warfare has been a common feature of warfare since ancient times. Poisoning wells, catapulting decaying bodies into cities, and releasing sick prisoners were all examples. Chemical warfare, however, didn’t begin until World War I with the introduction of chlorine gas. In 1915, German soldiers opened almost 6,000 canisters of the poisonous gas at the Ypres battlefield in Belgium. There were 7,000 total casualties, of which 350 died. Chlorine gas was terrifyingly lethal in almost every way: it was cheap, it was easy to deploy, it was heavier than air so it would sink into enemy trenches, and all it took was one inhale to kill enemy soldiers. Both sides began to develop and deploy even more lethal and deadly gasses throughout the war. One of the gasses, phosgene, was entirely odorless and responsible for around 80% of the gas-related fatalities during the war. How did this change warfare? Today, no soldier enters any battlefield without the equipment and the training to deal with chemical warfare. Soldiers can no longer plunge head-long into an abandoned enemy position for fear they might have left behind undetectable chemical weapons ready to kill whoever sets them off. Chemical weapons were banned by the Geneva Convention after World War I, but that hasn’t stopped countries from using them, including the United States, Iraq, Syria, and other dictatorships. During the U.S. invasion of Iraq, U.S. soldiers used a combination of white phosphorus and explosives they called “shake ‘n’ bake”. The white phosphorus produces phosphorus pentoxide smoke that burns on contact with moisture and causes severe eye burns and permanent damage. They killed women and children during the massacre in Fallujah. When it comes to holding on to power or letting a foreign power conquer your country, it is doubtful most world leaders would resist deploying chemical weapons. #9 Tanks A Sherman tank Many similar lists will include tanks, but they miss the point of why. Why were tanks such an important innovation and how did they actually change warfare? There were motorized vehicles in war long before the tank was invented. Trucks and cars had been used for years filling the role of cavalry where horses were in short supply. The answer to this question is simple: it was the only vehicle that could reliably traverse the barbed wire and trenches of no-mans-land in World War I, withstand the fire of machine guns, and reach the other side with enough firepower to actually fight. Tanks were initially used as infantry support, but their true potential was finally realized when fully mechanized tank divisions fought together, blazing through enemy defenses that would tear soldiers apart and pursue fleeing soldiers before they had time to set up another defensible position. Tanks are still used today in the same manner: a spearhead pushing through enemy defenses or obstacles for infantry to secure an area. #10 U-Boat A German U-Boat. The submarine has existed ever since the 1700s, but the technology really took off during the 1800s. Yet they had no significant impact on warfare until the 20th century. The reason the German U-boat was so much more successful than previous versions, and even contemporary versions in greater numbers, was a combination of technology and innovative submarine tactics developed especially for submarine combat. The unprecedented success of German U-boats highlighted the changing state of war on the oceans, and the need to develop new weapons to engage with submarines. Submarines were the most effective anti-ship weapon used by the United States during World War II and destroyed over 60% of the Japanese merchant fleet and destroyed more ships than all other weapons (on land, air, or sea) combined. The advancement of stealth technology allows modern submarines to remain a hidden and ever-present threat to every navy. #11 Aircraft carrier Aircraft carriers are the undisputed kings of the ocean. Naval warfare was always a competition of who had the biggest ships, the most ships, and who could keep them afloat the longest. It evolved from infantry combat aboard floating barges to a focus on large battleships through the 19th and early 20th centuries. World War II showed the world that the age of the battleship was over with the introduction of the aircraft carrier. You will probably never see a large-scale ship battle ever again because of aircraft carriers. The ability to scout far in advance of a fleet and engage enemy ships from the air has made the aircraft carrier the dominant power of the seas. This point was made during the Battle of the Pacific in which aircraft carriers obliterated enemy battleships from far beyond the horizon. The United States’ focus on developing carrier technology is what helped them secure their hold over the Pacific and win the war. #12 Strategic Stealth Bombers The B-2 Bomber. Just as planes changed the battlefield when they first entered the scene, strategic stealth bombers changed the game by refusing to participate. While everyone else is playing checkers, stealth bombers never showed up to the party and instead drop a bowling ball on the table during a video call. Bombers, even high-altitude bombers, are vulnerable to enemy aircraft and anti-air weapons. Heavy armor, fighter escorts, and powerful guns help them stay in the air long enough to drop their bombs and come home. But it is hard to defend against an enemy you can’t see and is already halfway home by the time the bomb hits you. There is no real defense against a stealth bomber that is already overhead. The introduction of strategic stealth fighters has forced armies to adapt to an enemy that can strike them nearly from space without being seen. Large armies cannot muster and march together without presenting a large target. Large military bases are no longer safe. Small squads must rely on concealment and camouflage in order to avoid detection and continue fighting. The significant cost of the stealth bomber makes its use rare. #13 Atom bomb Trinity Test mushroom cloud. What could be more game-changing than a weapon that replaces the game you’re playing with an entirely different game? What could be more different from ancient warfare than a war that isn’t fought at all? Whatever the moral and ethical questions surrounding the atomic, and later nuclear, bomb might be, there is no arguing that the way we fight wars is forever changed as long as there is even one still around somewhere. The ability to obliterate not only an army, but entire cities or a country in a moment finally made world powers hesitate before going to war. The Cold War was only the first of what will probably be many dangerous stand-offs in the future. Wars between powerful states are no longer fought on the battlefield but have been forced into the digital realm and live out in proxy wars. Nobody knows what will happen if the armies of the world powers ever do meet in open conflict, and world leaders are even less eager to find out. How To Get Ahead in 2024 (sponsored) Finding a good financial advisor may be the key to getting ahead in 2024. Whether it’s planning for retirement, college, or that 20ft boat, they can help you navigate the ups and downs of the market to achieve success. Use the advisor match tool below, or click here now, to find your financial freedom! The post 13 Military Weapons That Were Game-Changers appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.......»»

Category: personnelSource: nytFeb 9th, 2024

Boeing’s Most Iconic Combat Aircraft

One of the largest worldwide aerospace manufacturers is Boeing, a company founded in 1916 that produces commercial jetliners that are widely used around the world, space systems used by a multitude of countries, and as the third-largest defense company in the world, construct some of the most exciting aircraft for militaries throughout the globe. Boeing’s […] The post Boeing’s Most Iconic Combat Aircraft appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.. One of the largest worldwide aerospace manufacturers is Boeing, a company founded in 1916 that produces commercial jetliners that are widely used around the world, space systems used by a multitude of countries, and as the third-largest defense company in the world, construct some of the most exciting aircraft for militaries throughout the globe. Boeing’s fighter aircraft and bombers have played instrumental roles on the battlefield for roughly a century now, many gaining iconic status in the process. (These are 26 iconic aircraft built by Lockheed Martin.) Perhaps one of the most significant events in military history, the dropping of the atomic bomb, was carried out by one of Boeing’s aircraft, a modified B-29 Superfortress known as the Silverplate B-29. Ever since, Boeing has received expansive contracts from the U.S. military to develop and manufacture bomber and fighter aircraft. Out of all the combat aircraft Boeing produced over the years, many have gone on to gain iconic status. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed a catalog of Boeing aircraft from Military Factory, an online database of arms, vehicles, and aircraft used by militaries worldwide to identify Boeing’s most iconic combat aircraft. We ordered these aircraft chronologically and included supplemental information regarding the type of aircraft, total units produced, top speed, and armament. One of Boeing’s most iconic fourth-generation fighter jets is the F/A-18 Super Hornet. It originally entered service in 1999 and still makes up a sizable portion of the U.S. Air Force’s combat aircraft. The Super Hornet can hit a top speed of nearly 1,200 mph, making it ideal for reconnaissance and interception. However, it plays several other roles as a result of its high modularity for its armament. While the Super Hornet is impressive in its own right, perhaps the most famous aircraft produced by Boeing is the B-29 because it ushered in the atomic age. The dropping of the atomic bomb irrevocably changed geopolitical relations, shifted the balance of power, and guaranteed Boeing aircraft would find a place in the U.S. military for many years to come. (These companies built World War II’s iconic planes, guns, tanks and ships.) Here’s a look at Boeing’s most iconic combat aircraft: PW-9 (FB-5 / Model 15) Type: Single-engine biplane fighter aircraft Year introduced: 1924 Total units produced: 157 Top speed: 159 mph Armament:.55 caliber machine gun, .30 caliber machine guns, 122lb conventional drop bombs F2B (Model 69) Type: Carrierborne fighter biplane Year introduced: 1928 Total units produced: 33 Top speed: 158 mph Armament:12.7mm Browning M2 heavy machine guns, .30 caliber Browning M1919 medium machine guns, conventional drop bombs F4B / P-12 Type: Carrierborne pursuit fighter biplane Year introduced: 1929 Total units produced: 586 Top speed: 189 mph Armament:.30 Browning M1919 medium machine guns, .50 caliber Browning heavy machine gun, conventional drop bombs B-17 Flying Fortress Type: Heavy bomber aircraft Year introduced: 1937 Total units produced: 12,731 Top speed: 287 mph Armament:12.7mm Browning heavy machine guns, conventional drop bombs B-29 Superfortress Type: High-altitude long-range strategic heavy bomber Year introduced: 1943 Total units produced: 3,970 Top speed: 358 mph Armament:12.7mm Browning M2 heavy machine guns, 20mm M2 automatic cannon, conventional drop bombs, nuclear bombs B-50 Superfortress Type: Heavy bomber / long-range reconnaissance aircraft Year introduced: 1948 Total units produced: 370 Top speed: 380 mph Armament:20mm cannon 12.7mm machine guns, conventional drop bombs Washington (B-29) Type: High-altitude long-range strategic heavy bomber Year introduced: 1950 Total units produced: 83 Top speed: 224 mph Armament:12.7mm Browning M2 heavy machine guns, conventional drop bombs, nuclear bombs B-47 Stratojet Type: Strategic medium / heavy bomber aircraft Year introduced: 1951 Total units produced: 2,039 Top speed: 600 mph Armament:20mm cannons, conventional drop bombs, nuclear boms B-52 Stratofortress Type: High-altitude long-range strategic heavy bomber Year introduced: 1955 Total units produced: 744 Top speed: 595 mph Armament: Air-launched cruise missiles, free-fall nuclear bombs, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, joint direct-attack munitions AC-130H Spectre / AC-130U Spooky Type: Close air-support force protection gunship Year introduced: 1972 Total units produced: 21 Top speed: 300 mph Armament:20mm Gatling-style automatic cannons, 40mm automatic cannon, 105mm field gun F-15 Eagle Type: Air superiority / multirole fighter aircraft Year introduced: 1976 Total units produced: 1,500 Top speed: 1,875 mph Armament:20mm M61A1 automatic cannon, Sidewinder missiles, Sparrow missiles, Maverick missiles, HARM missiles, laser-guided bombs, cluster bombs F-15J (Peace Eagle) Type: Air superiority fighter aircraft Year introduced: 1981 Total units produced: 223 Top speed: 1,656 mph Armament:20mm M61 Vulcan Gatling-style cannon, Sidewinder missiles, Sparrow missiles, conventional drop bombs, CBU cluster bombs F/A-18 Hornet Type: Multirole carrier-borne strike fighter aircraft Year introduced: 1983 Total units produced: 1,480 Top speed: 1,190 mph Armament:20mm M61 Vulcan Gatling-style cannon, Sidewinder missiles, Sparrow missiles, Maverick missiles, Harpoon missiles, HARM missiles, laser-guided bombs CF-18 Hornet Type: Multirole jet-powered fighter aircraft Year introduced: 1983 Total units produced: 138 Top speed: 1,128 mph Armament:20mm M61A1 Vulcan Gatling-style cannon, Sidewinder missiles, AMRAAM missiles, Sparrow missiles, Maverick missiles, rocket pods, laser-guided bombs, conventional drop bombs AV-8B Harrier II Type: Short take-off and vertical landing strike aircraft Year introduced: 1985 Total units produced: 500 Top speed: 665 mph Armament:25mm GAU-12U Equalizer cannon, laser-guided bombs, Maverick missiles, Harpoon missiles, Sidewinder missiles, Napalm B-1 Lancer Type: Long-range strategic heavy bomber aircraft Year introduced: 1986 Total units produced: 104 Top speed: 833 mph Armament: General purpose bombs, CBU cluster munitions, freefall nuclear bombs, air-launched cruise missiles F-15E Strike Eagle Type: Strike fighter aircraft Year introduced: 1988 Total units produced: 420 Top speed: 1,653 mph Armament: 20mm M61A1 internal Gatling-style cannon, Sparrow missiles, Sidewinder missiles, AMRAAM missiles, Maverick missiles, laser-guided bombs F/A-18 Super Hornet Type: Carrierborne strike fighter aircraft Year introduced: 1999 Total units produced: 615 Top speed: 1,187 mph Armament: 20mm M61A1 Vulcan automatic cannon, Sidewinder missiles, AMRAAM missiles, Harpoon missiles, Maverick missiles, Rockeye II cluster bombs, laser-guided bombs F-22 Raptor Type: Air dominance fighter aircraft Year introduced: 2005 Total units produced: 195 Top speed: 1,599 mph Armament: 20mm internal automatic cannon, Sidewinder missiles, AMRAAM missiles, GBU-32 joint direct munitions, air-launched cruise missiles F-15EX Eagle II Type: Air superiority / multirole fighter aircraft Year introduced: 2021 Total units produced: 144 Top speed: 1,864 mph Armament: 20mm M61A1 Vulcan Gatling gun/cannon, Sidewinder missiles, various air-to-air missiles Sponsored: Attention Savvy Investors: Speak to 3 Financial Experts – FREE Ever wanted an extra set of eyes on an investment you’re considering? Now you can speak with up to 3 financial experts in your area for FREE. By simply clicking here you can begin to match with financial professionals who can help guide you through the financial decisions you’re making. And the best part? The first conversation with them is free. Click here to match with up to 3 financial pros who would be excited to help you make financial decisions. The post Boeing’s Most Iconic Combat Aircraft appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.......»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 31st, 2024

Escobar: How Yemen"s "Asabiyya" Is Reshaping Geopolitics

Escobar: How Yemen's 'Asabiyya' Is Reshaping Geopolitics Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Cradle, The Arabic word Asabiyya, or 'social solidarity,' is a soundbite in the west, but taken very seriously by the globe's new contenders China, Russia, and Iran. It is Yemen, however, that is mainstreaming the idea, by sacrificing everything for the world's collective morality in a bid to end the genocide in Gaza. When there is a general change of conditions, It is as if the entire creation had changed and the whole world been altered, as if it were a new and repeated creation, a world brought into existence anew. -  Ibn Khaldun  Yemen's Ansarallah resistance forces have made it very clear, right from the start, that they set up a blockade in the Bab el-Mandeb and the southern Red Sea only against Israeli-owned or destined shipping vessels. Their single objective was and remains to stop the Gaza genocide perpetrated by the Israeli biblical psychopathy.  As a response to a morally-based call to end a human genocide, the United States, masters of the Global War Of Terror (italics mine), predictably re-designated Yemen's Houthis as a “terrorist organization,” launched a serial bombardment of underground Ansarallah military installations (assuming US intel know where they are), and cobbled together a mini-coalition of the willing that includes its UK, Canadian, Australian, Dutch, and Bahraini vassals.    Without missing a beat, Yemen's Parliament declared the US and UK governments “Global Terrorist Networks.” Now let’s talk strategy.  With a single move, the Yemeni resistance seized the strategic advantage by de facto controlling a key geoeconomic bottleneck: the Bab el-Mandeb. Hence, they can inflict serious trouble on sectors of global supply chains, trade, and finance.  And Ansarallah has the potential to double down — if need be. Persian Gulf traders, off the record, have confirmed insistent chatter that Yemen may consider imposing a so-called Al-Aqsa Triangle — aptly named after the 7 October Palestinian resistance operation aimed at destroying the Israeli military's Gaza Division and taking captives as leverage in a sweeping prisoner swap deal.  Such a move would mean selectively blocking not only the Bab el-Mandeb and the Red Sea route to the Suez Canal, but also the Strait of Hormuz, cutting off oil and gas deliveries to Israel from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE – although the top oil suppliers to Israel are in fact Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.  These Yemenis are afraid of nothing. Were they able to impose the triangle – in this case only with direct Iranian involvement — that would represent the US-assassinated Quds Force General Qassem Soleimani's Grand Design on cosmic steroids. This plan holds the realistic potential of finally bringing down the pyramid of hundreds of trillions of dollars in derivatives — and consequently, the whole western financial system.  And yet, even as Yemen controls the Red Sea and Iran controls the Strait of Hormuz, Al-Aqsa Triangle remains just a working hypothesis.  Welcome to the Hegemon's blockade With a simple, clear strategy, the Houthis perfectly understood that the deeper they draw the strategy-deprived Americans into the West Asian geopolitical swamp, in a sort of “undeclared war” mode, the more they’re able to inflict serious pain on the global economy, which the Global South will blame on the Hegemon.    Today, Red Sea shipping traffic has plunged in half, compared to the summer of 2023; supply chains are wobbly; ships carrying food are forced to circumnavigate Africa (and risk delivering cargo after its expiry date); predictably, inflation across the vast EU agricultural sphere (worth €70 billion) is rising fast.  Yet, never underestimate a cornered Empire.  Western-based insurance giants perfectly understood the rules of Ansarallah's limited blockade: Russian and Chinese ships, for instance, have free passage in the Red Sea. Global insurers have only refused to cover US, UK, and Israeli ships — exactly as the Yemenis intended.  So the US, predictably, changed the narrative into a big, fat lie: ‘Ansarallah is attacking the whole global economy.’  Washington turbo-charged sanctions (not a big deal as the Yemeni resistance uses Islamic financing); increased the bombing, and in the name of sacrosanct “freedom of navigation” – always applied selectively — placed its bets on the “international community,” including leaders of the Global South, begging for mercy, as in please keep the shipping lanes open. The goal of the new, reframed American deceit is to elbow the Global South into ditching its support for Ansarallah's strategy.  Pay attention to this crucial US sleight of hand: Because, from now on, in a new perverse twist of Operation Genocide Protection, it is Washington that will be blockading the Red Sea for the entire world. Washington itself, mind you, will be spared: US shipping depends on Pacific trade routes, not West Asian ones. This will ratchet up the pain on Asian customers and especially on Europe's economy – which already took the heavies blows from Ukraine-associated Russian energy sanctions. As Michael Hudson has interpreted it,  there is a strong possibility that the neocons in charge of US foreign policy actually want (italics mine) to have Yemen and Iran implement the Al-Aqsa Triangle: “It will be the main energy buyers in Asia, China, and other countries that are going to be hurt. And that (…) will give the United States even more power to control the oil supply of the world as a bargaining chip in trying to renegotiate this new international order.” That, in fact, is the classic Empire of Chaos modus operandi.    Calling attention to “our people in Gaza” There is no solid evidence the Pentagon has the slightest clue about what its Tomahawks are hitting in Yemen. Even several hundred missiles won’t change a thing. Ansarallah, which has already endured eight years of nonstop US-UK-Saudi-Emirati firepower — and basically won — will not relent today over a few missile strikes. Even the proverbial “unnamed officials” informed the New York Times that “locating the Houthi targets has proven more difficult than expected,” essentially because of lousy US intel on Yemeni “air defense, command centers, ammunition depots, and drone and missile storage and production facilities.”  It’s quite enlightening to listen to how Yemeni Prime Minister Abdulaziz bin Saleh Habtoor frames Ansarallah's Israel-blockade initiative decision as “based on humanitarian, religious and moral aspects”. He refers, crucially, to “our people in Gaza.” And the overall vision, he reminds us, “stems from the vision of the Axis of Resistance.” It is a reference smart onlookers will recognize as General Soleimani’s ever-lasting legacy.  With a keen historical sense — from the creation of Israel to the Suez crisis and the Vietnam war — the Yemeni prime minister recalls how “Alexander the Great reached the shores of Aden and Socotra island but was defeated (…) Invaders tried to occupy the capital of the historical state of Shebah and failed (…) How many countries throughout history have tried to occupy the west coast of Yemen and failed? Including Britain.” It's absolutely impossible for the west and even the Global Majority to understand the Yemeni mindset without learning a few facts from the Angel of History.  So let’s go back to the 14th century universal history master Ibn Khaldun — the author of The Muqaddimah.  Ibn Khaldun cracks the Ansarallah Code  Ibn Khaldun’s family was a contemporary to the rise of the Arab Empire, on the move alongside the first armies of Islam in the 7th century, from the austere beauty of the Hadramawti valleys in what is now southern Yemen all the way to the Euphrates. Ibn Khaldun, crucially, was a precursor of Kant, who offered the brilliant insight that “geography lies at the basis of history.” And he read the 12th century Andalusian philosophy master Averroes – as well as other writers exposed to Plato's works and understood how the latter referred to the moral strength of “the first people” in the Timaeus, in 360 B.C. Yes, this boils down to “moral strength” — for the west, a mere soundbite; for the east, an essential philosophy. Ibn Khaldun grasped how civilization began and was constantly renewed by people with natural goodness and energy; people who understood and respected the natural world, who lived light, united by blood or brought together by a shared revolutionary idea or religious drive. Ibn Khaldun defined asabiyya as this force that binds people together.  Like so many words in Arabic, asabiyya exhibits a range of diverse, loosely connected meanings. Arguably, the most relevant is esprit de corps, team spirit, and tribal solidarity - just as Ansarallah exhibits.  As Ibn Khaldun demonstrates, when the power of asabiyya is fully harnessed, reaching way beyond the tribe, it becomes more powerful than the sum of its individual parts, and can become a catalyst to reshape history; to make or break Empires; to encourage civilizations; or force them to collapse.  We are definitely living an asabiyya moment, brought about by the Yemeni resistance’s moral strength.    Solid as a rock Ansarallah innately understood the threat of eschatological Zionism — which happens to mirror the Christian Crusades a millennium ago. And they are virtually the only ones, in practical terms, trying to stop it.  Now, as an extra bonus, they are exposing the plutocratic Hegemon, once again, as bombers of Yemen, the poorest Arab nation-state, where at least half the population remains “food-insecure.”     But Ansarallah is not heavy-weapons-free like the Pashtun mujahideen who humiliated NATO in Afghanistan.  Their anti-ship cruise missiles include the Sayyad and the Quds Z-O (range up to 800 km) and the Al Mandab 2 (range up to 300 km).  Their anti-ship ballistic missiles include the Tankil (range of up to 500 km); the Asef (range of up to 450 km); and the Al-Bahr Al-Ahmar (range of up to 200 km). That covers the southern part of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, but not, for instance, the islands of the Socotra archipelago.  Accounting for roughly one-third of the country’s population, Yemen's Houthis, who form the backbone of the Ansarallah resistance, do have their own internal agenda: gaining fair representation in governance (they launched Yemen's Arab Spring); protecting their Zaydi (neither Shia nor Sunni) faith; fighting for the autonomy of the Saada governorate; and working for the revival of the Zaydi Imamate, which was up and running before the 1962 revolution. Now, they are making their mark on The Big Picture. It’s no wonder Ansarallah fiercely fights the Hegemon’s vassal Arabs – especially those who signed a deal to normalize relations with Israel under the Trump administration. The Saudi-Emirati war on Yemen, with the Hegemon “leading from behind,” was a quagmire that cost Riyadh at least $6 billion a month for seven years. It ended with a wobbly 2022 truce in a de facto Ansarallah victory. A signed peace agreement, it should be noted, has been disallowed by the US, despite Saudi efforts to seal a deal. Now, Ansarallah is turning geopolitics and geoeconomics upside down with not just a few missiles and drones but also oceans of craftiness and strategic acumen. To invoke Chinese wisdom, picture a single rock changing the course of a stream, which then changes the course of a mighty river.  Epigones of Diogenes can always remark, half in jest, that the Russia-China-Iran strategic partnership may have contributed with their own well-placed rocks in this path to a more equitable order. That’s the beauty of it: we may not be able to see these rocks, only the effects they cause. What we do see, though, is the Yemeni resistance, solid as a rock.  The record shows the Hegemon, once again, reverting to auto-pilot mode: Bomb, Bomb, Bomb. And in this particular case, to bomb is to redirect the narrative from a genocide committed in real time by Israel, the Empire’s aircraft carrier in West Asia.  Still, Ansarallah can always increase the pressure by sticking firmly to its narrative and, driven by the power of asabiyya, deliver to the Hegemon a second Afghanistan, compared to which Iraq and Syria will look like a weekend at Disneyland.  The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ZeroHedge Tyler Durden Sun, 01/28/2024 - 07:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 28th, 2024

The Most Iconic Combat Aircraft Built by Boeing

The Boeing Company is largely known for its commercial jetliners that are widely used around the world, but some of its most exciting aircraft find their place in militaries around the world. Boeing’s fighter aircraft and bombers have played instrumental roles on the battlefield for roughly a century now, many gaining iconic status in the […] The post The Most Iconic Combat Aircraft Built by Boeing appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.. The Boeing Company is largely known for its commercial jetliners that are widely used around the world, but some of its most exciting aircraft find their place in militaries around the world. Boeing’s fighter aircraft and bombers have played instrumental roles on the battlefield for roughly a century now, many gaining iconic status in the process. (These are 26 iconic aircraft built by Lockheed Martin.) Perhaps one of the most important events in military history, the dropping of the atomic bomb, was carried out by one of Boeing’s aircraft. Ever since, Boeing has received expansive contracts from the U.S. military to develop and manufacture bomber and fighter aircraft. Out of all combat aircraft Boeing produced over the years, many have gone on to gain iconic status. To identify the most iconic combat aircraft manufactured by Boeing, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed a catalog of Boeing aircraft from Military Factory, an online database of arms, vehicles, and aircraft used by militaries worldwide. We ordered these aircraft chronologically and included supplemental information regarding the type of aircraft, total units produced, top speed, and armament. The F/A-18 Super Hornet is one of Boeing’s most iconic fourth generation fighter jets. It originally entered service in 1999 and still makes up a sizable portion of the U.S. Air Force’s combat aircraft. The Super Hornet can hit a top speed of nearly 1,200 mph, making it ideal for reconnaissance and interception. However, it plays a number of other roles as a result of its high modularity for its armament. Although the Super Hornet is impressive in its own right, the B-29 is perhaps the most famous aircraft produced by Boeing because it ushered in the atomic age. The dropping of the atomic bomb irrevocably changed geopolitical relations, shifted the balance of power, and guaranteed Boeing aircraft would find a place in the U.S. military for many years to come. (These companies built World War II’s iconic planes, guns, tanks and ships.) Here’s a look at the most iconic combat aircraft manufactured by Boeing: PW-9 (FB-5 / Model 15) Type: Single-engine biplane fighter aircraft Year introduced: 1924 Total units produced: 157 Top speed: 159 mph Armament:.55 caliber machine gun, .30 caliber machine guns, 122lb conventional drop bombs F2B (Model 69) Type: Carrierborne fighter biplane Year introduced: 1928 Total units produced: 33 Top speed: 158 mph Armament:12.7mm Browning M2 heavy machine guns, .30 caliber Browning M1919 medium machine guns, conventional drop bombs F4B / P-12 Type: Carrierborne pursuit fighter biplane Year introduced: 1929 Total units produced: 586 Top speed: 189 mph Armament:.30 Browning M1919 medium machine guns, .50 caliber Browning heavy machine gun, conventional drop bombs B-17 Flying Fortress Type: Heavy bomber aircraft Year introduced: 1937 Total units produced: 12,731 Top speed: 287 mph Armament:12.7mm Browning heavy machine guns, conventional drop bombs B-29 Superfortress Type: High-altitude long-range strategic heavy bomber Year introduced: 1943 Total units produced: 3,970 Top speed: 358 mph Armament:12.7mm Browning M2 heavy machine guns, 20mm M2 automatic cannon, conventional drop bombs, nuclear bombs B-50 Superfortress Type: Heavy bomber / long-range reconaissance aircraft Year introduced: 1948 Total units produced: 370 Top speed: 380 mph Armament:20mm cannon 12.7mm machine guns, conventional drop bombs Washington (B-29) Type: High-altitude long-range strategic heavy bomber Year introduced: 1950 Total units produced: 83 Top speed: 224 mph Armament:12.7mm Browning M2 heavy machine guns, conventional drop bombs, nuclear bombs B-47 Stratojet Type: Strategic medium / heavy bomber aircraft Year introduced: 1951 Total units produced: 2,039 Top speed: 600 mph Armament:20mm cannons, conventional drop bombs, nuclear boms B-52 Stratofortress Type: High-altitude long-range strategic heavy bomber Year introduced: 1955 Total units produced: 744 Top speed: 595 mph Armament:Air-launched cruise missiles, free-fall nuclear bombs, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, joint direct-attack munitions AC-130H Spectre / AC-130U Spooky Type: Close air-support force protection gunship Year introduced: 1972 Total units produced: 21 Top speed: 300 mph Armament:20mm gatling-style automatic cannons, 40mm automatic cannon, 105mm field gun F-15 Eagle Type: Air superiority / multirole fighter aircraft Year introduced: 1976 Total units produced: 1,500 Top speed: 1,875 mph Armament:20mm M61A1 automatic cannon, Sidewinder missiles, Sparrow missiles, Maverick missiles, HARM missiles, laser-guided bombs, cluster bombs F-15J (Peace Eagle) Type: Air superiority fighter aircraft Year introduced: 1981 Total units produced: 223 Top speed: 1,656 mph Armament:20mm M61 Vulcan gatling-style cannon, Sidewinder missiles, Sparrow missiles, conventional drop bombs, CBU cluster bombs F/A-18 Hornet Type: Multirole carrierborne strike fighter aircraft Year introduced: 1983 Total units produced: 1,480 Top speed: 1,190 mph Armament:20mm M61 Vulcan gatling-style cannon, Sidewinder missiles, Sparrow missiles, Maverick missiles, Harpoon missiles, HARM missiles, laser-guided bombs CF-18 Hornet Type: Multirole jet-powered fighter aircraft Year introduced: 1983 Total units produced: 138 Top speed: 1,128 mph Armament:20mm M61A1 Vulcan gatling-style cannon, Sidewinder missiles, AMRAAM missiles, Sparrow missiles, Maverick missiles, rocket pods, laser-guided bombs, conventional drop bombs AV-8B Harrier II Type: Short take-off and vertical landing strike aircraft Year introduced: 1985 Total units produced: 500 Top speed: 665 mph Armament:25mm GAU-12U Equalizer cannon, laser-guided bombs, Maverick missiles, Harpoon missiles, Sidewinder missiles, Napalm B-1 Lancer Type: Long-range strategic heavy bomber aircraft Year introduced: 1986 Total units produced: 104 Top speed: 833 mph Armament:General purpose bombs, CBU cluster munitions, freefall nuclear bombs, air-launched cruise missiles F-15E Strike Eagle Type: Strike fighter aircraft Year introduced: 1988 Total units produced: 420 Top speed: 1,653 mph Armament:20mm M61A1 internal gatling-style cannon, Sparrow missiles, Sidewinder missiles, AMRAAM missiles, Maverick missiles, laser-guided bombs F/A-18 Super Hornet Type: Carrierborne strike fighter aircraft Year introduced: 1999 Total units produced: 615 Top speed: 1,187 mph Armament:20mm M61A1 Vulcan automatic cannon, Sidewinder missiles, AMRAAM missiles, Harpoon missiles, Maverick missiles, Rockeye II cluster bombs, laser-guided bombs F-22 Raptor Type: Air dominance fighter aircraft Year introduced: 2005 Total units produced: 195 Top speed: 1,599 mph Armament:20mm internal automatic cannon, Sidewinder missiles, AMRAAM missiles, GBU-32 joint direct munitions, air launched cruise missiles F-15EX Eagle II Type: Air superiority / multirole fighter aircraft Year introduced: 2021 Total units produced: 144 Top speed: 1,864 mph Armament:20mm M61A1 Vulcan gatling gun / cannon, Sidewinder missiles, various air-to-air missiles Sponsored: Attention Savvy Investors: Speak to 3 Financial Experts – FREE Ever wanted an extra set of eyes on an investment you’re considering? Now you can speak with up to 3 financial experts in your area for FREE. By simply clicking here you can begin to match with financial professionals who can help guide you through the financial decisions you’re making. And the best part? The first conversation with them is free. Click here to match with up to 3 financial pros who would be excited to help you make financial decisions. The post The Most Iconic Combat Aircraft Built by Boeing appeared first on 24/7 Wall St.......»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJan 16th, 2024

Retired General Milley"s Legacy Is Brinkmanship With Russia & China

Retired General Milley's Legacy Is Brinkmanship With Russia & China Authored by Connor Freeman via AntiWar.com, Gen. Mark Milley retired on Friday as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and handed over command to Air Force chief Gen. Charles Q. Brown. In 2019, Milley took up the post after being nominated by President Donald Trump. He oversaw massive escalations in the buildup for war with China, the Ukraine proxy war, and the current brinkmanship with Moscow during his four-year tenure. Milley’s years as top general saw Washington and the Pentagon pour weapons into Kyiv and begin transforming Ukraine into a de facto NATO state, well before Russia launched its invasion in 2022. This process saw multiple joint military exercises held by US and Ukrainian forces as well as between the North Atlantic alliance and Ukrainian troops. Throughout 2021, the US and Ukrainian militaries along with NATO participated in a series of war drills, many of which took place near Russia’s borders and in the Black Sea, the size of which rivaled any military exercises during the post-Cold War era. In November 2021, the US was flying bombers only about a dozen miles off Russia’s borders and simulating nuclear first strikes. These were some of the policies being implemented by Milley and his colleagues – including Gen. Brown – in Eastern Europe in the months before Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. After helping to provoke the invasion, US military leadership seized upon the opportunity to back Kyiv in a bloody proxy war with the aim of “weakening” Russia and crippling its military. As a result of this policy, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists now warns humanity has never been closer to outright nuclear war. Despite the catastrophic risks, the policy has failed. As EUROCOM chief General Christopher Cavoli explained to Congress earlier this year, Russia’s navy and air force have taken negligible losses and its ground forces are “bigger today” than when the war began. The Pentagon is depleting its own weapons stocks to support Kyiv’s failing war effort, while Russia’s capacity to produce armor and ammo has outstripped the entire NATO alliance. Ukraine has lost 20% of its country, the Kremlin gained more territory than Kyiv this year, and Ukrainian forces are estimated to have suffered tens of thousands of casualties during recent months. Although Milley was calling for negotiations last fall, perhaps sensing that Kyiv had reached its peak in terms of battlefield successes, he was overruled by the likes of the ultra-hawkish Secretary of State Antony Blinken, America’s top diplomat, and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. Milley did not threaten to resign in protest of a policy he reportedly made a “strong push” against, a policy he not only believed was wrongheaded, but that carries with it the ultimate risk of direct war between the United States and Russia. Instead, when Kyiv launched its long-awaited and disastrous counteroffensive in June, Milley told CNN “the Ukrainians are very well prepared.” Before the doomed campaign began, Western military officials knew Ukraine’s troops were woefully ill-equipped and undertrained. In May, a neo-Nazi militia tied with Ukrainian military intelligence launched a raid using NATO vehicles and weapons targeting civilians in Russia’s Belgorod region. In the aftermath, Milley bluntly explained “we have asked the Ukrainians not to use U.S.-supplied equipment for direct attacks into Russia… Why is that? Because we don’t want – this is a Ukrainian war. It is not a war between the United States and Russia. It’s not a war between NATO and Russia.” Although, the White House is now preparing to send Ukraine ballistic missiles – with a range of nearly 200 miles – that can be used for attacks against Crimea and the Russian mainland. “In terms of their targeting decisions, it’s their decision, not ours,” Blinken said last month when asked if the US would green light Kyiv’s desires to hit targets deep inside Russia. Again, Milley made no public protest after the administration declared the US will facilitate and support attacks on Russia which he previously stated could trigger World War III. In recent months, the US has resorted to pouring cluster bombs and Abrams tanks armed with toxic depleted-uranium ammunition into what is now the most heavily mined country on the planet, demonstrating a lack of concern for the lives of Ukrainian civilians and soldiers. But this is in keeping with Milley’s pronouncement last year that “what’s at stake here is much greater than Ukraine.” Under Milley’s leadership, the US military drastically ramped up Barack Obama’s “pivot to Asia,” encircling China for a future war. In 2020, Trump’s war cabinet vastly expanded the US military footprint in Beijing’s near abroad by sending more warships and spy planes, conducting aerial surveillance flights, to the region and especially the South China Sea. During the end of the Trump administration, Milley called his Chinese counterpart and assured him there was no imminent plan to launch an assault against China. US intelligence indicated Beijing believed the US was planning an attack “based on tensions over [Washington’s dual aircraft carrier] military exercises in the South China Sea, and deepened by Trump’s belligerent rhetoric toward China,” the Washington Post reported. Milley later explained, “My task at that time was to de-escalate.” As with the Russia policies, however, since then Milley never put his post on the line to voice opposition to Washington’s trajectory in the Asia-Pacific, which appears to be leading to war between the United States and China. Instead, he led the charge in his position as the nation’s top military officer. Last year, US spy planes flew 1,000 sorties in the South China Sea, in some instances, just over a dozen miles from the baseline of China’s mainland territorial waters. US aircraft carrier strike groups and amphibious alert groups made eight deployments to the region as well, with extended durations. The US also sent nuclear-powered attack submarines to the South China Sea 12 times. Currently, Washington and its partners are “setting the theater” for an upcoming direct war with China. The US is securing additional bases near Taiwan and China and increasing U.S. military access in the Pacific island nations. The US has even committed billions in unprecedented military aid to Taipei, making war more likely. Meanwhile, in Syria Milley championed Washington’s indefinite and illegal occupation over large swathes of the eastern parts of the war-torn country. The US controls a third of Syria including most of the nation’s oil and wheat resources as an ancillary to its economic war against Damascus. Roughly 900 US troops and an undisclosed number of contractors are embedded with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. Mark Milley calls President Trump a wannabe dictator. pic.twitter.com/c247EZrdlJ — Sebastian Gorka DrG (@SebGorka) October 3, 2023 Ethnic tensions and violent clashes between Washington’s Kurdish proxy and the local Arab tribesmen may soon make the occupation untenable. As CENTCOM chief Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla has conceded, the American troops’ unwanted presence is also becoming more dangerous as there have been numerous close calls with Russian forces and aircraft as well as dozens of attacks by ostensibly Iranian-backed groups. Nevertheless, Milley has not advocated for a withdrawal or even a reduction in troop levels, instead as he leaves his post another base is being built in the northern province of Raqqa. Earlier this year, Milley told Congress US forces would begin “harshly” targeting members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Syria, which could lead to a hot war with Iran. “We need to be targeting [the IRGC Quds Force], and targeting them very harshly over time, and that’s exactly what we plan on doing,” Milley declared. After Trump kicked off 2020 with the brutal and illegal drone strike assassination at the Baghdad International Airport of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, the Iraqi parliament demanded all US forces leave the country. The American troops were never removed, making Milley’s lofty rhetoric about what’s at stake with the rise of China and the Ukraine war dubious. Washington’s wars in the post-9/11 era have killed 4.5 million people overseas and cost Americans trillions of dollars. Despite these realities, in August, Milley boasted “I can’t imagine that the United States would ever walk away from the Middle East. I think we’ll remain committed for many, many years and decades to come.” In 2021, during the end of Washington’s withdrawal from Afghanistan – after the failed 20-year war and occupation which left about a quarter of a million people dead – a US drone strike on a home in Kabul slaughtered ten civilians, including seven children. US officials claimed the strike targeted an ISIS-K suspect who was planning a terrorist attack. Instead, Zemari Ahmadi, an aid worker employed by a California-based NGO, along with nine members of his family were killed in the August 29 strike. Almost immediately, evidence mounted that noncombatants had been murdered. But the administration and the military chose to promote it as a success as long as possible. Milley was emphatic, “the procedures were correctly followed and it was a righteous strike.” Months later, Lt. Gen. Sami Said, the Air Force Inspector General, led a review which found the killings were not the result of any “misconduct or negligence” and there was no need to hold anyone involved accountable. At the time, Milley’s successor, Gen. Brown, was Chief of Staff of the Air Force. Milley’s legacy is the completely broken foreign policy that has defined the new American century. The Wolfowitz doctrine will continue sputtering out as the multipolar world realities supplant unipolar moment fantasies. Washington can be expected to chaotically lash out at the so-called “revisionist powers,” Russia and China, until America is bankrupt or nuclear weapons are launched. Milley never tried to save his countrymen or his military from this destruction, he could always be counted on to do what was best for his own selfish interests. He will be celebrated by the corporate press every time he excoriates Trump as a “wannabe dictator” and talks up his oath to the Constitution, even if each war Milley was involved with was undeclared, unconstitutional, and illegal. Next, he may find himself a comfortable seat on the board of Raytheon or Lockheed Martin. He may even make a presidential run. Regardless, history will be ruthless in its appraisal of the man who co-bylined an imperial agenda destined to culminate in a Third World War, condemning humanity to misery, poverty, death, and despair. Tyler Durden Wed, 10/04/2023 - 23:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 5th, 2023

The Biggest Surprise Attacks in Military History

Armchair historians can tell you about the biggest surprise attacks ever and the impacts they had. Some of the greatest traps, ambushes, and shocking assaults have altered history’s trajectory. To identify the biggest surprise attacks in history, 24/7 Tempo reviewed sources like History Collection, War History Online, Military History Now, NPR, Historic UK, Historynet, and […] Armchair historians can tell you about the biggest surprise attacks ever and the impacts they had. Some of the greatest traps, ambushes, and shocking assaults have altered history’s trajectory. To identify the biggest surprise attacks in history, 24/7 Tempo reviewed sources like History Collection, War History Online, Military History Now, NPR, Historic UK, Historynet, and Britannica. These attacks were often of great historical importance, and in many cases turned the tide of war. While this list is not meant to be a definitive list of every important surprise attack in history, it includes many of the most famous and historically significant ones. The battles are listed in the order in which they occurred. Many of the attacks that achieved surprise were executed by a nation or political movement that was underestimated by its enemy. The badly mauled Continental Army of General George Washington shocked Hessian mercenaries employed by the British Empire at Trenton, New Jersey, on Christmas Day, 1776, giving the new nation a needed morale jolt. Nearly 200 years later, America thought the communists were a spent force in South Vietnam, until the Tet Offensive in 1968 showed that the enemy had plenty of fight left, suggesting to the American public that the war was unwinnable. Superior tactics allowed the Greeks to defeat the Persian Empire at the naval battle at Salamis in the fifth century BC; Hannibal’s Carthaginian army to rout the Romans at Lake Trasimene 200 years later; and General Robert E. Lee to vanquish a larger Union army at Chancellorsville in 1863. Surprise attacks are always a gamble, and sometimes that roll of the dice doesn’t pay off. Japan stunned the U.S. Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and destroyed many battleships and planes. But the victory was incomplete. The attackers left the docks and refueling infrastructure intact, and American aircraft carriers were out at sea – and in April of the following year, American B-52 bombers rained destruction on Tokyo in response. (These are the cities destroyed by the U.S.A. in World War II.) Click here to see the biggest surprise attacks in military history Sponsored: Tips for Investing A financial advisor can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of investment properties. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now. Investing in real estate can diversify your portfolio. But expanding your horizons may add additional costs. If you’re an investor looking to minimize expenses, consider checking out online brokerages. They often offer low investment fees, helping you maximize your profit......»»

Category: blogSource: 247wallstMay 19th, 2023

A 1960s-era cannon is "kicking ass" against Russia"s drones, but the country that makes ammo for it won"t send more to Ukraine

Despite being close to 50 years old, the Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft gun has filled an important role in Ukraine's air-defense network. Romanian Gepard anti-aircraft tanks during a live-fire drill in Poland in November 2021.US Army/Pfc. Jacob Bradford The Flakpanzer Gepard has been one of Ukraine's the most valuable weapons against Russia. The Gepard, a 1970s-era air-defense cannon, has been highly effective in taking down Russian drones. But Switzerland, where Gepard ammo is made, is not allowing more of that ammo to be sent to Ukraine. One of the most valuable weapons that Ukraine has gotten to help fight Russia is a relatively unsophisticated German system from the 1970s: the Flakpanzer Gepard.The Gepard, which means "cheetah" in German, is self-propelled anti-aircraft gun that uses two automatic cannons to take out aerial targets. It was the first heavy weapon that Germany sent to Ukraine.Despite being close to 50 years old, the Gepard is filling an important role in Ukraine's air-defense network: taking out low-flying drones and missiles that are very threatening but too cheap and numerous to justify using sophisticated surface-to-air missiles to shoot down.The Gepard's performance in Ukraine has demonstrated the enduring value of simple and mobile anti-aircraft systems in the 21st century, but Ukraine's Gepards face another problem far from the frontline: The country that makes their ammunition has so far been unwilling to let Kyiv have more of it.The Gepard SPAAGA German Gepard anti-aircraft tank during an exercise near Munster in June 2007.REUTERS/Christian CharisiusThe Gepard was designed in the 1960s and entered service in the 1970s. Built on the chassis of a Leopard 1 tank, it is capable of speeds up to 40 mph and has a range of 340 miles.Its main armament is two Oerlikon GDF 35mm autocannons on either side of its specially designed turret. It carries about 320 rounds for each cannon, both of which can fire of 550 rounds a minute. Belts of ammo are fed to each gun through hermetically sealed chutes in the turret.The Gepard can fire a variety of ammunition, including Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot Tracer rounds, High Explosive Incendiary Tracer rounds, and Advanced Hit Efficiency and Destruction rounds. Depending on the ammunition they're using, Gepard cannons can hit targets some 6,500 yards away.Romanian soldiers fire a Gepard during an exercise in Poland in November 2021.US Army/Pfc. Jacob BradfordThe turret has an S-Band search radar mounted on its rear and a Ku-band tracking radar on its front. Each radar can detect targets up to about 9 miles away. The search radar, which constantly rotates at 60 rpm, locates a target and passes the data to the tracking radar, allowing for a continuous search.With a crew of three — a commander, a driver, and a gunner — the Gepard was designed to take on heavily armed and armored Soviet helicopter gunships. Its target set eventually expanded to include low-flying drones, missiles, and rockets.German defense company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann built 570 Gepards between 1963 and 1980 — 420 for the German Bundeswehr, 95 for the Dutch army, and 55 for the Belgian army. The Netherlands and Belgium retired their Gepards around 2006 and Germany did so in 2010. Brazil, Jordan, Qatar, and Romania have since purchased some decommissioned Gepards.Success in UkraineA Gepard anti-aircraft gun tank in Kyiv in February.Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance via Getty ImagesAfter being criticized for its reluctance to send heavy weaponry to Ukraine, the German government promised some 50 Gepards to Ukraine in April 2022. The first three arrived in July and were followed by another 27 by the end of the year.As of March, 34 Gepards have been sent to Ukraine, with plans to deliver at least three more.The Gepards were rushed to the frontlines almost immediately and proved effective at downing low-flying Russian cruise missiles and drones. They have been particularly effective against Iranian-made Shahed-131 and 136 loitering munitions that Russia is using against Ukraine's energy infrastructure.Ukrainian Gepard crews have been successful despite receiving just two months of training, compared to the German standard of 18 months. One crew around Odessa reportedly downed 10 Shaheds and two cruise missiles in a single day.Romanian soldiers in Gepards during an exercise in Poland in November 2021.US Army/Pfc. Jacob BradfordThe Gepards fill an important gap in Ukraine's air-defense network, which includes long-range systems like Soviet-era S-300 and Buk surface-to-air-missile systems as well as Western-made systems like NASAMS and the MIM-104 Patriot, which recently arrived in Ukraine.Missiles fired by those systems are more advanced, but they are expensive and few in number. Those missiles are also Ukraine's main defense against Russia's fast, high-flying fighters and bombers, and Ukrainian forces can't afford to use them against every drone and cruise missile. Gepards are designed to destroy low-flying targets and are much cheaper to operate.The different weapons have worked in tandem — surface-to-air missiles force Russian aircraft and cruise missiles to fly at lower altitudes, enabling Gepards and Ukrainian troops armed with shoulder-fired missiles to take them down — to create an integrated air-defense system that US military officials have praised.Ammo woesA Romanian soldier carries rounds to a Gepard before a live-fire drill in Poland in February 2021.US Army/Staff Sgt. Elizabeth O. BrysonThe Gepards' 35mm rounds with air-burst capability, which explode near targets and fill the air with shrapnel, are particularly useful for their mission, but access to that ammo may also be a limiting factor.The only country that makes air-bust ammo for the Gepard is Switzerland, which not only refuses to sell more ammo to Ukraine because of its commitment to neutrality but also prohibits other countries from re-exporting Swiss defense products to another country at war.Consequently, Ukraine hasn't been able to buy more ammunition from the Swiss, and Germany has been unable to send more ammo from its stocks. Attempts to acquire ammunition from other countries have fallen through for political and technical reasons.The Gepards "are kicking ass against the drones, against the Shahed," Mark Montgomery, a retired US Navy admiral who is now senior director of the Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said at a Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance event in February."They're shooting them down. They're doing fantastic, but they're running out of ammo," Montgomery added.In February, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius announced that German firm Rheinmetall would restart ammo production for the Gepard. The company has said two batches of 35mm rounds would be delivered to Ukraine: 150,000 APDS-T rounds arriving this summer and 150,000 rounds of HEI-T rounds to be delivered in 2024.Ukraine's need for Gepard ammunition may only increase, however. US intelligence documents composed in February and leaked on the internet in recent weeks show assessments that Ukraine's main surface-to-air missiles could be expended as early as May, meaning that weapons like the Gepard will have to be fired more.SPAAGs in demandA US Army M163 Vulcan self-propelled anti-aircraft gun in November 1988.US ArmyThe Gepard's performance in Ukraine has demonstrated its utility to a wide audience, but many militaries have fielded self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, or SPAAGs, for decades.Russia has three in service: the 2K22 Tunguska, the Pantsir S-1, and the aging ZSU-23-4 Shilka. China has two models, the older Type 95, which will eventually be replaced by the newer Type 09. Finland's Leopard 2 Marksman, Japan's Type 87, and Turkey's KORKUT all use Oerlikon cannons.The US military retired its last dedicated SPAAG, the M163 VADS, in 1994. Since then, it has relied entirely on missile systems like the Avenger (which fires Stingers), the Patriot, and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD.A US Army M-SHORAD system in April 2021.US Army/Capt. Jordan AllenThe US's prime anti-air weapon is its Air Force, which has maintained air superiority in every conflict it has fought in since the end of the Cold War.But US Air Force officials don't expect that dominance to last, and the US military has stepped up its search for a SPAAG-like weapon to fill its air-defense gap.The US Army, traditionally responsible for short-range air defense, has fielded an interim solution — the Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense system. Based on the Stryker armored vehicle, the M-SHORAD is armed with four Stinger missiles, two AGM-114L Hellfire missiles, and a 30mm M230 autocannon.US soldiers in Europe were the first to receive M-SHORADs in April 2021.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 19th, 2023

The Russian air force"s struggles in Ukraine reveal glaring problems in now Moscow trains its pilots

Russian pilots are not as well trained as their Western counterparts, and the country is quickly running out of them. A Russian pilot at Kubinka military training ground in Moscow in August.avel Pavlov/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images Despite being bigger and more advanced than its enemy, Russia's air force has struggled in Ukraine. Those difficulties raise new questions about the quality of Russia's aircraft and pilot training. On March 14, two Russian Su-27 Flanker fighter jets were attempting to harass an unmanned American MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Black Sea, when one of them — seemingly accidentally — crashed right into the drone's rear propeller.In the days that followed, memes and internet jokes about just how poorly trained Russian fighter pilots are flooded social media, spurred initially by a rather professional burn delivered by Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick S. Ryder in a press conference held that same day:"This incident demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional," the general said.It's commonly said that Russian fighter pilots are not as well trained as their Western counterparts, particularly those from the United States. But after conspiracy theories began to surface on social media about the Russian pilot colliding with the MQ-9 on purpose so Russian vessels in the Black Sea could recover it, the question of pilot competency within the Russian armed forces became more important.Russian forces have almost certainly already gotten their hands on a number of downed MQ-9 Reapers over the drone's two-plus decades of service. MQ-9s have been shot down or crashed due to other issues, over Syria, where Russian forces operate, and over Yemen, and Libya on multiple occasions. So, dredging a broken Reaper up from the bottom of the Black Sea may not be the intelligence windfall many have made it out to be.But even if the intelligence value of downing the Reaper was likely minimal, preventing it from continuing to gather intelligence about the conflict in Ukraine could (arguably) be motive enough for the Russian pilots to be given the order to engage the drone in a way that allowed for plausible deniability — causing a crash seemingly by accident to avoid American retaliation. Of course, in doing so, Russian leaders would be willingly risking not only a $37 million Su-27 in the midst of an ongoing war, but a valuable pilot as well. That's a big risk to take for a dated drone.In order to assess the likelihood of such a conspiracy, we'll need to delve into how Russia trains its pilots and just how much experience they tend to have. For context, we'll often use the US Air Force as a basis for comparison, thanks to its reputation for fielding highly skilled aviators and the availability of data.But however ineffective you may think Russian pilot training is compared to the West, the truth seems to be … much worse. In fact, based on the available data, Russia seems to be experiencing a catastrophic shortage of well-trained and experienced aviators.Much more than offering insight into the recent collision over the Black Sea, this shortage also explains a great deal about the Russian performance in the skies over Ukraine to date and suggests Russian aviation will continue to struggle for many years to come as a result of this conflict.How does Russia's air force funding really compare to America's?Russian Su-34, Su-30SM, and Su-35S jets over Red Square during the Victory Day parade in May 2021.Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesPrior to Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Russia's entire defense budget has averaged between $61 and $69 billion per year since 2014. During that same span of time, the US Air Force's annual funding alone averaged around $193.7 billion.Depending on your source, the US Air Force operates around 5,200 aircraft, while the Russian military operates around 4,200.Based on these available figures and in very simplified terms, the budget for America's Air Force by itself averages around double that of Russia's entire military on an annual basis.But that's a sizable oversimplification that doesn't take things like purchasing power parity (PPP) into account. The idea behind calculating PPP is evening the economic playing field — weaker economies like Russia's may have less money to pour into defense, but goods and services also cost less for a weaker economy.As one simplified example, the United States government may pay a skilled carpenter $60 to build a table based on the standard pay for a carpenter in the US. The Russian government, however, would likely pay a carpenter far less for the same table, based on the significantly lower pay scale for carpenters within the nation — say, $30 instead.To put a fine point on it, poorer nations can accomplish more per dollar than wealthier ones.When you adjust Russia's budget for purchasing power parity, it gets better … but not muchA Russian Su-35S fighter jet taking off in Kubinka.Artyom Anikeev/Stocktrek Images via Getty ImagesIn 2021, the purchasing power parity conversion factor for Russia was 27.3, basically meaning that Russia can accomplish the same by spending one American dollar as the United States can by spending $27.30. When people ask why the US spends so much on defense, this is one of the bits of context that often goes undiscussed.With PPP considered, Russia's average of $65 billion on defense inflates to a much more respectable $193 billion in equivalent US dollars — just about on par with what the U.S. invests into its Air Force alone.However, according to a 2019 Rand Corporation analysis of Russia's military entitled, "Trends in Russia's Armed Forces: An Overview of Budget and Capabilities," Russia allocates only about 10.9% of its annual defense expenditures to its air forces.In other words, the fairest and most objective direct comparison of Russian spending on its air forces versus American spending on just the US Air Force alone, when adjusted for purchasing power parity and converted into US dollars, breaks down as such:Russia spends an adjusted average of about $21.03 billion per year on its air forces. The US spends an average of $193.7 billion on the US Air Force alone.If you spread those funds out across the size of each respective fleet, you get an average Russian expenditure of about $5 million (adjusted for PPP) per aircraft per year, and an American average of about $37.1 million per aircraft per year. And while the quality and type of aircraft play a significant role in the cost of operation, that higher expenditure per aircraft still gives the United States a significant edge in terms of the cost of maintenance and operation inherent to ensuring its pilots get the hours they need in their respective cockpits.Of course, in reality, not all of these funds go directly to aircraft operation, but this comparison does still give us a sense of scale. (In terms of true dollars spent, the comparison is even more significant: Russia invests just around $6.7 billion per year into its airpower apparatus.)How much training do Russian pilots get before reaching their units?A Russian air force pilot prepares to take off in an Su-35 fighter jet at Hemeimeem air base in Syria in September 2019.AP Photo/Alexander ZemlianichenkoThis budget disparity also affects training. The United States invests a great deal into its pilots, particularly those tasked with flying fighters or bombers. From start to finish, the United States spends nearly $11 million to train a fighter pilot to fly the F-22 Raptor, for instance.But these costs are spread out over years of recruiting, training, and sustainment, and it's difficult to discern similar overall costs for Russian pilots in the nation's own top-of-the-line (for them) platforms.Russian fixed-wing pilots often train at the Krasnodar Higher Military Aviation School for Pilots, where in 2021 it was reported that pilots graduate and move on to their respective units after an average of 140 hours of beginner flight training and then an additional 60 or so flight hours in an advanced flight training program.Now, this is a significant increase since the early to mid-2000s, which coincides with Russia's significant uptick in military funding starting at around the same time, but this combined total of an average of 200 hours in the cockpit before heading to a combat-ready unit is still well short of their American counterparts.Fighter pilots in the US Air Force start out by attending initial flight screening (ISF) in Pueblo, Colorado, where they'll accumulate 25 hours of flight time in aircraft like the prop-driven Diamond DA-20. Once through ISF, pilots begin Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT), where they'll couple more classroom instruction with approximately 90 more flight hours behind the stick of another prop-driven aircraft, usually a Beechcraft T-6 Texan II.Only after completing Phase 2 of SUPT, and after already having accumulated about 115 flight hours, are Air Force pilots assigned the type of aircraft they'll be flying in service. During Phase 3, fighter and bomber pilots, which are made up of the top students in each class, go on to accumulate another 100+ hours in jet-powered aircraft like the T-38 Talon.Upon completion of Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT), Air Force fighter pilots will have already accumulated an average of 215 to 250 hours of flying time … and they still haven't even climbed into the cockpit of their fighters yet.These graduated pilots then move on to the Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals (IFF) course, where they'll rack up another 20 or so hours, before advancing yet again to their respective MWS Replacement Training Unit (RTU) to train extensively in their assigned aircraft for another six months to a year before getting a squadron assignment.As a result, Air Force fighter pilots reach their first unit with around twice the cockpit experience of their Russian counterparts on average.And the training gap only widens from thereA Pilot Training Next student and instructor prepare for a training flight at an airport in Texas in June 2018.US Air Force/Sean M. WorrellThe next important basis for comparison is continuous seat time in the aircraft themselves. All pilots need initial flight training, but even the best initial training can't compensate for a lack of seat time as one's career progresses.Just like a Navy SEAL needs to continually train on the various firearms and equipment they might leverage in a fight to consistently perform at a high level, pilots need to fly their planes as often as possible to accumulate experience, grow comfortable, and be prepared to do their jobs when the sky is literally exploding all around them.According to the International Review, Russian fighter pilots average somewhere between 70 and 120 hours of flight time per year, or around 5.8 to 10 hours of cockpit time per month. These figures, however, may be a bit artificially inflated, as some fighter units were reportedly congratulated in 2018 for reaching an average of 70 hours per year across their roster.American fighter pilots have struggled to log what the Air Force considers to be sufficient seat time in recent years as well, particularly since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Heritage Foundation's in-depth analysis of US military power assessed that American fighter pilots accumulated an average of 131 flight hours in 2020 or approximately 10.9 hours per month.However, other outlets, like Air and Space Forces Magazine, reported far worse figures, with 2020 reflecting an average of just 8.1 hours and an even more troubling 6.8 hours per month in 2021. However, it may be worth noting that neither of these figures includes simulator time, which the US has placed a growing emphasis on in recent years.Using these broad averages, taking the best possible Russian training regimens and comparing them to the worst possible US Air Force figures offers us a reasonable comparison in terms of cockpit experience.Assuming the best possible Russian training figures and the worst available American ones, a Russian fighter pilot who has been with their combat unit for four years would have accumulated an average total of 680 flight hours, whereas an American pilot with their unit for the same amount of time would have a minimum of 726 hours.But when assuming more realistic figures, that comparison becomes more one-sided, with the Russian fighter pilot likely accumulating just 480 total flight hours four years after unit assignment, and American pilots at the same point in their career closer to the 924-hour mark.In other words, one could argue that the average American fighter pilot likely has about twice the cockpit experience of their Russian counterparts.How about the realism of air combat training?An immersive training device used to recreate the flight experience to enhance US Air Force undergraduate pilot training.US Air Force/Mary CrumpBeing able to effectively leverage the capabilities of your aircraft in a fight is obviously about more than chalking up seat time in the cockpit.As the United States came to learn (the hard way) in the air battles over Vietnam, realistic combat training has a huge effect on pilots' performance the first time they find themselves in a fightt. The fact of the matter is, hours behind the stick matter, but the types of training conducted while behind the stick matter just as much.American fighter pilots struggled in the skies over Southeast Asia for a litany of reasons ranging from the poor performance of air-to-air missiles to rules of engagement that eliminated any advantage pilots could press. But perhaps the most egregious American failing came not during the conflict itself, but in the training leading up to it.For years prior to the Vietnam War, fighter pilot training was so overwhelmingly risk-averse that it allowed for nothing even close to a realistic fight.And to make matters worse, air-to-air training for F-4 Phantom pilots, for instance, almost always pitted them against other F-4s, despite the fact that the MiGs they'd be squaring off against over Vietnam were substantially slower and tighter-turning opponents with very different weapons and tactics.By 1969, the US Navy saw the error in their ways, and they went about establishing the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, later renamed Navy Fighter Weapons School (but most of us know it today, as Top Gun). And in 1975, the US Air Force took realistic air combat training to the next level with the establishment of Red Flag — a massive air combat exercise that forces a variety of aircraft to coordinate with one another in a realistic setting against dissimilar aggressor aircraft and pilots trained specifically in emulating the behavior and tactics of opponent nations.Today, allied nations from around the world send their aviators, aircraft, and support crews to participate in Red Flag, ever broadening both the scale and realism of this intense training environment. According to the US Air Force, it's not uncommon for more than 29 or more different types of aircraft to participate in any given Red Flag exercise, alongside a laundry list of ground-based defense systems and more.Both of these training environments have helped to reshape the way America leverages its airpower, turning the largest air force in the world into arguably the most capable and effective one to boot — but doing so isn't cheap. According to some reports, each of the three Red Flag exercises held per year costs Uncle Sam between $20 and $60 million in ordnance, operating, and personnel costs.And this is one of those places where the funding disparity between Russian and American air forces becomes perhaps most evident.As Guy Plopsky, a defense analyst who specializes in Russian military affairs, explained to Hushkit back in 2021, Russian fighter pilots do train in a variety of simulated combat scenarios, but rarely in coordination with other military assets and almost never in truly combined arms, large scale exercises."Larger VKS [Russian Aerospace Forces] exercises can include two or more different types of aircraft, including supporting platforms such as airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft and tankers, giving crews the opportunity to practice aerial refueling and train with/against other platforms." Plopski wrote.Now, it's important to note that Russia does hold occasional joint force training exercises that may see wider participation, but certainly not with the scope or regularity of American exercises like Red Flag. This training shortcoming creates real issues for Russian forces in a large-scale conflict like Ukraine.How this training disparity manifests in combatAn image of a crashed Russian Sukhoi jet in Ukraine shared by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.Ukrainian Defense MinistryRussian forces invaded Ukraine just over a year ago now, and despite the nation's massive technological and numerical advantage in the skies, Ukraine's airspace remains broadly contested.In fact, according to American defense officials, Ukraine — armed with a much smaller and less modernized Air Force and even more dated air defense systems — has been more successful in downing enemy aircraft than Russia to date (though Russia's superior numbers may offer something of a target-rich environment for Ukrainian Surface to Air Missile systems).We've delved into how Russia's failure to secure air supremacy may have as much to do with flawed doctrine as training and operational shortcomings, but where a lack of training becomes most evident is when considering Russia's struggle to deconflict Ukrainian airspace.In other words, Russia's got a bad habit of shooting its own planes down when there's a lot going on."Running joint engagement zones in which combat aircraft and SAM systems can engage enemy forces simultaneously in a complex environment without friendly-fire incidents is hard; it requires close inter-service cooperation, excellent communications and regular training to master. So far, Russian forces have shown extremely poor coordination across the board, from basic logistics tasks, to coordination of airborne assaults with ground forces activity and arranging air defence cover for columns on the move." "The Mysterious Case of the Missing Russian Air Force," by Justin Bronk for RUSITo be clear, it's difficult to be certain about friendly fire incidents among Russian forces in Ukraine for a number of reasons, including both the fog of war and the Kremlin understandably refusing to publicly acknowledge them. But independent expert analysis paints a grim picture.On the ground, at least one Russian-backed commander, Alexander Khodakovsky, has claimed that as much as 60% of Russian combat losses between May and November of 2022 came from friendly fire alone.And in the sky, things aren't much better. In just the initial days of fighting, numerous reports of Russian aircraft being downed by their own air defense systems permeated the web, and while hard numbers may never emerge, US defense officials have substantiated a number of these stories as they surfaced.It was also discussed in a 69-page RUSI analysis of the conflict released last July:"Fratricide has been a widespread problem for the Russian forces during their invasion of Ukraine. This has been across all systems. Russian air defences have regularly engaged friendly aircraft." "Preliminary Lessons in Conventional Warfighting from Russia's Invasion of Ukraine: February–July 2022," by Mykhaylo Zabrodskyi, Jack Watling, Oleksandr V Danylyuk and Nick Reynolds for RUSI.Arguably the highest profile of these incidents came in July 2022, when video surfaced of Russian air-defense systems shooting down what was believed to be a Ukrainian aircraft … only to find out later that it was actually one of just 10 or fewer advanced new Su-34Ms in existence.This modernized fourth-generation fighter-bomber could be compared in some ways to America's F-15E Strike Eagle and is among the most capable jets in the Russian arsenal. The $50 million aircraft was shot down over Ukraine within just days of the Russian forces taking delivery of it.And as RUSI explained, these fratricidal failings can be directly attributed to a lack of realistic training."This speaks to a lack of C2 and control measures during operations. It likely reflects Russian troops largely conducting scripted exercises rather than free-play force-on-force activity where they are used to dealing with the ambiguities that arise on the battlefield." "Preliminary Lessons in Conventional Warfighting from Russia's Invasion of Ukraine: February–July 2022," by Mykhaylo Zabrodskyi, Jack Watling, Oleksandr V Danylyuk and Nick Reynolds for RUSI.Comparing 1991's Gulf War air campaign to Russia's air campaign over UkraineUS Air Force F-15Es, F-16s, and an F-15C over burning Kuwaiti oil wells during the Gulf War.APNow, it's important to note that no nation with a sizeable air force is immune to fratricide, or friendly-fire incidents, and the United States is no exception.In 2003, for instance, American MIM-104 Patriot Air Defense Systems were responsible for the downing of two friendly aircraft — one American and one British. In September 1987, a US Navy F-14 Tomcat shot down a US Air Force RF- 4C reconnaissance jet over the Mediterranean Sea. These are not exactly isolated incidents, but they are exceedingly rare.The rarity of fratricide incidents between American and allied forces can be directly attributed to continuous investment into new technologies aimed at quickly deconflicting complex battlespaces, but certainly also to large-scale combined-arms training like Red Flag.The coalition's Gulf War Air Campaign, despite being more than three decades ago, offered a clinic in deconflicting far more combat aircraft in a much smaller space than Ukraine.Some 2,780 coalition fixed-wing aircraft flew over 116,000 combat sorties in Iraq over the span of just 37 days. This breaks down to approximately 3,135 combat sorties per day during the air campaign. Of course, there was also a reported 1,114 fixed-wing Iraqi aircraft flying in the same region, and countless air defense systems from all nations also in play.Between coalition and Iraqi forces combined, there were more than 4,000 fixed-wing assets, along with many more rotorcraft, operating within less than 170,000 square miles of Iraqi territory during that 37-day span. Despite this density of platforms within a confined space, the coalition lost just 52 fixed-wing aircraft, with one air-to-air loss to an enemy fighter and the remainder from Iraqi ground-based anti-aircraft fire.While the Gulf War did see friendly-fire incidents that involved aircraft firing on ground troops, not a single aircraft was lost to fratricide (but in the interest of disclosure, one Navy A-6E pilot reported being fired upon by a friendly surface-to-air missile that missed).Now, compare that to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in which far fewer aircraft are operating over an even larger area — a bit more than 233,000 square miles.It's difficult to ascertain exactly how many combat aircraft Russia has committed to the fight, particularly because many don't actually cross the border into Ukraine, opting for the safety of launching long-range cruise missiles into the embattled nation from Russian airspace instead. But according to Russian state-controlled media, the nation flew some 34,000 combat sorties between the onset of the war on February 24 and mid-October 2022, breaking down to approximately 150 sorties per day.And while Iraqi forces operated more than a 1,000 fixed-wing aircraft in 1991, Ukraine's Air Force started the war with just 125 fixed-wing assets.Put simply, the Gulf War air campaign creates a damning juxtaposition when compared directly to Russia's air campaign over Ukraine. Russian aircraft are flying about 5% as many sorties in an area that's 37% larger against an air force just 11% the size of Iraq's in 1991, but while the coalition lost a total of just 52 fixed-wing aircraft in combat and none to fratricide, Russia has already lost a confirmed 352 fixed-wing aircraft, with even Russian propagandists highlighting that an appreciable but unconfirmed percentage of these losses were the direct result of friendly fire."Insufficient levels of interaction with other branches and types of troops, along with an inoperative identification system, has more than once led to 'friendly fire' to the point that almost all Su-34, Su-35S and Su-30M aircraft lost since spring, as well as part of the Ka-52 helicopters, are 'on account' of Russian air defence," wrote Pro-Kremlin analysis outlet Rybar.And while many Russian platforms are still flying with dated systems not too dissimilar from those employed by coalition forces in 1991, even those carrying more advanced systems onboard have demonstrated an inability to effectively leverage them, either due to inexperience or issues with their design."The Khibiny EW pod, mounted to a number of Russian aircraft, automatically detects radars and disrupts them. Unfortunately for the Russians, it tends to also do this to other Russian aircraft. Pairs of Russian strike aircraft mounting this system have therefore had to choose between having a functional radar or EW protection. They have often been ordered to prioritise their radar.""Preliminary Lessons in Conventional Warfighting from Russia's Invasion of Ukraine: February–July 2022," by Mykhaylo Zabrodskyi, Jack Watling, Oleksandr V Danylyuk and Nick Reynolds for RUSI.The shortage of well-trained Russian pilots is only going to get worse as this conflict continuesA Russian Su-30SM pilot inspects an R-27 missile during training in June 2018.Yevgeny Polovodov/Russian Ministry of Defense/Mil.ruThroughout this (now quite long) analysis of Russian and American pilot training, we've omitted one more vital point of comparison: volume. While we've compared training flight hours between American and Russian flight schools, for instance, the volume of students who pass through these schools is also a vital metric to assess.The number of pilots Russia is able to push through training has been negatively affected for years by a lack of modern and serviceable training aircraft, which creates one of several training bottlenecks for VKS aviators.According to the aforementioned RUSI analysis, Russia's Aerospace Forces may have entered into the Ukrainian conflict with as few as just 100 fully trained combat pilots, forcing the rest of its aviators into the fight without completing the full breadth of instruction required. But that's not the full extent of Russia's pilot shortage problem … it's only the beginning.Russia's military culture dictates that the most dangerous missions be assigned to the most skilled and competent aviators. This philosophy seems logical at first glance, but leads to higher attrition (or losses) among the force's most qualified pilots.In order to address these losses within Russia's elite pilot corps, the VKS has reportedly begun mobilizing pilot instructors out of flight schools like Krasnodar, putting these highly skilled pilots directly into front-line formations. This has resulted in a shortage of trainers, creating further bottlenecks in the pilot pipeline and further reducing the number of new aviators entering service to replace those lost in combat.This shortage of experienced pilots has resulted in an influx of inexperienced new pilots bolstered by older retirees brought back into service after years away from the cockpit, and that's forced a shift in how Russia executes air operations."The Ukrainian military has noted a rise in both very young and very old pilots in the VKS, with ageing pilots returned to frontline service. This has corresponded with a significant reduction in the scale and complexity of VKS air operations over Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict." "Preliminary Lessons in Conventional Warfighting from Russia's Invasion of Ukraine: February–July 2022," by Mykhaylo Zabrodskyi, Jack Watling, Oleksandr V Danylyuk and Nick Reynolds for RUSI.This experiential deficit manifests in a number of other areas of Russia's air campaign as well. As early as March 9, 2022, Russian air forces attempted to transition to low-altitude night operations, as they were losing more aircraft to Ukrainian defense during the day.But because only Russia's Su-34s are properly equipped for these flights and there are so few pilots capable of conducting them, these night operations quickly degraded into simple bombardments of besieged cities like Chernihiv, Kharkiv, and Mariupul using the same tactics leveraged by Russian aviators in Syria.This approach proved ineffective enough, despite the relative safety offered by night-flying, for Russia to pivot back away from these operations within just a month or so.Russian pilots are poorly trained, poorly equipped, poorly supported, and poorly utilizedA Russian weapons crew with an R-27 missile during training in June 2018.Yevgeny Polovodov/Russian Ministry of Defense/Mil.ruTo make things worse for inexperienced Russian pilots, their aircraft are also being maintained and serviced by inexperienced ground crews, exacerbating technical limitations and further reducing survivability. In a separate analysis from RUSI, these training issues are further explored."Modern encrypted radio sets have been found without the encryption keys needed to use them, and in others the radar and other sensors have been found either in the stowed position or with pins or covers still fitted that prevent them from working." "The Russian Air War and Ukrainian Requirements for Air Defence," by Justin Bronk with Nick Reynolds and Jack Watling for RUSIWhen you consider the full scope of serious and far-reaching issues facing Russian combat pilots, the lack of Russian airpower throughout much of this conflict makes a great deal of sense. In fact, based on these challenges, it's somewhat impressive that Russia's aircraft losses haven't been worse.And while there are lots of conclusions we can draw about the effective use of airpower in a 21st-century conflict or the importance of a training infrastructure that mirrors the complexity of modern warfare, the most glaring conclusion may be the one that's been well-tread since the first Russian troops crossed over into Ukraine last February: Russia did not expect this to become a protracted fight, and as such, they were utterly unprepared for one.But damning as this analysis of Russian airpower may truly be, it's essential that we not lose sight of Russia's continued combat capacity. While the above-discussed shortcomings may have allowed Ukraine to fend off its larger and more powerful opponent for better than a year now, this war is not over, and lives are being lost every day.The Russian military's strategic, doctrinal, and cultural failings have created the opportunity for a heroic Ukrainian defense, but they aren't enough to ensure Russia's defeat. Ukraine still has one hell of a fight ahead of it.But, to come full circle, let's close by addressing the recent influx of conspiracy theories about Russia's Su-27 potentially crashing into America's MQ-9 Reaper on purpose … while anything is possible, it seems there's more than enough evidence to comfortably view this interaction through the lens of Hanlon's Razor:"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by neglect, ignorance or incompetence."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytApr 10th, 2023

US pilots are testing the aging A-10 Warthog for a new kind of mission against more advanced enemies

The A-10 has a "unique capability" to carry a lot of weapons and work in austere environments, and the US Air Force is looking for new ways to use it. B-1Bs and A-10s over the Philippine Sea on November 9.US Air Force/Capt. Coleen Berryhill Since arriving in the 1970s, the A-10 has earned a reputation as a tank-killing ground-attack plane. In recent exercises, the A-10 tried out a new role: deploying decoys to distract enemy air defenses. The change comes as the US military is shifting its focus and forces to operations in the Pacific. The A-10 Warthog has made its reputation as a tank-killer, but now the Air Force is testing 50-year-old plane for another mission: launching decoys to protect other aircraft.During exercises in the Pacific in early November, A-10s were equipped with the ADM-160 Miniature Air Launched Decoy.Described as a sort of cruise missile, the 8-foot-long MALD weighs less than 300 pounds and has a range of 500 miles. It is equipped with a Signature Augmentation System that mimics the radar signature and flight profiles of specific US aircraft. (The MALD-J variant has a jammer.)The idea is to launch salvoes of MALDs ahead of a US airstrike to confuse the enemy about how many aircraft are coming and from where.During Green Flag-West from November 2 to 9, a DATM-160 — a training version of the MALD — was loaded onto an A-10 on an island off the coast of Naval Air Station North Island in California.A US Air Force crew chief prepares to launch an A-10 for Green Flag-West in California on November 9.US Air Force/Senior Airman Zachary Rufus"The A-10 can carry up to 16 MALDs, the same quantity as the B-52, and 12 more than the F-16," according to an Air Force news release.But interestingly, the MALD isn't being envisioned as a means to protect the A-10. Rather, the Warthog would use its decoys to support other aircraft, such as fifth-generation F-35s and F-22s or bombers.During another exercise over the Philippine Sea on November 9, A-10 pilots simulated using MALDs in "an integrated strike mission simulation" with B1-B bombers."Having a combat-proven platform like the A-10 provide support through their MALD decoys increases the probability that our aircraft and weapons successfully strike their targets," Maj. Daniel Winningham, 37th Bomb Squadron B-1B instructor pilot, said in a release.Maj. Taylor Raasch, an instructor with the Air Force 66th Weapons Squadron, which participated in Green Flag-West, said that the way the A-10 can "help support the fifth-generation fight in support of a pacing threat is provide the unique capability to carry a multitude of weapons and work in austere environments."'How are we going to find the boats?'An A-10 carrying a DATM-160 on California's San Clemente Island on November 7.US Air Force/Senior Airman Zachary RufusWhile the MALD may be a useful way to protect US aircraft and drive enemy air-defense networks crazy, choosing the A-10 to haul decoys is curious.The Warthog was designed in the 1970s as a ground-attack aircraft to smash Soviet armored columns invading Europe. That meant it needed a powerful 30-mm cannon and anti-tank missiles, as well as armor plating and a rugged design to survive thick Soviet air defenses — and even with that armament, Air Force planners expected heavy losses.While the A-10 has respectable range — about 700 miles, which can be extended by aerial refueling — a longer-range decoy-laden aircraft, such as a cargo plane or a drone, might be more useful, especially across the vast Pacific.Instead, the venerable A-10, which first flew in 1972, seems to be in search of a mission.US airmen load an ADM-160 MALD on an A-10 at a base in Wisconsin on March 1.US Air National Guard/Tech. Sgt. Samara TaylorFor years, the Air Force has sought to scrap the Warthog, believing the aging plane might not survive against modern Russian and Chinese air defenses. And for years, the Warthog has kept flying, buoyed in part by a popular image as an aerial tough guy that can dish out punishment and take it, too. (Congress finally relented this month, allowing the Air Force to begin retiring A-10s in the coming year.)As the US military pivots its focus to the Pacific, some argue that the A-10 would be useful in a war against China, especially if it were armed with long-range missiles.The mission in support of the B-1B "was a fantastic way to demonstrate how the A-10 is capable of shifting from a close-air-support team mindset to a strike team. We are building on our old principles to transform into the A-10 community the joint force needs," Capt. Coleen Berryhill, an A-10 pilot, said in a release.November's Green Flag-West exercise also marked a shift. Since 1981, the Air Force has used the exercise to train to provide air support to Army units. This time, the A-10s trained to support the US Navy, including as a ship-killer.US Air Force Capt. Coleen Berryhill flies near a formation of B1-Bs and A-10s over the Philippine Sea on November 9.US Air Force/Capt. Coleen BerryhillWhile the Warthog's cannon and missiles could pulverize most warships, maritime strike would be a new mission — and one that would be vital in a conflict with China."A concern we had in the planning phase of Green Flag was 'how are we going to find the boats?'" said Capt. Joseph Cole, assistant director of operations for the Air Force's 549th Combat Training Squadron. "We know we can kill them, but how can we find them and target them?"The exercise also saw the A-10 operate from an "austere" island off the California coast, reflecting the Air Force's growing focus on using rugged or improvised airfields in the Pacific. But this also raises questions about supplying the A-10 with fuel, munitions, and especially maintenance in forward areas.The A-10 was designed a half-century ago for an armor-focused conflict. Ironically, that sort of warfare is now taking place in Ukraine, but US officials have declined to send manned aircraft to Ukraine, and some Ukrainians have cast doubt on the Warthog's utility.The US military's focus on the Pacific will only increase, but whether the A-10 has a role there remains to be seen.Michael Peck is a defense writer whose work has appeared in Forbes, Defense News, Foreign Policy magazine, and other publications. He holds a master's in political science. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 14th, 2022

The scramble to rearm Ukraine is transforming NATO in a way that would"ve been hard without Putin"s help

NATO countries are swapping Soviet-era weaponry for new, more uniform arms, and it probably wouldn't have happened without some prompting from Russia. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with British Royal Navy personnel at Bardufoss Air Base in Norway on March 25.Annika Byrde/Getty Images NATO countries have scrambled to rearm and resupply Ukraine as it fights off Russia's invasion. Those countries are also getting new hardware to replace the weaponry they're sending to Kyiv. That new equipment will further align NATO's militaries and make the alliance more cohesive. Billions of dollars in military hardware and other security aid has flowed from NATO countries — $18.6 billion from the US alone — to Ukraine since Russia launched its attack on February 24.NATO is not directly involved in the war, but the support it is providing to Ukraine is helping create a more unified alliance — both politically and militarily.As countries send their Cold War-era weaponry, much of it Soviet-designed, to Ukraine, many have received new hardware to replace it. As a result, the alliance is growing increasingly integrated, reliant not on mismatched Soviet-era stockpiles but on modern weapons that are often more interoperable even if acquired from different sources.The shift toward more uniformity among NATO militaries is something that Russian President Vladimir Putin may not have anticipated his war would produce and that would likely have been hard to bring about if not for his attack on Ukraine.Troops from six NATO countries during a joint terminal attack controller training in Latvia on April 6.US Army/Sgt. Preston MaliziaVasabjit Banerjee, a political science professor at Mississippi State University, said the need to backfill supplies sent to Ukraine will produce a more cohesive NATO fighting force the likes of which "has never been seen."Banerjee pointed to the switch from Soviet-standard 152 mm howitzers, which Ukraine used before the war, to the 155 mm howitzers in standard use among NATO militaries."If you're going to use them, the training [and] the equipment obviously has to be the same. The maintenance, the sustainment has to be similar," Banerjee said. "So all of that — and especially when you're talking about higher-end items, so MiG-29s to F-16s — the entire training, sustainment components, everything is now going to be integrated, which is fantastic."Germany has agreed to send some older hardware to countries that send their Soviet-made tanks and armored vehicles to Ukraine. Other countries, reacting to rising tensions in Europe, are electing to buy new material. Poland has made some of the most notable acquisitions.In March, Warsaw offered its entire fleet of Soviet-era MiG-29s for Ukraine in exchange for US aircraft of similar capabilities, such as F-15s or F-16s. The US declined, but in July, Poland agreed to a $14.5 billion purchase of tanks and aircraft from South Korea, including the FA-50 combat jet.A US Air Force B-52H with two Polish MiG-29s and two US F-15Es on February 24.US Air Force/Airman 1st Class Zachary WrightKorea Aerospace Industries developed the FA-50 in collaboration with Lockheed Martin, and in addition to quickly modernizing Poland's air force, the jet may also make it easier for Polish pilots and crews to work with NATO allies that use other Lockheed jets, such as F-16s or F-35s.With better coordination in equipment, tactics "will also become the same" and training on that equipment will be "fully integrated," Banerjee told Insider.Interoperability with weapons and alignment on tactics will also make it "veritably impossible for these countries to leave NATO," Banerjee added. "The weapons are from NATO, they're going to be from NATO, they will be back-built, and these components will be from NATO countries."The use of Soviet-made hardware by NATO members meant those members were still reliant on Russian firms for maintenance and spare parts. More commonality in hardware therefore also reduces Russia's leverage, Banerjee said."This will take away the option of … thinking that Russia is an option in terms of providing the best equipment, and therefore shake [up] countries' policies," Banerjee added. "If you think that we have an alternative supplier, then you have a little bit more leverage vis-à-vis NATO."A battle of industriesUS soldiers recover bundles of fuel at a forward operating base in Afghanistan's Paktika province.US Air Forces Central Command/Master Sgt. Adrian CadizThe intensity of the fighting in Ukraine and the rate at which both sides there have gone through hardware and munitions has drawn new attention to the need for robust defense industries.Mick Ryan, a retired major general in the Australian Army, said the war in Ukraine — and the future of warfare — will come down to how key players mobilize their defense industries.Ryan contrasted the fighting in Ukraine with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq."We weren't using huge quantities of munitions, and we weren't moving at this pace," Ryan said of the wars in the Middle East. "We are in a different era now, and we're working at larger scales, using more munitions, and we will lose more equipment and people."The "battle rhythm" witnessed in Ukraine will require industries to match production levels more closely resembling those of World War II, added Ryan, who worked in the Pakistan Afghanistan Coordination Cell on the US Joint Staff from 2010 to 2011.US B-24 Liberator bombers are assembled at Ford's Willow Run plant in March 1943.(AP Photo)"World War II saw the mobilization of nations, so that's what this will take," Ryan told Insider, referring to winning future wars. "It's not just about building a few more factories. You're going to see nations having to invest more of their national treasure in things like people and munitions and things like infrastructure."Ryan noted that Putin's announcement of a troop mobilization included a call to mobilize Russia's defense industry."Everyone focused on that people bit, but he talked about industry," Ryan said, "The Russians are now stepping up industrial capacity, and the Chinese have been doing it for a while."Ryan contrasted that approach with that of the US, which proved itself an industrial powerhouse in the 20th century but where defense officials are now scrambling to rebuild stockpiles after the whirlwind effort to arm Ukraine."The US government at various times in its history has been good at making the case for investing in the defense of other countries, because the defense of the continental United States starts offshore," Ryan said. "But governments haven't made a compelling case for this kind of investment just yet compared to the financial imperatives that they have in a domestic sense."The aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy is assembled at Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding in July 2019.US Navy/Huntington Ingalls Industries/Matt HildrethUS defense budgets have risen in recent years, but policymakers face competing pressures and there have been calls to reassess how the US spends on defense.Despite those hurdles, Ryan said supporting the defense industry and related sectors should also be a priority."Industrial mobilization should be seen not just as part of our response to" wars, Ryan told Insider, "but as part of the conventional deterrence regime to try and deter that kind of thing."If China or Russia saw the industrial capacity of Western countries expanding, "it might actually give them pause before they launch something that would be quite catastrophic," Ryan said.Rachel Nostrant is a US-based journalist with work published in New York magazine, VTDigger, Military Times, and Defense News. She has covered topics including environmental contamination outside of military bases, the murder of US Army soldier Vanessa Guillen, rising tensions between China and Taiwan, and the war in Ukraine.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 22nd, 2022

All 13 books on the 2022 Booker Prize longlist this year, one of the most prestigious literary awards

This year's Booker Prize longlist includes four new authors, as well as the oldest and youngest people to ever be nominated. This year's Booker Prize longlist includes four new authors, as well as the oldest and youngest people to ever be nominated.Anna Kim/InsiderWhen you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. The Booker Longlist (13 forerunners for the prestigious book award) was announced on July 25, 2022. The 2022 list contains the shortest book plus the youngest and oldest authors ever nominated. Find the full reading list of the 13 must-read books of the year below. The Booker Prize, one of the literary community's most prestigious prizes, is awarded annually to the best novel written in English and published in Ireland and the UK each year. For months, a panel of multidisciplinary experts read and reread 169 submissions in search of the most inventive, incisive, and unforgettable books of the year. The resulting longlist is a gift to anyone struggling to find a new book to dive into.Before the Booker Prize Foundation shares its shorter list of six frontrunners (September 6, 2022) or the 2022 winner (October 17), it publishes its longlist — the year's 13 "Booker dozen" forerunners. In past years, the panel has rewarded virtues like innovation and experimentation in form or unusual genres and debut authors.This year, the longlist includes books by three debut authors ("Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies," "Nightcrawling," and "After Sappho") as well as the shortest book ("Small Things Like These") and both the youngest (Leila Mottley, 20) and oldest (Alan Garner, 87) authors to ever be nominated. The US and independent publishers also dominated the 2022 Booker Prize list; six of the nominees come from the US, with other writers hailing from Ireland to Zimbabwe, and eight of the books come from indie publishers. Descriptions provided by Amazon and edited for length and clarity. The 13 books on the 2022 Booker Prize longlist:"Glory" by NoViolet BulawayoAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $20.49NoViolet Bulawayo's bold new novel follows the fall of the Old Horse, the long-serving leader of a fictional country, and the drama that follows for a rumbustious nation of animals on the path to true liberation. Inspired by the unexpected fall by coup in November 2017 of Robert G. Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president of nearly four decades, "Glory" shows a country's imploding, narrated by a chorus of animal voices that unveil the ruthlessness required to uphold the illusion of absolute power and the imagination and bulletproof optimism to overthrow it completely. By immersing readers in the daily lives of a population in upheaval, Bulawayo reveals the dazzling life force and irresistible wit that lie barely concealed beneath the surface of seemingly bleak circumstances.Note: Bulawayo was also a Booker Prize finalist for "We Need New Names" in 2013."Trust" by Hernan DiazAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.99Even through the roar and effervescence of the 1920s, everyone in New York has heard of Benjamin and Helen Rask. He is a legendary Wall Street tycoon; she is the daughter of eccentric aristocrats. Together, they have risen to the very top of a world of seemingly endless wealth — all as a decade of excess and speculation draws to an end. But at what cost have they acquired their immense fortune? This is the mystery at the center of "Bonds," a successful 1937 novel that all of New York seems to have read. Yet there are other versions of this tale of privilege and deceit.At once an immersive story and a brilliant literary puzzle, "Trust" engages the reader in a quest for the truth while confronting the deceptions that often live at the heart of personal relationships, the reality-warping force of capital, and the ease with which power can manipulate facts."The Trees" by Percival EverettAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.88Percival Everett's "The Trees" is a page-turner that opens with a series of brutal murders in the rural town of Money, Mississippi. When a pair of detectives from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation arrive, they meet expected resistance from the local sheriff, his deputy, the coroner, and a string of racist White townsfolk. The murders present a puzzle, for at each crime scene there is a second dead body: that of a man who resembles Emmett Till.The detectives suspect that these are killings of retribution but soon discover that eerily similar murders are taking place all over the country. Something truly strange is afoot. As the bodies pile up, the MBI detectives seek answers from a local root doctor who has been documenting every lynching in the country for years, uncovering a history that refuses to be buried. "Booth" by Karen Joy FowlerBookshopAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $18"Booth" is an epic and intimate novel about the family behind one of the most infamous figures in American history: John Wilkes Booth.In 1822, a secret family moves into a secret cabin some 30 miles northeast of Baltimore, to farm, to hide, and to bear 10 children over the course of the next 16 years. Junius Booth — breadwinner, celebrated Shakespearean actor, and master of the house in more ways than one — is at once a mesmerizing talent and a man of terrifying instability. One by one the children arrive, as year by year, the country draws frighteningly closer to the boiling point of secession and civil war.As the tenor of the world shifts, the Booths emerge from their hidden lives to cement their place as one of the country's leading theatrical families. But behind the curtains of the many stages they have graced, multiple scandals, family triumphs, and criminal disasters begin to take their toll, and the solemn siblings of John Wilkes Booth are left to reckon with the truth behind the destructively specious promise of an early prophecy.Note: Fowler was also a Booker Prize finalist for "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves" in 2014."Treacle Walker" by Alan GarnerAmazonAvailable on Amazon and eBay, from $15.49An introspective young boy, Joseph Coppock squints at the world with his lazy eye. Living alone in an old house, he reads comics, collects birds' eggs, and plays with his marbles. When, one day, a rag-and-bone man called Treacle Walker appears, exchanging an empty jar of a cure-all medicine and a donkey stone for a pair of Joseph's pajamas and a lamb's shoulder blade, a mysterious friendship develops between them.A fusion of myth, magic, and the stories we make for ourselves, "Treacle Walker" is an extraordinary novel."The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida" by Shehan KarunatilakaAmazonCurrently unavailableColombo, 1990. Maali Almeida — war photographer, gambler, and closet queen — has woken up dead in what seems like a celestial visa office. His dismembered body is sinking in Beira Lake and he has no idea who killed him. At a time when scores are settled by death squads, suicide bombers, and hired goons, the list of suspects is depressingly long.But even in the afterlife, time is running out for Maali. He has seven moons to try and contact the man and woman he loves most and lead them to a hidden cache of photos that will rock Sri Lanka."Small Things Like These" by Claire KeeganAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.39It is 1985 in a small Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal merchant and family man, faces his busiest season. Early one morning, while delivering an order to the local convent, Bill makes a discovery that forces him to confront both his past and the complicit silences of a town controlled by the church."Small Things Like These" is a deeply affecting story of hope, quiet heroism, and empathy."Case Study" by Graeme Macrae BurnetAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.69'I have decided to write down everything that happens, because I feel, I suppose, I may be putting myself in danger.'London, 1965. An unworldly young woman believes that a charismatic psychotherapist, Collins Braithwaite, has driven her sister to suicide. Intent on confirming her suspicions, she assumes a false identity and presents herself to him as a client, recording her experiences in a series of notebooks. But she soon finds herself drawn into a world in which she can no longer be certain of anything. Even her own character.In "Case Study," Graeme Macrae Burnet presents these notebooks interspersed with his own biographical research into Collins Braithwaite. The result is a dazzling – and often wickedly humorous – meditation on the nature of sanity, identity, and truth itself.Note: Burnet was also a Booker Prize finalist for "His Bloody Project" in 2016."The Colony" by Audrey MageeAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $23.94It is the summer of 1979. An English painter travels to a small island off the west coast of Ireland. Mr. Lloyd takes the last leg by currach, though boats with engines are available and he doesn't much like the sea. He wants the authentic experience, to be changed by this place, to let its quiet and light fill him, give him room to create. He doesn't know that a Frenchman follows close behind. Jean-Pierre Masson has visited the island for many years, studying the language of those who make it their home. He is fiercely protective of their isolation — essential to exploring his theories of language preservation and identity.But the people who live on this rock ― three miles long and half a mile wide ― have their own views on what is being recorded, what is being taken, and what ought to be given in return. Over the summer, each of them ― from great-grandmother Bean Uí Fhloinn, to widowed Mairéad, to 15-year-old James, who is determined to avoid the life of a fisherman ― will wrestle with their values and desires. Meanwhile, all over Ireland, violence is erupting. And there is blame enough to go around."Maps of our Spectacular Bodies" by Maddie MortimerAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.66This lyrical debut novel is at once a passionate coming-of-age story, a meditation on illness and death, and a kaleidoscopic journey through one woman's life — told in part by the malevolent voice of her disease.Lia, her husband Harry, and their beloved daughter, Iris, are a precisely balanced family of three. With Iris struggling to navigate the social tightrope of early adolescence, their tender home is a much-needed refuge. But when a sudden diagnosis threatens to derail each of their lives, the secrets of Lia's past come rushing into the present, and the world around them begins to transform.Deftly guided through time, we discover the people who shaped Lia's youth; from her deeply religious mother to her troubled first love. In turn, each will take their place in the shifting landscape of Lia's body; at the center of which dances a gleeful narrator, learning her life from the inside, growing more emboldened by the day."Nightcrawling" by Leila MottleyAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $18.17Kiara and her brother, Marcus, are scraping by in an East Oakland apartment complex optimistically called the Regal-Hi. Both have dropped out of high school, their family fractured by death and prison.But while Marcus clings to his dream of rap stardom, Kiara hunts for work to pay their rent — which has more than doubled — and to keep the nine-year-old boy next door, abandoned by his mother, safe and fed. One night, what begins as a drunken misunderstanding with a stranger turns into the job Kiara never imagined wanting but now desperately needs: nightcrawling. Her world breaks open even further when her name surfaces in an investigation that exposes her as a key witness in a massive scandal within the Oakland Police Department.Rich with raw beauty, electrifying intensity, and piercing vulnerability, "Nightcrawling" marks the stunning arrival of a voice unlike any we have heard before. "After Sappho" by Selby Wynn SchwartzAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $26.92"After Sappho" reimagines the intertwined lives of feminists at the turn of the twentieth century."The first thing we did was change our names. We were going to be Sappho," so begins this intrepid debut novel, centuries after the Greek poet penned her lyric verse. Ignited by the same muse, a myriad of women break from their small, predetermined lives for seemingly disparate paths: in 1892, Rina Faccio trades her needlepoint for a pen; in 1902, Romaine Brooks sails for Capri with nothing but her clotted paintbrushes; and in 1923, Virginia Woolf writes: "I want to make life fuller and fuller." Writing in cascading vignettes, Selby Wynn Schwartz spins an invigorating tale of women whose narratives converge and splinter as they forge queer identities and claim the right to their own lives. "Oh William!" by Elizabeth StroutAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $11.34I would like to say a few things about my first husband, William. Lucy Barton is a writer, but her ex-husband, William, remains a hard man to read. William, she confesses, has always been a mystery to me. Another mystery is why the two have remained connected after all these years. They just are. So Lucy is both surprised and not surprised when William asks her to join him on a trip to investigate a recently uncovered family secret — one of those secrets that rearrange everything we think we know about the people closest to us. What happens next is nothing less than another example of what Hilary Mantel has called Elizabeth Strout's "perfect attunement to the human condition." There are fears and insecurities, simple joys and acts of tenderness, and revelations about affairs and other spouses, parents and their children. On every page of this exquisite novel we learn more about the quiet forces that hold us together — even after we've grown apart. Note: Strout was longlisted for a Booker Prize in 2016 for "My Name Is Lucy Barton," and won the Pulitzer Prize for "Olive Kitteridge" in 2009.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 29th, 2022

Top Russian Official Calls For "Return" Of Alaska In Bizarre Threat

Top Russian Official Calls For "Return" Of Alaska In Bizarre Threat Threats invoking nuclear rhetoric out of Russia appear to be picking up again, at a moment Washington continues to ramp up weapons shipments to Ukraine's military, and as the Biden administration is pledging to back efforts to charge Russian officials before an international criminal court. As we detailed earlier, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and current deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council warned of the "wrath of God" if the US leads efforts to establish an international tribunal for investigating Russian war crimes in Ukraine. "The idea of punishing a country that has one of the largest nuclear potentials is absurd. And potentially poses a threat to the existence of humanity," he stated Wednesday. But another top official's threatening words are also grabbing headlines, given how unusual the statement is. Russia’s lower house speaker, Vyacheslav Volodin, suggested that Alaska could be targeted by Russia next in a scenario of continued US provocations. He essentially said that Russia could take it back as "Alaska previously belonged to Russia." Russian Orthodox Church, Dutch Harbor, Alaska Specifically he was responding to reports that the Biden administration is seeking to seize Russian assets abroad, also in conjunction with European authorities. According to a translation, Volodin warned the US that it "instead ought to remember that Alaska previously belonged to Russia," in statements carried in Russian media on Wednesday. "Let America always remember, there is a part of [Russian] territory: Alaska," he said, according to Hromadske, subsequently translated in The Daily Beast. "So when they start trying to dispose of our resources abroad, before they do it, let them think: we also have something to return." Another official threw his support behind the theat. State Duma Vice Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy went so far as to propose holding a referendum on Alaska - akin to the Crimea referendum of 2014. As for the idea of "returning" Alaska, this is in reference to the huge northern land mass abutting Canada and what eventually became the 49th US state as having been colonized by the Russian Empire starting in the early 18th century. Additionally, the earliest form of Christianity to reach the local Aleut natives was Russian Orthodoxy - which is still prominent in Alaska - brought by Russian missionaries during that period. Russian culture's imprint on the local natives has continued to this day. Russia sold the vast territory to the United States in 1867 for $7.2 million - which in today's terms would be equivalent to somewhere north of $140 million. The territory was formally admitted as a US state in 1959. Archived 1860 map, Russian America (Alaska) was to the west of British America (Canada). Via Wiki Commons While this talk of 'returning Alaska' appears tongue-in-cheek, there has been past public discussion in Russian media over whether Moscow could one day gain Alaska back. For example, related to the Crimea crisis, NPR noted back in 2014: President Vladimir Putin's annexation of Crimea is reigniting talk in Russia of taking back Alaska from the United States, which purchased the territory from a czar for $7.2 million nearly a century and a half ago. ...A recent petition written in clunky English on the official White House website seeks Alaska's secession and return to Russia. So far, it has generated more than 37,000 signatures — or more than a third of the 100,000 needed to get the Obama administration to formally respond. Over the past years, airspace off Alaska and the Bering Sea has been scene of Russian and US air force encounters and intercepts, which has included Russia sending long-range bombers to fly miles off the coast, typically just within international airspace. Tyler Durden Thu, 07/07/2022 - 14:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJul 7th, 2022

The US military is trying to identify dozens of airmen who didn"t make it home from a daring bomber raid on "Hitler"s gas station"

US airmen were told that bombing Nazi oil refineries in Ploesti could shorten WWII by six months. They were also told half of them might not survive. B-24 Liberators pass through the target area at treetop-height during the raid on oil refineries in Ploesti, Romania, August 1, 1943.US Army Air Force In August 1943, the US launched an audacious raid on one of Nazi Germany's most valuable resources. Nearly 200 B-24 bombers carried out a low-level attack on oil refineries in Ploiești, Romania. 79 years later, the US military is still looking for airmen who didn't make it home from "Black Sunday." On August 1, 1943, US Army Air Force B-24 Liberators took off from bases in Libya for an audacious raid on one of the Nazi military's most valuable resources.Operation Tidal Wave was meant to destroy Nazi-controlled oil fields and refineries at Ploiești, north of Bucharest, Romania. The campaign was unprecedented in scale, with 1,725 airmen taking off in 177 bombers.The attack on Ploiești, a sweeping, low-level bombing raid, took a heavy toll on the US airmen involved: 225 of them were killed, earning the day the grim nickname Black Sunday.US airmen killed in the 1943 raid on Ploiești and identified by the Ploiești Unknowns Project.Defense POW/MIA Accounting AgencyMany of those fallen airmen were not immediately recovered or identified.Three-quarters of a century later, the US Department of Defense's POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) has been using archival research and modern forensics — including DNA analysis from exhumed skeletal remains — to account for airmen still missing from the 1943 mission.The "Ploiești Unknowns Project," which began in 2017, has so far identified remains of 19 Tidal Wave airmen and notified their descendants.In the last three months alone, the Pentagon has announced the identification of five Ploiești airmen: Sgt. Elvin L. Phillips, 23; 1st Lt. Louis V. Girard, 20; Lt. Col. Addison E Baker, 36; 2nd Lt. David M. Lewis, 20; and Staff Sgt. William O. Wood, 25.The missionThe Columbia Aquila refinery in Ploesti, Romania, most likely in 1943.US Office of War InformationOperation Tidal Wave was the Allies' first large-scale, low-altitude raid against a well-defended Axis target, and the stakes were high.The oil fields and refineries spread across the 18-square-mile complex produced one-third of the Reich's oil, which powered everything from cars and tanks to planes and warships.Allied leaders who had agreed on the next phase of the war at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943 believed that obliterating "Hitler's gas station" would be critical to slowing the movement of Axis troops and supplies. They also knew such a mission would be costly.Training for Operation Tidal Wave took place in Libya, where airmen from five different bomb groups lived mainly in tents in the sweltering desert around Benghazi.B-24 bombers over the oil refinery in Ploiesti, August 1943.Mondadori via Getty ImagesCrews simulated bombing runs on a life-size replica of the refinery complex. Models of their assigned targets were built with wood and canvas. The airmen learned how to make use of the B-24's relatively long range and heavy payloads for the 2,000-mile flight to Romania and back.Despite the preparation, a variety of conditions made an already treacherous mission even more dangerous.The airmen would be tight on fuel, flying lower and longer than usual, and dealing with maintenance issues caused by the harsh desert conditions, like sand clogging their engines.The commander of the 44th Bomb Group warned his airmen that only half of them were likely to survive. Radio operator Norm Kiefer remembers a briefing officer saying "the target was so important that if we lost all of the attacking force but destroyed the refineries, it would be worth it."The message to airmen was that this single raid could shorten the war by as much as six months.Early on August 1, crews began taking off from Libya, flying in formation across the Mediterranean toward their targets. Waves of B-24s followed each other, keeping radio silence to evade German radar.A B-24 over a burning oil refinery in Ploesti, August 1, 1943.44th Bomb Group Photograph CollectionYet little went as planned on the path to Ploiești. Navigation issues led entire squadrons off course. Meanwhile, the Germans knew more about the raid, and were better prepared for it, than the Allies anticipated.The airmen encountered heavy German resistance, including barrage balloons. The Germans also set smoke pots ablaze in the bombers' path to obscure targets and blind Allied pilots.Billowing clouds of black smoke limited visibility and interfered with navigation as the B-24s descended to drop their bombs. They flew so low — just 50 feet off the ground — that gunners on the bombers had to aim up at anti-aircraft guns on the roofs of buildings.Other disguised defenses — anti-aircraft guns hidden among train tracks, oil tanks, and surrounding fields — greeted the vulnerable bombers as they streaked toward their targets.The costs and recovery effortsOil storage tanks at the Columbia Aquila refinery in Ploesti ablaze after the raid by US B-24 bombers, August 1, 1943.US Office of War InformationOperation Tidal Wave proved that the USAAF could carry out large-scale offensive bombing raids, but the feat came at a high price.The raid knocked about 46% of Ploesti's annual production offline, but the Germans had the refineries up and running at full capacity within three months. The US Army Air Forces never tried another low-level raid against the Germans.More than 50 of the 177 bombers involved did not return. German soldiers in the region captured 32 airmen alive and collected the remains of some who had been killed. Crashed bombers and bodies left a horrifying scene around Ploiești.Because the bombers flew in waves and had separate targets, and because in many cases they missed their targets or purposely veered off-course after being hit, Allied forces struggled to recover the scattered, often badly burned bodies.Romanian soldiers and civilians look at a B-24 bomber shot down near the Ploiesti refinery complex in 1943.Mondadori via Getty Images"They crashed all over the place," said Christine Cohn, the lead DPAA historian on the Ploiești Unknowns Project. "There was a lot of scatter … some bailed, but most were killed as they were flying so low."Still, Romanian citizens worked to locate fallen airmen after the raid, burying them in the Civilian and Military Cemetery in Ploiesti and in 10 smaller cemeteries in nearby villages.After the war, the American Graves Registration Command attempted to recover fallen Americans from across the European Theater.There was a joint effort to exhume remains of US airmen in and around Ploiești. German POWs were sometimes tasked with excavating the graves.German prisoners of war exhume graves at a temporary US cemetery in Europe.Defense POW/MIA Accounting AgencyThe conditions of the remains and their burials made identification harder. Evidence of each soldier's identity — things like dog tags — was often missing.Excavated remains were sent to France and Belgium for bone analysis to help determine height, weight, and age. Scientists studied what was left of the airmens' mouths using fillings, cavities, and missing teeth to help with identification.In the early 1950s, the US government suspended its Return of the Dead program, pausing active searches to recover World War II remains. Some 80 US airmen killed over Ploiești remained unidentified.Many of their exhumed remains were stored in Belgium, where they were essentially untouched for nearly 50 years.Today's effortsOperation Tidal Wave from on Vimeo.A 21st-century change in government policy opened the door to using forensics to identify soldiers' bodies. That led the DPAA to launch the latest effort to exhume and identify the remains of Tidal Wave airmen in graves marked as "unknown."Cohn commended Romanian civilians for burying the fallen airmen during the war but said the way bodies were buried — sometimes with multiple bodies in one casket — complicates the identification process.Cohn has spent the last several years doing in-depth research to build cases that the Department of Defense should approve the disinterment of specific remains by demonstrating that a successful identification is likely.She studies the raid and peruses photos of remains, aerial imagery, maps and airmen's files, using evidence and a lot of Excel spreadsheets to narrow down who each "unknown" airman could be.When disinterment is approved, the skeletal remains are sent to anthropologists at a DPAA lab in Nebraska, where they examine the bones and try to match them to a specific file.When the lab team led by Megan Ingvoldstad, a DPAA scientist, is confident about a specific match, a US Army genealogist contacts family members, sharing details and requesting DNA samples to compare to the skeletal remains.Remains recovered by the Ploiești Unknowns Project are transferred at Offutt Air Force Base, September 4, 2020US Air Force/Leticia CunninghamThe recent announcement of the identification of Lt. Col. Addison Baker was the 17th time the Unknowns Project team matched unidentified remains to an unaccounted-for Tidal Wave airman since the project began.Baker, a 36-year-old pilot from Chicago, was commander of the 93rd Bombardment Group. As he approached his target over Ploesti, his B-24 was hit by an anti-aircraft shell and caught fire.Instead of attempting an emergency landing, Baker continued leading his formation toward the target. After his crew unleashed their bombs, Baker veered away from the formation to avoid a collision and tried to climb high enough for his crew to bail. Despite the effort, all 10 crew members were killed. Baker received a posthumous Medal of Honor for his actions.In April, Baker's nephews — who knew their uncle before he went to war and provided DNA to confirm the identification of his remains — joined other family members and Army representatives to celebrate the news that Baker had been accounted for after 78 years.Beyond the historical significance of the Unknowns Project, Cohn sees her team's efforts as one important way to honor the ultimate sacrifice made by those airmen."It is very significant for me to be able to give closure to the families of the missing," Cohn said. "It's our responsibility to go out and find them and bring them home."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 5th, 2022

Futures Jump After Biden Says Trump"s China Tariffs Under Consideration

Futures Jump After Biden Says Trump's China Tariffs Under Consideration US stock futures advanced for a second day after staging a furious rally late on Friday having slumped into a bear market just hours earlier, after President Joe Biden said China tariffs imposed by the Trump administration were under consideration, although concerns about hawkish central banks and record Covid cases in Beijing continued to weigh on the sentiment.  Contracts on the S&P 500 were up 1% by 7:15 a.m. in New York, trimming earlier gains of as much as 1.4% following remarks from Christine Lagarde that the European Central Bank is likely to start raising interest rates in July and exit sub-zero territory by the end of September which sent the euro sharply higher and hit the USD. Meanwhile, Beijing and Tianjin continue to ramp up Covid restrictions as cases climbed. Nasdaq futures also jumped, rising 1.1%. Europe rose 0.6% while Asian stocks closed mostly in the green, with Nikkei +1% and Hang Seng -1.2%. The dollar and Treasuries retreated, while bitcoin jumped to $30,500 as the crypto rout appears over. Traders interpreted Biden’s comments that he’ll discuss the US tariffs on Chinese imports with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen when he returns from his Asia trip as a signal there could be a reversal of some Trump-imposed measures, sparking a risk-on rally.  “Today’s appetite for risk has been sparked by the US President’s announcement that trade tariffs imposed on China by the previous Trump administration will be discussed,” said Pierre Veyret, a technical analyst at ActivTrades. “Investors see this as a possible de-escalation of the trade war between the two economic superpowers, and this has revived trading optimism towards riskier assets.” Among the notable movers in premarket trading, VMware surged 19% after Bloomberg News reported that Broadcom is in talks to acquire cloud-computing company; Broadcom fell 3.5% in premarket trading. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Software stocks, such as Oracle (ORCL US), Splunk (SPLK US), ServiceNow (NOW US), Check Point Software Technologies (CHKP US), are in focus after the report on Broadcom and VMware setting up for a blockbuster tech deal. Antiviral and vaccine stocks rise in US premarket trading amid spreading cases of the monkeypox virus. SIGA Technologies (SIGA US) jumps 39%; Emergent BioSolutions (EBS US) rises 15%, Chimerix (CMRX US) gains 15%, Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO US) +13% Dow (DOW US) shares fall as much as 1.3% premarket after Piper Sandler downgraded the chemicals maker to neutral from overweight, along with peer LyondellBasell (LYB US), amid industry concerns. TG Therapeutics (TGTX US) shares are down 3.3% premarket after falling 11% on Friday, when BofA started coverage on the biotech company with an underperform rating and $5 price target. Upwork (UPWK US) could be in focus as RBC Capital Markets analyst Brad Erickson initiates coverage of the stock with a sector perform recommendation, saying some near-term negatives for the online recruitment services firm are well discounted. US stocks have been roiled in the past two months by concerns the Fed's tightening will push the economy into a recession. A late-session rebound lifted the market from the session’s lows on Friday, though the S&P 500 still capped a seventh straight week of losses - the longest since 2001 - and briefly dipped into bear market territory, while the Dow dropped for 8 consecutive weeks, the longest stretch since 1923! “As we have seen time and time again recently, any attempted rallies appear to be short-lived with the backdrop of macroeconomic uncertainty, and any bullish breakouts have failed to endure with overall market sentiment biased toward the bears,” said Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor. The string of weekly losses has seen the S&P 500’s forward price-to-earnings ratio drop to 16.4, near the lowest since April 2020. This is below the average level of 17.04 times seen over the past decade, making the case for bargain hunters to step in. Separately, Biden said the US military would intervene to defend Taiwan in any attack from China, comments that appeared to break from the longstanding US policy of “strategic ambiguity” before they were walked back by White House officials. Meanwhile, his administration announced that a dozen Indo-Pacific countries will join the US in a sweeping economic initiative designed to counter China’s influence in the region. Minutes of the most recent Fed rate-setting meeting will give markets insight this week into the central bank’s tightening path. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said the Fed should front-load an aggressive series of rate hikes to push rates to 3.5% at year’s end, which if successful would push down inflation and could lead to easing in 2023 or 2024 In Europe, the Stoxx 50 rose 0.3%. The FTSE 100 outperformed, adding 0.9%, FTSE MIB lags, dropping 1.1%. Energy, miners and travel are the strongest performing sectors. European energy shares vie with the basic resources sector to be the best-performing group in the Stoxx Europe 600 benchmark on Monday as oil stocks rise with crude prices, while Siemens Gamesa rallies after Siemens Energy made a takeover offer. Shell rises 1.7%, BP +2.4%, TotalEnergies +2.1%. Elsewgere, the Stoxx Europe Basic Resources sub-index rallies to the highest level since May 5 to lead gains in the wider regional benchmark on Monday as metals rise amid better demand outlook. Aluminum, copper and iron ore extended rebound after China cut borrowing rates last week, dollar weakened and as investors weighed outlook for lockdown relief in Shanghai. The euro rose to its highest level in four weeks and most of the region’s bonds fell after European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said the ECB is likely to start raising interest rates in July and exit sub-zero territory by the end of September. Here are the most notable European movers: Siemens Gamesa shares gain as much as 6.7% after Siemens Energy made an offer to acquire the shares in the wind-turbine maker it does not own. Kingfisher shares advance as much as 4.9% after the B&Q owner reported 1Q sales that beat estimates and announced plans for a further GBP300m share buyback. Deutsche EuroShop shares jump as much as 44% after Oaktree and CURA offered to acquire the German retail property company in a deal valuing it at around EU1.39b. Moonpig Group gains as much as 14% as Jefferies analysts say its plan to buy Smartbox Group UK is a good use of the online greeting card company’s strong cash generation. Kainos Group shares jump as much as 25%, as Canaccord Genuity raises the stock’s rating to buy from hold following FY results, saying cost-inflation headwinds are priced in. Intertek shares fall as much as 5.3%, with Stifel cutting its rating on the company to hold from buy, saying none of the key elements of its positive thesis are still intact. Leoni shares drop as much as 7.3% after the wiring systems manufacturer said it was in advanced talks on further financing. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks were mixed as traders assessed Chinese authorities’ efforts to support the economy amid ongoing concerns over its Covid situation. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was up 0.4%, supported by healthcare and industrials, after paring an early gain of as much as 0.7%. Japanese stocks outperformed and US index futures advanced.  Chinese shares slid after Beijing reported a record number of coronavirus cases, reviving concerns about lockdowns. Covid concerns offset any positive impact from last Friday’s greater-than-expected reduction in a key interest rate for long-term loans in an effort to counter weak demand. Investors may be turning more upbeat on Asian stocks, with the regional benchmark beating global peers last week by the most in more the two years, snapping a streak of six weekly losses. Still, the region faces the same worries about inflation and rising US interest rates that have been rattling markets around the world this year. “The energy crisis in the EU and policy tightening in the US, combined with China’s economic soft patch” are potential headwinds for Asian equities and may lead to “weak external demand for more export-oriented economies like Taiwan and Korea,” Soo Hai Lim, head of Asia ex-China equities at Barings, wrote in a note. Japanese equities climbed as US President Joe Biden’s comments during his visit to the country lifted market sentiment. Biden said a recession in the US isn’t inevitable, and reaffirmed close ties between the two countries. He also said China tariffs imposed by the Trump administration were under consideration, helping to lift regional stocks.  The Topix Index rose 0.9% to 1,894.57 as of market close, while the Nikkei advanced 1% to 27,001.52. Tokio Marine Holdings contributed the most to the Topix Index, increasing 7.6%. Out of 2,171 shares in the index, 1,681 rose and 415 fell, while 75 were unchanged. Defense stocks also got a boost after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said President Biden supports Japan’s plan for an increase in its defense budget Stocks in India mostly declined after the central bank chief said the Reserve Bank is taking coordinated action with the country’s government to tackle inflation and a few interest rate hikes will be in store in coming months. His comments came soon after the government unveiled measures that will cost the exchequer $26 billion and will probably force the government to issue more debt to bridge the yawning budget deficit. The S&P BSE Sensex ended flat at 54,288.61 in Mumbai after giving up an advance of as much as 1.1%. The NSE Nifty 50 Index dropped 0.3%, its third decline in four sessions. Gauges of mid-sized and small stocks also plunged 0.3% and 0.6%, respectively. Out of the 30 stocks in the Sensex index, 20 advanced while 10 ended lower, with Tata Steel being the biggest drag. Eleven of 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. declined, led by metal stocks. Steel stocks plunged after the new rules imposed tariffs on export of some products. Auto and capital stocks were the best performers.  Investors remain wary of the policy decisions the central bank could take in the near-term to tackle in rising inflation, according to Arafat Saiyed, an analyst with Reliance Securities. “Changes in oil prices and amendments to import and export duties might play a role in assessing the market’s trajectory.” In rates, Treasuries dropped as investors debate the Federal Reserve’s tightening path amid mounting worries about an economic slowdown. US bonds were cheaper by 3bp-5bp across the curve with belly leading declines, underperforming vs front- and long-end, following weakness in bunds. 10-year yield around 2.83%, higher by ~5bp on day, and keeping pace with most European bond markets; belly-led losses cheapen 2s5s30s fly by ~1.5bp on the day. US IG credit issuance slate empty so far; $20b-$25b is expected this week, concentrated on Monday and Tuesday. European fixed income faded an initial push higher after Lagarde’s comments while money markets up rate-hike bets. Bund futures briefly trade above 154 before reversing, cash curve bear-flattens with the belly cheapening ~6bps. Peripheral spreads tighten to Germany, 10y Bund/BTP spreads holds above 200bps. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell as the greenback traded weaker against all of its Group-of-10 peers. The euro jumped to a session high of $1.0635 and bunds reversed an advance after ECB President Christine Lagarde said the central bank is likely to start raising interest rates in July and exit sub-zero territory by the end of September. The EUR was also bolstered by Germany IFO business confidence index rising to 93.0 in May vs estimate 91.4. The Aussie and kiwi were among the pest G-10 performers as they benefitted from Biden’s comments about the tariffs on China. Aussie was also supported after the Labor Party won the weekend election and is increasingly hopeful of gaining enough seats to form a majority government.  The pound advanced against the dollar, touching the highest level since May 5, amid broad-based greenback weakness. While asking prices rose to a new record for the fourth-straight month, there are signs the housing market is slowing, according to Rightmove. Yen steadied after gains last week as traders sought clues on the global economy. Japanese government bonds were mostly higher. The purchasing power of the yen fell to a fresh half-century low last month. In commodities, WTI rose 1.1% to trade just below $112. Most base metals are in the green; LME aluminum rises 1.4%, outperforming peers. LME nickel lags, dropping 4.2%. Spot gold climbs roughly $18 to trade around $1,865/oz Looking at today's calendar, at 830am we get the April Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index (est. 0.50, prior 0.44). CB speakers include the Fed's Bostic, ECB's Holzmann, Nagel and Villeroy and BoE's Bailey. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.6% to 3,922.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.6% to 433.69 MXAP up 0.4% to 165.23 MXAPJ little changed at 539.33 Nikkei up 1.0% to 27,001.52 Topix up 0.9% to 1,894.57 Hang Seng Index down 1.2% to 20,470.06 Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,146.86 Sensex up 0.4% to 54,556.08 Australia S&P/ASX 200 little changed at 7,148.89 Kospi up 0.3% to 2,647.38 German 10Y yield little changed at 0.97% Euro up 0.5% to $1.0622 Brent Futures up 0.9% to $113.61/bbl Gold spot up 0.7% to $1,859.91 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.63% to 102.50 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg President Joe Biden said the US military would intervene to defend Taiwan in any attack from China, some of his strongest language yet seeking to deter Beijing from an invasion The Biden administration announced that a dozen Indo-Pacific countries will join the US in a sweeping economic initiative designed to counter China’s influence in the region, even as questions remain about its effectiveness The US Treasury Department is expected to tighten sanctions this week on Russia, threatening about $1 billion owed to bondholders for the rest of this year and putting the country once again on the edge of default The ECB is poised to get the power to oversee so-called transition plans by 2025, in which lenders map out their path to a carbon-neutral future. Yet several national officials who sit on the ECB’s supervisory board are skeptical that climate risks merit new rules to address them, and some are wary that the initiative exceeds the central bank’s mandate Russia is considering a plan to ease a key control on capital flows which has helped drive the ruble to the highest levels in four years as the rally is now threatening to hurt budget revenues and exporters Natural gas prices in Europe fell as much as 5.6% to the lowest level since the start of the war in Ukraine, as storage levels across the continent rise to near-normal levels As the biggest selloff in decades shook the world’s bond markets this year, some extraordinarily long-dated debt went into free fall, tumbling even more than Wall Street’s usual models predicted. To Jessica James, a managing director with Commerzbank AG in London, it wasn’t a surprise. In fact, it was validation A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk APAC stocks were mixed as momentum waned due to China's COVID woes and record Beijing infections. ASX 200 was just about kept afloat before ebbing lower after initial strength in mining names and the smooth change of government in Australia. Nikkei 225 advanced at the open with Tokyo said to be planning to revive its travel subsidy plan for residents. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were pressured by ongoing COVID concerns after Beijing extended its halt of dining in services and in-person classes for the whole city, as well as reporting a fresh record of daily COVID infections, while Shanghai restored its cross-district public transport on Sunday but ordered supermarkets and shops in the central Jingan district to shut and for residents to stay home until at least Tuesday Top Asian News Beijing reported 83 new symptomatic cases and 16 new asymptomatic cases for May 22nd with the city's total new cases at a new record, according to Bloomberg. It was also reported that thousands of Beijing residents were relocated to quarantine hotels due to a handful of infections, according to the BBC. Beijing is mulling easing its hotel quarantine requirement to one week in a hotel and one week at home from a previous hotel requirement of ten days and one week at home for international travellers, according to SCMP. Shanghai reported 570 new asymptomatic cases, 52 asymptomatic cases, 3 new COVID-related deaths and zero cases outside of quarantine, according to Reuters. Shanghai’s central district of Jingan will require all supermarkets and shops to close, while residents will be required to stay at home and conduct mass testing from May 22nd-24th, according to Reuters. China NHC Official says the COVID situation, overall, is showing a steady declining trend. Japanese PM Kishida said it is very disappointing that China is unilaterally developing areas in the East China Sea when borders are not yet set which Japan cannot accept, while it has lodged a complaint against China through diplomatic channels, according to Reuters. Japanese PM Kishida told US President Biden that they must achieve a free and open Indo-Pacific together, while President Biden said the US is fully committed to Japan's defence and that the IPEF will increase cooperation with other nations and deliver benefits to people in the region, according to Reuters. US-South Korea joint statement noted they agreed to discuss widening the scope and scale of joint military exercises and the US reiterated its commitment to defending South Korea with nuclear, conventional and missile defence, as well as reaffirmed its commitment to deploy strategic military assets in a timely and coordinated manner as necessary. The sides also condemned North Korea’s missile tests as a grave threat and agreed to relaunch a high-level extended deterrence strategy and consultation group at the earliest date, while they noted the path to dialogue with North Korea remains open and called for a resumption of negotiations, according to Reuters. US President Biden said the US-South Korea alliance has never been stronger and more vibrant. President Biden added they are ready to strengthen the joint defence posture to counter North Korea and are ready to work toward the complete denuclearisation of North Korea, while he offered vaccines to North Korea and said he would meet with North Korean leader Kim if he is serious, according to Reuters. South Korean President Yoon said North Korea is advancing nuclear capabilities and that US President Biden shares grave concerns regarding North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, while Yoon said they discussed the timing of possible deployment of fighter jets and bombers, according to Reuters. European bourses are mixed/modestly-firmer, Euro Stoxx 50 +0.3%, as the initial upside momentum waned amid fresh China COVID updates and hawkish ECB commentary. Note, the FTSE MIB is the noted underperformer this morning, -1.0%, amid multiple large-cap names trading ex-divided. Stateside, futures are firmer but similarly off best levels, ES +0.5%, with recent/familiar themes very much in focus ahead of a thin US-specific docket. XPeng (XPEV) Q1 2022 (USD): EPS -0.32 (exp. -0.30), Revenue 1.176bln (exp. 1.16bln); Vehicle Deliveries 34.56k, +159% YY. -2.8% in pre-market JPMorgan (JPM) has reaffirmed its adjusted expenses guidance; credit outlook remains positive; sees FY22 NII USD 56bln (prev. USD 53bln) Top European News EU’s infectious-disease agency is to recommend member states prepare strategies for possible vaccination programmes to counter increasing monkeypox cases, according to FT. It was also reported that Austria confirmed its first case of monkeypox and that Switzerland also confirmed its first case of monkeypox in the canton of Bern, according to Reuters. EU policymakers are reportedly renewing efforts to push for real-time databases of stock and bond trading information as they believe that a 'consolidated tape' will make EU exchanges more attractive for investors, according to FT. EU Commission has proposed maintaining EU borrowing limits suspension next year amid the war in Ukraine; expects to reinstate limits in 2024; Germany supports the suspension. Fixed Income Bunds and Eurozone peers underperform as ECB President Lagarde signals end of negative rates by September. 10 year German bond nearer 153.00 having topped 154.00, Gilts around 1/4 point below par after trading flat at best and T-note shy of 120-00 within 120-03+/119-21+ range. EU NG issuance covered 1.38 times and Austria announces leads for 2049 Green syndication. In FX Euro joins Kiwi at the top of G10 ranks as President Lagarde chimes with end of NIRP by Q3 guidance, EUR/USD sets fresh May peak near 1.0690. Bulk of NZIER shadow board believe RBNZ will deliver another 50bp hike on Wednesday, NZD/USD hovers comfortably above 0.6450 in the run up to NZ Q1 retail sales. DXY in danger of losing 102.000+ status as Euro revival boosts other index components. Aussie up with price of iron ore and extended Yuan recovery gains with change of PM and Government regime taken in stride; AUD/USD probes 0.7100, USD/CNH not far from Fib support sub-6.6500, USD/CNY a tad lower. Sterling eyes 1.2600 awaiting BoE Governor Bailey at a PM panel discussion, Loonie and Nokkie glean traction via firm WTI and Brent, USD/CAD under 1.2800, EUR/NOK beneath 10.3000. Lira languishing after CBRT survey showing higher end 2022 forecasts for Turkish CPI, current account deficit and USD/TRY circa 17.5690 vs just shy of 16.0000 at present. Commodities WTI and Brent are firmer and in-proximity to session highs amid USD action offsetting the earlier drift with risk sentiment/China's mixed COVID stance. Currently, the benchmarks are just off highs of USD 111.96/bbl and USD 114.34/bbl respectively, vs lows of 109.50 and 111.97 respectively. Saudi Arabia signalled it will stand by Russia as a member of OPEC+ amid mounting pressure from sanctions, according to FT. Iraq’s government aims to set up a new oil company in the Kurdistan region and expects to enter service contracts with local oil firms, according to Reuters. Iran’s Oil Minister agreed to revive the pipeline laying project to pump Iranian gas to Oman which was stalled for nearly two decades, according to IRNA. Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said Iran’s leadership has matters under review regarding “the Iranian nuclear file” and said that pumping additional quantities of Iranian oil to the market will help stabilise crude prices and lower inflation, according to Al Jazeera TV. India cut its excise duty on petrol by INR 8/litre and diesel by INR 6/litre which will result in a revenue loss of about INR 1tln for the government, while Indian Finance Minister Sitharaman announced subsidies on cooking gas cylinders, as well as cuts to custom duties on raw materials and intermediaries for plastic products, according to Reuters. Indian oil minister says oil remaining at USD 110/bbl could lead to bigger threats than inflation, via CNBC TV18. Central Banks ECB's Lagarde says based on the current outlook, we are likely to be in a position to exit negative interest rates by the end of the third quarter; against the backdrop of the evidence I presented above, I expect net purchases under the APP to end very early in the third quarter. This would allow us a rate lift-off at our meeting in July, in line with our forward guidance. The next stage of normalisation would need to be guided by the evolution of the medium-term inflation outlook. If we see inflation stabilising at 2% over the medium term, a progressive further normalisation of interest rates towards the neutral rate will be appropriate. ECB President Lagarde indicated that July is likely for a rate increase as she noted that they will follow the path of stopping net asset purchases and then hike interest rates sometime after that which could be a few weeks, according to Bloomberg. Bundesbank Monthly Report: German GDP is likely to increase modestly in Q2 from current standpoint. Click here for more detail. RBI Governor Das says, broadly, they want to increase rates in the next few meetings, at least at the next one; cannot give a number on inflation at present, the next MPC may be the time to do so. CBRT Survey (May), end-2022 Forecasts: CPI 57.92% (prev. 46.44%), GDP Growth 3.3% (prev. 3.2%), USD/TRY 17.5682 (prev. 16.8481), Current Account Balance USD -34.34bln (prev. USD -27.5bln). US Event Calendar 08:30: April Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. 0.50, prior 0.44 12:00: Fed’s Bostic Discusses the Economic Outlook 19:30: Fed’s George Gives Speech at Agricultural Symposium DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap After a stressful couple of hours in front of the football yesterday afternoon, there's not too much the market can throw at me this week to raise the heart rate any higher than it was for the brief moments that I thought Liverpool were going to win the Premier League from a very unlikely set of final day circumstances. However it is the hope that kills you and at least we have the Champions League final on Saturday to look forward to now. There will be a lot of market water to flow under the bridge before that. This all follows a fascinating end to last week with the S&P 500 in bear market territory as Europe went home for the weekend after the index had fallen -20.6% from its peak going into the last couple of hours of another brutal week. However a sharp late rally sent the index from c.-2.3% on the day to close +0.01%. There was no catalyst but traders clearly didn’t want to go home for the weekend as lightly positioned as they were. Regardless, this was the first time we’ve seen seven successive weekly declines in the index since the fallout from the dotcom bubble bursting in 2001. Watch out for my CoTD on this later. If you’re not on my daily CoTD and want to be, please send an email to jim-reid.thematicresearch@db.com to get added. For what it's worth the Dow saw the first successive 8 weekly decline since 1923 which really brings home the state of the current sell-off. After having a high conviction recession call all year for 2023, I can't say I have high conviction in the near-term. I don't expect that we will fall into recession imminently in the US or Europe and if that's the case then markets are likely to eventually stabilise and rally back. However if we do see a H2 2022 recession then this sell-off will likely end up at the more severe end of the historical recessionary sell-offs given the very high starting valuations (see Binky Chadha's excellent strategy piece here for more on this). However if I'm right that a 2023 recession is unavoidable then however much we rally back this year we'll be below current levels for equities in 12-18 months' time in my view. Given that my H2 2023 HY credit spread forecast is +850bp then that backs this point up. Longer-term if we do get a recession and inflation proves sticky over that period then equities are going to have a long period of mean reversion of valuations and it will be a difficult few years ahead. So the path of equities in my opinion depends on the recession timing and what inflation does when we hit that recession. Moving from pontificating about the next few years to now looking at what's coming up this week. The global preliminary PMIs for May tomorrow will be front and centre for investors following the growth concerns that have roiled markets of late. Central banks will also remain in focus as we will get the latest FOMC meeting minutes (Wednesday) and the US April PCE, the Fed's preferred inflation proxy, on Friday. An array of global industrial activity data will be another theme to watch. Consumer sentiment will be in focus too, with a number of confidence measures from Europe and personal income and spending data from the US (Friday). Corporates reporting results will include spending bellwethers Macy's and Costco. After last week’s retail earnings bloodbath (e.g. Walmart and Target) these will get added attention. On the Fed, the minutes may be a bit stale now but it’ll still be interesting to see the insight around the biases of 50bps vs 25/75bps hikes after the next couple of meetings. Thoughts on QT will also be devoured. Staying with the US, for the personal income and spending numbers on Friday, our US economists expect the two indicators to slow to +0.2% and +0.6% in April, respectively. The Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, the PCE, will be another important metric released the same day and DB’s economics team expects the April core reading to stay at +0.3%. Other US data will include April new home sales tomorrow and April durable goods orders on Wednesday. A number of manufacturing and business activity indicators are in store, too. Regional Fed indicators throughout the week will include an April gauge of national activity from the Chicago Fed (today) and May manufacturing indices from the Richmond Fed (tomorrow) and the Kansas City Fed (Thursday). In Europe, the May IFO business climate indicator for Germany will be out today, followed by a manufacturing confidence gauge for France (tomorrow) and Italy (Thursday). China's industrial profits are due on Friday. This week will also feature a number of important summits. Among them will be the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos that has now started and will run until next Thursday. It'll be the first in-person meeting since the pandemic began and geopolitics will likely be in focus. Meanwhile, President Biden will travel to Asia for the first time as US president and attend a Quad summit in Tokyo tomorrow. Details on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework are expected. Finally, NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s 2022 Spring Session will be held in Vilnius from next Friday to May 30th. In corporate earnings, investors will be closely watching Macy's, Costco and Dollar General after this week's slump in Walmart and Target. Amid the carnage in tech, several companies that were propelled by the pandemic will be in focus too, with reporters including NVIDIA, Snowflake (Wednesday) and Zoom (today). Other notable corporates releasing earnings will be Lenovo, Alibaba, Baidu (Thursday) and XPeng (Monday). Overnight in Asia, equity markets are weak but US futures continue to bounce back. The Hang Seng (-1.75%) is the largest underperformer amid a fresh sell-off in Chinese listed tech stocks. Additionally, stocks in mainland China are also weak with the Shanghai Composite (-0.47%) and CSI (-0.99%) lower as Beijing reported record number of fresh Covid-19 cases, renewing concerns about a lockdown. Elsewhere, the Nikkei (+0.50%) is up in early trade while the Kospi (+0.02%) is flat. S&P 500 (+0.80%), NASDAQ 100 (+1.03%) and DAX (+0.96%) futures are all edging higher though and 10yr USTs are around +3.5bps higher. A quick review of last week’s markets now. Growth fears gripped markets while global central bankers retrenched their expectations for a strong dose of monetary tightening this year to combat inflation. The headline was the S&P 500 fell for the seventh straight week for the first time since after the tech bubble burst in 2001, tumbling -3.05% (+0.01% Friday), after back-and-forth price action which included an ignominious -4% decline on Wednesday, the worst daily performance in nearly two years. The index is now -18.68% from its YTD highs, narrowly avoiding a -20% bear market after a late rally to end the week, after dipping into intraday on Friday. Without one discreet driver, an amalgamation of worse-than-expected domestic data, fears about global growth prospects, and poor earnings from domestic retail giants that called into question the vitality of the American consumer soured sentiment. Indeed, on the latter point, consumer staples (-8.63%) and discretionary (-7.44%) were by far the largest underperformers on the week. European stocks managed to fare better, with the STOXX 600 falling -0.55% (+0.73% Friday) and the DAX losing just -0.33% (+0.72% Friday). The growth fears drove longer-dated sovereign bond yields over the week, with 10yr Treasuries falling -13.7bps (-5.6bps Friday). Meanwhile, the front end of the curve was relatively anchored, with 2yr yields basically unchanged over the week (-2.7bps Friday), and the amount of Fed hikes priced in through 2022 edging +3bps higher over the week to 2.75%, bringing 2s10s back below 20bps for the first time since early May. Chair Powell reiterated his commitment to bring inflation back to target, suggesting that getting policy rates to neutral did not constitute a stopping point if the Fed did not have “clear and convincing” evidence that inflation was falling. In Europe the front end was also weaker than the back end as Dutch central bank Governor Knot became the first General Council member to countenance +50bp hikes. 10yr yields didn't rally as much as in the US, closing the week at -0.4bps (-0.5bps Friday). The spectre of faster ECB tightening and slowing global growth drove 10yr BTPs to underperform, widening +15.2bps (+10.2bps Friday) to 205bps against bund equivalents. Gilts underperformed other sovereign bonds, with 10yr benchmarks selling off +14.9bps (+2.8bps Friday) and 2yr yields increasing +25.8bps (+1.6bps Friday). This came as UK CPI hit a 40yr high of 9.0% in April even if it slightly missed forecasts for the first time in seven months. Oil proved resilient to the growth fears rumbling through markets, with both brent crude (+0.90%, +0.46% Friday) and WTI futures (+2.48%, +0.91% Friday) posting modest gains over the week. Tyler Durden Mon, 05/23/2022 - 07:49.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 23rd, 2022

Gordon Chang: What To Do About China

Gordon Chang: What To Do About China Authored by Gordon Chang via The Gatestone Institute, Since about 2018, Chinese officials have been talking about the moon and Mars as sovereign Chinese territory, part of the People's Republic of China. This means that China considers those heavenly bodies to be like the South China Sea. This also means that China will exclude other nations from going to the moon and Mars if they have the capability to do so. We do not have to speculate about that: Chinese officials say this is what they are going to do. [W]hen Biden says, "Oh, the Chinese just want to compete with us," he is wrong. They do not want to "compete" within the international system. They do not even want to change that system... They want to overthrow it altogether, period. Is Xi Jinping really that bold... to start another war? ... First, China considers the United States to be its enemy. Second the United States is no longer deterring China. China feels it has a big green light to do whatever it wants. We Americans don't pay attention to propaganda... After all, these are just words. At this particular time, these words... [suggest] to me that China is laying the justification for a strike on the United States. We keep ignoring what Beijing is saying. We kept ignoring what Osama bin Laden was saying. We have to remember that the Chinese regime, unlike the Japanese, always warn its adversaries about what it is going to do The second reason war is coming is that America's deterrence of China is breaking down. Di's message was that with cash, China can do anything it wants, and that all Americans would take cash. He mentioned two words in this regard: Hunter Biden. In February, [Biden] had a two‑hour phone call with Xi Jinping. By Biden's own admission, he didn't raise the issue of the origins of COVID‑19 even once. If you are Xi Jinping, after you put down the receiver, your first thought is, "I just got away with killing hundreds of thousands of Americans." We have news that China is building something like 345 missile silos in three locations: in Gansu, Xinjiang, and in Inner Mongolia. These silos are clearly built to accommodate the DF‑41. The DF‑41 has a range of about 9,300 miles, which means that it can reach any part of the United States. The DF‑41 carries 10 warheads. This means that China could, in about two years..., have a bigger arsenal than ours. ...we have to assume the worst because Chinese leaders and Chinese generals, on occasion, unprovoked, have made threats to nuke American cities. In July, 2021 China tested a hypersonic glide warhead, which circled the world. This signals China intends to violate the Outer Space Treaty, to which China is a party. As of today, more than eight million people have died outside China. What happened? No one imposed costs on China. For at least a half‑decade, maybe a little bit longer, Chinese military researchers have been openly writing about a new type of biological warfare....They talk about a new type of biological warfare of "specific ethnic genetic attacks." In other words, pathogens that will leave the Chinese immune but sicken and kill everybody else, which means that the next disease from China can be a civilization killer. A lot of military analysts talk about how the first seconds of a war with China are going to be fought in outer space. They are going to blind our satellites, take them down, do all sorts of stuff. Those statements are wrong. The first day of war against the United States occurs about six months earlier, when they release pathogens in the United States. Then we are going to have that day in space. The war starts here, with a pathogen ‑‑ a virus, a microbe, a bug of some kind. That is where it begins. The One‑China policy is something many people misunderstand. Probably because Beijing uses propaganda to try to fuzzy up the issue.... China has a One‑China principle: that Taiwan is part of the People's Republic of China, full stop. We have a One‑China policy..., that the status of Taiwan is unresolved.... that the resolution of the status of Taiwan must be with the consent of people on both sides of the Strait. We need a policy of "strategic clarity," where we tell China that we will defend Taiwan. We also say we will extend a mutual defense treaty to Taiwan if it wants it, and we will put American troops on the island as a tripwire. We are Americans. We naturally assume that there are solutions, and good solutions, to every problem. After three decades of truly misguided China policy, there are no ... solutions that are "undangerous." ...The current trend of policy is unsustainable. There will be no American republic if we continue to do what we are currently doing and if we continue to allow China to do what it does. I do not think that enforcing a trade deal will start World War III. China has not met its obligations. As of a few months ago, China had met about 62% of its commitments..... We should be increasing the tariffs that President Trump imposed under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. Remember, those tariffs are meant to be a remedy for the theft of US intellectual property. China has continued to steal US IP. As matter of fact, it has gotten worse... I do not think that we should be trying to foster integration of Wall Street into China's markets.... Do not take it from me, just look at their failure to comply with very simple, easy‑to‑comply-with requirements. It was a mistake. The best response would be if we hit them with everything at once because China right now is weak. If we were going to pick the number one thing to do, I would think trade. China now has a debt crisis, so they are not going to invest their way out of this crisis, which means the only way they can save their economy is net exports. We should stop buying their stuff. China has bought the political establishment in the Solomon Islands, except for one brave man named David Suidani. Recently, somebody got the bright idea of publishing all of the specific payments that Beijing has made to Solomon Islands politicians.... We should be doing this with payments to American politicians, we should be doing this across the board. What bothers me is that, although their assumptions about China have demonstrably been proven wrong, American policymakers still continue with the same policies. There is, in some people's mind, an unbreakable view that we have to cooperate with China.... This is what people learn in international relations school when they go to Georgetown, and they become totally stupid. Clearly, Nike and Apple and other companies are now, at this very moment, trying to prevent Congress from enacting toughened rules on the importation of forced‑labor products into our country. Moreover, the Chinese regime is even more casualty‑averse than we are. Even if Beijing thinks it can take Taiwan by force, it is probably not going to invade because it knows an invasion would be unpopular with most people in China. It is not going to risk hundreds of thousands of casualties that would result from an invasion. Unfortunately..., we taught the Chinese that they can without cost engage in these dangerous maneuvers of intercepting our planes and our ships. That is the problem: because as we have taught the Chinese to be more aggressive, they have been. [W]e should have made it clear to the Chinese leadership that they cannot kill Americans without cost. Hundreds of thousands Americans have been killed by a disease that China deliberately spread. From October 2020 to October 2021, more than 105,000 Americans died from fentanyl -- which China has purposefully, as a matter of state and Communist Party policy -- sold to Americans... we have to change course. I would close China's four remaining consulates. I would also strip the Chinese embassy down to the ambassador and his personal staff. The thousands who are in Washington, DC, they would be out. I would also raise tariffs to 3,600%, or whatever. This is a good time to do it. We have supply chain disruptions. We are not getting products from China anyway. We can actually start to do this sort of stuff. I would... just hammer those guys all the time verbally. People may think, "Those are just words." For communists, words are really important, because they are an insecure regime where propaganda is absolutely critical. I would be going after the Communists on human rights, I would be going after them on occupying the South China Sea, on Taiwan, unrelentingly -- because I would want to show the world that the United States is no longer afraid of China.... State Department people, they are frightened. We need to say to the Chinese regime, like Dulles, "I'm not afraid of you. I'm going after you, and I'm going to win." Is Xi Jinping really that bold... to start another war?... First, China considers the United States to be its enemy. Second the United States is no longer deterring China. China feels it has a big green light to do whatever it wants. All the conditions for history's next great war are in place. Jim Holmes, the Wiley Professor at the Naval War College, actually talks about this period as being 1937. 1937 was the year in which if you were in Europe or America, you could sense the trouble. If you were in Asia in 1937, you would be even more worried, because that year saw Japan's second invasion of China that decade. No matter where you lived, however, you could not be sure that the worst would happen, that great armies and navies around the world would clash. There was still hope that the situation could be managed. As we now know, the worst did happen. In fact, what happened was worse than what anyone thought at the time. We are now, thanks to China, back to 1937. We will begin our discussion in Afghanistan. Beijing has had long‑standing relations with the Afghan Taliban, going back before 9/11, and continuing through that event. After the US drove the Taliban from power and while it was conducting an insurgency, China was selling the group arms, including anti‑aircraft missiles, that were used to kill American and NATO forces. China's support for killing Americans has continued to today. In December 2020, Indian Intelligence was instrumental, in Afghanistan, in breaking up a ring of Chinese spies and members of the Haqqani Network. The Trump administration believed that the Chinese portion of that ring was actually paying cash for killing Americans. What can happen next? We should not be surprised if China gives the Taliban an atomic weapon to be used against an American city. Would they be that vicious? We have to remember that China purposefully, over the course of decades, proliferated its nuclear weapons technology to Pakistan and then helped Pakistan sell that Chinese technology around the world to regimes such as Iran's and North Korea's. Today, China supports the Taliban. We know this because China has kept open its embassy in Kabul. China is also running interference for the Taliban in the United Nations Security Council. It is urging countries to support that insurgent group with aid. It looks as if the Taliban's main financial backers these days are the Chinese. Beijing is hoping to cash in on its relationship in Central Asia. Unfortunately, there is a man named Biden, who is helping them. In early August, Biden issued an executive order setting a goal that by 2030, half of all American vehicles should be electric‑powered. To be electric‑powered, we need rare earth minerals, we need lithium. As many people have said, Afghanistan is the Saudi Arabia of rare earths and lithium. If Beijing can mine this, it makes the United States even more dependent on China. It certainly helps the Taliban immeasurably. Unfortunately, Beijing has more than just Afghanistan in mind. The Chinese want to take away our sovereignty, and that of other nations, and rule the world. They actually even want to rule the near parts of the solar system. Yes, that does sound far‑fetched, but, no, I'm not exaggerating. Chinese President Xi Jinping would like to end the current international system. On July 1, in a landmark speech, in connection with the centennial of China's ruling organization, he said this: "The Communist Party of China and the Chinese people, with their bravery and tenacity, solemnly proclaim to the world that the Chinese people are not only good at taking down the old world, but also good in building a new one." By that, China's leader means ending the international system, the Westphalian international system. It means he wants to impose China's imperial‑era notions of governance, where Chinese emperors believed they not only had the Mandate of Heaven over tianxia, or all under Heaven, but that Heaven actually compelled the Chinese to rule the entire world. Xi Jinping has been using tianxia themes for decades, and so have his subordinates, including Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who in September 2017 wrote an article in Study Times, the Central Party School's influential newspaper. In that article, Wang Yi wrote that Xi Jinping's thought on diplomacy ‑‑ a "thought" in Communist Party lingo is an important body of ideological work ‑‑ Wang Yi wrote that Xi Jinping's thought on diplomacy made innovations on and transcended the traditional theories of Western international relations of the past 300 years. Take 2017, subtract 300 years, and you almost get to 1648, which means that Wang Yi, with his time reference, was pointing to the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648, which established the current system of sovereign states. When Wang Yi writes that Xi Jinping wants to transcend that system, he is really telling us that China's leader does not want sovereign states, or at least no more of them than China. This means that when Biden says, "Oh, the Chinese just want to compete with us," he is wrong. They do not want to "compete" within the international system. They do not even want to change that system so it is more to their liking. They want to overthrow it altogether, period. China is also revolutionary with regard to the solar system. Since about 2018, Chinese officials have been talking about the moon and Mars as sovereign Chinese territory. In other words, as part of the People's Republic of China. This means that China considers those heavenly bodies to be like the South China Sea: theirs and theirs alone. This also means that China will exclude other nations from going to the moon and Mars if they have the capability to do so. We do not have to speculate about that: Chinese officials say this is what they are going to do. Let us return to April 2021. Beijing announced the name of its Mars rover. "We are naming the Mars rover Zhurong," the Chinese said, "because Zhurong was the god of fire in Chinese mythology, " How nice. Yes, Zhurong is the god of fire. What Beijing did not tell us is that Zhurong is also the god of war—and the god of the South China Sea. Is Xi Jinping really that bold or that desperate to start another war? Two points. First, China considers the United States to be its enemy. The second point is that the United States is no longer deterring China. China feels it has a big green light to do whatever it wants. On the first point, about our enemy status, we have to go back to May 2019. People's Daily, the most authoritative publication in China, actually carried a piece that declared a "people's war" on the US. This was not just some isolated thought. On August 29th 2021, People's Daily came out with a landmark piece that accused the United States of committing "barbaric" acts against China. Again, this was during a month of hostile propaganda blasts from China. On the August 29th, Global Times, which is controlled by People's Daily, came right out and also said that the United States was an enemy or like an enemy. We Americans don't pay attention to propaganda. The question is, should we be concerned about what China is saying? After all, these are just words. At this particular time, these words are significant. The strident anti‑Americanism suggests to me that China is laying the justification for a strike on the United States. We keep ignoring what Beijing is saying. We kept ignoring what Osama bin Laden was saying. We have to remember that the Chinese regime, unlike the Japanese, always warn its adversaries about what it is going to do. Jim Lilley, our great ambassador to Beijing during the Tiananmen Massacre, actually said that China always telegraphs its punches. At this moment, China is telegraphing a punch. That hostility, unfortunately, is not something we can do very much about. The Chinese Communist regime inherently idealizes struggle, and it demands that others show subservience to it. The second reason war is coming is that America's deterrence of China is breaking down. That is evident from what the Chinese are saying. In March of 2021, China sent its top two diplomats, Yang Jiechi and Wang Yi, to Anchorage to meet our top officials, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. Yang, in chilling words, said the US could no longer talk to China "from a position of strength." We saw the same theme during the fall of Kabul. China then was saying, "Look, those Americans, they can't deal with the insurgent Taliban. How can they hope to counter us magnificent Chinese?" Global Times actually came out with a piece referring to Americans: "They can't win wars anymore." We also saw propaganda at that same time directed at Taiwan. Global Times was saying, again, in an editorial, an important signal of official Chinese thinking, "When we decide to invade, Taiwan will fall within hours and the US will not come to help." It is probably no coincidence that this propaganda came at the time of incursions into Taiwan's air-defense identification zone. We need to be concerned with more than just the intensity and with the frequency of these flights, however. We have to be concerned that China was sending H‑6K bombers; they are nuclear‑capable. Something is wrong. Global Times recently came out with an editorial with the title, "Time to warn Taiwan secessionists and their fomenters: war is real." Beijing is at this moment saying things heard before history's great conflicts. The Chinese regime right now seems to be feeling incredibly arrogant. We heard this on November 28th in 2020, when Di Dongsheng, an academic in Beijing, gave a lecture live-streamed to China. Di showed the arrogance of the Chinese elite. More importantly, he was showing that the Chinese elite no longer wanted to hide how they felt. Di, for instance, openly stated that China could determine outcomes at the highest levels of the American political system. Di's message was that with cash, China can do anything it wants, and that all Americans would take cash. He mentioned two words in this regard: Hunter Biden. Unfortunately, President Joe Biden is reinforcing this notion. China, for instance, has so far killed nearly one million Americans with a disease that it deliberately spread beyond its borders. Yet, what happened? Nothing. We know that China was able to spread this disease with its close relationship with the World Health Organization. President Trump, in July of 2020, took us out of the WHO. What did Biden do? In his first hours in office, on January 20th, 2021, he put us back into the WHO. In February, he had a two‑hour phone call with Xi Jinping. By Biden's own admission, he didn't raise the issue of the origins of COVID‑19 even once. If you are Xi Jinping, after you put down the receiver, your first thought is, "I just got away with killing hundreds of thousands of Americans." Then there's somebody named John Kerry. Our republic is not safe when John Kerry carries a diplomatic passport, as he now does. He is willing to make almost any deal to get China to sign an enhanced climate arrangement. Kerry gave a revealing interview to David Westin of Bloomberg on September 22, 2021. Westin asked him, "What is the process by which one trades off climate against human rights?" Climate against human rights? Kerry came back and said, "Well, life is always full of tough choices in the relationship between nations." Tough choices? We Americans need to ask, "What is Kerry willing to give up to get his climate deal?" Democracies tend to deal with each other in the way that Kerry says. If we are nice to a democracy, that will lead to warm relations; warm relations will lead to deals, long‑standing ties. Kerry thinks that the Chinese communists think that way. Unfortunately, they do not. We know this because Kerry's successor as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in February 2009, said in public, "I'm not going to press the Chinese on human rights because I've got bigger fish to fry." She then went to Beijing a day after saying that and got no cooperation from the Chinese. Even worse, just weeks after that, China felt so bold that it attacked an unarmed US Navy reconnaissance vessel in the South China Sea. The attack was so serious that it constituted an act of war. The Chinese simply do not think the way that Kerry believes they do. All of this, when you put it together, means that the risk of war is much higher than we tend to think. Conflict with today's aggressor is going to be more destructive than it was in the 1930s. We have news that China is building something like 345 missile silos in three locations: in Gansu, Xinjiang, and in Inner Mongolia. These silos are clearly built to accommodate the DF‑41. The DF‑41 has a range of about 9,300 miles, which means that it can reach any part of the United States. The DF‑41 carries 10 warheads. This means that China could, in about two years, as some experts think, have a bigger arsenal than ours. China has built decoy silos before. We are not sure they are going to put all 345 missiles into these facilities, but we have to assume the worst because Chinese leaders and Chinese generals, on occasion, unprovoked, have made threats to nuke American cities. This, of course, calls into question their official no‑first‑use policy, and also a lot of other things. China will not talk to us about arms control. We have to be concerned that China and Russia, which already are coordinating their military activities, would gang up against us with their arsenals. In July, 2021 China tested a hypersonic glide warhead, which circled the world. This signals China intends to violate the Outer Space Treaty, to which China is a party. It also shows that in hypersonic technology, which was developed by Americans, China is now at least a decade ahead of us in fielding a weapon. Why is China doing all this now? The country is coming apart at the seams. There is, for instance, a debt crisis. Evergrande and other property developers have started to default. It is more than just a crisis of companies. China is basically now having its 2008. Even more important than that, they have an economy that is stumbling and a food crisis that is worsening year to year. They know their environment is exhausted. Of course, they also are suffering from a continuing COVID‑19 epidemic. To make matters worse, all of this is occurring while China is on the edge of the steepest demographic decline in history in the absence of war or disease. Two Chinese demographers recently stated that China's population will probably halve in 45 years. If you run out those projections, it means that by the end of the century, China will be about a third of its current size, basically about the same number of people as the United States. These developments are roiling the political system. Xi Jinping is being blamed for these debacles. We know he has a low threshold of risk. Xi now has all the incentive in the world to deflect popular and regime discontent by lashing out. In 1966, Mao Zedong, the founder of the People's Republic, was sidelined in Beijing. What did he do? He started the Cultural Revolution. He tried to use the Chinese people against his political enemies. That created a decade of chaos. Xi Jinping is trying to do the same thing with his "common prosperity" program. The difference is that Mao did not have the means to plunge the world into war. Xi, with his shiny new military, clearly does have that ability. So here is a 1930s scenario to consider. The next time China starts a conflict, whether accidentally or on purpose, we could see that China's friends -- Russia, North Korea, Iran, Pakistan -- either in coordination with China or just taking advantage of the situation, move against their enemies. That would be Ukraine in the case of Russia, South Korea in the case of North Korea, Israel in the case of Iran, India in the case of Pakistan, and Morocco in the case of Algeria. We could see crises at both ends of the European landmass and in Africa at the same time. This is how world wars start. *  *  * Question: Why do you believe China attacked the world with coronavirus? Chang: I believe that SARS‑CoV‑2, the pathogen that causes COVID‑19, is not natural. There are, for example, unnatural arrangements of amino acids, like the double‑CGG sequence, that do not occur in nature. We do not have a hundred percent assurance on where this pathogen came from. We do, however, have a hundred percent assurance on something else: that for about five weeks, maybe even five months, Chinese leaders knew that this disease was highly transmissible, from one human to the next, but they told the world that it was not. At the same time as they were locking down their own country ‑‑ Xi Jinping by locking down was indicating that he thought this was an effective way of stopping the disease -- he was pressuring other countries not to impose travel restrictions and quarantines on arrivals from China. It was those arrivals from China that turned what should have been an epidemic confined to the central part of China, into a global pandemic. As of today, more than eight million people have died outside China. What happened? No one imposed costs on China. For at least a half‑decade, maybe a little bit longer, Chinese military researchers have been openly writing about a new type of biological warfare. This was, for instance, in the 2017 edition of "The Science of Military Strategy," the authoritative publication of China's National Defense University. They talk about a new type of biological warfare of "specific ethnic genetic attacks." In other words, pathogens that will leave the Chinese immune but sicken and kill everybody else, which means that the next disease from China can be a civilization killer. Remember, Xi Jinping must be thinking, "I just got away with killing eight million people. Why wouldn't I unleash a biological attack on the United States? Look what the virus has done not only to kill Americans but also to divide American society." A lot of military analysts talk about how the first seconds of a war with China are going to be fought in outer space. They are going to blind our satellites, take them down, do all sorts of stuff. Those statements are wrong. The first day of war against the United States occurs about six months earlier, when they release pathogens in the United States. Then we are going to have that day in space. The war starts here, with a pathogen ‑‑ a virus, a microbe, a bug of some kind. That is where it begins. Question: You mentioned 1939. Taiwan is the Poland of today. We get mixed signals: Biden invites the Taiwanese foreign minister to his inauguration, but then we hear Ned Price, his State Department spokesman, say that America will always respect the One‑China policy. Meaning, we're sidelining defending Taiwan? Chang: The One‑China policy is something many people misunderstand. Probably because Beijing uses propaganda to try to fuzzy up the issue. China has a One‑China principle: that Taiwan is part of the People's Republic of China, full stop. We have a One‑China policy, which is different. We recognize Beijing as the legitimate government of China. We also say that the status of Taiwan is unresolved. Then, the third part of our One‑China policy is that the resolution of the status of Taiwan must be with the consent of people on both sides of the Strait. In other words, that is code for peace, a peaceful resolution. Our policies are defined by the One‑China policy, the Three Communiques, Reagan's Six Assurances, and the Taiwan Relations Act. Our policy is difficult for someone named Joe Biden to articulate, because he came back from a campaign trip to Michigan, and he was asked by a reporter about Taiwan, and Biden said, "Don't worry about this. We got it covered. I had a phone call with Xi Jinping and he agreed to abide by the Taiwan agreement." In official US discourse, there is no such thing as a "Taiwan agreement." Some reporter then asked Ned Price what did Biden mean by the Taiwan agreement. Ned Price said, "The Taiwan agreement means the Three Communiques the Six Assurances, the Taiwan Relations Act, and the One‑China policy." Ned Price could not have been telling the truth because Xi Jinping did not agree to America's position on Taiwan. That is clear. There is complete fuzziness or outright lying in the Biden administration about this. Biden's policies on Taiwan are not horrible, but they are also not appropriate for this time. decades, we have had this policy of "strategic ambiguity," where we do not tell either side what we would do in the face of imminent conflict. That worked in a benign period. We are no longer in a benign period. We are in one of the most dangerous periods in history. We need a policy of "strategic clarity," where we tell China that we will defend Taiwan. We also say we will extend a mutual defense treaty to Taiwan if it wants it, and we will put American troops on the island as a tripwire. Question: You think he is not saying that because he has no intention of actually doing it, so in a way, he is telling the truth? Chang: The mind of Biden is difficult to understand. We do not know what the administration would do. We have never known, after Allen Dulles, what any administration would do, with regard to Taiwan. We knew what Dulles would have done. We have got to be really concerned because there are voices in the administration that would give Taiwan, and give other parts of the world, to China. It would probably start with John Kerry; that is only a guess. Question: You mentioned earlier the growing Chinese economic problems. Would you use taking action on the enormous trade deficits we run with China to contribute to that problem? Chang: Yes, we should absolutely do that. Go back to a day which, in my mind, lives in infamy, which is January 15th, 2020, when President Trump signed the Phase One trade deal, which I think was a mistake. In that Phase One trade deal, it was very easy for China to comply, because there were specific targets that China had to meet in buying US goods and services. This was "managed trade." China has not met its obligations. As of a few months ago, China had met about 62% of its commitments. That means, they have dishonored this deal in a material and significant way. If nothing else, China has failed to meet its Phase One trade deal commitments. We should be increasing the tariffs that President Trump imposed under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. Remember, those tariffs are meant to be a remedy for the theft of US intellectual property. China has continued to steal US IP. As matter of fact, it has gotten worse: for instance, these Chinese anti‑lawsuit injunctions, which they have started to institute. We need to do something: China steals somewhere between $300 to $600 billion worth of US intellectual property each year. That is a grievous wound on the US economy, it is a grievous wound on our society in general. We need to do something about it. Question: As a follow‑up on that, Japan commenced World War II because of the tariffs Roosevelt was strapping on oil imports into Japan, do you think that might well have the same effect on China, where we do begin to impose stiffer tariffs on American imports? Chang: That is a really important question, to which nobody has an answer. I do not think that China would start a war over tariffs. Let me answer this question in a different way. We are Americans. We naturally assume that there are solutions, and good solutions, to every problem. After three decades of truly misguided China policy, there are no good solutions. There are no solutions that are "undangerous." Every solution, going forward, carries great risk. The current trend of policy is unsustainable. There will be no American republic if we continue to do what we are currently doing and if we continue to allow China to do what it does. I do not think that enforcing a trade deal will start World War III. The point is, we have no choice right now. First, I don't think the Chinese were ever going to honor the Phase One agreement . This was not a deal where there were some fuzzy requirements. This deal was very clear: China buys these amounts of agricultural products by such and such date, China buys so many manufactured products by such and such date. This was not rocket science. China purposefully decided not to honor it. There are also other issues regarding the trade deal do not think that we should be trying to foster integration of Wall Street into China's markets, which is what the Phase One deal also contemplated. Goldman Sachs ran away like a bandit on that. There are lot of objections to it. I do not think we should be trading with China, for a lot of reasons. The Phase One trade deal, in my mind, was a great mistake. Do not take it from me, just look at their failure to comply with very simple, easy‑to‑comply-with requirements. It was a mistake. Question: Concerning cybersecurity, as we saw in the recent departure of a Pentagon official, ringing the alarm on how we are completely vulnerable to China's cyberattacks. From your perspective, what would an attack look like on China that would hurt them? What particular institutions would be the most vulnerable? Is it exposing their secrets? Is it something on their financial system? Is it something on their medical system or critical infrastructure? What does the best way look like to damage them? Also, regarding what you mentioned about Afghanistan, we know that China has been making inroads into Pakistan as a check on American hegemony in relationships with India and Afghanistan. Now that the Afghanistan domino is down, what do you see in the future for Pakistan's nuclear capability, in conjunction with Chinese backing, to move ever further westward towards Afghanistan, and endangering Middle East security? Chang: Right now, India has been disheartened by what happened, because India was one of the main backers of the Afghan government. What we did in New Delhi was delegitimize our friends, so that now the pro‑Russian, the pro‑Chinese elements in the Indian national security establishment are basically setting the tone. This is terrible. What has happened, though, in Pakistan itself, is not an unmitigated disaster for us, because China has suffered blowback there. There is an Afghan Taliban, and there is a Pakistani Taliban. They have diametrically‑opposed policies on China. The Afghan Taliban is an ally of China; the Pakistani Taliban kill Chinese. They do that because they want to destabilize Pakistan's capital, Islamabad. Beijing supports Islamabad. The calculation on part of the Pakistani Taliban is, "We kill Chinese, we destabilize Islamabad, we then get to set up the caliphate in Pakistan." What has happened is, with this incredible success of the Afghan Taliban, that the Pakistani Taliban has been re‑energized -- not good news for China. China has something called the China‑Pakistan Economic Corridor, part of their Belt and Road Initiative. Ultimately that is going to be something like $62 billion of investment into Pakistani roads, airports, electric power plants, utilities, all the rest of it. I am very happy that China is in Pakistan, because they are now dealing with a situation that they have no solutions to. It's like Winston Churchill on Italy, "It's now your turn." We should never have had good relations with Pakistan. That was always a short‑term compromise that, even in the short term, undermined American interests. The point is that China is now having troubles in Pakistan because of their success in Afghanistan. Pakistan is important to China for a number of reasons. One of them is, they want it as an outlet to the Indian Ocean that bypasses the Malacca Strait -- a choke point that the US Navy ‑‑ in their view ‑‑ could easily close off, which is correct. They want to bypass that, but their port in Gwadar is a failure in many respects. Gwadar is in Pakistan's Baluchistan. The Baluchs are one of the most oppressed minorities on earth. They have now taken to violence against the Chinese, and they have been effective. Pakistan is a failure for China. The best response would be if we hit them with everything at once because China right now is weak. If we were going to pick the number one thing to do, I would think trade. Trade is really what they need right now. Their economy is stalling. There are three parts to the Chinese economy, as there are to all economies: consumption, investment, and net exports. Their consumption right now is extremely weak from indicators that we have. The question is can they invest? China now has a debt crisis, so they are not going to invest their way out of this crisis, which means the only way they can save their economy is net exports. We should stop buying their stuff. We have extraordinary supply chain disruptions right now. It should be pretty easy for us to make the case that we must become self‑sufficient on a number of items. Hit them on trade. Hit them on investment, publicize the bank account details of Chinese leaders. All these things that we do, we do it all at the same time. We can maybe get rid of these guys. Question: In the Solomon Islands, they published China's under-the-table payments to political figures. Should we do the same thing with China's leaders? Chang: Yes. There is now a contest for the Solomon Islands, which includes Guadalcanal. China has bought the political establishment in the Solomon Islands, except for one brave man named David Suidani. Recently, somebody got the bright idea of publishing all of the specific payments that Beijing has made to Solomon Islands politicians. This was really good news. We should be doing this with payments to American politicians, we should be doing this across the board. Why don't we publish their payments to politicians around the world? Let's expose these guys, let's go after them. Let's root out Chinese influence, because they are subverting our political system. Similarly, we should also be publishing the bank account details of all these Chinese leaders, because they are corrupt as hell. Question: Could you comment, please, on what you think is the nature of the personal relationships between Hunter Biden, his father, and Chinese financial institutions. How has it, if at all, affected American foreign policy towards China, and how will it affect that policy? Chang: There are two things here. There are the financial ties. Hunter Biden has connections with Chinese institutions, which you cannot explain in the absence of corruption. For instance, he has a relationship with Bohai Harvest Partners, BHR. China puts a lot of money into the care of foreign investment managers. The two billion, or whatever the number is, is not that large, but they only put money with people who have a track record in managing investments. Hunter Biden only has a track record of being the son of Joe Biden. There are three investigations of Hunter Biden right now. There is the Wilmington US Attorney's Office, the FBI -- I don't place very much hope in either of these – but the third one might actually bear some fruit: the IRS investigation of Hunter Biden. Let us say, for the moment, that Biden is able to corrupt all three of these investigations. Yet money always leaves a trail. We are going to find out one way or another. Peter Schweizer, for instance, is working on a book on the Biden cash. Eventually, we are going to know about that. What worries me is not so much the money trail -- and of course, there's the art sales, a subject in itself, because we will find out. What worries me is that Hunter Biden, by his own admission, is a troubled individual. He has been to China a number of times. He has probably committed some embarrassing act there, which means that the Ministry of State Security has audio and video recordings of this. Those are the things that can be used for blackmail. We Americans would never know about it, because blackmail does not necessarily leave a trail. This is what we should be most concerned about. Biden has now had two long phone calls with Xi Jinping. The February call, plus also one a few months ago. We do not know what was said. I would be very worried that when Xi Jinping wants to say something, there will be a phone call to Biden, and it would be Xi doing the talking without note takers. Question: Please tell us about the China desk over the 30 years, the influence of the bureaucracy on politics; what can they affect? Chang: I do not agree with our China policy establishment in Washington, in general, and specifically the State Department and NSC. This a complicated issue. First, there is this notion after the end of the Cold War, that the nature of governments did not matter. You could trade with them, you could strengthen them, and it would not have national security implications. That was wrong for a number of reasons, as we are now seeing. What bothers me is that, although their assumptions about China have demonstrably been proven wrong, American policymakers still continue with the same policies. There is, in some people's mind, an unbreakable view that we have to cooperate with China. You hear this from Blinken all the time: "We've got to cooperate where we can." It is this formulation which is tired, and which has not produced the types of policies that are necessary to defend our republic. That is the unfortunate thing. This is what people learn in international relations school when they go to Georgetown, and they become totally stupid. We Americans should be upset because we have a political class that is not defending us. They are not defending us because they have these notions of China. George Kennan understood the nature of the Soviet Union. I do not understand why we cannot understand the true nature of the Chinese regime. Part of it is because we have Wall Street, we have Walmart, and they carry China's water. There are more of us than there are of them in this country. We have to exercise our vote to make sure that we implement China policies that actually protect us. Policies that protect us are going to be drastic and they will be extreme, but absolutely, we have now dug ourselves into such a hole after three decades of truly misguided views on China, that I don't know what else to say. This is not some partisan complaint. Liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, all have truly misguided China policies. I do not know what it takes to break this view, except maybe for the deaths of American servicemen and women. Question: Is the big obstacle American businesses which, in donations to Biden, are the ones stopping decoupling of commerce, and saying, "Do not have war; we would rather earn money"? Chang: It is. You have, for instance, Nike. There are a number of different companies, but Nike comes to mind right now, because they love to lecture us about racism. For years they were operating a factory in Qingdao, in the northeastern part of China, that resembled a concentration camp. The laborers were Uighur and Kazakh women, brought there on cattle cars and forced to work. This factory, technically, was operated by a South Korean sub‑contractor, but that contractor had a three‑decade relationship with Nike. Nike had to know what was going on. This was forced labor, perhaps even slave labor. Clearly, Nike and Apple and other companies are now, at this very moment, trying to prevent Congress from enacting toughened rules on the importation of forced‑labor products into our country. One of the good things Trump did was, towards the end of his four years, he started to vigorously enforce the statutes that are already on the books, about products that are made with forced and slave labor. Biden, to his credit, has continued tougher enforcement. Right now, the big struggle is not the enforcement, but enhancing those rules. Apple and all of these companies are now very much trying to prevent amendment of those laws. It's business, but it's also immoral. Question: It is not just big Wall Street firms. There are companies that print the Bible. Most Bibles are now printed in China. When President Trump imposed the tariffs, a lot of the Bible printers who depended on China actually went to Trump and said, "You cannot put those tariffs in because then the cost of Bibles will go up." Chang: Most everyone lobbies for China. We have to take away their incentive to do so. Question: What are the chances that China's going to invade Taiwan? Chang: There is no clear answer. There are a number of factors that promote stability. One of them is that, for China to invade Taiwan, Xi Jinping has to give some general or admiral basically total control over the Chinese military. That makes this flag officer the most powerful person in China. Xi is not about to do that. Moreover, the Chinese regime is even more casualty‑adverse than we are. Even if Beijing thinks it can take Taiwan by force, it is probably not going to invade because it knows an invasion would be unpopular with most people in China. It is not going to risk hundreds of thousands of casualties that would result from an invasion. The reason we have to be concerned is because it is not just a question of Xi Jinping waking up one morning and saying, "I want to invade Taiwan." The danger is the risk of accidental contact, in the skies or on the seas, around Taiwan. We know that China has been engaging in hostile conduct, and this is not just the incursions into Taiwan's air-defense identification zone. There are also dangerous intercepts of the US Navy and the US Air Force in the global commons. One of those accidents could spiral out of control. We saw this on April 1st, 2001, with the EP‑3, where a Chinese jet clipped the wing of that slow‑moving propeller plane of the US Navy. The only reason we got through it was that George W. Bush, to his eternal shame, paid China a sum that was essentially a ransom. He allowed our crew to be held for 11 days. He allowed the Chinese to strip that plane. This was wrong. This was the worst incident in US diplomatic history, but Bush's craven response did get us through it. Unfortunately, by getting through it we taught the Chinese that they can without cost engage in these dangerous maneuvers of intercepting our planes and our ships. That is the problem: because as we have taught the Chinese to be more aggressive, they have been. One of these incidents will go wrong. The law of averages says that. Then we have to really worry. Question: You don't think Xi thinks, "Oh well, we can sacrifice a few million Chinese"? Chang: On the night of June 15th, 2020, there was a clash between Chinese and Indian soldiers in Ladakh, in the Galwan Valley. That was a Chinese sneak attack on Indian-controlled territory. That night, 20 Indian soldiers were killed. China did not admit to any casualties. The Indians were saying that they killed about 45 Chinese soldiers that night. Remember, this was June 15th of 2020. It took until February of 2021 for China to admit that four Chinese soldiers died. TASS, the Russian news agency, recently issued a story reporting that 45 Chinese soldiers actually died that night. This incident shows you how risk‑averse and casualty‑averse the Chinese Communist Party is. They are willing to intimidate, they are willing to do all sorts of things. They are, however, loath to fight sustained engagements. Remember, that the number one goal of Chinese foreign policy is not to take over Taiwan. The number one goal of Chinese foreign policy is to preserve Communist Party rule. If the Communist Party feels that the Chinese people are not on board with an invasion of Taiwan, they will not do it even if they think they will be successful. Right now, the Chinese people are not in any mood for a full‑scale invasion of Taiwan. On the other hand, Xi Jinping has a very low threshold of risk. He took a consensual political system where no Chinese leader got too much blame or too much credit, because everybody shared in decisions, and Xi took power from everybody, which means, he ended up with full accountability, which means -- he is now fully responsible. In 2017, when everything was going China's way, this was great for Xi Jinping because he got all the credit. Now in 2021, where things are not going China's way, he is getting all the blame. The other thing, is that Xi has raised the cost of losing a political struggle in China. In the Deng Xiaoping era, Deng reduced the cost of losing a struggle. In the Maoist era, if you lost a struggle, you potentially lost your life. In Deng's era, if you lost a struggle, you got a nice house, a comfortable life. Xi Jinping has reversed that. Now the cost of losing a political struggle in China is very high. So there is now a combination of these two developments. Xi has full accountability. He knows that if he is thrown out of power, he loses not just power. He loses his freedom, his assets, potentially his life. If he has nothing to lose, however, it means that he can start a war, either "accidentally" or on purpose. He could be thinking, "I'm dying anyway, so why don't I just roll the dice and see if I can get out of this?" That is the reason why this moment is so exceedingly risky. When you look at the internal dynamics inside China right now, we are dealing with a system in crisis. Question: China has a conference coming up in a year or so. What does Chairman Xi want to do to make sure he gets through that conference with triumph? Chang: The Communist Party has recently been holding its National Congresses once every five years. If the pattern follows -- and that is an if -- the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party will be held either October or November of next year. This is an important Congress, more so than most of them because Xi Jinping is looking for an unprecedented third term as general secretary of the Communist Party. If you go back six months ago, maybe a year, everyone was saying, "Oh, Xi Jinping. No problem. He's president for life. He's going to get his third term. He will get his fourth term. He will get his fifth term, as long as he lives. This guy is there forever." Right now, that assumption is no longer valid. We do not know what's going to happen because he is being blamed for everything. Remember, as we get close to the 20th National Congress, Xi Jinping knows he has to show "success." Showing "success" could very well mean killing some more Indians or killing Americans or killing Japanese or something. We just don't know what is going to happen. Prior to the National Congress, there is the sixth plenum of the 19th Congress. Who knows what is going to happen there. The Communist Party calendar, as you point out, does dictate the way Xi Jinping interacts with the world. Question: Going back to the wing-clip incident, what should Bush have done? Chang: What Bush should have done is immediately demand the return of that plane. What he should have done was to impose trade sanctions, investment sanctions, whatever, to get our plane back. We were fortunate, in the sense that our aviators were returned, but they were returned in a way that has made relations with China worse, because we taught the Chinese regime to be more aggressive and more belligerent. We created the problems of today and of tomorrow. I would have imposed sanction after sanction after sanction, and just demand that they return the plane and the pilots. Remember, that at some point, it was in China's interests to return our aviators. The costs would have been too high for the Chinese to keep them. We did not use that leverage on them. While we are on this topic, we should have made it clear to the Chinese leadership that they cannot kill Americans without cost. Hundreds of thousands Americans have been killed by a disease that China deliberately spread. In one year, from 2020 to 2021, nearly 80,000 Americans died from fentanyl, which China has purposefully, as a matter of state and Communist Party policy -- sold to Americans. China is killing us. We have to do something different. I'm not saying that we have good solutions; we don't. But we have to change course. Question: Biden is continuing this hostage thing with Huawei, returning the CFO of Huawei in exchange for two Canadians. Have we taught the Chinese that they can grab more hostages? Chang: President Trump was right to seek the extradition of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies. Biden, in a deal, released her. She did not even have to plead guilty to any Federal crime. She signed a statement, which I hope we'll be able to use against Huawei. As soon as Meng was released, China released the "two Michaels," the two Canadians who were grabbed within days of our seeking extradition of Meng Wanzhou. In other words, the two Michaels were hostages. We have taught China that any time that we try to enforce our own laws, they can just grab Americans. They have grabbed Americans as hostages before, but this case is high profile. They grabbed Americans, and then they grabbed Canadians, and they got away with it. They are going to do it again. We are creating the incentives for Beijing to act even more dangerously and lawlessly and criminally in the future. This has to stop. Question: On the off-chance that the current leader does not maintain his position, what are your thoughts on the leaders that we should keep an eye on? Chang: There is no one who stands out among the members of the Politburo Standing Committee. That is purposeful. Xi Jinping has made sure that there is nobody who can be considered a successor; that is the last thing he wants. If there is a change in leadership, the new leader probably will come from Jiang Zemin's Shanghai Gang faction. Jiang was China's leader before Hu Jintao, and Hu came before Xi Jinping. There is now a lot of factional infighting. Most of the reporting shows that Jiang has been trying to unseat Xi Jinping because Xi has been putting Jiang's allies in jail. Remember, the Communist Party is not a monolith. It has a lot of factions. Jiang's faction is not the only one. There is something called the Communist Youth League of Hu Jintao. It could, therefore, be anybody. Question: Double question: You did not talk about Hong Kong. Is Hong Kong lost forever to the Chinese Communist Party? Second question, if you could, what are the three policies that you would change right away? Chang: Hong Kong is not lost forever. In Hong Kong, there is an insurgency. We know from the history of insurgencies that they die away -- and they come back. We have seen this in Hong Kong. The big protests in Hong Kong, remember, 2003, 2014, 2019. In those interim periods, everyone said, "Oh, the protest movement is gone." It wasn't. China has been very effective with its national security law, but there is still resistance in Hong Kong. There is still a lot of fight there. It may not manifest itself for quite some time, but this struggle is not over, especially if the United States stands behind the people there. Biden, although he campaigned on helping Hong Kong, has done nothing. On the second question, I would close China's four remaining consulates. I would also strip the Chinese embassy down to the ambassador and his personal staff. The thousands who are in Washington, DC, they would be out. I would also raise tariffs to 3,600%, or whatever. This is a good time to do it. We have supply chain disruptions. We are not getting products from China anyway. We can actually start to do this sort of stuff. The third thing, I would do what Pompeo did, just hammer those guys all the time verbally. People may think, "Those are just words." For communists, words are really important, because they are an insecure regime where propaganda is absolutely critical. I would be going after the Communists on human rights, I would be going after them on occupying the South China Sea, on Taiwan, unrelentingly -- because I would want to show the world that the United States is no longer afraid of China. We have taught the world that we are afraid of dealing with the Chinese. State Department people, they are frightened. We need to say to the Chinese regime, like Dulles, "I'm not afraid of you. I'm going after you, and I'm going to win." Tyler Durden Sun, 05/01/2022 - 23:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 2nd, 2022

Why Sanctions Don"t Work, And Why They Mostly Hurt Ordinary People

Why Sanctions Don't Work, And Why They Mostly Hurt Ordinary People Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute, The United States and its Western European allies have in recent days repeatedly increased economic sanctions against not only the Russian regime, but against millions of ordinary Russians. It has done this by cutting much of Russian trade and Russian finance out of international markets. Moody's and S&P Global have both downgraded Russia's credit rating. The US has frozen Russian reserves and cut many Russian banks off from SWIFT, the international banking communications system. Europe is planning on big cuts to its purchases of natural gas from Russia. The US is mulling a stop on all purchases of Russian crude. The ruble has fallen to a record low against the dollar. Russia is at risk of defaulting on its foreign debts for the first time in more than a century. Many of the sanctions appear targeted at only certain wealthy Russians, but these moves greatly increase perceptions of geopolitical risk for anyone with Russian investments or investments connected to Russia. That means many investors and corporations will "voluntarily" cut back their activities in Russia to reduce risk and because they figure they might be targeted next. Ground-up pressure is mounting also: corporations like Coca-Cola and McDonald's are being pressured to close their operations—and thus lay off all their workers—in Russia. This means a real decline in overall investment in Russia far beyond just some Russian banks and oligarchs. The trickle-down effect to ordinary Russians will be immense. Purchasing power, incomes, and employment will be significantly impacted, and many Russians will suffer serious setbacks to their standards of living. The Russian ruling class will be affected too, but given they live much further from subsistence levels, they'll fare much better overall. And yet if history is any guide, the sanctions won't work to get the Russian military out of Ukraine or to achieve regime change in Russia. The Political Logic of Sanctions The idea behind sanctions has long been to make the population suffer so that "the people" will revolt against the ruling regime and force it to cease the policies that the sanction-imposing regimes find objectionable. In many cases, the stated goal is regime change. It's essentially the same philosophy behind Allied efforts to bomb German civilians during World War II: it was assumed the bombing would ruin civilians' morale and lead to domestic demands that Berlin surrender. Economic sanctions are less despicable than bombers targeting civilians, of course, but they are also likely less effective. Instead of convincing the domestic population to abandon their own regime, foreign attacks on civilians—whether military or economic—often cause the domestic population to double down on their opposition to foreign powers. Nationalism Trumps Economic Interests When it comes to economic sanctions, there are several reasons that sanctions fail to achieve stated ends. First of all, sanctions will fail unless there is near universal cooperation from other states. In the case of the American embargo of Cuba, for instance, few other states cooperated, which meant the Cuban state and the Cuban population could obtain resources from many sources other than the United States. US-led sanctions against Iran, on the other hand, have been more successful because a large number of key trading states have cooperated with the sanctions. The situation with Russia sanctions are likely to be somewhere between Cuba and Iran. While several key Western states like the US and the UK have taken a hard line against Russia, many other sizable states have been reluctant to impose similar sanctions. Germany, for example, has refused to impose sanctions in the near term, noting that Germany—as well as much of Europe—cannot meet its energy needs without first making time-consuming changes in energy policy and industrial output. Several key medium-sized states have shied away from a hard line on sanctions as well. India, for instance, has refused to void a weapons agreement with Russia. Mexico has stated it will not impose sanctions, and Brazil states it is seeking out a neutral position. Most importantly, China has not cooperated with US-led sanction efforts, and China stands to benefit from sanctions imposed by other states. While China has not yet signaled outright support for Moscow, it nonetheless abstained in the UN vote condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This is likely less than what Moscow hoped for, but Russia can likely count on China as a willing buyer of Russian oil and other resources. After all, China has been uncooperative with US-led sanctions in Iran, and has been a significant buyer of Iranian oil. China is likely to strike similar deals with Russia. Moreover, if Russia faces a restricted number of buyers for oil, this gives Beijing more leverage in obtaining Russian resources at a discount. So long as Russia can continue to trade with sizable states like China, Mexico, Brazil, and possibly India, Russia will not face the sort of isolation the US hopes to impose. A second reason that sanctions fail is that nationalism—a potent force among most populations—tends to impel sanctioned populations to support the regime when they are threatened. As Robert Keohane has noted, even in noncrisis situations, nationalism can be a general source of strength for a state, since nationalism can unify populations behind the regime. Moreover, as John Mearsheimer shows in The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities: "Nationalism is an enormously powerful political ideology…. There is no question that liberalism and nationalism can coexist, but when they clash, nationalism almost always wins." That is, in crisis situations, we can often expect even disgruntled liberal reformers to defer to nationalistic impulses over liberal ones, further strengthening national opposition to sanctions imposed from the outside.  To see the plausibility of our claims, we need look no further than the United States, which has long been remarkably safe from any realistic threat of foreign conquest. Yet even in the United States, it doesn't take much in terms of foreign aggression to convince the population to unite in support of the regime. Certainly, the regime has rarely enjoyed more support than in the wake of Pearl Harbor and 9/11. Were some foreign power—say, China—to attempt to coerce Americans to commit to regime change through economic sanctions, it's hard to imagine this would produce much support for the foreign power in the US.  Similarly, US sanctions have not exactly invigorated pro-American or antiregime efforts in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, or any other state where the US sought to bring about domestic political change through sanctions.  There are few cases where sanctions might have worked; however, the two go-to examples of this—i.e., Iraq and Serbia—are cases where where economic sanctions were accompanied by overwhelming military force or plausible threats of it. Needless to say, that's a very specific type of sanction, and has little to do with a conflict involving a nuclear power like Russia. Sanctions might also bring undesirable side effects. As Richard Haass at the Brookings Institution shows: Trying to compel others to join a sanctions effort by threatening secondary sanctions against third parties unwilling to sanction the target can cause serious harm to a variety of U.S. foreign policy interests. This is what happened when sanctions were introduced against overseas firms who violated the terms of U.S. legislation affecting Cuba, Iran, and Libya. This threat may have had some deterrent effect on the willingness of certain individuals to enter into proscribed business activities, but at the price of increasing anti-American sentiment…. Sanctions increased the economic distress on Haiti, triggering a dangerous and expensive exodus of people from Haiti to the United States. In the former Yugoslavia, the arms embargo weakened the Bosnian (Muslim) side given the fact that Bosnia's Serbs and Croats had larger stores of military supplies and greater access to additional supplies from outside sources. Military sanctions against Pakistan increased its reliance on a nuclear option, both because the sanctions cut off Islamabad's access to U.S. weaponry and by weakening Pakistani confidence in American reliability. And finally, even if sanctions "worked," that would be insufficient to justify their use. They are, after all, a type of protectionism on steroids and that requires sanctioning American individuals and American firms that run afoul of these government regulations—many of them difficult for Americans to navigate legally. Yet sanctions remain popular because they placate the voters who insist "we" must "do something," and government officials are more than happy to engage in policies that grow state power and can be used to reward friends of the regime. But having the regime "do something" is a dangerous game, and if the voters want to signal their virtuous opposition to perceived foreign enemies, the voters can always take action on their own. If Americans don't like Russian goods and services, they're free to boycott these goods, just as Americans boycotted British goods during the Revolution. But embracing yet more federal power in the name of teaching foreign regimes a lesson tends to harm ordinary people in many ways few can anticipate, while also potentially placing many Americans in legal jeopardy. And all of this will be done, no less, with little hope of success. Tyler Durden Sat, 03/12/2022 - 17:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytMar 12th, 2022

Congress" favorite combat jet wouldn"t last long in a war against Russia or China

The Pentagon is buying new wings to keep the A-10s flying, even as questions persist about whether itcan survive over modern battlefields. An A-10 Thunderbolt.US Air Force The A-10 Thunderbolt was developed to take on Soviets tanks and is still roaming the battlefield. The A-10's popularity with Congress has helped it survive the Air Force's efforts to retire it. Against the weaponry now fielded by Russia and China, however, the "Warthog" wouldn't last long. The A-10: A History and a Look at a Bleak Future? One of the most iconic airplanes in the US Air Force's flying inventory is the A-10 Thunderbolt, also affectionately known as the "Warthog."Designed to mow down rows of invading Soviet tanks during an anticipated World War III, the A-10 has served in most of America's post-Cold War conflicts, from the Balkans to Afghanistan.A recent Pentagon contract to manufacture new wingsets promises to keep a decent amount of aircraft flying into the foreseeable future, even as questions persist about whether the A-10 can survive over modern battlefields.A-10 Warthogs: the historyA-10 Warthogs.US Air ForceIn 1967, the US Air Force initiated the A-X program, designed to field a new generation close air support (CAS) aircraft. This was the first for the Air Force, which had traditionally used fighters and light bombers (including the A-10's namesake, the P-47 Thunderbolt) in the CAS role.Although the Air Force's current stable of fighters, including the famous "100 series" planes favored speed above all else, A-X traded speed for survivability, maneuverability at low speeds, loiter time and, most importantly, lethality.After a flyoff against the Northrop A-9, the Fairchild A-10 was picked and the first jets delivered in 1974.The A-10 Thunderbolt is unlike any "fighter" before or since, with survivability features designed to keep it flying during an attack run and make it back to base.The plane featured redundant engineering features designed to keep the plane flying though parts of it were shot away. The two General Electric TF-34 non-afterburning turbofans were moved behind the wing, in order to reduce the plane's infrared signature and protect it from Soviet air defenses such as the SA-7 Grail shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile system.The A-10 pilot sits in a titanium "bathtub" protecting him or her from antiaircraft guns up to 23 millimeters — the primary armament of the ZSU-23-4 mobile air-defense system. The flight-control systems and engines are also encased in titanium plate.An A-10 makes an austere landing and takeoff at the National Training Center in California, June 2019.US Army National Guard/Sgt. Mason CutrerThe A-10 is also designed to be flexible and maneuverable, both in the air and on the ground.The aircraft design stresses maneuverability at slow speeds, allowing the pilot to fly extremely low "nape of the earth" missions to mask its approach to the enemy and to avoid enemy antiaircraft fire. The A-10 is also designed to operate from short, unimproved airstrips in the event regular air base airstrips are put out of action.The Thunderbolt II's best attribute is its armament. The aircraft has 11 external hardpoints for carrying electronic countermeasures, fuel tanks, bombs and missiles. The A-10 can carry up to 24 500-pound bombs, four 2,000-pound bombs or six AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missiles.This enables the A-10 to carry out a number of frontline missions, from close air support to suppression of enemy air defense, and strike key enemy targets such as fuel storage depots, radar installations and field headquarters.The weapon that sets the A-10 apart from the rest of the aircraft world is the nose-mounted GAU-8/A cannon. The large, seven-barreled Gatling gun can fire armor piercing rounds at up to 4,200 rounds per minute, saturating a target area with lethal cannon fire. The GAU-8/A is mounted 2 degrees nose-down and to the left, so that the firing barrel is always on the centerline.The GAU-8/A was an effective weapon for strafing Soviet armor units advancing in a single-file formation, particularly with specially developed tank-killing depleted-uranium ammunition.Even armor-piercing ammunition without depleted uranium could penetrate ZSU-23-4 mobile air-defense systems, BTR-70 wheeled armored personnel carriers and and BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles that made up advancing Soviet motor-rifle regiments, all of which could be opened by the GAU-8/A like cans of sardines.In wartime the A-10 was meant to operate alongside US Army Apache attack helicopters in a so-called Joint Air Attack Team (JAAT) to kill advancing Soviet armor. JAAT doctrine called for Apaches to suppress enemy air defenses, identifying and killing threats to the A-10.An armored vehicle after being struck by an A-10's GAU-8/A cannon.USAFA-10s would then swoop down at a 30-degree angle, hosing down Soviet forces with their Gatling guns. In hindsight, this would not often have worked, as Soviet forces would have advanced too quickly for the interservice teamwork to stop the enemy in time.The A-10's first war was the 1991 Persian Gulf War, when Warthogs were used to kill Iraqi armor units. 132 A-10s flew 7,983 combat missions during the course of the war, killing 987 tanks, 926 artillery pieces, 1,355 armored vehicles, 10 aircraft on the ground and even two flying helicopters shot down with the GAU-8A.After the Gulf War the Air Force planned to do away with the A-10, replacing it with the F-16, but the A-10's success over the battlefield won it a constituency in Congress.In 1999, A-10s flew over Kosovo in NATO's Operation Allied Force, and after 9/11 A-10s flew over both Iraq and Afghanistan. A-10s flying from Incirlik Air Base in Turkey have flown missions against ISIS since at least 2014, and in January 2018, A-10s returned to the skies over Afghanistan after a hiatus of several years.The Air Force has tried to retire the A-10 for more than a quarter-century. The service has consistently argued that the A-10 cannot survive on the modern battlefield and that A-10 funds are better invested in newer planes such as the F-16 Fighting Falcon — and, now, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.Under pressure from the A-10's fans in Congress and the military, the US Air Force is keeping the planes, for now anyway, seeking to manufacture new wings for more than 100 A-10s. This will ensure that at least 280 aircraft will have the structural improvements necessary to keep a viable force of A-10s in the Air Force's inventory.A-10 Warthogs vs. Russia or China in a war (who wins?)A-10 Warthog.Reuters Photographer / ReutersIs the A-10 viable over today's battlefields?Against low-tech enemies with poor air-defense weapons such as ISIS or the Taliban, the A-10 is still a capable platform. Against other, more modern threats such as Russian or Chinese air defenses the A-10 cannot survive on its own.One solution could be to pair the A-10 with air-defense suppression drones. Once drones have neutralized the air-defense threat, A-10s could conduct standoff attacks, loitering at a safe distance while identifying enemy targets and eliminating them with weapons such as newer versions of the Maverick missile or the Small Diameter Bomb.Strafing runs with the GAU-8/A would be less common, but the guns would still see some use against undefended, massed targets.The A-10 is one of the most successful weapons of the post-Cold War era, and has won legions of fans both in and outside the armed services. The temptation is to keep the aircraft flying as long as possible. The trick is to keep the plane around only as long as it is relevant to the modern battlefield.If the A-10 can fight and win for the next generation, so be it. If not, it needs to be retired and a better plane — or solution — takes its place. There is no room for sentiment in the battlefield's lethal skies.Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring, and the Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 13th, 2022

Escobar: Fauci As Darth Vader Of The COVID Wars

Escobar: Fauci As Darth Vader Of The COVID Wars Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times, Robert F Kennedy Jr’s The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health should be front-page news in all the news media in the US. Instead, it has been met with the proverbial thundering silence. Critics seeking to have Kennedy dismissed as a kook trading on a famous name had scored a hit in February, when Instagram permanently deleted his account, allegedly for making false claims about coronavirus and vaccines. Nevertheless, the book, published only a few days ago, is already a certified pop hit on Amazon. RFK Jr., chairman of the board of and chief legal counsel for Children’s Health Defense, sets out to deconstruct a New Normal, encroaching upon all of us since early 2020. In my early 2021 book Raging Twenties I have termed this force techno-feudalism. Kennedy describes it as “rising totalitarianism,” complete with “mass propaganda and censorship, the orchestrated promotion of terror, the manipulation of science, the suppression of debate, the vilification of dissent and use of force to prevent protest.” Focusing on Dr Anthony Fauci as the fulcrum of the biggest story of the 21st century allows RFK Jr to paint a complex canvas of planned militarization and, especially, monetization of medicine, a toxic process managed by Big Pharma, Big Tech and the military/intel complex – and dutifully promoted by mainstream media. By now everyone knows that the big winners have been Big Finance, Big Pharma, Big Tech and Big Data, with a special niche for Silicon Valley behemoths. Why Fauci? RFK Jr. argues that for five decades, he has been essentially a Big Pharma agent, nurturing “a complex web of financial entanglements among pharmaceutical companies and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and its employees that has transformed NIAID into a seamless subsidiary of the pharmaceutical industry. Fauci unabashedly promotes his sweetheart relationship with Pharma as a ‘public-private partnership.’” Arguably the full contours of this very convoluted story have never before been examined along these lines, extensively documented and with a wealth of links. Fauci may not be a household name outside of the US and especially across the Global South. And yet it’s this global audience that should be particularly interested in his story. RFK Jr accuses Fauci of having pursued nefarious strategies since the onset of Covid-19 – from falsifying science to suppressing and sabotaging competitive products that bring lower profit margins. Kennedy’s verdict is stark: “Tony Fauci does not do public health; he is a businessman, who has used his office to enrich his pharmaceutical partners and expand the reach of influence that has made him the most powerful – and despotic – doctor in human history.” This is a very serious accusation. It’s up to readers to examine the facts of the case and decide whether Fauci is some kind of medical Dr Strangelove. No Vitamin D? Pride of place goes to the Fauci-privileged modeling that overestimated Covid deaths by 525%, cooked up by fabricator Neil Ferguson of the Imperial College in London, duly funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This is the model, later debunked, that justified lockdown hysteria all across the planet. Kennedy attributes to Canadian vaccine researcher Dr Jessica Rose the charge that Fauci was at the frontline of erasing the notion of natural immunity even as throughout 2020 the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) admitted that people with healthy immune systems bear minimal risk of dying from Covid. Dr Pierre Kory, president of Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance, was among those who denounced Fauci’s modus operandi of privileging the development of tech vaccines while allowing no space for repurposed medications effective against Covid: “It is absolutely shocking that he recommended no outpatient care, not even Vitamin D.” Clinical cardiologist Peter McCullough and his team of frontline doctors tested prophylactic protocols using, for instance, ivermectin – “we had terrific data from medical teams in Bangladesh” – and added other medications such as azithromycin, zinc, Vitamin D and IV Vitamin C. And all this while across Asia there was widespread use of saline nasal lavages. By July 1, 2020, McCullough and his team submitted their first, ground-breaking protocol to the American Journal of Medicine. It became the most-downloaded paper in the world helping doctors to treat Covid-19. McCullough complained last year that Fauci has never, to date, published anything on how to treat a Covid patient.” He additionally alleged: “Anyone who tries to publish a new treatment protocol will find themselves airtight blocked by the journals that are all under Fauci’s control.” It got much worse. McCullough: “The whole medical establishment was trying to shut down early treatment and silence all the doctors who talked about success. A whole generation of doctors just stopped practicing medicine.” (A contrarian view would argue that McCullough got carried away: A million US doctors – the approximate number practicing at any given time – could not all have been in on it.) The book argues that the reasons there was a lack of original research on how to fight Covid were the dependence of much-vaunted American academics on the billions of dollars granted by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the fact they were terrified of contradicting Fauci. Frontline Covid specialists Kory and McCullough are quoted as charging that Fauci’s suppression of early treatment and off-patent medication was responsible for up to 80% of deaths attributed to Covid in the US. How to kill the competition The book offers a detailed outline of an alleged offensive by Big Pharma to kill hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) – with research mercenaries funded by the Gates-Fauci axis allegedly misinterpreting and misreporting negative results by employing faulty protocols. Kennedy says that Bill Gates by 2020 virtually controlled the whole WHO apparatus, as the largest funder after the US government (before Trump pulled the US out of the WHO) and used the agency to fully discredit HCQ. The book also addresses Lancetgate – when the world’s top two scientific journals, The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine published fraudulent studies from a nonexistent database owned by a previously unknown company. Only a few weeks later both journals – deeply embarrassed and with their hard-earned credibility challenged – withdrew the studies. There was never any explanation as to why they got involved in what could be interpreted as one of the most serious frauds in the history of scientific publishing. But it all served a purpose. For Big Pharma, says Kennedy, killing HCQ and, later, Ivermectin (IVM) were top priorities. Ivermectin happens to be a low-profit competitor to a Merck product, molnupiravir, which is essentially a copycat but capable of retailing at a profitable $700 per course. Fauci was quite excited by a promising study of Gilead’s remdesivir – which not only is not effective against Covid but is a de facto deadly poison, at $3,000 for each treatment. The book suggests that Fauci might have wanted to kill HCQ and IVM because under federal US rules, the FDA’s recognition of both HCQ and IVM would automatically kill remdesivir. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation happens to have a large equity stake in Gilead. A key point for Kennedy is that vaccines were Big Pharma’s Holy Grail. He details how what could be construed as a Fauci-Gates alliance put “billions of taxpayer and tax-deducted dollars into developing” an mRNA “platform for vaccines that, in theory, would allow them to quickly produce new ‘boosters’ to combat each ‘escape variant.'” Vaccines, he writes, “are one of the rare commercial products that multiply profits by failing.… The good news for Pharma was that all of humanity would be permanently dependent on biannual or even triannual booster shots.” Any similarities with our current “booster” reality are not mere coincidence. The final summary of Pfizer’s clinical trial data will raise countless eyebrows. The whole process lasted a mere six months. This is the document that Pfizer submitted to the FDA to win approval for its vaccine. It beggars belief that Pfizer won the FDA’s emergency approval despite showing that the vaccine might prevent one (italics mine) Covid death in every 22,000 vaccine recipients. Peter McCullough: “Because the clinical trial showed that vaccines reduce absolute risk less than 1 percent, those vaccines can’t possibly influence epidemic curves. It’s mathematically impossible.” The Gates matrix Bill Gates – Teflon-protected by virtually all Western mainstream media – describes the operational philosophy of his foundation as “philantrocapitalism.” It’s more like strategic self-philantropy, as both the foundation’s capital and his net worth have been ballooning in style ($23 billion just during the 2020 lockdowns). The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – “a nonprofit fighting poverty, disease and inequity around the world” – invests in multinational pharma, food, agriculture, energy, telecom and global tech companies. It exercises considerable de facto control over international health and agricultural agencies as well as mainstream media – as the Columbia Journalism Review showed in August 2020. Gates, without a graduate degree, not to mention medical school degree (like author Kennedy, it must be noted, whose training was as a lawyer), dispenses wisdom around the world as a health expert. The foundation holds corporate stocks and bonds in Pfizer, Merck, GSK, Novartis and Sanofi, among other giants, and substantial positions in Gilead, AstraZeneca and Moderna. The book delves in minute detail into how Gates controls the WHO (the largest direct donor: $604.2 million in 2018-2019, the latest available numbers). Already in 2011 Gates ordered: “All 183 member states, you must make vaccines a central focus of your health systems.” The next year, the World Health Assembly, which sets the WHO agenda, adopted a Global Vaccine Plan designed by – who else? – the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Foundation also controls the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE), the top advisory group to the WHO on vaccines, as well as the crucial GAVI Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization), which is the second-largest donor to the WHO. GAVI is a Gates “public-private partnership” that essentially corrals bulk sales of vaccines from Big Pharma to poor nations. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, only three month ago, proclaimed that “GAVI is the new NATO”. GAVI’s global HQ is in Geneva. Switzerland has given Gates full diplomatic immunity. Few in East and West know that it was Gates who in 2017 handpicked the WHO’s director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus – who brought no medical degree and a quite dodgy background. Dr Vandana Shiva, India’s leading human rights activist (routinely accused of being merely anti-vax), sums up: “Gates has hijacked the WHO and transformed it into an instrument of personal power that he wields for the cynical purpose of increasing pharmaceutical profits. He has single-handedly destroyed the infrastructure of public health globally. He has privatized our health systems and our food systems to serve his own purposes.” Gaming pandemics The book’s Chapter 12, Germ Games, may be arguably its most explosive, as it focuses on the US bioweapons and biosecurity apparatus, with a special mention to Robert Kadlec, who might claim leadership of the – contagious – logic according to which infectious disease poses a national security threat to the US, thus requiring a militarized response. The book argues that Kadlec, closely linked to spy agencies, Big Pharma, the Pentagon and assorted military contractors, is also linked to Fauci investments in “gain of function” experiments capable of engineering pandemic superbugs. Fauci strongly denies he’s promoted such experiments. Already in 1998 Kadlec had written an internal strategy paper for the Pentagon – though not for Fauci – promoting the role of pandemic pathogens as stealth weapons leaving no fingerprints. Since 2005 DARPA, which invented the internet by building the ARPANET in 1969, has funded biological weapons research. DARPA – call it the Pentagon’s angel investor – also developed the GPS, stealth bombers, weather satellites, pilotless drones, and that prodigy of combat, the M16 rifle. It’s important to remember that in 2017 DARPA funneled $6.5 million through Peter Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance to fund “gain of function” work at the Wuhan lab, on top of gain of function experiments at Fort Detrick. EcoHealth Alliance was the organization through which Kadlec, Fauci and DARPA financed these gain of function experiments. DARPA also developed the GPS, stealth bombers, weather satellites, pilotless drones, and that prodigy of combat, the M16 rifle. In 2017 DARPA funneled $6.5 million through Peter Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance to fund “gain of function” work at the Wuhan lab, on top of gain of function experiments at Fort Detrick. EcoHealth Alliance was the organization through which Kadlec, Fauci and DARPA financed these gain of function experiments, Few people know that DARPA also financed the key tech for the Moderna vaccine, starting way back in 2013. RFK Jr dutifully connects the Germ Games progress, starting with Dark Winter in 2001, which emphasized the Pentagon’s drive towards bioweapon vaccines (the code name was coined by Kadlec); the anthrax attack three weeks after 9/11; Atlantic Storm in 2003 and 2005, focused on the response to a terrorist attack unleashing smallpox; Global Mercury 2003; and Lockstep in 2010, which developed a scenario funded by the Rockefeller Foundation where we find this pearl: During the pandemic, national leaders around the world flexed their authority and imposed airtight rules and restrictions, from the mandatory wearing of face masks to body-temperature checks at the entries to communal spaces like train stations and supermarkets. Even after the pandemic faded, this more authoritarian control and oversight of citizens and their activities stuck and even intensified. In order to protect themselves from the spread of increasingly global problems – from pandemics and transnational terrorism to environmental crises and rising poverty – leaders around the world took a firmer grip on power. RFK Jr paints a picture in which, by mid-2017, the Rockefeller Foundation and US intel agencies had all but crowned Bill Gates as the top financier for the intel/military pandemic simulation business. Enter the MARS (Mountain Associated Respiratory Virus) simulation during the G20 in Germany in 2017. MARS was about a novel respiratory virus that spread out of busy markets in a mountainous border of an unnamed nation that looked very much like China. It gets curiouser and curiouser when one learns that MARS’s two moderators were very close to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and one of them, David Heymann, sat with the Moderna CEO on the Merieux Foundation USA Board. BioMerieux happens to be the French company that built the Wuhan lab. Big Pharma kisses Western intel Afterward came SPARS 2017 at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation happen to be major funders of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. SPARS 2017 gamed a coronavirus pandemic running from 2025 to 2028. As RFK Jr. notes, “the exercise turned out to be an eerily precise predictor of the Covid-19 pandemic.” By 2018 bioweapons expert Peter Daszak was enthroned as the key connector through whom Fauci, Kadlec, DARPA and USAID – which used to be a CIA cover and now reports to the National Security Council – moved grants to fund gain-of-function research, including at the Wuhan Institute of Virology Biosafety Lab. Crimson Contagion, overseen by Kadlec after eight months of planning, came in August 2019. Fauci was on board the self-described “functional exercise,” representing the NIH, alongside the CDC’s Robert Redfield and several members of the National Security Council. The war game was held in secret, nationwide. The After-Action Crimson Contagion Report only came out via a FOIA request. The star of the Gates pandemic show was undoubtedly Event 201 in October 2019, held only 3 weeks before US intel may – or may not – have suspected that Covid-19 was circulating in Wuhan. Event 201 was about a global coronavirus pandemic. RFK Jr. persuasively argues that Event 201 was as close as possible to a “real-time” simulation. The book’s Germ Games chapter leads the reader to acknowledge what mainstream media have simply refused to report: how the pervasive involvement of US (and UK) intel has a secretive – yet dominating – presence in the whole response to Covid-19. A very good example is the Wellcome Trust – the UK version of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – which is a spin-off of Big Pharma’s GlaxoSmith Kline. This epitomizes the marriage between Big Pharma and Western intel. The Wellcome Trust chair, from 2015 to 2020, used to be a former director general of MI5, Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller. She was also chair of the Imperial College since 2001. The “English Dr. Fauci,” Neil Ferguson, of the infamous, deadly wrong models that led to all lockdowns, was an epidemiologist working for the Wellcome Trust. These are only a few of the insights and connections woven through RFK Jr’s book. As a matter of public service, the whole lot should be available for popular scrutiny worldwide. These matters concern the whole planet, especially the Global South. Nobel laureate Luc Montaigner has noted how, “tragically for humanity, there are many, many untruths emanating from Fauci and his minions.” Even more tragic is what emanates from his masters. Tyler Durden Tue, 11/30/2021 - 23:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 1st, 2021