BUKIT LANJAN: A sovereign state need not fear anyone
Malaysia, as a sovereign state, should therefore fear no other sovereign state, no matter how seemingly powerful they may project themselves to be.
“What matters is that we and our leaders must have the courage to decide what is best in the interest of Malaysians and Malaysia,” Gerakan Deputy Speaker Syed Abdul Razak Alsagoff said.
“Some have continued to criticise Malaysia’s leaning towards China for investments, invoking fear of colonisation. This is purely rhetoric and speculation.
“What such prophets of doom have done is to overlook or dismiss whatever economic and nation-building benefits that Malaysians and Malaysia stand to gain from foreign investments, not only from China but all others.
“When billions of ringgit/dollars are pumped into a country, you don’t need a rocket scientist to tell you the benefits. That is the reality, not speculations of fear and what not,” he added.
Syed Razak, who is Gerakan’s nominee to contest N.37 Bukit Lanjan in the coming 14th General Election (GE14), said “we must all face reality and admit that Malaysia needs foreign investments to sustain economic growth”.
“While working hard towards achieving that, we must also face world reality. Mankind has seen World War I and II. What makes you think World War III cannot happen?
“If World War III breaks out, the reality is that Malaysians and Malaysia will have no choice but to lean towards a world power. The question is which side do we want to stand?
“Obviously, if and when that situation arises, again we must make a decision in the best interest of Malaysians and Malaysia,” Syed Razak stressed.
He said the US vs China-Russia 21st Century Cold War “is being waged over socio-economic and military domination over the strategic South China Sea (SCS).
“And this has a domino effect elsewhere as the US try to find fault with Russia and China, whether real or imaginary is another matter, elsewhere.
“We and mankind can just hope and pray that none of the disputes escalate to war,” Syed Razak said.
The following are three latest news reports that should set Malaysians to think more about the big picture of reality:
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Saturday, 17 December 2016 | MYT 2:13 AM
Philippines' Duterte tells U.S. to prepare to leave the country
MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte told the United States on Saturday to prepare for repeal of an agreement on deployment of troops and equipment for exercises, declaring "bye-bye America", and we don't need your money.
But Duterte suggested relations could improve under a President Donald Trump. "I like your mouth, it's like mine, yes Mr President. We are similar and people with the same feathers flock together."
Returning his focus to the present U.S. administration which has criticised him over reports of extra-judicial killings in his campaign against drugs, he said:
"We do not need you," Duterte said in a news conference after arriving from visits to Cambodia and Singapore. "Prepare to leave the Philippines. Prepare for the eventual repeal or abrogation of the VFA."
The Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), signed in 1998, accorded legal status to thousands of U.S. troops who were rotated in the country for military exercises and humanitarian assistance operations.
"Bye, bye America and work on the protocols that will eventually move you out of the Philippines," he said, adding his decision would come "any day soon" after reviewing another military deal, Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement.
The firebrand leader was visibly upset and vented his anger on Washington because of a decision by the Millennium Challenge Corp (MCC) board to defer vote on the re-selection of Manila for compact development due to human rights issues.
"We do not need the money. China said they will provide so many," he said. "The politics here in Southeast Asia is changing."
(Reporting by Karen Lema, Manuel Mogato and Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Alison Williams)
US troops heading to front of new Cold War with Putin - The Star Online/Reuters
Updated 2241 GMT (0641 HKT) October 28, 2016
With US and Russia engaged what some call a new Cold War, some 900 US troops are about to find themselves on its most dangerous front.
The US and NATO confirmed this week that the US will lead a multinational battalion in northeast Poland beginning in April 2017, a strategically crucial location that would put them in the center of hostilities should an armed clash between NATO and Russia break out.
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter told reporters Wednesday that the American soldiers will be headquartered in Orzysz, Poland, a town which lies only miles from the most likely target of a possible Russian attack against NATO, according to military analysts.
Carter made the remarks while speaking after a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels. He called the unit a "battle-ready battalion task force."
Russia was quick to criticize the announcement.
In a series of tweets, Russia's ambassador to NATO, Alexander Grushko, called the deployments "confrontational schemes of military building up in areas along our borders" and threatened retaliation.
"NATO countries understand that these actions will not remain without a response from our side," he said.
The Russian Defense Ministry announced Monday that about 600 paratroopers from Russia and Belarus conducted a joint exercise near the town of Brest on the Polish-Belarusian border and only miles from where the new troops will be based.
The Suwalki Gap, where the US forces will be located, is a thin stretch of about 60 miles of Polish territory that borders fellow NATO ally Lithuania. It is also bordered on both sides by Russia's European enclave Kaliningrad and close military ally Belarus.
"It's a small sliver of land, which, if seized, would allow the Russians to cut-off the Baltic states from the rest of the NATO alliance," Magnus Nordenman, director of the transatlantic security initiative at the Atlantic Council, told CNN.
He added that such an action, combined with the sophisticated anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles Russia has been deploying to Kaliningrad, would make US and NATO efforts to reinforce and defend its Baltic allies extremely difficult.
"One can assume it is in the Russian attack plan simply by looking at a map," he added. "Russia is clearly developing a strategy for keeping the US and NATO out in the event of a crisis."
A NATO official told CNN Friday that the Suwalki Gap did indeed feature in the alliance's defensive plans but would not elaborate further.
The Baltic States, which include Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania,聽will also receive NATO battalionsled by the UK, Canada and Germany. These countries are particularly concerned about Russian aggression, especially after Moscow's 2014 invasion and annexation of Crimea.
Russia's "militarization and aggressive actions in the region creates new tensions," Lithuanian Defense Minister Juozas Olekas, told CNN's Nic Robertson Thursday.
The new deployments are part of NATO's "Enhanced Forward Presence" program, a NATO effort to reassure member countries and deter any Russian offensive actions.
"Russia has been willing to use military force against neighbors," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday. "We have seen that in Georgia and we have seen it in Ukraine with the illegal annexation of Crimea and the continued destabilization of Eastern Ukraine. So, therefore, NATO has to respond."
Russian and Belarusian paratroopers conduct a military exercise near the border with Poland in October 2016
Earlier this month, Russia reportedly deployed nuclear-capable Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad, a move Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski called "a massive strengthening of the Kaliningrad garrison," adding that the "missiles could reach well into the significant part of Polish territory."
"We have adapted, we have responded, to the increased Russian military presence close to NATO borders," Stoltenberg told reporters on Thursday.
The US unit due to be stationed in the Suwalki Gap and joined by two companies of troops from UK and Romania is miniscule compared to the American military's effort to deter the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
During America's geopolitical stand-off with the Soviet Union, some 300,000 US troops and tanks were deployed to Germany in order to defend the strategic Fulda Gap, an area of lowlands thought to be the likeliest route for a Soviet tank invasion of Western Europe.
"There is simply no way you can compare four NATO battalions and approximately 4,000 forces to 300,000 US forces at the height of the Cold War," Heather Conley of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington told CNN.
Nordenman thinks that the US and NATO feel that the battalion offers some substantial benefits despite its small size. "In the event of a crisis, it would allow American reinforcements to link-up with the US forces already there," he said.
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said the US contingent will include a headquarters element, Stryker armored vehicles, an artillery battery, anti-tank capabilities, explosive ordnance disposal and engineering from a squadron based in Vilseck, Germany.
He also revealed that the US soldiers will be under the tactical control of a Polish brigade.
Nordenman said the troops are an "important political signal for the US and NATO," adding that they will "allow the US and its NATO allies to train on terrain that they would have to fight on" in the event of an armed conflict with Russia.
While he called the new deployments a "good signal and good demonstration of our solidarity," Olekas, the Lithuanian defense chief, told CNN that they were not sufficient, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin only understood "power."
Nordenman said the US was selected to lead the defense of the most strategic location at the request of Poland. He noted that Poland has become a leader of NATO's eastern members and the Polish government sought America's participation given its status as the most powerful member of the alliance.
Poland and Estonia are two of the only five NATO members that spend the recommended two percent of GDP on defense. Latvia and Lithuania plan to meet that target by 2018. The American defense secretary emphasized that the US would take additional steps to beef up its eastern presence as part of the $3.4 billion European Reassurance Initiative.
According to US defense officials, this will include some 4,000 US troops arriving in western Poland in January. These forces will then proceed to rotate through seven other eastern NATO members.
SOUTH CHINA SEA聽|聽Fri Dec 16, 2016 | 5:02pm EST
|The USNS Bowditch, an oceanographic survey ship, is seen in this undated U.S. Navy handout photo. U.S. Navy via聽REUTERS|
A Chinese warship has seized an underwater drone deployed by a U.S. oceanographic vessel in the South China Sea, triggering a formal diplomatic protest and a demand for its return, U.S. officials told Reuters on Friday.
The drone was taken on Thursday, the first seizure of its kind in recent memory, about 50 nautical miles northwest of Subic Bay off the Philippines just as the USNS Bowditch was about to retrieve the unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), officials said.
"The UUV was lawfully conducting a military survey in the waters of the South China Sea," one official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"It's a sovereign immune vessel, clearly marked in English not to be removed from the water - that it was U.S. property," the official said.
The Pentagon confirmed the incident at a news briefing and said the drone used commercially available technology and sold for about $150,000.
Still, the Pentagon viewed China's seizure seriously since it had effectively taken U.S. military property.
"It is ours, and it is clearly marked as ours and we would like it back. And we would like this not to happen again," Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis said.
Senator Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called the seizure "a remarkably brazen violation of international law."
U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus cited a "growing China" as one of the reasons that the Navy needed to expand its fleet to 355 ships, including 12 carriers, 104 large surface combatants, 38 amphibious ships and 66 submarines.
The seizure will add to concerns about China's increased military presence and aggressive posture in the disputed South China Sea, including its militarization of maritime outposts.
It coincided with saber-rattling from Chinese state media and some in its military establishment after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump cast doubt on whether Washington would stick to its nearly four-decades-old policy of recognizing that Taiwan is part of "one China."
President Barack Obama said on Friday it was appropriate for Trump to take a fresh look at U.S. policy toward Taiwan, but he cautioned the idea that Taiwan is part of one China is central to China's view of itself as a nation.
"If you are going to upend this understanding, you have to have thought through whatever the consequences are," Obama told a news conference, noting Beijing's reaction could be "very significant."
A U.S. research group this week said new satellite imagery indicated China has installed weapons, including anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems, on all seven artificial islands it has built in the South China Sea.
Mira Rapp-Hooper, a senior fellow in the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, said China would have a hard time explaining its actions.
"This move, if accurately reported, is highly escalatory, and it is hard to see how Beijing will justify it legally," Rapp-Hooper said.
The drone was part of an unclassified program to collect oceanographic data including salinity, temperature and clarity of the water, the U.S. official added. The data can help inform U.S. military sonar data since such factors affect sound.
The USNS Bowditch, a U.S. Navy ship crewed by civilians that carries out oceanographic work, had already retrieved one of two of its drones, known as ocean gliders, when a Chinese Navy Dalang 3 class vessel took the second one.
ALSO IN SOUTH CHINA SEA
· Philippines says won't protest China actions in Spratly Islands
· U.S. ready to confront Beijing on South China Sea: admiral
Officials said the Bowditch was only 500 meters (yards) from the drone and, observing the Chinese intercede, used bridge-to-bridge communications to demand it be returned.
The Chinese ship acknowledged the communication but did not respond to the Bowditch's demands, the Pentagon's Davis said.
"The only thing they said after they were sailing off into the distance was: "we are returning to normal operations," Davis said.
The United States issued the formal demarche, as such protests are known, through diplomatic channels and included a demand that China immediately return the drone. The Chinese acknowledged it but have not responded, officials said.
The seizure happened a day after China's ambassador to the United States said Beijing would never bargain with Washington over issues involving its national sovereignty or territorial integrity.
"Basic norms of international relations should be observed, not ignored, certainly not be seen as something you can trade off," Ambassador Cui Tiankai, speaking to executives of top U.S. companies, said on Wednesday.
He did not specifically mention Taiwan, or Trump's decision to accept a telephone call from Taiwan's president on Dec. 2.
The call was the first such contact with Taiwan by a U.S. president-elect or president since President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, acknowledging Taiwan as part of "one China."
(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by James Dalgleish and Lisa Shumaker)"