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  1. #41
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    Officials Push U.S.-China Relations Toward Point of No Return

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/25/w...-trump-xi.html
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davexl View Post
    Australia has made its situation clear, what will NZ decide to say & do ? Both its frigates are in Canada undergoing refit...

    South China Sea: Australian warships join US, Japanese in Chinese confrontation

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/new...ectid=12350977

    President Trump will no more go to war with China over the Spratlys or Scarborough Shoal than President Eisenhower would go to war with China over Quemoy and Matsu.

    In this case, what the US position does demonstrate is that the current US administration does not understand that diplomacy involves the carrot and the stick. An understanding which seems to elude them in other geographies as well.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTM 3442 View Post
    President Trump will no more go to war with China over the Spratlys or Scarborough Shoal than President Eisenhower would go to war with China over Quemoy and Matsu.

    In this case, what the US position does demonstrate is that the current US administration does not understand that diplomacy involves the carrot and the stick. An understanding which seems to elude them in other geographies as well.
    I wish I understood better how well President Trump's decisions have been isolated from better decision making further down the hierarchy also. If not over the South China Sea, what about Taiwan, the Phillipines & Japan for which I understand there are formal agreements?

    Also could part of the calculus be that if war in the future is deemed almost inevitable, better for the US to provoke something earlier that is winnable, whereas China would want to defer the challenge until they are stronger? Or do both parties understand that the level of economic coupling is so great at this point that it's lose-lose in any case?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davexl View Post
    <snip>

    Also could part of the calculus be that if war in the future is deemed almost inevitable, better for the US to provoke something earlier that is winnable, whereas China would want to defer the challenge until they are stronger? Or do both parties understand that the level of economic coupling is so great at this point that it's lose-lose in any case?
    Wars are fought by the military, but they are started and ended by politicians.

    What would a US military victory over China entail? What would the US war aims be? How would the US know if they had achieved those aims?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTM 3442 View Post
    Phew,the other silk road?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTM 3442 View Post
    The situation isn't quite a binary as the article implies with western Facebook messager good, eastern WeChat bad. While the west needs to establish its own technology solution stack, this needs to be constructed with some degree of checks and balances, as well as security baked in from the start. The west is not immune from over-reach.

    China has also embarked on the implementation of proprietary technologies (supplying some of these to NK), essentially locking the west out. This may be an attempt at security through obscurity, but if fraught with risk.

    Interesting article. Thanks for posting the link.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTM 3442 View Post
    The current record of the US is not so promising...

    It has failed to put together an Enterprise scale offering of its own for 5G communications, thus choosing to tear down Huawei, chosen as acceptable for use in the Radio Access Network components by the UK and NZ until vetoed recently by the UK and by GCSB in NZ under US pressure last year. So much for fair competition!

    Intel has failed to maintain its leadership in chip fabrication and outsources to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, and Samsung, itself a strategic risk, as far as Taiwan goes anyway. The US Govt has completely failed to get Intel onboard strategically https://asiatimes.com/2020/07/intel-...-of-reshoring/

    It appears to be losing its edge in Quantum Computing, which will render all current security key systems obsolete for Commerce & the Military within the next 5-10 years. https://www.computerworld.com/articl...your-help.html

    And it has no large scale technology in place to produce Rare Earth elements critical in Defence applications and the modern technological world. It is totally dependant on China, which has recently threatened Lockheed Martin over supply. Australia's Lynas is the only other skilled manufacturing and mineral resource outside of China and has only recently been recognised as strategic to US needs.

    eg "Lynas shares jump 10% on US defence contract" - 27 Jul 20

    By Colin Kruger Sydney Morning Herald

    Rare earths group Lynas Corp (ASX:LYC) said it has now signed a contract with the US Department of Defence for Phase 1 funding of its proposed rare earths processing operations in Texas.

    The funding will cover the design and planning of its proposed heavy rare earths processing plant and the company said it expects the work to be finished in the current financial year.

    “We are very pleased to signed a contract with the DoD for this Phase 1 work,” said Lynas chief executive Amanda Lacaze.

    Shares in the firm were up 10.1 per cent at a more than seven-month high $2.39 by 10.45am.

    Last week, Lynas declined to comment on reports that the US DoD had resumed preliminary funding for the company's proposed rare earths processing plant in Texas following an independent review.

    The review was triggered by US politicians, led by US Republican Senator and former presidential candidate Ted Cruz, who wanted to ensure that the entire supply chain for rare earths remains in US hands.

    Lynas first proposed to build a facility in the US in May last year to separate medium and heavy rare earths elements in Texas. The US Department of Defence later announced its proposal to fund rare earths processing in the US to strengthen the supply chain for the critical ores.

    Lynas extracts these rare earth ores -17 elements crucial to the manufacture of many hi-tech products such as mobile phones, electric cars and wind turbines - from a mine near Perth and currently sends the materials to a facility in Malaysia for processing.

    Ord Minnett analyst Dylan Kelly said the news last week that the DoD was restarting funding should come as no surprise given China threatening rare earth supply to US defence contractor Lockheed Martin.

    While the practical impact of sanctions is expected to be limited, Mr Kelly said it could “potentially spark a political and defence crisis” and highlight the strategic value of Lynas which is the only significant producer of rare earths outside of China.

    I mean SERIOUSLY...!!

    The US really needs to get its sh*t together strategically speaking, and learn how to work with the private sector, and vice versa. Covid has helped uncover this.

    Speaking of which the fightback for US's Technology & Manufacturing begins: includes Webinar, "Can US Manufacturing make a Comeback?"

    https://asiatimes.com/2020/07/webina...ke-a-comeback/
    Last edited by Davexl; 29-07-2020 at 04:25 PM.
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  9. #49
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    Originally Posted by Davexl

    Also could part of the calculus be that if war in the future is deemed almost inevitable, better for the US to provoke something earlier that is winnable, whereas China would want to defer the challenge until they are stronger? Or do both parties understand that the level of economic coupling is so great at this point that it's lose-lose in any case?


    Quote Originally Posted by GTM 3442 View Post
    Wars are fought by the military, but they are started and ended by politicians.

    What would a US military victory over China entail? What would the US war aims be? How would the US know if they had achieved those aims?
    Neutralising China's paramilitary forces from occupying littoral states EEZ's, Affirming the standing of UNCLOS international law, China's CCP pulling its head in.
    Last edited by Davexl; 28-07-2020 at 04:46 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davexl View Post
    Originally Posted by Davexl

    Also could part of the calculus be that if war in the future is deemed almost inevitable, better for the US to provoke something earlier that is winnable, whereas China would want to defer the challenge until they are stronger? Or do both parties understand that the level of economic coupling is so great at this point that it's lose-lose in any case?




    Neutralising China's paramilitary forces from occupying littoral states EEZ's, Affirming the standing of UNCLOS international law, China's CCP pulling its head in.
    Has the Trump Administration any credibility left, especially its foreign secretary: https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...hould-scare-us

    Also, Pompeo is on the record about lying, cheating and stealing while in the CIA;https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RmEsPE7iq0

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    Quote Originally Posted by Davexl View Post
    Originally Posted by Davexl

    <snip>


    Neutralising China's paramilitary forces from occupying littoral states EEZ's, Affirming the standing of UNCLOS international law, China's CCP pulling its head in.
    So if the current US administration were, in the pursuit of re-election and internal political objectives, to go to war with China what would be a set of realistic military objectives for the US military?

    That was always the question which bedevilled NATO for decades. Would the USA really "push the button" for Denmark? And today, would the USA really "push the button" for Vietnam?

    The USA has spent decades not ratifying UNCLOS. Will it really "push the button" on behalf of an agreement that it is not, strictly speaking, a part of?

    In practical, concrete terms, what would "China pulling it's head in" actually involve? Who would define the head-pulling? Who would monitor the head-pulling? What sanctions would apply if the head were not pulled far or fast enough?

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTM 3442 View Post
    So if the current US administration were, in the pursuit of re-election and internal political objectives, to go to war with China what would be a set of realistic military objectives for the US military?

    That was always the question which bedevilled NATO for decades. Would the USA really "push the button" for Denmark? And today, would the USA really "push the button" for Vietnam?

    The USA has spent decades not ratifying UNCLOS. Will it really "push the button" on behalf of an agreement that it is not, strictly speaking, a part of?

    In practical, concrete terms, what would "China pulling it's head in" actually involve? Who would define the head-pulling? Who would monitor the head-pulling? What sanctions would apply if the head were not pulled far or fast enough?
    I doubt any 'regime' whether Trump's or Xi's would want to "push any buttons" for say Vietnam or the Philippines. I would imagine some kind of limited exchange, inflicting a kind of "bloody nose" on China to help counter the grey zone tactics that China employs with its maritime militias for example.

    Since the re-engagement of the Philippines with its long term military agreement with the US and re assertion of its 2016 Arbitration result, and with Vietnam onside with the US as Chairman also of ASEAN, and ASEANs strong statements repudiating China 'sovereign' rights over the bulk of the South China Sea - the US has significantly stepped up and become much more assertive in taking the battle of wills to China.

    What happens as a result of this is way above my pay-grade, but we have seen how quickly the situation has deteriorated over Hong Kong for example and even today in NZ, China has angrily denounced us after NZ formally withdraws from our extradition treaty with Hong Kong.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/a...ectid=12351738

    Will it affect our trade, affect Fonterra or A2 Milk, log exports, meat exports etc we'll have to see...We are balancing our interests on a knife edge, as is Australia.
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    "We are balancing our interests on a knife edge, as is Australia. " Also commentary by Singapore on the US attitude towards China...

    Australia tells U.S. it has no intention of hurting relationship with China

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/20...-relationship/
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    And, Indonesia eyes Eurofighters (ex Austria) to Check China's Threat on the Southern reaches of the South China Sea...

    https://asiatimes.com/2020/07/indone...chinas-threat/
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davexl View Post
    And, Indonesia eyes Eurofighters (ex Austria) to Check China's Threat on the Southern reaches of the South China Sea...

    https://asiatimes.com/2020/07/indone...chinas-threat/
    What is the value of fifteen second hand fighter jets without the unified command and control structures, both military and political, both national and international, to allow them to be used as an effective part of a greater, more capable whole.

    As Saudi Arabia is discovering, and as many have discovered before them, hardware alone offers only an empty promise of salvation.

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    And if the Chinese government were to decide that New Zealand dairy products did not meet China's stringent food quality standards, which tune would New Zealand dance to?

    Keith Woodford has recently done an interesting series of posts on who can afford the fruits of New Zealand agriculture.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTM 3442 View Post
    And if the Chinese government were to decide that New Zealand dairy products did not meet China's stringent food quality standards, which tune would New Zealand dance to?

    Keith Woodford has recently done an interesting series of posts on who can afford the fruits of New Zealand agriculture.
    We definitely need to diversify our export market further away from China. The UK deal thus far, looks like a lame duck. Not surprising really.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTM 3442 View Post
    President Trump will no more go to war with China over the Spratlys or Scarborough Shoal than President Eisenhower would go to war with China over Quemoy and Matsu.
    I think you're right. I've been reading a couple of books relating to insider accounts of the Trump administration (e.g. The Room Where it Happened), and there is a clear pattern emerging that when the decisions get tough, Trump backs down. An escalation of the current cyber conflict is quite likely.

  19. #59
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    And via the Financial Times:

    US to pull nearly 12,000 troops out of Germany

    "The Trump administration is pulling nearly 12,000 troops out of Germany in a controversial move set to add to tensions within Nato.
    The decision comes after President Donald Trump last month vowed to cap US troops stationed in Germany at 25,000 unless Berlin spent more on defence for the transatlantic security alliance. "

    Seems like another reckless decision by the Trump led "regime" that doesn't make any strategic sense whatsoever, whatever you think of Germany's spending.

    Mind you - look at NZ's dismal Defence contribution - here's the wake-up call...

    https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/ne...uncertain-age/



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    As crazy as Trump has been he has somehow pulled his fellow nationalist Modi off India's non-aligned fence and got them used to the idea of collective co-operation and containment. That and another strategic blunder by Xi Jinping in building that road along/into India's territory and allowing an attack on their troops. The four (US, Japan, India and Aus) aren't as clever a strategy as TPP was but it's a solid foundation for future expansion and co-operation.

    Other East Asian nations (South Korea, Taiwan and Japan) managed very successful transitions from authoritarian, even dictatorial regimes to thriving market based social democracies. Was worth trying with China but I feel their sense of manifest destiny and historical grievance is stronger. Hopefully will just take a bit longer.

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