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Web Log - August, 2019


31-Aug-19 World View -- Russia declares farcical 'ceasefire' as Syrians try to storm Turkey border post

Mainland China troops poised to crush Hong Kong protesters

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from

Idlib Syria civilians push into Turkey

Displaced Syrians are stopped trying to cross the border into Turkey (AFP)
Displaced Syrians are stopped trying to cross the border into Turkey (AFP)

Hundreds of civilians in Syria's Idlib province on Friday tried to push across the border into Turkey.

As the army of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russia's army and air force, has been pushing farther into Idlib province, tens of thousands of additional civilians are being forced to flee their homes, and are moving northwest to the border with Turkey.

There are three million civilians in Idlib, including hundreds of thousands of displaced people living in refugee camps in the northwest. About 70,000 people in Idlib are anti-Assad rebels, but al-Assad has declared all three million people to be "terrorists," and he's made it clear repeatedly that he plans to exterminate them like cockroaches.

United Nations officials continue to express alarm at the continued attacks by al-Assad, and are fearing a major humanitarian disaster, as they try to flee into Turkey and are blocked. Turkey, which already hosts 3.5 million Syrians who fled al-Assad's violence since 2011, does not wish to have to host possibly a million more. Germany and other European countries are trying to pressure Turkey and Russia to bring al-Assad to heel, out of fear of another wave of Syrian refugees pouring across the border into Europe.

Russia declares a farcical ceasefire

With hundreds of Syrians pushing across the border into Turkey on Friday, we may be seeing the beginning of large wave of thousands of displaced people, with resulting alarm in Turkey and Europe.

So Russia took hard-hitting action on Friday by declaring a "unilateral ceasefire," starting on Saturday morning.

There has been one farcical ceasefire after another in the last eight years. As usual, Bashar al-Assad didn't agree to the ceasefire, and the anti-Assad rebels didn't agree to the ceasefire.

Historically, al-Assad has always made a mockery of these ceasefires, and this one is sure to be no different.

Israel bombs Lebanon, Syria and Iraq all in one weekend

Israel raised tensions in the Mideast last weekend by attacking Iranian assets in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.

According to Israeli sources, the attacks in Iraq and Syria were airstrikes against components of precision guided missiles being transported from Iran to Lebanon for use by Hezbollah against Israel. Starting in 2012, Iran tried by failed to bring precision guided missiles into Lebanon, but Israeli airstrikes destroyed the missiles in transit each time. For the last three years, Iran has been tring to bring components into Lebanon, to be assembled into missiles there. The airstrikes in Iraq and Syria was targeting the components, according to Israeli sources.

The situation in Lebanon was a little different. Israel did not launch airstrikes into Lebanon. Instead, Israel sent two unmanned drones into Lebanon to crash into targets in Beirut, Lebanon's capital city.

At first it appeared that the drones had been shot down by Hezbollah. Then it was reported that the drones were targeting guided missile comnponents, same as the Iraq and Syria airstrikes.

However Debka, an analyst service based on Israeli military and intelligence sources, but which sometimes gets things wrong, is reporting that the drone strikes into Beirut were actually a targeted assassination, targeting Iran’s Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who is the Iranian commander that Hezbollah's chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah reports to. According to the report, the first of the two drones was unarmed on a reconnaissance mission to track the movements of Soleimani, but crash landed when a boy threw a rock at it. The the second drone was to kill Soleimani. Although the second drone did hit a car and explode, it did not kill Soleimani.

Soleimani called the attack "insane." Hezbollah has threatened retaliation.

There are concerns that last weekends multiple attacks were a first step in a new war by Israel against Iran and Hezbollah. This weekend, Israeli troops are on high alert near the Lebanon border.

Mainland China troops poised to crush Hong Kong protesters

Pro-democracy protesters had planned a large public protest on Saturday evening (Saturday morning ET), possibly as large as the protest last month with two million protesters, 25% of the population.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Beijing did the following:

The organizers of the pro-democracy protests called off Saturday's protests, saying that they couldn't guarantee the safety of the demonstrators

However, a Fox News Hong Kong correspondent (Jonathan Hunt) said that he has just interviewed some of the extremists ("in an undisclosed location") and they're saying the following:

The question always is: How long will the CCP allow this to go on. There's effectively a hard deadline of October 1, the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, and it's believed that the protests must be "settled or crushed" by October 1.

You can always count on the CCP to do the stupidest, most incompetent, and most self-destructive thing, so the logic of the situation requires a Tiananmen Square type intervention within the next month, in time for Hong Kong to be out of the news by October 1. That suggests that the deadline for action is pretty close.


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23-Aug-19 World View -- Syria regime wins major victory in Idilb, after attacking Turkish military convoy

Russia admits its ground troops are fighting in Idlib

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from

Syria regime and Russia major victory in Idlib, capturing Khan Sheikhoun

An Arab cartoon expressing the view that Vladimir Putin blindly bombs wherever Bashar al-Assad tells him, making Putin the puppet of puppetmaster al-Assad (Mideast Monitor)
An Arab cartoon expressing the view that Vladimir Putin blindly bombs wherever Bashar al-Assad tells him, making Putin the puppet of puppetmaster al-Assad (Mideast Monitor)

The regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad, supported by Russia's army and airforce, has achieved a major victory in al-Assad's campaign to recapture Idlib province from anti-Assad rebels. This comes after weeks when the Idlib war was at a standstill and frozen in place.

Syrian and Russian forces entered the strategic town of Khan Sheikhoun on Wednesday, after capturing another strategically important town, Al-Hobeit, last week. These two towns lie on the key M5 highway that connects Damascus with the northern city of Aleppo. Anti-Assad forces have been in control of these towns since they were captured in 2014, so their recapture represents a major symbolic and strategic victory for al-Assad.

As the Syrian and Russian forces closed in, all the "moderate" anti-Assad rebel fighters, many of them supported by Turkey, withdrew. Reports indicate that they moved north and east, towards the Turkey border, to try to prevent the Syrian and Russian forces from proceeding further.

Another group of anti-Assad rebels, the al-Qaeda linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS, Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Nusra Front) has issued a statement that the withdrawal is a "redeployment" of its fighters to the southern part of Khan Sheikhoun from where they would continue to defend their territory.

There are over three million people in Idlib, most of whom fled there from Bashar al-Assad's violence in other regions. About 70,000 are anti-Assad rebels, and rest are families of men, women and children. Bashar al-Assad considers all three million of them to be "terrorists," and are to be exterminated. He's made it pretty clear that this is his intention, although he hasn't specifically used the word "exterminated."

Now Idlib is being bombed and attacked by Syrian regime and Russian forces as happened in previous "de-escalation zones," including Aleppo, Ghouta, Daraa, but there is no other place to flee to. This is the last major region for al-Assad's genocide and ethnic cleansing of his Arab Sunni political opposition. Al-Assad is particularly targeting hospitals, schools and markets, in order to kill as many women and children as possible. However, al-Assad has not yet begun using chemical weapons -- chlorine gas, phosphorous and Sarin gas -- as he did regularly in other regions.

Many families in Khan Sheikhoun and the surrounding villages are afraid of leaving their homes for fear of losing their land, their crops, their animals, and their belongings. Tens of thousands of families have left their homes in the last two days alone, and are fleeing north and west toward the border with Turkey. The regions closer to the Turkey border are becoming more and more crowded, since Turkey, which already hosts 3.5 million Syrian refugees, has closed the border. At a time of his choosing, al-Assad and his Russian puppets will be able mop up the crowds of civilian families all at once.

Syria attacks Turkey's military convoy

As a result of the so-called "Astana process" last year, Turkey and Russia agreed that Idlib was a "de-escalation zone," and Turkey would police it, and take the guns away from the anti-Assad rebels. Turkey has set up a dozen small military bases (observation posts) around the region, as part of that agreement, but has not been successful in disarming the anti-Assad rebels.

These Turkish observation posts have been attacked repeatedly by artillery from the Syrian army. Turkey has repeatedly demanded that Russia keep al-Assad under control, but Russia has been unable or unwilling to do so.

The situation became much more alarming on August 17 when, for the first time, Syrian warplanes targeted a Turkish military convoy on its way to an observation post near Khan Sheikhoun. Three civilians were killed and 12 wounded.

Turkey's Defense Ministry blamed the Russians, saying that Turkey had supplied the Russians with advance information on the route that the convoy would be taking. However, an al-Assad spokesman said that the convoy was attacked on purpose, because "Turkish vehicles loaded with munitions... are heading toward Khan Sheikhoun to help the terrorists." In other words, Syria used the information to locate the convoy, and targeted it on purpose.

None of this is surprising. The UN is conducting an investgation of Syria and Russia for targeting hospitals and schools. The UN had supplied the Syrians and Russians with the coordinates of the hospital and school in Idlib, so that they would not be targeted by warplanes. Instead, the Syrians and Russians used those coordinates to target schools and hospitals on purpose.

Russia admits its ground troops are fighting in Idlib

During 2015, I repeatedly reported that the army of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad was near collapse, after al-Assad's army suffered a number of significant major setbacks, and was being crippled by massive desertions. ( "8-Apr-15 World View -- Bashar al-Assad's Syria army showing signs of collapse")

At that time, al-Assad was saved by the massive intervention by Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah. It's been known that Iran's troops from the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have been fighting alongside al-Assad's troops in Syria. It's been known that Hezbollah troops, under orders from their Iranian puppetmasters, have also been fighting alongside al-Assad's troops in Syria.

Russia's warplanes have been an essential part of al-Assad's slaughter of his Sunni Arab enemies. But Russia has always denied that Russian troops were fighting in Syria, even though numerous reports said that they were.

However, during a press conference on Tuesday, Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov finally confirmed that "There are Russian soldiers on the ground in the Syrian province of Idlib."

He added that Russia would respond to any attack on its soldiers in Syria. That would be a warning to Russia's supposed ally, Turkey.

It's not surprising al-Assad's army needs even more help. Syria is in a generational Awakening/Unraveling era, and the people have little will to fight another war. The civil war in Syria should have fizzled years ago, but it's continuing because Bashar al-Assad is a psychopathic monster, and because he's received massive support from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.

Turkey and Russia on a military collision path

There's nothing new here. Syria and Russia have always used the "peace talks" as a cover to hide the continued genocide, and they're doing it again in Idlib.

Turkey has played along, but there are two things that would change that: attacks by Syrian or Russian warplanes on Turkish forces, and a massive humanitarian disaster that would push hundreds of thousands of people across the border into Turkey.

Bashar al-Assad has said repeatedly that he intends to take control of Idlib province. There is absolutely no reason to doubt his intentions, or that he intends to do it using the same methods he used in Aleppo, Ghouta, Daraa, and previous de-escalation zones: targeting markets, schools, hospitals and residences with barrel bombs laden with metal, chlorine gas, ammonia, phosphorous and chemical weapons targeting innocent Sunni women and children, and using Sarin gas to kill large groups of people. He considers all Sunni Arab political opponents to be cockroaches to be exterminated.

The first warplane attack on Turkish forces occurred four days ago. As al-Assad's Syrian forces continue to move north, they're going to encounter more Turkish observation posts (military bases), and there are going to be more convoys to attack. If such an attack occurs again, Turkey may attempt to shoot down the warplane with a surface to air missile.

As Syria and Russia continue their attacks on civilians in Idlib, and push them farther north and east to the border with Syria, the humanitarian situation with worsen. Hundreds of thousands of families have already been forced to flee their homes and head for Turkey's border. The United Nations has for months been warning of the potential of one of the greatest humanitarian disasters in history.

The point is that all of these activities are pointing towards a military clash between Turkey versus the Syrian regime and Russia.

Bashar al-Assad is a Shia/Alawite, and Syria's last generational crisis war was a religious/ethnic civil war between the Shia Alawites versus the Sunnis, including the ethnic Turkmens, climaxing in February, 1982. So there's a great deal of animus between the Alawites and the Turks.

Turkey and Russia may be having a marriage of convenience at the present time, but they are no friends, as I described in "25-Nov-15 World View -- Turkey shoots down Russian warplane, evoking memories of many Crimean wars".

Syria: The crucible of a major Mideast war

As I've written many times, Generational Dynamics predicts that the Mideast is headed for a major regional war refighting the 1948 war between Jews and Arabs that followed the partitioning of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel. The war will also pit Sunnis versus Shias, and various ethnic groups against each other.

Generational Dynamics predicts that in the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war, the "axis" of China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries will be pitted against the "allies," the US, India, Russia and Iran.

It is 100% certain that Turkey and Russia will be at war. The only remaining questions are the timing and scenario.

I've assumed that the most likely scenario for the start of a major war in the Mideast would be Israelis versus Palestinians and other Arabs. However, as Israel has developed alliances with Egypt, Jordan, United Arab Emirates and other Arab countries, that scenario has seemed less likely.

We now see a new scenario growing more likely, based on the following observations:

This suggests a possible scenario where a military clash begins in Syria between Turkey and Russia, and spreads to a regional or larger war. This scenario is not certain, of course, but in view of centuries of wars between Turkey and Russia, it's certainly plausible.

Other major geopolitical issues

As the alignment of nations in a future Mideast war becomes clearer, there are still a number of questions about how the nations of Europe will line up.

Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Greece all have different and sometimes conflicting interests in the Mideast, and these differences could expand into clashes. Within Europe itself, there are sharp differences between North and South, and between East and West. Recall, for example, that one of the major reasons for Brexit is that many Britons objected to immigrants -- not the Muslim immigrants from Syria but the Christian immigrants from Poland and Hungary. And, of course, the Balkan nations are a hotbed of anger and hostility.

Meanwhile, I continue to be absolutely astonished that, after hearing politicians for decades say "Never again!", referring to the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews, that there are now three Holocausts currently in progress, in three different countries, all targeting Sunni Muslims:

Something new and astonishing occurs every day.


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16-Aug-19 World View -- US-China trade war seriously disrupts world trade

Planning for the future in a chaotic world

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from

US-China trade war seriously disrupts world trade

Does selling capacitors to Huawei violate Trump's China trade sanctions?
Does selling capacitors to Huawei violate Trump's China trade sanctions?

Much of international trade is in chaos, because of the US-China trade war, and especially because of US sanctions on Huawei Technologies and other Chinese firms for security reasons. Many international firms are going to take a revenue hits because they have to do less business with China. Furthermore, they're unable to plan effectively for the rest of 2019 and 2020 because President Donald Trump changes the details of the US sanctions rules frequently. Trump has announced two major changes in the last week alone -- delay of some tariffs, and ending all business with Huawei.

Trump has received a great deal of support both domestically and internationally for his US-China trade sanctions, because China has repeatedly lied cheated in trade as a matter of course for decades. Even Democratic party leader Chuck Shumer was counseling Trump to "hang tough." Those supporting the sanctions say, "this has to be done sometime, and if not now, then when?"

Returning to 'Normal'

However, almost everyone, particularly the Chinese, would like the sanctions to end, so that things can return to "normal." For the sanctions to end, there has to be a "trade deal," and so there have been frequent predictions of a trade deal in the mainstream media, many of which have proved to be wishful thinking.

The biggest example was the trade deal that was supposed to be signed at the end of May. During negotiations, the Chinese made commitments to resolve core complaints and write the changes into law -- theft of U.S. intellectual property and trade secrets; forced technology transfers; competition policy; access to financial services; and currency manipulation. But at the beginning of May, China reneged on every commitment, and demanded that the agreement be signed anyway.

This is a typical Chinese Communist Party (CCP) tactic -- agree to concessions, renege on concessions, and demand that everyone else honor their own commitments. This is the script that American presidents have followed in negotiations with China and North Korea for decades.

The CCP officials undoubtedly expected this to work again, believing that Trump would be politically forced to sign anyway, being forced to do so by Democrats in the US and by leftists internationally.

The CCP officials were apparently doubly shocked first because Trump didn't follow that script, and second because he received support from the Democrats and politicians worldwide. Trump vowed to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10% to 25%, and threatened to raise them even more if China reneged on its existing agreements.

As I've said many times in the past, North Korea will not give up it nuclear missiles, no matter what Trump does, and China will not give up stealing intellectual property and trade secrets, no matter what Trump does. Trump knows that too.

Since May, there has been no progress on US-China trade talks.

Peter Navarro is President Trump's Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy. He's considered to be a "hardliner" on the China negotiations. He appeared on television this week, and recited a list of seven structural issues in China's economy that have to be resolved by trade negotiations:

These criminal activities are deeply embedded in China's culture, which considers Americans to be barbarians, and so it's doubtful that they could ever be resolved without a war.

Some reports indicate that the Chinese are hoping a new American president to take office in 2020, and be more "reasonable." The problem with that reasoning is that even a Democratic president would be unable politically to simply approve of the Chinese stealing intellectuarl property, forcing technology transfers, and so forth.

In other words, there is no compromise that resolves this problem. We can look to the North Korean talks for an analogy that we can learn from. In that case, the Trump negotiations with Kim Jong-un produced a "charm offensive" that postponed some North Korean tests, but Trump did not end the sanctions, and North Korea did not end development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

Results of sanctions on Huawei Electronics

The tariffs imposed by the Trump administration may have the effect of raising prices, but no apparent consequences beyond that. However, the sanctions on Huawei Technologies are having a major geopolitical effect.

Of course, it's not just America that's blocking Huawei. Officials in more and more countries are becoming convinced that Huawei is building undetectable backdoors into their routers and other devices. These backdoors could be activated by China's military using, for example, a secret 1024-bit key, giving the military control of the device.

The US and a number of other Western countries have placed severe restrictions on installations of Huawei 5G routers and other internet equipment on networks in their countries. As a result, many countries have restrictions on the purchase of Huawei equipment.

However, Trump's sanctions on Huawei have gone a lot farther, and these sanctions are creating a chaotic situation for companies trying to plan a strategy for the next year.

The problem is that China's government, through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is forcing as many goverments as they can to install Huawei 5G networks. Since China's government is heavily subsidizing Huawei, Huawei's devices are being widely installed in any countries where they're permitted. This means that, in case of war, China's military will be in control of networks in those countries.

The Trump administration has placed additional restrictions on Huawei to slow down the company's rapid takeover of portions of the internet. The Trump administration is restricting sales of Huawei products to American companies for security reasons. But the Trump administration has gone further, and is also restricting sales of American-made products to Huawei. The objective is to disrupt Hunwei's supply chain, to slow their takeover of the internet as much as possible.

Components manufactured outside of the United States of course would not be affected by the US ban. However, it's more complicated than that, because components manufactured outside the US may still have components or materials manufactured within the US. The US has blocked Huawei from buying goods made from 25% or more of U.S.-originated technologies or materials.

Planning for the future in a chaotic world

An example of the confusion many companies are facing is Kyoto, Japan, based Murata Manufacturing. Murata supplies capacitors for Huawei-made base towers and smartphones.

The capacitors made by Murata are heavily used in electronic circuits to stabilize voltage and power flow. A smartphone may contain hundreds of capacitors, while an electric vehicle like a Tesla uses about 10,000.

It would seem that Murata's business with Huawei is completely outside the reach of the US sanctions on Huawei. That's why, on May 23, Murata's headquarters office in Kyoto, Japan, said that "its business had not been affected by the U.S. move."

However, this statement apparently caused something of a panic in the Murata's North American division. On May 30, Murata Electronics, North America (MENA), issued a very strong statement that contradicted the corporate statement issued just a week earlier. This statement said:

"Murata Electronics, North America (MENA), must not export, re-export or transfer (in country) any items (hardware, software, technology) that are subject to the US Export Administration Regulations to those who are listed in the Entity List. Public domain information available on Murata's web site is the only technical information available to these companies. Direct sales to any of these Huawei business entities or indirect sales known or suspected to be routed to the listed Huawei entities is to immediately cease.

Communications between, or on behalf of, MENA and Huawei, or any Huawei affiliated companies regardless if they are included in the Entity list or not should immediately cease. This direction includes communications such as meetings, email, phone, sample support, product promotion, technology discussions, quotes, or any other activity whether written or verbal.

Out of an abundance of caution, MENA is ceasing all sales and communications with Huawei business entities regardless of whether the Huawei business is on the Entity List or not.

MENA customer codes tied to Huawei affiliated companies will be deactivated."

This is a pretty aggressive policy statement, issued on May 30, in compliance with US requirements, on the part of the North American branch of Murata. It appears to a reaction to the corporate statement, to make it clear that MENA was complying with the sanctions, even if corporate might or might not.

Since then, Murata's Japanese offices have apparently not made any further public statements. Murata's June 30 quarterly financial statement made only a vague reference to the issue:

"In the global economic environment for the period under review, a slowdown in the economy in China caused by the trade friction with the U.S. was increasingly apparent. While employment growth continued in the U.S., economic prospects gradually worsened, and in Europe, political uncertainty coincided with the weakening of the region's economy. The prolonged U.S.-China trade friction is increasingly having an impact on the global economy, causing growing uncertainty about its future."

These are pretty clearly weasel words written by a lawyer, since they supposedly state a policy while saying nothing.

But one can sympathize with the complexity of Murata's problems. Murata has numerous plants, sales offices, and research facilities in China, so it's not surprising that the company is unable to arrive at a firm policy with respect to Huawei. According to research by Goldman Sachs, Murata will lose $90 million in operating profit because of the Huawei restrictions, and Japan's major electronic parts manufacturers together will lose $230 million in profits.

As another example, Osaka-based Panasonic Corp. has had similar confusion. On May 23, the company said that it was suspending supplies of some components to Huawei, but issued a clarifying statement on May 24 saying, "No transactions with Huawei have been suspended at the moment. We are still making checks whether the ban applies to our products."

Huawei reacted last year by preparing for a worst case scenario. Huawei is diversifying its suppliers, and it's developing some of its own components instead of depending on suppliers. Huawei told its suppliers last year that it wanted to build up a 6-12 month inventory of the most crucial components

The broader picture

Every company that does business with Huawei is likely to be confused right now, if only because President Trump himself seems to change policy regularly. On Friday of last week, Trump said that "it's easier not to do business at all with Huawei," and he added, "We're not going to do business with Huawei. That doesn't mean we won't agree to something if and when we make a trade deal, but we're not going to be doing business with Huawei."

Trump said that China was breaking its commitment to purchase more American farm goods, and indicated that if China started fulfilling that promise, then he would revisit the Huawei decision. For Murata, Panasonic, or any other firm that sells components to Huawei, this means that it must be ready to change policies at any time.

There's a broader picture here. In the 1980s, the US imposed sanctions on Poland and South Africa, and they apparently played a part in restoring democracy in both countries. I remember analysts at the time describing how sanctions were a much better way to solve problems than using military action. Today, many countries are imposing sanctions, including the US, the EU, the UK, Japan, South Korea, and others. It may be true that sanctions can solve problems, but only in a generational Awakening era. Today, in a generational Crisis era, they have the opposite effect. Instead of acceding to demands backed by sanctions, the targets impose counter-sanctions. There is now a large global network of interlocking sanctions involving many countries, and this is slowing growth and strengthening the hands of hardliners in many countries and falling growth forecasts.

This international trade war is in context of a number of things that are almost beyond belief in modern times:

There's a feeling these days that the world is headed for some kind of tipping point. In particular, there is a good chance of a global recession in the next few months, and that could trigger a chain reaction of crises in any of the items in the above list.

So the correct analogy to what's happening today is not Poland and South Africa in the 1980s.

One analogy is the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act which was passed by Congress in 1930, during the Great Depression. It was particularly devastating to Japan, as it cut off Japan's exports to America of silk, its greatest cash crop. A year later, a desperate Japan invaded Manchuria.

Another analogy today is 1941. Japan invaded China in 1937, and launched the Sino-Japanese war. On August 1, 1941, US president Franklin Roosevelt showed his displeasure by establishing an embargo on oil and gasoline exports to Japan. Three months later, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

You don't have to understand these analogies to know that the world is an international pressure cooker today, a welter of tariffs, sanctions, annexations, genocide, ethnic cleansing, border disputes, and militarization. As I showed with numerous examples in my book, world wars don't begin with cataclysmic events like the bombing of Pearl Harbor. They begin with tiny conflicts that grow into cataclysmic events over a period of months.

Those interested in understanding the history of China, Japan, Korea and Russia should read my book, "World View: War Between China and Japan: Why America Must Be Prepared" (Generational Theory Book Series, Book 2) Paperback: 331 pages, with over 200 source references, $13.99


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10-Aug-19 World View -- Pakistan-India relations downgraded as Kashmir is locked down

Pakistan furious at the revocation of Article 370

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from

Kashmir locked down and isolated, as India changes its status

Street protests in Srinigar, the capital city of the Indian-government portion of Kashmir, after Friday prayers (AP)
Street protests in Srinigar, the capital city of the Indian-government portion of Kashmir, after Friday prayers (AP)

Kashmir is a bitterly disputed region on the border between India and Pakistan. It's one of the four or five extremely volatile regions in the world where a local war could quickly spread into a larger regional war or even a world war. So a large surge in tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir in the last week is capturing worldwide attention.

Two weeks ago, India sent tens or hundreds of thousands of troops into the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir with no explanation.

It turned out that India deployed the vast army of troops to Kashmir in anticipation of violence that was likely to occur after last week's revocation of Article 370 of India's constitution, which makes Kashmir a semi-autonomous state of India.

India did much more than send in troops. For the last few days, Kashmir has been locked down and isolated. The streets are deserted all day long, because of a strict curfew that requires everyone to stay at home. All phone and internet lines have been shut down, in order to prevent Kashmiris from communicating and planning a riot.

Indian officials are concerned about a large backlash, once the curfew is lifted, and the events that occurred on Friday illustrate those concerns. The curfew was temporarily lifted for Friday prayers. Indian police used tear gas, pellets and live fire to fight back at least 10,000 anti-Indian protesters in Srinagar, Kashmir's capital city.

Indian officials are concerned about what will happen on Monday, when there is a major Muslim festival of Eid Ul Azha. Eid Ul Azha ("Festival of the Sacrifice") is one of the holiest days on the Muslim calendar, and it commemorates the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son in obedience to Allah's command.

Modi says revoking Article 370 will benefit Kashmir and all of India

The region's last generational crisis war was the massive 1947 Partition War between Muslims and Hindus that followed the partitioning of the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan.

An outcome of that war was that Kashmir was split into two, governed respectively by Pakistan and India. Indian-governed Kashmir is populated mostly by Muslims. As a condition for giving control to India, Article 370 was added to India's constitution, giving Kashmir substantial autonomy over its own affairs. Importantly, another article — 35a — also barred people outside the state from buying property there to prevent India’s majority-Hindu population from moving into Jammu and Kashmir and displacing the Muslims who live there.

A possibly unintended consequence of these laws was that girls from Kashmir could not marry men from outside Kashmir. The reason was that residents of Jammu and Kashmir had exclusive rights to property and state government jobs, among other privileges, and women marrying non-residents stood to lose those benefits.

With the revocation of those laws, Kashmir is just another state within India, equivalent to all the other states. Girls can now freely marry outside of Kashmir, but the larger picture is Kashmir's affairs are now decided in New Delhi rather than in Srinigar.

India's prime minister Narendra Modi has justified the revocation of Article 370 by saying that it's harmed the people of Kashmir in the last 70 years, and and that all it has done is to bring nepotism, separatism, and terrorism. He said that the "historic" decision would benefit all the people of Kashmir, and would benefit all of India.

It's not surprising that Modi revoked Article 370, since he has wanted to do so for years, but many analysts are wondering about the timing - why now?

According to some analysts, it's because of the Donald Trump administration. The US is negotiating to remove all of its troops from Afghanistan, and Modi may fear that this will free up a new wave of terrorists to flood into Kashmir, and saw a need to act preemptively. Modi also may have been concerned by Trump's July meeting with Inran Khan, at which Trump offered to mediate the Kashmir problem for Pakistan and India.

Pakistan furious at the revocation of Article 370

Some 8,000 supporters of the Pakistani political party Jammat-e-Islami demonstrated in Islamabad, Pakistan's capital city (Sky News)
Some 8,000 supporters of the Pakistani political party Jammat-e-Islami demonstrated in Islamabad, Pakistan's capital city (Sky News)

Pakistani officials were caught by surprise by the revocation of Article 370, and have been expressing fury. Officials in Pakistan particularly point to the removal of restrictions on ownership of land and property by outsiders, which were embedded in Article 370. Removing these restrictions might lead to an influx of Hindu immigration into Kashmir, diluting the Muslim population.

There were large anti-India protests in Pakistan's capital city Islamabad, with 8,000 demonstrators in the streets. One young man was quoted: "Yes, we are angry here. We don't want to fight. The last option is to fight ... but if we have to, we will get Kashmir by the sword, by ammunition and guns." Some Pakistani officials were calling for military action against India.

Pakistan's close ally China said that it will "continue to support Pakistan in safeguarding its legitimate rights and interests."

Pakistan's prime minister Imran Khan defused some of the anger by saying that instead of military action, they will use diplomatic action. Pakistan has downgraded diplomatic ties with India and suspended trade, and will bring the issue to the UN Security Council.


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3-Aug-19 World View -- Japan-Korea relations deteriorate quickly after surprise trade standoff

South Korea's Moon: 'We won't be defeated again' by Japan

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from

Japan-Korea relations deteriorate quickly after surprise trade standoff

South Korea's president Moon Jae-in and Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe
South Korea's president Moon Jae-in and Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe

The surprise trade dispute between South Korea and Japan that we reported three weeks ago has been become increasingly vitriolic. ( "17-Jul-19 World View -- Japan - South Korea trade dispute worsens")

The Koreans have been demanding reparations for Japanese atrocities committed during World War II. Japan and South Korea agreed to reparations in a treaty in 1965 that the Japanese claim settled the matter. The Koreans demanded more reparations, and in 2015 Japan and Korea concluded a bilateral agreement which was intended at the time as the “final and irreversible” resolution.

However, now a Korean court has ruled that the Japanese must pay additional reparations to so-called "comfort girls." The Japanese are seeing this as harassment, and last month they imposed trade sanctions on chemicals needed for manufacturing chips. The sanctions particularly target Korean firms Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix, and LG Electronics.

Two days ago, Japan took the further step of dropping South Korea from a so-called "white list" of favored export destinations, and South Korea retaliated in kind.

South Korea's Moon: 'We won't be defeated again' by Japan

Japan's sanctions have hit South Korea hard, and have generated a vitriolic backlash in South Korea against Japan.

Millions of South Koreans are boycotting Japanese goods over the dispute, and several protests have been held throughout the country. A South Korean man set himself on fire in the center of Seoul. Supermarket shelves are being emptied of Japanese goods. Defiant demonstrators have posted films of themselves destroying their own Japanese cars.

Speaking to a cabinet meeting, President Moon Jae-in vowed angrily that "we will never let Japan" defeat Korea again:

"I clearly warn that the Japanese government will be solely responsible for what happens going forward. We will never be defeated by Japan again. The Republic of Korea is not the same Republic of Korea of the past. We will never let Japan, who is the assailant, speak louder and become offensive towards us. We will sternly take measures corresponding to Japan’s unjustified economic retaliations. We have measures to use to counter their offenses."

An editorial in the Korea Times relates the current situation to Korea's historical relation to Japan, Russia and China:

"The issue of getting Japanese companies belatedly to pay compensation for Korean forced laborers during World War II the starting point of the Korea-Japan standoff only scratches the surface of the much bigger issue underneath. ...

His shadows are manifest in two ways: Koreans resent Japan and its nationalist leader Shinzo Abe for their refusal to inherit the sins of their ancestors and the obligation to pay for these sins but Koreans worry about their wellbeing, fearing that the fate that befell them at the turn of the 20th century will revisit them. ...

Back then, the big powers scrambled to have Korea as a colonial trophy prize.

In that scramble, imperial Japan cut deals with the U.S., fought off the Qing Dynasty and the Russian Empire, and absorbed Korea, then the Joseon Kingdom, before ruling it as ruthless colonial master for the following 36 years.

The hapless King Gojeong, the last monarch of the ailing Joseon, was reduced to a pawn being pulled by his father and Queen Min or Empress Myeongseong. The trio's respective and conflicting attempts to curry favor with the big powers to save themselves backfired and collapsed.

The ambience created by the mixture of U.S. President Donald Trump, China's president for life Xi Jinping, Japan's Abe, remotely Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, and, last but not least, North Korea's young autocrat Kim Jong-un, has for no good reasons spooked present-day Korea in the same manner Joseon must have felt some 100 years ago."

The Japanese and Korean people have hated each other for many centuries. In the modern era, after the Korean war, the two countries have remained at a frozen peace because they're both American allies. But that peace is thawing, now that the survivors of WW II have all but disappeared.

History of Korea, Japan and China

Historically, Korea has been a Chinese vassal state, forced to pay tribute to China. So the Koreans hate both the Japanese and the Chinese. How this will all unfold once war breaks out will not be pleasant. Those missiles and nuclear weapons that the North Koreans are developing will be targeting Japan, South Korea and America. South and North Korea will be in a full scale ground war. Japan and America will be striking back at both North Korea and China.

Those interested in understanding the history of China, Japan, Korea and Russia should read my book, "World View: War Between China and Japan: Why America Must Be Prepared" (Generational Theory Book Series, Book 2) Paperback: 331 pages, with over 200 source references, $13.99


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