Tuesday, August 24, 2021




With the tremendous political tension both within and between the United States, the European Union, China, and Russia, there's been a lot of speculation around the possibility of a new large-scale global conflict between the world powers in the form of another Great War. Will World War 3 happen? Where will it start? What will spark it? What would it be like? Who will win? And What will change?

In June 2019, a Chinese militia ship sank a Filipino boat in the South China Sea in an act of aggression that left the Philippines looking weak and powerless. The Chinese Navy has boldly sailed its aircraft carrier and escort ships through the Philippines’ Sibutu Passage without prior permission, violating Philippine sovereignty. China is claiming almost all of the territory of the South China Sea that includes the West Philippine Sea within the nine-dash line that it has drawn around the edge of the South China Sea.

The Scarborough Shoal, the Spratlys and Pag-asa groups of islands and other islands are well within the Philippines’ 12-nautical mile territorial sea and the 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone. In the face of Chinese claims, this right has been upheld by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. In a historic decision, the court declared “there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line.” “Having found that none of the features claimed by China was capable of generating an exclusive economic zone, the tribunal found that it could — without delimiting a boundary — declare that certain sea areas are within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, because those areas are not overlapped by any possible entitlement of China.”

China does not recognize the international arbitration decision and did not attend the hearings. Instead, it continued to build up its military power on several islands claimed by the Philippines, installing long-range surface to air missiles and building structures and aircraft runways. In a belated response, the Philippines began in 2020 to build up infrastructure on Pag-asa Island, one of its biggest inhabited islands on the Spratly Islands.

Despite Chinese objections, after two years of delay, the Philippines has built a landing ramp and a wharf for small ships to dock and land equipment to pave the existing 1.2-kilometer dirt runway. Pag-asa Island is just 26 kilometers northeast of the Subi Reef, now a large Chinese military installation (one of several) on a man-made island and armed to the teeth but is within Philippines territorial waters.
Over the course of the last month, tensions have mounted sharply between the Philippines and China over the presence of Chinese vessels anchored in the disputed waters of the South China Sea. The tensions are finding open expression in Philippine politics, where the bourgeois opposition to President Rodrigo Duterte had gathered to form a coalition party, 1Sambayan, whose fundamental concern is to reorient Philippine foreign relations away from Beijing and back into the camp of Washington.

The heightened tensions first emerged over the announcement in late March, in the same week that 1Sambayan was founded, that Chinese vessels were anchored near Whitsun Reef, a feature of the South China Sea claimed by both countries. The Chinese government initially stated that the boats were fishing vessels sheltering in the boomerang shaped atoll from the brunt of a storm. While some vessels departed, others remained anchored in at Whitsun Reef for over a month.

In this Feb. 6, 2020, file photo, Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr. gestures during a senate hearing in Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File)

Tensions sharpened further on April 27, when the Philippine Coast Guard reported that seven Chinese vessels were anchored near the Sabina shoal in the northeastern portion of the Spratly islands. After the Coast Guard confronted the ships, the Chinese vessels departed the area.

Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin issued a statement that revealed how far tensions had mounted. He declared that any attack on a Philippine vessel, “however small, as long as it is a government vessel, is an attack on the US, triggering the MDT [Mutual Defense Treaty] and that response is global.”

Locsin was referring to the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States and the Philippines that states that an attack on either party was an attack on both. He was stating that if shots were fired in the South China Sea the result would be a global war. Far from urging caution, however, he went on, “We must have the courage to go where probably we cannot go back from.”

On May 3, Locsin escalated further, issuing a vulgar tweet, “China, my friend, how politely can I put it? Let me see... O... GET THE F..K OUT.” He went on to refer to China as “an ugly oaf.”

Locsin belatedly issued a public apology, not to China, but to his counterpart, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, declaring “I just don’t want to lose my friendship with the most elegant mind in diplomacy with manners to match.”

Japan, through its Self-Defense Forces (SDF), announced that it would be providing a $US1.1 million defence aid package to the Philippines, supplying the Philippine military with non-lethal aid, and Japanese troops would be providing Filipino forces with training. The deal marks the first time that the SDF is supplying military equipment as a form of official development assistance.


Gen. Austin’s Strategy for US-China conflict will stop war more likely

China has said it will 'not sit idly by' if the US chooses to deploy intermediate-range missiles to the Asia-Pacific region after walking away from a treaty that banned the weapons (pictured, a retired Chinese missile at a military museum in Beijing)

Beijing was not a signatory to the original Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and Washington has said it tore up the deal in part to counter threats from China (file)

Trump has said he is keen to sign a new pact that includes both Russia, which was signed up to the previous deal, and China, which was not. 

However, fears have been growing of a new arms race after Washington announced its intention to test a new intermediate-range weapon in the coming weeks. 

The INF Treaty, signed by the US and the USSR in 1987, banned both countries from using land-based ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and missile launchers with ranges of 500–5,500 kilometres (310 and 3,400 miles, respectively).

The US Navy’s new anti-ship missile scores a hit at RIMPAC, but there’s a twist 

Check out old U.S. Navy ships blowing up as part of RIMPAC 2018 exercise

The U.S. surface fleet’s brand-new anti-ship missile was used as part of the barrage of rockets and missiles that put an end to the landing ship tank Racine on July 12 during the Rim of the Pacific exercise, but it wasn’t shot by the Navy.

The U.S. Army shot the Naval Strike Missile from the back of a truck using its Palletized Load System in a demonstration that is likely to raise eyebrows in China. The missile, a joint venture between the Norwegian company Kongsberg and Raytheon, was fired from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Barking Sands, Hawaii, at the former USS Racine, which was floating 55 nautical miles north of Kauai, Hawaii.

Joining the U.S. Army was the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force, which fired Mitsubishi’s Type 12 surface-to-ship missile.

The Navy inked a contract with Raytheon to start buying the NSM for its littoral combat ships and likely its future frigate. The Army’s shot successfully detonated on target, according to U.S. Pacific Fleet officials.

The shots dovetails with a concept that the Army and the JGSDF have been developing, known in some circles as “archipelagic defense,” which in essence calls for the use of ground forces to deny Chinese forces free movement through the theater by deploying anti-ship and anti-air missiles throughout the island chains that pepper the Asia-Pacific region.

Ghost Riders in the Sky! Three US Stealth Bombers - each costing $2.1bn and with call-sign 'DEATH' - soar over Dover after leaving RAF base for secret training mission in Europe

Three US B-2 Stealth Bombers have taken to the skies above Britain from an RAF base in Gloucestershire

The planes, valued at $2.1billion each and capable of carrying nuclear weapons, arrived in the UK last night

They have come to the continent to take part in a series of training activities, claimed a US forces spokesman

Three US Stealth bombers, which cost $2.1billion each and $135,000 an hour to operate, have been pictured taking part in a European training mission above the skies of Dover.

The United States Air Force B2 Spirit bombers, designed to be virtually undetectable to radar and carry 20 tonnes of nuclear or conventional bombs, were filmed arriving under cover of darkness on Tuesday night at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire. 

They are in Europe to take part in 'long planned' NATO training missions with their European allies, according to a Royal Air Force spokesman.

Incredible pictures show two of the bombers flying alongside two Royal Air Force F-35B lightning jets from RAF Marham, near the White cliffs of Dover and above a wind farm as they conduct an integrated flying practice.

This is the first time the US bombers have trained with non-US F-35's.

Three US Stealth bombers have been pictured taking part in an integrated flying practice with two Royal Air Force F-35 lightning jets in the skies of Dover (Pictured: One B2 spirit bomber and two RAF F-35's fly over the English channel near Dover)

The B2 spirit bombers, which cost $1.2billion each and an estimated $135,000 an hour to run, have been designed to be virtually invisible to radar and to be capable of evading air defence systems. (Pictured: Two B2 Spirit bombers and two RAF F-35 lightning jets take part in a training flight above the white cliffs of Dover today)

The bombers touched down in RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, on Tuesday night. The base is used by the bombers as it has a longer runway than other air force bases and climate-controlled B2 aircraft hangars. (Pictured: A B2 Spirit bomber flies through the skies above the UK)

The planes arrived in the UK using the callsigns DEATH 1, DEATH 2 and DEATH 3. Footage shows the planes on the specially-designed long runway shortly after arrival.

With a 172-foot wingspan and a design that allows them to travel 10,000 miles with only one mid-air re-fueling, so that they could bypass Soviet air defence systems, they are one of the most deadly warplane models in the sky.

After the planes failed to materialise at RIAT this year aviation fans were left wondering when they would next come to the UK, following a visit last year and a posting at RAF Fairford the year before.

The base is one of the few places where the distinctive weapons, which have smooth flat wings with sharp angular edges to deflect radar, can land as it has a long runway and specially-built climate-controlled B2 hangers.They touched down in the UK at 1am on Tuesday night.

An airfield spokesman said: 'The United States Air Force are deploying a variety of aircraft and support personnel to RAF Fairford during August and September 2019.'

'While deployed to the UK the aircraft will conduct a series of training activities in Europe, these activities are long planned.'
US stealth bombers arrive at RAF Fairford for training mission

They are capable of carrying nuclear bombs as well as conventional explosives and were designed to be able to deliver a payload to the Soviet Union as they could evade their air defence system due to their ability to fly 10,000 miles and only need to refuel once (Pictured: A B2 Spirit bomber swoops above the Dover shoreline)

The US initially ordered 132 of the mighty 172-foot wingspan warplanes (one is pictured here flying over the windfarms near Dover) before cutting the order to just 20 following the collapse of the Soviet Union

A B2 Spirit fighter flying above the white cliffs of Dover with two RAF F-35 lightning jets. It touched down in the UK with two others at 1am on Tuesday night

Two B2 bombers are shown here flying with two F-35 RAF lightning jets above the white cliffs of Dover. An RAF spokesman confirmed that they had come to the UK to take part in NATO training exercises

The planes have previously been used for combat in Kosovo, where they bombed Serbian forces as NATO countered ethnic cleansing in the region, to take out Taliban targets in Afghanistan, and more recently to hit ISIS positions in Syria. (Pictured: Two Stealth bombers with two F-35 lightning jets flying along the Dover coastline

They are a small part of a US fleet of 20 Stealth Bombers, the country's most technologically advanced aircraft ever made, which are based at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. 

First designed under the Carter Administration, originally 132 were ordered by the United States. However, this was quickly scaled back following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Since then the Stealth bombers have been used in fighting over Kosovo, where they bombed Serbian forces as NATO countered ethnic cleansing in the region, to take out Taliban targets in Afghanistan, and more recently to hit ISIS positions in Syria. 

The distinctive planes, which have a smooth surface and sharp edges to deflect radar, were pictured arriving at RAF Fairfold, Gloucestershire, on Tuesday night

They came to the base as it has a specially designed longer runway and two climate-controlled B2 aircraft hangars


The B-2 Spirit is the U.S. Air Force's deadliest and most expensive plane - a Cold Warrior's invention which has since been used to bomb the Taliban and ISIS.

Each of the 20 operational B-2s is valued at $2.1 billion, and putting one in the air costs an estimated $135,000 an hour, and cannot function in the rain.

On board its flight crew of two can stay in the air for 33 hours, at the controls of a plane designed to sneak into Soviet territory unseen to drop nuclear bombs, then return to the U.S. in a single flight.

The B-2s were first designed under the Carter administration, came close to being canceled, and finally took flight for the first time in 1989, just as the Soviet Union they were supposed to fight was collapsing, entering Air Force service in 1997. 

They have been used to fight in Kosovo, where they bombed Serbian forces as NATO moved in to counter ethnic cleansing of the Muslim Albanian minority, and in the war on terror, taking out Taliban targets in Afghanistan and most recently ISIS positions in Syria.

All are currently based at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, meaning that the one designated to fly over the Mall is flying 1,042miles to D.C. for the spectacle. 

If it flies low enough it will be visible from the ground, but it is almost invisible on radar, with its stealth design making it look like a pigeon on radar screens.


Aircrew: 2

Top speed: 628mph 

Range: 6,000 nautical miles, and refuels approximately every six hours 

Length: 69ft

Wingspan: 172ft

Weight: 158,100lbs 

Weapons: B61 and B83 nuclear bombs, MK84 conventional bomb, MK82 and CBU-87 conventional weapons and AGM-129 advanced cruise missile

How many: 20 operational 

Costs: $135,000 an hour to operate, making it roughly twice as expensive to operate as the B-52 or B-1 

From a range of 6,000 miles to 518 miles and the ability to carry nuclear weapons: How the two warplane types flying above Dover compare

B2 Spirit bomber

Top Speed: 628mph

Range: 6,000 miles without re-fuelling or 10,000 with re-fuelling

Weapons: B61 and B83 nuclear bombs, MK84 conventional bomb, MK82 and CBU-87 conventional weapons and AGM-129 advanced cruise missile

Aircrew: Two 

Wingspan: 172ft

Length: 69ft

How many?: 20 currently operational in the US, 0 currently operational in the UK

Costs: As much as $135,000 an hour to operate, making it roughly twice as expensive as the B-52 or B-1

F-35 lightning jet

Top Speed: 1,200mph

Range: More than 518 miles can be covered without re-fuelling

Weapons: Two air-to-air missiles and two bombs. Underwing pylons enable the plane to carry a 15,000lb payload

Aircrew: One

Wingspan: 51.2ft 

Length: 35ft

How many?: More than 19 currently operational in the US and nine currently operational in the UK

Cost: $35,000 per flying hour

 B2 Spirit bomber (left) pictured flying above Dover and an F-35 lightning jet (right) preparing for take off on the UK's new aircraft carrier, named Queen Elizabeth II

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