Looks nice….but just how good is it?

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China’s elite fifth generation stealth fighter recently made its debut, raising questions about its capabilities.

The Chengdu J-20, a Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group product, is designed to close the gap between American and Chinese air power. The stealth fighter is regarded as a potential rival to America’s F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and F-22 Raptor….but how does it REALLY stack up against the US fighters?

“It’s better than current Chinese fighters, but it probably doesn’t match the new U.S. fighters,” said Director for Defense Analysis and Data at Aviation Week Daniel Katz, who attended Airshow China 2016 last week in Zhuhai and observed the J-20 firsthand.

The J-20 is bigger than both the F-35 and F-22, which gives it a longer range — however it is probably not as powerful, maneuverable, or stealthy as its American counterparts, Katz explained. With regard to firepower, the missile load appears similar to the F-22, which carries six beyond visual range combat (BVRC) missiles and two short-range missiles.

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Implications for Central America of a Trump presidency and deportations?

‘The campaign promises made by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to step up deportations of immigrants who have entered the United States without permission have unnerved some Central American governments. On Nov. 16, El Salvador’s foreign minister, Hugo Martinez, said that the countries of Central America’s Northern Triangle (Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras) plan to cooperate with Mexico to fashion a coordinated regional response to any increased pace of deportations.

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If the Trump administration fulfills the rhetoric, each of those countries could expect a significant number of returnees. Of Honduras’ 8 million citizens, more than 1 million currently reside in the United States. About 2 million of Guatamala’s 16 million nationals live in the United States. And almost half of El Salvador’s just more than 6 million people reside in the United States.

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A Great Leap Backwards for China?

Over the past decade and a half China has become increasingly wealthy and apparently more ‘small ‘L’  liberal’, and the Western assumption that China would eventually morph into some sort of Asian Germany, was the popular belief. Alas those who believed this wishful thinking were falling for the greatest foible of analysis. They were  looking at a very different culture through the looking glass of Western cultural assumptions. A fatal error in many Western beliefs about the true and emerging reality of 21 st, Century China. “Understand the past and you will know the future“.

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The blend of Western financial lust for an almost unlimited Chinese customer base, twined to a wilful ignorance for what truly drives China’s rise and rise, has caused Western projections of China’s advance to be fatally flawed. It’s been over a century since China’s descent into ‘cultural disgrace’ at the hands of the West and the Japanese, but the Chinese still hold the collective memory of the Middle Kingdom’s former greatness and pride. A century of massacres, wars, destitution and shame appeared to be lifting with the dawn of the 21st. Century.

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Spike you Obama

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Sometimes when decisions do not work out exactly as intended, they work out just fine.

In the midst of Operation Protective Edge — Israel’s response to 182 Hamas rockets and mortars fired at Israeli towns and villages in the first week of July 2014 — the Obama administration accused Israel of “heavy handed battlefield tactics,” including the use of artillery instead of precision-guided munitions. U.S. President Barack Obama halted the supply of Hellfire missiles and announced that all military equipment supplied to Israel would be vetted individually in the White House, instead of shipped, according to prior agreements, by the Pentagon to Israel.

The President, it appears, had been reading wild press stories about the damage to Gaza — which ultimately turned out to be concentrated in areas in which Hamas was stockpiling munitions and rockets and conducting command and control operations, which included firing more than 2,700 rockets and missiles during the rest of July.

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Carrier comparisons

Carrier comparisons

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Almost two decades after buying the hull from Ukraine in 1998, China’s sole aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, has finally been declared combat ready.

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China’s aircraft carrier, as well as the rest of its rapidly modernising navy, puts Beijing in an elite naval force projection.

China has announced building at least one other carrier. The second carrier will have a modular design, but still conform to the ski-jump’ mould of the Liaoning.

The development has raised eyebrows in the Pacific and globally, as China ignores international law, builds and militarizes artificial islands in the South China Sea, and threatens and bullies its neighbours.

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