Monthly Archives: August 2016

The Deafening Silence

The extraordinary crises in U.S. foreign affairs, and the plight of human rights throughout the world, have failed to gain attention in much of the media.

The reasons are clear.  It is the mantra of much of the political left that America is in no military danger from abroad, freedom is not imperiled, and that whatever global challenges Washington must deal with are the products of its own prior actions. That has been the guiding principle of the Obama Administration. Whatever inconvenient facts depart from that narrative are wholly disregarded because much of the media shares that viewpoint.

There is clear precedence to this from the last presidential election. During a televised debate, Republican challenger Mitt Romney noted that Russian belligerence was a key problem. He was mocked not just by rival candidate Barack Obama, but also by the moderator of the debate, who abandoned all pretense of impartiality.  Despite the clear, overt and overwhelming evidence during the past several years proving Romney correct, there has been no admission of being drastically incorrect either by the President or the many journalists who joined him in mocking Romney’s statement.

While international affairs can sometimes be nebulous, the poor results from the foreign policy actions of President Obama and Secretaries Clinton and Kerry are crystal clear.

Russia and China have found that aggressive use of force achieves results, and comes at almost no cost.  Iran has found that it can be financially rewarded for holding Americans for ransom. Evildoers such as Syria’s Bashar al-Assad have learned that there is no such thing as a “Red Line” beyond which they dare not go. Afghanistan’s Taliban knows that all it has to do is wait out the clock for American forces to leave.

Consider:

When the Chinese Navy infringed upon the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone, Obama did nothing.  The White House didn’t even lodge a diplomatic protest.  Even after the World Tribunal at The Hague ruled in favor of the Philippines, the White House remained largely on the sidelines.

When Russia invaded Ukraine, the only Obama/Clinton response was a weak set of sanctions. A simple, nonviolent, and extremely effective response would have been to open up federal lands to energy exploitation, in order to eventually bring down the cost of energy. This would have bankrupted Moscow, which is heavily dependent on energy sales to finance its military. It would also have reassured European allies of future access to energy without kowtowing to Russia. But the policy was ignored by the White House.

Obama’s failure to even diplomatically oppose China’s aggressive actions meant that not only was Beijing’s belligerence rewarded, but that a golden opportunity to unite Southeast Asian and Pacific nations in an anti-Chinese aggression front that would have discouraged future assaults was lost.

On the flip side, America’s friends, allies, or simply those who happen to be on the same side of a controversy as the U.S. have found that Washington is neither reliable as a partner nor even committed to protecting its own shared self-interest. Ask the Israelis or Egypt’s former President Hosni Mubarak about that.

The utter failure of the Administration to enforce its own “Red Line” in Syria, or to respond in any meaningful way to the Benghazi attack, and to give the Taliban high status by negotiating with it, allowed depraved forces both in power in the Middle East and around the world seeking to gain dominance all the encouragement they needed to stay their course.

The Obama-Clinton foreign policy is not the product of dedication to non-violence or human rights, reasons often given for President Carter’s unsuccessful foreign policy moves. This White House and its supporters have turned their backs on atrocities whenever convenient.

Just one example: Vice News reports that “human rights groups, Malaysian activists, and a number of US Senators accuse Barack Obama’s administration of manipulating [that nation’s record on human trafficking] to allow the Southeast Asian country to join the president’s massive free trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership… Many anti-human trafficking advocates are crying foul.  ‘The State Department has sold out human rights to corporate and regional interests,’ David Abramowitz, the former chief counsel to the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a member of the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking, told Vice News.”

The number of humans in slavery has grown during the Obama-Clinton-Kerry tenure. The California Department of Justice reports that “Human trafficking is the world’s fastest growing criminal enterprise and is an estimated $32 billion-a-year global industry.”

Shoebat  reports that “In Saudi Arabia, (A major contributor to the Clinton Foundation) and other Gulf States, there are around over a million slaves. Obama has never mentioned this…These are deprived of food, adequate living conditions and are many times abused.”

The consistent record of foreign policy failure by Obama, Clinton and Kerry should not be overlooked or ignored.  However, that is precisely what America’s highly biased media is doing.

U.S. Military Tech Lead Fading

The world has noticed that America’s stripped defense budgets have allowed potentially hostile nations to gain the lead in cutting-edge weaponry that could decide the fate of a future conflict.

The Institute for Strategic Studies  latest report on The Military Balance notes that the U.S. technological military edge is being lost to China, Russia, and other nations.

While China and others have surged ahead, the U.S., with a defense budget that has been sharply diminished under the Obama presidency, hasn’t kept pace.

In a key Pentagon analysis, Frank Kendall  Undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics states that “my concern [is] that in some areas we may not be pushing the state-of-the-art enough in terms of technical performance. This endangers our military technical superiority. In my view, our new product pipeline is not as robust as it should be at a time when our technological superiority is being seriously challenged by potential adversaries. Not all cost growth is bad; we need to respond to changing and emerging threats.”

During the Obama Administration, the low levels of system development and demonstration funding have dropped so precipitously that the Department of Defense has expressed concern that America could fall behind its rivals in advanced weaponry on land, sea, and air.

Weapons systems are not developed quickly, sometimes taking well over a decade to go from a concept based on a necessary response to a threat, to an actual usable plane, ship, tank or other weapon. The decisions made this year will have an effect on American national security decades into the future. A U.S. Air Force study recently released noted that “Emerging integrated and networked air-to-air, surface-to-air, space and cyberspace threats, as well as aging and shrinking fleets of US weapon systems, threaten the Air Force’s ability to provide air superiority at the times and places required in the highly contested operational environments of 2030 and beyond… The Air Force’s projected force structure in 2030 is not capable of fighting and winning against this array of potential adversary capabilities.”

Real Clear Defense describes how having advanced weaponry allowed the U.S. to win the Cold War: “For some 70 years, the United States has relied on its competitive advantage in finding, developing and fielding advanced military technologies to counterbalance adversaries’ and enemies’ advantages in quantities of forces, proximity to the battle space, local geography and ideological fervor… For many decades, advances in technology allowed the U.S. military to increase the effectiveness of individual weapons, platforms and even combatants, literally allowing it to do more with less. The wisdom of this approach was demonstrated in the demise of the former Soviet Union…starting with the end of the Cold War, successive Administrations took a modernization holiday while at the same time reducing the overall size of the U.S. military, i.e., its capacity. Now an even more serious problem looms on the horizon. The era of U.S. competitive advantage in advanced technologies with military applications may be coming to an end. Senior Pentagon officials having been running around town with their hair on fire about this problem. Simply put, we are losing our technological edge.”

The worrisome commentary is not restricted to political or military journals.

Popular Mechanics article outlined how “Declining defense budgets in both the United States and the rest of NATO have slimmed down the active armed forces and cut research and development into future military technologies. According to the Guardian, since 1991 the British Royal Air Force and French Air Force have both had their aircraft inventories cut by more than 50 percent. The newspaper also reports that since 2001, the number of battalions in the largest NATO countries and U.S. forces in Europe have fallen by more than two-thirds, from 649 to 185.”

The Economist reports that “America’s ability to project power on behalf of its own interests and in defence of its allies has been the bedrock of the rules-based international order since the end of the second world war. Critical to that effort has been the role of technology in maintaining a military edge over potential adversaries through the first and second “offset strategies…China has been busy developing asymmetric capabilities specifically designed to counter America’s power in the West Pacific. For over two decades it’s been investing double-digit defence budgets in an arsenal of highly-accurate, submarines, sophisticated integrated air defence systems (IADS) and advanced cyber capabilities. All with the aim of making it too dangerous for American carriers to operate close enough to fly their tactical aircraft or cruise missiles.”

Writing in the National InterestRepresentative J. Randy Forbes,(R-VA) Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, and Elbridge Colby, the Robert M. Gates Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, urge that the problem be understood and responded to:

“America’s edge in military technology and the balance of military power in the Asia-Pacific writ large is under serious and growing pressure from China’s military-modernization efforts. Admiral Samuel Locklear, head of the Hawaii-based U.S. Pacific Command, observed at a conference in January that “our historic dominance…is diminishing… …we…find ourselves at this juncture through a combination of a foolishly constricting approaches to defense planning manifested by five years of defense cuts, including sequestration; a two-decade sanguinity about the true challenge to our military edge posed by China’s impressive military modernization; and, a refusal to ensure that our capabilities within the U.S. defense portfolio are militarily sufficient in quantity and diversity to maintain asymmetric superiority for full-spectrum warfare. Together, this lack of focus and indiscipline has helped allow countries like China to begin materially closing the once-yawning gap in military capability…The unfortunate fact is that American defense spending, investment, and procurement do not adequately reflect a focus on maintaining our upper hand against the most serious, technologically challenging competitors. … we will need to make focused and sustained investments…”

Downplaying the China Threat

It is a potentially tragic replay of the carelessness that led to a lack of adequate preparation for the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor.  The White House, the media, and many others, including corporations seeking to do or expand business in China, continue to downplay the very real potential for armed conflict with that nation.

Beijing’s aggressiveness stems from its new military prowess, its alliance with Russia and Iran, the decline of the American military, and the reluctance of the Obama Administration to diplomatically support regional allies.

The school of thought that the massive trade between the U.S. and China could prevent a war is not substantiated by history. Britain and Germany were each other’s most important trading partners before World War One, for example, and that certainly didn’t stop the conflagration that marked a turning point in history.

The consequences of a direct clash between the two superpowers could prove devastating, particularly since the shrunken American military would be fighting an opponent more powerful than any other in living memory.

A number of worrisome reports have been recently issued.

The U.S- China Economic and Security Review Commission has highlighted the specific danger from China’s rapidly increasing missile arsenal:

“Beijing [has developed] conventional missile capabilities to target U.S. military facilities in the Asia Pacific in general, and Guam in particular…Several new conventional platforms and weapons systems developed by China in recent years have increased its ability to hold U.S. forces stationed on Guam at risk in a potential conflict… China’s commitment to continuing to modernize its strike capabilities indicates the risk will likely grow going forward.

“The current array of Chinese conventional missiles able to reach Guam includes:

  • the DF-26 intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), not yet a precision strike weapon but potentially of concern in large numbers;
  • 2) the DF-26 antiship ballistic missile (ASBM), unproven against a moving target at sea but undergoing further development;
  • 3) air-launched land-attack cruise missiles (LACMs), launched from bombers with a high probability of being detected and intercepted by U.S. aircraft and anti-aircraft systems;
  • 4) air-launched antiship cruise missiles (ASCMs), with the same aircraft limitation;
  • 5) sealaunched ASCMs, of concern should the platforms be able to move into range undetected, a challenge for China’s relatively noisy submarines; and
  • 6) sea-launched LACMs, which China does not currently field but is likely working to develop.

 “To evaluate China’s ability to strike Guam going forward, the areas that should be monitored most closely are increased deployments of DF-26 missiles and qualitative improvements to China’s precision strike capabilities, bomber fleet, in-air refueling capability, and submarine quieting technology.

“Guam, a territory of the United States, is growing in importance to U.S. strategic interests and any potential warfighting operations in the Asia Pacific, even as China’s ability to strike the island is increasing. Such attacks could hold key U.S. assets stationed on Guam at risk and also disrupt their region-wide response effort, slowing deployment timetables and reducing the effectiveness of U.S. forces in the theater. China’s leaders could also be more willing to resort to military force in an existing crisis if they believed they could successfully hold Guam at risk, diminishing the United States’ ability to deter an escalation, although it is difficult to determine the extent to which better operational capabilities influence strategic thinking in Beijing.

“Options such as hardening facilities on Guam, further dispersing U.S. regional military facilities, continuing investments in “next-generation” missile defense capabilities, revisiting the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) Treaty, and maintaining superiority in regional strike capabilities offer potential avenues for addressing these key security concerns.”

The Rand organization doesn’t believe that a Sino-American war is necessarily coming, but worries that “As Chinese anti-access and area-denial (A2AD) capabilities improve, the United States can no longer be so certain that war would follow its plan and lead to decisive victory.”

China’s commitment to developing an armed force capable of extending its range across significant distances can be seen in its development of heavy transport military aircraft. Geoff Ziezulewicz, writing for UPI, reported that “China’s homegrown Y-20 heavy transport aircraft entered service with the People’s Liberation Army during its maiden flight [on July 26].”

China’s new global reach can be seen in its development of a new naval facility in Africa, its growing presence in the Caribbean, (including port facilities on both sides of the Panama Canal) its participation in naval maneuvers in the Mediterranean, and, as reported by the Arab news sources al-Arabiya its plans to commit military forces to the Middle East in cooperation with Russia, Syria, and Iran.

Ignored Dangers

Both ISIS-motivated attacks and rising threats from Russia and China are becoming a fact of everyday life. It is increasingly evident that many elected officials both in the United States and Europe appear to be philosophically incapable of acknowledging the reality that a no-holds barred, total war is being waged against the west by radical Islam, and the foundations of overwhelming military threats are being laid by the leadership in Moscow and Beijing.

In the wake of a recent attack on the passengers of a German train by an Afghan refugee shouting “Allahu akbar,” swinging an axe, injuring five people, Rt.com news reports that  Renate Kunast, a Green Party member of Parliament, criticized her nations’ police for shooting and killing  the perpetrator.  “Couldn’t they have just shot to disable him?” she asked.

She is not alone. Despite horrific acts of mass violence by refugees, including a vast number of sexual assaults in one night by 2,000 Islamic refugees in Cologne, Berlin’s leadership seems aloof, responding only when bad publicity became significant. (The crimes were initially covered up by authorities, the same as mass sex assaults in the United Kingdom were ignored by local authorities there.)  Breitbart reports that  “Both the scale of the crimes committed and the nationalities, religion and ethnicities of the assailants were obscured by both government and the media. Similar attacks in Hamburg and Stuttgart were simply not reported by journalists at all.”

The United Kingdom’s leadership wholly ignored the justifiable concern of their citizenry that un-vetted refugees, many of them military-age young men, presented a danger to their nation, a concern that motivated voters to authorize withdrawal from the European Union.

The explosion of crime in Sweden, formerly one of the safest nations on Earth, by refugees has altered the very character of that nation. Again, the fears of the people have been long ignored.

The U.S. President shares a similar mind set.  When an Islamic extremist killed Americans at Fort Hood, he called the incident “workplace violence.” After the terrorist assault in San Bernardino by two individuals who had recently been given gifts by the very people they shot, the President—whose full name is Barack Hussein Obama and who had Islamic training as a youth, lectured the American people about nonexistent bias against Moslems. Following the massacre in Orlando, he talked about limiting the rights of Americans to own guns.

This is the same President whose withdrawal of troops from Iraq led to the rise of ISIS. The same Administration that called ISIS a “JV Team” that shouldn’t concern Americans. The same President who broke precedent and opened negotiations with the Taliban, so instrumental in bringing about the 9/11 attacks.  The same President who, along with his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, dishonestly tried to blame an American film maker for the Benghazi attack. The same Administration that did nothing to punish the real perpetrators of that attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans.  The same President who has given a speech in a mosque led by terrorist sympathizers.

Beyond terrorism, the sheer blindness of many in leadership to acknowledge the rising military dominance of Russia and China is truly troublesome. The threats are not in distant lands. For both Americans and Europeans, the danger is close to their own borders. Russia has militarized the Arctic to the north of the U.S. Both Russia and China have established military relationships and bases in Latin American and the Caribbean. In Europe, Russia has attacked both Ukraine and Georgia in recent years. Moscow has moved powerful forces to its borders with Eastern European nations, and has used its air force to harass naval vessels close to the home waters of western European nations. In Asia, China has threatened virtually all its neighbors.

Both Moscow and Beijing have spent vast sums to rapidly accelerate their military growth.  They have been successful in their quest.  It is uncomfortable and disturbing to admit, but the reality is that the Russian-Chinese axis has eclipsed the American-NATO alliance as the most powerful military force on the planet.

This reality, of a west besieged by terrorists within its borders and by the armed might of Russia and China without, is wholly ignored by the White House and many of its European counterparts.

An Alternative to Hate

 

An intra-Moslem dispute is coming to a head as followers of  Muhammed Fethullah Gülen are targeted by the Turkish government.

Many Moslems follow the teachings of Gülen, a Turkish Islamic preacher who founded the Gülen movement and the Alliance for Shared Values. He currently resides in the U.S. His tolerant message is deeply resented by extremists, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has demanded the US extradite him. Erdogan, who has sought to end secular rule and who may have engineered the recent failed coup in an attempt to justify a harsh crackdown on political rivals, has blamed Gulen for the aborted attempt.

As religious and ethnic strife expands exponentially across the globe, today’s commemoration of the birthday of the late Mother Teresa and her upcoming canonization as a Catholic saint on September 4 offer an alternative vision. The soon-to-be saints’ legacy is emblematic of the nation that gave her birth, a country that, like America, offers an optimistic view of how people of different faiths can live together.

Mother Teresa’s vision may have an impact on geopolitical relations.

The soon-to-be Saint’s extraordinary dedication to the poor and downtrodden was not based solely on a dedication to her religious faith.  Throughout her life, she bravely wrestled with significant doubts about the presence of God in a world filled with suffering.

Despite that, her profound belief in the concepts of right and wrong, the personal obligations each human has to others whatever their religious or ethnic background, and that every man and woman, no matter how great or humble their circumstances, can make a difference, drove her to achieve extraordinary accomplishments.

She travelled far from her native Albania to service those in need. Her efforts began in India, providing assistance and comfort to those most desperately in need and furthest from society’s reach.

It is not a coincidence that Mother Teresa was born in Albania, a nation with a population that served as a figurative island of heroism and tolerance during a period when it’s oppressed population was held captive by Nazis and Communists.  Christians, Jews and Moslems came together to battle the atrocities, subjugation, and hatred that foreign powers imposed on them.

During World War II, Albanians distinguished themselves in their efforts to protect Jews from Nazi invaders. A CNN report  notes thatAccording to Yad Vashem, the Israeli museum that holds the world’s largest repository of documents and information related to the Holocaust, there is not a single known case of a Jew being turned over to Nazi authorities in Albania during its occupation…Incredibly, Albania’s Jewish population actually grew during World War II. The reason so little is known about Albania’s unique role during the Holocaust has a lot to do with the country’s post-war history. Once the war was over, Albania fell under communist control and spent the next half-century behind the Iron Curtain.”

Almost 10% of the nation’s entire population was left homeless as a result of the war. Suffering continued when Serbian authorities engaged in ethnic cleansing against Albanians, which only ended when their forces were expelled in 1999.

Newsweek  reports that “In the aftermath of the Paris killings… the tolerant religious climate in Albania is drawing interest…Albanians are half-flattered and half-amused by their country’s newfound reputation as one of the few places where different faiths get along. ..Besar Likmeta, a journalist in Tirana, who follows religious affairs, says the failure of hard-line Islamists to recruit much of a following in Albania has much to do with the nation’s ‘foundation myth’. Albanians believe their country ‘was taken away from Europe and plunged into darkness by the Ottoman Empire – and that Islam was associated with that’, he says. One result, even among believing Muslims, is a deep-rooted Occidentalism that the Communist experience did little to alter: ‘For 50 years we were completely isolated and dreaming of Coca Cola! We don’t look East for answers but West. There has always been a feeling that [Albanians] need to return to where we belong.”

It is not a coincidence that Albanians have an afinity for the United States. The love affair extends back to the end of the First World War, when President Wilson unsuccessfully but vigorously sought to insure the territorial integrity of an independent homeland for Albanians.

Media, Politicians Ignore Nuclear Threats

Distressingly absent from the media discourse is the very real, very significant threat arising from the dramatic increase in nuclear weapons occurring in Russia, China and North Korea.

The American press, and far too many American politicians, ignore major developments in atomic weaponry in hostile nations.  International sources have been raising alarm bells. Russia and North Korea have actually bragged about their unprecedented growth in weapons of mass destruction.

Moscow has indeed not been shy about its fearsome new weapons, included in an over $700 billion spending hike designed by the Kremlin to make its armed forces the most powerful on the planet.

One particular weapon has been, appropriately, a missile termed “Satan-2” (or RS-28) by western sources and Sarmat by Russia. It will have extraordinary capabilities, and be capable of carrying a sufficient number of warheads to wipe a nation the size of France off the face of the map in a single launch.

According to Global Security, “The new missile will reportedly be capable of carrying a payload of up to 10 tons on any trajectory. This means an attack on a target could be made from any direction, i.e. RS-28 could start from Russia and fly in the direction of Antarctica, make a circumterrestrial flight and hit targets on the other side of the planet from an unexpected direction.”

Russia’s RT news service recently reported that a successful ICBM launch, testing a hypersonic cruise vehicle, recently took place. The exercise tested a warhead to be placed on the new missile.

North Korea joins Russia in new ICBM developments. The Stratfor research organization  notes that “After announcing that it would cut communications with the United States, North Korea launched three missiles (two Scuds and a No Dong) last week….Pyongyang’s byungjin policy, which places equal emphasis on nuclear weapons and economic development, is more than just posturing…The United States has said it will not recognize North Korea’s nuclear capabilities. But choosing not to recognize a reality is not a starting point for a viable strategy…”

Perhaps the most underrated nuclear threat is that coming from China. Writing for the National Interest,  Zachery Keck reports that “China’s acquisition of a MIRVed capability is one of the most dangerous nuclear weapons developments that no one is talking about. MIRVed missiles carry payloads of several nuclear warheads each capable of being directed at a different set of targets. They are considered extremely destabilizing to the strategic balance primarily because they place a premium on striking first and create a “use em or lose em” nuclear mentality.”

There’s more to be concerned about when it comes to China. Numerous sources have reported about the research performed at Georgetown University, led by Professor Philip Kaber, indicating that Beijing may have up to 3,000 missiles hidden in thousands of miles of tunnels. The threat came to light following an earthquake in the Sichuan region.

Despite all of these tangible threats, the Obama Administration continues to push for further unilateral reductions in America’s nuclear deterrent and unilateral limitations on how the weapons would be used.

The Free Beacon reports that, in addition to the unilateral reductions,  the “White House plans for a radical shift in U.S. nuclear policy came under fire from the military leaders who voiced concerns to Congress … Strategic Command chief Adm. Cecil Haney warned that the policy shift could undermine global stability in deterring growing nuclear threats posed by Russia, China, and North Korea.

One of the contentious issues being floated by some within the Obama White House is not funding modernizing the increasingly obsolete U.S. nuclear arsenal.

The Free Beacon notes that “Disarmament activists, including some officials in the White House, are seeking new anti-nuclear executive action before Obama leaves office, the Washington Post reported July 10. Options discussed among senior administration officials include adopting the no-first-use policy and circumventing Senate ratification of a nuclear test ban treaty by seeking a U.N. resolution on the treaty. There also have been internal discussions in government indicating the president may seek to extend the New START arms treaty with Russia to 2026 and seek to cut deployed warheads from the treaty level of 1,550 to less than 1,000.”

Foreign Censorship Influences U.S. Freedom

It has become disturbingly evident that there is a growing trend against free speech. The increased influence of international norms over U.S. standards bears a significant part of the responsibility, a pattern that will expand significantly when Obama’s move to place the internet under international control becomes complete before he leaves office.

But the President’s inappropriate internet divestment is only part of the problem. The number of excuses used to justify the disregard for America’s greatest achievement—the First Amendment—continues to grow. Political correctness, college “safe spaces,” campaign regulation, and other factors all play a role.

Of extraordinary importance is the desire of major communications companies to appease foreign dictatorships, in order to gain entry into their nations’ marketplace.  Disturbingly, U.S. internet giants have demonstrated their willingness to reject American free speech principles in return for access to foreign markets.

The Bloomberg news service notes that:

“In recent years, founder Mark Zuckerberg has made clear his intention to bring the platform to China. To win favor, much to the amusement of Chinese netizens, he’s handed out copies of  [General Secretary of the Communist Party of China] Xi’s tome, The Governance of China, to Facebook employees; showed off his Mandarin skills; and posted photos of himself jogging through hazardous Beijing smog. It remains to be seen whether that multi-faceted courtship will be effective.”

However, Bloomberg reports that Zennon Kapron, managing director of Shanghai-based consulting firm Kapronasia, believes that unless China’s censorship rules are incorporated into Facebook’s practices, the company will not succeed in its quest, noting that  “All the kowtowing and meeting the leadership maybe won’t matter so much if Facebook won’t agree to allow some level of censorship, or allow the Chinese government access to data on the site, in exchange for market access,” Bloomberg notes that ‘Linkedin operates in China, but only by agreeing to abide by content restrictions.”

China has moved to reduce its already limited tolerance for any semblance of free speech. The Financial Times notes that   “Since Xi came to power, China’s situation has become more and more worrisome,’ says Murong Xuecun, a prominent author and commentator. ‘Things that we could openly discuss before, such as the Cultural Revolution, are now considered sensitive or even forbidden. In the past there was some room for non-governmental organisations and rights lawyers. Now all of them have been suppressed.’ In an internal document issued just a month after Mr Xi became president in March 2013 and later leaked, the Communist party identified the very notion of civil society as ‘an attempt to dismantle the party’s social foundation…That puts NGOs, journalists, activists, researchers at a much higher risk……China’s internet regulator moved to rein in original reporting by online news portals, in the latest setback for an already tightly muzzled media sector.”

Facebook has been increasingly criticized for its censorship activities, even outside of China. WND  found that “Facebook…temporarily blocked talk-radio host Michael Savage from posting stories to his page after he put up a link to a story about a Muslim migrant killing a pregnant woman in Germany…In December, as WND reported, Facebook removed a post on Savage’s site of photographs of a 2006 protest outside the Embassy of Denmark in London that featured signs warning of beheading and death for ‘those who insult Islam.’ At that time, Facebook also ‘determined that it violated Facebook community standards.”

During the Cold War era, the influence of foreign information served to open up the closed societies behind the Communists’ “Iron Curtain.” Now, however, the reverse is occurring: the censorship proclivities of dictatorships of all kinds, Communist, Moslem extremists, or others, appear to be changing the free-speech culture of the West.

American cultural tolerance for the repression of free speech continues to grow.  There has been little push back against U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s comments regarding criminal prosecution of those that disagree with the White House’s view on man-made climate change, or actions by state attorneys general to engage in legal harassment of think tanks with views counter to that of the President.

The trend is manifest on the streets, as well. The Gateway Pundit recently reported that “A young white man wearing one of Donald Trump’s red ‘Make America Great Again!” hats was violently forced out of New York City’s City Hall Park by a screaming Leftist racist mob of predominantly self-described ‘black and brown’ activists–all while police stood by and did nothing. The mob was gathered to protest police as part of a “#ShutDownCityHallNYC” rally in the park.

Media, Internet Bias Prevalent

It is difficult to write about issues of campaign fairness in the media without being questioned about siding with one candidate or the other. But a failure to comment on the extraordinary partisanship of the media in the past two presidential elections would in and of itself be an abrogation of an analyst’s responsibility to objectively report on journalistic integrity.

The press has taken such a firm stance in favor of one candidate in the 2016 presidential race that it raises questions whether their actions should listed as contributions in kind under federal elections rules.

Hillary Clinton has gone through periods of over two hundred days without a press conference, her aides are busy taking the 5th, she is under investigation for endangering national security, she profited through her foundation for selling the raw material for nuclear weapons to the Russians,  it is clear she lied about the cause of an attack that killed a us ambassador, her foundation has profited by donations from foreign nations with questionable records on human rights, her record of ethical violations is extraordinary,  but the press rarely mentions any of the above while it parses in legalistic exactitude every utterance of her opponent.

Ms. Clinton has explicitly cast herself in the role as the inheritor of the Obama policy mantle. As that incumbents’ term draws to a close, the U.S. is enduring an unprecedented drop in comparative influence and power throughout the planet. America’s economy is floundering, not from the recession of 2007 but from policy decisions made by an administration that has emphasized government regulation over free enterprise. The military is in disarray. Racial relations are experiencing a low not seen since the end of the 1960s. A deadly brand of terror has reached America’s shores. The national debt has nearly doubled, with little to show for all that spending.

There is little doubt that Donald Trump is not an ideal candidate. He speaks in terms more commonly found in living rooms than in the halls of power. There is uncertainty over his policy goals. He has no experience in elected office. His ideological leanings remain undefined. But the violent, extreme prose that the press has used to describe him has been ridiculous. The refusal to condemn the organized and violent attempts to prevent voters from attending his campaign events is inexcusable.

As an example, On June 22, the Associated Press ran an article dissecting a Trump commentary virtually line by line. On that date, no mention was made of Clinton’s refusal to have a press conference in nearly 200 days, or that the security features on her home internet server, which illegally handled classified data, were disabled. A similar reaction took place in reviewing his accaptance speech at the GOP convention.

There is clear precedent.  In the 2012 campaign, a debate moderator, Candy Crowley, openly sided with President Obama over challenger Mitt Romney. Romney’s comments throughout the campaign concerning Russia and Benghazi were consistently derided; they have subsequently been proven accurate, but no apology has since been given by the badly mistaken, and biased pundits.

The dire economic, national security, and societal challenges facing the nation require a thorough airing by the candidates, with objective, fair and non-partial coverage by the media.  The extraordinary partisanship by the media is preventing that from happening.

Writing in the Washington Post Ed Rogers reports: “In ways both large and small, the pro-Hillary Clinton bias in the media is beginning to emerge as the push to get her elected as president in November gets underway. Some of the early steps are unsteady and a bit clumsy, but you can count on the media to find their stride and become more effective as the general election progresses. None of Clinton’s flaws and no part of her unflattering past or present will go un-rewritten or be left unpolished. At the very least, everything she has ever done will be given a new coat of varnish.”

The biased effort on Clinton’s behalf extends to the internet. The Daily Caller quotes Julian Assange’s (founder of WikiLeaks) statement that “Google is directly engaged with Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”  The article reports that Gmail users are finding that Google is filtering Donald Trump’s campaign emails directly into spam.

Crisis at Sea

Perhaps it is a problem considered too unpleasant to report, but the reality of America losing its crucially  required lead in sea power is one of the most important, and under-reported, news stories of our time.

While both American and its NATO partners have engaged in significant underfunding of their fleets, Russia and China have moved forcefully to upgrade their equivalents in both quantity and quality. As firm allies  the two are rapidly moving into a position to dominate the oceans.

As the New York Analysis has previously reported  China already has more submarines than the U.S., and its navy will be larger than America’s within four years.

A National Interest review  adds these factors: “A not-so-fun fact you may not know: China has the world’s largest collection of sea mines. Just how many you ask? Estimates vary; however, some see Beijing holding 80,000-100,000 sea mines.” China also the ability to unleash vast amounts of missiles at American ships, whose ability to deter that attack would be overwhelmed both by the sheer numbers of the weapons launched, as well as by the fact that Beijing’s use of anti-satellite weapons would leave the U.S incapable of sensing and preparing for attacks.

China is now developing the infrastructure to support its global maritime ambitions. In addition to engaging in joint maneuvers with Moscow in the Mediterranean, building offshore facilities in the South China Sea, and developing allegedly civilian bases on both sides of the Panama Canal, it is now breaking ground on a naval base in Africa.  According to an NPR report  “The location is Djibouti, on the coast of Africa, at the mouth of the Red Sea, looking across at the Arabian Peninsula. – in other words, a very strategic location.

China’s axis partner Moscow has been diligent and ambitious in its naval efforts as well, both in returning to its cold war base in Cuba, spending more—a lot more—on its navy, and in developing cutting-edge vessels.

The Sputnik News service reports that “Russia’s Severnoye Design Bureau has started working on the Project 23560 Leader-class destroyer that will combine the features of a destroyer, large antisubmarine warship and guided missile cruiser. The ship will most likely be nuclear powered. It will be capable of spending up to 90 days offshore without additional refueling or support.”

Moscow has asserted its power below the waves. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)  reveals that “Russia is expanding its undersea operations as part of a broader strategy of coercion aimed at its neighbors, NATO, and the United States. Russia has a long history of emphasizing its maritime capabilities for the purpose of strategic signaling, including the use of targeted provocations. Suspected territorial incursions in the Baltic Sea and provocative patrols in the North Atlantic have caused alarm among NATO and partner nations, in part because they have underscored the extent to which NATO and regional partner antisubmarine warfare (ASW) capabilities have atrophied since the end of the Cold War. … Moscow has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the development and maintenance of its submarine-based strategic deterrent and has emphasized nonnuclear submarine capabilities, certain surface warfare capabilities, and long-range antiship missiles over carrier battle groups… In Northern Europe, the Russian Navy’s use of submarines to signal presence, reach, and power achieves an effect that is disproportionate to the resources committed. NATO and partner nations do not currently possess the ability to quickly counter the Russian undersea challenge in much of the North Atlantic and Baltic Sea.”

The United States Naval Institute outlines how, since 2008, Russia has asserted itself at sea:
“Russia’s two showcase ships, the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsovand nuclear-powered cruiser Pyotr Veliki Peter the Great ), deployed to the Mediterranean and Caribbean in flamboyant fashion, operating with former Cold War allies and adversaries alike. Russian naval aviation began flying patrols in the Norwegian Sea and off Alaska with regularity. In effect, Moscow was announcing that the Russian navy was back. … The most publicized project is the development of the new Borey-class nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarine (SSBN), planned to initiate eight hulls by 2017. The class leader, the Yuri Dolgorukiy , was commissioned in 2009 in St. Petersburg, following 25 years of sporadic construction, but follow-on building is adhering closely to original schedule. …The Yasen class of up to ten nuclear-powered guided-missile submarines (SSGNs) is led by the Severodvinsk , which was commissioned in 2010 after a 16-year building process. ..Surface-combatant construction is following the same trend. The 2007 launching of the Steregushchiy , a 2,100-ton corvette touted for her low-observable design along with a high degree of automation and combat-systems integration, signaled Russia’s return to developing its own surface-warfare fleet. …The Russian icebreaker inventory is a special case, dwarfing the rest of the world’s fleets. Her six nuclear icebreakers (four oceanic, two coastal) are designed to maintain the Northern Sea Route for commercial as well as military purposes. The aging Russian fleet will be augmented by a third-generation nuclear-powered vessel, capable of operating near the coast as well in the deep waters of the Arctic Ocean. “

While not making headlines in America, Europe has taken notice. An article in the British newspaper, The Sun,  recently worried that “Vladimir Putin is assembling a secret fleet of super submarines which could topple NATO and plunge the world into war. A report by naval experts warns that Russia already has a small but sophisticated army of subs which are capable of launching missile strikes across the globe…The deadly group of stealthy underwater weapons are currently patrolling the world and have already reportedly breached UK waters having approached the Royal Navy’s base in Faslane, Scotland. Russia is stepping up its secret submarine programme to ‘Cold War’ levels and experts warn NATO members “no longer” have the defences to stop the aquatic death machines. Andrew Metrick, who co-wrote the report for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), said: ‘Russia operates a small number of very small, nuclear powered submarines that are capable of diving in excess of several thousand meters.”

What has been America’s reaction to this growing and very authentic threat?

As noted recently by Randy Forbes, the chair of Congress’s Subcommittee on Sea power, America’s 30-year shipbuilding plan forecasts a reduction in undersea force structure from 52 attack submarines today to 41 in the late 2020s, as well as the retirement without replacement of our 4 SSGN guided missile submarines and roughly 60 percent of our undersea payload capacity.  Forbes notes that “submarines are already in short supply.  A few months ago, Admiral Harris testified that the Navy could meet only 62% of his demand for attack submarines.  More recently, I have received data from the Navy showing that overall in FY17 we will be able to fulfill only 42 percent of our combatant commanders’ global demand for submarines.  I fear this shortfall will only grow more acute as our SSN force structure shrinks and the undersea domain continues to grow in importance…”

Forbes noted that Congress seeks to prevent the Obama Administration from inactivating half of the Navy’s cruisers and deactivating one of ten carrier air wings. The U.S. navy has already been reduced from a high of 600 ships to approximately 274.