4) China: Rare Earth Elements. Lesson thirtysix

Although China extracts 98 percent of the world’s rare earth elements, like Neodymium, which in small amounts together with some Boratoms to keep everything in place are used to “dope” magnetic iron so that they become stronger (Neodymium magnets) and other elements that have recently been used in high-tech contexts, it’s difficult for them to use the ore as an economic weapon.

There are also much China is dependent on which comes from the surrounding world, like agricultural products and fuel oil, as well as copper and other metals. China alone stands for 2/5 of the worlds consumption of coal, aluminum, zinc and copper. Therefore, the Chinese are doing mining and oil business with countries that Europe and America consider too dubious to do business with, African countries with a horribly low level on human rights, that China benefits from. China is a relatively resonable trading partner for western countries. As of 2015, the only mining company of its kind in the United States – Molycorp – which used to capitalize rare earth elements, filed for bankruptcy due to unfavorable Chinese competition.

The problem is that REE (rare earth elements) is so difficult to extract from the soil. In May 2012, Japanese researchers discovered an estimated 6.8 million tonnes of rare earth metals near the island of Minami-Tori-Shima, which can supply Japan’s current industrial consumption for over 200 years.

Another recently developed source of rare earths is discarded electronics and other scrap that have components of REE. Progress in recycling of electronics has made the extraction of REE from junk possible and recycling stations have recovered hundreds of thousand tonnes of REE from electronic junk. In France, two factories have been built that will recycle 200 tonnes of REE per year from end-of-life fluorescent lamps, magnets and batteries.

China has no real market advantage despite their introducing of restrictive export quotas from 2010 and also their stopping of production, and despite their extraction of REE in China linked to the Chinese state. In March 2012, the United States, the EU and Japan confronted China in the WTO. China claimed that the export quotas were maintained for the sake of the environment. (Well, sometime would be the first.) Chinese export restrictions failed in 2012 since prices on REE fell in response to the opening of other production sites. [In January 2015, China lifted all export quotas of REE, but export licenses will still be required. It is unclear if they thought they were the only ones who had raw materials in sufficient quantities, but the Chinese had misjudged the power of the free market and for the moment being they have already used up their advantage.

In 2013, Rand Corporation published a report that stated that the US economy is “critically dependent” on 14 different raw materials produced in countries with weak regimes and that China has a market-controlling position on 11 of these raw materials. China has introduced production monitoring, export restraints, closing of mines and restructuring of production within China’s own borders. In the same year, the United States’ Energy Department announced that they had created a new institute with an annual budget of $ 120 million called the Critical Materials Institute. The aim is to avoid the consequences of scarcity of raw materials, which threaten to put obstacles in the way of transition to alternative energy forms. Five so-called rare earth metals (neodymium, europium, terbium, dysprosium and yttrium) are listed on the institute’s website as such critical raw materials. Two non REE raw materials are also included in this category. Calculations showed that there would be an imbalance of about thirty percent between supply and demand already in 2016. This primarily affects electricity production by wind and solar power. A major problem is that there is no acceptable alternative to oil for propulsion of vehicles and aircraft. There is no other substance with that much energy content per transported unit than oil products and which does not cost astronomical sums to produce with now known technology. Without transport, we would return to the stoneage. Every country needs to look out for its supply of crude oil to meet both civil society’s need for fuel in peacetime and sustain its military in the event of conflict. Source: KKrVA, Ingolf Kiesow

Source; KKrVA, Ingolf Kiesow

 

Homework:

Will REE become a big issue in the future you think? Short term or long term?

Roger M. Klang, defense political Spokesman for the Christian Values Party (Kristna Värdepartiet) in Sweden

2) China: Japan and South Korea. Lesson thirtyfour

We know with certainty which the other east Asian countries that the United States wants to connect to their nation are.

”Overshadowed by China and India, a group of smaller Asian economies has committed to rapid economic integration and cooperation. The six largest economies among them – Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and Vietnam – have diverse population sizes, incomes and cultural affinities but share a common desire to prosper as independent and open countries. Together, they are on their way to becoming a powerful new economic bloc.” LIGNET (CIAs former public page) August 29, 2013

In the above citation from LIGNET, Japan and South Korea are omitted in the American-preferred union against China. It may be because of Japan’s and Korea’s early nineteenth century history dominated by Japanese supremacy in a time when hundreds of thousands of Korean women and girls were taken as sex slaves to Japanese soldiers while Korean men were force recruited to the Imperial Army.

The mentioned countries in the quote – Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam – encircle China in the South China Sea, and by including the to a large extent Muslim Malaysia, the US covers the important Malacca Strait geostrategically.

Islam is the state religion of Malaysia, about half of the population are Muslims. The malays are defined according to paragraph 160 of the Malaysian Constitution as Muslims. A piece of the puzzle is added, but it may raise more questions than answers, at least what concerns the US plans for Japan and South Korea. It has been interesting to follow the development. We can begin by citing the CIA LIGNET from October 15, 2013:

Why Japan Lost Faith in America’s Security Guarantee
Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recently held important talks with their counterparts in Tokyo to revise the U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation Guidelines. But rather than bringing the United States and Japan closer together, the talks revealed a growing divide between them, as Japan appears to have lost its trust in the U.S. security guarantee over North Korea’s triumphant emergence as a nuclear missile power. LIGNET

The questions we need to answer are;

a. Why do they or did they want to revise the U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation Guidelines?
b. Why is there a growing gap between Japan and the US?
c. And why have the Japanese lost their confidence in the US security guarantee (nuclear umbrella)?

Question b. above has already been answered in previous lessons, it happened because of US fears of a possible Chinese-Russian-Japanese axis. Perhaps this is also why the Japanese have lost their confidence in the US security guarantee?

December 8, 2013: South Korea expanded its air defense zone so that it partially overlaps an expansive air defense zone that China had declared just before South Korea’s expansion of their air defense zone. The area includes two islands in the south east China Sea, and an underwater reef that China also claims. The new zone was effectuated from December 15th, 2013. South Korea conferred with the United States before the country decided to expand their Air Defense Zone, according to the Washington State Department. According to the Korean Defense Ministry, the decision “will not violate the sovereignty of neighboring countries”. Now we at least know what role South Korea playes in the equation under LIGNET on August 29, 2013 mentioned before. The statement by the Korean Defense Ministry carries the Americans’ thumbprint, and the parties – quite rightly and technically correct – makes no secret of the fact that South Korea conferred with its US advisers.

December 26, 2013: Perhaps we have the explanation for the US prudent behavior in the neighborhood of the East China Sea. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe raises anger from neighboring countries. This because he made a visit to a controversial memorial on December 26, honoring his country’s fallen soldiers of the second world war. Abe later explained that he visited Yasukuni in Tokyo to pray at the memorial. He said that the intention wasn’t to provoke anger in China and Korea, and he said that Japan is working for peace these days. Abe also again mentioned that he felt “deep repentance” over Japan’s past. But there were angry comments and condemnations coming from the regime in Beijing. South Korea also condemned the visit. Abe’s visit to Yasukuni was the first from a seated prime minister since the year 2006.

In Washington, the government expressed disappointment because of Abe’s visit to Yasukuni since Abe should have known it would increase tensions with neighboring countries. [Washington said “neighboring countries” but what they really meant is that they were disappointed that Abe had done something to increase the tension between Japan and South Korea, since it counteracts US interests to unite the region economically under US supervision against China.]

In 2015, the Japanese military budget amounted to 42 billion US Dollars, up 3.5 percent since 2014. The military budget has been on the rise since 2012 and pending. Overall, this means that Japan is developing a military capacity to carry out limited offensive undertakings, in terms of the ability to recapture an occupied island/archipelago, within the framework of a defensive military operation with an emphasis on qualified air and naval forces. Source; Johan Elg, Swedish National Defense College

Japan has three (3) ongoing border conflicts. These concern three islands as well as an island group with Russia, the island of Takeshima with South Korea and the Senkaku Islands with China. Japan only controls the Senkaku Islands.

Why are Japan and China arguing about some small uninhabited islands off the coast of China? I can only imagine three reasonable explanations:

A) It is believed that the waters around the islands hide oil deposits. But no oil or gas has yet been found.
B) China feels threatened because Japan possibly may develop and deploy non-ballistic cruise missiles or ballistic missiles on the islands, so that Japan can strike China’s mainland faster than they can from Okinawa or any other of the Riukiu Islands.
C) China wants to circumscribe Taiwan by building an airbase and a missile base on the islands and Japan oppose it because they want to prevent China from strengthening its position in the region.

LIGNET reported on July 3, 2013 that China was on a charm offensive at an ASEAN meeting. Certainly it was a causality based on Obama’s State of the Union speech from February 12, 2013, when he gave his “And level the plane-field in the growing markets of Asia” speach. This speach in turn was a causality based on the RCEP rounds, but above all it was based on China’s industrial espionage. Fool me once – shame on you. Fool me twice – shame on me; The Chinese proverb that President Bush could not get it right in a television speach. Obviously, Obama would have had no problem getting it right. Obama played hardball when he delivered his speach on February 12, 2013. But already Hillary Clinton threw the glove too early at China when she wrote in November 2011; “When the war in Iraq ends and the US withdraws from Afghanistan, the United States faces a turning point in the US Pacific Ocean.”

Hillary Clinton revealed the US plans which could be interpreted as the United States doing as they please and that no morality is necessary to apply to any emerging situation for the US to take the right to intervene in any part of the world. We are not yet there, but we are heading there. For the time being, there is always someone holding the rudder, if not America then someone else, and someone else is not better.

Sources;

CIAs LIGNET; and Johan Elg at the Swedish National Defense College

 

Homework:

What do you make out of this information? Is Trump just following a charted course demarcated by Obama and Hillary Clinton?

Do Japan and South Korea play any important geostrategic role you think? I am not asking if they play any important geopolitical role, because obviously they do.

Roger M. Klang, defense political Spokesman for the Christian Values Party (Kristna Värdepartiet) in Sweden

World Policies How it works Introduction

Introduction

Let me introduce myself. My name is Roger M. Klang and I am an ethnic Swede from Sweden. I happen to believe in God but I am not affiliated with any church. As it is, most people in the world belive in at least one God. It is not the average Swede who is the norm. And the world leaders’ belief in God can very much affect the circumstances for their preferred geo-politics. World leaders don’t get any more or less predictible because they believe in or for that matter don’t believe in God. You need to understand who they are. Therefore you need to know what makes them tic, and if you can’t grasp most of the world leaders because you are an atheist, then God help you. So don’t dismiss me on the ground that I explicitly believe in God, because I have more in common with most world leaders than do the atheist in this manner, and therefore I may also have an advantage over the average Swede when it comes to understanding global geo-politics, but not necessarily geo-strategy. The least one can ascertain is that I have a bigger chance to make myself understood to foreign world leaders than do the atheist. Am I ever wrong then? Yes, often in the short run. But I think and study a lot about these things and if I am only given enough time I usually solve the puzzle at last, because I never let go of the questions. Just remember that geo-politics is an eye-moment description of the world and so can this book be, but geo-strategy lasts. In one of my chapters, The Abysmal gap, I explain the difference between geo-politics and geo-strategy. It’s not religious.

I wanted to start a Youtube-school for peace loving people. Obviously I am an author on the subject. If you are a bellicose macho man you would probably prefer to skip reading my book altogether. If you are bellicose and macho I’d just like to say, have a nice life and bon voyage! I have spent thousands of hours on my projects. This publication is an educational, advanced but yet somewhat simplified school book for political science studies either on your own or at your university.

I want to prevent the major modern empires, i.e. the US and China, from exploiting your continent or country by feeding you storytales about dual gain in extraction of natural resources, trade and affairs. If you know what is going on in the world you will get a better and/or a more realistic negotiative position. Knowledge paired with media-control is power! They are not going to hand you their knowledge. But I will!

You will need to buy some additional study literature in the form of the annual book CIA WORLD FACTBOOK and a good Atlas. You will also need a ruler to measure with in the Atlas. The CIA WORLD FACTBOOK is a book published annually by the CIA and it must be made available to the public under US regulations. The CIA WORLD FACTBOOK 2018-2019 is on 1,120 pages, but only costs around 17 US dollars in a regular book shop.

In that book, almost all of the worlds countries are included, their background, geography, population, ethnic groups, languages, religion, commodities, natural resources, governance, economics, export products, import products, trading partners, oil production, gas production, telephone systems, airports, railways, military, terrorist associations, border disputes and much more.

Homework:

Study interesting countries near and far from you in the CIA WORLD FACTBOOK. Get acquainted with the book. When necessary to get a full understanding, look up sites, cities, lakes, rivers, railways etc. in your Atlas. Learn your Atlas features, for instance how you can tell what is a railway in your Atlas or how you will know what distance between two points in your Atlas is in real life. Remember, sometimes it’s absolutely necessary to read this book while simultaneously studying an open Atlas by the side. Otherwise you will not learn a thing of value. Diligence is the key to learning! Check out my Pod-cast;

You will find the often complicated information and the instructions in written form on this my blog and platform, Thestrategistcowboy.com

You study and evaluate by your own! I am not going to be able to reply on every question even if I know the answer. But you can comment on my Podcast here. Tip each others, ask each others questions. If I feel like it I will comment on your comment. And I will comment! But not on demand. I consulted a good friend about my idea of doing a series of lectures on Podcast. He replied; Socrates was a very wise man, only surpassed by Jesus Christ in wisdom. Socrates used to reply to his students questions with questions. Because he wanted to stimulate his students to think and he wanted to learn for himself from the students comeback answers. This created a loop of two-way learning which was very open-minded and dynamic instead of patronizing and dogmatic.

I have decided to try this teaching method for myself.

Peace be with you and see you in a couple of weeks if all goes well! Two weeks will give you sufficient time to purchase the items required for this course.

 

Roger M. Klang, defense political spokesman for the Christian Values Party (Kristna Värdepartiet) in Sweden

Griftgång