Austin Bay from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Tue, 21 Aug 2018 21:57:50 -0700 Austin Bay from Creators Syndicate f3ac128d90ec2dcdc1e3225cdddae971 Defending NATO's East: Rapid Reinforcement or Forward Deployment? for 08/22/2018 Wed, 22 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>In early August 2008, Russian military forces invaded the nation of Georgia. An American action encouraged the Kremlin to halt its attack. U.S. Air Force transports flew elite Georgian infantrymen deployed in Iraq from Iraqi bases to their hard-pressed home country.</p> <p>August 2018, a decade later: Poland audaciously asked America to build a permanent U.S. military base on its territory.<p>Updated: Wed Aug 22, 2018</p> 1ad31550bf7e523d2feb4ece97da3778 Yemen's Little Wars and Opportunistic Arrangements for 08/15/2018 Wed, 15 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Critical facts on the ground don't support the cynical assessment that Yemen's chaotic war pits everyone against one another in a confused melee of carnage and starvation.</p> <p>Stipulate the key combatant coalitions, the Saudi Arabia-led pro-Yemen government coalition and the Iran-backed Houthi rebel confederation &#8212; both have political weaknesses. Despite their flaws, they manage to form two distinct sides with enough weapons and moral resilience to spill blood over issues and interests that affect Saudi Arabia and Iran, threaten the Middle East and torture Yemen.<p>Updated: Wed Aug 15, 2018</p> 0f9fe64e1b20d3168d5826c294cccb40 Meanwhile, Back in Somalia for 08/01/2018 Wed, 01 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Since April, 1992, an international peacekeeping or monitoring force of some type has attempted to reduce the mayhem in war-wracked Somalia. Subtract 1992 from 2018: you get 26 years.</p> <p>Prepare to add more. This week the UN Security Council voted to maintain the UN and African Union Somali peacekeeping operation (African Union Mission in Somalia, AMISOM) through at least 2020. </p> <p>Troops from Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti and Ethiopia man AMISOM and do the brunt of the fighting and security work in southern Somalia. AMISOM soldiers battle Al Shabaab Islamist terrorists, protect the national government in Mogadishu, the capital, and attempt to separate warring Somali clans.<p>Updated: Wed Aug 01, 2018</p> 05f91890600bd743b7622521919b83e9 Imperialist Ventures in Sub-Saharan Africa for 07/25/2018 Wed, 25 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>It's time the world recognized Sub-Saharan Africa's newest economic and military imperialist: Communist Party-ruled China.</p> <p>China's immense economy needs natural resources and markets to continue generating wealth. Sub-Saharan Africa offers both &#8212; rich mineral deposits in particular &#8212; so China is there, with money and weapons. </p> <p>Since China's major mineral and oil companies are state-owned enterprises, Chinese business strategies and economic aid programs synchronize with Chinese foreign policy. The result is no surprise: In Africa's autocratic but fragile states, China wields enormous political and economic leverage.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 25, 2018</p> 614b0db431a314437c3a2dcb93d8024a Turkey Should Nix Russian S-400 Missiles for 07/18/2018 Wed, 18 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's authoritarian behavior has further stressed Turkey's already frayed defense relationships with the U.S. and other NATO members.</p> <p>The increasing strain &#8212; to the point of permanent break &#8212; is bad news for an already unstable Middle East, Central Asia and eastern Europe. </p> <p>It is flat-out awful news for culturally Muslim nations who try to emulate Turkey's parliamentary political model.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 18, 2018</p> f27168fd1c4e025c5876e82abfa10b8f Sweden Prepares For Russian Aggression for 07/11/2018 Wed, 11 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Russia's heinous 2014 invasion and annexation of Crimea continues to spur military responses in Free Europe.</p> <p>This week, Finland's and Sweden's defense ministers signed a defense agreement covering operations in war time as well as peace time training and crisis preparation.</p> <p>Since Moscow's Crimean caper, closer defense cooperation to the point of military alliance has been the trend in Europe's Nordic region.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 11, 2018</p> c6fd5643ea6e2a3ea1fb712a1570bcac Iran's Internal Clash for 07/05/2018 Thu, 05 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The December, 2017, nationwide protests that surprised and rattled Iran's clerical dictatorship never quite subsided. Demonstrations occurred in January 2018, then again in April.</p> <p>Since mid-May, publicly expressed anger in Iran's would-be global revolutionary state has intensified to the point that regime internal security units have fired on demonstrators. </p> <p>There is no accurate death toll &#8212; Iran is a dictatorship. So is China, and for comparative purposes recall we still do not know how many people were killed in Tiananmen Square in June, 1989.<p>Updated: Thu Jul 05, 2018</p> 75cf682c7b4e5b47c0b63165a397ee7a Yemen's Seaport Battle for Food and the Future for 06/27/2018 Wed, 27 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In fractious Yemen's swirl of tribal, sectarian and proxy wars, two conflicts stand out: America's drone and special operations war on al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula bases and personnel; and the much larger ethnic-sectarian war pitting Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia's coalition against Shia Iran's Houthis rebel proxy army. The Houthis belong to the Zaidi sect of Shia Islam (Zaidism). </p> <p>The U.S. counter-terror war began in 2001. The Arab-Iranian (Aryan) war for the Persian Gulf and adjacent areas may have begun in 1000 BC, give or take. </p> <p>In the 21st century, Saudi Arabia and Iran pursue this rivalry in wretched Yemen.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 27, 2018</p> ad1c1c15b7ca5c7b1d8f424612c2d74c The Violent Stagnation in Eastern Ukraine Continues for 06/20/2018 Wed, 20 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In June 2018, the Russo-Ukraine War has become an expensive example of violent stagnation. The expenses are measured in lives lost and money wasted, spilled blood and red ink. </p> <p>Both sides suffer, and Ukraine demonstrably since the fighting occurs on its territory. However, Russian president Vladimir Putin and the curious oligarchy of billionaires and gangsters backing his Kremlin regime have discovered the expensive stalemate has exacerbated Russian economic problems. Widespread disappointment has revived demands for internal change, which is bad news for Putin and his cronies.</p> <p>In retrospect, Putin's Kremlin bet on two things: rapid military and political victory in Ukraine and high oil prices constantly replenishing Russia's national coffers.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 20, 2018</p> 110d18cefc6dac40f34e48425593df70 The Deep History Behind the Trump-Kim Singapore Summit for 06/13/2018 Wed, 13 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un have concluded their summit in Singapore.</p> <p>The summit mixed theatrics and drama. At least two of the handshake photo ops included canny doses of Trumpian flattery. The summit produced a dictator's commitment to denuclearize and an agreement to continue discussions calculated to achieve denuclearization &#8212; both indicative of promising diplomacy.</p> <p>The phrase "a dictator's commitment" tempers the promise of peaceful resolution. Dictators break deals, and when they do, oppression certainly spreads, blood is shed and war may erupt. Adolf Hitler's disregarded Versailles and the wretched 1938 Munich Agreement, with grim results.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 13, 2018</p> 294b46106a0f208246125b56ebff9c13 China's Belt and Road Initiative, Camouflaged in Silk for 05/30/2018 Wed, 30 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Think of it as a revived Silk Road, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in 2013 when he announced China would proudly sponsor a multi-decade international commercial and infrastructure development project &#8212; notionally running from China through Central Asia and connecting to points beyond. Yes, a benign Silk Road where all prosper. The project would have a maritime development component as well.</p> <p>India, however, was immediately suspicious. China and India are rival powers, militarily and economically. They have unresolved territorial disputes in the Himalayas that occasionally involve gunfire between their armies. </p> <p>Indian military planners, however, saw more threatening scenarios. China is an ally of India's foremost enemy, Pakistan. Highways and railroads serve commercial purposes &#8212; like shipping silk &#8212; but they are military assets. China might use improved highway and rail links in Central Asia to quickly deploy Chinese military forces in Pakistan. China's illegal artificial island-building campaign in the South China Sea is a maritime development project encroaching on other nations' sovereignty<p>Updated: Wed May 30, 2018</p> f55a0483e53e368aea616b7daa2badf0 Israeli Bombs Spotlight Iran's Syrian Gray Zone War for 05/23/2018 Wed, 23 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>On May 9, the Israeli Air Force blasted Iranian military facilities in Syria. The huge conventional air campaign sent an unambiguous message to Iran's dictatorship: the decades long "gray zone" and proxy war the clerical regime waged against Israel has left the covert shadows and become an overt war. </p> <p>Tehran can no longer kill Israelis using proxy fighters; terrorists and criminal syndicates then deny responsibility and avoid reprisals. </p> <p>Two weeks after the air strikes, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps advisers in Syria and their Lebanese Hezbollah militiamen are still assessing Israel's calculated destruction of their heavy weapons, missile sites, ammunition bunkers, command posts, supply and maintenance depots and training facilities.<p>Updated: Wed May 23, 2018</p> 755d9e1c1fdd5060c6aa03095ef9410c The North Korean Dictatorship's Tart of the Deal for 05/16/2018 Wed, 16 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Since early March of this year, when North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un told South Korea he would discuss denuclearizing his regime without pre-conditions, everyone familiar with Kim regime behavior has predicted Little Rocket Man and his Pyongyang gang would eventually wiggle, yelp and try to snarl any truly disarming deal. </p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Here is a sketch of the basic scenario</span>: With the goal of dividing Seoul and Washington, at some point Kim and his minions would raise to the fuzzy level of goose bumps South Korean hopes of a permanent peace settlement. Then &#8212; after exchanging hugs and bouquets &#8212; one of Pyongyang's leather-faced apparatchiks would threaten to terminate any diplomatic talks.<p>Updated: Wed May 16, 2018</p> 799f42d296c0d0ec035d2e6235723848 Good Riddance To The Flawed Iran Deal for 05/09/2018 Wed, 09 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The Trump Administration deserves thanks and congratulations for terminating American participation in the toothless Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action, the ostentatiously official name of the Obama Administration's "nuclear weapons deal" with Iran's clerical dictatorship.</p> <p>For numerous reasons, President Trump made the decision to exit the flimsy pact.<p>Updated: Wed May 09, 2018</p> 57625fe5c7bf73b32f7d8a1669ff1b60 The Trump Administration's Korea Diplomacy Timeline for 05/02/2018 Wed, 02 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The April 27 hug between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un was a photo op with diplomatic promise but also great risk.</p> <p>Here's the major risk: The North Korean Kim regime has a hideous record for murder, intimidation and crime, and it is a genuine threat to peace. But for the restraint of South Korea and the U.S., the Kim dictatorship's bloody violations of the 1953 armistice could have easily ignited another combat phase of the Korean War. The January 1968 Blue House Raid, in which North Korean commandos attempted to assassinate South Korean President Park Chung-hee, is all but forgotten. It must not be. The regime has engaged in the mass starvation of its own people. The regime is still deeply involved in organized crime, with drug-trafficking and money-laundering operations its forte.<p>Updated: Wed May 02, 2018</p> 871ee18ff380fe6bfb2faa645b63a39c Time to Fix the Flaws in the Deceitful Iran Nuclear Deal for 04/25/2018 Wed, 25 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>By May 12 the Trump administration must once again review American participation in the deceitfully named Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Obama administration's so-called "nuclear weapons deal" with Tehran's terrorist regime.</p> <p>Indeed, the JCPOA is deceitfully named, so let's address that problem before returning to President Donald Trump and the decision the JCPOA stipulates he must make every 90 days. </p> <p>Incorporating "comprehensive" in the agreement's official name is reprehensibly dishonest, for Barack Obama's deal is anything but comprehensive. <p>Updated: Wed Apr 25, 2018</p> 224d7a5fb3fb82e3185b8e0f05f5ac16 Wars for the Minerals Your Cellphone and Prius Need for 04/18/2018 Wed, 18 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The United States Geological Survey's title for its February 2018 study on "nonfuel minerals" slightly undersells the situation: "China, the United States, and competition for resources that enable emerging technologies."</p> <p>"Competition"? "Global alley fight" is more accurate. The study's first paragraph is a punch in the face, not a jack slap on the back: "Future resource conflicts may ... focus more on competition for nonfuel minerals that enable emerging technologies."</p> <p>Emerging technologies may be a bit too sci-fi for cable TV producers. Fortunately, the USGS immediately presents camera-ready objects that can't exist without these minerals, such as commercial and combat aircraft, computers and cellphones: "Whether it is rhenium in jet engines, indium in flat panel displays, or gallium in smart phones, obscure elements (i.e., chemical elements) empower smarter, smaller, and faster technologies, and nations seek stable supplies of these and other nonfuel minerals for their industries. No nation has all of the resources it needs domestically."<p>Updated: Wed Apr 18, 2018</p> 798cba9e4e8c6a21c7e77eccfcc40311 The Indo-Pacific Quad Confronts China for 04/11/2018 Wed, 11 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>U.S. Pacific Command still calls itself PACOM, but it appears INDO-PACOM &#8212; India-Pacific Command &#8212; might be the acronym of the future.</p> <p>Pentagon and State Department studies now routinely refer to the "Indo-Pacific region," as do the defense and foreign policy papers authored by their counterparts in Japan and Australia.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 11, 2018</p> a61dff5b01d05d9707d973aa03e97322 Weaponized Narratives Go to War for 04/04/2018 Wed, 04 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In recent years, American national security agencies and commentators have begun using a new buzz term: narrative warfare. China is particularly adept at employing narrative warfare.</p> <p>There is an old proverb that says the truth is the best advertising, propoganda and public relations tool. Fact-supported truth is a powerful narrative.</p> <p>Unfortunately, the truth can be hidden, ignored, obscured or &#8212; in the 21st century &#8212; inundated. Narrative warfare embraces more than PR and propaganda campaigns. Narrative warfare employs "weaponized narratives" spun from "highly selective truth," outright lies, false accusations, distorted and altered quotations, emotional appeals, sensational outrage, fear mongering, blame-shifting, intimidating threats, victim posturing, virtue signaling and fabricated imagery.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 04, 2018</p> f8346389bd4acac5dd77855b0998fab0 The Kremlin's Reckless Self-Image Problem for 03/28/2018 Wed, 28 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The Kremlin has what a psychological counselor might diagnose as a self-image problem. With the February 2014 Russian attack on Crimea and the March 2014 annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula, that self-image problem became a grave security threat to Europe and potentially the U.S.</p> <p>Events in the last year confirm that, with Russia's creeping war of aggression in eastern Ukraine and the March 4 attempted assassination of a former Russian intelligence officer living in Britain, it was the most dangerous and the reckless for sensationalist media.</p> <p>If a self-image problem sounds like a stretch, try deep resentment and anger spurred by the loss of power and international stature. I think those disturbing emotions are present in Russian President Vladimir Putin's April 2005 lament that the USSR's demise was the "greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the (20th) century."<p>Updated: Wed Mar 28, 2018</p>