John Pilger’s ‘The Coming War on China’

(that’s the trailer, of course; the full documentary is on youtube, but I never checked to see if it’s pay for view or not.)

Given: Obama’s ‘pivot to Asia’, and the increasingly pugnacious warnings to Beijing from the ‘betcha can’t knock this off’ Diplomat Tillerson and Rowf-rowf Mattis regarding China’s ‘miltarization’ of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, it seems worth bringing the other side of the story; or at least another side of the story.  By this morning, Beijing seems to have answered tit for larger tat, according to RT.  It seems that Xi Jinping has found it necessary to reconsider China’s ‘long game’.

Even if you believe that cooler heads may prevail, and it won’t come to war, especially nuclear war, there’s so much new history and information here that I was taken aback.

Pilger has been adamant about getting out this historical information, especially as the MSM cover none of it, so I’ll paste in the entire piece rather than sending you to the website.  My guess is that he’d approve.  Pilger makes a credible case for the risks of the burgeoning tensions, and he won’t even have seen the current Sino-USian atmospherics before he’d finished the documentary.

From The Insider, the New Matilda blog, Dec. 2016:

“His latest documentary is coming to Australian shores early in the new year. Here, renowned journalist John Pilger explains the background to a film that is unlikely to be well received in a nation sycophantic to the wishes of a superpower on a path to war.

When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there. It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open. At a quarter past eight on the morning of 6 August, 1945, she and her silhouette were burned into the granite. I stared at the shadow for an hour or more, unforgettably. When I returned many years later, it was gone: taken away, “disappeared”, a political embarrassment.

I have spent two years making a documentary film, The Coming War on China, in which the evidence and witnesses warn that nuclear war is no longer a shadow, but a contingency. The greatest build-up of American-led military forces since the Second World War is well under way. They are in the northern hemisphere, on the western borders of Russia, and in Asia and the Pacific, confronting China.

The great danger this beckons is not news, or it is buried and distorted: a drumbeat of mainstream fake news that echoes the psychopathic fear embedded in public consciousness during much of the 20th century.

Like the renewal of post-Soviet Russia, the rise of China as an economic power is declared an “existential threat” to the divine right of the United States to rule and dominate human affairs.

To counter this, in 2011 President Obama announced a “pivot to Asia”, which meant that almost two-thirds of US naval forces would be transferred to Asia and the Pacific by 2020. Today, more than 400 American military bases encircle China with missiles, bombers, warships and, above all, nuclear weapons. From Australia north through the Pacific to Japan, Korea and across Eurasia to Afghanistan and India, the bases form, says one US strategist, “the perfect noose”.

A study by the RAND Corporation – which, since Vietnam, has planned America’s wars – is entitled, War with China: Thinking Through the Unthinkable. Commissioned by the US Army, the authors evoke the cold war when RAND made notorious the catch cry of its chief strategist, Herman Kahn – “thinking the unthinkable”. Kahn’s book, On Thermonuclear War, elaborated a plan for a “winnable” nuclear war against the Soviet Union.

Today, his apocalyptic view is shared by those holding real power in the United States: the militarists and neo-conservatives in the executive, the Pentagon, the intelligence and “national security” establishment and Congress.

The current Secretary of Defense, Ashley Carter, a verbose provocateur, says US policy is to confront those “who see America’s dominance and want to take that away from us”.

For all the attempts to detect a departure in his foreign policy, this is almost certainly the view of Donald Trump, whose abuse of China during the election campaign included that of “rapist” of the American economy. On 2 December, in a direct provocation of China, President-elect Trump spoke to the President of Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province of the mainland. Armed with American missiles, Taiwan is an enduring flashpoint between Washington and Beijing.

“The United States,” wrote Amitai Etzioni, professor of international Affairs at George Washington University, “is preparing for a war with China, a momentous decision that so far has failed to receive a thorough review from elected officials, namely the White House and Congress.” This war would begin with a “blinding attack against Chinese anti-access facilities, including land and sea-based missile launchers… satellite and anti-satellite weapons”.

The incalculable risk is that “deep inland strikes could be mistakenly perceived by the Chinese as pre-emptive attempts to take out its nuclear weapons, thus cornering them into ‘a terrible use-it-or-lose-it dilemma’ [that would]lead to nuclear war.”

In 2015, the Pentagon released its Law of War Manual. “The United States,” it says, “has not accepted a treaty rule that prohibits the use of nuclear weapons per se, and thus nuclear weapons are lawful weapons for the United States.”

In China, a strategist told me, “We are not your enemy, but if you [in the West] decide we are, we must prepare without delay.” China’s military and arsenal are small compared to America’s. However, “for the first time,” wrote Gregory Kulacki of the Union of Concerned Scientists, “China is discussing putting its nuclear missiles on high alert so that they can be launched quickly on warning of an attack… This would be a significant and dangerous change in Chinese policy… Indeed, the nuclear weapon policies of the United States are the most prominent external factor influencing Chinese advocates for raising the alert level of China’s nuclear forces.

Professor Ted Postol was scientific adviser to the head of US naval operations. An authority on nuclear weapons, he told me, “Everybody here wants to look like they’re tough. See I got to be tough… I’m not afraid of doing anything military, I’m not afraid of threatening; I’m a hairy-chested gorilla. And we have gotten into a state, the United States has gotten into a situation where there’s a lot of sabre-rattling, and it’s really being orchestrated from the top.”

I said, “This seems incredibly dangerous.”

“That is an understatement,” he replied.

In 2015, in considerable secrecy, the US staged its biggest single military exercise since the Cold War. This was Talisman Sabre; an armada of ships and long-range bombers rehearsed an “Air-Sea Battle Concept for China” (ASB) blocking sea lanes in the Straits of Malacca and cutting off China’s access to oil, gas and other raw materials from the Middle East and Africa.

It is such a provocation, and the fear of a US Navy blockade, that has seen China feverishly building strategic airstrips on disputed reefs and islets in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Last July, the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled against China’s claim of sovereignty over these islands. Although the action was brought by the Philippines, it was presented by leading American and British lawyers and could be traced to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.


In 2010, Clinton flew to Manila. She demanded that America’s former colony reopen the US military bases closed down in the 1990s following a popular campaign against the violence they generated, especially against Filipino women. She declared China’s claim on the Spratly Islands – which lie more than 7,500 miles from the United States – a threat to US “national security” and to “freedom of navigation”.

Handed millions of dollars in arms and military equipment, the then government of President Benigno Aquino broke off bilateral talks with China and signed a secretive Enhanced Defense Co-operation Agreement with the US. This established five rotating US bases and restored a hated colonial provision that American forces and contractors were immune from Philippine law.

The election of Rodrigo Duterte in April has unnerved Washington. Calling himself a socialist, he declared, “In our relations with the world, the Philippines will pursue an independent foreign policy” and noted that the United States had not apologized for its colonial atrocities. “I will break up with America,” he said, and promised to expel US troops. But the US remains in the Philippines; and joint military exercises continue.

In 2014, under the rubric of “information dominance” – the jargon for media manipulation, or fake news, on which the Pentagon spends more than $4 billion – the Obama administration launched a propaganda campaign that cast China, the world’s greatest trading nation, as a threat to “freedom of navigation”.

CNN led the way, its “national security reporter” reporting excitedly from on board a US Navy surveillance flight over the Spratlys. The BBC persuaded frightened Filipino pilots to fly a single-engine Cessna over the disputed islands “to see how the Chinese would react”. None of these reporters questioned why the Chinese were building airstrips off their own coastline, or why American military forces were massing on China’s doorstep.

The designated chief propagandist is Admiral Harry Harris, the US military commander in Asia and the Pacific. “My responsibilities,” he told the New York Times, “cover Bollywood to Hollywood, from polar bears to penguins.” Never was imperial domination described as pithily.

Harris is one of a brace of Pentagon admirals and generals briefing selected, malleable journalists and broadcasters, with the aim of justifying a threat as specious as that with which George W Bush and Tony Blair justified the destruction of Iraq and much of the Middle East.

In Los Angeles in September, Harris declared he was “ready to confront a revanchist Russia and an assertive China… If we have to fight tonight, I don’t want it to be a fair fight. If it’s a knife fight, I want to bring a gun. If it’s a gun fight, I want to bring in the artillery… and all our partners with their artillery.”

These “partners” include South Korea, the launch pad for the Pentagon’s Terminal High Altitude Air Defense system, known as THAAD, ostensibly aimed at North Korea. As Professor Postol points out, it targets China.

In Sydney, Australia, Harris called on China to “tear down its Great Wall in the South China Sea”. The imagery was front page news. Australia is America’s most obsequious “partner”; its political elite, military, intelligence agencies and the media are integrated into what is known as the “alliance”. Closing the Sydney Harbour Bridge for the motorcade of a visiting American government “dignitary” is not uncommon. The war criminal Dick Cheney was afforded this honour.

Although China is Australia’s biggest trader, on which much of the national economy relies, “confronting China” is the diktat from Washington. The few political dissenters in Canberra risk McCarthyite smears in the Murdoch press. “You in Australia are with us come what may,” said one of the architects of the Vietnam war, McGeorge Bundy.

One of the most important US bases is Pine Gap near Alice Springs. Founded by the CIA, it spies on China and all of Asia, and is a vital contributor to Washington’s murderous war by drone in the Middle East.

In October, Richard Marles, the defence spokesman of the main Australian opposition party, the Labor Party, demanded that “operational decisions” in provocative acts against China be left to military commanders in the South China Sea. In other words, a decision that could mean war with a nuclear power should not be taken by an elected leader or a parliament but by an admiral or a general.

This is the Pentagon line, a historic departure for any state calling itself a democracy. The ascendancy of the Pentagon in Washington – which Daniel Ellsberg has called a silent coup – is reflected in the record $5 trillion America has spent on aggressive wars since 9/11, according to a study by Brown University. The million dead in Iraq and the flight of 12 million refugees from at least four countries are the consequence.

The Japanese island of Okinawa has 32 military installations, from which Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Afghanistan and Iraq have been attacked by the United States. Today, the principal target is China, with whom Okinawans have close cultural and trade ties.

There are military aircraft constantly in the sky over Okinawa; they sometimes crash into homes and schools. People cannot sleep, teachers cannot teach. Wherever they go in their own country, they are fenced in and told to keep out.

A popular Okinawan anti-base movement has been growing since a 12-year-old girl was gang-raped by US troops in 1995. It was one of hundreds of such crimes, many of them never prosecuted. Barely acknowledged in the wider world, the resistance has seen the election of Japan’s first anti-base governor, Takeshi Onaga, and presented an unfamiliar hurdle to the Tokyo government and the ultra-nationalist prime minister Shinzo Abe’s plans to repeal Japan’s “peace constitution”.

People hold banners as they listen to a speaker during a rally against a new US military base in Okinawa, Japan's nouthernmost prefecture, in front of the National Diet in Tokyo on February 21, 2016. Several hundred people took part in the rally denouncing the central government's plan of constructing a US Marine air base in the remote Henoko part of Okinawa island, to replace the existing Futenma facility located in a heavily populated area. AFP PHOTO / Toru YAMANAKA / AFP / TORU YAMANAKA (Photo credit should read TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images)

The resistance includes Fumiko Shimabukuro, aged 87, a survivor of the Second World War when a quarter of Okinawans died in the American invasion. Fumiko and hundreds of others took refuge in beautiful Henoko Bay, which she is now fighting to save. The US wants to destroy the bay in order to extend runways for its bombers. “We have a choice,” she said, “silence or life.” As we gathered peacefully outside the US base, Camp Schwab, giant Sea Stallion helicopters hovered over us for no reason other than to intimidate.

Across the East China Sea lies the Korean island of Jeju, a semi-tropical sanctuary and World Heritage Site declared “an island of world peace”. On this island of world peace has been built one of the most provocative military bases in the world, less than 400 miles from Shanghai. The fishing village of Gangjeong is dominated by a South Korean naval base purpose-built for US aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and destroyers equipped with the Aegis missile system, aimed at China.


A people’s resistance to these war preparations has been a presence on Jeju for almost a decade. Every day, often twice a day, villagers, Catholic priests and supporters from all over the world stage a religious mass that blocks the gates of the base. In a country where political demonstrations are often banned, unlike powerful religions, the tactic has produced an inspiring spectacle.

One of the leaders, Father Mun Jeong-hyeon, told me, “I sing four songs every day at the base, regardless of the weather. I sing in typhoons – no exception. To build this base, they destroyed the environment, and the life of the villagers, and we should be a witness to that. They want to rule the Pacific. They want to make China isolated in the world. They want to be emperor of the world.”


I FLEW from Jeju to Shanghai for the first time in more than a generation. When I was last in China, the loudest noise I remember was the tinkling of bicycle bells; Mao Zedong had recently died, and the cities seemed dark places, in which foreboding and expectation competed. Within a few years, Deng Xiopeng, the “man who changed China”, was the “paramount leader”. Nothing prepared me for the astonishing changes today.

China presents exquisite ironies, not least the house in Shanghai where Mao and his comrades secretly founded the Communist Party of China in 1921. Today, it stands in the heart of a very capitalist shopping district; you walk out of this communist shrine with your Little Red Book and your plastic bust of Mao into the embrace of Starbucks, Apple, Cartier, Prada.

Would Mao be shocked? I doubt it. Five years before his great revolution in 1949, he sent this secret message to Washington. “China must industrialise.” he wrote, “This can only be done by free enterprise. Chinese and American interests fit together, economically and politically. America need not fear that we will not be co-operative. We cannot risk any conflict.”

Mao offered to meet Franklin Roosevelt in the White House, and his successor Harry Truman, and his successor Dwight Eisenhower. He was rebuffed, or willfully ignored. The opportunity that might have changed contemporary history, prevented wars in Asia and saved countless lives was lost because the truth of these overtures was denied in 1950s Washington “when the catatonic Cold War trance,” wrote the critic James Naremore, “held our country in its rigid grip”.

The fake mainstream news that once again presents China as a threat is of the same mentality.

The world is inexorably shifting east; but the astonishing vision of Eurasia from China is barely understood in the West. The “New Silk Road” is a ribbon of trade, ports, pipelines and high-speed trains all the way to Europe. The world’s leader in rail technology, China is negotiating with 28 countries for routes on which trains will reach up to 400kms an hour. This opening to the world has the approval of much of humanity and, along the way, is uniting China and Russia.

“I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being,” said Barack Obama, evoking the fetishism of the 1930s. This modern cult of superiority is Americanism, the world’s dominant predator. Under the liberal Obama, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, nuclear warhead spending has risen higher than under any president since the end of the Cold War.

A mini nuclear weapon is planned. Known as the B61 Model 12, it will mean, says General James Cartwright, former vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that “going smaller [makes its use] more thinkable”.

In September, the Atlantic Council, a mainstream US geopolitical thinktank, published a report that predicted a Hobbesian world “marked by the breakdown of order, violent extremism [and]an era of perpetual war”. The new enemies were a “resurgent” Russia and an “increasingly aggressive” China. Only heroic America can save us.

There is a demented quality about this war mongering. It is as if the “American Century” – proclaimed in 1941 by the American imperialist Henry Luce, owner of Time magazine – has ended without notice and no one has had the courage to tell the emperor to take his guns and go home.”

~John Pilger

Pilger’s interview on w/ that commie Thomm Hartmman on RT:

join the navy!  they’re baaaad-ass!

Quite a concept: distributed lethality.  one response:


Pepe Escobar’s Jan. 11 Cosmic possibility-dreaming and ‘suggestion’: ‘Shadow Play: The New Great Game in Eurasia’; some enticement to read it all:

Maria Bodman Balinese Wayang Kulit

Maria Bodman Balinese Wayang Kulit

“So, right in the heart of Bali, spellbound after a serious conversation with a dukun — a spiritual master — it struck me: this should be the new Yalta, the perfect setting for a Trump-Xi-Putin summit setting the parameters ahead for the ever-evolving New Great Game in Eurasia.

Balinese culture makes no distinction between the secular and the supernatural — sekala and niskala. Sekala is what our senses may discern. Niskala is what cannot be sensed directly and can only be “suggested”. Massive geopolitical shifts ahead could not be more shrouded in niskala.

In the Hindu-Balinese conception of cosmic structure, Man is a kind of scale model of the universe. Order is personified by Gods, disorder personified by earth demons. It’s all about dharma and adharma. As for the West, adharma rules, unchecked.

In Hindu-Balinese religious philosophy, for every positive force there is a counterbalance, a destructive force. The two are inseparable — coexisting in dynamic equilibrium. Western dualism is so unsophisticated compared to it.”


Bless you both, John and Pepe, and thank you.

23 responses to “John Pilger’s ‘The Coming War on China’

  1. …hi wd

    …Thank you wd for posting about John Pilger who has been / is seeing and saying what must be seen and needs to be said. I came across and read Pepe Escobar’s ” Shadow Play — The New Great Game in Eurasia ” earlier this week at another website I visit on a daily basis. Both being profoundly stated seeing and saying.

    …In / on a earlier comments thread here at cafe b during the past week or two I had posted a comment that touched on what USian Empire had done to Mexico back in 1840’s. It is what USian history books call the Mexican – American War which had origins going back to who was doing what to who in Texas. What took place in Texas eventually led to how USian Empire forcibly took and gained control of what were once part of Native American then Spanish then Mexico/Mexican regions and lands that today comprise large parts of USian states of New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California. When one reads and considers what the USians who were running USian Empire willingly and ruthlessly did to Native Ameticans and Mexicans back in the 19th century one should see what USian Empire is now doing here in early 21st century around / across the planet politically and militarily is not new. It has been done many times by USians and USian Empire. You can easily find my earlier comment here at cafe b should you like wd.

    …I do not see either Russia ( Russians ) and China ( Chinese ) letting or allowing USian Empire do to them what USian Empire did or has done to Native Americans, to the Mexicans, to the Spanish, to the Filipinos, to the Germans, to the Japanese or since 2001 to Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, Ukraine or Syria. Should USian Empire via it’s malevolent militarism seek to threaten doing or choose to do Atomic War to intimidate and / or subjugate Russia and China? Then all of the Atomic War terrible horrors of death and destruction will absolutely come to North America. All USians should see / know this.

    …USian Empire historic and current imperialism and militarism now on a very dark and dangerous path.


    • i absolutely remember your comments about the us stealing mexico by military means (invasion of mexico, alternately), amigo, and boy, can you rattle it off! needing to reminded how the ‘texas revolution’ (the alamo) fit into the chronology, i hit teh wiki, and found that james polk actually had claimed ‘manifest destiny’ to sell westward expansion to critics. i hadn’t known he’d offered mexico to ‘purchase’ the lands; that wasn’t well-received. ;-)

      during an interview w/ the wall street urinal, iirc, yesterday, apparently herr comb-over said:

      “When asked about the ‘One China’ policy – which involves diplomatic acknowledgement that there is only one Chinese government – Trump said that he would not be opposed to ending the long-standing agreement the US has taken over China-Taiwan relations.
      “Everything is under negotiation, including one China,” Trump said.
      In response to Trump’s tweet about the call, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters at Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV, “The one-China principle is the cornerstone of the healthy development of [Sino-US] relations, and we do not want any interference or destruction of this political foundation.”

      this afternoon reuters has up: ‘China and Vietnam to ‘manage’ differences over South China Sea: communique’

      “In the joint communique on Saturday the two sides agreed to continue to “fully and effectively” implement the Declaration on the Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea and strive for the early conclusion of a Code of Conduct (COC) on the basis of consensus in the framework of the DOC.”

      it’s also the accidents and mistaken ‘incomings’ that are all too worrying, given history.

      • …hi wd

        …USians who have led and ruled USian Empire have trampled on truth often and brutally since the early decades of the 19th century while claiming to be the champions of high and noble political, ethical and moral ideas and conduct done with a divinely instilled and sanctioned virtuous exceptionalism. This being shown so very plainly with James Monroe having declared in 1823 the Monroe Doctrine as being a cornerstone of USian Empire claimed dominance to ascribe unto itself unlimited power to denounce others for doing what USian Empire routinely itself was doing, did or intended to keep doing. As an example of unbridled USian Empire hypocrisy the Monroe Doctrine has been a USian hypocrisy hallmark. One can speculate how USian Empire would have very dimly viewed Mao Tse-Tung declaring a Monroe Doctrine like Mao Doctrine for Asia around year 1950. The howls of USian Empire indignation would have been deafening and war soon being made.

        … One can surmise were either Russia or China to have done only > one third two thirds < more. What sane humans could or would or should tolerate this being so?

        …Well it seems USian Empire wants to pick a fight in the Western Pacific and across East Asia as it did during WW2 again. Too bad in a very tragic way those super sized nuclear powered CVN aircraft carriers the USN loves to show in all their naval splendour as being warships of extreme destruction delivering and death dealing capacity may / will not withstand too many Chinese or Russian concentrated missile attacks. Suggested reading here would be See HMS Hood. See IJN Yamato. as these USN CVN's have also been deeply woven into USian Empire militarism supremacy myths and lore as being supreme symbols of USian nationalism, war making / killing power moght and invincibility. When USians learn that 3 or 5 or 7 USN CVNs were destroyed and sunk within a matter of hours or days of declared hostilities betwixt USian Empire and China or Russia or both USians may find that as being a very traumatic and grievous turn of fate and events.

        …One perhaps does well to view late WW2 and WW2 early postwar photos of what many prime and principle German and Japanese cities looked like and imagine USian cities looking the same or worse should atomic warfare break out with China or Russia. Doing so would and should be a very sobering reminder.


        • …hi wd

          …Somehow and quite oddly the 2nd paragraph in my last comment at 2:25 PM went / has gone mostly missing…hmmm??

          …I apologise for being unable to correct this posting error as it is so please disregard what remains of original 2nd paragraph.


        • i did need to hit the wiki to recall more about the monroe doctrine, but i found i knew almost nothing about the world’s reaction to it. even the bolivarians welcomed it at first, ay yi yi. then emperor maximillin and his reign. british mercantilists ate it up, of course. wish i thought i’d remember more of what i just read, but…i’ll try not to get so depressed (and fail) when i try to conjure it up. moar meditation.

          glad you noted those incidents, but i for one won’t seek out more to read; i can barely keep up now. but what w/ all this w/ the red scare, and now the china scare, the increasing militariztion of nato nation dictates, indonesia and the philippines and japan rambo-ing up their ‘defenses’… by the by, what global body gave the okey-dokey to shinzu abe to re-militarize?
          and china’s renovating used aircraft carriers, says it will build more…herr trump’s said he’ll build moar ships and carriers (staggering numbers at the high side of his ‘wants’; 138?). where does it end?

          p.s. did you want me to fix something in this comment, or add a bit you still have on a word doc or something?

  2. too much…

    “China is discussing putting its nuclear missiles on high alert so that they can be launched quickly on warning of an attack…” lol. i tho’t china’s warbirds were hovering over American airspace *as i type.* it’s commie nazi propaganda that Xi isn’t constantly fingering the red button and just waiting for a flinch or a blink and then…JUDO CHOP, as Austin Powers would say.

    i love Admiral Harry Harris. i mean, in the sort of way you love a sick dog that must be taken out back & shot. that is a serious money quote.

    did Mao really make those overtures to the US? did not know that and am very surprised (not at the US response, of course.)

    this is somewhat OT, but informative. and a reminder to keep the warmongering in perspective. is china’s ramping up of capitalism a good thing? or more of the same disastrous BS? i know it’s better than investing in guns, that’s for damn sure, but i tend to think under capitalism, economics=warfare. china’s not an exception.

    and b/c i can’t resist
    Now, that Lazarus should lie stranded there on the curbstone before the
    door of Dives, this is more wonderful than that an iceberg should be
    moored to one of the Moluccas. Yet Dives himself, he too lives like a
    Czar in an ice palace made of frozen sighs, and being a president of a
    temperance society, he only drinks the tepid tears of orphans.

    • ‘i’m just wild about harry’, too, and zounds, yes, what an iconic quote. yes, chinese birds are always cruising the amerikan skies, but the thing is: they’re *actually stealth*, and don’t even need to decloak to drop their nukes, see?

      it’s a good question as to chinese state capitalism being a good thing or not, and the short time i spend looking for what sino ‘experts’ say…well, all the opinions were pretty er…biased. and oof, thanks for the straits of mollucca map and transboundary haze meme. which reminds me, another atrocity i read about recently is that on soooo many US bases, the zillions of plastic water bottles are actually burned, and are causing a huge amount of sickness (likely permanent) to local populations. not perhaps to the effect of depleted uranium, but only a matter of degree, no?

      oh, my, though. the melville quote is perfect. but allow me to clip in some of the rest of the chapter; the art is great on this page, including this (hope it embeds right)

      drat; it won’t embed; here it is… aha; one of the tryptich will. kewl.

      • thanks for all this.

        i’d heard about the plastic bottles. i’m watching season 1 of True Detective again, last episode yet to go. it’s tempting to think that certain people have literally made a pact w/the devil from the stupid shit those people get up to.

        not necessarily. a good Ivy League education will usually also do the trick.

        • welcome, but yeee-crikey. and how embaraskin’ to admit: ‘true detective’ was…sorta familiar, so i bingled it. sweet jaysus, it was the music i recalled first. how depressing, shut down the site shite. guess i need to follow the lead of a prominent for pay and subscription blogger who was interviewed on radio today, announcing to his commentariat that he might have seemed a bit angry, not depressed as i yam.

          commenter: “The yoga is not working?” (blogger says he meditates from 4-10 hours a day, not does yoga)

          blogger: “Meditation/cultivation doesn’t mean you don’t get angry or sad or anything else (well, there are specific states you can achieve, but it’s not necessary). What it means is you don’t stay there. I used to be angry all the time. I ended the interview, 10 minutes later I wasn’t angry.”

          see, what i need i a good 5-cent cigar… or moar meditation to get over my memory angst.. ;-)

  3. seems i’ve et up all my time on da laptop for now, and have chores to do before mr. wd gets home from zetroc w/ the groceries and whatnot to sort out. for now let me add this echo: ‘U.S.-China War: a Danger Hidden from the American People’; by Eric Sommer at CP

    be back as i can to help y’all save the world from those goddam commies of all stripes.

  4. How I’m reading this.

    The US is interpreting the One Belt-One Road (New Silk Road) infrastructure projects as a military end run to avoid the sea routes to European customers being shut down.

    The US under Trump is likely to use the threat of a sea blockage as leverage to negotiating different trade rules with China being shut down.

    The 400 bases and the encirclement of Eurasia east of the EU has been the long-term strategy of the US since the Bush administration (and probably the Reagan administration as well) and continued under every subsequent administration operating out of the “sole superpower” notion of American exceptionalism. Trump’s personality does not seem the type to abandon that view, even given the interesting opportunities the present moment provides.

    China’s worst case scenario for US action as a blockade unfolds is the actual strategy the US Navy advertises as “distributed lethality” (although the rest of the services have been doing distributed lethality for years). I guess the US Navy has felt left out of all the good fights and their budget enhancers. I’ll get back to the distributed lethality video.

    China’s announcement against the thought of such as strategy is to put their military on alert.

    The US worst case scenario when China puts its military on alert is to presume that China will pre-emptively strike the fleet task forces implementing “distributed lethality” before a blockade occurs. (Essentially the logic that caused Japan to strike Pearl Harbor.)

    The US then thinks that its best option is to launch a massive pre-emptive first strike on China’s tracking and anti-missile installations, including any satellite tracking and anti-missile weaponry.

    That is where the analysis ends, assume an mindless and automatic escalation to nuclear war and from there to full-scale nuclear war.

    Exactly and precisely because all sides are constructing their responses out of worst-case scenarios lest they be outdone in their restraint by those who are. What Herman Kahn explained in On Thermonuclear War was the logic of this escalation. What he argued against was the assumption that this logic was inevitable (it is, after all, itself a worst case scenario). He argued that a nuclear war could be won by breaking the scenario out of worst-case scenarios so that nuclear threats could be played diplomatically, sometimes raising, sometimes lowering their likelihood. The Cold War did not test Herman Kahn’s thesis because it was concluded by one economy driving itself into serious supply issues by the diversion of so much activity into military production.

    The first fallback from a pre-emptive strike is a general and persistent state of mutually assured destruction. The management of that form of controlled conflict requires the credibility and reciprocation of backing off from worst-case driving policy. Getting other parties to the conflict to do this requires the credibility that one would actually do something suicidal to oneself and one’s nation without hope of survival or that one could credibility survive. So far that’s been touted as the “madman” theory of action and Trump personifies it well. Obama played this as not a madman himself but surrounded by madmen. Putin played it as ruthless when attacked but conciliatory when there are common interests. Xi is relative new but did put the Chinese military on a more aggressive posture, which is one reason we are having this discussion at all. It’s not freak-out time until someone fires a lethal shot without apologies and backpedaling.

    Now to the “distributed lethality” video from the US Navy. It seems to have two purposes: recruitment (the focus on the “brave [and diverse] men and women” who operate the equipment) or orientation of contractors the vision of naval power that the Navy hopes Congress will fund. The tell in this is the F-35B joint strike fighter, which China has already a pretty thorough knowlege of and which testing is not completed but not completely showing the sort of machine a top gun would like to be associated with.

    The major part of the distributed party had to do with the networked ship, submarine, aircraft, satellite, and land operations data network with its many people manning many consoles. And officers acting commanding–advertising and Hollywood scripting. And each and every one going through a scripted role that has be practiced over and over again in training exercises.

    It this video was intended replicate the Great White Fleet experience, I doubt that either Xi Jinping or Vladimir Putin are likely to be impressed. Only something to show their military as what the opposition wants its public to think they are doing. This film is to inspire heart-thumping patriotism that we haven’t actually seen since the 1950s when military naval reviews were big entertainment draws.

    Until the Trump team is in place and their relationship to the US military and intelligence communities actually in place will we know what the geopolitical situation among the great powers is.

    Treating international affairs and national security activities as trivial game is how and why the public never quite understands what is going on and only freaks out at the point at which politicians never waste a crisis. When survival is the bottom line of most conflicts, treating it as a team sport with trash talking and sport hooligans when actual lives are being ended and the economic future is being constrained by destruction of infrastructure risks not understanding the risks to oneself in the presumption permanent safety.

    • this is great, thd; thank you. but w/ ““The US under Trump is likely to use the threat of a sea blockage as leverage to negotiating different trade rules with China being shut down.” do you mean routes or rules?

      wasn’t it you who’d noted earlier that the u.s. military and others refer to the south china sea as ‘our lake’? if so, again, quite telling. i loved the patriotic jingoism of the ‘distributed lethality’ video, and that it advertised the “conferences on it to come!” much in the way i loved the africom ‘sea basing’ presentations. “we don’t even have to ask ‘host nations’ for permission to be there!” but nah, neither putin nor jinping will be impressed.

      now i hadn’t known that there were so many ‘forward presence’ bases ringing eurasia that long ago, but i suppose i’m not altogether surprised. now i can’t see china launching nuclear warheads unless they believed they were under attack, but iirc, obama changed his mind, or someone else’s policy, and went back to ‘first strike’ policy. so…he was listening to his mad military advisers?

      fiddlesticks; my time’s up for now, but i wanted to leave this for everyone:

      “In virtually its last gasp, the Obama administration has quietly given the National Security Agency wider powers to share intercepted surveillance data with 16 other government agencies, including the FBI, DEA and CIA, before applying privacy protections.

      Intelligence officials and the Justice Department finalized new regulations for sharing satellite transmissions, phone calls, emails and other online communications swept up abroad by the National Security Agency with 16 agencies that fall under the Office of National Intelligence.

      “In the past, there were strict limits on the NSA’s dissemination of this data to domestic law enforcement agencies,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said about the new rules released on Thursday, according to AP. “The new regulations eviscerate those limits.”

      i’ll resist the cynicism i almost uttered… ;-)

      • Rules.

        It is China that sees the South China Sea as their lake. Looking at the map will tell you why.

        Trump’s first foreign visit will be to confer with Putin. National Enquirer (related to Trump son-in-law Jared Kushnor) is promoting the story as Trump and Putin will take on China.

        If true, Trump is going to run into the reality of previous agreements related to One Belt – One Road. That means that Russia is unlikely to abandon China for Trump IMO. Trump then either retreats into the US going it alone or there is an opening for the Trump-Putin-Xi Summit that Pepe Escobar had as a wish dream.

        For a conventional President, a first meeting with Putin would be a good move. Any openings there could be taken to US allies for consensus (for a conventional President). So it is likely the second trip that will be more of a tell for Trump’s foreign policy.

        • yes, i see the map, but i thought it was an ironic ownership meme by the west implying that china will never gain supremacy. tillerson says “we will block china from the spratlys”.

          cool on T’s first visit. i hadn’t realized that OBOR involves 60 nations, and now the AIIB has quite a few as well, recently canada. trump yesterday:

          “Trump told the Journal he would stop short of officially branding China a manipulator but was critical of Beijing’s financial policies and said: “Certainly they are manipulators”.
          “Instead of saying: ‘We’re devaluating our currency,’ they say, ‘oh, our currency is dropping’. It’s not dropping. They’re doing it on purpose.
          “Our companies can’t compete with them now because our currency is strong and it’s killing us,” Trump said.”

          in another piece at the guardian:

          “In the past, economists had widely viewed the yuan as artificially undervalued, but China during the past year has spent hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign currency reserves to keep the yuan from falling further – prompting the US Treasury to ease its warnings on Beijing’s currency practices.”

          but that makes little sense to me, given that mark weisbrot says that:

          “Trump’s ostensible reason for the hard line against China is that he wants to negotiate a better deal for US manufacturing, including for workers in the US. The big complaint here is that China has manipulated its currency, keeping it undervalued against the US dollar. This would make US imports from China artificially cheap, and US exports more expensive. But there is an easy way to deal with this: as any economist knows, the US Treasury Department and Federal Reserve can move the value of the dollar against foreign currencies, like any other country. In fact it is even easier for us than for other countries, since the world accepts the US dollar as the major international reserve currency.”

          tit for tat trump/xi jinping: ‘we’ll slap 45% tariffs on yer stuff”; xi: “we’ll hold you to the wto tariff maximums; keep it up, we’ll cancel our boeing orders and buy airbus”, yada yada. mr. T may discover that it’s in his interest to back off, i reckon. i hope that his team know anything about diplomacy, trade, and global pragmatism. yes, and that he learns that grabbing hold of ariadne’s thread might just be the way to go. might he or any around him have access to the intuitive occult niksala?

          ha. sherl’ck holmes said something about all the information being out there, and one needed to hush…and tune into the web’s vibrations, or something like that. can’t find the quote anywhere, dagnabbit. i’m hashing it up, but it was quite an image.

  5. The Wire reviews a Chinese white paper on its own foreign policy.

    More interesting to read than summarize. You get some of the original flavor of the direction, given the translation and first interpretation are barriers.

    Yes, the agreements with that One Belt-One Road (I do so hate acronyms that obscure) infrastructure projects and the Asian International Infrastructure Bank are realities on the ground that are more important that US fantasies about what Xi is up to.

    • i can see why cliffs notes weren’t advisable. ;-) chinese diplomatic language seems to be a form of shadow play itself, doesn’t it? but this seems to be the essence,:

      “In any case, to square the circle on the South China Sea issue, China says that countries in the region should resolve disputes peacefully, “sovereign states directly involved should respect historical facts and seek a peaceful solution through negotiation” on the basis of international law and modern maritime law, including the UNCLOS. Essentially, China is reiterating its stand that it is willing to bilaterally negotiate on the South China Sea issue with the various disputants, but will not accept the UNCLOS arbitration award.”

      …as well as the bits about big country’s wishes not being made into The Rulez for maritime international law. but oy, more acronyms! this is CICA, totally new to me, of course. but ‘peace, security’, and cooperation’ are the big buzzwords in all of this. the author’s remarks about india not being so sure china is on the same page re: ‘terrorism’ was explained a bit in the piece on the same page: ‘India, Indonesia Express Common Interest in Maritime Security’. the terr’ists modi is speaking of are of course, those islamabad is directing to fuck up things in kashmir and jammu.

      man, that modi seems to know he’s in the catbird’s seat, doesn’t he? what a sly bastard he is! will trade be more of a driving engine in all of this than supremacy and security alliances, or just bargaining tools for both? this fellah ho-fung hung (how great a name is that?) thinks so, from what i can gather, although the transcript’s a bit garbled. his take is that xi’s part in the war of words is due to chinese internal politics, and that makes some sense, plus this:

      “So, it is a kind of dilemma situation, that no matter how much and how big a step incoming U.S. administration is going to take against China, it carries some kind of risk, and there’s a kind of a process in early months of the administration, that Washington is going to test China intention and resolution and determination to retaliate and how much pressure from the U.S. China can withstand, how much China would be willing to compromise. I think, in the early months it’s very crucial that both Beijing and Washington is going to test each other’s real intentions, the bottom line.”

      and pilger reckons hillary’s hands were all over taking the issue to UNCLOS, but mebbe nuland’s as well?

      but dayum, inauguration day: can’t it be over? from what’s in my inbox every day, it looks as though millions will be in deecee to protest it.

  6. ‘allo, darlin’s. i seem to have gotten my tit in a wringer, as they say around here, working on a must-finish project. well, okay, if ya’ve ever experienced that, at least it’s over once…er…released, and the pain and bruising subside. worked as a wage slave one summer up in clark, co, for a woman who had a wringer washer, and well, you can imagine why i know how horrid the experience can be.

    tomorrow should be better. best to all. sleep well and dream of a better world.

    • no need to make us cringe. i’ve heard that phrase but thanks for its colorful & gruesome origins which i did not know.

      just how many ounces of civet was that russian hellcat supposed to have sprayed in Trump’s face? enquiring minds want to know. gov’t, as in public perception management, via leaks, rumors, etc. kudos to trump for telling both CNN & the CIA to go screw themselves. Seed of Chuckie, Sen Schumer, and Senator Graham Cracker have both implicitly threatened Trump w/assassination, n’est pas? this stuff has been going on since forever, better it’s out in the open, i say.

      lawdy i click on the media just for a second & have already had enough of the msnbc crowd. poor NATO. i guess trump is calling to reduce nukes. bringing this idea into public consciousness…how is that a bad thing? i’d bet anything he’s as fully invested as obama was in “making nukes more usable” (tactical/mini-nukes) and that nukular reduction is a “business decision.” “people, we can no longer afford to blow up the world 500 times over. But we’ll still be able to blow it up…100 times. it’s gonna be great, trust me. just press a button & KABOOM! America at its finest. We’ll reinvest these funds into other areas of mutually assured & distributed lethality that will also create jobs, instead of just sitting in the ground doing nothing like a lazy messican.”

      btw, nice comments above. i’m already done w/Hollywood types mocking or bewailing Trump. a good bud of mine sent me Alec Baldwin’s “Trump” thing from SNL. as if Baldwin is less of an ignorant tool than Trump. this endarkening, endumbening, garbage will be going on for 4-8 years. give it a rest ALREADY please.

      • lol; it seems like i did need to make ya cringe, else…you’d never have know that it’s a for-reals thing, as the chirren used to say. did you reckon it was about mammograms? i hear they not only hurt like billy-hell, but also deliver a lot of false positives (or used to).

        trumps saying reduce nukes now? and ditch nato? well, i’ll take ‘words that end in _morgasbord’ for $666, alex. “make your Twitter choice, peeps, and pay the cashier as ya leave.”

        the thang i saw on youtube was shoehorn on maddow, herself all in high dudgeon cuz trump was callin’ out brennan. shoehorn: “they have six ways from sunday to…” something, yes, assassination, and everyone’s reminded of JFX. say, did they ever find jimmy hoffa?

        great stuff on baldwin and snl. hope he’s still yer bud. ;-)

        i was just saying something about nato and military %s of gdp member nations and wanna-beeees for nato, then went to cord’s twitter and found this yummy. well, yay-us, foggy, yer soft power’ tactics did in fact work for brazil in the end…

        yanno, just ahead of the massive protests on jan. 20; isn’t that when it is/might be?

        and oy, does he have a few new ones on my BFF billy bob gates… they’ll wait for now.

  7. also, ho-jung hung at RT had mentioned this china expert. fwiw, and i’ll try to read it later: ‘David Shambaugh on ‘China’s Future’, new yawk slimes

  8. Thanks for the Lazarus images, wendye and jason (lures to the wild trout in me). I was also snagged by the word ‘sycophantic’ in the opening extract – most likely a familiar word to aussies as describing their relationship to them that cannot be named, but I had to look it up.

    Inserting a comment here, it does seem that many are very eager to interpret our futures in sturm und drang terms, not sure if that is to warn us fuddie duddies not to be complacent, or to generate interest (if it bleeds it leads) – or simply because the superpower mindset is very hard to shake off. “There must be superpowers, there really must!”

    But perish such distractions – on to one of the final paragraphs in the opening piece:

    “…Balinese culture makes no distinction between the secular and the supernatural — sekala and niskala. Sekala is what our senses may discern. Niskala is what cannot be sensed directly and can only be “suggested”. Massive geopolitical shifts ahead could not be more shrouded in niskala…”

    Hmm. Can’t make sense of that, as the three first sentences don’t agree. First one says no distinction; second and third ones proceed to say there is a distinction. But I’m fine with the final sentence, and that’s why I think we’re maybe on the cusp of new ways of thinking. For which the term:


    has a kind of magical quality to it. Brave new world …oh sorry, granddaughter is about to embark upon Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” No, not as Miranda – as Prospero! (Suggestion of niskala?)

    But again I digress.

    • the way i interpreted those sentences is that both the niksala and sekala are unified, or ‘one’; countervailing forces within each of us, and within the universe at large. i suppose to me it’s like the taoist yin/yang symbol, the white swirl kinda melding with the black swirl, each containing a seed of the other. i poked about for explanations/interpretations, lest i steer you in the wrong direction, and found these two brief poems that seem to illustrate the symbol (although there are many other taoist symbols) well.

      come to think of it, the dineh spiritual condition of hozro may be a bit similar; as in: harmony brings health of a sort (not necessarily a ‘physical cure’ when there is balance. not sure i’m right about that, of course.

      these i think you will hear.

      ‘Within light there is darkness,
      but do not try to understand that darkness.
      Within darkness there is light,
      but do not look for that light.
      Light and darkness are a pair,
      like the foot before and the foot behind in walking.
      Each thing has its own intrinsic value
      and is related to everything else in function and position.
      Ordinary life fits the absolute as a box and its lid.
      The absolute works together with the relative,
      like two arrows meeting in mid-air.’

      ~ shih-tou

      existence and non-existence, rising, dissolving, birth to death, sunrise to sunset, and so on’ they require the existence of the other. and from tibetan teacher khenpo tsultrim gyamtso:

      ‘All these forms — appearance-emptiness
      Like a rainbow with its shining glow
      In the reaches of appearance-emptiness
      Just let go and go where no mind goes

      Every sound is sound and emptiness
      Like the sound of an echo’s roll
      In the reaches of sound and emptiness
      Just let go and go where no mind goes

      Every feeling is bliss and emptiness
      Way beyond what words can show
      In the reaches of bliss and emptiness
      Just let go and go where no mind goes

      All awareness — awareness-emptiness
      Way beyond what thought can know
      In the reaches of awareness-emptiness
      Let awareness go — oh, where no mind goes’

      oh, and i do hope you click on the images from the lazarus chapter from moby dick.

    • juliania, i got to thinking about your not cottoning on to ‘sycophantic’ later. the noun form for your chirren’s generation would have been: ‘suck up’, i yours it may have been ‘apple polisher’ on local scale, but in a wider global socialist (?) angle might have been ‘comprador’, as in: a member of a class, color, or ethnicity willing to act as a (almost foreign) agent to sell out their political class for profit.

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