Scientists Are Reincarnating the Woolly Mammoth to Return in 4 Years

Story by Tim Newcomb 

Question. Why on earth would we like or need to this. Reminders of Jurassic Park !!!

  • Colossal recently added $60 million in funding to move toward a 2027 de-extinction of the woolly mammoth.
  • The Dallas-based company is now working to edit the genes for the reincarnation of the mammal.
  • Colossal planned to reintroduce the woolly mammoth into Russia, but that may shift.

The long-dead woolly mammoth will make its return from extinction by 2027, says Colossal, the biotech company actively working to reincarnate the ancient beast.

Last year, the Dallas-based firm scored an additional $60 million in funding to continue the, well, mammoth gene-editing work it started in 2021. If successful, not only will Colossal bring back an extinct species—one the company dubs a cold-resistant elephant—but it will also reintroduce the woolly mammoth to the same ecosystem in which it once lived in an effort to fight climate change, according to a recent Medium post.

The woolly mammoth’s DNA is a 99.6 percent match of the Asian elephant, which leads Colossal to believe it’s well on its way toward achieving its goal. “In the minds of many, this creature is gone forever,” the company says. “But not in the minds of our scientists, nor the labs of our company. We’re already in the process of the de-extinction of the Woolly Mammoth. Our teams have collected viable DNA samples and are editing the genes that will allow this wonderful megafauna to once again thunder through the Arctic.”

Through gene editing, Colossal scientists will eventually create an embryo of a woolly mammoth. They will place the embryo in an African elephant to take advantage of its size and allow it to give birth to the new woolly mammoth. The eventual goal is to then repopulate parts of the Arctic with the new woolly mammoth and strengthen local plant life with the migration patterns and dietary habits of the beast.

If Colossal proves successful on reincarnating the woolly mammoth—ditto the thylacine, also known as the Tasmanian tiger—expect a variety of new ethical questions to arise on how to handle the creature and potential reintroduction issues.

Denise:- Are we insane or is curiosity just getting the better of us? Maybe we could find out the human gene that wants to kill each other just because we are born into another religion!!

Denise in memory of Mark

Russian embassy says North Korea lifted Covid19 lockdown in capital

SEOUL, South Korea –

Russia’s embassy in North Korea says the country has eased stringent epidemic controls in capital Pyongyang that were placed during the past five days to slow the spread of respiratory illnesses.

North Korea has not officially acknowledged a lockdown in Pyongyang or a re-emergence of COVID-19 after leader Kim Jong Un declared a widely disputed victory over the coronavirus in August, but the Russian embassy’s Facebook posts have provided rare glimpses into the secretive country’s infectious disease controls.

The embassy posted a notice Monday issued by North Korea’s Foreign Ministry informing foreign diplomats that the “special anti-epidemic period” imposed in Pyongyang since Wednesday was lifted as of Monday.

Last week, the embassy said that North Korean health authorities required diplomatic missions to keep their employees indoors and also measure their temperatures four times a day and report the results to a hospital in Pyongyang. It said the North Korean measures were in response to an increase in “flu and other respiratory diseases,” but it didn’t mention the spread of COVID-19 or restrictions imposed on regular citizens.

Shortly before that post, NK News, a North Korea-focused news website, cited a North Korean government notice to report that health officials had imposed a five-day lockdown in Pyongyang in an effort to stem the spread of respiratory illnesses.

Getting a read of North Korea’s virus situation is difficult as the country has been tightly shut since early 2020, with officials imposing strict border controls, banning tourists and aid workers and jetting out diplomats while scrambling to shield their poor health-care system.

North Korea’s admission of a COVID-19 outbreak in May last year came after it spent 2 1/2 years rejecting outside offers of vaccines and other help while steadfastly claiming that its superior socialist system was protecting its population from an “evil” virus that had killed millions elsewhere.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, said the number of foreign missions that are currently active in North Korea would be 10 or less, a list that includes the missions of China, Vietnam and Cuba along with the Russian embassy.

North Korean state media in recent weeks have stressed vigilance against a possible re-emergence of COVID-19. The official Rodong Sinmun newspaper, which previously described the anti-virus campaign as the “No. 1 priority” in national affairs, called for North Koreans to maintain a “sense of high crisis” Monday as COVID-19 continues to spread in neighbouring countries.

Some analysts say North Korea could be taking preventive measures as it prepares to stage huge public events in Pyongyang — possibly as early as next week — to glorify Kim’s authoritarian leadership and the expansion of his nuclear weapons and missiles program.

Recent commercial satellite images have indicated preparations for a massive military parade in Pyongyang, likely for the 75th founding anniversary of the Korean People’s Army that falls on Feb. 8, an occasion Kim could potentially use to showcase his growing collection of nuclear-capable missiles.

Satellite images from Friday indicated continuing parade practices at a training site in southeast Pyongyang despite the reported lockdown, according to 38 North, a website specializing in North Korea studies. But no activities were seen at Kim Il Sung Square in the central part of the city where the country usually hosts military parades, the report said.

Some outside experts had linked North Korea’s 2022 COVID-19 outbreak to a massive military parade in April, where Kim vowed to accelerate the development of nuclear weapons and threatened to use them if provoked.

North Korea maintains it has had no confirmed COVID-19 cases since Aug. 10, when Kim used a major political conference to declare the country has eradicated the coronavirus, just three months after the country acknowledged an Omicron outbreak.

While Kim claimed that the country’s purported success against the virus would be recognized as a global health miracle, experts believe North Korea has manipulated disclosures on its outbreak to help him maintain absolute control.

From May to August, North Korea reported about 4.8 million “fever cases” across its population of 26 million but only identified a fraction of them as COVID-19. Experts say the country’s official death toll of 74 is abnormally small, considering the country’s lack of public health tools.

North Korea has dubiously insisted that rival South Korea was responsible for its COVID-19 outbreak, saying that the virus was transported by anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets and other materials flown across the border by balloons launched by South Korean civilian activists. South Korea has dismissed such claims as unscientific and “ridiculous.”

Denise Collins


‘Very high’ odds of war with China, US Republican warns

Tourists look on as a Chinese military helicopter flies past Pingtan island, one of mainland China’s closest points to Taiwan [File: Hector Retamal/AFP]

In a memo dated February 1 but released on Friday, General Mike Minihan, who heads the Air Mobility Command, wrote to the leadership of its roughly 110,000 members saying: “My gut tells me we will fight in 2025.”

Michael McCaul, the new chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the US House of Representatives, says conflict with China over Taiwan may happen in 2025.

In a memo dated February 1 but released on Friday, General Mike Minihan, who heads the Air Mobility Command, wrote to the leadership of its roughly 110,000 members saying: “My gut tells me we will fight in 2025.”

General Minihan’s views do not represent the Pentagon, but show concern at the highest levels of the US military over a possible attempt by China to exert control over Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its territory.

Both the US and Taiwan will hold presidential elections in 2024, potentially creating an opportunity for China to take military action, Minihan wrote.

If China failed to take control of Taiwan bloodlessly then “they are going to look at a military invasion in my judgement. We have to be prepared for this”, McCaul said.

He accused the Democratic administration of President Joe Biden of projecting weakness after the bungled US pullout from Afghanistan, which could make war with China more likely.


Would a Cold War-style agreement help prevent China-US tensions from escalating?

A former PLA senior colonel has suggested US-Soviet agreement could provide model But a former US defence official says level of tensions undermines historical comparison

A PLA Navy J-11 fighter jet flies close to a US Air Force RC-135 surveillance plane over the South China Sea on December 21. Photo: Handout

China and the US should establish a mechanism similar to the agreement reached between Washington and Moscow during the Cold War to prevent the escalation of tensions, a retired People’s Liberation Army officer said last week.

But his suggestion prompted a sceptical response from a former US Defence Department official who managed military-to-military relations between China and the United States.

In an opinion piece published in the South China Morning Post on Wednesday, Zhou Bo, a former PLA senior colonel, called on both militaries to build confidence in new fields to prevent any conflict between the world’s two superpowers.

“For those watching the war in Ukraine and worrying that a similar conflict might occur in the Taiwan Strait, my response is simple: it’s the South China Sea, stupid,” Zhou, now a senior fellow at the Centre for International Security and Strategy at Tsinghua University, wrote.

PLA scrambles fighter jets after detecting foreign warplanes over South China Sea

Citing the stand-off between a PLA J-11 fighter jet and a US RC-135 surveillance plane on December 21, with the two aircraft flying within metres of each other, Zhou said the South China Sea was more dangerous than the Taiwan Strait, where both sides understood each other’s bottom lines.

Speaking to the Post, Zhou said the Chinese and US navies had conducted at least three joint exercises after they resumed talks in 1998, with the first taking place in the South China Sea in 2006. He suggested Beijing and Washington organise joint air force drills.

“Joint operations between the two countries’ air forces would ensure both sides’ good airmanship in air-to-air encounters, which will definitely reduce the risk of crash or conflict,” he said.

Expect more close calls, high tension in South China Sea in 202321 Jan 2023

The risk of conflict had increased with frequent US reconnaissance flights along China’s coast and a repeat of the 2001 collision between a US spy plane and a Chinese fighter jet near Hainan island could not be dismissed, Zhou added. The Chinese fighter pilot died in that incident and the US plane was forced to land on Hainan, where its crew was detained for 11 days.

“For over two decades, bilateral talks on risk reduction between the two militaries have been just tit-for-tat, focusing on safety versus security,” he wrote in the opinion piece, suggesting both sides come up with an agreement similar to the 1972 US-Soviet Incidents at Sea Agreement to reduce tensions.

That agreement was seen as a vital de-escalation move by the US and the former Soviet Union in the Cold War.

Stephen Burgess, a professor in the department of international security studies at the US Air War College, said a multilateral code of conduct could be useful to help reduce the ongoing tensions, and the Incidents at Sea Agreement had also played a role in the detente among the navies in the Baltic, Black and Mediterranean seas during the Cold War.

A Lockheed Martin Aeronautics recovery team prepares to drain fuel, oil and hydraulic fluids from the damaged US Navy EP-3 surveillance plane at Lingshui Airfield on Hainan island in June 2001. Photo: Handout

A Lockheed Martin Aeronautics recovery team prepares to drain fuel, oil and hydraulic fluids from the damaged US Navy EP-3 surveillance plane at Lingshui Airfield on Hainan island in June 2001. Photo: Handout

“Any Sino-US naval or air agreement would require an improvement in relations and restraint over Taiwan and the South China Sea,” he said. “A multilateral code of conduct would also help. The Cold War was more dangerous than the great power competition from 1946 to 1971 and 1978 to 1985. The detente period was less dangerous.”

But Drew Thompson, a visiting senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, questioned whether the model provided by the Incidents at Sea Agreement could offer a solution to the ongoing tensions between Beijing and Washington.

He said the US and Soviet Union began negotiating the Incidents at Sea Agreement after the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, when they came to the brink of war.

PLA strike group holds live-fire drills after US ships enter South China Sea16 Jan 2023

“The US and China are not in a state of cold war, and Chinese officials regularly denounce ‘cold war thinking’, so it is not a good historical comparison,” he said.

Thompson, who managed military-to-military relations when he served as director for China, Taiwan and Mongolia in the office of the US Secretary of Defence from 2011 to 2018, was also sceptical that the PLA Air Force would be willing or interested in staging joint air drills as the Chinese military might see the exercises as “accepting the presence of US surveillance flights”.

Chinese fighter jet almost collides with US military plane over South China Sea


Chinese fighter jet almost collides with US military plane over South China Sea

Chinese fighter jet almost collides with US military plane over South China Sea

He said that if PLA pilots did not fly professionally, it was “a huge risk”, and no confidence building measures or memorandums of understanding would prevent an incident.

To enhance political trust, Zhou suggested both sides allow each other’s ships to undertake reciprocal missions in their waters, meaning the PLA could follow its US counterpart and stage surveillance and reconnaissance operations in American waters, while China also needed to amend its maritime law to allow foreign vessels’ innocent passage in its territorial waters.

Thompson said the resumption of regular engagement between the two militaries in sea and air talks would be the most pragmatic solution since that would help prevent misunderstandings and misjudgments.

“The two sides can use the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement mechanism, and other policy dialogues, which have been suspended by the Chinese side, to explore new mechanisms that will hopefully not be held hostage to political differences,” he added.

Denise Collins in memory of Mark

Extreme cold in Afghanistan leaves more than 160 dead this month

More than 160 people have died from the cold in Afghanistan this month in the worst winter in more than a decade, authorities said on Thursday, as residents described being unable to afford fuel to heat homes in temperatures well below freezing.

“162 people have died due to cold weather since January 10 until now,” said Shafiullah Rahimi, a spokesperson for the Minister of Disaster Management. About 84 of the deaths had taken place in the last week.

The coldest winter in 15 years, which has seen temperatures dip as low as 34 C, has hit Afghanistan in the middle of a severe economic crisis.

Mark Collins served in Pakistan and also covered Afghanistan. He would have been so sad to see the current state of the country.

Posted in loving memory of Mark by his wife Denise

How Bad is the Shape the Bundeswehr is In?

Further to this tweet by one who knows (amongst other things) his military history (formatting of post not best, but did best I could),

Now the start of a couple of pieces at Deutsche Welle–is the German army capable of war-fighting on any scale? As Mr Schindler suggested one might well put one’s money on the Poles these days (a recent Politico story: “Meet Europe’s coming military superpower: Poland).

1) State of the Bundeswehr:

Is Germany’s military unfit for action?

Ben Knight

December 1, 2022

Following Russia’s attack on Ukraine, German leaders vowed to boost the Bundeswehr, by investing an extra €100 billion in equipment and taking on a leading role internationally. But so far, little seems to have happened.

Alarming headlines have appeared in the German media in recent days about the state of the country’s military, suggesting the Bundeswehr only has enough ammunition for two days of intense fighting — a figure apparently leaked by unnamed sources in defense circles. 

If this is true (and such information cannot be confirmed, as it is a state secret), German ammunition supplies are well below the standards expected by NATO, which requires each member to have 30 days’ worth of ammunition. To make up that shortfall alone, defense experts say Germany needs to invest €20 – €30 billion ($21 – $31 billion). 

There are plenty of other shortages. The state of the Bundeswehr’s equipment has long been a topic of concern: Stories about tanks and helicopters that needed repairing, rifles that don’t shoot properly, and soldiers having to train in the cold without thermal underwear have filled the media for years. 

Then, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced a “Zeitenwende” (turning of the times) which was hailed by many inside and outside Germany as a sea-change in the country’s approach to foreign policy and military strategy.

To prove he meant it, Scholz announced an increase in the annual defense budget, making it the largest in all of Europe, and a €100-billion one-off “special fund” to modernize the military. 

Blame game

Nine months later, some are wondering where that mountain of money is…

Do read on. 2) NATO’s secretary general comes to town to prod the Berlin bear:

NATO needs Bundeswehr ‘strong and ready,’ Stoltenberg says

Visiting Berlin, NATO’s Jens Stoltenberg has praised defense spending increases he described as “historic” but also called on Germany to keep pushing to reform and upgrade its rather sclerotic military, the Bundeswehr.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg was the keynote speaker at the Berlin Security Conference on Thursday [Dec. 1], using his address to praise Germany for its “strong support for Ukraine” and also its planned military reforms and increases in defense spending.

“I welcome Germany’s strong support for Ukraine, with significant financial, humanitarian and military aid, including advanced air defense systems and training for Ukrainian soldiers. We see the difference this makes every day on the battlefield,” Stoltenberg said.

He also acknowledged that this support “comes with a price,” saying that rising costs of living and food and energy prices were making life difficult for billions around the world. 

“But the price we pay is in money, while the price the Ukrainians pay is in blood,” Stoltenberg said. “If authoritarian regimes see that force is rewarded, we will all pay a much higher price and the world will become a more dangerous world for all of us.”

World needs a ‘strong and ready’ German military

Again, read on.

But how much has German public opinon really moved? How much will eventually be done and how rapidly. And if the Russians continue to be held and defeated, and if eventually a decent peace is agreed to, who will hold firm to re-arm, if one’s country is not Russia’s border?

Mark Collins

Twitter: @mark3ds

How to Rebalance the US Air Force’s Position in the Western Pacific to Deal With the PRC: The Kadena (Okinawa) Question

Further to this 2021 post,

US Air Force Planning vs PLA in Indo-Pacific

now extracts from from a “Commentary” at War on The Rocks on how to deal the growing missile threats from the “pacing” challenge–matters are not looking good for the US:

The Kadena Conundrum: Developing a Resilient Indo-Pacific Posture

Stacie L. Pettyjohn, Andrew Metrick, and Becca Wasser

The long-standing debate over whether the United States is prioritizing China and the Indo-Pacific region has reignited once more. The debate centers on U.S. posture — the forces, bases, and agreements that constitute America’s overseas military presence and make up the backbone of the U.S. Department of Defense’s deterrence strategies — in the Indo-Pacific. 

The U.S. Air Force decision in October 2022 to remove two squadrons of aging F-15C/D fighters at Kadena Air Force Base on the Japanese island of Okinawa and replace it with a temporary detachment to cover the Kadena fighter mission sparked a firestorm. The announcement was quickly followed by numerous criticisms leveled by members of the Congress as well as regional and defense experts, many of whom have called for augmented posture in the Indo-Pacific to deter Chinese aggression. Their arguments cite a misalignment between resources and strategic priorities. If China’s developing military power renders it the U.S. Department of Defense’s priority pacing challenge, then why is the Pentagon removing key air assets that could contribute to holding Beijing at bay rather than doubling down on strengthening regional posture?

The answer is not as simple as the critique, but it boils down to a core concept often overlooked in deterrence debates: resiliency. For forces to be combat credible and effectively contribute to deterrence, they need to be able to ride out an attack, survive, and then resume operations and generate combat power [emphasis added]. This is why the force-planning construct in the 2022 National Defense Strategy emphasizes a survivable future force and why nearly every military service has developed new operational concepts predicated on dispersed posture [emphasis added].

Kadena is uniquely ill-positioned for permanently basing large numbers of American aircraft, given the Chinese military’s large investment in long-range precision strike capabilities. The volume of fires that Chinese forces can direct against Kadena makes it more vulnerable to than other bases in the First Island Chain. While air bases are large targets that are difficult to permanently destroy, unprotected aircraft and ground support equipment are soft targets that can easily be destroyed. Submunitions can allow a single missile to damage multiple aircraft and key support equipment parked in the open.

The reduction in the forces based at Kadena is not a sign that the United States is abandoning Japan or the First Island Chain, but rather a prudent measure to reduce the vulnerability of forward based U.S. aircraft and increase their ability to conduct sustained combat operations. Moreover, it is an important step in changing U.S. military posture in the Indo-Pacific to be more resilient to meet the operational challenges posed by the growing Chinese military threat. The Pentagon should take this opportunity to provide the forces and resources required to evolve toward a distributed, survivable, and rotational posture in the Indo-Pacific that allows a rapid transition to a contingency footing [emphasis added]

Kadena: The Canary in the Coal Mine

Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. military has operated from airbases almost totally secure from air and missile attacks. The sanctuary era is long over, especially in the Indo-Pacific due to China’s acquisition of a large number of accurate long-range missiles and increasingly modern air forces. Conventionally armed Chinese missiles can range most American bases in the region, including Guam, but the level of the threat varies considerably and is directly tied to the base’s distance from China [emphasis added].

A simple firepower and density analysis, conducted by one of this article’s authors, of potential People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force firepower against three U.S. fighter bases in Japan — Kadena, Iwakuni, and Misawa — further differentiates the level of threat and shows that not all airbases in the First Island Chain are created equal. Kadena is in a particularly vulnerable and unenvious position, as the thousands of short-range missiles that China has stockpiled to attack Taiwan can also reach Okinawa [emphasis added]. Given China’s greater investment in short-range missiles over more expensive long- and medium-range missiles, short-range missiles present a threat with greater magazine depth.

To geolocate the Chinese rocket forces, we used CASI’s recently published analysis of Chinese missile bases with the DF-11, DF-16, DF-17, DF-21, CJ-10, and DF-100. We did not consider the DF-26 as it would likely be reserved for more distant targets. With the exception of the DF-100, missile ranges were taken from the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Missile Threat website.

In the largest single salvo that Beijing could fire at any one of the three bases, China has 252 short- and medium-range ballistic and cruise missile launchers that can reach Kadena, 126 that can strike Iwakuni, and 36 that can reach Misawa. The 2021 China Military Power Report indicates that Chinese rocket forces have approximately 4 short-range ballistic missile rounds per launcher and 2.4 medium-range ballistic missiles rounds per launcher. This means that that Kadena could face multiple salvos of this scale. 

No location in the theater is completely safe, but being farther away from China is better for American forces. Kadena is the closest U.S. air base to the Chinese coastline and faces twice as many People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force missiles than the next closest U.S. fighter base Iwakuni. If forces are moved from Kadena to Misawa, the number of Chinese missiles is reduced by 86 percent.

Dont Simply Replace, Reshape Posture

The U.S. Air Force should not leave Kadena entirely. It remains a valuable location for routine peacetime reconnaissance and surveillance operations in the East and South China Seas, and it could potentially be a useful in the latter stages of a war once China’s missile inventory is depleted. It is also an important symbol of the American commitment to Japan’s defense. However, Japan and other allies need to understand that the Department of Defense will not prevail in a war against China if it loses too many forces in the first few days. Dispersing American forces beyond the heart of the Chinese missile threat increases their ability to absorb an opening blow and to continue to effectively operate, which should be reassuring to allies and worrying to adversaries. 

The retirement of the F-15C/Ds enables American posture to evolve, permanently stationing fewer aircraft at a highly vulnerable base and reducing the concentration of U.S. forces in the region to improve U.S. posture in the First Island Chain. There is a large body of analysis that demonstrates the value of dispersion and the improvements it would produce for force survivability. To enable this, the Pentagon needs to make investments in passive defenses and a distributed network of near and far bases. Thus far, efforts have focused on building up distant bases by improving defenses at Guam; upgrading an airbase on Tinian: augmenting support facilities in Darwin; and expanding an airfield at Tindal. Such distant bases are essential for tanker and bomber operations [emphasis added, note this post: “Upping the US Military Down Under“]

But the United States cannot win a war by fighting only from long-range. The Air Force’s fleet is heavily weighted towards short-range fighter aircraft. Operating from distant bases would not allow the undersized bomber force and short-range fighter fleet, heavily dependent on vulnerable aerial refueling, to generate enough mass to defeat a large-scale attack. Therefore, the United States must also distribute its fighters across Japan and the Philippines, which requires making improvements to the near bases in these countries. Because aircraft are highly responsive and can deploy from the United States on relatively short notice, their presence does not need to be continuous, but adequate air base installations do need to be in place to support them. The United States has access to five airbases in the Philippines but has not built the infrastructure needed at these locations to support American air operations [emphasis added]

…At times, the Air Force should surge in additional squadrons along to demonstrate agile combat employment at scale. This approach exercises the logistics and force flow activities needed in any contingency scenario. If the old adage is that you fight like you train, rotational activities will allow the Air Force to do just that…

Bringing Our Friends Along

This new model will only truly work if the United States socializes it with our allies and partners. These activities must be paired with thoughtful diplomatic efforts to explain their value to key U.S. allies and partners — including Japan — and get them on board with the new approach. Ultimately, it will take the United States and its allies and partners working together to deter China, the goal of integrated deterrence. That means Japanese Air Self-Defense forces may take primary role defending their airspace from threats, freeing up U.S. aircraft to conduct other missions. Temporary access to additional bases for dispersed operations is also needed in Japan as well as access for American ground-based missile units. Further afield, developments to infrastructure at bases in the Philippines and Australia must be made in order to provide additional bases for dispersal and add resiliency to U.S. distributed operations. 

This new approach to posture is just as much of a change for American allies as it is for the United States itself…

Change is often difficult but necessary. As counterintuitive as it seems, removing the F-15C/Ds from Kadena is an opportunity to positively change the balance of power in the First Island Chain by enhancing the resiliency of U.S. posture in the Indo-Pacific. This requires additional improvements to bases, prepositioning equipment, and regular rotations of smaller detachments of U.S. military forces to practice distributed operations. All of these steps will require additional resources and disciplined execution. Upgrading additional bases is not that expensive but has been habitually shortchanged because the services prefer to invest in force structure and Congress does not like spending money overseas. But rotational forces can be more expensive than permanently based ones and the bill for the logistics to support distributed operations will be sizable [emphasis added]. Finally, there will be opportunity costs as the Defense Department does not have enough forces to be everywhere. American leaders will need to prioritize the Indo-Pacific and resist the urge to reflexively deploy forces to the Middle East at each Iranian provocation. Building a combat credible force that can effectively resist Chinese aggression will not be cheap or easy. But if American forces are dispersed across bases in the First and Second Island Chains and fewer forces are at Kadena, they will be able to withstand attacks, recover, and undertake effective operations to defeat aggression.

Stacie Pettyjohn is a senior fellow and director of the defense program at the Center for a New American Security. 

Andrew Metrick is a fellow in the defense program at the Center for a New American Security. 

Becca Wasser is a senior fellow and lead of The Gaming Lab at the Center for a New American Security. 

Whole lot of work to be done, including bringing Congress and allies along. But at least the necessary thinking has been going on for a while. And can one hope that the PLA, which has not fought a top power since the Korean War (and was given a bloody nose by Vietnam in 1979) may prove not so hot should combat come, as the Russians have done in the Ukraine?

Mark Collins

Twitter: @mark3ds


Canada/PRC Relations Question of the Day, “Diplomats” Section (note UPDATE)

Why in the name of the mandate of heaven does our government allow Beijing to have so many “diplomats” here, at the Embassy in Ottawa and four consulates general at Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver? It’s a dead cert that a great many of of them are engaged in influence activities within the Chinese Canadian community and into Canadian politics at all levels, and in facilitating espionage. It is vital that PM Trudeau’s government cull their numbers. It’s not a terribly big deal (except to our foreign ministry) if the PRC retaliates by expelling a lot of our dips in China.

Note also this post: “Why Do We Still Allow Hong Kong to Have Quasi-Diplomatic Representatives in Canada?“. Now a tweet:

The piece by Charles Burton, on our new “Indo-Pacific Strategy,” is well worth the read. Plus two relevant recent posts:

Update on PRC’s Massive Foreign Interference in Canada

CCP’s United Front Work Department Planning in Plain Sight to Intervene in Canadian Elections (note UPDATE) [note Canada’s damp squib new “Indo_Pacific Strategy” in “Comments”]

UPDATE: When will we make some expulsions?

Under the international Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, such consular and administrative services are supposed to be conducted by embassies and consulates.

And under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, diplomats in foreign countries are supposed to perform only the work for which they are accredited. And they have “a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs” of the countries where they are posted…

No paywall at link on tweet below

(Photo at top of the post is of PRC consulate general in Vancouver.)

Mark Collins

Twitter: @mark3ds

Critical Minerals, or, Plans for Mining in Ontario’s “Ring of Fire” to be Slowly Snuffed Out?

(Caption for photo at top of the post: “The remote Ring of Fire region, located 550 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, has been touted by the Ontario government as a key part of its plan to produce battery metals domestically.”)

Further to this post a few days ago,

Critical Minerals and Batteries: Canada Likely to Remain a Minnow in Supply Chain

it now looks like PM Trudeau’s oh so green government have little real commitment to exploiting these resources (but note Pentagon interest, around the middle of the quote below); there appears to be a growing federal/Ontario mine gap. The story below is a bit of a scoop by the Globe and Mail’s first rate mining reporter (mining stocks, Canadian and foreign, are the backbone of the major Canadian stock exchange, the TSX in Toronto):

Top federal government official casts doubt on Ontario’s Ring of Fire mining development

Niall McGee

A top Canadian federal government official has raised doubts about whether Ontario’s Ring of Fire region will ever be developed, pouring cold water on a critical minerals project that the provincial government has championed and the United States administration has expressed interest in funding.

Jeff Labonté, assistant deputy minister for lands and minerals at Natural Resources Canada, told senior leadership at the Neskantaga First Nation in a meeting on Nov. 17 that it’s possible no mines will be built in the region, and that there is no guarantee Ottawa will ever come forward with the roughly $1-billion in funding needed for development to proceed.

Mr. Labonté joined Natural Resources Canada in 1993 and is the government’s foremost expert on critical minerals.

His skepticism comes as a key environmental study in the Ring of Fire faces a multiyear delay, and during a standoff between Ottawa and the Ontario government over funding [emphasis added].

The Globe and Mail learned about Mr. Labonté’s doubts from Dayna Scott, an associate professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, who was in the same meeting [that scoop]. She was there as a policy and strategic research adviser to Neskantaga, a Northern Ontario First Nation that would be affected by mining development in the Ring.

Speaking to The Globe on Friday, Mr. Labonté said a message he wanted to convey to Neskantaga about the Ring of Fire was that “it may be that projects go forward; it may be that they won’t.”

Located 550 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, the remote Ring of Fire has been touted by the Ontario government as a key part of its plan to produce battery metals domestically, of which Premier Doug Ford is among the most ardent champions [emphasis added].

The region’s mineral deposits were discovered in 2006. Mining companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars since then, but no mines have been built. Completely cut off from provincial infrastructure, the Ring of Fire has no roads or electricity, and is situated in a giant swamp. James Franklin, a former chief scientist with the Geological Survey of Canada, told The Globe in 2019 that the Ring is “about the worst place you can think of” to build a mine [emphasis added].

Backed by Australian resource billionaire Andrew Forrest, Wyloo Metals Pty Ltd. paid more than half a billion dollars earlier this year to buy Noront Resources Ltd., which controlled several early-stage Ring of Fire mining projects. Wyloo is betting that its Eagle’s Nest project will one day produce battery-grade nickel for Ontario’s nascent electric car industry. Earlier this month, The Globe reported that Wyloo executives had met with the United States Department of Defence, which has signalled interest in providing funding for Eagle’s Nest [emphasis added, no paywall at precding link]].

…Mr. Labonté pointed to significant obstacles that must be overcome before any mine can be built, including lengthy consultation with First Nations about development, and various environmental studies that are years in the making and nowhere near a conclusion [some enthusiasm]

Mr. Labonté toldThe Globe he reassured the chief that the federal government doesn’t take the same forceful approach to mining development [as the Ontario government], and that it will work with local communities and Indigenous groups and make sure proper regulatory processes are followed.

“We don’t see bulldozers and the inevitability of that … as necessarily how things are going to happen,” Mr. Labonté said…

The federal government hasn’t committed any funding toward the estimated $2-billion cost of building a road linking the mining camp in the Ring of Fire to the provincial highway network some 300 kilometres to the south. The road and other vital infrastructure must be in place before mining can begin. Ontario has pledged to spend almost $1-billion on roads to the region, and has implored Ottawa to step up with matching funds [emphasis added].

In April, the federal government earmarked $1.5-billion over the next eight years for infrastructure to support critical minerals in Canada. But Mr. Labonté told Neskantaga that the Ring of Fire is just one of many Canadian critical minerals projects that could receive funding from that envelope, and that the federal government is under no obligation to fund mining in the region [more of that enthusiasm]

In 2020, Jonathan Wilkinson, the federal Minister of Natural Resources, ordered that a larger environmental study be carried out on the way mining development would affect the entire region. That regional assessment hasn’t begun yet. None of the stakeholders have been able to reach consensus on the terms of the study.

On. And on. And on…until the party’s over? Unless there is a new federal government?

And how much will simple mining mean in the bigger batteries/electric vehicles supply chain and actual manufacturing? An earlier post.

Mining Minerals in Northern Ontario (if these projects even happen) Has Little to Do with Battery, Electric Vehicle Production in the Province

On verra.

Mark Collins

Twitter: @mark3ds

Canada’s Afghans Left Behind, Canadian Embassy Section

(Caption for photo at top of the post, from this story: “The entrance gate of the Canadian Embassy is pictured after its evacuation in Kabul on Sunday [Aug. 15, 2021–we were talking back then about getting our helpers out, see the story. Sigh and fie]. (Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images”.)

Further to this August post,

Poor Afghans and Canada’s Heartless (in this case), Hapless Refugee System (note UPDATE cartoon)

it illustrates how heartless our government and foreign ministry have been that the person noted in the letter below (and other local embassy staff and their immediate families) were not evacuated along with Canadian members of the mission. A letter now at the Globe and Mail from a former deputy head of that mission, more on her after the quote; many of our diplomats everywhere must (they certainly should) feel ashamed of our country’s conduct:

In limbo

Re Afghans Stuck In Pakistan Fear Canada Has Abandoned Them (Nov. 25): Personally I am most concerned with the fate of a former employee of the Canadian embassy in Kabul. He was the first local staff member we hired. He met the criterion of being directly engaged and paid by the government of Canada. As our political analyst, he provided sensitive and confidential information to the ambassador, our defence attaches, visiting MPs and senators.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada views his requests for asylum over the past 1.5 years only as an “expression of interest.” Its website says he must wait to receive an “invitation to apply.” Only then may his case be considered and he be given a positive or negative reply.

He and his family remain trapped and certainly abandoned by Canada in Kabul. He has been threatened several times by the Taliban.

He is one of many whose requests for asylum remain in limbo.

Eileen Olexiuk Former deputy head of mission, Canadian embassy, Kabul Ottawa

In 2002 Ms Olexiuk was our first diplomat in post-Taliban Afghanistan; an ambassador, Chris Alexander, then arrived in 2003. Ms Olexiuk served there until 2005.

A very relevant post last year:

Trudeau says: “F..k our Afghans” [as I see it]

That man just oozes empathy, eh? See also this 2021 post:

The Remnants of Canadian Diplomacy in Kabul (with video)

Mark Collins

Twitter: @mark3ds