For some time on the ground and more and more frequently in words, the main military concern of the United States as seen by its government and its Generals focuses on China.
Indeed, if the immediate threat from a cybernetic and political viewpoint originates from Russia, the real long-term threat against US interests would mainly originate from China, the sole country able to reach world leadership over the next decades.
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly demanded more military funding from his European NATO allies considering that “the United States needs a very strong European pillar (because) in 15 years it is a very strong likelihood that we will be at war with China,” said US General Ben Hodges at the Warsaw Security Forum.
Now retired and a former commander of the US Army in Europe, Hodges believes that the United States will not have the ability to deal with both Europe and Asia at a same time.
In addition to the needed increase in their military capabilities, Europeans must also make sure to restore their sovereignty at home, said Hodges, emphasizing that China owns more and more companies and infrastructure including more than 10% of European ports.
According to French intelligence agencies and information from daily newspaper Le Figaro, more than 4,000 executives and employees have been “harpooned” by their Chinese intelligence counterparts, especially through professional social networks.
The preferred targets are often executives of ministries or companies specialized in advanced technologies contacted by their Chinese equivalents, at least in appearance, and who attract them with a good offer of collaboration.
In the end, if thousands of French citizens have ignored – or even some of them have understood – the maneuver, both domestic (DGSI) and foreign (DGSE) intelligence agencies assessed that several hundreds of individuals could have been compromised.
This large-scale social engineering operation allegedly led by the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSE) for several years is based on digital avatars – profiles – adapted to the sectors of activity specifically targeted and a significant number of such avatars would populate the LinkedIn professional social network.
The first step consists of establishing at least digital ties with predetermined individuals, this way accessing their list of contacts and growing the list of potential targets as a result. A relevant socio-professional geography of entire sectors is therefore drawn easily.
The second step consists of attracting duly selected targets to China by offering them professional meetings and / or a potentially fruitful collaboration, opening the path towards possible compromise.
Other countries, including Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States had already warned about the acuity of such a large-scale spying enterprise.
The question of whether we are about to experience a stock market crash is on everyone’s lips. In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has lost 7 percent in less than a month and is dangerously close to a correction.
In Europe, the German DAX index lost 9 percent and its French counterpart the CAC index lost 10 percent indicating that the continent is already in corrective territory. In Asia, the Hong Kong HSI index showed a significant downward trend as of September 10, and the Shanghai SSE index yet dropped a bit less by 6.7 percent over the same period, but fell sharply by 23.5 percent over the last twelve months.
Against the backdrop, several issues participate in this correction, something that analysts fear it could turn into a depression after nearly nine years of uninterrupted rise in developed markets.
First, Chinese growth is weakening, then, the euro area is experiencing tensions with the first ever rejection of the Italian budget by the European Commission, finally trade tensions are increasing since the election of Donald Trump at the White House.
However, the fundamental reason is twofold and comes from the United States with a US economy so attractive that it draws foreign capital to the detriment of other countries, especially emerging and emerged ones, and most importantly with the rate hikes unanimously envisaged by the US Federal Reserve (Fed)’s members according to the minutes of the latest FOMC.