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Xi’s Third Term: China National Security Analysis

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In his opening speech to the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which concluded on October 22, President Xi Jinping emphasized that he will now prioritize national security over economic recovery. He also stated that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has the right to use force to take Taiwan. Furthermore, a new addition to the party’s constitution stipulated that China will use force against those who stand in the way of an annexation of Taiwan, a veiled threat to the United States. With Xi guaranteed a third term, and possibly tenure for life, and with the politburo stacked with his supporters, war between the U.S. and China is more likely now than at any time in history.

This article contains a PMESII analysis of China’s capacity to wage war. PMESII assesses a country’s martial capabilities across six dimensions: political, economic, military, social, information, and infrastructure.

Political Assessment

The political dimension of PEMSII analysis examines how well or how completely the central government controls the country. With the exception of some terrorist and separatist activities in Xinjiang and very quiet resentment among Inner Mongolians and Tibetans, the CCP has a near complete lock on the Chinese mainland.

The Central Government

Direct elections are only held for the lowest level of local and village representatives, and only approved candidates may run. China has eight minor parties, but they must all concede the leading role of the CCP, making China a de facto one-party state. Since the founding of the PRC in 1949, the CCP, with its more than 90 million members, has had a monopoly on power.

Xi Jinping, the son of a revolutionary, rose through the ranks, becoming China’s leader in 2012. His titles include general secretary of the CCP, chairman of the Central Military Commission, and president of the PRC. The party has conferred on him the title of paramount leader of China.

Since 2012, Xi has led the Belt and Road Initiative, consolidated control over the party and the people, asserted China’s global power, increase his repression of ethnic and religious minorities, strengthened the military, increased government control over private companies, and threatened to annex Taiwan by force.

Xi consolidated his power by eliminating opposition within the party. Since 2012, his anti-corruption campaign has investigated and punished more than 4 million cadres, including 500 senior officials.

The doctrine of China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, “Xi Jinping Thought” has become standard reading in political education and communist reading groups in China and has been enshrined in the PRC constitution.

The New Politburo

At the recent 20th National Congress of the CCP, in addition to gaining a third term as president, Xi further consolidated his power by eliminating the last remnants of opposition, mainly politburo members and cadres associated with the Youth League Faction. They included Premier Li Keqiang, who was replaced, former leader Hu Jintao, who was publicly escorted out of the congress, and Wang Yang, former chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

Li Keqiang and Wang Yang both favored economic reforms. Their removal suggests that Xi will continue to tighten his grip over the economy. Wang Huning, considered a leading authority on “Wolf Warrior diplomacy”, was promoted, as was former Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who once warned the United Nations General Assembly that “any move to obstruct China’s cause of reunification is bound to be crushed by the wheels of history.”

Xi’s position and those of his appointees will be made official at the next plenary session of China’s parliament in March 2023.

In his opening speech to the congress, Xi signaled that he was shifting his focus from the economy to national security. With the appointment of Wolf Warrior diplomats, and with no opposition left in government, a more aggressive PRC can be expected, exerting greater control over its people and more likely to enter into a conflict with the U.S. or its allies.

Economic Assessment

The economic condition of a country has direct implications for its ability to conduct a war, as it must be able to fund its military while ensuring that its citizens have sufficient food and other services.

For nearly four decades, from 1980 to 2019, China’s average GDP growth rate was 8%. Over the past several years, the rate has been trending steadily downward with some forecasts for this year going below 3%. In October 2022, the Chinese yuan hit a record low, breaking 7.3 to the dollar. 

Snapshot of the Economy  

China is an upper-middle income country with a population of 1.4 billion, a GDP of about US$14.7 trillion (see also Statista), foreign reserves of over US$3 trillion, a per capita GDP of US$12,556 per year, and a Gini coefficient of 3.82. The country’s development is extremely uneven, however, with nearly a quarter of the population still living on less than US$5.50 per day, and a total of 40% remaining poor. Earnings of those in urban areas are more than double those of rural dwellers (see also Statista). In 2022, the percentage of citizens living in poverty is expected to increase, along with the Gini coefficient, due to ongoing pandemic lockdowns.

Debt

China’s private debt is 184.49 % of nominal GDP, while government debt totals about 79% of GDP. Foreign debt stands at US$2.6 trillion. State-owned enterprises make up 71% of Chinese firms on the Global 500 List. Together, state-owned firms and the government itself account for 40% of the country’s GDP, while state-owned enterprises (SOE) are responsible for 50% to 60% of total corporate debt. The current economic slowdown has forced the smallest 90% of companies (by revenue) to borrow money to service existing loans.

The real-estate sector accounts for 63% of household debt and 36% of GDP. Real-estate sales have dropped 30% this year. More than 30 property firms have defaulted and more than 29% of real-estate loans have gone bad. A collapse of the real-estate sector is expected to cause China’s stock markets to lose 20% in value. The overall level of non-performing loans at state banks now totals US$534 billion. Somewhere between 13% and 28% of Chinese firms are expected to go cash-flow negative this year.

Through direct borrowing, bonds, and other mechanisms, local governments owe a total of $7.8 trillion dollars, and are expected to have a shortfall of US$1.05 trillion this year. Local government debt is normally repaid through real-estate sales, but the real estate slump is increasing the risk of default.

Belt and Road Investment

China has made about US$1 trillion worth of investments in foreign countries as part of Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Now, 60% of the countries who borrowed from China are facing economic distress. So far, tens of billions of dollars’ worth of loans have had to be written off, and more requests for loan forgiveness are expected.

Military Assessment

Military analysis goes beyond raw troop numbers, and must also consider a country’s total firepower.

The United States ranks first in the world for defense spending with an annual budget of US$770 billion, while China is second with US$230 billion. The defense budget is directly correlated to a country’s ability to purchase and develop new technologies and next-generation weapons and to make the latest equipment available to the largest percentage of its troops.

For overall firepower, the U.S. is ranked first of 142 countries, while China is third, behind Russia.

China has nearly double the available manpower, with roughly 148 million military capable citizens who could potentially serve in the military. China has 2 million active duty troops, the U.S. having 1.39 million. For reserves, the numbers are closer, China with 510,000 and the U.S. with 442,000. China also has 624,000 paramilitary personnel, whereas the U.S. has none.

In the Air

The U.S. leads in terms of aircraft, 13,247 to China’s 3,285. Fighter aircraft: U.S. 1,957, China 1,200; helicopters: U.S. 5,463, China 912; attack helicopters: U.S. 910, China 281; combat drones: U.S. 334 U.S., China 151.

On the Land

The U.S. has more tanks (6,612 to China’s 5,250) and armored vehicles (45,193 to China’s 35,000). China has superiority in many land-based assets, such as artillery. For self-propelled artillery, China has 4,120, while the U.S. has 1,498. For towed artillery: China 1,734, U.S. 1,339; mobile rocket projectors: China 3,160, U.S. 1,306. China may have focused more on the development of this aspect of its military, because it has land borders with 14 countries, all of which have to be defended, whereas the U.S. has only two neighbors, and its land borders require minimal defense only. Most Chinese military personnel are deployed near its borders. The Pentagon estimates that China only has vehicles and transport capabilities to redeploy about 20% of its armed forced within China’s borders.

On the Sea

China has 777 vessels to the U.S. 484. Aircraft carriers: U.S. 11, China 2; helicopter carriers: U.S. 9, China 1; submarines: U.S. 68, China 79. Destroyers: U.S. 92, China 41; frigates: the U.S. has none, but China has 49; corvettes: China 70, U.S. 22; patrol vessels: China 152, U.S. 10; mine warfare vessels: China has 36, U.S. 8.

Nuclear Weapons

The U.S was the first and so far only country to use a nuclear weapon in war. Since 1945, the U.S. has conducted atomic-weapon 1,054 tests. Currently, the U.S. has 3,780 warheads with about 1,744 deployed. China has conducted a total of 45 nuclear weapons teats and currently has 350 nuclear warheads.

Alliances

China only has one official ally with a mutual defense pact, North Korea. However, China now includes the word “security,” rather than defense, as a term that appears in many of its bilateral agreements, as with the Solomon Islands, or its multinational agreements such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which includes China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. Iran is expected to join soon.

China maintains what Beijing calls, “comprehensive strategic cooperative partnerships” with Belarus, Cambodia, Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Laos, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Thailand, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.

The next highest level of relationship is the “strategic operative partnership” which China maintains with Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, India, Nepal, South Korea, Sri Lanka, and Suriname, as well as with the African Union.

Additionally, China has significant economic influence over a number of countries which could, theoretically, be coerced into aiding the PRC in a war against the United States.

Overseas Bases

In 2016, China established its first overseas military base in Djibouti, Africa, near the entrance to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal. Chinese companies also own significant stakes in 13 overseas ports, including at least 7 in Europe. Worldwide, China has some interest in more than 100 ports in over 60 nations. The COSCO Group operates and manages 357 terminals in 36 ports from Southeast Asia to the Middle East, Europe and the Mediterranean. Another Chinese port developer, China Merchants Group, claims to have expanded its global port layout to 68 ports in 27 countries.

These ports are designated as civilian, but could be modified to accommodate PLA Navy military vessels. Although not an official base, China has greatly expanded Ream Naval Base in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, which now acts as a de facto base for the PLA Navy. Just three hours away, Dara Sakor International Airport was developed by Chinese companies with Chinese money. In spite of the town having a population of only 100,000, the airport boasts the longest runway in Cambodia at 3,200 meters. It could easily accommodate PLA Air Force planes. The airport will also be operated by a Chinese company, which raises additional questions regarding a lack of transparency.

Social Assessment

The social dimension includes elements such as racial, political, ethnic and religious freedom, as well as fractures which could occur in the society as a result of internal conflicts.

In terms of civil liberties, on scale of 0 to 60, with 0 being the least free, China scores 11. For political freedom on a scale of 0 to 40, China scores -2. Although China has 56 ethnic groups, the political scene is dominated by the Han ethnic majority, which comprise 92% of the population. The central government implements strategies to forcibly alter the demographics of minority-majority regions, such as Xinjiang (Uighur), Tibet, and Inner Mongolia, by relocating Han Chinese to the area, transporting young people to other parts of the country for education, and providing economic bonuses and other incentives to government employees who marry an ethnic minority. In Inner Mongolia, for example, Mongolians now only make up less than 20% of the population.

Religious freedom is guaranteed by the PRC constitution. However, in practice, there is very little freedom of religion. Only five faiths are approved — Buddhism, Catholicism, Taoism, Islam, and Protestantism — and those who wish to practice one of these religions must adhere to a state-approved body, such as the Buddhist Association of China, the Chinese Taoist Association, the Islamic Association of China, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (Protestant), and the Catholic Patriotic Association. The CCP, through organizations such as the State Administration for Religious Affairs, appoints clergy and approves liturgy. Religious texts, such as the Bible, have been rewritten to include Marxist ideology.

In general, the central government has complete control on the mainland. Hong Kong is a special case, worthy of a separate report. In short, while many citizens in Hong Kong feel no allegiance to the CCP, Beijing controls this special administrative region. Hong Kong holds general elections, but the bulk of government positions are appointed, including the city’s Chief Executive. In 2020, the central government passed the National Security Law in Hong Kong, severely restricting freedoms and special privileges of Hong Kong residents.

Taiwan, the Republic of China (ROC), considers itself an independent country. It is a high-functioning multiparty democracy and has a standard of living much higher than that in the PRC. Xi Jinping has vowed to annex Taiwan, by force if need be, and has claimed that the PRC has the right to use force against any third party who stands in the way, a veiled reference to the United States, which supports Taiwan’s defense. A Chinese invasion of Taiwan is considered one of the most likely triggers for a war between the U.S. and China. It would likely involve Japan and other members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Australia, India, Japan, and the U.S.) and the Aukus alliance (Australia, United Kingdom, and the U.S.).

Information Assessment

The information dimension analyzes who controls the flow of information and what information is allowed to be disseminated. China has one of the most repressive information regimens in the world. Although the country officially has freedom of speech, restrictions can be made for speech relating to state secrets, subversion, separatism, or speech which is harmful, terms which are loosely defined and strictly enforced by the CCP.

All major media are state-owned, and the CCP’s propaganda department sends them daily messages regarding what content to cover and which to suppress. Major media for both domestic and foreign consumption include: Xinhua News Agency, China Central Television (CCTV), and China National Radio (CNR); and newspapers China Daily, People’s Daily and Global Times. Additionally, the state-owned China Global Television Network (CGTN) and Radio China International (RCI) specifically target foreign markets.

China’s press freedom ranks close to the bottom of global press freedom, 175 out of 177 countries. In terms of internet freedom, on a scale of 0 to 40, with 0 being the least free, China scores 8.25 on obstacles to access, 2.35 on limits on content, and 0 on violations of user rights.

Due to a lack of freedom of press, speech, or assembly, there are very few protests against the central government. In general, citizens are believed to support Xi’s anti-corruption campaign, as well as poverty-reduction programs. Other Xi policies, such as the pandemic lockdowns which have impacted hundreds of millions of citizens, have been less popular. Additionally, citizens are not happy seeing their standard of living decline, in the face of the worst economy in decades. This will be covered in more detail in the economy section.

Infrastructure Assessment

In order to conduct a war, a country needs adequate infrastructure and logistics, both military and civilian, to support the deployment of large numbers of personnel and assets, and the manufacture and movement of supplies.

Comparing infrastructure shows airports: China 507, U.S. 13,513; ports: China 22, U.S. 35; merchant marine: China 6,662, U.S 3,627; roadways: China 4,960 km, U.S. 6,586 km; oil production: China 3.775 million barrels per day, U.S. 11 million barrels per day; oil consumption: China 12.5 billion barrels per day, U.S. 20 million barrels per day; proven oil reserves: China 25.6 billion barrels, U.S. 35 billion barrels; waterways: China 11,000 km, U.S. 41,000 km.

Antonio Graceffo, PhD. China-MBA, is a China economic-analyst who has spent over 20 years in Asia, including 7 in China, and 3 in Mongolia, where he teaches economics at the American university. He is a graduate of Shanghai University of Sport and Antai College of Economics & Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Additionally, he conducted three years of post-doctoral studies at School of Economics Shanghai University, focusing on U.S.-China trade, and currently studies national security at the American Military University. He is the author of 5 books about China, including Beyond the Belt and Road: China’s Global Economic Expansion and The Wushu Doctor. His writing has appeared in The South China Morning Post, The Diplomat, Jamestown Foundation China Brief, Lowy Institute China Brief, Penthouse, and others. He is a frequent guest on various TV shows, providing China commentary on NTD network in the United States.

Defense

America Produces Biological Weapons; Does Russia? Does China?

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Terrorism

On November 26th, Russia’s RT News bannered “US ‘military biological activities’ a threat to the world – Russia”, and reported that the U.S. Threat Reduction Agency (an Orwellian name for an American threat-increasing agency) has issued its “DEFENSE THREAT REDUCTION AGENCY STRATEGY FISCAL YEAR 2022 – 2027”, and says that the DTRA document 

openly identifies expanding the US’ ability to “identify, characterize and exploit adversary WMD vulnerabilities” as one of its goals. Another of its aims is to recognize “potential WMD warfighting obstacles” and find “solutions” to help the US and its allies “win during the conflict.”

Washington’s stated intention of strengthening the implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) has been met with doubt from Moscow. Russia has repeatedly raised the issue of the real goal of the Pentagon’s research programs at various international sites, [but] … these questions remain unanswered to date. 

In late October, Russia filed an official complaint claiming that US-backed biological activities are taking place in Ukraine and requested a UN probe into the matter. The UN Security Council rejected Moscow’s proposal, with the US, UK, and France voting against it.

The DTRA’s document itself opens:

In his Interim National Security Strategic Guidance, published in March of 2021, President Biden focused the Nation’s instruments of power on China and Russia as “pacing threats,” in a frankly acknowledged shift to strategic competition. Secretary of Defense Austin’s published priorities for the DoD have done the same. These developing strategies have revectored the Nation’s national security interest in partnerships and international leadership; on securing the homeland; and in mounting an effective, integrated deterrent to adversary use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and emerging threats.

The document goes on to say:

The United States faces a complex and volatile security landscape. As identified by Secretary Austin’s 2021 Defense Planning Guidance, China remains the pacing threat and seeks to replace the current international rules-based order [America’s proposed replacements of U.N.-based international laws] with one centered on [against] Beijing. While Russia does not pose the same long-term military, economic, or diplomatic challenges as China, it too is highly capable, and seeks near- to medium-term hegemony within its region. [America demands continued and increased U.S. “hegemony” throughout the world.]

In other words: under President Biden, the production of epidemic-producing pathogens will be increased, as part of “a frankly acknowledged shift to strategic competition” against China and Russia.

Page 10 of the document says:

AGENCY GOALS:

3. ENABLE THE JOINT FORCE AND ALLIES/PARTNERS TO COMPETE AND WIN AGAINST ADVERSARIES

The Agency enhances the Joint Force, allied, and partner ability to compete and, when necessary, win against potential WMD-armed adversaries. Today, potential adversaries believe that WMD are critical to shape the battlespace, exert coercive influence, and achieve military aims. The impact of conflicts with WMD-armed adversaries are mitigated by developing counter-WMD technical solutions, highlighting WMD warfighting challenges and adversary vulnerabilities through strategic and operational analysis, and supporting DoD plans and exercises focused on CWMD threats. The Agency provides the Joint Force, allies, and partners with unique insight into adversary WMD force posture, doctrine, and systems. In particular, DTRA examines how potential adversaries plan to employ and integrate WMD during conflict. This better prepares U.S. and allied forces for overmatch within a WMD battlespace. To this end, the Agency will:

Expand our ability to identify, characterize, and exploit adversary WMD vulnerabilities; Strengthen target characterization and servicing requirements for WMD hard targets;

Develop non-traditional planning solutions to emerging WMD problems, to include preventing further WMD employment following adversary first use; and

Recognize potential WMD warfighting obstacles as well as potential solutions to enable the Joint Warfighter to win during conflict.

But is China, and is Russia, actually developing and producing biological weapons — or is America itself instead actually leading the way toward a pandemic-plagued global future?

On 28 May 2020, I headlined “The Stupid Insanity of Biological-Warfare R&D” and argued:

——

There is much speculation that the coronavirus-19 or Covid-19 was invented in a research-and-development (R&D) biological-warfare (B-W) lab, which might have been one in China, the U.S., or perhaps some other country; but, if that is the case, then that country’s entire military top brass and Commander-in-Chief (C-i-C) are not merely stupid but insane, for the following very simple reason: NO weapon is usable in war if it cannot be effectively and controllably targeted, and B-W weapons cannot be effectively and controllably targeted — they are contagious and respect no national boundaries and therefore endanger instead of protect the people who live in the country that has such a stupid and insane government, a government that is doing B-W R&D. Any such government (any country that is doing B-W R&D) is so bad that it needs to be immediately overthrown by its own population, because its own population is being mortally and severely threatened by that government’s stupidity and its insanity: its entire military top brass including its C-i-C must therefore be placed on trial for possible treason, at least in order to more-accurately define the very meaning of “treason,” a term whose meaning is not yet sufficiently clearly defined. (Is there no due-diligence requirement for public servants? Is there no accountability at all for any public servant who harms the public, no matter how badly? Public office entails enormous power, which is why it is so sought; but, along with that power needs to come full accountability. Does that exist? If not, is the nation effectively, then, a dictatorship?)

Ever since at least 1952 (and that 764-page document takes about ten to 30 minutes to load, but here are some excerpts), the U.S. Government has actually been doing R&D (research and development) into the use of bacteria and viruses as weapons to conquer countries that it wants to add to its empire (“allies,” or vassal-nations — not merely friendly nations but instead governments, including some barbaric dictatorships, that would prejudicially favor the products of U.S.-based international corporations; this is the U.S. international-corporate empire that became the U.S. Government’s supreme international-relations policy-objective to expand globally starting on 26 July 1945 . That biological-warfare (B-W) R&D tactic was part of America’s ‘anti-communist’ campaign, and it started in this American imperial invasion mainly against North Korea but also against China. The U.S. Government lied and denied that it was true, but subsequently an international scientific team investigated exhaustively into the matter and published the evidence which showed that it had, in fact, happened. Mainly the North Korean population had been bombed with contagious bacteria, but (as is common with R&D) the hoped-for results from this experiment (in this case an uncontainable spread of a deadly infection only in the bombed area) failed. Unfortunately, that failure (of an insanely stupid program) did not terminate the U.S. Government’s B-W R&D, and the same U.S. regime remains in place and continues to this day.

For example, the great investigative journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva headlined on 20 September 2018, “‘Diplomatic Immunity’ Used to Traffick Human Blood and Pathogens for Secret Military Program” and opened:

The US Embassy to Tbilisi transports frozen human blood and pathogens as diplomatic cargo for a secret US military program. Internal documents, implicating US diplomats in the transportation of and experimenting on pathogens under diplomatic cover were leaked to me by Georgian insiders. According to these documents, Pentagon scientists have been deployed to the Republic of Georgia and have been given diplomatic immunity to research deadly diseases and biting insects at the Lugar Center – the Pentagon biolaboratory in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi.

This military facility is just one of the many Pentagon biolaboratories in 25 countries across the world. They are funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) under a $ 2.1 billion military program – Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP), and are located in former Soviet Union countries such as Georgia and Ukraine, the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa.

Instead of investing in the health of its own citizens the US government has spent $161 million of US taxpayer money on the Lugar Center in Tbilisi for research on deadly diseases and biting insects abroad. (©Al Mayadeen TV)

The secret facility is located just 17 km from the US Vaziani military airbase in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi.

The Pentagon biolaboratory is heavily guarded. All passers-by within a radius of 100 m are filmed although the military biolaboratory is located within a residential area.

I am being filmed while talking to local residents on the street near the Pentagon biolaboratory and I want to know why the security guards are filming me. (©Al Mayadeen TV)

The security guards warn me that if I do not comply, show my passport and leave this place, I will be arrested. My official request to the Lugar Center for access to the facility and for interviews has also been rejected.

Secret experiments at night

However, I go back at night when the laboratory is seemingly still working. No matter how far the distance the air is laden with the smell of chemicals. This smell coming from the Lugar Center at night is blown by the wind to the residential area. Local residents from the Alexeevka neighbourhood, where the laboratory is located, complain that dangerous chemicals are being secretly burnt at night and that hazardous waste is being emptied into the nearby river through the laboratory’s pipes.

Gaytandzhieva there was reporting on what is clearly a U.S. B-W R&D facility, and so there can be little reasonable doubt that the U.S. Government is so insatiably voracious as to be placing the entire world’s safety at risk in order to advance its imperialistic objective.

What use can there actually be for this R&D? Whom does it actually benefit? Has any U.S. President, or any member of the U.S. Congress, pressed to defund all such taxpayer-financed operations and to prosecute the persons who created them? Is there no accountability? The United States has a higher percentage of its population in prison than does any other country on this planet, and so why are not perhaps half of them released and maybe just a thousand of the key individuals who did this immense harm placed there instead? Why is this not being investigated by the same U.S. Government that created the problem? Is there no accountability except against the poorest (such as in America)?

There are allegations that the Government of China likewise engages in this stupid and insane R&D. Consequently, the Editor-in-Chief of China’s Global Times newspaper, Hu Xijn, headlined on May 18th, “If coronavirus did not originate in China, Trump team’s campaign strategy will collapse” and he said via a youtube:

“The European Union is proposing an investigation into the origin of the coronavirus. As long as the investigation is scientific and fair, Beijing has no cause for concern. I think that Washington is the one that should be worried. Beijing has maintained that the coronavirus is an enemy of humankind no matter where in our global society it came from. Beijing has always taken this stance, which is shared by the majority of the world’s countries. Only Washington has politicized the coronavirus’s origins as a way to divert responsibility toward China for the US federal government’s ineffective handling of the pandemic. Now that early COVID-19 cases in the US are still being discovered, I believe the Trump administration has become very nervous. If the investigation finds that the coronavirus did not originate in China, or even finds that it originated in the US, the Trump team’s campaign strategy will collapse. As long as the WHO leads the investigation, and investigates China, the US and the whole world, it will be a good thing. If it finds that the virus originated in China, the US political offensive has already spent most of its energy. If it finds the opposite, which might be the case, it will be a heavy blow to the Trump administration.”

If the virus did originate in a Chinese B-W R&D lab, then the next question is: Who actually benefits from that R&D? All such individuals should be tried at the International Criminal Court (like America’s never were) for violating the existing international laws against such ‘weapons’; but, also, the question would be essential to pursue, of why such stupid and insane ‘weapons’ are being pursued — who benefits from ANY such R&D. Is it not blatantly clear “that the coronavirus is an enemy of humankind no matter where in our global society it came from”? That’s the point here. The United States Government is this stupid and insane, but is China’s also?

As regards the penalties that ought to be imposed against any such perpetrators, there is something else that is clear, and it is that a distinction must always be made between institutional criminality that is unintentional but the result only of failure to carry out due diligence — in other words, purely a result of incompetence —  versus institutional criminality that entails the CEO’s actual intention to achieve some criminal goal.

——

Russia says: “In late October, Russia filed an official complaint claiming that US-backed biological activities are taking place in Ukraine and requested a UN probe into the matter. The UN Security Council rejected Moscow’s proposal, with the US, UK, and France voting against it.” In other words: the U.N. Security Council voted politically on this — voted only on a partisan basis. RT’s article (as is unfortunately normal there and in all ’news’-media) provided no link to the alleged sources, the U.N.S.C. debate, and to the vote there on it; but, if Russia’s proposal was phrased in a partisan, instead of neutral, way, then that vote-outcome was inevitable and Russia itself was largely to blame for its failure. However: if it was not, then why is Russia hiding from the public what their precise proposal was? That wouldn’t be very bright of them. But was it the case? (‘News’-reporting that hides its sources is no better than gossip.)

Are OTHER Governments, and not ONLY America’s, producing biological-warfare ‘weapons’ — such UNTARGETABLE mass-murdering ‘weapons’ as these pathogens? Why are Russia and China doing nothing to force that issue to the public’s attention? Any U.N.S.C. proposal on the matter needs to be clearly nonpartisan. Otherwise, failure on it will be inevitable, and the entire matter will continue to be ONLY an international political football — as it is

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Defense

Contemporary Atlantic Alliance: An “Existential” Expansion that Obviates the Evil of Fighting

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Image source: NATO

The behavior that characterized the reactions of US President Joe Biden and Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Jens Stoltenberg, about the identity of the missile that fell on Polish territory, is not critical. The two men were keen to deny Moscow’s responsibility for its launch, and content themselves with a simple and simplistic narrative saying that it was a Ukrainian air defense missile that deviated from its course in the face of Russian attacks. The origin is the sufficiency of the evil of the clash with Moscow, on the part of the Atlantic involvement in particular, because whether the narrative that is is correct or fabricated, no one on both sides of the ocean, the Black Sea, and the Baltic Sea is ignorant of the dangers of a spark like this, which represents an escalation capable of igniting a confrontation like that. The funniest thing in the context is that the White House and NATO contacts with the Polish government did not aim at consolation or tightening the bonds and solidarity, as much as they exercised a series of pressures so that Polish President Andrzej Duda would not request the activation of Article 4 of the NATO Charter, which obliges allies to consult if a member state feels that its territorial integrity or its political independence or security is under threat.

     The principle of the clash, or the sufficiency of its evil either, brings one back to the fact that NATO is not the only military alliance in our contemporary world; And it is not the only reminder, almost, that mankind lived the Cold War throughout an entire and integrated era, just as well; Rather, it is also an alliance of intersecting, converging or opposing interests, often subject to give and take according to the principles of bargaining, settlement, and quota. This does not mean that NATO is not a geographical-civilian-cultural quota, according to what humanity understood from the words of former Czech President Vaclav Havel, two decades ago when his country hosted a NATO summit unlike any other, simply because it was considered a “transformation summit”. At that time, Havel said, in an unmistakable tone of warning, that “the alliance should not expand outside a very specific arena of civilizations that are generally known as Euro-Atlantic or Euro-American civilizations, or simply the West.” Was it Turkey that was meant by that implicit definition that does not completely succeed in purifying all the racist odors? Or were the countries in which Muslim communities still live? What is the motive for issuing this warning when the summit is discussing the expansion of the alliance in eastern and southern Europe, and the inclusion of seven new countries in the club? And which of these countries (which received their membership documents in the alliance at that time: Estonia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Romania, Latvia, and Lithuania) did not meet the criteria of the Euro-Atlantic civilization track?

     Some argue, as these lines do, that such questions remain superfluous, whoever asked them, as long as the alliance’s military-political structure is, and as long as the United States is at the forefront of its leadership and direction on various levels, from which considerations of America’s geo-political interests are not absent in the first place. Indeed, the French and Germans do not stop harassing the Pentagon, and the right in Spain lost the battle of the sacred alliance with Washington, and the legacy of the alliance in Libya, Iraq, and Syria is not at all a significant harvest … On the other hand, all members of the alliance know that the shock of 9/11 granted the United States more than a military license; Washington also spared the embarrassment of consulting with Atlantic allies whenever the bell rang in a church. And if the Prague meeting deserved to be called the “Transformation Summit,” this was not primarily for military reasons, but rather because NATO penetrated all the former Warsaw Pact sites, and reached Russia’s back, belly, and flank, north, south, east, and west!

     It is also true that the balance within the alliance is not only imbalanced in favor of the United States but rather lacks a set of elements that allow the use of the term “balance” in any tangible sense. The correspondent of the British newspaper “The Independent” chose a funny way to express this imbalance, so he recorded the fact that the American delegation to that summit of transformation occupied seven floors of the Hilton Hotel that hosted the delegations, compared to one floor for the Dutch delegation, for example! In other, more indicative terms, the United States alone spends one billion US dollars daily on defense affairs, while the total of the 15 European members of the alliance spends nearly 500 million dollars. The world needed the tactlessness of former US President Donald Trump to read tweets like this one: “Without success, for years Presidents have tried to get Germany and other rich Atlantic nations to pay more for protection from Russia. They pay a small portion of their alimony. The United States pays tens of billions of dollars more than it should subsidize Europe and loses a lot in trade. Or this: “Above all, Germany has begun to pay Russia, the country from which it seeks protection, billions of dollars for its energy needs through a pipeline from Russia. this is unacceptable! All NATO nations must implement the 2% commitment, and this must rise to 4%.

     And the situation is that the Atlantic began as an American military arm in practice, where the European units affiliated with it are nothing more than a completion of the external decoration; And so the alliance remains today, even after it has grown in number, in equipment, and the area of deployment. It has expanded from 12 founding countries to 15 in the fifties of the last century, until it has reached 32 countries today, including Sweden and Finland; Among them are three former Soviet republics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), and seven former members of the now-extinct Warsaw Pact (Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, Poland), and there is a discordant mix in the record of those aspiring to the membership that includes Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and …Ukraine!

     As for the level of ideological preaching, military doctrine, and tactical cover, the justifications for the existence of the alliance can begin with the assertion that it is “the largest and most successful alliance in history,” according to former US Secretary of State and retired General Colin Powell; It will not end with the certainty of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy (who apostatized from the Gaullist philosophy and restored France to the military leadership of the alliance) that NATO is the only guarantor of European security, which has come and has not come for decades; In addition to the certainty of a country like the Czech Republic, that the difference between its reliance on European defense, versus the American defense, is like the difference between earth and sky!

     Whatever these “existential” questions, or others, the matter is the same in terms of the immortality of the alliance’s essence, militarily and politically. As long as the United States is the most important country in ensuring its survival, and in strengthening its technological fork in particular, both in defense and attack. The French and Germans indeed tried to harass Washington before the invasion of Iraq in 2003; And Afghanistan, under Obama, turned from a secondary front to a central one… But it is also true that Western Europe (capitalism, free, relatively healthy because of the grace of the United States in protecting the free world and capitalism…), is not allowed to flourish more than the prosperity of the United States itself, and to unify its ranks by detracting from the principle of American hegemony over the international system. That is why the United States pours whatever oils it wants on wars here and there, and it does not find embarrassment when it avoids the evil of fighting, and there are no big differences here between Trump and Biden in terms of the lack of diplomacy or the excessive use of it.

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Defense

Leaving the legacy behind: Analyzing Gen. Bajwa’s six years of Command

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The military is a country’s most potent institution. The army has been the most important and responsible institution in Pakistan during the 75 years since its independence and the country’s founding. Assuming what is considered the most powerful position in the country Pak Army chief is expected to ensure a secure and stable environment in the country and Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa proved him a person having great real leadership qualities. Currently, Gen. Bajwa will be retiring by the end of November 2022 after commanding the Army for six years. Due to the significance of the title, the army chief plays a crucial role in leading the armed forces and maintaining the nation’s peace and stability, and Gen. Bajwa has performed his duties admirably. He truly left a noteworthy legacy. His philosophy has received high praise and served as the foundation for his vision of Pakistan.

Owing to the complex and volatile geo-strategic environment of the region it is quite challenging to balance the risks of conflict with India, a nuclear-armed rival, and instability and tension that may arise with Afghanistan on its western border. During the Bajwa administration, the Pakistan Army launched Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad in February 2017 and Operation Khayber IV to flush out terrorist sleeper cells throughout the nation as well as purge the tribal regions of militant strongholds. This led to extraordinary accomplishments in the fight against terrorism and the refurbishment of peace in Afghanistan for the region’s long-term development. One of the major achievements of Gen. Bajwa’s tenure was the fencing of the Afghan border. The 2,600 km long fence along the Afghan border has almost been finished by the Pakistani Army.

Goals and objectives are always attained through consistency and adherence to the plan. Gen. Bajwa has consistently spoken out in favor of the Kashmir cause, stating that “peace and stability will remain elusive” in the absence of a peaceful resolution to the Kashmir dispute. His well-founded actions led to promoting Islamabad’s diplomacy and mediation with the surrounding nations. A prime example of his statesmanship is his choice to reinstate the cease-fire along the line of control separating Pakistan and India.

Under Bajwa, Pakistan’s internal security significantly increased. The “Bajwa Doctrine,” which envisioned a stable Pakistan at peace with its neighbors, was his pitch for a peaceful nation. The Royal United Services Institute coined the phrase “Bajwa Doctrine” after his speech at the 54th Munich Security Conference in 2018. In addition to emphasizing democracy and ensuring proper respect for the state’s institutions, the doctrine placed a strong check and balance on putting an end to terrorism and also urged Paki-citizens, particularly the young, to combat extremism, claiming that it is a major catalyst for terrorism.

Similarly, under the leadership of General Ba­jwa, Pak-ar­my’s efforts contributed to the completion of the socio-eco­nomic development projects in Balochistan. Due to COAS’ ef­forts (bringing allpar­ties under one table) for a national consensus, Pakistan was saved from an $11 billion penalty in the Reko Diq case. The project was reconstituted and aimed at excavating huge gold and copper reserves from the site in Balochistan.

Subsequently, Pakistan made unexpected progress with its FATF action plans, as well during last 6 years. The frantic efforts of both the civilian and military leadership enabled Pakistan to project sustainable and irre¬versible progress by enacting laws that addressed various legal, financial, and terrorism-related issues. As a result, Pakistan was taken off the Financial Action Task Force (FATF”grey) list.”

Another feather in the cap of Gen. Bajwa is reducing the friction in civil-military relations. He had the vision that an institution like the military could develop into a mediator and supporter of democracy. Gen. Bajwa will always be appreciated as a pro-democracy general, who not only stabilized civilian governments and provided space for democratic forces but also limit the military’s role to that mandated by the constitution. This proves that he has demonstrated his responsible attitude toward democracy and politics by maintaining this neutral stance.

Gen. Bajwa improved Pakistan’s international diplomacy. His covert efforts prevented Pakistan from going into economic default and made it possible for the governments to get much-needed financial support from foreign lenders in exchange for rollovers from China and Saudi Arabia. Additionally, under Bajwa’s tenure, Pakistan’s initiatives like the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and relations with nations like the United States have improved significantly. Gen. Bajwa’s unceasing efforts for Pakistan earned him the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Pak-Military), and many other international awards. The country is honored to have courageous soldiers like him.

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