Gesamtzahl der Seitenaufrufe

Samstag, 12. Mai 2018

Aus dunkler Vorzeit: berichtet von einer Gruppe der Feldgendarmerie, die im März 1945 eine Armbinde mit der Aufschrift „Volksschädlingsbekämpfer“ trugen.[2]

Der Inhalt des Begriffs des Volksschädlings, der in der Verordnung nicht abschließend definiert war, erweiterte sich im Laufe der nationalsozialistischen Rechtspraxis zunehmend und wurde kurz vor Kriegsende in erster Linie auf Deserteure bezogen. Victor Klemperer berichtet von einer Gruppe der Feldgendarmerie, die im März 1945 eine Armbinde mit der Aufschrift „Volksschädlingsbekämpfer“ trugen.[2]


Army Major Warns Don't Poke The Dragon, War With China Would Be An Unnecessary Disaster

Army Major Warns Don't Poke The Dragon, War With China Would Be An Unnecessary Disaster

The Non-Options: 4 Wars the Military Prepares for But Shouldn’t Fight: Volume II

There’s nothing military men like more than obsessively training for wars they will never have to fight. The trick is not to stumble into a conflict that no one will win.
Let’s everyone take a breath. Yes, China presents a potential threat to American interests in the economic, cyber, and naval realms. The U.S. must maintain a credible defensive and expeditionary posture and be prepared for a worst case scenario. What we don’t need is to blunder into a regional, or, worse still, all-out war with the Chinese dragon. Not now, probably not ever.
And yet, in Washington today, and within the Trump administration in particular, alarmism seems the name of the game. This is risky, and, ultimately, dangerous. In his 2018 National Defense Strategy, Secretary of Defense Mattis, a known hawk, refers to Russia and China as "revisionist powers," and announces that the US military must now pivot to "great power" competition. Look, I’m all for extricating our overstretched armed forces from the Middle East and de-escalating the never-ending, counterproductive "war on terror." What doesn’t make sense, is the reflexive assumption that (maybe) dialing down one war, must translate into ramping up for other, more perilous, wars with nuclear-armed powerhouses like Russia or China.
The usual laundry list of Chinese threats is well-known: China is (how dare they!) building a sizable blue-water navy and (gasp!) patrolling around sandy islands in the South China Sea. They conduct cyber-attacks (so do we) and steal intellectual property. They are planning a new “Silk Road” to integrate much of Eurasia into a China-centric trade and transportation system. No doubt, some of those items may be cause for measured concern, but none of the listed "infractions" warrants war!
Bottom line: China, like Russia, possesses neither the capacity nor intent for global domination or the subjugation of the United States. Period.
Let’s start with the capacity problem. China has a growing military. That is to be expected of one of the world’s top-two economies and a nation with more than 1 billion people. Don’t act so surprised. Still, China spends only one thirdas much as the US on defense. It has one leaky, outdated former Russian aircraft carrier and is building a few more. The US has about a dozen and our local Asian partners (India, Japan, Australia, and South Korea) – count another nine between them.
China has 14 foreign powers – some hostile – on its land borders. One of those is Russia, with whom the Chinese have a long history of border disputes. The last thing the US should want to do is drive those two unnatural allies into each other’s arms with overly bellicose rhetoric and military posturing. Another Chinese neighbor is India, which is strengthening its own military and also has 1+ billion citizens (and a much higher birthrate than China).
Then there’s the intent issue. China is not after global domination and no longer possesses a true internationalist communist ideology. It wants regionalsuperiority and a measure of global respect to make up for its perceived (and actual) embarrassment by European and American imperialists in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It wants a powerful trade block across Eurasia and a measure of control of its own "lake" – the South China Sea. Is that so unreasonable? The US has outright supremacy in its bordering seas, such as the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and Eastern Pacific. The US military has even sponsored coups and conducted outright invasions of nearby islands that didn’t sufficiently march to Washington’s tune.
Switch places with Chinese leader Xi Jinping for a moment. How would Trump(or Obama) respond, if the Chinese insisted they had a right to supremacy in the Caribbean? My guess: outright war.
Finally, there are the reasons not to fight, the reasons why a war would be catastrophic for both sides. China is huge, both in landmass and population(of 1.3 billion!). We’ve all heard the (accurate) trope warning against starting a land war in Asia. There’s good reason for that. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is huge and is capable of bogging the relatively small, all-volunteer US military in a nightmarish quagmire.
Nor could the US count on an easy projection of its naval and airpower into, say, the Taiwan Strait. China (and other competitors) have invested heavily in A2AD (Anti-Access, Area-Denial) systems that could thwart such attempts, inflict heavy casualties, or, at the least, maintain standoff. This would force the US military to preemptively escalate with attacks on Chinese homeland defenses. There is very little opportunity, therefore, to wage a limited war. Any fight with China will force the US"all-in" as a matter of course.
Furthermore, China’s booming and growing economy is both its strength and a sort of financial doomsday device. The US, European, and Chinese economies are by now inextricably linked. Hot war means trade war; and that would likely result in a cataclysmic global financial collapse. The US military is the most well-funded and equipped force on earth. Still, the backbone and foundation of that military rests with the power of the US economy. A new crash and potential depression would permanently damage our economy (along with China’s, no doubt).
Most importantly, China maintains an arsenal of at least 250 nuclear warheads. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to America’s 6000+ weapons, but more than enough to deter any serious invasion. Here’s the trick: never to fight a nuclear power, so long as it can be avoided. Anything else is insanity – ever heard of Nuclear Winter? Yea, it’s a real thing! The lesson: tread lightly, be cautious, and avoid unnecessary brinksmanship. That’s called statesmanship, something the US seems to have forgotten about these last 17 years.
Truth is, most of this threat inflation is really about cooking the books to justify gross overspending and a profits bonanza for the military-industrial complex. That’s a concern in itself, because a $700+ billion military budget is unsustainable, requiring either tough cuts to domestic programs, increased taxes, a ballooning national debt – or all of the above.
The real danger, though, is military brinksmanship. And the inescapable fog of war. It’s not impossible to imagine a dispute in the distant South China Sea (7000 miles from California) resulting in combat and casualties between the US and China. This could quickly escalate out of control. And remember, we both have loads of nuclear weapons!
It’s time to realistically weigh US interests, display some humility and craft a sober strategy for the Pacific. The sea coast of China cannot forever remain an "American lake." We would never accept a foreign power in the Caribbean and can’t expect China – with over a billion citizens and a growing economy – to cede their local waters to a distant American Navy in perpetuity.
The US must appeal to local Asian partners based on our (ostensible) shared values of open trade and open society – a challenge to the more authoritarian Chinese value system. After all, soft power goes a long way, especially when all-out war is a non-option! That, of course, will require more consistency from the US We’ll have to walk the walk on our values and quit backing our "partners’" military campaigns – Saudis in Yemen, Israel in Gaza, etc. – when they often add up to veritable war crimes.
Remember, we owe the Chinese a lot of money. That gives them leverage, but it also gives us leverage. They want to be paid back and Beijing knows it needs the American market for its goods. Besides, our economies are actually highly intertwined. XI doesn’t want a major war with the US He is playing the long game, a chess match as compared to our bumbling checkers!
If there is a war in the Pacific with nuclear-armed China it will most likely not be of XI’s doing. Only American hubris can lead to what would inevitably be a disastrous war.
Given our recent track record – an Icarus-syndrome par excellence – that seems frighteningly likely.
*  *  *
Danny Sjursen is a US Army officer and regular contributor to He served combat tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at his alma mater, West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge. Follow him on Twitter at @SkepticalVet.

Freitag, 11. Mai 2018

Six years after SWIFT cut ties with Iranian banks during the last round of Western sanctions on the Persian nation, on Thursday afternoon the U.S. took another step toward cutting Iran off from the global economy when the US Treasury announced it was levying sanctions on a financing network and accusing the country’s central bank of helping funnel U.S. dollars to the blacklisted elite military unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard known as the Quds Force, the WSJ reported.

US Moves To Cut Off Iran From Global Economy

Six years after SWIFT cut ties with Iranian banks during the last round of Western sanctions on the Persian nation, on Thursday afternoon the U.S. took another step toward cutting Iran off from the global economy when the US Treasury announced it was levying sanctions on a financing network and accusing the country’s central bank of helping funnel U.S. dollars to the blacklisted elite military unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard known as the Quds Force, the WSJ reported.
Acting together with the United Arab Emirates, the US Treasury said that it had sanctioned six individuals and three "front companies engaged in a large-scale currency exchange network that has procured and transferred hundreds of millions" of dollars to Iran's elite military force; overnight Israel’s government blamed the the same Quds Force for rocket attacks from Syria Wednesday night, an action that triggered massive retaliatory strikes by Israel’s military against Iranian targets in Syria, escalating the risk of a wider regional war.
In Washington, Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin accused "the Iranian regime and its Central Bank" of misusing banking access in the UAE to acquire US dollars to fund the IRGC-QF's "malign activities, and to arm its "regional proxy groups." The new sanctions also ban US individuals and entities from doing business with the currency network.
Mnuchin alleged that the sanctioned entities had concealed the acquisition of funds and transfers: "We are intent on cutting off IRGC revenue streams wherever their source and whatever their destination."
“Countries around the world must be vigilant against Iran’s efforts to exploit their financial institutions to exchange currency and fund nefarious actions of the IRGC-QF and the world’s largest state sponsor of terror,” Mnuchin also said.
Specifically, the Treasury accused an Iranian company, Jenah Aras Kish, of being a front for the Quds Force, and said the firm received oil revenues from Central Bank of Iran accounts and gave that money to couriers who exchanged it for millions of U.S. dollar notes in the U.A.E. through two Iranian firms, Khedmati & Co. and Rashed Exchange.
That cash was then taken back to the Quds Force and distributed to Iran’s regional proxies, the U.S. said. To hide the activities from U.A.E. authorities, the Treasury Department said the network used forged documents.
Washington has repeatedly accused the Iran Revolutionary Guard of backing terrorist groups and militias affiliated with Iran, including in Lebanon and Syria where missile warfare involving Israel and allegedly Al Quds unfolded on Thursday.
In February 2015, Reuters reported that at least $1 billion in cash had been smuggled into Iran despite US and other sanctions. In that case, the cash passed through money changers and front companies in Dubai, in the UAE, and Iraq. As we further reported in December 2015, the smuggling ring used gold as the key commodity used to bypass borders and monetary barriers, as well as middlemen in Turkey and the UAE where the chain of accountability led to the very top echelons of government in both nations.
The Treasury also accused Iran's central bank of being "complicit" in supplying the IRGC. 
“The Central Bank of Iran is complicit with the Quds Force for use by its proxies—that should send a very powerful message,” Sigal Mandelker, Treasury’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in an interview. “We’re going to use all of our authorities to disrupt these networks.”
Thursday's actions foreshadow the return of U.S. economic penalties as Washington reimposes sanctions that had been lifted as part of the 2015 nuclear agreement. Iran’s central bank wasn’t formally sanctioned in Thursday’s actions, but will be in the coming months, at which point the entire nations will once again be blacklisted by SWIFT, making USD-based international transactions impossible.
And while Thursday’s action targets only one network, it is a model of how the administration plans to implement a complete ban on dealings with the Central Bank of Iran and dollar transactions coming due in the months ahead.
Incidentally, this time around, SWIFT may not need to even get involved. “There are secondary sanctions consequences for doing business with these entities,” said the Treasury’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Sigal Mandelker, referring to the currency-exchange network. Secondary sanctions are actions against companies that interact with blacklisted entities.
Because of Trump’s decision to reimpose broad U.S. sanctions, the use of U.S. dollar banknotes by Iran is banned after August, “and you can expect that we’re going to take that authority very seriously,” she said. “Foreign financial institutions, governments all over the world need to be on high alert to make sure that they understand the pattern and practice that these networks use to try to gain access to the USD.”
* * *
Meanwhile, western governments and companies - many of whom disagreed with Trump's withdrawing from the nuclear deal, have been trying to figure out how aggressively Washington plans to enforce its new sanctions regime against Iran, "wary of Treasury sanctioning European bank and firms, for example, if they continue to do business with Iran beyond deadlines for compliance approaching over the next six months."
For now, European officials have said they plan to stay in the nuclear deal with Iran, which may not only give license to their companies to maintain ties to Iran, but also may be setting up a diplomatic rift between the U.S. and its closest allies.
However, if and when the US imposes a few multi-billion fines on European banks, any willingness the EU has to bypass Trump's sanctions will promptly evaporate. Furthermore, Europe "doesn’t have the power to take important decisions," said Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of the Iranian parliament’s nation security and foreign policy committee. The "Europeans, by sanctioning Iran, seek to dance in front of the Americans."
As a result, it's only a matter of time before Iran finds itself locked out financially from the world.
Or rather the Western world, because as the US and Europe fade away as key partners for Iran, China is about to step in again.
As Bloomberg reported today, "to develop its $430 billion economy, Iran is being forced to rely on political allies in the east. Trade with China has more than doubled since 2006, to $28 billion. The biggest chunk of Iran’s oil exports go to China, about $11 billion a year at current prices."
China is “already the winner,’’ Dina Esfandiary, a fellow at the Centre for Science and Security Studies at King’s College in London, told Bloomberg. "Iran has slowly abandoned the idea of being open to the West. The Chinese have been in Iran for the past 30 years. They have the contacts, the guys on the ground, the links to the local banks.’"
And they’re more willing to defy U.S. pressure as Trump slaps sanctions back on.
In short, the more Trump pushes Iran - and the broader middle-eastern region - to comply with the will of Israel and Saudi Arabia, the closer Iran will get with China whose influence in the middle-east, where it is ideologically aligned with Russia, will only grow...