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Tensions are mounting between Russia, China, and Japan

in the Pacific
Lockie 2016 (Alex, Alex Lockie is an Associate News Editor at Business Insider.
He is from Atlanta, and he attended Georgia State University, Tensions are
mounting between Russia, China, and Japan in the Pacific, Business Insider,
March 28, 2016,

Japan on Monday switched on a radar station in the East China Sea, giving it a
permanent intelligence gathering post close to Taiwan and a group of islands
disputed by Japan and China, drawing an angry response from Beijing. The
new Self Defense Force base on the island of Yonaguni is at the western
extreme of a string of Japanese islands in the East China Sea, 150 km (90
miles) south of the disputed islands known as the Senkaku islands in Japan
and the Diaoyu in China. China has raised concerns with its neighbors and in
the West with its assertive claim to most of the South China Sea where the
Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have overlapping claims.
Japan has long been mired in a territorial dispute with China over the East
China Sea islands. "Until yesterday, there was no coastal observation unit
west of the main Okinawa island. It was a vacuum we needed to fill," said
Daigo Shiomitsu, a Ground Self Defense Force lieutenant colonel who
commands the new base on Yonaguni. "It means we can keep watch on
territory surrounding Japan and respond to all situations." Shiomitsu on
Monday attended a ceremony at the base with 160 military personnel and
around 50 dignitaries. Construction of some buildings, which feature white
walls and traditional Okinawan red-tiled roofs, is still unfinished. The 30-sqkm (11-sq-mile) island is home to 1,500 people, who mostly raise cattle and
grow sugar cane. The Self Defense Force contingent and family members will
increase the population by a fifth. "This radar station is going to irritate
China," said Nozomu Yoshitomi, a professor at Nihon University and a retired
major general in the Self Defense Force. In addition to being a listening post,
the facility could be used a base for military operations in the region, he
added. China's defense ministry, in a statement sent to Reuters about the
radar station, voicing claims that the Diaoyu Islands were Chinese territories,
and they oppose "provocative behavior" by the Japanese aimed at them. "The
activities of Chinese ships and aircraft in the relevant waters and airspace are
completely appropriate and legal," the statement read. The listening post fits
into a wider military build-up along the island chain, which stretches 1,400
km (870 miles) from the Japanese mainland. Policy makers last year told
Reuters it was part of a strategy to keep China at bay in the Western Pacific
as Beijing gains control of the South China Sea. Toshi Yoshihara, a US Naval
War College professor, said Yonaguni sits next to two potential flashpoints in
Asia - Taiwan and the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. Yonaguni is only around 100
km (62 miles) east of Taiwan, near the edge of a controversial air defense
identification zone set up by China in 2013. "A network of overlapping radar
sites along the island chain would boost Japan's ability to monitor the East
China Sea," he added. The radar installations also throw cold water on recent

Chinese attempts to create a true blue water navy with access to shipping
lanes and the ability to project naval power globally. Over the next five years,
Japan will increase its Self Defense Force in the East China Sea by about a
fifth to almost 10,000 personnel, including missile batteries that will help
Japan draw a defensive curtain along the island chain. At the same time that
Japan seeks to hedge against Chinese military expansion in the East and
South China Seas, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said last week that
Russia would study the possibility of building a naval base, and deploying
advanced missile systems on what it calls the Kurile islands. Japan claims a
southern segment of the island chain, which was seized by Soviet troops at
the end of World War Two. The territorial row has kept the two countries from
signing a formal peace treaty since. "We've informed the Russian side
through a diplomatic channel that we are concerned about the comment by
Defense Minister Shoigu" Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a
regular news conference. "We've also told them that if this led to the
reinforcement of Russian military infrastructure on the Northern Territories,
that would be incompatible with Japan's stance and regrettable."

Russia Bolsters Its Submarine Fleet, and Tensions With

U.S. Rise
Schmitt April 20, 2016 (Eric, Eric Schmitt is a senior writer who covers
terrorism and national security issues for The New York Times, Russia Bolsters
Its Submarine Fleet, and Tensions With U.S. Rise, New York Times, April 20,

Russian attack submarines, the most in two decades, are prowling the
coastlines of Scandinavia and Scotland, the Mediterranean Sea and the North
Atlantic in what Western military officials say is a significantly increased
presence aimed at contesting American and NATO undersea dominance.
Adm. Mark Ferguson, the United States Navys top commander in Europe,
said last fall that the intensity of Russian submarine patrols had risen by
almost 50 percent over the past year, citing public remarks by the Russian
Navy chief, Adm. Viktor Chirkov. Analysts say that tempo has not changed
since then. The patrols are the most visible sign of a renewed interest in
submarine warfare by President Vladimir V. Putin, whose government has
spent billions of dollars for new classes of diesel and nuclear-powered attack
submarines that are quieter, better armed and operated by more proficient
crews than in the past. The tensions are part of an expanding rivalry and
military buildup, with echoes of the Cold War, between the United States and
Russia. Moscow is projecting force not only in the North Atlantic but also in
Syria and Ukraine and building up its nuclear arsenal and cyberwarfare
capacities in what American military officials say is an attempt to prove its

relevance after years of economic decline and retrenchment. Independent

American military analysts see the increased Russian submarine patrols as a
legitimate challenge to the United States and NATO. Even short of tensions,
there is the possibility of accidents and miscalculations. But whatever the
threat, the Pentagon is also using the stepped-up Russian patrols as another
argument for bigger budgets for submarines and anti-submarine warfare.
American naval officials say that in the short term, the growing number of
Russian submarines, with their ability to shadow Western vessels and
European coastlines, will require more ships, planes and subs to monitor
them. In the long term, the Defense Department has proposed $8.1 billion
over the next five years for undersea capabilities, including nine new
Virginia-class attack submarines that can carry up to 40 Tomahawk cruise
missiles, more than triple the capacity now. Were back to the great powers
competition, Adm. John M. Richardson, the chief of naval operations, said in
an interview. Last week, unarmed Russian warplanes repeatedly buzzed a
Navy destroyer in the Baltic Sea and at one point came within 30 feet of the
warship, American officials said. Last year some of Russias new diesel
submarines launched four cruise missiles at targets in Syria. Mr. Putins
military modernization program also includes new intercontinental ballistic
missiles as well as aircraft, tanks and air defense systems. To be sure, there is
hardly parity between the Russian and American submarine fleets. Russia has
about 45 attack submarines about two dozen are nuclear-powered and 20
are diesel which are designed to sink other submarines or ships, collect
intelligence and conduct patrols. But Western naval analysts say that only
about half of those are able to deploy at any given time. Most stay closer to
home and maintain an operational tempo far below a Cold War peak. The
United States has 53 attack submarines, all nuclear-powered, as well as four
other nuclear-powered submarines that carry cruise missiles and Special
Operations forces. At any given time, roughly a third of Americas attack
submarines are at sea, either on patrols or training, with the others
undergoing maintenance. American Navy officials and Western analysts say
that American attack submarines, which are made for speed, endurance and
stealth to deploy far from American shores, remain superior to their Russian
counterparts. The Pentagon is also developing sophisticated technology to
monitor encrypted communications from Russian submarines and new kinds
of remotely controlled or autonomous vessels. Members of the NATO alliance,
including Britain, Germany and Norway, are at the same time buying or
considering buying new submarines in response to the Kremlins projection of
force in the Baltic and Arctic. But Moscows recently revised national security
and maritime strategies emphasize the need for Russian maritime forces to
project power and to have access to the broader Atlantic Ocean as well as the
Arctic. Russian submarines and spy ships now operate near the vital
undersea cables that carry almost all global Internet communications, raising
concerns among some American military and intelligence officials that the
Russians could attack those lines in times of tension or conflict. Russia is also
building an undersea unmanned drone capable of carrying a small, tactical
nuclear weapon to use against harbors or coastal areas, American military

and intelligence analysts said. And, like the United States, Russia operates
larger nuclear-powered submarines that carry long-range nuclear missiles
and spend months at a time hiding in the depths of the ocean. Those
submarines, although lethal, do not patrol like the attack submarines do, and
do not pose the same degree of concern to American Naval officials. Analysts
say that Moscows continued investment in attack submarines is in contrast
to the quality of many of Russias land and air forces that frayed in the postCold War era. In the Russian naval structure, submarines are the crown
jewels for naval combat power, said Magnus Nordenman, director of the
Atlantic Councils trans-Atlantic security initiative in Washington. The U.S.
and NATO havent focused on anti-submarine operations lately, and theyve
let that skill deteriorate. That has allowed for a rapid Russian resurgence,
Western and American officials say, partly in response to what they say is
Russias fear of being hemmed in. I dont think many people understand the
visceral way Russia views NATO and the European Union as an existential
threat, Admiral Ferguson said in an interview. In Naples, at the headquarters
of the United States Navys European operations, including the Sixth Fleet,
commanders for the first time in decades are having to closely monitor
Russian submarine movements through the maritime choke points separating
Greenland, Iceland and the United Kingdom, the G.I.U.K. Gap, which during
the Cold War were crucial to the defense of Europe. That stretch of ocean,
hundreds of miles wide, represented the line that Soviet naval forces would
have had to cross to reach the Atlantic and to stop United States forces
heading across the sea to reinforce Americas European allies in time of
conflict. American anti-submarine aircraft were stationed for decades at the
Naval Air Station Keflavik in Iceland in the middle of the gap but they
withdrew in 2006, years after the Cold War. The Navy after that relied on P-3
sub-hunter planes rotating periodically through the base. Now, the Navy is
poised to spend about $20 million to upgrade hangars and support sites at
Keflavik to handle its new, more advanced P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol
aircraft. That money is part of the Pentagons new $3.4 billion European
Reassurance Initiative, a quadrupling of funds from last year to deploy heavy
weapons, armored vehicles and other equipment to NATO countries in Central
and Eastern Europe, to deter Russian aggression. Navy officials express
concern that more Russian submarine patrols will push out beyond the
Atlantic into the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Russia has one
Mediterranean port now, in Tartus, Syria, but Navy officials here say Moscow
wants to establish others, perhaps in Cyprus, Egypt or even Libya. If you
have a Russian nuclear attack submarine wandering around the Med, you
want to track it, said Dmitry Gorenburg, a Russian military specialist at the
Center for Naval Analyses in Washington. This month, the Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency christened a 132-foot prototype drone sea craft
packed with sensors, the Sea Hunter, which is made with the intention of
hunting autonomously for submarines and mines for up to three months at a
time. The allies are also holding half a dozen anti-submarine exercises this
year, including a large drill scheduled later this spring called Dynamic
Mongoose in the North Sea. The exercise is to include warships and

submarines from Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland

and the United States. We are not quite back in a Cold War, said James G.
Stavridis, a retired admiral and the former supreme allied commander of
NATO, who is now dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts
University. But I sure can see one from where we are standing.

Putin Could Lash Out, Attack West Within 2 Years

Christyn September 23, 2015 (Royce, Documentarian, Writer, Producer,
Director, and Author, Retired General Warns Putin Could Lash Out, Attack
West Within 2 Years, yournewswire,
A top military figure, retired general David Petraeus, warned today that
Vladimir Putin could lash out and attack the West within the next two years
because he is running out of money. Gen. Petraeus said that Putin will
become more desperate and would perform a suicidal act of violence as
western sanctions wipe out his countrys cash fund. The respected soldier
predicted that the nuclear superpower will completely run out of cash within
two years and will not be able to raise more funds to bankroll its aggressive
foreign policy, potentially leading to deadly consequences for those nations
on its doorstep. He also insisted that the countrys meddling in Syria is
clearly not about fighting the threat of ISIS and warned that the
construction of a huge airbase to house Russian pilots is part of Putins
ideological drive to reestablish the Soviet empire. In a dire warning shot to
NATO members including Britain, the military expert said: I think Putin has a
limited window of a couple of years to continue provocative actionsand we
have to be very careful during this time when he could actually lash out and
be even more dangerous than he has been. The former general, who was
the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, made the explosive comments
when he appeared before a panel of US senators today. He was being quizzed
by politicians on the Armed Services Committee about Americas strategy in
the Middle East. Former presidential hopeful John McCain himself a veteran
of the Vietnam war asked Gen Petraeus what Putin was trying to achieve
with the incredible build up of Russian forces in Syria. Gen Petraeus said:
What Vladimir Putin would like to do is resurrect the Russian empire. You see
this in a variety of different activities. Now he is, of course, in Syria as well
and trying to revive Russian relationships with countries in the Middle East.
Clearly he would like to shore up his ally Bashar al-Assad at the very least he
wants to make sure Bashar is not thrown under the bus by either other
regime members or perhaps even Iran. Beyond that he wants to help alAssad solidify his grip which has been challenged increasingly in recent
months by ISIS and then by other opposition forcesso that he can at least
keep a rump Syrian state. Russia has recently stepped up its military support
for the beleaguered Syrian dictator, sending 28 war planes to operate from a
huge airbase it has built deep in his heartland to house up to 1,000 soldiers
and pilots. Putins troops have also been spotted on the ground fighting
alongside forces loyal to al-Assad. Asked what the US should do about
Russias aggressive strategy in the region, the general told Senators: The

first thing is we should not go in league with this, we should not think that we
can partner with Russia and Iran and Bashar al-Assad against ISIS. If Russia
had wanted to fight ISIS they could have joined the 60-plus member coalition
that General Allen has so capably put together and helped drop bombs on
ISIS. They have some capabilities that would be useful to that fight so this is
clearly not what theyre up to. He added that Putins aggressive stance over
Ukraine, where he has supported separatist rebels fighting for control of the
east of the country, would be unsustainable in the long-term due to financial
pressures. Russias economy has been battered by western sanctions
imposed after Putin annexed the peninsula of Crimea in March last year. The
general said: What Putin wants in Ukraine is to ensure that Ukraine does not
succeed. His worst nightmare would be a thriving, vibrant, prosperous
democracy with free market economy on his western border. Hes going to
do everything he can now that the conflict seems to be freezing to keep it
bubbling. Gen. Petraeus said that a recent drop in violent clashes between
the rebels and Ukrainian government forces was probably down to the fact
that Putin has ordered his henchmen to hold back ahead of a crunch
appearance before the UN general assembly later this month. The Russian
leader is desperate to convince western nations to ease the crippling
sanctions currently imposed on his country which are having a devastating
economic impact. He added: I think that Putin is not playing the strongest
hand in the world, although hes playing his hand tactically quite effectively.
At the end of the day Vladimir Putin is going to run out of foreign reserves.
Hes probably got $200 billion or so left. He will burn through those in the
course of the next two years and if the sanctions are still imposed at that
time, he and the companies that have debt coming due he is running a very
large fiscal deficit are not going to be able to go to the world markets and
get money to finance their Government operations. So I think he actually
has a limited window of a couple of years to continue provocative actions in
Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Syria, Georgia and so forth, and we have to be
very careful during this time when he could actually lash out and be even
more dangerous than he has been.

The United States and NATO Are Preparing for a Major

War With Russia
Klare, July 7, 2016 (Michael, Michael T. Klare is a professor of peace and world
security studies at Hampshire College and the defense correspondent of The
Nation. He is the author of 14 books on international energy and security
affairs, The United States and NATO Are Preparing for a Major War With
Russia), The Nation, July 7, 2016,

For the first time in a quarter-century, the prospect of warreal war, war
between the major powerswill be on the agenda of Western leaders when
they meet at the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland, on July 8 and 9.

Dominating the agenda in Warsaw (aside, of course, from the Brexit vote in
the UK) will be discussion of plans to reinforce NATOs eastern flankthe
arc of former Soviet partners stretching from the Baltic states to the Black
Sea that are now allied with the West but fear military assault by Moscow.
Until recently, the prospect of such an attack was given little credence in
strategic circles, but now many in NATO believe a major war is possible and
that robust defensive measures are required. In what is likely to be its most
significant move, the Warsaw summit is expected to give formal approval to a
plan to deploy four multinational battalions along the eastern flankone each
in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Although not deemed sufficient to
stop a determined Russian assault, the four battalions would act as a
tripwire, thrusting soldiers from numerous NATO countries into the line of
fire and so ensuring a full-scale, alliance-wide response. This, it is claimed,
will deter Russia from undertaking such a move in the first place or ensure its
defeat should it be foolhardy enough to start a war. The United States, of
course, is deeply involved in these initiatives. Not only will it supply many of
the troops for the four multinational battalions, but it is also taking many
steps of its own to bolster NATOs eastern flank. Spending on the Pentagons
European Reassurance Initiative will quadruple, climbing from $789 million
in 2016 to $3.4 billion in 2017. Much of this additional funding will go to the
deployment, on a rotating basis, of an additional armored-brigade combat
team in northern Europe. As a further indication of US and NATO
determination to prepare for a possible war with Russia, the alliance recently
conducted the largest war games in Eastern Europe since the end of the Cold
War. Known as Anakonda 2016, the exercise involved some 31,000 troops
(about half of them Americans) and thousands of combat vehicles from 24
nations in simulated battle maneuvers across the breadth of Poland. A
parallel naval exercise, BALTOPS 16, simulated high-end maritime
warfighting in the Baltic Sea, including in waters near Kaliningrad, a heavily
defended Russian enclave wedged between Poland and Lithuania. All of this
the aggressive exercises, the NATO buildup, the added US troop deployments
reflects a new and dangerous strategic outlook in Washington. Whereas
previously the strategic focus had been on terrorism and counterinsurgency,
it has now shifted to conventional warfare among the major powers. Todays
security environment is dramatically different than the one weve been
engaged in for the last 25 years, observed Secretary of Defense Ashton
Carter on February 2, when unveiling the Pentagons $583 billion budget for
fiscal year 2017. Until recently, he explained, American forces had largely
been primed to defeat insurgent and irregular forces, such as the Taliban in
Afghanistan. Now, however, the Pentagon was being readied for a return to
great-power competition, including the possibility of all-out combat with
high-end enemies like Russia and China. By preparing for war, Washington
and NATO are setting in motion forces that could achieve precisely that
outcome. The budgetary and force-deployment implications of this are
enormous in their own right, but so is this embrace of great-power
competition as a guiding star for US strategy. During the Cold War, it was
widely assumed that the principal task of the US military was to prepare for

all-out combat with the Soviet Union, and that such preparation must
envision the likelihood of nuclear escalation. Since then, American forces
have seen much horrible fighting in the Middle East and Afghanistan, but
none of that has involved combat with another major power, and none
entailed the risk of nuclear escalationfor which we should all be thankful.
Now, however, Secretary Carter and his aides are seriously thinking about
and planning forconflicts that would involve another major power and could
escalate to the nuclear realm. Its hard to know where to begin when
commenting on all this, given the atmosphere of Cold War hysteria. There is,
first of all, the question of proportionality: are US and NATO moves on the
eastern flank in keeping with the magnitude of the threat posed by Russia?
Russian intervention in Crimea and eastern Ukraine is certainly provocative
and repugnant, but cannot unequivocally be deemed a direct threat to NATO.
Other Russian moves in the region, such as incursions by Russian ships and
planes into the airspace and coastal waters of NATO members, are more
worrisome, but appear to be more political messaging than a prelude to
invasion. Basically, its very hard to imagine a scenario in which Russia would
initiate an armed attack on NATO. Then there is the matter of self-fulfilling
prophecies. By announcing the return of great-power competition and
preparing for a war with Russia, the United States and NATO are setting in
motion forces that could, in the end, achieve precisely that outcome. This is
not to say that Moscow is guiltless regarding the troubled environment along
the eastern front, but surely Vladimir Putin has reason to claim that the NATO
initiatives pose a substantially heightened threat to Russian security and so
justify a corresponding Russian buildup. Any such moves will, of course, invite
yet additional NATO deployments, followed by complementary Russian
moves, and so onuntil were right back in a Cold Warlike situation. Finally,
there is the risk of accident, miscalculation, and escalation. This arises with
particular severity in the case of US/NATO exercises on the edge of Russian
territory, especially Kaliningrad. In all such actions, there is a constant danger
that one side or the other will overreact to a perceived threat and take steps
leading to combat and, conceivably, all-out war.


U.S. Department of State Jan 21, 2016 (U.S. Department of State, Theyre the
government, U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS, U.S. Department of State, January 21,

The United States seeks to build a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive

relationship with China by expanding areas of cooperation and addressing
areas of disagreement, such as human rights and cybersecurity. The United
States welcomes a strong, peaceful, and prosperous China playing a greater
role in world affairs and seeks to advance practical cooperation with China.

The annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) has served as a unique
platform to promote bilateral understanding, expand consensus, discuss
differences, build mutual trust, and increase cooperation. The strategic track
of the S&ED has produced benefits for both countries through a wide range of
joint projects and initiatives and expanded avenues for addressing common
regional and global challenges such as proliferation concerns in Iran and
North Korea, tensions between Sudan and South Sudan, climate change,
environmental protection, and energy security. The United States has
emphasized the need to enhance bilateral trust through increased high-level
exchanges, formal dialogues, and expanded people-to-people ties. On
November 10, 2014, President Obama announced a reciprocal visa validity
arrangement with China, increasing the validity of short-term tourist and
business visas issued to each others citizens from one to ten years, and
increasing the validity of student and exchange visas from one to five years.
The U.S. approach to China is an integral part of reinvigorated U.S.
engagement with the Asia-Pacific region.