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How Russia is preparing for WWIII

What Russia is really doing in response to the growing threat from the West.

The Saker

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Submitted by The Saker via http://thesaker.is.

I have recently posted a piece in which I tried to debunk a few popular myths about modern warfare. Judging by many comments which I received in response to this post, I have to say that the myths in question are still alive and well and that I clearly failed to convince many readers. What I propose to do today, is to look at what Russia is really doing in response to the growing threat from the West. But first, I have to set the context or, more accurately, re-set the context in which Russia is operating. Let’s begin by looking at the AngloZionist policies towards Russia.

The West’s actions:

First on this list is, obviously, the conquest by NATO of all of Eastern Europe. I speak of conquest because that is exactly what it is, but a conquest achieved according to the rules of 21st century warfare which I define as “80% informational, 15% economic and 5% military”. Yes, I know, the good folks of Eastern Europe were just dreaming of being subjugated by the US/NATO/EU/etc – but so what? Anyone who has read Sun Tzu will immediately recognize that this deep desire to be ‘incorporated’ into the AngloZionist “Borg” is nothing else but the result of a crushed self-identity, a deep-seated inferiority complex and, thus, a surrender which did not even have to be induced by military means. At the end of the day, it makes no difference what the locals thought they were achieving – they are now subjects of the Empire and their countries more or less irrelevant colonies in the fringe of the AngloZionist Empire. As always, the local comprador elite is now bubbling with pride at being, or so they think, accepted as equals by their new masters (think Poroshenko, Tusk or Grybauskaite) which gives them the courage to bark at Moscow from behind the NATO fence. Good for them.

Second is the now total colonization of Western Europe into the Empire. While NATO moved to the East, the US also took much deeper control of Western Europe which is now administered for the Empire by what the former Mayor of London once called the “great supine protoplasmic invertebrate jellies” – faceless bureaucrats à la François Hollande or Angela Merkel.

Third, the Empire has given its total support to semi-demonic creatures ranging from al-Khattab to Nadezhda Savchenko. The West’s policy is crystal clear and simple to the extreme: if it is anti-Russian we back it. This policy is best exemplified with a Putin and Russia demonization campaign which is, in my opinion, far worse and much more hysterical than anything during the Cold War.

Fourth, the West has made a number of highly disturbing military moves including the deployment of the first elements of an anti-missile system in Eastern Europe, the dispatching of various forms of rapid reaction forces, the deployment of a few armored units, etc. NATO now has forward deployed command posts which can be used to support the engagement of a rapid reaction force.

What does all this add up to?

Right now, nothing much, really. Yes, the NATO move right up to the Russian borders is highly provocative, but primarily in political terms. In purely military terms, not only is this a very bad idea (see cliché #6 here), but the size of the actual forces deployed is, in reality, tiny: the ABM system currently deployed can, at best, hope to intercept a few missiles (10-20 depending on your assumptions) as for the conventional forces they are of the battalion size (more or less 600 soldiers plus support). So right now there is categorically no real military threat to Russia.

So why are the Russians so clearly upset?

Because the current US/NATO moves might well be just the first steps of a much larger effort which, given enough time, might begin presenting a very real danger for Russia.

Furthermore, the kind of rhetoric coming out of the West now is not only militaristic and russophobic, it is often outright messianic. The last time around the West had a flare up of its 1000 year old chronic “messianic syndrome” condition Russia lost 20 (to 30) million people. So the Russians can be forgiven if they are paying a great deal of attention to what the AngloZionist propaganda actually says about them.

The Russians are most dismayed at the re-colonization of western Europe. Long gone are the days when people like Charles de Gaulle, Helmut Schmidt or François Mitterrand, were in charge of Europe’s future. For all their very real faults, these men were at least real patriots and not just US colonial administrators. The ‘loss’ of Western Europe is far more concerning for the Russians than the fact that ex-Soviet colonies in Eastern Europe are now under US colonial administration. Why?

Look at this from the Russian point of view.

The Russians all see that the US power is on the decline and that the dollar will, sooner or later, gradually or suddenly, lose its role as the main reserve and exchange currency on the planet (this process has already begun). Simply put – unless the US finds a way to dramatically change the current international dynamic the AngloZionist Empire will collapse. The Russians believe that what the Americans are doing is, at best, to use tensions with Russia to revive a dormant Cold War v2 and, at worst, to actually start a real shooting war in Europe.

So a declining Empire with a vital need for a major crisis, a spineless Western Europe unable to stand up for its own interest, a subservient Eastern Europe just begging to turn into a massive battlefield between East and West, and a messianic, rabidly russophobic rhetoric as the background for an increase in military deployments on the Russian border. Is anybody really surprised that the Russians are taking all this very, very serious even if right now the military threat is basically non-existent?

The Russian reaction

So let us now examine the Russian reaction to Empire’s stance.

First, the Russians want to make darn sure that the Americans do not give in into the illusion that a full-scale war in Europe would be like WWII which saw the US homeland only suffer a few, tiny, almost symbolic, attacks by the enemy. Since a full scale war in Europe would threaten the very existence of the Russian state and nation, the Russians are now taking measures to make darn sure that, should that happen, the US would pay an immense price for such an attack.

Second, the Russians are now evidently assuming that a conventional threat from the West might materialize in the foreseeable future. They are therefore taking the measures needed to counter that conventional threat.

Third, since the USA appears to be dead set into deploying an anti-ballistic missile system not only in Europe, but also in the Far East, the Russians are taking the measures to both defeat and bypass this system.

The Russian effort is a vast and a complex one, and it covers almost every aspect of Russian force planing, but there are four examples which, I think, best illustrate the Russian determination not to allow a 22 June 1941 to happen again:

  • The re-creation of the First Guards Tank Army (in progress)
  • The deployment of the Iskander-M operational-tactical missile system (done)
  • The deployment of the Sarmat ICBM (in progress)
  • The deployment of the Status-6 strategic torpedo (in progress)

The re-creation of the First Guards Tank Army

It is hard to believe, but the fact is that between 1991 and 2016 Russia did not have a single large formation (division size and bigger) in its Western Military District. A few brigades, regiments and battalions which nominally were called an “Army”. To put it simply – Russia clearly did not believe that there was a conventional military threat from the West and therefore she did not even bother deploying any kind of meaningful military force to defend from such a non-existing threat. By the way, that fact should also tell you everything you need to know about Russian plans to invade the Ukraine, Poland or the Baltics: this is utter nonsense. This has now dramatically changed.

Russia has officially announced that the First Guards Tank Army (a formation with a prestigious and very symbolic history). This Guards Tank Army will now include the 4th “Kantemirov” Guards Tank Division, the 2nd “Taman” Guards Motorized Rifle Division, the 6th Tank Brigade, the 27th Guards Motor Rifle Brigade Sevastopol and many support units. This Army’s HQ will be located in the Odinstovo suburb of Moscow. Currently the Army is equipped with T-72B3 and T-80 main battle tanks, but they will be replaced by the brand new and revolutionary T-14 Armata tank while the current infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers will be replaced by the new APC and IFV. In the air, these armored units will be protected and supported by Mi-28 and Ka-52 attack helicopters. Make no mistake, this will be a very large force, exactly the kind of force needed so smash through an attacking enemy forces (by the way, the 1TGA was present at the Kursk battle). I am pretty sure that by the time the 1TGA is fully organized it will become the most powerful armored formation anywhere between the Atlantic and the Urals (especially in qualitative terms). If the current tensions continue or even worsen, the Russians could even augment the 1TGA to a type of 21st century “Shock Army” with increased mobility and specializing in breaking deep into the enemy’s defenses.

The deployment of the Iskander-M operational-tactical missile system

The new Iskander-M operational tactical missile system is a formidable weapon by any standard. While technically it is a short-range tactical missile (under 1000km range, the Iskander-M has an official range of 500km), it can also fire the R-500 missile has the capability of striking at an intermediate/operational range (over 1000km, the R-500 has a range of 2000km). It is extremely accurate, it has advanced anti-ABM capabilities, it flies at hypersonic speeds and is practically undetectable on the ground (see here for more details). This will be the missile tasked with destroying all the units and equipment the US and NATO have forward-deployed in Eastern Europe and, if needed, clear the way for the 1TGA.

The deployment of the Sarmat ICBM

Neither the 1TGA nor the Iskander-M missile will threaten the US homeland in any way. Russia thus needed some kind of weapon which would truly strike fear into the Pentagon and White House in the way the famous RS-36 Voevoda (aka SS-18 “Satan” in US classification) did during the Cold War. The SS-18, the most powerful ICBM ever developed, was scary enough. The RS-28 “Sarmat” (SS-X-30 by NATO classification) brings the terror to a totally new level.

The Sarmat is nothing short of amazing. It will be capable of carrying 10-15 MIRVed warheads which will be delivered in a so-called “depressed” (suborbital) trajectory and which will remain maneuverable at hypersonic speeds. The missile will not have to use the typical trajectory over the North Pole but will be capable of reaching any target anywhere on the planet from any trajectory. All these elements combined will make the Sarmat itself and its warheads completely impossible to intercept.

The Sarmat will also be capable of delivering conventional Iu-71 hypersonic warheads capable of a “kinetic strike” which could be used to strike a fortified enemy target in a non-nuclear conflict. This will be made possible by the amazing accuracy of the Sarmat’s warheads which, courtesy of a recent Russian leak, we now know have a CEP of 10 meters (see screen capture)

Sarmat-MIRV-CEP-300x99The Sarmat’s silos will be protected by a unique “active protection measures” which will include 100 guns capable of firing a “metallic cloud” of forty thousand 30mm “bullets” to an altitude of up to 6km. The Russians are also planning to protect the Sarmat with their new S-500 air defense systems. Finally, the Sarmat’s preparation to start time will be under 60 seconds thanks a a highly automated launch system. What this all means is that the Sarmat missile will be invulnerable in its silo, during it’s flight and on re-entry in the lower parts of the atmosphere.

It is interesting to note that while the USA has made a great deal of noise around its planned Prompt Global Strike system, the Russians have already begun deploying their own version of this concept.

The deployment of the Status-6 strategic torpedo

Do you remember the carefully staged “leak” in November of last year when the Russians ‘inadvertently’ showed a super dooper secret strategic torpedo on prime time news? Here is this (in)famous slide:

Status6-2015

What is shown here is an “autonomous underwater vehicle” which has advanced navigational capabilities but which can also be remote controlled and steered from a specialized command module. This vehicle can dive as deep as 1000m, at a speed up to 185km/h and it has a range of up to 10’000km. It is delivered by specially configured submarines.

The Status-6 system can be used to target aircraft carrier battle groups, US navy bases (especially SSBN bases) and, in its most frighting configuration, it can be used to deliver high-radioactivity cobalt bombscapable of laying waste to huge expanses of land. The Status-6 delivery system would be a new version of the T-15 torpedo which would be 24m long, 1,5m wide weigh 40 tons and capable of delivering a 100 megaton warhead which would make it twice as powerful as the most powerful nuclear device ever detonated, the Soviet Czar-bomb (57 megatons). Hiroshima was only 15 kilotons.

Keep in mind that most of the USA’s cities and industrial centers are all along the coastline which makes them extremely vulnerable to torpedo based attacks (be it Sakharov’s proposed “Tsunami bomb” or the Status-6 system). And, just as in the case of the Iskander-M or the Sarmat ICBM, the depth and speed of the Status-6 torpedo would make it basically invulnerable to incerception.

Evaluation:

There is really nothing new in all of the above, and US military commanders have always known that. All the US anti-ballistic missile systems have always been primarily a financial scam, from Reagan’s “Star Wars” to Obama’s “anti-Iranian ABM”. For one thing, any ABM system is susceptible to ‘local saturation’: if you have X number ABM missile protecting a Y long space against an X number of missiles, all that you need to do is to saturate only one sector of the Y space with *a lot* of real and fake missiles by firing them all together through one small sector of the Y space the ABM missile system is protecting. And there are plenty of other measures the Russians could take. They could put just one single SLBM capable submarine in Lake Baikal making it basically invulnerable. There is already some discussion of that idea in Russia. Another very good option would be to re-activate the Soviet BzhRK rail-mobile ICBM. Good luck finding them in the immense Russian train network. In fact, the Russians have plenty of cheap and effective measure. Want me to list one more?

Sure!

Take the Kalibr cruise-missile recently seen in the war in Syria. Did you know that it can be shot from a typical commerical container, like the ones you will find on trucks, trains or ships? Check out this excellent video which explains this:

Just remember that the Kalibr has a range of anywhere between 50km to 4000km and that it can carry a nuclear warhead. How hard would it be for Russia to deploy these cruise missiles right off the US coast in regular container ships? Or just keep a few containers in Cuba or Venezuela? This is a system which is so undetectable that the Russians could deploy it off the coast of Australia to hit the NSA station in Alice Springs if they wanted, an nobody would even see it coming.

The reality is that the notion that the US could trigger a war against Russia (or China for that matter) and not suffer the consequences on the US mainland is absolutely ridiculous. And yet, when I hear all the crazy talk by western politicians and generals I get the impression that they are forgetting about this undeniable fact. Frankly, even the current threats against Russia have a ‘half-backed’ feel to them: a battalion here, another one there, a few missiles here, a few more there. It is like the rulers of the Empire don’t realize that it is a very, very bad idea to constantly poke a bear when all you are carrying with you is a pocket-knife. Sometimes the reaction of western politicians remind me of the thugs who try to rob a gas station with a plastic or empty gun and who are absolutely stunned with they get gunned down by the owner or the cops. This kind of thuggery is nothing more than a form of “suicide by cop” which never ends well for the one trying to get away with it.

So sometimes things have to be said directly and unambiguously: western politicians better not believe in their own imperial hubris. So far, all their threats have achieved is that the Russians have responded with a many but futile verbal protests and a full-scale program to prepare Russia for WWIII.

As I have written many times, Russians are very afraid of war and they will go out of their way to avoid it. But they are also ready for war. This is a uniquely Russian cultural feature which the West has misread an innumerable number of time over the past 1000 years or so. Over and over again have the Europeans attacked Russia only to find themselves into a fight they would never have imagined, even in their worst nightmares. This is why the Russians like to say that “Russia never starts wars, she only ends them”.

There is a profound cultural chasm between how the West views warfare and how the Russians do. In the West, warfare is, really, “the continuation of politics by other means”. For Russians, it is a ruthless struggle for survival. Just look at generals in the West: they are polished and well mannered managers much more similar to corporate executives than with, say, Mafia bosses. Take a look at Russian generals (for example, watch the Victory Day parade in Moscow). In comparison to their western colleagues they look almost brutish, because first and foremost they are ruthless and calculating killers. I don’t mean that in a negative way – they often are individually very honorable and even kind men, and like every good commander, they care for their men and love their country. But the business they are in in not the continuation of politics by other means, the business they are in is survival. At all cost.

You cannot judge a military or, for that matter, a nation, by how it behaves when it triumphs, when it is on the offensive pursing a defeated enemy. All armies look good when they are winning. You can really judge of the nature of a military, or a nation, at its darkest hour, when things are horrible and the situation worse than catastrophic. That was the case in 1995 when the Eltsin regime ordered a totally unprepared, demoralized, poorly trained, poorly fed, poorly equipped and completely disorganized Russian military (well, a few hastily assembled units) to take Grozny from the Chechens. It was hell on earth. Here is some footage of General Lev Rokhlin in a hastily organized command post in a basement inside Grozy. He is as exhausted, dirty and exposed as any of his soldiers. Just look at his face and look at the faces of the men around him. This is what the Russian army looks like when it is in the depth of hell, betrayed by the traitors sitting in the Kremlin and abandoned by most if the Russian people (who, I am sorry to remind here, mostly were only were dreaming of McDonalds and Michael Jackson in 1995).

Can you imagine, say, General Wesley Clark or David Petraeus fighting like these men did?

Check out this video of General Shamanov reading the riot act to a local Chechen politician (no translation need):

Vladimir_Shamanov._Cabinet_photo-200x300Shamanov nowadays is the Commander in Chief of the Airborne Forces (see photo) whose size Putin quietly doubled to 72’000, something I mentioned in the past as highly relevant, especially in comparison with the rather tepid force level increases announced by NATO (see “EU suidice by reality denial”). To get a feel for what modern Russian airborne forces are like, check out this article.

It is not my intention here to glorify nuclear war or the Russian Armed Forces. The reason for this, and many other, articles is to try to raise the alarm about what I see is happening nowadays. Western leaders are drunk on their own imperial hubris, nations which in the past were considered as minor stains on a map now feel emboldened to constantly provoke a nuclear superpower, Americans are being lied to and promised that some magical high tech will protect them from war while the Russians are seriously gearing up for WWIII because they have come to the conclusion that the only way to prevent that war is to make absolutely and unequivocally clear to the AngloZionists that they will never survive a war with Russia, even if every single Russian is killed.

I remember the Cold War well. I was part of it. And I remember that the vast majority of us, on both sides, realized that a war between Russia and the West must be avoided at all costs. Now I am horrified when I read articles by senior officials seriously discussing such a possibility.

Just read this article, please: What would a war between the EU and Russia look like? Here is what this guy writes:

To the poetically inclined, the Russian military looks more like a gigantic pirate crew, than a regular army. The ones who rule are the ones with the sharpest cutlass and biggest mouth, typically some scurvy infested mateis who rely on the support of their mates to make any unpopular “officer” walk the plank… Or, more apt, they resemble the members of the cossack horde, run by the brashier warriors… While these troops can be very brave, at times, they are not effective in the field against a well regulated and trained modern military machine. Given this, it is improbably, ney, impossible for ordinary Russian troops to conduct operations of major consequence at more than platoon level against any disciplined armies, especially the US, British, German, or French.

The-dream-of-the-West

“For our zoo” (old Western dream)

This kind of writing really scares me. Not because of the imbecilic and racist stupidity of it, but because it largely goes unchallenged in the mainstream media. Not only that, there are plenty such articles written elsewhere (see here, here or here). Of course, the authors of that kind of “analyses” make their money precisely the kind of manic cheer-leading for the western forces, but that is exactly the mindset which got Napoleon and Hitler in trouble and which ended with Russian forces stationed in Paris and Berlin. Compare that kind of jingoistic and, frankly, irresponsible nonsense with what a real military commander, Montgomery, had to say on this topic:

The next war on land will be very different from the last one, in that we shall have to fight it in a different way. In reaching a decision on that matter, we must first be clear about certain rules of war. Rule 1, on page I of the book of war, is: “Do not march on Moscow”. Various people have tried it, Napoleon and Hitler, and it is no good. That is the first rule.

So who do you trust? Professional cheerleaders or professional soldiers? Do you really believe that Obama (or Hillary), Merkel and Hollande will do better than Napoleon or Hitler?

If the AngloZionist ‘deep state’ is really delusional enough to trigger a war with Russia, in Europe or elsewhere, the narcissistic and hedonistic West, drunk on its own propaganda and hubris, will discover a level of violence and warfare it cannot even imagine and if that only affected those responsible for these reckless and suicidal policies it would be great. But the problem is, of course, that many millions of us, simple, regular people, will suffer and die as a consequence of our collective failure to prevent that outcome. I hope and pray that my repeated warnings will at least contribute to what I hope is a growing realization that this folly has to be immediately stopped and that sanity must return to politics.

Purchase: The Essential Saker: from the trenches of the emerging multipolar world

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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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