Thousands in Taiwan protest China trade deal

AP | President moves island economically closer to China.

The Tiger Awakens: China Warns of “Retaliatory Action” and “Unforeseeable Consequences” Over U.S. Monday Deadline


Yesterday Secretary of State and flip-flopper extraordinaire John Kerry advised Russia that Vladimir Putin has until Monday to pull back his forces from Ukraine. Failure to do so would lead to serious repercussions. Kerry was light on details, but we can assume he was talking about some sort of economic sanctions:

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and a top critic of President Obama’s foreign policy, asked what the administration would do if Russian forces advance farther into the eastern area of Ukraine, and the new government in Kiev asks the U.S. for weapons to fight the Russians.

Kerry responded carefully, saying “we have contingencies – we are talking through various options that may or may not be available.”

“Our hope is not to create hysteria or excessive concern about that at this point in time,” he said. “Our hope is to avoid that, but there’s no telling that we can.”

It’s quite obvious, based on Kerry’s statement, that the Obama Administration really has no idea what to do, as they are still talking through “various options,” something that probably should have been worked out well before President Obama began slinging rhetoric over the crisis.

What the Obama administration assumes will happen is that they’ll force Russia into compliance by coming after their economy. Obama will hit the Late Night TV circuit to tout his success, we’ll all laugh about it, and then go on our merry way. Putin will be left embarrassed and laying in the fetal position sucking his thumb. At least that’s the plan.

But two can play at that game and China, which has stood by Russia’s show of force in Europe since the get-go, has now upped the ante.

It’s a brilliant move designed, once again, to show the world that President Obama and the United States are no longer running the show.

Sanctions could lead to retaliatory action, and that would trigger a spiral with unforeseeable consequences,” warns China’s envoy to Germany adding that “we don’t see any point in sanctions.” On the heels of Merkel’s warning that Russia risked “massive” political and economic damage if it did not change course, Reuters reports ambassador Shi Mingde urged patience saying “the door is still open” for diplomacy (though we suspect it is not) ahead of this weekend’s referendum. Russia’s Deputy Economy Minister Alexei Likhachev responded by promising “symmetrical” sanctions by Moscow. So now we have China joining the fray more aggressively.

Via Reuters,

China’s top envoy to Germany has warned the West against punishing Russia with sanctions for its intervention in Ukraine, saying such measures could lead to a dangerous chain reaction that would be difficult to control. In an interview with Reuters days before the European Union is threatening to impose its first sanctions on Russia since the Cold War, ambassador Shi Mingde issued the strongest warning against such measures by any top Chinese official to date.

“We don’t see any point in sanctions,” Shi said. “Sanctions could lead to retaliatory action, and that would trigger a spiral with unforeseeable consequences. We don’t want this.”

Using her [Merkel’s] toughest rhetoric since the crisis began, she warned in a speech in parliament on Thursday that Russia risked “massive” political and economic damage if it did not change course in the coming days.

Russia’s Deputy Economy Minister Alexei Likhachev responded by promising “symmetrical” sanctions by Moscow. But Shi urged patience, saying the door for talks should remain open even after a referendum on Sunday in which Ukraine’s southern region of Crimea could vote to secede and join Russia. Merkel and other western leaders have denounced the referendum as illegal and demanded that it be canceled.

“We still see a chance to avoid an escalation. The door to talks is still open. We should use this possibility, also after the referendum,” Shi said.

Zero Hedge via The Daily Sheeple

The White House’s deadline for Russia to pull back is Monday.

Will Obama blink again, as he did in Syria?

Let’s remember that China holds trillions of dollars of US debt. All they have to do is hint (not even actually do it) that they will pull back on Treasury purchases and we’re toast within days.

We shouldn’t be at all surprised if, on Monday, Vladimir Putin thumbs his nose at the west again and actually sends his troops across the Crimean border into Ukraine.

One thing’s for sure. President Obama’s foreign policy has been a complete and utter disaster on every front. Either this destruction of America’s worldwide credibility is pre-planned or there is a gaggle of idiots in charge at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Perhaps both.

SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

As Obama Disarms, China Moves to Solidify Its Control Over the Pacific

Guest post by Investor’s Business Daily

Balance Of Power: Beijing may soon declare another air defense identification zone over the disputed Paracel and Spratly Islands and possibly the entire South China Sea as its military power matches its territorial ambitions.

China’s plans to define a second new air-defense identification zone, this one in the South China Sea, were reported in the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun. Such a move would follow Beijing’s announcement in November of an ADIZ in the East China Sea encompassing the Japanese Senkaku Islands that Beijing claims as its own.

China denies it has any such plans, claiming the news is merely a Japanese provocation. But Beijing has long declared the South China Sea to be its territorial waters and has laid claim to the Spratlys in the southeastern part and Paracels about 200 miles off Vietnam.

After the implementation of the East China Sea ADIZ, Chinese defense spokesman Yang Yujun said in November that “China will establish other Air Defense Identification Zones at the right moment after necessary preparations are completed.”

China obviously has not been deterred by the Obama administration’s response to the imposition of the East China Sea ADIZ. After China declared that ADIZ encompassing the Senkakus, two U.S. B-52s flew through the claimed air space without informing Beijing. But the Obama administration then instructed U.S. carriers to accede to China’s demands for prior notification.

China’s establishment of the ADIZs is carefully timed and part of a strategy to project power beyond its coastal waters. Its goal is to secure the waters from Japan’s home islands through Taiwan and to the Strait of Malacca, encompassing the East and South China seas.

The Senkaku Islands are not only rich fishing areas. They sit atop significant oil deposits vital to a China that’s scouring the world for energy for its growing economy. Similarly, the disputed Reed Bank in the Spratly Islands is estimated to contain up to 55.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 5.4 billion barrels of oil.

Beijing has been moving to solidify what it has called its “sovereign rights” over the South China Sea, which has depths convenient for submarine navigation. It has already established a nuclear sub base on nearby Hainan Island and is building a radar site in the Paracels.

China’s military capabilities have taken a quantum leap since a Chinese J-8 jet collided with a U.S. EP-3 surveillance jet in 2001 off Hainan, which now has a base for Chinese ballistic missile and attack subs. It’s likely the EP-3 got too close to the sub base for comfort.

In 2009, Chinese vessels trailed and harassed the twin-hulled ocean surveillance ship Impeccable off Hainan, trying to snag the sonar array that it was towing. Such sonar is useful in detecting Chinese submarine activity.

A Chinese battle group, led by its first carrier, the Liaoning, recently conducted a monthlong exercise that saw the refurbished Soviet-built flattop and her escorts sail south to the waters near Taiwan. During the exercise, a Chinese warship nearly collided with the guided missile cruiser USS Cowpens, which was shadowing the battle group.

As the alleged Chinese curse goes, may you live in interesting times. Things are getting interesting indeed.

Read more at Investor’s Business Daily

Doug Ross @ Journal