Daily Archives: August 21, 2019

Why does the US have 800 military bases around the world?

Published on May 18, 2015
The US has about 800 military bases in other countries, according to David Vine in his forthcoming book Base Nation. And it costs a lot of money to keep them open. Why are they there in the first place?

Brazil Fires: Sao Paulo Goes Dark as Smoke from Amazon Fires Blankets City

VOA News

Published on Aug 21, 2019

The Brazilian megalopolis of Sao Paulo went dark early Monday, August 19, after thick smoke from record-breaking fires in the Amazon blanketed swathes of the city. Wildfires raging in the Amazon have hit a record number this year, with 72,843 fires detected so far by Brazil’s space research center INPE, as concerns grow over right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro’s environmental policy. The surge marks an 83% increase over the same period of 2018, the highest since records began in 2013, according to the body. (Reuters)

Jair Bolsonaro’s provocative views in six clips

Published on Oct 29, 2018
Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, has become known for making offensive and controversial declarations. The far-right, pro-gun, pro-torture populist built his campaign around pledges to crush corruption, crime and a supposed communist threat. He secured 55.1% of the vote and was elected on Sunday

Hong Kong protesters clash with police at subway station

Published on Aug 21, 2019
▶️ Demonstrators protested in Hong Kong, Wednesday, August 21. 👉 It was the latest in a series of demonstrations, which have sometimes turned violent, since June against a perceived erosion of freedoms in the Chinese-ruled former British colony. Hong Kong riot police faced off briefly with protesters occupying a Yuen Long train station Wednesday evening following a commemoration of a violent attack there by masked assailants on supporters of the anti-government movement. Police with riot shields faced off at the station entrance against a group of remaining protesters, who sprayed a firehose and spread soap on the floor to slow a police approach, while piling up trash bins, a wheelchair and umbrellas in a makeshift blockade. They also discharged fire extinguishers, creating a cloud obscuring visibility. The station’s entrance shutters were lowered, barricading the protesters inside. The confrontation ended without further incident, as police retreated and protesters left on trains. (AP)

Jair Bolsonaro claims NGOs may be setting Amazon rainforest on fire

Published on Aug 21, 2019
The Brazilian president has said NGOs could be burning down the Amazon rainforest to embarrass his government after he cut their funding. Bolsonaro had no evidence but said ‘everything indicates’ that NGOs are going to the Amazon to set fire to the forest.

China’s Race to the Top: A History of Economic Growth

Foreign Policy Association
Published on Feb 5, 2018

Full episode and more: https://www.amazon.com/China-The-New-…

An excerpt from Great Decisions 2018 “China: The New Silk Road.” This excerpt features Nicholas Kristof, Walter Russell Mead, Pat Buchanan, John Frisbie, Brian Eyler, Alexis Crow, and Max Baucus. Narrated by Academy Award nominated actor David Strathairn and featuring the most important voices in international affairs, Great Decisions in Foreign Policy brings you eight half-hour documentaries, each tackling a different foreign policy challenge facing America today.

Portland Rejects Proud Boys & Other Ultra-Right Groups as Trump Tries to Criminalize Antifa

Democracy Now!

Published on Aug 20, 2019

A crowd of white nationalists took to the streets of Portland, Oregon, over the weekend for what they dubbed the “End Domestic Terrorism” rally. But they were outnumbered by a massive response from counterprotesters, who gathered across the city as police escorted members of the Proud Boys, Patriot Prayer and other right-wing groups across one of the city’s main bridges. Police arrested 13 people throughout the day and seized weapons but largely avoided “the worst-case scenario” Portland’s Mayor Ted Wheeler said the city was prepared for. Portland Police put more than 700 officers on patrol, with more than one cop for every two of the estimated 1,200 protesters. Some Republican politicians have called for antifa to be recognized as a terror organization, and the FBI has found that the majority of domestic terror in the U.S. is caused by white supremacists. From Portland, we speak with Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who this year became the first African-American woman on the Portland City Council, and Shane Burley, a freelance journalist and filmmaker based in Portland, Oregon, and author of “Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It.”

Averting Crisis: American strategy, military spending and collective defence in the Indo-Pacific — United States Studies Centre

Visit postSee:

Executive summary

America no longer enjoys military primacy in the Indo-Pacific and its capacity to uphold a favourable balance of power is increasingly uncertain.

  • The combined effect of ongoing wars in the Middle East, budget austerity, underinvestment in advanced military capabilities and the scale of America’s liberal order-building agenda has left the US armed forces ill-prepared for great power competition in the Indo-Pacific.
  • America’s 2018 National Defense Strategy aims to address this crisis of strategic insolvency by tasking the Joint Force to prepare for one great power war, rather than multiple smaller conflicts, and urging the military to prioritise requirements for deterrence vis-à-vis China.
  • Chinese counter-intervention systems have undermined America’s ability to project power into the Indo-Pacific, raising the risk that China could use limited force to achieve a fait accompli victory before America can respond; and challenging US security guarantees in the process.
  • For America, denying this kind of aggression places a premium on advanced military assets, enhanced posture arrangements, new operational concepts and other costly changes.
  • While the Pentagon is trying to focus on these challenges, an outdated superpower mindset in the foreign policy establishment is likely to limit Washington’s ability to scale back other global commitments or make the strategic trade-offs required to succeed in the Indo-Pacific.

Over the next decade, the US defence budget is unlikely to meet the needs of the National Defense Strategy owing to a combination of political, fiscal and internal pressures.

  • The US defence budget has been subjected to nearly a decade of delayed and unpredictable funding. Repeated failures by Congress to pass regular and sustained budgets has hindered the Pentagon’s ability to effectively allocate resources and plan over the long term.
  • Growing partisanship and ideological polarisation — within and between both major parties in Congress — will make consensus on federal spending priorities hard to achieve. Lawmakers are likely to continue reaching political compromises over America’s national defence at the expense of its strategic objectives.
  • America faces growing deficits and rising levels of public debt; and political action to rectify these challenges has so far been sluggish. If current trends persist, a shrinking portion of the federal budget will be available for defence, constraining budget top lines into the future.
  • Above-inflation growth in key accounts within the defence budget — such as operations and maintenance — will leave the Pentagon with fewer resources to grow the military and acquire new weapons systems. Every year it becomes more expensive to maintain the same sized military.

America has an atrophying force that is not sufficiently ready, equipped or postured for great power competition in the Indo-Pacific — a challenge it is working hard to address.

  • Twenty years of near-continuous combat and budget instability has eroded the readiness of key elements in the US Air Force, Navy, Army and Marine Corps. Military accidents have risen, aging equipment is being used beyond its lifespan and training has been cut.
  • Some readiness levels across the Joint Force are improving, but structural challenges remain. Military platforms built in the 1980s are becoming harder and more costly to maintain; while many systems designed for great power conflict were curtailed in the 2000s to make way for the force requirements of Middle Eastern wars — leading to stretched capacity and overuse.
  • The military is beginning to field and experiment with next-generation capabilities. But the deferment or cancellation of new weapons programs over the last few decades has created a backlog of simultaneous modernisation priorities that will likely outstrip budget capacity.
  • Many US and allied operating bases in the Indo-Pacific are exposed to possible Chinese missile attack and lack hardened infrastructure. Forward deployed munitions and supplies are not set to wartime requirements and, concerningly, America’s logistics capability has steeply declined.
  • New operational concepts and novel capabilities are being tested in the Indo-Pacific with an eye towards denying and blunting Chinese aggression. Some services, like the Marine Corps, plan extensive reforms away from counterinsurgency and towards sea control and denial.

A strategy of collective defence is fast becoming necessary as a way of offsetting shortfalls in America’s regional military power and holding the line against rising Chinese strength. To advance this approach, Australia should:

  1. Pursue capability aggregation and collective deterrence with capable regional allies and partners, including the United States and Japan.
  2. Reform US-Australia alliance coordination mechanisms to focus on strengthening regional deterrence objectives.
  3. Rebalance Australian defence resources from the Middle East to the Indo-Pacific.
  4. Establish new, and expand existing, high-end military exercises with allies and partners to develop and demonstrate new operational concepts for Indo-Pacific contingencies.
  5. Acquire robust land-based strike and denial capabilities.
  6. Improve regional posture, infrastructure and networked logistics, including in northern Australia.
  7. Increase stockpiles and create sovereign capabilities in the storage and production of precision munitions, fuel and other materiel necessary for sustained high-end conflict.
  8. Establish an Indo-Pacific Security Workshop to drive US-allied joint operational concept development.
  9. Advance joint experimental research and development projects aimed at improving the cost-capability curve.


Averting crisis: American strategy, military spending and collective defence in the Indo-Pacific

Download this report as a PDF

Neocon anti-China report exposed by RT (Full show)

RT America

Published on Aug 20, 2019

A study claims that China has enough cutting-edge ballistic missile technology to destroy all of the US naval presence in the Western Pacific “in a matter of hours.” RT America’s Michele Greenstein and former naval intelligence officer John Jordan discuss the details. Then RT America’s Sara Montes de Oca joins from Hong Kong to discuss the latest from the ongoing protests. Professor Jack Rasmus shares his insights about the Federal Reserve’s plan for yet another massive rate cut and Rick Sanchez shows us cringeworthy video of Sarah Netanyahu’s appalling faux pas on a state visit to Ukraine.

“If we don’t work together, we are going to die together” – Roger Hallam | Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion
Published on Aug 21, 2019

Roger Hallam talks about how the October Rebellion is based on the “movement of movements” theme and why this focus is crucial to our success. In his inimitable direct yet larrikin style Roger emphasizes that now is the time for all of us to unite, to put any ideological differences between us into their proper context and to suspend any animosity towards others with different points of view. Or as Roger puts it, “We don’t have time to be snotty”. Solidarity, unity in diversity, compassion and love for all life… these are our antidotes to the massive climate and ecological crisis that confronts us.