Russia Shifts to China After Ukraine Crisis

Joint war games most sophisticated to date and target U.S.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is greeted by Chinese President Xi Jinping / AP

Russia and China launched large-scale naval war games that U.S. officials say are a sign of Moscow shifting its geopolitical alignment with an increasingly isolated China, following sanctions and chastisement from the United States and Europe after Russia’s military annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea.

Watching China Like a Hawk

Pentagon sending two long-range Global Hawk drones for operations from Japan
Global Hawk unmanned aircraft / AP

The Pentagon will deploy two long-range Global Hawk reconnaissance drones in Japan for operations to monitor Chinese naval activities and a possible fourth North Korean nuclear test, defense officials said.

U.S. to Conduct Strategic Bomber Exercise

Nuclear drills follow ‘massive’ Russian war games last week
B-52 bomber (AP)

The U.S. Strategic Command, which is in charge of waging nuclear war, will hold large-scale bomber exercises this week—days after Russia held what Moscow called “massive” war games simulating a U.S. and NATO nuclear attack.

Ten U.S. B-52 bombers and up to six B-2 strategic bombers will take part in the war games called “Global Lightning 14” from Monday through May 16, the command said in a statement late Sunday.

Russia Conducts Large-Scale Nuclear Attack Exercise

Long-range ballistic, cruise missiles launched
Vladimir Putin

Russia’s armed forces conducted a “massive” nuclear forces exercise on Thursday simulating NATO and U.S. nuclear attacks and involving several long-range ballistic and cruise missile firings.

China Signals Plan to Sanction North Korea for Tests

Harsh anti-US rhetoric by North Korea indicates pressure to curtail nuclear, missile tests
N. Korean leader Kim Jong Un at parliament session

China has signaled that it will impose international and unilateral sanctions on North Korea if Pyongyang follows through with announced plans to set off a fourth underground nuclear test.

Dissent in the Ranks

Al Qaeda leader urges Syrian rebel splinter group to return to Iraq and official affiliate to halt infighting
ISIS fighters in Iraq / AP

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri issued a public appeal recently urging an ultra-violent splinter faction of the terrorist group to return to Iraq and cease fighting rebels of the al Nusra Front, the official al Qaeda franchise in Syria.

Report: N. Korea Has Nuclear Warheads for Missiles

ICBMS can reach Hawaii, Alaska, and western United States
Kim Jong Un

North Korea has developed nuclear weapons capable of being launched on its ballistic missile forces, according to a new report by a defense analyst.