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Furious China slams Trump’s UN speech on North Korea

Global Times editorial says US President Trump’s UN speech endangers peace in Korean Peninsula.

Alexander Mercouris

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Global Times, the unofficial English language voice of the Chinese government, has published a strongly worded editorial which makes clear China’s strong disapproval of the comments about North Korea made by US President Trump during his recent speech at the UN General Assembly.

In that speech US President Trump had these things to say about North Korea

The scourge of our planet today is a small group of rogue regimes that violate every principle on which the United Nations is based.  They respect neither their own citizens nor the sovereign rights of their countries.

If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph.  When decent people and nations become bystanders to history, the forces of destruction only gather power and strength.

No one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the wellbeing of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea.  It is responsible for the starvation deaths of millions of North Koreans, and for the imprisonment, torture, killing, and oppression of countless more.

We were all witness to the regime’s deadly abuse when an innocent American college student, Otto Warmbier, was returned to America only to die a few days later.  We saw it in the assassination of the dictator’s brother using banned nerve agents in an international airport.  We know it kidnapped a sweet 13-year-old Japanese girl from a beach in her own country to enslave her as a language tutor for North Korea’s spies.

If this is not twisted enough, now North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of human life.

It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a regime, but would arm, supply, and financially support a country that imperils the world with nuclear conflict.  No nation on earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles.

The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.  Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.  The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary.  That’s what the United Nations is all about; that’s what the United Nations is for.  Let’s see how they do.

It is time for North Korea to realize that the denuclearization is its only acceptable future.  The United Nations Security Council recently held two unanimous 15-0 votes adopting hard-hitting resolutions against North Korea, and I want to thank China and Russia for joining the vote to impose sanctions, along with all of the other members of the Security Council.  Thank you to all involved.

But we must do much more.  It is time for all nations to work together to isolate the Kim regime until it ceases its hostile behavior.

This sort of existential language – talking of North Korea’s government as “evil”, bracketing it with a group of other “rogue regimes” (specifically Iran, Venezuela and Cuba) in a way eerily reminiscent of George W. Bush’s previous “Axis of Evil” speech, ridiculing Kim Jong-un (North Korea’s “Great Leader”) as “Rocket Man on a suicide mission”, and threatening North Korea with “total destruction” – is guaranteed to raise hackles in Beijing.

Beijing’s response is the editorial in Global Times, whose sentiments are summed up by its title

Trump’s UN address reduces hope of peace on Korean Peninsula

Global Times follows this up with the very first sentence of the editorial, which most unusually directly criticises Donald Trump (China, like Russia, generally avoids personal criticisms of foreign leaders)

US President Donald Trump vowed to “totally destroy North Korea” at his UN address Tuesday. This is not what one expects from a US president.

(bold italics added)

Having called President Trump “un-Presidential” Global Times goes on to say why

Trump’s anger toward Pyongyang is understandable. China firmly opposes North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and has joined the UN in sanctioning the country. But it’s increasingly clear that pressure alone cannot address Pyongyang’s nuclear issue and actions should be taken to alleviate tensions on the peninsula. Vowing to “destroy” North Korea, Trump’s UN remarks dampened public hopes for the US to ease the situation.

Facts prove Pyongyang won’t yield to pressure. Pushing North Korea to its limit may eventually trigger a bloody war.

Chinese and South Koreans strongly oppose war. “Totally destroying North Korea” would bring an ecological disaster unbearable to Northeast Asia, and Northeast China, Shandong peninsula and South Korea would all be engulfed by nuclear fallout. Thus the US president, instead of boasting of military strength, should try to avoid such a war.

Neighboring North Korea, China and South Korea naturally have different feelings from Washington about the “total destruction.” The US would be extremely selfish if it cannot understand Beijing’s and Seoul’s wish to peacefully address the issue.

If a nuclear war broke out, that would be a crime against Chinese and South Koreans by Pyongyang and Washington.

Eliminating potential security threats by war is crazy in the 21st century. The US may have the capability to destroy North Korea, but a peaceful solution would be the real victory.

Washington should address the North Korean conundrum in a way that conforms to the interests of all human beings, instead of pressuring and even destroying Pyongyang at the sacrifice of neighboring countries.

Confrontation between Pyongyang and Washington has escalated to a degree that we have never seen before. If Washington is worried about national security while possessing an overwhelming military advantage, then Pyongyang will only feel even more insecure. If the US President cannot calm down, how will the North Korean leader exercise restraint?

Washington is too obsessed with its strength. Its elites hold the view that as long as the US applies pressure to the full, it can crush any will that confronts the US. But the geopolitical rule tells us that some changes cannot be forced by threat of war. If the core interest of the other party is touched upon, it will mount a desperate resistance.

In other words, threatening North Korea with “total destruction” will not persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.  On the contrary it will make North Korea – which has acquired nuclear weapons because it feels threatened by the US – even more determined to hold onto them.

Worse still such language actually increases the danger of war, by making North Korea feel even more insecure, whilst at the same time making the “total destruction” of the “evil regime” of North Korea appear to be not just a US national security interest but even a moral duty.

As Global Times points out, such a war aiming at North Korea’s “total destruction” – which given North Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons would be certain to go nuclear (that is what the words in the editorial about North Korea “mounting a desperate resistance” refer to) – would have utterly devastating consequences for the surrounding countries, first and foremost for China and South Korea.

The Global Times editorial in China’s usual way tries to balance its criticism of Donald Trump and of the US with criticism of North Korea.

Pyongyang must bear equal responsibility for the worsening situation. It’s a delusion if North Korea believes it can break the stalemate by advancing nuclear and missile technology. The world won’t accept North Korea as a legitimate nuclear state. There is no hope that it can overcome this view.

(bold italics added)

The point about these words however is that in a sense they are also a criticism of the US.  What the Chinese are saying is that the US and North Korea are as bad as each other.  Not only is that a claim which the US would vehemently reject.  It is one which by placing the US on the same level as North Korea (an “evil rogue regime”) the US is bound to see as insulting.

Behind these strong Chinese words one senses feelings of deep dismay.  How else to explain words like “crazy” and “Washington being too obsessed with its strength”?

Unlike Russia, which in the Arctic directly borders on the US, and which has to deal every day with NATO on its doorstep and with US regime change strategies and wars in its “near abroad” and in the Middle East not far from its borders, China has been protected from the worst effects of US foreign policy by the fact that it has no land border with any US ally and is separated from the US itself by the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean.

In addition, since the end of the Vietnam war in the 1970s, China’s neighbourhood in the Asia Pacific region unlike Europe and the Middle East has been for the US an area of only peripheral geostrategic interest.

The result is that the US has until recently left the Chinese alone, enabling them to build up their now massive economic position quietly by themselves.

That to a certain extent has made the Chinese complacent, so that every so often one comes across an article in the Chinese media which hints that the Russians by their actions have brought at least some of their problems with the US upon themselves.

In the Korean Peninsula and in the South China Sea the Chinese are now for the first time becoming exposed to the full weight of the aggressive and nihilistic maximalism of US foreign policy in the neocon era, which despite Donald Trump’s election victory it is now clear is still continuing.

The result is that the US threats of a total war in the Korean Peninsula with potentially catastrophic consequences for China and the rest of north east Asia have come as a shock.

Moreover the Chinese are undoubtedly aware that Donald Trump is not the only person in the US who is talking in this way, with persistent rumours that General H.R. McMaster, President Trump’s National Security Adviser, is one of those who along with Senator Lindsey Graham are pressing for a “solution” of the North Korean problem involving an armed attack on that country, with all the catastrophic that will follow in its wake.

The Chinese have already made it clear that they will defend North Korea if the US invades North Korea and tries to overthrow its government.

As the full implications of the dangerous turn of US policy sinks in, it is now a foregone conclusion that the Chinese will be focusing increasingly on building up their defences.

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Neil
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Neil

Good writing from Alexander and from Global Times.
Unlike the average Chinese person in the street, China’s leaders will not be surprised by US attitude.
US wants to borrow more money to increase it’s military spending to 700 Billion. US already owes a lot of money to Chinese investors. I wouldn’t lend them any more.

S.M. De Kuyper
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S.M. De Kuyper

They may not loan one cent more!

Matt Hol
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Matt Hol

i watch the TIC reports every month. And every month, the cowards in China bail the US out

stevek9
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stevek9

You, like many others mistake the nature of the financial relationship between China and the US. China does not ‘loan’ the US anything. What they stupidly do is run a huge trade surplus with the US. So, now they have dollars. What to do with them? They can just leave them in an account at the Fed, or they can buy Treasuries and earn more dollars … The Fed doesn’t care whether they buy them or not. There are usually plenty of takers, and if not the Fed buys the bills themselves. What China needs to do is stop trading… Read more »

Neil
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Neil

Of course you are correct but it comes to the same thing: China is left with US Treasury bonds which are devalued by US money-printing and may be worth very little when people start selling them in a hurry. Buying US bonds is effectively the same as lending the US money.
I agree completely with you that China should stop trading real good for numbers at the Fed, and running huge trade surpluses with US is stupid.
When China stops buying oil with dollars, the US will have very little to offer China.

S.M. De Kuyper
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S.M. De Kuyper

Furious China lashes out at USA…. I really see that President does not know what he is doing instead he is doing what he has been told to do. What he has been told to do, If I am right, is 100% wrong.

colum
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colum

Best thing for China to do is firstly have a word with Kim about Diplomacy (the kid really is in over his head) and knowing when to shut up. Next do a bit of growling at the US. When Kim becomes a bigger dog (a few more nukes to intimidate the US and a calmer, more mature attitude. Hell maybe a tourist industry (Saudis have one) and some less militaristic pet projects) he can growl back when the US is old and on it’s way out.

Helen B
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Helen B

… already there mate.

Matt Hol
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Matt Hol

Yeah yeah. China sucks at this. They will cry in their media about it. Then they will hand over 100’s of billions of dollars of their own money, to the US in the form of US treasury debt purchases.

Learn from Russia.

Amerikanisch
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Amerikanisch

Well, we gave them one-third of our manufacturing base. They ought to give us something. A loan that we have to pay back? Big F’ing deal!

George Orwell
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George Orwell

China and Russia are the US’s WATER CARRIERS. I despise especially Lavrov’s spineless comments designed apease the war criminal nation. It is obvious Russia is a hostage of the same Rothchild banks that fund both Russia’s and the UK’s Defense Industries. And “bad” behavior from Russia may cause that money to dry up at the detriment of Russia. China also has huge trade with both North America and Europe, and the American gangsters openly blackmail both nations exactly as the mobsters in NY/NJ/PA and Chicago do amongst themselves for turf. After all the US government is a collection of war… Read more »

Helen B
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Helen B

You mistake diplomatic language for being spineless. That’s because the West usually appoints retired or failed politicians or people they owe a favour to as diplomats.
Lavrov is a professional diplomat, and long may he remain. He and his rare ilk are the only hope for adult conversation at a diplomatic level. The bullying bluster of American presidentS … note plural … is just so tiresome.
Don’t mistake diplomacy for weakness though … BIG mistake.

Jermano
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Jermano

Here’s the rub. Kim’s missile firing hits Japan because of a malfunction, and the US unleashes the fury of retaliation, destroying N.Korea. Very stupid, to continue provocations. My advice if Kim wants nukes, is become a New Province of China, and be under their Security umbrella. China handles the nuke security, now Kim can take care of his province Economy. No more provocations, or possible malfunction or accidents. And no more senseless arguing. I know Kim’s father would not be behaving like his son. And it will shut up President Dotard. A good thing.

Helen B
Guest
Helen B

Here’s the real rub. Korea has an independent history and civilisation of over 6,000 years. America is a Johnny-come-lately rag tag 400+ year old nation that perpetrated genocide against the original inhabitants of its land, couldn’t even live together in peace, and have been stirring up wars somewhere on the planet ever since. Born in violence, lives in violence, is entertained by violence and sees only violence as the solution to getting its own way. KJU saw what happened to Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria … if you can’t defend yourself against US aggression, you will end up the same.… Read more »

Jermano
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Jermano

Dear Helen, I know all about N. Korean History. And I agree with you on the founding of the US Government. I have written articles about it. I have even written about the fraud of American Universities. Consider that we as a society have no deterrent really. And it matters not where you go, we are already home. Have you noticed that the Super Powers don’t do nuclear test any more? Why? Because it does havoc to the Environment. Detonation of Atomic Bombs there is no escape from where it is done. Underground? You think it is safe? No it’s… Read more »

Helen B
Guest
Helen B

I doubt they will subsume their sovereignty to China, but the proposition by Russia of a Russia-China-NK-SK (and possibly Japan) co-operation zone seems to me the best option. Russia is, as ever, the adult in the room. SK’ns still talk of when NK and SK are re-united: it’s only the US that keeps them apart. Common sense would indicate that 60 years after the end of the “Korean War”, and 72 years after Japan was bludgeoned by 2 nuclear blasts, there is no valid reason for the US’s presence in the far east. As I have said before, NK is… Read more »

Jermano
Guest
Jermano

Russia’s idea will not work. N. Korea wants Nuclear Protection, and a cooperation zone is too muddy, just like the EU Zone a bloody farce.. They trust China more than Russia. China shares the greater N. Korean Border. Economic ideas are fine and dandy, but N. Korea wants Nuke Protection, and their best option is with and through China. The greater achievement is to get them to stop testing, and stop the radiation contamination factors.

Andrew Earl
Guest
Andrew Earl

The scourge of our planet is the USA.

Helen B
Guest
Helen B

“This is not what one expects from a US president.”
Really?
This exactly what we have come to expect. The Bushes, Clinton, Obomba & Killary … sounds just like any one of them.
Doesn’t surprise me one jot.

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US-China trade war heats up as surplus hits record $34 Billion (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 136.

Alex Christoforou

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According to a report by the AFP, China’s trade surplus with the United States ballooned to a record $34.1 billion in September, despite a raft of US tariffs, official data showed Friday, adding fuel to the fire of a worsening trade war.

Relations between the world’s two largest economies have soured sharply this year, with US President Donald Trump vowing on Thursday to inflict economic pain on China if it does not blink.
The two countries imposed new tariffs on a massive amount of each other’s goods mid-September, with the US targeting $200 billion in Chinese imports and Beijing firing back at $60 billion worth of US goods.

“China-US trade friction has caused trouble and pounded our foreign trade development,” customs spokesman Li Kuiwen told reporters Friday.

But China’s trade surplus with the US grew 10 percent in September from a record $31 billion in August, according to China’s customs administration. It was a 22 percent jump from the same month last year.

China’s exports to the US rose to $46.7 billion while imports slumped to $12.6 billion.

China’s overall trade — what it buys and sells with all countries including the US — logged a $31.7 billion surplus, as exports rose faster than imports.

Exports jumped 14.5 percent for September on-year, beating forecasts from analysts polled by Bloomberg News, while imports rose 14.3 percent on-year.

While the data showed China’s trade remained strong for the month, analysts forecast the trade war will start to hurt in coming months.

China’s export jump for the month suggests exporters were shipping goods early to beat the latest tariffs, said ANZ’s China economist Betty Wang, citing the bounce in electrical machinery exports, much of which faced the looming duties.

“We will watch for downside risks to China’s exports” in the fourth quarter, Wang said.

Analysts say a sharp depreciation of the yuan has also helped China weather the tariffs by making its exports cheaper.

“The big picture is the Chinese exports have so far held up well in the face of escalating trade tensions and cooling global growth, most likely thanks to the competitiveness boost provided by a weaker renminbi (yuan),” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics.

“With global growth likely to cool further in the coming quarters and US tariffs set to become more punishing, the recent resilience of exports is unlikely to be sustained,” he said.

According to Bloomberg US President Donald Trump’s new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement isn’t that different from the North American Free Trade Agreement that it replaced. But hidden in the bowels of the new trade deal is a clause, Article 32.10, that could have a far-reaching impact. The new agreement requires member states to get approval from the other members if they initiate trade negotiations with a so-called non-market economy. In practice, “non-market” almost certainly means China. If, for example, Canada begins trade talks with China, it has to show the full text of the proposed agreement to the U.S. and Mexico — and if either the U.S. or Mexico doesn’t like what it sees, it can unilaterally kick Canada out of the USMCA.

Although it seems unlikely that the clause would be invoked, it will almost certainly exert a chilling effect on Canada and Mexico’s trade relations with China. Forced to choose between a gargantuan economy across the Pacific and another one next door, both of the U.S.’s neighbors are almost certain to pick the latter.

This is just another part of Trump’s general trade waragainst China. It’s a good sign that Trump realizes that unilateral U.S. efforts alone won’t be enough to force China to make concessions on issues like currency valuation, intellectual-property protection and industrial subsidies. China’s export markets are much too diverse:

If Trump cuts the U.S. off from trade with China, the likeliest outcome is that China simply steps up its exports to other markets. That would bind the rest of the world more closely to China and weaken the global influence of the U.S. China’s economy would take a small but temporary hit, while the U.S. would see its position as the economic center of the world slip into memory.

Instead, to take on China, Trump needs a gang. And that gang has to be much bigger than just North America. But most countries in Europe and East Asia probably can’t be bullied into choosing between the U.S. and China. — their ties to the U.S. are not as strong as those of Mexico and Canada. Countries such as South Korea, Germany, India and Japan will need carrots as well as sticks if they’re going to join a U.S.-led united trade front against China.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the escalating trade war between the United States and China, and the record trade surplus that positions China with a bit more leverage than Trump anticipated.

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Via Zerohedge Trump Threatens China With More Tariffs, Does Not Seek Economic “Depression”

US equity futures dipped in the red after President Trump threatened to impose a third round of tariffs on China and warned that Chinese meddling in U.S. politics was a “bigger problem” than Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

During the same interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes”, in which Trump threatened to impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia if the Saudis are found to have killed WaPo reported Khashoggi, and which sent Saudi stock plunging, Trump said he “might,” impose a new round of tariffs on China, adding that while he has “great chemistry” with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and noting that Xi “wants to negotiate”, he doesn’t “know that that’s necessarily going to continue.” Asked if American products have become more expensive due to tariffs on China, Trump said that “so far, that hasn’t turned out to be the case.”

“They can retaliate, but they can’t, they don’t have enough ammunition to retaliate,” Trump says, “We do $100 billion with them. They do $531 billion with us.”

Trump was also asked if he wants to push China’s economy into a depression to which the US president said “no” before comparing the country’s stock-market losses since the tariffs first launched to those in 1929, the start of the Great Depression in the U.S.

“I want them to negotiate a fair deal with us. I want them to open their markets like our markets are open,” Trump said in the interview that aired Sunday. So far, the U.S. has imposed three rounds of tariffs on Chinese imports totaling $250 billion, prompting China to retaliate against U.S. products. The president previously has threatened to hit virtually all Chinese imports with duties.

Asked about his relationship with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin’s alleged efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, Trump quickly turned back to China. “They meddled,” he said of Russia, “but I think China meddled too.”

“I think China meddled also. And I think, frankly, China … is a bigger problem,” Trump said, as interviewer Lesley Stahl interrupted him for “diverting” from a discussion of Russia.

Shortly before an audacious speech by Mike Pence last weekend, in which the US vice president effectively declared a new cold war on Beijing (see “Russell Napier: Mike Pence Announces Cold War II”), Trump made similar accusations during a speech at the United Nations last month, which his aides substantiated by pointing to long-term Chinese influence campaigns and an advertising section in the Des Moines Register warning farmers about the potential effects of Trump’s tariffs.

Meanwhile, in a rare U.S. television appearance, China’s ambassador to the U.S. said Beijing has no choice but to respond to what he described as a trade war started by the U.S.

“We never wanted a trade war, but if somebody started a trade war against us, we have to respond and defend our own interests,” said China’s Ambassador Cui Tiankai.

Cui also dismissed as “groundless” the abovementioned suggestion by Vice President Mike Pence that China has orchestrated an effort to meddle in U.S. domestic affairs. Pence escalated the rhetoric in a speech Oct. 4, saying Beijing has created a “a whole-of-government approach” to sway American public opinion, including spies, tariffs, coercive measures and a propaganda campaign.

Pence’s comments were some of the most critical about China by a high-ranking U.S. official in recent memory. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo got a lecture when he visited Beijing days later, about U.S. actions that were termed “completely out of line.” The tough words followed months of increases tit-for-tat tariffs imposed by Washington and Beijing that have ballooned to cover hundreds of billions of dollars in bilateral trade.

During a recent interview with National Public Radio, Cui said the U.S. has “not sufficiently” dealt in good faith with the Chinese on trade matters, saying “the U.S. position keeps changing all the time so we don’t know exactly what the U.S. would want as priorities.”

Meanwhile, White House economic director Larry Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday” that President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will “probably meet” at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires in late November. “There’s plans and discussions and agendas” being discussed, he said. So far, talks with China on trade have been “unsatisfactory,” Kudlow said. “We’ve made our asks” on allegations of intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers, he added. “We have to have reciprocity.”

Addressing the upcoming meeting, Cui said he was present at two previous meetings of Xi and Trump, and that top-level communication “played a key role, an irreplaceable role, in guiding the relationship forward.” Despite current tensions the two have a “good working relationship,” he said.

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BREAKING: Explosion in Crimea, Russia kills many, injuring dozens, terrorism suspected

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

The Duran

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“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

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10 percent of American F-22 fighter jets damaged by Hurricane Michael

Part of the reason the F-22’s were left in the path of the storm is that they were broken and too expensive to fix or fly.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Note to the wise: When a hurricane comes, move your planes out of the way. Especially your really expensive F-22 fighter planes. After all, those babies are $339 mil apiece. Got the message?

Apparently the US Air Force didn’t get this message. Or, did they find themselves unable to follow the message?

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The Washington Times reported Tuesday that between 17 and 20 of these top-of-the-line fighter jets were damaged, some beyond the point of repair, when Hurricane Michael slammed ashore on Mexico Beach, Florida, not far from the Tyndall Air Force Base in the same state. The Times reports that more than a dozen of the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the extremely fierce storm:

President Trump’s tour Monday of devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael took him close to Florida’s Tyndall Air Force Base, where more than a dozen F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the powerful storm.

The pricey fighter jets — some possibly damaged beyond repair — were caught in the widespread destruction that took at least 18 lives, flattened homes, downed trees and buckled roads from Florida to Virginia.

The decision to leave roughly $7.5 billion in aircraft in the path of a hurricane raised eyebrows, including among defense analysts who say the Pentagon’s entire high-tech strategy continues to make its fighter jets vulnerable to weather and other mishaps when they are grounded for repairs.

“This becomes sort of a self-defeating cycle where we have $400 million aircraft that can’t fly precisely because they are $400 million aircraft,” said Dan Grazier, a defense fellow at Project on Government Oversight. “If we were buying simpler aircraft then it would be a whole lot easier for the base commander to get these aircraft up and in working order, at least more of them.”

This is quite a statement. The F-22 is held to be the tip of the American air defense sword. A superb airplane (when it works), it can do things no other plane in the world can do. It boasts a radar profile the size of a marble, making it virtually undetectable by enemy radars. It is highly maneuverable with thrust-vectoring built into its engines.

However, to see a report like this is simply stunning. After all, one would expect that the best military equipment ought to be the most reliable as well. 

It appears that Hurricane Michael figuratively and physically blew the lid off any efforts to conceal a problem with these planes, and indeed with the hyper-technological basis for the US air fighting forcesThe Times continues:

Reports on the number of aircraft damaged ranged from 17 to 22 or about 10 percent of the Air Force’s F-22 fleet of 187.

The Air Force stopped buying F-22s, considered the world’s most advanced fighter jets, in 2012. The aircraft is being replaced by the F-35, another high-tech but slightly less-expensive aircraft.

Later in the tour, at an emergency command center in Georgia, Mr. Trump said the damage to the F-22s couldn’t be avoided because the aircraft were grounded and the storm moved quickly.

“We’re going to have a full report. There was some damage, not nearly as bad as we first heard,” he said when asked about the F-22s, which cost about $339 million each.

“I’m always concerned about cost. I don’t like it,” Mr. Trump said.

Still, the president remains a fan of the high-tech fighter jet.

“The F-22 is one of my all-time favorites. It is the most beautiful fighter jet in the world. One of the best,” he said.

The Air Force managed to fly 33 of the F-22s to safety, but maintenance and repair issues kept 22 of the notoriously finicky aircraft on the ground when the powerful storm hit the base.

About 49 percent of the F-22s are out of action at any given time, according to an Air Force report this year.

This is a stunning statistic. This means that of the 187 planes in existence, 90 of them are not working. At their cost, that means that over thirty billion dollars worth of military equipment is sitting around, broken, just in airplanes alone.

As a point of comparison, the entire Russian military budget for 2017 was $61 billion, with that budget producing hypersonic missiles, superb fighter aircraft and tanks. Russian fighter planes are known for being able to take harsh landing and take-off conditions that would cripple the most modern American flying machines.

It would seem that Hurricane Michael exposed a serious problem with the state of readiness of American armed forces. Thankfully that problem did not arise in combat, but it is no less serious.

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