What’s wrong with the USA?

China has been, variously described as a rising power, a sleeping dragon and a collapsing economy. Most of the rhetoric is driven from the US. Inside their government, both the Senate and Congress have anti-China hawks, their State Department seems to see a threat at every turning point and their military seems to believe that a defensive People’s liberation Army is a bad thing as it threatens US interests. Books reports and documentaries are created about mass dissatisfaction which extended academic research seems unable to identify.

What’s wrong with the USA? (archived)

US to Appoint New Arctic Ambassador With Eye on Russia

US to Appoint New Arctic Ambassador With Eye on Russia

The US military is preparing for a future conflict in the Arctic with Russia, as well as China, by revamping its forces in the region. The US Army released a strategy document last year that said the Arctic has the “potential to become a contested space where United States’ great power rivals, Russia and China, seek to use military and economic power to gain and maintain access to the region at the expense of US interests.”

The US Navy released a similar strategy document in early 2021. Then-Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite suggested that the US could start challenging Russian claims to the Arctic by sending warships near Russia’s northern coast, similar to how the US Navy makes provocative passages near Chinese-controlled islands in the South China Sea.

Related:

Melting ice will change the economics of extracting resources from the Arctic

Of the 90 billion barrels of oil and 1,700 trillion cubic feet of natural gas estimated to lie north of the Arctic Circle, 84% lies offshore. And while Arctic conditions can still be as harsh as they were on the Seabees, the infrastructure of oil and gas extraction has improved vastly. “If people aren’t drilling all over the Arctic now, I don’t think it’s because there’s a gap in technology,” said Stig-Mortean Knutsen, a petroleum geologist at the Arctic University of Norway. “It’s more to do with cost.”

These extractive ambitions rub against the urgency of our environmental moment: the need to cut down, rather than pursue, fossil fuel use. As part of their sustainability goals, banks claim they’re now making it difficult for oil firms to get funds for new Arctic projects. Knutsen calls this decision to withhold financing an easy one to make, “like kicking down an open door,” because the upfront expense of a project is so steep today. If those expenses shrink in a warming Arctic, banks might well step up once again, he said. One sustainability executive at a London-based bank, who asked not to be named, pointed out: “In any case, China and Russia will be happy to fund new projects.”

Ironically, to best transition away from carbon fuels, the Arctic may first have to yield up another kind of resource: metals. The batteries, electric vehicles, and fuel cells of the future will need huge quantities of copper, nickel, manganese, rare earths, and other metals, said Gerard Barron, the CEO of The Metals Company, which hopes to mine the sea floor once the International Seabed Authority, a body within the UN, finalizes an undersea mining code. Barron’s miners are most actively studying the Clarion Clipperton Zone, a region just south of Hawai’i, where there is, Barron believes, enough metal to build 280 million EV batteries.

US-China Tensions Over Taiwan Update (Aug 29, 2022) – US Warships in Taiwan Strait

After a series of provocative meetings between US officials and Taiwan’s administration in violation of US bilateral agreements with Beijing over the One China policy, the US has now transited warships through the Taiwan Strait.

Throughout this series of provocations China has steadily expanded military operations around Taiwan, tightening control over the air and water around the island territory.

The US appears unable to recognize the limits of its power and influence and prepared fully to trigger another catastrophic conflict just as it has with Russia over Ukraine.

US-China Tensions Over Taiwan Update (Aug 29, 2022) – US Warships in Taiwan Strait (Odysee) via The New Atlas

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China Heralds Another Major Oil Discovery

China’s state-run China Petrochemical Group, Sinopec, says it has discovered a massive oilfield in the Tarim Basin, containing 1.7 billion tons of oil reserves.

The discovery is the result of exploration in the Shunbei oil and gas field, said to be one of the deepest commercial fields in the world, in the country’s Xinjiang region.

China Heralds Another Major Oil Discovery

Related:

Chinese Oil Giants Sinopec And PetroChina To Delist From NYSE

The Energy Industry in Xinjiang, China: Potential, Problems, and Solutions

How oil has shaped Xinjiang

Vast oil deposits discovered in Xinjiang

I’m sure Halliburton would love to get their hands on that oil! Oh wait, that was Iraq!

Producing New Enemies for No Reason Whatsoever

A good friend of mine, learning of the impending visit of Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, recalled Homer’s description of Helen of Troy, “The face that launched a thousand ships and burnt the towers of Ilium.” Well, Nancy ain’t no Helen of Troy, but she might nevertheless be in the business of launching warships and burning cities due to her bizarre interpretation of her foreign policy prerogatives as Speaker.

Producing New Enemies for No Reason Whatsoever