A Fall of Discontent or Conflict? US-China-Russia

 

What happens in the November 2020 Presidential election is a going to be a big deal. Not only will that determine how many countries in the World will act but the uncertainty seems to be driving some countries & groups to create facts on the ground now. 

While the big focus has been on China & its military incursion into Indian territory bordering Napakistan-China mountain highway, two other battles are now being fought one covert & the second by proxies.

The covert one is the battle between Israel & Iran. This a ferocious covert battle by Israel to hinder Iran’s nuclear development & to destroy as much of Iranian infrastructure inside Syria and by Iran to put greater resources to attack Israel via Hezbollah, Hamas & the Syrian army. The November 2020 election looms large in the Israeli calculus, especially regarding the annexation of the West Bank areas blessed by President Trump. 

If President Trump wins, we think Prime Minister Netanyahu will move to annex the west bank areas that are a part of the Trump plan. Frankly, if President Trump loses, we think Prime Minister will annex the areas faster and with greater strength. Because that would serve as a fait accompli for President Biden & his team that is almost guaranteed to be less pro-Israel than President Trump. Such an annexation might actually lead to a hot war between Hezbollah & Israel and an attack by Israel against Iranian nuclear infrastructure. Remember President Trump will be President & Commander-in-chief for over 2 months after the election. So it is difficult to imagine that he will stay on the sidelines during hostilities between Israel & Iran. 

Now move over to the left to focus on the proxy war actually being fought in Libya between the faction militarily backed by Turkey and the faction backed by Egypt, United Arab Emirates that is supported by Israel. 

 

According to an article in Forbes.com

  • One report states that French-made jets, possibly Dassault Rafales, bombed al-Watiya. If true, that would strongly indicate the attack was carried out by Egypt, which possesses a fleet of those formidable multirole jets. Egyptian Rafales are also equipped with long-range air-to-surface Storm Shadow missiles, meaning that the warplanes could have evaded any low to medium-altitude air defenses when striking al-Watiya relatively easily. If proven beyond a doubt, this would indicate that Egypt is serious about intervening directly in the conflict and ensuring the Turkish-backed GNA is not allowed advance any further.” 

 

The President of Egypt has also warned of direct military intervention in Libya in response to Turkish role in Libya. Egypt has a 690 km border with Libya and historic interests in Libya. The Egyptian army has over 1,000 M1-Abrams tanks to support an infantry operation inside Libya while Turkey, separated from Libya by the Mediterranean, has to use its Navy & Air Force.  

Israel is now “ally” of both UAE & Egypt. And Israel faces Turkey across the Mediterranean. But Israel is primarily focused on Lebanon, Syria, proxy states of Iran. So unless Turkey looks to become dominant in the Mediterranean, Israel is unlikely to get involved. This is an interesting situation for the USA with Turkey being a NATO ally & Russia siding with Egypt-UAE which are also allies of USA. 

Meanwhile, the Trump Administration seems solely focused on China. This week, two US Aircraft Carriers USS Reagan & USS Nimitz are in the South China Sea and the US B-52 bomber fleet has been readied. From the US side, this is the clear statement that the US Navy is both determined & capable of guaranteeing freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. 

Chinese commentators are arguing that President Trump is seeking a skirmish with China to increase his chances of winning the November election. China also claims that US carriers are sitting ducks for Chinese DF-21D & DF-26 aircraft-carrier killer missiles and that, per Global Times, “any US#aircraftcarrier movement in the region is at the pleasure of PLA“. All we know is that the US Navy is not in the business of exposing its front-line carriers to indefensible risk. For a summary of what the aircraft carrier task force has, see the clip below:

 If this is not enough, this week some Chinese diplomats & journalists claimed the Russian port city of Vladivostok as Chinese territory unfairly taken away from China in 1860. 

Doesn’t this seem nuts? Or is this is the beginning of a pressure campaign to force Russia to stop providing sophisticated weapons to India? Just recently, Russia seems to have agreed to supply the first part of the S-400 anti-aircraft system to India in the next 3 months instead of in the second half 2021. This anti-aircraft system will primarily be used against Chinese fighters. Russia has also agreed to sell additional 31 SU-30MKI & Mig-29 fighters to India on an expedited basis. 

China has to be displeased if not livid with Russia. They do understand that India is almost as big a client of Russian weaponry as China but they might have felt Russia was too eager to accelerate deliveries to India. 

If that is a reason for China to pick a fight with Russia, then some sections of Chinese leadership may be either stupidly arrogant or actually panicked at the prospect of the entire world ganging up on China. 

So it seems that the next 4 months will be the fall of discontent, primarily between US & China but with peripheral impact on other areas. Watch the 20 minute clip below to see the level of America’s discontent.

 

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