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- 05/24/18--12:05: _Defense Secretary M...
- 05/25/18--07:24: _Trump cuts North Ko...
- 05/29/18--04:15: _Trump's letter to K...
- 05/29/18--06:53: _China's J-20 stealt...
- 05/31/18--04:04: _Kremlin responds to...
- 05/31/18--07:56: _Trump is waiting on...
- 05/31/18--10:10: _F-35 embarrassed by...
- 06/01/18--03:09: _US disregards Beiji...
- 06/01/18--14:55: _The US denied Turke...
- 06/05/18--07:51: _China just showed i...
- 06/05/18--11:28: _The US flew B-52s b...
- 06/06/18--07:04: _These haunting phot...
- 06/07/18--05:04: _Putin gave an omino...
- 06/08/18--02:31: _US to intensify Afg...
- 06/11/18--03:35: _Kim Jong Un has a m...
- 06/12/18--02:55: _Trump pitched peace...
- 06/12/18--04:28: _It looks like China...
- 06/12/18--07:36: _Trump emerges from ...
- 06/12/18--13:01: _Confusion erupts ov...
- 06/14/18--02:58: _Trump emerges as a ...
- President Donald Trump on Thursday cancelled a planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
- The decision put North Korea and the US back to more warlike footing, and while its outcome remains to be seen, the consequences of war are well understood.
- Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis described what a war with North Korea would look like back in June, 2017, calling it "more serious in terms of human suffering " than any war in 65 years and saying the US would "win at great cost."
- President Donald Trump said Friday that he was in communication with North Korea.
- The June 12 summit he canceled on Thursday could still take place.
- This comes after North Korea walked back some of its hardline rhetoric.
- "We're talking to them now," Trump said. "It was a very nice statement they put out. We'll see what happens."
- President Donald Trump's letter to Kim Jong Un canceling the two leaders' planned summit on North Korean denuclearization whipped the region into a flurry of activity.
- Trump cited North Korean hostility as his reason for pulling the plug on the meeting.
- After that, Kim was notably calm in a meeting with the president of South Korea.
- Now a high-level but infamous North Korean official is headed to the US, marking a real test of the nascent diplomatic bridge between the two countries.
- China recently made history as the first country besides the US to field stealth aircraft with its J-20 fighter.
- But the Indian Defence Research Wing says its Russian-made Su-30MKI fighter jets can spot the supposedly-stealth J-20s.
- Unlike the US's F-22 and F-35 stealth jets, the J-20 doesn't have all aspect stealth.
- President Donald Trump's administration is in diplomatic overdrive with three separate negotiations playing out around the US and Asia.
- He still appears to have little idea what's going on with North Korea.
- Asked point blank if the June 12 summit was even on, Trump said only that the preparations "are in good hands."
- Trump's State Department also seemed not to know, or even to know what North Korea wanted or was willing to do in the talks.
- Trump said he expects to get a letter from Kim Jong Un on Friday that could clear up some details.
- The actor Tom Cruise tweeted a teaser for the long-awaited sequel to the movie "Top Gun" on Thursday — and in doing so, he wandered into one of the most heated debates in modern combat aviation and delivered a savage burn to the F-35.
- The F-35C, the US Navy's long overdue, massively expensive new carrier aircraft, is nowhere to be seen. Instead, the F-18 Super Hornet, the F-35's main competitor, can be seen.
- It's an embarrassment to the F-35 program that mounting setbacks have pushed it out of a potentially massive public-relations boost and that the boon instead went to its older competitor.
- The US warned Beijing on Thursday that it could take out its islands in the South China Sea as military tensions in the important waterway heat up.
- China has flatly denied any militarization of its artificial South China Sea islands, even as it deploys missiles and lands nuclear-capable bombers there.
- Increasingly, China is bullying its neighbors and taking small acts of military force against US allies.
- The US has already said it won't stand for the Chinese Communist Party's doublespeak and has a legal case for using military force to protect freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.
- The US Senate passed a defense spending bill recently that sought to prevent Turkey from getting 100 F-35 stealth jets, and now it could turn to Russia for the Su-57.
- Turkey has already agreed to buy one Russian weapons system, the S-400 missile defenses, which could give Moscow a window into NATO's defenses, which would be a nightmare for the alliance.
- The Su-57 and Turkey's embrace of Russian military equipment both pose serious threats to NATO and its aircraft.
- China released images of a new, unmanned, stealth-fighter-style jet, and they present a shocking look into how close Beijing has come to unseating the US as the dominant military air power.
- An expert who examined the pictures said the drone, called the "Dark Sword," could give China a big advantage in a fight with the US.
- The Dark Sword looks like an unmanned stealth fighter jet that could overwhelm the US with quantity and supersonic speed.
- The US thought about making a jet like this, but instead turned it into a tanker, and now it could be falling behind.
- The US has made a bold move in countering Beijing's growing dominance in the South China Sea by flying B-52 nuclear-capable bombers over disputed islands.
- The flight of the B-52s follows the US using tougher language against China as Beijing dominates the waterway and bullies its neighbors.
- The flight could mark a clear escalation in the growing tensions in the South China Sea.
- 06/06/18--07:04: These haunting photo overlays capture the horrors of D-Day
- Russian President Vladimir Putin's annual call-in question show contained an ominous warning about World War III.
- Putin quoted Albert Einstein to say that World War III would result in the end of civilization as we know it.
- Putin has the nuclear arsenal to end civilization unilaterally.
- In 2014 he annexed Crimea from Ukraine in a move resembling the run-up to World War II.
- But the US has nuclear weapons of its own that have served as deterrence.
- Kim Jong Un, who is believed to be no older than 35, could rule over North Korea for the next 50 years.
- This gives him a massive advantage over President Donald Trump, who has at most eight years in office, and means Kim can play the long game.
- But rather than burn Trump and the US on a bad deal for short-term benefits, Kim may actually look to embrace the US to balance against China.
- China is already a massive power in Asia and set to overtake the US as the world's biggest power.
- Kim has given signs that he wants to resist Beijing's influence — and the US can help him there.
- Who will be in the room when Trump meets Kim Jong Un
- Kim Jong Un has a massive advantage over Trump in the talks — but he could turn it against China
- We asked South Koreans what they think will come out of the Trump-Kim summit, and they were surprisingly optimistic
- Opinion: 6 critical questions we need to ask about the Trump-Kim summit before calling it a success or failure
- Kim Jong Un's high school teacher says the North Korean leader probably knows English and just pretends not to
- Trump and Kim Jong Un are staying in hotels less than a half-mile apart, and this map shows how they're basically neighbors
- Kim Jong Un's internet-famous bodyguards have been seen jogging in formation around his car in Singapore — here's everything we know about them
- Analysis: Trump is pushing for North Korea's denuclearization, but Kim has his own agenda
- Donald Trump commissioned a Hollywood-style video hyping peace in Korea to show Kim Jong Un.
- It was released to the media at a press conference on Tuesday.
- It features epic shots and frames Kim as a potential "hero of his people" who can "remake history."
- Trump said that Kim and his aides "loved" watching it, and hoped they would make it a reality.
- President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that the US and South Korea would stop joint military drills after meeting Kim Jong Un.
- But the Pentagon and South Korea haven't heard anything about it, even though China apparently has.
- US military forces in Korea have not received any direction to cease joint military drills, a spokesman said on Tuesday.
- The US has long resisted calls to suspend military drills, even when offered a freeze in North Korean missile and nuclear testing in return.
- It traditionally asserted that bilateral, planned, and transparent military drills are legal while North Korea's nuclear program is not.
- President Donald Trump emerged from his summit with Kim Jong Un with fresh hopes for peace in Korea — and a full-blown North Korea apologist.
- An estimated 100,000 North Koreans live in political prisons in conditions on par with the inhumanity of Nazi German death camps. All North Koreans live oppressed in their self-expression by Kim's government.
- Trump not only sidelined talk about North Korea's human-rights record — he offered apologies for Kim, saying Kim had just done what he had seen done and loved his people.
- President Donald Trump expressed intent to no longer conduct "very provocative" joint military exercises with South Korea.
- A top Republican senator claims Vice President Mike Pence backtracked that commitment in a closed-door meeting Tuesday, which Pence's office disputed.
- The senator then clarified Pence's comments.
- North Koreans are getting a new look at U.S. President Donald Trump now that his summit with leader Kim Jong Un is over and it's a far cry from the "dotard" label their government slapped on him last year.
- The state media's representation of the summit and Trump is extremely important because it gives the North Korean population, which has only limited access to other news sources, an idea not just of what's going on but also of how the government expects them to respond.
- The post-summit transformation of North Korea's official version of Trump shows he's now being portrayed by the state media looking serious and almost regal.
President Donald Trump on Thursday cancelled a planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and in the very same statement responded to nuclear threats from Pyongyang with barbs of his own.
While Trump left the door open for future talks, the death of the summit plunged the world into a realm of unknowns, but of all the possible outcomes for North Korea, the consequences of war are well understood.
Asked in June, 2017 by Rep. Tim Ryan of the House Appropriations Committee to explain why the US doesn't just go to war to stop North Korea from developing the capability to hit the US, Secretary of Defense James Mattis painted a grim scenario.
"I would suggest that we will win," Mattis said. "It will be a war more serious in terms of human suffering than anything we've seen since 1953.
"It will involve the massive shelling of an ally's capital, which is one of the most densely packed cities on earth," Mattis said of Seoul, South Korea, which boasts a metro-area population of 25 million.
"It would be a war that fundamentally we don't want," Mattis said, but "we would win at great cost."
Mattis explained that because the threat from North Korea loomed so large and a military confrontation would destroy so much, he, President Donald Trump, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had all made a peaceful solution a top priority.
Mattis said the topic of North Korea dominated Trump's meeting in April with President Xi Jinping of China, North Korea's only ally, and that the US intended to make China understand that "North Korea today is a strategic burden, not a strategic asset."
China argues it has limited influence on Pyongyang, but as one expert explained, Beijing could at any moment cripple North Korea through trade means, forcing it to come to the negotiating table.
Mattis made clear that the US was nearing the end of its rope in dealing with North Korea, saying: "We're exhausting all possible diplomatic efforts in this regard."
North Korea recently taunted Trump by saying it was capable of hitting New York with a nuclear missile, but Mattis said a war today would hurt our Asian allies.
"It would be a serious, a catastrophic war, especially for innocent people in some of our allied countries, to include Japan most likely," Mattis said.
President Donald Trump told White House pool reporters on Friday that he was talking to North Korea and that the summit between him and Kim Jong Un that he canceled Thursday could still take place.
Earlier, Trump tweeted praise of North Korea for what he called a "warm and productive" statement that walked back some of Pyongyang's hardline chatter from the days before.
"We'll see what happens," Trump said Friday when asked whether the summit was still on. "We're talking to them now. It was a very nice statement they put out. We'll see what happens."
"It could even be the 12th," Trump said of summit, which had been scheduled for June 12. "They very much want to do it. We'd like to do it. We're going to see what happens."
Though Trump cited "tremendous anger and open hostility" from Pyongyang as his reason for canceling the summit, he left the door open for future summits or reconciliation, telling Kim in a letter that he could write or call him at any time.
Now it seems North Korea has changed its tune, and Trump is sticking to his word and considering going through with the summit.
As far as the diplomatic back-and-forth that derailed what would have been a historic meeting between a US and North Korean leader, Trump seemed understanding.
"Everybody plays games," Trump said.
While Trump has expressed openness to revisiting the summit, he also warned on Thursday that the US military, South Korea, and Japan all stood ready to respond to any "foolish or reckless" behavior from North Korea.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday praised the "solid response" to a letter he set North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in which he canceled a planned summit between the two leaders.
After Trump sent the letter on Thursday, many of Asia's top negotiators spent the weekend in a flurry of diplomatic activity with the goal of saving the summit, which had been scheduled for June 12 in Singapore.
"We have put a great team together for our talks with North Korea,"Trump tweeted on Tuesday. "Meetings are currently taking place concerning Summit, and more. Kim Young Chol, the Vice Chairman of North Korea, heading now to New York. Solid response to my letter, thank you!"
When Trump called off the summit, citing North Korean anger and hostility, it came as a shock to US allies and journalists alike.
Two days later, Kim had a surprise meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, an attempt to get the summit back on track.
In talking to South Korea, North Korea seemed to put aside its anger and recent hostility, agreeing to attend meetings with Seoul it had canceled in protest of US-South Korean military exercises. It also reaffirmed its aim for denuclearization.
Notably present at the meeting was Kim Yong Chol, a high-ranking official with ties to North Korea's spy service.
Kim Yong Chol has been singled out for sanctions by the US. He is accused of masterminding an attack on a South Korean navy ship that killed 46 people and of involvement in the 2014 cyberattack on Sony Pictures.
If Kim Yong Chol arrives in New York, it will represent the highest-level North Korean to visit the US since 2000, NK News reported.
It would also give Trump a chance to hear from a North Korean official without South Korean figures mediating the message.
"At best, this will give US officials a better understanding of North Korea's position and steer the summit in a more realistic direction," a former State Department Korea Desk officer, Mintaro Oba, told NK News. "At worst, tense meetings will cloud or poison the atmosphere, calling the summit into question once again. It's hard to tell which direction is more plausible right now.
"We can also probably expect that some in Washington may raise concerns about the optics of meeting with an official with Kim Yong Chol's past of provocations."
But Trump's team, previously thought to be unprepared for the summit, also saw a big change over the weekend.
The US ambassador to the Philippines, Sung Kim, traveled to North Korea for talks over the weekend. He took part in denuclearization talks with North Korea a decade ago and is highly regarded in that capacity.
With the summit's originally scheduled date now less than two weeks away, Trump's letter to Kim has whipped the region into a flurry of activity that appears for now to have saved diplomacy.
China recently made history as the first country besides the US to field stealth aircraft with its J-20 fighter, but reports from its regional rival, India, indicate that it may want to go back to the drawing board.
The Indian Defence Research Wing says its Russian-made Su-30MKI fighter jets can spot the supposedly-stealth J-20s, and has already observed them in flight.
Indian Air Force Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa said the "Su-30 radar is good enough and can pick it (J-20) up from many kilometers away,"according to Indian news website Zee News.
India has been basing its Su-30MKIs in the northern part of the country to counter China's deployments of J-20s, which struggle to take off in the high altitudes near Tibet, Zee News reported.
The Su-30MKI represents a new and effective Russian jet with an advanced array of radars that Justin Bronk, an air combat expert at the Royal United Services Institute told Business Insider could probably spot the J-20.
"It is entirely possible that the Su-30MKI can pick up track information on J-20 from quite long ranges," Bronk said. "But what I would expect is that those tracks may be fairly intermittent and dependent on what headings the J-20 is flying on relative to the Sukhoi trying to detect it."
Bronk explained that unlike the US's F-22 and F-35 stealth jets, the J-20 doesn't have all-aspect stealth. This means that from some angles, the J-20 isn't stealthy. A senior stealth scientist previously told Business Insider the J-20 is stealthiest from the front end.
If China was flying the J-20s in any direction besides towards India, the Su-30MKI radars could have been spotting the jets from their more vulnerable sides.
"Also, it is possible that the Chinese are flying the J-20 with radar reflectors attached to enlarge and conceal its true radar cross section during peacetime operations — just as the USAF routinely does with the F-22 and F-35," said Bronk.
For safety and training purposes, stealth aircraft often fly with markers that destroy their stealth during peacetime maneuvers.
If this is the case with the J-20s, then India may be in for an unpleasant surprise next time it tries to track the supposedly stealth jets.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin said on Thursday it was glad Russian dissident journalist Arkady Babchenko was alive, but that the staging of his death was strange to say the least.
Babchenko who was reported murdered in Kiev dramatically reappeared alive on Wednesday in the middle of a briefing by the Ukrainian state security service about his own killing.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow still considered Ukraine a dangerous place for journalists to work.
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President Donald Trump's administration is in diplomatic overdrive with three separate negotiations playing out around the US and Asia — but he still appears to have little idea what's going on with an on-again, off-again summit with North Korea.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Thursday with infamous North Korean Vice Chairman Kim Yong Chol in New York City, where Kim promised Trump would get a letter from Kim Jong Un on Friday.
In Singapore, journalists are being shut out of meetings to plan the logistics of the summit that is set to take place in less than two weeks.
In the demilitarized border zone between North and South Korea, US officials and North Koreans are meeting to set the agenda.
"Very good meetings with North Korea," Trump tweeted of the talks. But asked point blank if the June 12 summit was even on, he still didn't know, and only that the preparations "are in good hands."
Trump's State Department also didn't seem to have many details. Asked if the US expects North Korea take concrete steps towards denuclearization, as the US has demanded, an unnamed official at a briefing couldn't answer.
"Between now and if we’re going to have a summit, they’re going to have to make clear what they’re willing to do," the official said, 13 days away from the proposed summit.
"So, again, we’re still waiting for the North Koreans to agree to disarm," arms control expert Jeffrey Lewis responded to the State Department on Twitter.
Trump has been criticized for his disorganized approach to the meeting and accepting the summit, which experts assess was a clear diplomatic offensive from Kim.
On Friday, when Trump gets his letter from Kim, perhaps the world will know if the meeting is on or off — at least for the time being.
The actor Tom Cruise on Thursday tweeted a teaser for the long-awaited sequel to the movie "Top Gun"— and in doing so, he wandered into one of the most heated debates in modern combat aviation and delivered a savage burn to the F-35.
The original "Top Gun" film was nothing short of a revelation for the US Navy. People around the US and the world saw fighter jets in a whole new light, and naval aviation recruitment shot up by 500%.
A new "Top Gun" movie, now 32 years after the first, could again spike interest in combat aviation at a time when the US military struggles to retain and attract top talent. But for the most expensive weapons system in history, it already looks like a bust.
Here's the poster for the new "Top Gun."
Notice anything? The F-35C, the US Navy's long overdue, massively expensive new carrier aircraft, is nowhere to be seen. Instead, the F-18 Super Hornet, the F-35's main competitor, can be seen.
The F-35 community was not thrilled.
"Everybody that's flown a fighter in the last 25 years, we all watched 'Top Gun,'" retired US Marine Corps Lt. Col. David Berke, who flew F-35s and actually attended the US Navy's Top Gun school, previously told Business Insider.
"Damn shame," Berke said in response to the new movie's choice of fighter. "I guess it will be a movie about the past!"
While experts agree that the F-35's carrier-based variant, the F-35C, and its vertical-takeoff sister, the F-35B, represent the future of naval aviation, they're just not ready for the big time yet.
The F-35B had its first operational deployment in 2018 in the Pacific, but the F-35C remains a ways off from adoption onto the US Navy's fleet of aircraft supercarriers. Persistent problems with launching the sophisticated airplane off a moving ship have pushed back the schedule and resulted in huge cost overruns.
Meanwhile, the F-18 Super Hornet continues to do the lion's share of combat-aviation work aboard aircraft carriers, and its maker, Boeing, has even offered an updated version of the plane that President Donald Trump entertained buying instead of the F-35.
In short, it's an embarrassment to the F-35 program that mounting setbacks have pushed it out of a potentially massive public-relations boost.
"It's a capable aircraft," retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula, the dean of the Mitchell Institute of Aerospace Studies, told Business Insider of the Super Hornet. "It's just last century's design."
He added: "It is a missed opportunity."
Berke pointed out that the producers of the new "Top Gun" may have gone with the Super Hornet over the F-35 because the Super Hornet has two seats, which could facilitate filming and possibly on-screen dynamics.
The popular aviation blog The Aviationist also pointed out that Cruise is holding an outdated helmet and that the photo does not appear to take place at the US Navy's Top Gun school. But Hollywood sometimes makes mistakes.
"Hollywood doesn't build movies around what makes sense — they build movies around what makes money," Deptula said.
But despite what might have come as a slight sting to F-35 boosters hoping a new film could help usher in what they call a revolution in combat aviation, both Berke and Deptula said they were looking forward to the film.
The US issued a stark warning to Beijing on Thursday, as Chinese militarization of the South China Sea creates a potential flashpoint in a longstanding battle for control of the Pacific.
For years, Beijing has dredged the South China Sea to build artificial islands in waters it claims as its territory.
Six of China's neighbors also lay claim to conflicting patches of the South China Sea. The body of water is home to natural resources, and trillions of dollars' worth of trade passes through every year.
In 2016, an international court ruled that China's claims to the precious waterway were illegal, but Beijing made a show of ignoring that ruling.
On Thursday, the US reminded China of a "historical fact." Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the director of the Joint Staff, said "the United States military has had a lot of experience in the Western Pacific, taking down small islands."
"We have a lot of experience, in the Second World War, taking down small islands that are isolated," McKenzie said. "So that's a — that's a core competency of the US military that we've done before. You shouldn't read anything more into that than a simple statement of historical fact."
The US has been the main challenger to China's maritime claims and in doing so has provoked the bulk of Beijing's rage, which is often expressed in a kind of doublespeak common for the Chinese Communist Party.
On Thursday, China's foreign ministry called US claims that Beijing was militarizing the islands "ridiculous" and compared them to "a case of a thief crying 'stop thief' to cover their misdeeds."
But on the same day, the Chinese state media detailed plans to prepare a military response to US interference.
The Global Times, a newspaper controlled by the Communist Party, wrote: "Aside from deploying defensive weapons on the Spratly Islands, China should build a powerful deterrence system, including an aerial base and a roving naval force and base."
"How can anyone argue with a straight face?" Bonnie Glaser, the director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Business Insider. "How can anyone say this is not militarization? It's a patent lie." She said the ranges and functions of missiles China placed on the islands pointed to a clear military utility.
The White House has addressed this kind of speak from China's Communist party before, calling it "Orwellian nonsense."
War is here, if you want it
Beijing's militarization of the South China Sea isn't just a potential threat to the region. Beijing is already using hard power to force out other countries and assert its dominance.
Most recently, on May 11 a Philippine navy ship was harassed by two Chinese vessels while trying to resupply Filipino marines in the disputed waters. A helicopter reportedly got dangerously close to the small, rubber Filipino ship and chased it off.
"If the Chinese start blocking supply operations," the Filipino marines "could starve," Glaser said.
The Philippines are a longtime US ally. The US has massive military bases there and a duty to protect it.
Glaser said this was the first time the actual Chinese navy had announced involving itself in a patrol of the waters, marking an escalation of conflicts.
"The other night, the president said if his troops are harmed, that could be his red line," President Rodrigo Duterte's national security adviser said of the South China Sea.
It's unclear whether Duterte would enforce that red line, but the legal case and practical need for military conflict in the South China Sea are there.
The US reminding China that it can destroy its islands there could be a sign of things to come as the Chinese Communist Party increasingly tries to flex its muscles against freedom of navigation.
The US Senate passed a defense spending bill recently that sought to prevent Turkey from getting the 100 F-35 stealth jets it ordered — and now Turkey could become the first buyer of Russia's Su-57 "stealth" jet killer.
The US and Turkey have a number of ongoing diplomatic beefs, including Turkey claiming that the US is harboring clerics that urged a 2016 coup and detaining US citizens, and the US is claiming Turkey is a hub of illicit financing.
But on the military side, Turkey, a NATO ally, poses another threat by buying Russia's S-400 missile defense system.
The S-400, one of the most advanced missile defense platforms around, is meant to engage and shoot down US jets, like the F-35, that rely on stealth.
Retired US Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula told Business Insider that NATO countries "don't want to be networking in Russian systems into your air defenses" as it could lead to "technology transfer and possible compromises of F-35 advantages to the S-400."
If Turkey owned the F-35 and the S-400, it would give Russia a window into NATO's missile defense network and the F-35's next-generation capabilities. Basically, as NATO is an alliance formed to counter Russia, letting Russia patch in would defeat the purpose and possibly blunt the military edge of the most expensive weapons system ever built.
So for now, it seems selling the F-35 to Turkey is out of the question, leaving another option for Turkey — Russia's Su-57 "stealth" fighter jet.
"I don't want to be too cavalier here," said Deptula of the prospect of Turkey buying Russia's jets, "but what a joke. You got to be kidding me."
One or the other
Deptula cited the poor reputation of Russian aircraft, its maintenance records, reliability, and their ability to network with NATO systems as reasons why buying Su-57s wouldn't make sense. Deptula is not alone in disapproving of the Su-57, as India backed out of its cooperation in the project.
"If they bought the Su-57s and the S-400, those steps are incompatible with them buying the F-35. It's going to be either or," said Deptula. "And given the track record of Russian advanced aircraft, not a good move."
But despite the unproven nature of Russia's new fighter jet, a close review of recent photos of the plane by Business Insider revealed it's a direct competitor for US stealth jets like the F-22 and F-35.
So Turkey getting Su-57s would, for military and diplomatic reasons, present a nightmare scenario for NATO's security.
China released images of a new, unmanned, stealth fighter-style jet, and they present a shocking look into how close Beijing has come to unseating the US as the dominant military air power.
China has already built stealth fighter jets that give US military planners pause, but the images of its new unmanned plane, named the "Dark Sword," suggest a whole new warfighting concept that could prove an absolute nightmare for the US.
Justin Bronk, an air-combat expert at the Royal United Services Institute, said the Dark Sword "represents a very different design philosophy" than US unmanned combat jet plans.
Bronk examined the photos available of the Dark Sword and concluded it appeared optimized for fast, supersonic flight as opposed to maximized stealth.
"The Chinese have gone with something that has a longer body, so it's stable in pitch. It's got these vertical, F-22 style vertical stabilizers," which suggest it's "geared towards supersonic performance and fighter-style capability."
Though the US once led in designing drones, it was caught off guard by militarized off-the-shelf drones used in combat in the Middle East. Now, once again, the US appears caught off guard by China moving on the idea of an unmanned fighter jet — an idea the US had and abandoned.
The US is now pushing to get a drone aboard aircraft carriers, but downgraded that mission from a possible fighter to a simple aerial tanker with no requirement for stealth or survivability in what Bronk called a "strong vote from the US Navy that it doesn't want to go down the combat" drone road.
But a cliché saying in military circles rings true here: The enemy gets a vote.
A nightmare for the US
China, situated in the Pacific and surrounded to its east by US allies, has tons of airspace to defend. For that reason, a fast fighter makes sense for Beijing.
"Something like this could transit to areas very fast, and, if produced in large numbers without having to train pilots, could at the very least soak up missiles from US fighters, and at the very best be an effective fighter by itself," said Bronk. "If you can produce lots of them, quantity has a quality all its own."
In this scenario, US forces are fighting against supersonic, fearlessly unmanned fighter jets that can theoretically maneuver as well or better than manned jets because they do not have pilots onboard.
US left behind or China bluffing
Perhaps somewhere in a windowless room, US engineers are drawing up plans for a secret combat drone to level the playing field. Bronk suggested the US might feel so comfortable in its drone production that it could whip up a large number of unmanned fighters like this within a relatively short time.
Recent US military acquisition programs don't exactly inspire confidence in the Pentagon to turn on a dime. The US Air Force has long stood accused of being dominated by a "Fighter Mafia," or fighter-jet pilots insisting on the importance of manned aircraft at the expense of technological advancement, and perhaps air superiority.
Another possibility raised by Bronk was that China's Dark Sword was more bark than bite. Because China tightly controls its media, "We only see leaked what the Chinese want us to see," Bronk said.
"It may be they're putting money into things that can look good around capabilities that might not ever materialize," he said. But that would be "odd" because there's such a clear case for China to pursue this technology that could really stick it to the US military, Bronk said.
So while the US may have some secret answer to the Dark Sword hidden away, and the Dark Sword itself may just be a shadow, the concept shows the Chinese have given serious thought when it comes to unseating the US as the most powerful air force in the world.
The US has made a bold move in countering Beijing's growing dominance in the South China Sea by flying B-52 nuclear-capable bombers over disputed islands — and it shows how the US and China may rapidly be approaching a showdown.
The flight of the B-52s, reported by CNN, follows China landing nuclear-capable bombers of its own on the islands and years of Beijing ignoring international law to bully its neighbors and seize control of the waterway that sees trillions in annual shipping and holds untold billions in natural resources.
It also follows Defense Secretary Jim Mattis calling out China at a conference in Singapore, according to CNN.
"China's militarization of artificial features in the South China Sea includes the deployment of anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles, electronic jammers, and more recently, the landing of bomber aircraft at Woody Island,"Mattis said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping swore at the White House with former President Barack Obama in 2015 that he would not militarize the islands, and continues to claim the islands have not been militarized despite the obvious presence of military equipment.
China now calls claims that the islands are militarized "ridiculous," but Mattis wasn't having that.
"The placement of these weapons systems is tied directly to military use for the purposes of intimidation and coercion," said Mattis.
The B-52s flew within 20 miles of the Spratly Islands, which China claims for itself and has built military facilities on. But Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Taiwan also claim the islands, and China has repeatedly made a show of refusing to let international courts settle the matter.
The US has a lot of experience taking down small islands
Earlier in June, a top US general asserted the US military's power to act against threats to international order, saying "the United States military has had a lot of experience in the Western Pacific, taking down small islands."
In another rhetorical shift, the US military renamed its Pacific command "Indo-Pacific command" to emphasize India and advance a vision of the Pacific not dominated by China.
But China shows no sign of stopping its march to domination of the valuable waterway, recently using its navy to block out the Philippine navy from feeding its own troops on one of its holdings in the South China Sea.
China's dominance meets US resolve
In meetings with Vietnam and the Philippines, China has been understood to threaten force against the smaller countries if they undertake activity in their own, legally claimed waters.
When the US challenges Beijing's claims in the South China Sea, or any country's excessive maritime claims (the US challenged 22 nations in 2016), it usually does so with a US Navy destroyer.
The flight of the B-52s would mark a clear escalation and perhaps the beginning of US military actions matching its rhetoric.
Update: This post has been updated to reflect that the Pentagon confirmed the flights of the B-52s.
The D-Day invasion, code named Operation Overlord, was the largest seaborne invasion in history.
Almost 5,000 landing and assault craft accompanied by 289 escort vessels and 277 minesweepers from Canada, the US, Britain, and Australia took part in the operation. The Allies suffered 226,386 casualties, but it proved a decisive moment in the war.
Suddenly, the Nazis were fighting a two-front war in Europe, leading to a division in their forces across multiple flanks. But the cost of D-Day, in both human lives and devastation of the surrounding regions of France, was immense.
The following photos from Getty photographer Peter Macdiarmid show an amazing juxtaposition of images from the affected areas of modern France with photos of the invasion from 1944 overlaid on top.
Jeremy Bender composed an earlier version of this article.
Juno Beach on May 8, 2014, in Bernieres sur Mer, France, juxtaposed with a Canadian soldier at the head of a group of German prisoners of war, including two officers, on Juno Beach on June 6, 1944.
The old village fountain on May 7, 2014, in Sainte Marie du Mont, France, where a group of American soldiers stood on June 12, 1944.
A view of the roadway on May 7, 2014, in Saint Lo, France, where US Army trucks and jeeps once drove through.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Russian President Vladimir Putin's annual call-in question show on Thursday contained broad talk of improving Russia's economy and of the coming Russia-hosted World Cup — but also some ominous warnings about World War III.
Putin frequently frames his country as resisting Western aggression designed to hold back Russia, often citing Western sanctions.
The US and other Western countries sanctioned the Russian economy in 2014 over its illegal annexation of Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula on the Black Sea.
Asked about those sanctions on Thursday, Putin said they were "because Russia is seen as a threat, because Russia is seen as becoming a competitor."
"It is clear to us that we have to defend our interests and to do so consistently, not boorishly or rudely, in both the sphere of the economy and of defense," Putin said. "The pressure will end when our partners will be persuaded that the methods they are using are ineffective, counterproductive, and harmful to all."
Asked whether "nonstop" sanctions could lead to World War III, Putin pulled an Albert Einstein quote to deliver a dark warning.
"'I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones,'" he said, NBC News reports.
"A third world war could be the end of civilization," Putin went on, saying the high stakes "should restrain us from taking extreme steps on the international arena that are highly dangerous for modern civilization."
Perhaps more than any other country, Russia has the nuclear capability to end the world. With about 7,000 nuclear weapons making up the world's most diverse and destructive nuclear arsenal, Putin could unilaterally decide to embark on a civilization-ending war.
Additionally, by annexing Crimea, Putin changed land borders in Europe by force. In peacetime, that most recently happened in the run-up to World War II.
But Putin also gave a nod to the force keeping his nuclear and military ambitions in check: mutually assured destruction. Basically, if Putin decides to let nukes fly, the US is sure to respond in kind, destroying Russia as well.
"The threat of mutual destruction has always restrained participants of the international arena, prevented leading military powers from making hasty moves, and compelled participants to respect each other," he said.
Putin then said the US withdrawing from a ballistic-missile defense treaty would make Russia "respond."
So far, Putin's response has included building what experts call a nuclear "doomsday device," an underwater torpedo that could render large tranches of the world uninhabitable for decades.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The United States is looking to intensifying ongoing military operations against Islamic State militants in the eastern Afghanistan province of Nangarhar during a temporary ceasefire between the Afghan government and the Taliban, the top U.S. general in Afghanistan said on Friday.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday announced for the first time an unconditional ceasefire with the Taliban, coinciding with the end of the Muslim fasting month. But that excludes other militant groups such as Islamic State.
"(Operations against ISIS) will continue, in fact will be even intensified during this period of ceasefire as we focus on ISIS," U.S. Army General John Nicholson, commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, told reporters.
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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un holds a massive advantage over President Donald Trump heading into their historic summit planned for Tuesday, and whom he plays it against could shape the fate of the region for decades to come.
Kim is believed to be no older than 35. The Kim dynasty has held power for about 70 years in North Korea, with leaders serving until their deaths.
Kim's massive advantage over Trump, and even China, is that he could lead his country for another half a century. Trump, 71, is at the mercy of a US system that limits him to eight years in power at most.
Even Chinese President Xi Jinping, who abolished term limits to potentially extend his rule indefinitely, is 64 with no apparent successor.
As Trump himself has acknowledged, making an agreement with Kim could be easy. Even if North Korea is disingenuous and has no intention of getting rid of its nuclear arms, Kim could most likely get a deal with Trump to slowly remove the weapons and just wait out the clock until Trump leaves office.
But does Kim simply want to play Trump for sanctions relief? Or can the young leader outfox his older counterparts by playing the long game?
Many estimate that China, with its 1.4 billion citizens, will surpass the US in global dominance within Kim's lifetime. If Kim just wants to slam Trump with a raw deal and reap short-term benefits, he has a good opportunity to do so now.
A bad deal for the US, one that hastens or brings about the withdrawal of US troops from South Korea, would most likely accelerate the loss of US influence in the world's most populous region, thereby hastening the decline of the US as the world's superpower.
But that would also accelerate China's rise and upset the delicate balance Kim has struck between the US and China. Under Kim, Pyongyang has tried to distance itself from China and establish its independence.
"North Korea has no reason to believe that the US would be willing or able to defend it from China," Hugh White, an Australian defense strategist, told The New York Times. "Who in Pyongyang would believe that America could fight and win a land war against China on China's borders?"
On Monday, Pyongyang's state-run newspaper, one of the few outlets North Koreans can freely read, appeared to be laying the groundwork for a new, normalized relationship with the US.
The Korean dream
Korea is in many ways beholden to its geography. A peninsula caught between Russia, Japan, and China, Korea has spent its history fending off foreign powers.
The great vision of North Korea's Kim dynasty has always been an independent Korea that determines its own destiny without being steered by foreigners.
For that reason, Kim may seek to somewhat embrace the US as part of a delicate balancing act.
More on the Trump-Kim Summit:
Donald Trump played Kim Jong Un a Hollywood-style video hyping the prospect of peace, which cast Kim as its leading man.
The video, which Trump made public later that day at a press conference, made a dramatic pitch for the benefits of peace between the two nations. You can watch the English version above.
The film, credited to "Destiny Pictures" drew on the "in a world" and "one man, one choice" framing of Hollywood action movies.
It labored the comparison further by including credits for Trump and Kim like Hollywood stars. The dramatic voiceover framed Kim as a potential "hero of his people" with the chance to achieve "prosperity like he has never seen."
It includes a sweeping orchestral score, epic shots of earth from outer space, and horses galloping along the beach, interspersed with imagery of Kim and Trump.
According to President Trump, Kim "loved" the video, which he played in Korean to the North Korean leader and eight aides on an iPad at their private bilateral meeting.
Here is a transcript of the pivotal part of the video, which offers Kim the chance to "remake history."
"A new world can begin today. One of friendship, respect and goodwill. Be part of that world, where the doors of opportunity are ready to be open: investment form around the world, where you can have medical breakthroughs, an abundance of resources innovative technology and new discoveries.
"What if? Can history be changed? Will the world embrace this change? And when could this moment in history begin?
"It comes down to a choice. On this day, in this time, in this moment the world will be watching, listening, anticipating, hoping.
"Will this leader choose to advance his country, and be part of a new world? Be the hero of his people? Will he shake the hand of peace and enjoy prosperity like he has never seen?
"A great life, or more isolation? Which path will be chosen?
"Featuring President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un... in a meeting to remake history. To shine in the sun. One moment, one choice. What if? The future remains to be written."
Trump was asked a question about the video at the press conference, during which he said he commissioned the video as a way to sell peace to Kim.
"I showed it to him today, actually, during in meeting, towards the end of the meeting and I think he loved it. We didn’t have a big screen like you have the luxury of having, we didn't need it because we had it on a cassette, an iPad, and they played it and about eight of their representatives were watching it and I thought they were fascinated by it.
"I thought it was well done, I showed it to you because that’s the future, I mean, that could very well be the future. The other alternative is just not a very good alternative, it’s just not good.
"But I showed it because I really want him to do something."
He later said that the video showed a vision of "the highest level of future development," and that North Korea could also opt for "a much smaller version of this."
President Donald Trump said on Tuesday after meeting with Kim Jong Un that the US and South Korea would stop military drills — but it appears China knew about it before the Pentagon did.
US military forces in Korea have not received any direction to cease joint military drills, a spokesman said on Tuesday, Reuters notes.
The South Korean military issued a statement to NBC News saying: “Regarding President Trump’s comment regarding ending of the combined military drills..We need to find out the exact meaning or intention behind his comments at this point.”
Meanwhile, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said "Our suspension for suspension process is right and has been realised," a BBC correspondent in China reported.
The US has long resisted calls from North Korea and China for a "suspension for suspension," whereby the US would stop military drills in exchange for a freeze in North Korean missile and nuclear testing.
Historically, the US has asserted that the bilateral, planned, and transparent military drills are legal while North Korea's nuclear program is not, so it would be blackmail to suspend them for Pyongyang.
"USFK has received no updated guidance on execution or cessation of training exercises - to include this fall's schedule Ulchi Freedom Guardian," US Forces in Korea Lt. Col. Jennifer Lovett said in a statement seen by Reuters.
"In coordination with our ROK partners, we will continue with our current military posture until we receive updated guidance from the Department of Defense (DoD) and/or Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM)."
This is not the first time an announcement from Trump has caught the military off-guard. When Trump tweeted that transgender US citizens wouldn't be allowed to serve in the military, the Pentagon also had received no guidance.
President Donald Trump emerged from Tuesday's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, perhaps the most brutal abuser of humanity on the planet, with fresh hopes for peace in Korea.
And what stunned many observers was a shift in rhetoric that made Trump sound like a full-blown North Korea apologist.
An estimated 100,000 North Koreans live in political prisons on par with the inhumanity of Nazi German death camps. North Koreans can get locked up in these prisons for offenses as mild as listening to South Korean music.
Kim has personally watched his own people, and members of his own family, executed through savage means.
In his State of the Union address, Trump acknowledged this, calling North Korea "depraved" and shouting out a North Korean defector who had been abused by the regime.
But after meeting Kim on Tuesday, Trump shifted his tone.
"It's a rough situation over there — there's no question about it," Trump said of North Korea's human-rights abuses. "It's rough in a lot of places by the way, not just there."
In diplomacy, not every issue can be dealt with at once. Trump, as US president, has a responsibility to deal with North Korea's nuclear threat toward his people before he champions the rights of North Koreans. But in a media blitz after the summit, he brushed aside and deflected criticism of North Korea's human-rights record under Kim, calling Kim "funny,""smart," and "talented."
The UN said in 2014 that North Korea committed "systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights."Amnesty International puts North Korea in a category all its own with its abuses.
Asked in a press conference whether he had betrayed the 100,000 or so political prisoners, many of whom would live their lives caged for relatively mild criticism of Kim or deviations the regime's narratives, Trump tried to argue that he had actually helped them.
"I think I've helped them. Things will change. ... I think they are one of the great winners today,"Trump said, adding that "there's not much I can do right now."
Later, in an interview with Voice of America's Greta Van Susteren, Trump brushed off a contentious exchange about Kim's human-rights abuses.
"Really, he's got a great personality," Trump told Van Susteren. "He's a funny guy, he's very smart, he's a great negotiator. He loves his people, not that I'm surprised by that, but he loves his people."
“But he's starved them. He's been brutal to them. He still loves his people?" Van Susteren asked.
"Look, he's doing what he’s seen done, if you look at it," Trump said.
WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence's message to GOP senators during a closed door lunch at the National Republican Senatorial Committee on Tuesday created a mix up of what exactly President Donald Trump promised North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during initial negotiations in Singapore this week.
During the meeting, Trump offered to end the joint military exercise between the US and the South Korean government. Trump called the joint military exercises "very provocative" and dismissed them as a highly expensive practice for the US.
After Pence met with Republicans on Tuesday to brief them on the historic summit, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner told reporters that they were assured joint military exercises would continue.
But Pence's press secretary, Alyssa Farah, said otherwise, and that the vice president said no such thing during the policy lunch.
Gardner doubled down, writing on Twitter that Pence "was very clear: regular readiness training and training exchanges will continue."
Later, an aide to Pence told NBC that the bi-annual exercises would not continue, but regular training exercises would, and there is a "huge difference between the two." Gardner then went on to say that Pence said "while this readiness training and exchanges will occur, war games will not."
The meeting in Singapore produced a handful of commitments from the Kim regime, including a restated intent to denuclearize the Korean peninsula. However, there were no specifics offered on future plans, which will be a work in progress for the Trump administration if a deal is to be reached.
PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Koreans are getting a new look at U.S. President Donald Trump now that his summit with leader Kim Jong Un is over and it's a far cry from the "dotard" label their government slapped on him last year.
Previously, even on a good day, the best he might get was "Trump." No honorifics. No signs of respect. Now, he's being called "the president of the United States of America." Or "President Donald J. Trump."
Even "supreme leader."
The post-summit transformation of North Korea's official version of Trump, who's now being shown by the state media looking serious and almost regal, underscores the carefully choreographed reality show the government has had to perform to keep its people, taught from childhood to hate and distrust the "American imperialists," ideologically on board with the tectonic shifts underway in their country's relationship with Washington.
With a time lag that suggests a great deal of care and thought went into the final product, the North's state-run television aired its first videos and photos of the summit on Thursday, two days after the event and a full day after Kim returned home to Pyongyang, the capital.
To be sure, the star of the show was Kim. Trump's first appearance and the now famous handshake didn't come until almost 20 minutes into the 42-minute program.
To the dramatic, almost song-like intonations of the nation's most famous newscaster, the program depicted Kim as statesmanlike beyond his years, confident and polite, quick to smile and firmly in control. He was shown allowing the older American — Trump, in his seventies, is more than twice Kim's age — to lean in toward him to shake hands, or give a thumbs up, then walking a few steps ahead to a working lunch.
Before showing the two signing their joint statement, the newscaster said Trump made a point of giving Kim a look at his armored Cadillac limousine, and noted that it is known to Americans as "the Beast." She also at one point called them the "two supreme leaders" of their countries.
The image-heavy news of Kim's trip to Singapore was presented like a chronological documentary, starting with the red-carpet send off at the Pyongyang airport on, interestingly enough, a chartered Air China flight. That was followed by video of his motorcade making its way to the St. Regis Hotel in Singapore as throngs of well-wishers waved as though awaiting a rock star, and Kim's night tour of the city-state on the summit's eve.
The state media's representation of the summit and Trump is extremely important because it gives the North Korean population, which has only limited access to other news sources, an idea not just of what's going on but also of how the government expects them to respond.
For the average North Korean, the state media's coverage of Kim's diplomatic blitz this year must seem nothing short of astonishing.
After sending a top-level delegation that included his own sister to the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February, Kim has met twice each with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping and the state media have splashed all of the meetings across its front pages and newscasts — though generally a day after the fact to allow time to make sure the ideological tone is right and the images as powerful as possible.
In the run-up to the summit, the North's media softened its rhetoric so as not to spoil the atmosphere as Kim prepared to sit down with the leader of the country North Korea has maligned and lambasted for decades as the most evil place on Earth, other than perhaps Japan, its former colonial ruler.
It fired a few barrages against hard-line comments by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and National Security Adviser John Bolton and has stood ever critical of "capitalist values," but has kept direct references to Trump to a minimum. Bolton, who has been a target of Pyongyang's ire since his service in the George W. Bush administration, was introduced in the Thursday program dead-pan and shown shaking Kim's hand.
What this all means for the future is a complicated matter.
North Korea has presented Kim's diplomatic strategy as a logical next step following what he has said is the completion of his plan to develop a credible nuclear deterrent to what Pyongyang has long claimed is a policy of hostility and "nuclear blackmail" by Washington.
That was its message through the news on Thursday, which stressed that the talks with Trump would be focused on forging a relationship that is more in tune with what it called changing times — most likely meaning North Korea's new status as a nuclear weapons state — and its desire for a mechanism to ensure a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula and, finally, denuclearization.
Despite the respectful tone, there remains a clear undercurrent of caution.
Kim remains the hero in the official Pyongyang narrative. Whether Trump will be his co-star, or once again the villain, is fodder for another episode.