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Choke Points, Hot Spots, and Trip Wires


Strategic Choke Points

Despite their vulnerabilities, these vital waterways continue to play a pivotal role in facilitating international trade. Let’s delve into a few key areas to understand their immense significance in global commerce.


The Bering Strait

  • Connects the Arctic Ocean to the Bering Sea, between Russia and Alaska.

  • Growing strategic importance due to potential new Arctic shipping routes.

  • Significant for marine biodiversity and military interests of Russia and the U.S.


The Taiwan Strait

  • Separates Taiwan from mainland China, connecting the South China Sea to the East China Sea.

  • Vital route for international shipping, with about 50% of the world's container fleet passing through annually.

  • Geopolitical hotspot due to the political status of Taiwan and regional security dynamics.


The Suez Canal

  • Egyptian waterway connecting Europe to Asia.

  • Without it, ships would add roughly seven days by sailing around Africa.

  • In 2019, nearly 19,000 vessels and 1 billion tons of cargo passed through.

  • Underwent a major expansion project in 2015, but remains vulnerable to obstructions.


The Panama Canal

  • Lock-type canal connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

  • Saves ships over 8,000 nautical miles and approximately 21 days of travel between the U.S. east and west coasts.

  • In 2019, transported 252 million long tons of goods, generating over $2.6 billion in toll revenue.


The Bab el-Mandeb Strait

  • Connects the Mediterranean Sea (via the Suez Canal) to the Indian Ocean, nestled between Africa and the Middle East.

  • High-risk area for pirate attacks, with nine incidents in 2020 alone.

  • Significant military presence in nearby Djibouti, including China’s first foreign military base.


The Strait of Malacca

  • One of the world's narrowest chokepoints, at about 1.5 nautical miles wide.

  • Critical connection between China, India, and Southeast Asia, with around 130,000 ships passing annually.

  • Notorious for piracy, with 30 incidents reported in 2019.


The Strait of Hormuz

  • Links the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman, draining into the Arabian Sea.

  • Transports approximately 21 million barrels of oil per day.

  • Historical site of regional conflict, notably during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.


The Strait of Gibraltar

  • Connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea, between southern Spain and northern Morocco.

  • Over 90,000 vessels traversed in 2019, serving as a crucial gateway for Europe, Africa, and the Americas.

  • Strategic importance with interests from Spain, Morocco, and the UK, ensuring safe passage and maritime security.


The Danish Straits

  • Comprises the Øresund, Great Belt, and Little Belt, connecting the Baltic Sea to the North Sea.

  • Over 70,000 vessels passed through in 2019.

  • Managed by Denmark to ensure safe passage and maintain navigational aids.


The Turkish Straits

  • Includes the Bosporus and the Dardanelles, linking the Black Sea to the Mediterranean.

  • Saw over 41,000 vessels in 2019, with a significant number of oil tankers.

  • Controlled by Turkey, enforcing the Montreux Convention for naval and civilian vessel passage.


TripWires

Geopolitical tripwires are specific conditions, events, or situations that, if triggered, can lead to significant and rapid escalation of conflict or tension between states or regions. These tripwires often involve military movements, territorial disputes, political actions, or strategic maneuvers that prompt an immediate and potentially aggressive response from other parties involved.

China's Actions in the South China Sea

  • Construction of artificial islands and militarization of disputed areas.

  • Aggressive patrolling and enforcement of territorial claims.


North Korea's Missile Tests

  • Launch of ballistic missiles, particularly those capable of reaching U.S. or allied territories.

Nuclear weapons tests and related provocations.

Russia's Military Activities Near Ukraine

  • Troop buildups and military exercises near the Ukrainian border.

  • Support for separatist movements in Eastern Ukraine.


Iran's Nuclear Program

  • Advancements in uranium enrichment and development of nuclear capabilities.

  • Retaliatory actions against sanctions or military strikes on nuclear facilities.

Taiwan Strait Tensions

  • Chinese military exercises near Taiwan and potential declarations of independence by Taiwan.

  • Foreign military support or visits to Taiwan by allied nations.


India-Pakistan Border Clashes

  • Skirmishes along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir.

  • Terrorist attacks attributed to groups operating from Pakistani territory.


Turkey's Actions in the Eastern Mediterranean

  • Exploration and drilling for natural gas in disputed waters.

  • Naval confrontations with Greece and Cyprus over maritime boundaries.


NATO Expansion

  • Moves to incorporate new member states near Russia’s borders.

  • Deployment of NATO forces or missile defense systems in Eastern Europe.


Saudi Arabia-Iran Rivalry

  • Proxy conflicts in Yemen and Syria.

  • Attacks on oil infrastructure and shipping routes in the Persian Gulf.


U.S.-China Trade and Technology Conflicts

  • Imposition of tariffs, export controls, and sanctions.

  • Restrictions on technology transfer and competition in key sectors like 5G and semiconductors.


Ethiopia's GERD Dispute with Egypt and Sudan

  • Filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile River.

  • Military threats or actions to protect water rights.


Israel-Hezbollah Confrontations

  • Hezbollah’s military build-up and rocket attacks from Lebanon.

  • Israeli counter-airstrikes and military operations in Lebanon and Syria.


Myanmar's Internal Conflicts

  • Military crackdowns on ethnic minorities and pro-democracy activists.

  • Cross-border impacts on neighboring countries like Bangladesh and Thailand.


Eastern Mediterranean Migrant Crisis

  • Mass movements of refugees and migrants from conflict zones.

  • Political and humanitarian tensions in receiving countries pushing EU to right.


Venezuela's Political and Economic Crisis

  • Political instability and potential for regime change.

  • Regional impacts on neighboring countries and involvement of external powers.


Widespread Rejection of Globalist Initiatives

  • Highly contested elections of nationalist leaders may trigger internal or external conflicts

  • The US, Argentina, Italy, the EU Parliament, etc. have large populist and nationalist majorities voting for controversial leaders such as Mele, Trump, Nigel Farage, etc.



Strategic Flash Points

Hot Spots refer to the geopolitical regions or issues where conflicts have the potential to escalate quickly, often involving significant military, political, or economic interests. These areas are critical due to their strategic location, resources, or political significance, and they often draw the attention of multiple global powers.


Taiwan-China (Forced Repatriation to the Mainland)

  • Issue: China's desire for reunification with Taiwan.

  • Context: Taiwan considers itself a sovereign state, while China views it as a breakaway province.

  • Strategic Importance: Taiwan's location in the South China Sea, has significant technological and economic influence.

  • Military Posture: Increased Chinese military drills and incursions into Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ).

India-China (Over Ladakh Region)

  • Issue: Border disputes in the Ladakh region.

  • Context: Competing territorial claims along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

  • Strategic Importance: Control over high-altitude territories and access to vital water resources.

  • Military Posture: Regular skirmishes, buildup of troops and infrastructure on both sides.


Tibet-China (Freedom Movements in Tibet)

  • Issue: Tibetan push for greater autonomy or independence.

  • Context: China's control over Tibet since 1951 and suppression of local culture and religion.

  • Strategic Importance: Tibet's geographical position as a buffer zone and source of major Asian rivers.

  • Military Posture: Heavy Chinese military presence and surveillance in the region.


Ukraine-Russia

  • Issue: Territorial and political control over Ukraine.

  • Context: The annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014 and ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

  • Strategic Importance: Ukraine's location as a buffer between Russia and Western Europe, and its energy transit routes.

  • Military Posture: Continued Russian support for separatists, NATO's support for Ukraine, and military build-ups.


Ethiopia-Tigray

  • Issue: Conflict between the Ethiopian government and Tigray region.

  • Context: Tensions between the central government and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF).

  • Strategic Importance: Stability in the Horn of Africa, which is critical for regional security and trade routes.

  • Military Posture: Extensive military operations, allegations of war crimes, and regional involvement by neighboring countries.


Afghanistan Taliban-Pakistan

  • Issue: Taliban control in Afghanistan and influence over Pakistan.

  • Context: Taliban's return to power in Afghanistan and its implications for regional security.

  • Strategic Importance: Impact on counterterrorism efforts, refugee flows, and regional power dynamics.

  • Military Posture: Cross-border terrorism, Taliban's internal consolidation, and Pakistan's strategic interests.


Israel-Iran (State-Sponsored Terrorism)

  • Issue: Iran's support for anti-Israel groups and regional influence.

  • Context: Proxy wars, nuclear ambitions, and ideological rivalry.

  • Strategic Importance: Control over regional power dynamics and security of the Middle East.

  • Military Posture: Covert operations, cyber warfare, and direct threats between Israel and Iran.


Israel-Hezbollah (Terrorism)

  • Issue: Hezbollah's activities against Israel.

  • Context: Hezbollah, supported by Iran, engaging in terrorism and military confrontations with Israel.

  • Strategic Importance: Security of northern Israel and stability of Lebanon.

  • Military Posture: Rocket attacks, border skirmishes, and military readiness on both sides.


Yemen (Houthis)-Djibouti (Access to Red Sea and Suez Canal)

  • Issue: Control over strategic waterways and regional influence.

  • Context: Houthi rebellion in Yemen and strategic interests in the Red Sea and Suez Canal.

  • Strategic Importance: Security of vital maritime routes and regional trade.

  • Military Posture: Naval blockades, military bases in Djibouti, and international involvement.


North Korea-South Korea (Forced Unification)

  • Issue: North Korea's aim to unify the Korean Peninsula under its regime.

  • Context: Long-standing division since the Korean War, with periodic escalations in tensions.

  • Strategic Importance: Stability in East Asia, impact on global trade and security.

  • Military Posture: Nuclear threats, large military deployments, and frequent military exercises.


India-Pakistan (Over Kashmir Region)

  • Issue: Territorial dispute over Kashmir.

  • Context: Historical conflicts, ongoing skirmishes, and deep-rooted political tensions.

  • Strategic Importance: Control over the region's resources and strategic position.

  • Military Posture: Regular ceasefire violations, nuclear-armed neighbors, and significant troop deployments.


Notable Mentions

  • Venezuela, Mexico, and Haiti remain on the verge of requiring significant US military action

  • Armenia - Azerbaijan conflict continues to rage and flare up

  • Central to northern Africa - ISIS, Boko Haram, and other militant groups continue to destabilize the region


And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near. Luke 21:25-28




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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Excellent Pete! Love that all the information is given in a general overview of the instability in the world today. 'One stop shopping' so to speak. It ways heavy on my heart when presented in such a condensed and concise way just how precarious the times are that we live in. BUT we keep looking up as our Redemption draws nearer and nearer! Love, blessings and prayers for you, your family and especially Ella!

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Bogda
Bogda
Jun 18
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I assume a lot of research went into this post. Thank you, Pete, for giving us an overview of the world from different perspectives. Surely we are in the last days. God bless you and yours. Maranatha 🙏

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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Huuuum sorta sounds like: “wars and threatening of wars”, vast potential for “famine” “pestilence” “death and more death” a longing for a clever “savior”!!! Sounds so familiar somehow! 🤔🤔🤔😬thanks Pete 🔜🆙💥

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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Let the trump blow and the archangel shout because, to be very, very honest and ashamedly selfish, I want out of this world. It’s getting harder and harder to put one foot in front of the other and to get out of bed with every passing day.

Someday soon, I hope……🙏🎺👆

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Replying to

I am personally watching the ME especially Damascus and the converging players of the Gog of Magog conflict. 🧐

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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you! Keep looking up, any day now!

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