Each and every Friday we intend to put our name on the line by providing you with geopolitical predictions for the following week and then keeping a tally of them to see how we are doing. Under the categories section on the far right bottom you will see the heading, "Forecast Fridays" where you can keep up with our ongoing predictions each and every week and see how well we do.
Although we have just begun our weekly geopolitical predictions we are thus far 2 for 2.
We predicted early on that the summit between North Korea's Kim Jong Un and President Trump would be cancelled and it was. It is now possibly back on again but it was originally and officially cancelled by the President.
Secondly we predicted that after the Memorial Day holiday that the trade war between China and America would resume with Trump hitting back with a renewed effort after China had been using North Korea as a new bargaining chip and emboldening North Korea's leader to make new demands towards Washington.
The U.S. Pacific Command, as it has been known since 1947 following the end of WWII was the oldest and largest U.S. military command unit in existence. It still exists but now under a new name.
Yesterday, the Pentagon rebranded the outpost the Indo-Pacific Command in a nod to India and the Indian Ocean that America stands with India and the Indian Ocean as well as the Pacific allies in order to confront a belligerent China that continues to militarize the South China Sea despite promises from China's leader and despite rulings of international law as well as formal complaints from all of China's neighbors in that region including Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Philippines, Taiwan, etc.
U.S. Navy Admiral Harry Harris oversaw the rebranding and the handing over of the reigns of the command to its new admiral and he gave a speech emphasizing that North Korea remains the most imminent threat in the region but that China is the greatest long term threat there.
Extending the largest and oldest command outpost of the U.S. military to now include the Indian Ocean represents the Pentagon's new strategy of attempting to deal with the now hotly contested South China Sea. The South China Sea is the primary gateway between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and much of China's imported oil and other resources from the Middle East and Africa flow through it.
India as well has had to face increased pressure from China over territorial disputes and Washington has been attempting to find ways to partner with India to challenge China's military rise in the region. This is a good first step and a large one at that.
As we had predicted last week, we said the trade war is not over and that after it had become obvious to observers that China was behind North Korea's new found "boldness" in relation to the summit talks scheduled on June 12th, the Trump administration would come back with a surprise attack on the trade front to show China that he is serious about both trade with China and about North Korea and if China thinks it can bully its way into the North Korea crisis in order to get what it wants on the Korean Peninsula, it had better think again.
Peter Navarro who is a Trump trade adviser said today the Trump administration is ready for anything. Navarro also said we lost the trade war along time ago with NAFTA and China's entry into the World Trade Organization and that the Treasury Secretary's comments saying the trade war was "on hold" was not accurate. Navarro characterizes this as a trade dispute, a serious one at that but hints that things could turn into a full blown trade war and it looks like it will.
North Korea has a long history of breaking promises to end its nuclear program as well as recent promises to meet in Singapore to prepare for talks related to such an idea. It was the "no-show" by North Korean officials to meet in Singapore and prepare for the historic summit which led to the decision to "cancel" the summit.
Beijing on the other hand, led by Xi Jin Ping has broken his promise he made to the Obama administration to not militarize the islands in the South China Sea.
These two areas, North Korea and the South China Sea are now the two biggest hot spots on the planet for potential military conflict with the U.S.A.
A bipartisan trio of senators is urging the Trump administration to take tougher action to counter Chinese militarization in the South China Sea, voicing "grave concerns" over Beijing's regional encroachment.
Sens. Marco Rubio (Florida), Cory Gardner (Colorado), and Ed Markey (Mass.) stated in a letter sent last week to the secretaries of state and defense that the administration's response to China's illegal maritime claims has been inadequate and is increasing the risk of conflict.
"We believe there is strong bipartisan congressional support for taking significant actions in response to the Chinese government's continuing militarization of the South China Sea," the senators said in the May 24 letter.
As we predicted the trade war resumes after the holiday.
Trump administration on Tuesday imposed 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. Later the Chinese government responded by saying Beijing was "ready to fight".
This will surely have an impact on the "on again, off again" summit in Singapore scheduled for June 12th between Trump and Kim Jong Un.
More trade war moves expected today. The markets will not respond well to this news of course.
America's Geopolitical HQ:
Est. April, 2018
Rep. Terry Baxter, (Chairman, International Relations Committee for the State of Iowa Legislature and CEO of Go Serve Global)