Fifty-three percent of Chinese polled believe World War 3 will happen soon

September 2014BEIJING - 53 percent of respondents in China thought that China and Japan would have a shooting war in the next six years, which may inevitably lead to war on a world-wide scale. The poll highlighted the deep-rooted mistrust that exists between the two countries, and the pessimistic world view that could lead to World War 3. The poll was jointly conducted by the China Daily and Japanese NGO Genron. Although the majority of Chinese respondents thought there’d be war by 2020, only 29 percent of Japanese felt that same way. Nevertheless, high feelings of mistrust existed on both sides. 93 percent of Japanese had a negative impression of the burgeoning Asian superpower, and 87 percent of Chinese felt the same way about Japan. It’s a hatred that has run deep since World War 2. In fact, China just recently marked the 69th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in the World War. The Chinese government has even declared it a national day, right as tensions continue to rise. Japan isn’t helping matters much either. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been criticized as being “insensitive” after visiting the Yasukuni shrine in January. The shrine is dedicated to those who died in war, including convicted war criminals. Most disturbing of all is the conflict over the Senkaku islands (known as the Diaoyu Islands in China and the Pinnacle Rocks in English-speaking countries.) The islands have been a potential flash-point, with both sides claiming ownership despite Japanese administrative control.
The U.S. has stated publicly that it would defend Japan over the islands, and is duty-bound to protect Japan if attacked. Since the end of the last World War, Japan has been one of America’s closest allies in Asia. A situation that resembles the very first world war? Earlier this year, Shinzo Abe was quoted as saying that the situation in Asia was similar to Europe before the first world war, and that China and Japan needed to avoid what happened between Germany and Great Britain. Abe later said that he was misquoted because of a bad translation, but the analogy had already grabbed the media’s attention. The world is again a web of different alliances and loyalties. Any serious conflict between Japan and China would force allies on both sides, like the U.S. and North Korea, into the fray. It’s not clear if the respondents for the poll understood how severe a conflict between the two countries would be. Hopefully the people are wrong, and World War 3 stays in the realm of the hypothetical. –Inquisitor
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Pope Francis warns ‘piecemeal’ World War III has begun

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September 2014GEOPOLITICS — Pope Francis said on Saturday the spate of conflicts around the globe today were effectively a “piecemeal” Third World War, condemning the arms trade and “plotters of terrorism sowing death and destruction. Humanity needs to weep and this is the time to weep,” Francis said in the homily of a Mass during a visit to Italy’s largest war memorial, a large, Fascist-era monument where more than 100,000 soldiers who died in World War One are buried. The pope began his brief visit to northern Italy by first praying in a nearby, separate cemetery for some 15,000 soldiers from five nations of the Austro-Hungarian empire which were on the losing side of the Great War that broke out 100 years ago. “War is madness,” he said in his homily before the massive, sloping granite memorial, made of 22 steps on the side of hill with three crosses at the top.
“Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction,” he said. In the past few months, Francis has made repeated appeals for an end to conflicts in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Gaza and parts of Africa. “War is irrational; its only plan is to bring destruction: it seeks to grow by destroying,” he said. “Greed, intolerance, the lust for power. These motives underlie the decision to go to war and they are too often justified by an ideology …,” he said. Last month the pope, who has often condemned the concept of war in God’s name, said it would be legitimate for the international community to use force to stop “unjust aggression” by Islamic State militants who have killed or displaced thousands of people in Iraq and Syria, many of them Christians. In his homily, read at a somber service to thousands of people braving the rain and which included the hauntingly funereal sound of a solitary bugle, Francis condemned “plotters of terrorism” but did not elaborate. -CNBC
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Will conflict ever end in Ukraine? Ukraine vows return to union with Crimea

September 2014UKRAINE - As the European Union announced a fresh wave of sanctions against Moscow, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko vowed Friday to reunite the Russian-held region of Crimea with the rest of the country. The annexation of Crimea, which sparked a diplomatic crisis with the West, will be reversed not by military force, but by an “economic and democratic petition” Poroshenko declared. “We have a significant problem. They said we lost the Crimea. No, we had an invasion in Crimea – but Crimea will be back together with us,” he said, speaking at the 11th Yalta European Strategy (YES) conference in Kiev. Speaking to CNBC, Poroshenko said the key issue for Ukraine is its “independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity” as he called for the total withdrawal of Russian troops from the border.
Viktor Yushchenko, the pro-Western former president of the Ukraine, added that current relations with the Kremlin were in tatters as President Putin refuses to take part in discussions himself. “It is impossible to negotiate with Putin, he is not even participating in the discussions. His puppets are talking instead of him,” he told CNBC through an interpreter at the conference. The EU put new sanctions into effect against Russia on Friday, including restrictions on financing from some Russian state-owned companies and asset freezes on leading Russian politicians. Poroshenko said the sanctions showed Europe’s level of solidarity with Ukraine in the face of confrontation with Russia. Last week, former presidential candidate Senator John McCain urged NATO leaders to arm Ukraine and equip the country with intelligence and defensive weapons, branding the West’s efforts to support the country’s fight against Russian separatists so far as “shameful.” Current U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt defended the Obama administration’s stance and said the U.S. had given Ukraine $70 million in “security sector assistance” to date, but the solution to the crisis had to be diplomatic. -CNBC
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World War 3 worries loom again, as nations engage in dangerous game of posturing

September 2014UKRAINE – Last week, Putin said, “Russia is one of the most powerful nuclear nations. This is a reality, not just words,” reports Business Insider. Moscow conducted a drill showing off its nuclear defense capabilities last month, utilizing over 4,000 soldiers to show off its power. While some may suggest that Russia may kick off World War 3 with a nuclear strike, others are drawing comparisons with the Cold War, which does seem more appropriate—at least for now. During the Cold War, relations between Washington and Moscow were strained, to say the list, after Russians invaded Afghanistan. During that time, the nuclear arms race was running hot and heavy as both Moscow and Washington raced to build nuclear weapons that could take just minutes to reach their target. Russia has already put in place a system called Dead Hand or Perimeter, which is designed to prevent a nuclear strike from the U.S. The system is able to launch all of Russia’s nuclear weapons upon activation. The goal of the system was to launch a nuclear strike even if the West and NATO managed to wipe out Russian leadership. It begins by attempting to reach human contact to determine if anyone is left alive. If no one is alive, then the system automatically launches a nuclear strike.
If human presence is detected, then the system looks for signs of a nuclear attack, like radioactivity, extreme light and sudden changes in air pressure. If it decides that there had been a nuclear strike, then all of Russia’s nuclear weapons throughout the country would launch, targeting numerous locations all over the Northern Hemisphere. Russian military strategy—will it plant the seeds for World War 3? Putin adopted a policy of nuclear “de-escalation” in 2000, limiting the use of nuclear weapons. The policy calls for a limited nuclear strike if it sustained a major attack using conventional weapons that surpassed its ability to defend itself. Experts say Russia is weak in the area of conventional weapons. If the fight with Ukraine escalates much further, NATO could get even more involved, and experts say Moscow knows it needs nuclear weapons to stand up to the global organization. –Value Walk

        Will such military conflicts soon erupt across the globe if tensions are not deescalated?

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Russian strategic bombers practice nuclear missile strike runs on U.S. targets

September 2014MOSCOW - A pair of Russian bomber jets reportedly practiced cruise missile attacks against targets in the United States last week, according to a report published on Monday in the Washington Free Beacon. Bill Gertz, a writer for the Beacon, reported that two Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers were tracked flying over the Labrador Sea last week in the northern Atlantic Ocean near Iceland, Greenland and Canada as part of a recent training mission. “Analysis of the flight indicated the aircraft were conducting practice runs to a pre-determined ‘launch box’ — an optimum point for firing nuclear-armed cruise missiles at US targets,” Gertz wrote, citing unnamed defense officials he described as being familiar with intelligence reports. The aircraft, Gertz added, are outfitted with six AS-15 nuclear-armed cruise missiles, each capable of striking targets as far away as 1,800 miles. Representatives for the US Northern Command and Northern American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, declined to comment to Gertz ahead of his report, and told RT in an email Monday afternoon that they could not confirm the allegations printed by the Free Beacon. On his part, however, Gertz wrote that neither the US nor Canada responded to the alleged incident because it reportedly occurred outside of the North American Air Defense Identification Zone.
According to Gertz, the reported drill occurred last week at the same time that officials from the US, Canada and other allied partners met in Wales for the largest NATO summit of its kind in two years, where on the agenda, among other topics, was the escalating crisis in eastern Ukraine and potential action that could be undertaken to counter perceived Russian aggression. On the heels of that meeting, both the US and the European Union are expected to impose new sanctions against Moscow.  The latest report comes days after Russia’s own recent decision to revise a 2010 military doctrine to identify the US and NATO members as enemies, which “clearly outline[s] the conditions of a preemptive nuclear strike” against partner countries, Gertz wrote. With regards to the alliance, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said during last week’s summit that at least 4,000 troops from various member states will soon form a “spearhead” regiment that will be “ready to deploy within a few days with air, sea and Special Forces support” in the event that the Ukrainian crisis spread into allied territory.
Gertz has previously reported for the Beacon that no fewer than 16 Russian bombers incurred the airspace of either US or Canada during the month of August, and this week’s article comes days after similar allegations were made abroad: late last month, a Dutch F-16 military jet intercepted and escorted a Russian Tu-95 bomber out of that nation’s airspace, as did the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force during a similar incident. “Clearly, we at the US Strategic Command do monitor the strategic environment,”Admiral Cecil Haney, commander of the US Strategic Command, told Gertz last month following reports that Russian bombers came within 50 miles of California on the US West Coast. “I will say that the business of them coming close to the United States of America, we take very seriously.” -RT
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U.S. experts warns Ukraine joining NATO will lead to nuclear war

September 2014 UKRAINE - American scholar of Russian studies Stephen Cohen has said that if Ukraine joins NATO, it will lead to a “nuclear war. First of all, by NATO’s own rules, Ukraine cannot join NATO, a country that does not control its own territory. In this case, Kiev controls less and less by the day. It’s lost Crimea. It’s losing the Donbas—I just described why—to the war,” he said. “Secondly, you have to meet certain economic, political and military criteria to join NATO. Ukraine meets none of them. Thirdly, and most importantly, Ukraine is linked to Russia not only in terms of being Russia’s essential security zone, but it’s linked conjugally, so to speak, intermarriage. There are millions, if not tens of millions, of Russian and Ukrainians married together. Put it in NATO, and you’re going to put a barricade through millions of families. Russia will react militarily,” the scholar explained. Cohen also noted that the West is mainly to blame for the crisis in Ukraine, Washington’s Blog reported. “This is a horrific, tragic, completely unnecessary war in eastern Ukraine,” one of America’s top experts on Russia said.
“In my own judgment, we have contributed mightily to this tragedy. I would say that historians one day will look back and say that America has blood on its hands. Three thousand people have died, most of them civilians who couldn’t move quickly. That’s women with small children, older women. A million refugees,” Cohen added. “If they go ahead with this NATO decision, right plunk on Russia’s borders. Russia will then leave the historic nuclear agreement that Reagan and Gorbachev signed in 1987 to abolish short-range nuclear missiles.” Tensions between Washington and Moscow have escalated over the crisis in Ukraine. President Barack Obama on Friday warned his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that the United States will not tolerate an attack on any NATO member state, although Ukraine is not a NATO state. –Press
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Bomb explodes in Chilean subway injuring at least 10

September 2014 CHILE – A bomb exploded in a Chilean subway station on Monday, injuring at least ten people, the most damaging in a string of bombs planted around the country’s capital this year. Fire Department Commander Ivo Zuvic Garcia said the injuries apparently were caused by fragments in a fire extinguisher placed in a trash bin in front of a food stall at the Escuela Militar subway stop. Among those hurt in the 2 p.m. (1700 GMT) blast was a cleaning woman who lost a finger, said Dr. Fernando Zapata of the government’s emergency medical service. He said nine were hurt, but other officials put the figure at seven. Anti-riot police, firefighters and bomb squad officers swarmed across the station, which was closed briefly after the blast
At least 28 bombs have been found across Santiago so far this year — most planted late at night — though some have not exploded and none of the others caused any injuries. In many cases, anarchist groups have claimed responsibility, demanding freedom for two anarchists imprisoned in Spain. No one had claimed responsibility for Monday’s attack. Government spokesman Alvaro Elizalde said the bombing “has all the characteristics if a terrorist act that has been carried out to cause harm to innocent persons,” and he said the government would invoke an anti-terror enacted during the dictatorship of the 1973-90 dictatorship. It allows lengthy periods of pre-trial detention, longer sentences, interception of communications and masked witnesses. –Fox
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Russian president Putin threatens nuclear war over Ukraine

September 2014 UKRAINE – On Friday, as Russian Federation tanks and troops poured across the border into eastern Ukraine, Vladimir Putin talked about his country’s most destructive weaponry. “I want to remind you that Russia is one of the most powerful nuclear nations,” he said. “This is a reality, not just words.” Russia, he told listeners, is “strengthening our nuclear deterrence forces.”That same day, Putin used a term for eastern Ukraine meaning “New Russia.” So when he refers to repelling “any aggression against Russia” and speaks of “nuclear deterrence,” as he did on Friday, the Russian president is really warning us he will use nukes to protect his grab of Ukrainian territory. For more than a generation, nuclear weapons were considered defensive only. In a few short sentences on Friday, however, Putin made these devices offensive in nature, just another tool to be employed by an aggressor. And to highlight his threat, on Aug. 14 at Yalta, the Crimean city he had seized this year, Putin mentioned “surprising the West with our new developments in offensive nuclear weapons about which we do not talk yet.”
Also in Yalta, where the Duma was meeting, the Russian leader spoke about renouncing the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between the U.S. and Russia. The treaty outlaws ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 300 and 3,400 miles and is a foundation of the post-Cold War peace. It is one thing to talk about withdrawing from the pact—Putin has been doing that since 2007—it is another to violate it, which Putin has apparently been doing since 2008, when Russia began testing cruise missiles again. And when the State Department’s Rose Gottemoeller raised the concern in May of last year, Russian officials tried to shut down the dialogue. According to The New York Times, they “said that they had looked into the matter and consider the issue to be closed.” “Administration officials said the upheaval in Ukraine pushed the issue to the back burner,” the paper reported of the INF violation. Putin, with his comments Friday, just moved it to the front of the stove. And not just in the European kitchen. If Putin manages to intimidate the West with his not-so-veiled promises to incinerate Ukraine’s defenders, other aggressors may think they too can employ his threatening tactics. For instance, both North Korea and China have recently talked about unleashing Armageddon. –Daily Beast
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Obama calls on NATO to strengthen Ukrainian military against Russia

September 2014UKRAINE - Barack Obama used a crucial speech on the eve of a NATO summit to call on the alliance to strengthen Ukraine’s military, a move that signaled a toughening of Washington’s response to Russian aggression. Delivering the speech on Wednesday in Estonia, the US president accused Moscow of a “brazen assault” on Ukraine, and said NATO should fortify the defense capabilities of countries threatened by Moscow. Obama also emphasized that Nato, a 28-state alliance, should be open to accepting members in the region as part of a broader strategy to counter Russia. “NATO must make concrete commitments to help Ukraine modernize and strengthen its security forces. We must do more to help other NATO partners, including Georgia and Moldova, strengthen their defenses as well,” Obama said. “And we must reaffirm the principle that has always guided our alliance, for countries that meet our standards and that can make meaningful contributions to allied security; the door to NATO membership will remain open.”  Obama is under intense and growing pressure in Washington to provide more substantial support to Kiev, with some calling on his administration to directly supply the Ukrainian government with weapons. He held back from that demand in his speech, and was careful not to say that NATO should become militarily engaged in the conflict.  He also reiterated his administration’s stance that the standoff in Ukraine – where Russia has annexed the Crimean peninsula and, according to the west, directly aided separatist rebels in the east of the country – will not be resolved militarily.
Although vague, Obama’s call on NATO to fortify the military capabilities of Ukraine and other countries – delivered from the Estonian capital, Tallinn, just 200km from Estonia’s border with Russia – was intended as a firm warning to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. The speech reaffirmed a US commitment to protect NATO member states in the Baltics that have sizeable ethnic Russian populations. “We’ll be here for Estonia. We’ll be here for Latvia. We’ll be here for Lithuania,” he said. “You lost your independence once before. With NATO, you’ll never lose it again.” Obama and other NATO leaders will meet in Wales on Thursday for one of the most significant summits in the history of an alliance grappling with how to respond to Putin’s hostile activities in Ukraine. Russia has repeatedly denied it is orchestrating separatist rebellions in eastern Ukraine. On Wednesday, a permanent ceasefire apparently agreed between Ukraine and Russia appeared to unravel before it had started. After initially announcing the deal, the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, backtracked from the word “permanent”, while Putin said the pair had only discussed a “ceasefire regime” that he hoped might be in place by the end of the week.
Obama’s speech in Estonia was largely detached from recent developments in the conflict, as he gave a more discursive assessment of the broader repercussions of this year’s conflict in Ukraine, a confrontation the White House believes has led to the most significant clash between Russia and the west since the end of the cold war.  As well as underscoring NATO’s commitments to member states with most to fear from Russian aggression, Obama also provided backing to those countries, such as Moldova and Georgia, that are not in the alliance and fear they are particularly susceptible to further acts of aggression from Putin. Obama’s call on NATO to strengthen its defenses will be a particularly welcome intervention in those countries, particularly if it is followed by a commitment from alliance countries at this week’s summit.  –Guardian
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U.S. launches airstrikes against ISIS near Iraq’s Haditha Dam

September 2014MIDDLE EASTThe U.S. military said Sunday it launched airstrikes against ISIS in western Iraq in an effort to prevent its fighters from capturing the vital Haditha dam. “We conducted these strikes to prevent terrorists from further threatening the security of the dam, which remains under control of Iraqi Security Forces, with support from Sunni tribes,” Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement. The dam – Iraq’s second-biggest – is a major source of water and electrical power and the air strikes were made at the request of the Iraqi government, he said. ISIS fighters were battling last month to capture the facility, which has six power generators located alongside Iraq’s second-largest reservoir. But, despite their attacks, Iraqi forces there backed up by local Sunni tribes have been able to hold them off.
Earlier this year, the group gained control of the Fallujah Dam on the Euphrates River and the militants used it as a weapon, opening it to flood downriver when government forces moved in on the city. Water is a precious commodity in Iraq, a largely desert country of 32.5 million people. The decline of water levels in the Euphrates over recent years has led to electricity shortages in towns south of Baghdad, where steam-powered generators depend entirely on water levels. On Friday and Saturday, the U.S. used a mix of attack aircraft, fighter jets and drones to conduct two airstrikes around Irbil. –NBC News
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