China’s elite troops head to Russia for massive Vostok 2018 war games as trade tariff conflict grows with US

PLA troops will put their combat-readiness to the test in Moscow’s biggest military exercises since the Soviet era

The Chinese military will send about 3,200 troops to take part in Russia’s biggest war games in more than 35 years, putting their combat-readiness to the test after a massive overhaul of the People’s Liberation Army. The troops, equipped with an array of weaponry including 30 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, will participate in the Vostok 2018 exercises in the Tsugol training range in Russia’s Far East Trans-Baikal region later this month, China’s defense ministry said. The ministry said the involvement was meant strengthen cooperation between the two armed forces and improve their ability to deal jointly with security threats. Military personnel from Mongolia were also invited to take part, Russian news agency Sputnik said. Hong Kong-based military expert Song Zhongping said the Chinese troops were elite forces from the Northern Theatre Command and would be exposed to a range of conditions.

“The Vostok 2018 training will expand from … areas such as counterterrorism, anti-piracy and disaster relief missions, to more real combat training and counter-attack drills,” Song said.

China to send strategic bombers, fighter jets for war games in Russia

It is unclear how many Russian forces will be involved in the exercises, but Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said this week that the war games would be the biggest drills since 1981 when up to 150,000 Soviet Army troops were mobilised for exercises.

Beijing-based military observer Zhou Chenming said the PLA was keen for more exchanges with Russia’s experienced armed forces because Chinese troops had not been in combat since the country’s last war with Vietnam in the late 1970s.

“China also wants to show its support for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is facing various diplomatic challenges, especially criticism from the US Secretary of State [Mike Pompeo] over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea,” Zhou said.

He said the site chosen for the war games was deliberate.

“Putin wants to use the Russian military’s war games with the PLA to show its military muscle, but he doesn’t want to irritate the United States too much and raise the possibility of a misjudgment by the Trump administration, so he chose the less sensitive Trans-Baikal region in the Far East, far from US allies in Europe,” Zhou said.

Chinese military set for capability boost with delivery of Russian Su-35 fighter jets

The Chinese defense ministry said the PLA’s participation in Vostok 2018 was not aimed at a third party.

However, Song said that the war games “will definitely put pressure on the US”, which is stepping up its trade war against China.

“But it doesn’t mean China and Russia have a military alliance. Beijing will still stick to its rule of being a non-aligned country,” Song said.

“The war games just indicate that both Beijing and Moscow feel the need to improve military relations to cope with foreign provocations in the current critical moment.”

However, Macau-based military analyst Antony Wong Dong said the Vostock 2018 exercises were a “legacy of a cold war mentality” and the PLA’s participation might stir up more hostility between Beijing and Washington.

by alfonso

 

 

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The Absolute Futility of ‘Global Dominance’ in the 21st Century

It seems certain that the foolish chest-pounders now in charge of our nation have found a time machine to transport them back to 19th century where they have decided to mimic the slogan of faded English imperialism that “the sun never sets on the British Empire.” How else to explain their recent proclamations that the United States must have “global energy dominance” and “American dominance in space”? Calling for global dominance in the 21st century, with 7 billion humans on the planet and only 325 million Americans — about 4 percent — is not only inane, it’s dangerous and absolutely futile.

Leading the pack on the call for “global energy dominance” is none other than former Montanan Ryan Zinke, now secretary of the Interior in the Trump administration. Of course Zinke has yet to explain why we should drill, frack, mine and export every possible source of fossil fuel in our nation. Nor has he detailed any benefits that will accrue to the populace from such a policy.

What we do know is that Trump and Zinke are willing to destroy existing national monuments, wildlife refuges, seashores and endangered species to achieve their bizarre fantasy of global energy dominance.

One might well wonder why any nation would want to exhaust its own reserves of fossil fuels as quickly as possible knowing they are non-renewable. One might also wonder why selling off those resources to our global economic competitors makes any sense whatsoever. And finally, one might question why a man who rode his “America First” slogan to the White House wouldn’t take care of America first — instead of leaving us with the inevitable land, water and air pollution as well as the associated illnesses and deaths from massive fossil fuel energy production.

Of course the Republican elephants loudly proclaiming the need for this disastrous energy policy never bother to mention the real elephant in the room — global warming. Forward-thinking nations are increasingly turning toward renewable energy sources such as sun, wind and tides. But we are sliding backward in an enormous cloud of carbon dioxide, dooming not only our nation, but the entire globe to an uninhabitable world of extreme temperatures and drought that are already producing record wildfires, storms, floods and rising sea levels.

Upping the ante beyond destruction of Earth’s land, seas and atmosphere by fossil fuels is Trump’s newly announced “Space Force,” which is rooted in the concept that the entire planet and its surrounding space is one giant battlefield. But just for a moment, consider what it means to militarize space.

The idea that one nation can or should control space is on its face farcical. It’s too late for that, although it seems Trump and his “best people” are strangers to that truth. The reality, however, is that our orbital space is already filled with junk. Thousands of satellites from national and private sources are already sharing space with chunks and pieces of delivery rockets, defunct satellites and debris.

Perhaps someone should let our “very stable genius” of a president know that the Chinese have already successfully destroyed one of their own defunct satellites with a missile — and have upgraded their capabilities since then. Or explain how a crashing satellite containing plutonium could devastate our nation for generations.

On the other hand, it might be easier to take Trump up on his plan and make him the first commander-in-chief to be launched into space — permanently. It would be even better if Zinke went, too, and became the first secretary of the Exterior.

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George Ochenski is a columnist for the Missoulian, where this essay originally appeared.

alfonso