Russian Defense Minister Says His Military Has Tested 162 Weapons In Syria (Source npr.org)
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made his way to the Duma, the lower house of parliament, on the eve of Defender of the Fatherland Day. The Feb. 23 national holiday was once known as Soviet Army and Navy Day, and Shoigu, dressed in the uniform of a general, came to boast about the Russian military’s latest achievements. “We tested 162 types of contemporary and modernized weapons in Syria, which showed a high level of effectiveness,” Shoigu said. The Kremlin has never made a secret that its intervention on behalf of the Syrian government has been an excellent opportunity to show off its new military prowess. Shortly after Russia entered the conflict in September 2015, the country’s navy fired cruise missiles at Syrian targets 900 miles away – an event that coincided with President Vladimir Putin’s 63rd birthday. The air force sent long-range Bear and Backfire bombers on round-trip missions from bases in Russia. And the country’s only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, traveled all the way from the Arctic Ocean to the Syrian coast to launch airstrikes.
Sean Spicer: Trump administration is in full agreement that it should revoke transgender protections (Source vox.com)
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said there’s no argument: The Trump administration is ready to revoke a guidance that protects transgender students from discrimination in public schools.
Spicer was disputing a New York Times report that there’s been debate within the administration about whether the guidance should be revoked. His explanation: The president has maintained for a long time that this is a states’ rights issue and not one for the federal government. So while we have further guidance coming out on this, I think that all you have to do is look at what the president’s view has been for a long time, that this is not something that the federal government should be involved in, that this is a states’ rights issue. A few months before President Donald Trump was elected, the Obama administration sent out a legally non binding obama-administration-transgender-bathrooms” guidance to federally funded schools arguing that trans students are protected by existing federal civil rights law. So, that administration said, schools should respect trans students’ rights, including their right to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity.
The Obama administration cited Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in public schools. It argued that anti-trans discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, because discrimination against trans people is rooted in stereotypes and prejudices of what people should be like based on the sex they were assigned at birth.
Conservatives, including those in the Trump administration, see the trans-inclusive view as a misinterpretation of federal laws. They argue that the authors of civil rights laws, which go back to the 1960s and ’70s, never intended to include trans people in sex discrimination bans, so trans people shouldn’t be protected under the statutes.
Chinese president Xi Jinping has vowed to lead the “new world order” (Source Yahoo)
Chinese president Xi Jinping has vowed for the first time that China should take the lead in shaping the “new world order” and safeguarding international security, one of the latest moves putting him in stark contrast to Donald Trump and the US president’s “America First” policy. Xi had on numerous occasions called for China to play an important part in building the new world order. But during a Feb. 17 HYPERLINK “http://www.china.org.cn/video/2017-02/18/content_40313020.htm” national security seminar in Beijing, he indicated China should “guide” the international community in the effort. A HYPERLINK “http://www.ccln.gov.cn/hotnews/230779.shtml” Feb. 20 commentary (link in Chinese) by the Chinese Communist Party’s central party school, which trains officials, noted the distinction.
“The overall trend of world multi-polarization, economic globalization, and democratization of international relations remains unchanged. We should guide the international community to jointly build a more just and reasonable new world order,” Xi was HYPERLINK “http://news.xinhuanet.com/politics/2017-02/17/c_1120486809.htm” paraphrased by Xinhua (link in Chinese) as saying during last week’s seminar. In another paragraph, the state newswire paraphrased Xi as saying “We should guide the international community to jointly maintain international security.” Xi’s new proposal has “profound meaning,” as his speech coincided with the annual Munich Security Conference and the G20 finance ministerial meeting, noted the commentary. It added that the Western-dominated world order is near its end as Western countries are showing less willingness and ability to interfere in global affairs—as evidenced by Trump’s isolationist foreign policy.
Xi attended the seminar as head of the National Security Commission, a secretive party organ set up in 2014. Until last week, the body had held just HYPERLINK “http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-04/15/c_133264574.htm” one publicly reported meeting since its establishment. The latest seminar came ahead of the party’s 19th congress, a major HYPERLINK “https://qz.com/878492/your-cheat-sheet-to-asias-big-elections-sometimes-selections-in-2017/” leadership reshuffle event slated for this fall.
Since Trump’s election China has emerged as the world’s strongest proponent of globalization. In the past few months, Xi has been busy sending the world messages that are the exact opposite of Trump’s.
As Trump promised to tear up the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Xi touted his alternative Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, including at last November’s APEC summit, right HYPERLINK “https://qz.com/842119/as-us-president-elect-donald-trump-tweets-about-saturday-night-live-and-hamilton-chinas-xi-jinping-embraces-a-new-powerful-role/” in the US’s backyard.
As Trump threatened to close the borders and back away from global affairs, Xi rebuked Trump—without mentioning his name—in his HYPERLINK “https://qz.com/886917/davos-xi-jinping-rebuked-donald-trump-positioning-himself-as-champion-of-globalization/” keynote speech at the 2017 World Economic Forum in January. As Trump pressed to curb immigration, Xi called to make it easier for foreigners to HYPERLINK “http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-economy-residence-idUSKBN15L17Y?il=0” get Chinese green cards.
Mexico fumes over Trump immigration rules as U.S. talks loom (Source Reuters) Senior envoys of President Donald Trump are likely to receive a chilly reception in Mexico, after the United States issued new immigration guidelines that deeply angered the southern neighbor the day before bilateral talks. Trump’s administration unveiled plans to consider almost all illegal immigrants subject to deportation, and will seek to send many of them to Mexico if they entered the United States from there, regardless of their nationality.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly are due to arrive in Mexico on Wednesday afternoon for talks on security and immigration.
Mexico’s lead negotiator with the Trump administration, Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, said there was no way Mexico would accept the new “unilateral” rules, which among other things seek to deport non-Mexicans to Mexico. He said the issue would dominate the talks. “I want to say clearly and emphatically that the government of Mexico and the Mexican people do not have to accept provisions that one government unilaterally wants to impose on the other,” he told reporters at the foreign ministry. “We will not accept it, because there’s no reason why we should, and because it is not in the interests of Mexico.” Another senior Mexican official, Roberto Campa, who heads the human rights department of the interior ministry, said Videgaray was referring to the plan to deport non-Mexicans to Mexico, calling it “hostile” and “unacceptable.”
THE ‘ARCH OF BAAL’ WAS DISPLAYED FOR THE THIRD TIME IN HONOR OF ‘THE WORLD GOVERNMENT SUMMIT’ (Source blacklistednews.com) Did you know that 4,000 world leaders from 130 different countries gathered in Dubai this week for the World Government Summit? It was held from February 12th to February 14th, and it featured more than 100 internationally-known speakers including UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Christine Lagarde and Elon Musk. The first World Government Summit was held back in 2013, and that one was actually attended by Barack Obama. Unfortunately the mainstream media in the United States was almost entirely silent about this summit, so most of us in the western world didn’t even hear about it.
To honor the spirit of this summit, a reconstructed version of Palmyra’s Arch Of Triumph (also known as the Monumental Arch) was erected in Dubai. Previously it had been put up in London and New York City for brief periods of time, and so this marked only the third time that it has been displayed.
A replica of a Roman arch that once stood in front of the pagan Temple of Ba’al was erected for the World Government Summit in Dubai this week, creating a scene that one rabbi claims symbolizes the dangerous fusion of Ishmael and Edom against Israel.
The original HYPERLINK “https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/65680/could-model-baal-temple-arch-bring-messiah-talmud-says-yes-jewish-world/” \t “_blank” Roman Victory Arch stood for 1,800 years in Palmyra, Syria, until it was destroyed by HYPERLINK “https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/64461/end-times-isis/” \t “_blank” ISIS in October 2015. A full-size 28-meter tall replica of the arch was created last year by the Institute for Digital Archeology, a joint project of Oxford and Harvard universities, and has been displayed twice before. The replica was erected for the opening of the World Government Summit that opened on Sunday February 12 in Dubai. In ancient Palmyra, the Arch of Triumph connected the main street of the Colonnade with the Temple of Bel. If ordinary people of the time wanted to visit the Temple of Bel, they would pass through this arch. And once they were done, they would pass through this arch again on their way out.
U.S. carrier group patrols in tense South China Sea (Source Reuters)
A United States aircraft carrier strike group has begun patrols in the South China Sea amid growing tension with China over control of the disputed waterway and concerns it could become a flashpoint under the new U.S. administration. China’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday warned Washington against challenging its sovereignty in the South China Sea. The U.S. navy said the force, including Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, began routine operations in the South China Sea on Saturday. The announcement was posted on the Vinson’s Facebook page. The strike group’s commander, Rear Admiral James Kilby, said that weeks of training in the Pacific had improved the group’s effectiveness and readiness. “We are looking forward to demonstrating those capabilities while building upon existing strong relationships with our allies, partners and friends in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region,” he was quoted as saying by the Navy News Service.
Friction between the United States and China over trade and territory under U.S. President Donald Trump have increased concerns that the South China Sea could become a flashpoint.
Nuclear Submarines and Hypersonic Missiles: China Is Making Game-Changing Weapons Advances (Source thetrumpet.com)
The United States military could be in “serious trouble” in a face-off against Chinese forces in the South China Sea, according to analyses published this week. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is making massive gains in its development of two key areas of advanced weaponry: Nuclear submarines and hypersonic missiles.
Alongside these advances, the PLA is demonstrating ever more willingness and resolve to use its military might. Analysts believe these factors could eventually tip the scales of a regional conflict in Beijing’s favor. The Interest discussed the PLA’s nuclear submarines on February 13, writing: Is China’s new Type 093B nuclear-powered attack submarine on par with the U.S. Navy’s Improved Los Angeles-class boats? At least some U.S. naval analysts believe so and contend that the introduction of the new People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) submarines is an indication of just how quickly Beijing is catching up to the West. On February 13, the Scout Warrior military analysis firm asked if China is already ahead-of-us-with-hypersonic-weapons in front of the U.S. in developing hypersonic weapons.” The article discusses China’s recent claims of having successfully tested a hypersonic weapon, saying the development “caused concern among Pentagon leaders and threat analysts.”
If China’s claims of having already conducted a successful test are true, this could represent a considerable lag in U.S. progress relative to China’s, and in a vital military realm. Should China possess long-range, high-speed hypersonic weapons, it could dramatically impact circumstances known in Pentagon circles and anti-access/area denial. This phenomenon, referred to as A2/AD, involves instances wherein potential adversaries use long-range sensors and precision weaponry to deny the U.S. any ability to operate in the vicinity of some strategically significant areas such as closer to an enemy coastline. Hypersonic weapons could hold slower-moving Navy aircraft carriers at much greater risk, for example. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry said China’s increasingly militaristic direction, especially in the South China Sea, is “steering the world toward war,” writing: Now that U.S. military presence in the area has been drastically reduced, China is claiming the entire South China Sea as its own! America’s enemies are securing shipping lanes and creating economic alliances that will very soon enable them to choke off America’s supply lines. … Everything is headed in the direction of war. China’s military advancements are of great geo strategic significance, with implications for people of all nations.
Defense Sec’y Mattis Warns of ‘Arc of Instability’ on Europe’s Edge (Source foxnews.com) Defense Secretary James Mattis is warning of an “arc of instability” on Europe’s periphery. Speaking to the Munich Security Conference , Mattis HYPERLINK “http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-germany-security-usa-idUKKBN15W1JI” \t “_blank” assured allies that the U.S. would stand with NATO partners to confront shared threats. “We all see our community of nations under threat on multiple fronts as the arc of instability builds on NATO’s periphery and beyond,” Mattis said. Mattis told the assembled heads of state and more than 70 defense ministers that President Donald Trump backed NATO. Although Mattis did not mention Russia by name, his remarks come amid heightened tensions with Moscow, with a Russian spy ship loitering mere miles off the eastern U.S. coast. Mattis HYPERLINK “http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-mattis-idUSKBN15V1N9” \t “_blank” said at NATO headquarters in Brussels that “there’s very little doubt that Russia has either interfered or they have attempted to interfere in a number of elections,” though he declined to specifically cite the U.S. presidential election. On “America’s News HQ” today, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said that Russian President Vladimir Putin has adopted a more aggressive posture because he was emboldened by the Obama administration. “We all know that Putin is a thug, and he has a military that is trying to flex its muscle and send a message,” Blackburn said. “We probably should not be surprised by such activity.” She said that Trump needs to show Putin that the U.S. will not put up with shows of strength against our nation or our NATO allies.
Iran ready to give U.S. ‘slap in the face’ (Source Reuters)
The United States should expect a “strong slap in the face” if it underestimates Iran’s defensive capabilities, a commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards said on Wednesday, as Tehran concluded war games. Since taking office last month, U.S. President Donald Trump has pledged to get tough with Iran, warning the Islamic Republic after its ballistic missile test on Jan. 29 that it was playing with fire and all U.S. options were on the table. “The enemy should not be mistaken in its assessments, and it will receive a strong slap in the face if it does make such a mistake,” said General Mohammad Pakpour, head of the Guards’ ground forces, quoted by the Guards’ website Sepahnews.
On Wednesday, the Revolutionary Guards concluded three days of exercises with rockets, artillery, tanks and helicopters, weeks after Trump warned that he had put Tehran “on notice” over the missile launch. “The message of these exercises … for world arrogance is not to do anything stupid,” said Pakpour, quoted by the semi-official news agency Tasnim. “Everyone could see today what power we have on the ground.” The Guards said they test-fired “advanced rockets” and used drones in the three-day exercises which were held in central and eastern Iran.
Russia seeks pragmatic US ties and “post-West” world order (Source Associated Press) Russia wants pragmatic relations with the United States but also is hoping for the creation of a “post-West world order,” the country’s foreign minister said Saturday. Sergey Lavrov’s comments at the Munich Security Conference came hours after Vice President Mike Pence told the gathering that the U.S. will “hold Russia accountable” even as the Trump administration searches for common ground with Moscow. The annual get-together of diplomats and defense officials has been marked by Western concerns about President Donald Trump’s approach to foreign policy and attitude toward Russia.
“What kind of relations do we want with the U.S.? Pragmatic relations, mutual respect, understanding our special responsibility for global stability,” Lavrov said. “We have immense potential that has yet to be tapped into, and we’re open for that inasmuch as the U.S. is open for that as well,” he added. More broadly, Lavrov declared that NATO “remained a Cold War institution.” Pence earlier said Washington “strongly supports” the military alliance, the latest in a string of U.S. leaders to give similar commitments after Trump in the past called it “obsolete.” “Responsible leaders should make a choice, I hope that the choice will be done in favor a creating a democratic and just world order,” Lavrov said, speaking through an interpreter. “If you want, you can call it a post-West world order when each country, based on its sovereignty within the rules of international law, will strive to find a balance between its own national interests and the national interests of partners.”