Austin Bay from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Tue, 19 Sep 2017 09:52:09 -0700 Austin Bay from Creators Syndicate cc7393e83d26295c18ec0b91dbfb093e Congo's Vicious Kasai War Could Reignite The Great Congo War for 09/13/2017 Wed, 13 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In August 2016, small but violent conflict erupted in the Democratic Republic of Congo's south-central Kasai region.</p> <p>In the world beyond the Kasai region's five provinces (Kasai, Kasai-Central, Kasai-Oriental, Sankuru and Lomami) the cause of the violent outburst was unclear. According to initial reports, it involved a local grievance.</p> <p>The Kasai region's relative isolation contributed to the lack of information. However, President Joseph Kabila's government wanted to limit news coverage. A self-serving decision made by his regime and related to the upcoming November 2016 national election was the "local grievance" that deeply offended hundreds of thousands of citizens within the region. Members of the dominant Luba tribe scorned Kabila's decision as an arrogant cultural insult and an outright political crime.<p>Updated: Wed Sep 13, 2017</p> b0810603e0047fc0d702f181ae909e4b Yemen's Odd War Is A Human Disaster for 09/06/2017 Wed, 06 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Three civil wars with roots in Arab Spring revolts continue to plague the Arab world: Yemen, Syria and Libya.</p> <p>Syria receives the most international attention. With over 500,000 dead that's understandable. Libyan battles over oil facilities also draw headlines.<p>Updated: Wed Sep 06, 2017</p> 0f56b43df343f75d414884716fce3285 North Korea Targets Japan -- 1998 and 2017 for 08/30/2017 Wed, 30 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>On August 31, 1998, North Korea bluntly informed Japan that the next time the Korean War escalated to all-out combat, Tokyo would be a target.</p> <p>Pyongyang used a multi-stage Taepodong-1 intermediate range ballistic missile to deliver the diplomatic message as a military object lesson. The first stage of the rather poorly constructed missile landed in water west of Japan not that far from Russian territory. The second stage slammed into the North Pacific about 300 kilometers east of Japan.</p> <p>Poor construction, however, had a virtue. A splash on either side "bracketed" Japan. Kentucky windage said the next shot could hit a Japanese home island.<p>Updated: Wed Aug 30, 2017</p> 997a6abb1238560f00068041218f16bb Interring the Islamic State in Iraq for 08/23/2017 Wed, 23 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>President Barack Obama's 2011 decision to withdraw U.S. combat troops from Iraq was not based on the political and security conditions within the country. Obama's 2012 re-election campaign determined the withdrawal timetable. Obama intended to sell himself as a war-ender no matter the real world conditions.</p> <p>No debate &#8212; Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Iraqi government blundered, repeatedly. But in Iraq American troops served as mentors, honest brokers and a reassuring security presence. When the GIs left the Maliki government's sins multiplied. One of its worst mistakes was sectarian favoritism in the security forces &#8212; giving unqualified Shia Arabs commands at the expense of more qualified Sunni Arabs, Kurds and other minorities.<p>Updated: Wed Aug 23, 2017</p> f0865b1a4fa5d10e77dd3d2004c40fee Practicing Coercive Diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula for 08/16/2017 Wed, 16 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>On August 11, the U.S. island territory's Homeland Security Office of Civil Defense posted a website fact sheet entitled "In Case of Emergency...Preparing for an Imminent Missile Threat" in response to North Korea's threat to launch a volley of ballistic missiles in Guam's direction.</p> <p>The fact sheet included a warning reminiscent of late 1950s Cold War "duck and cover" advice American citizens were to follow during a nuclear attack: "Do not look at the flash or can blind you."</p> <p>Guam, located west of the International Dateline, likes to call itself the place "where America's day begins."<p>Updated: Wed Aug 16, 2017</p> b3eee7d9fac920fd153158fad417c7d6 Floating A Diplomatic Solution In The South China Sea for 08/09/2017 Wed, 09 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Beijing's slow but belligerent invasion of the South China Sea has created Cold War conditions in the sub-tropical zone. </p> <p>For diplomats, the question of the moment is this: Can we craft a political accommodation that can keep the peace while ensuring sovereign territorial rights?<p>Updated: Wed Aug 09, 2017</p> 8c631e1c7cda8cc0257b21d41588d012 Venezuela Slides Toward Civil War for 08/02/2017 Wed, 02 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>In the early morning hours of August 1, Venezuelan secret police arrested the country's most prominent opposition political leaders, Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma, and quickly hauled them off to prison.</p> <p>Lopez is the gutsy leader of the Popular Will Party and a former mayor of Caracas. Ledezma also served as mayor of Caracas and is a long-time critic of President Nicolas Maduro and his bombastic predecessor, Hugo Chavez.<p>Updated: Wed Aug 02, 2017</p> 762373c764a765ec04f2ffb40d7524e5 Time for a Free World Bullet for 07/26/2017 Wed, 26 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The allies should use their anti-missile missiles to intercept a North Korean ballistic missile test launch. Whatever its operational code name &#8212; Operation Return Of Serve is amusing &#8212; intercepting a Pyongyang missile test has military and political utility.</p> <p>North Korea's regime, led by rotund dictator Kim Jong Un, has invested its scant resources and Kim's personal prestige in its weapons programs. The regime has bet on strategic policy of implacable belligerence backed by the development of long-range offensive missiles and nuclear weapons. <p>Updated: Wed Jul 26, 2017</p> b9a844ebf3aede84f0a44664156cfd75 Mosul and Urban Warfare for 07/19/2017 Wed, 19 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>On July 10, Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi declared coalition forces had won a "total victory" in their fight to free the city of Mosul. Since June 2014, the unfortunate city had been occupied by ISIS terrorists.</p> <p>Abadi's claim of total victory was premature. In the following days, several small firefights erupted around the city. ISIS fighters reportedly entered a liberated village outside Mosul. Had they been hiding, planning to stage "stay behind" attacks on coalition forces? Or were they fleeing? Who knows. In city fights, flickering resistance may continue for weeks after the major battle is done.</p> <p>Offensive operations to free Mosul officially began on October 16, 2016. "Shaping operations" to prepare for the decisive assault arguably began in 2015. Throughout the campaign the Iraqi government, fragile as it is, remained patient and persistent. To defeat the Islamic State, Iraqi Army and police units conducted operations with pro-Iranian Shia militias of suspect loyalty and Kurdish militias who disdain Baghdad. The government sought U.S. and NATO help, air support first and foremost, but also special operations personnel, the U.S. Marines and Army artillery units, and intelligence and logistics support.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 19, 2017</p> 06c9d52ac8aece7aef1f729bf3691888 Responding to North Korea's Fourth of July ICBM for 07/12/2017 Wed, 12 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>North Korea's Kwasong-14/KN-14 intercontinental ballistic missile test launch was by far the Fourth of July's most disturbing firework.</p> <p>Spoiling America's birthday was Pyongyang's goal. In fact, for the Kim dictatorship, it's an old hat propaganda tactic. On July 4, 2009, North Korea test-fired seven short-range missiles. <span class="column--highlighted-text">July 4 missile displays send a provocative signal: the North Korean dictatorship is targeting the U.S.</span><p>Updated: Wed Jul 12, 2017</p> 5e4d46049b6bcbd001689f2a01d41a05 When Organized Crime Connects to International Terror for 06/28/2017 Wed, 28 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing held June 14, Rep. Mike McCaul, R.,TX, asked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to comment on the troubling issue of connections between transnational criminal organizations and terrorist networks.</p> <p>McCaul quoted Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly as saying "...cartels share ties with terror networks...and they have the ability to sneak drugs and people, including potential terrorists and dirty bombs" into the U.S.</p> <p>McCaul asked Tillerson if he agreed that these ties represent a real national security threat, to which Tillerson replied: "Yes, I do...We clearly see the connections, extending all the way back to ISIS and al-Qaida." He then discussed joint U.S.-Mexico efforts to combat illicit financial networks that support transnational crime and terror.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 28, 2017</p> 40ab5d681864c5355aea038aaa068898 The Navy Downs A Syrian Jet -- But Dogfights Are Few And Far Between for 06/21/2017 Wed, 21 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The recent downing of a Syrian Air Force jet by a U.S. Navy Super Hornet fighter has produced another political confrontation between the U.S. and Russia. Until passions ebb, Australia has withdrawn its air units from the American-led coalition.</p> <p>Kremlin accusations of American aggression are propaganda. Syria is small. When a plane is aloft, every major nation with aircraft engaged in Syria has the technology to track it. The U.S., Turkey and Israel have it; so does Russia. Russian forces knew the location of the Syrian jet and knew it had attacked an area with U.S. personnel. </p> <p>The Navy jet intercepted the Syrian in order to protect Americans on the ground. It enforced a red line of a sort. If the Assad regime attacks U.S. personnel, expect a military response.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 21, 2017</p> 5da85bd0ff3056a60b5ef7e2390fc448 Wars Where Starvation Is a Weapo for 06/14/2017 Wed, 14 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization has issued its latest "Crop Prospects and Food Situation" report. The document directly connects war and anarchy to en masse human hunger.</p> <p>Right now 37 countries need "external assistance" to address their "food security" problems. </p> <p>Let me translate from UN bureaucratese: severe food shortages threaten the survival of tens of thousands to several million human beings living in these 37 nations. In these hard corners, replenishing food stocks to avoid mass malnutrition or end a famine requires outside aid.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 14, 2017</p> bcd063fa4dd12142e4517b6b099a79ab Careful and Forceful in Singapore for 06/07/2017 Wed, 07 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>At Singapore's Shangri-La Dialogue Asian security summit, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis once again displayed his masterful mix of strong personal presence and measured tone as he articulated the Trump Administration's careful and forceful policy for addressing the region's security issues.</p> <p>Careful but forceful is required, for the east Asian littoral is a 21st century powder keg.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 07, 2017</p> 215d29acba89b8801217700bc6e8c021 Successful U.S. Missile Defenders Need to Keep On Shooting for 05/31/2017 Wed, 31 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Scratch one Intercontinental Ballistic Missile &#8212; and congratulations to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency on its successful test of the Ground-based Missile Defense system.</p> <p>On May 30, the GMD's sensor systems detected "an intercontinental-range" target missile on a track over the Pacific Ocean. Its long-range Ground-Based Interceptor and its exo-atmospheric kill vehicle combination intercepted and destroyed the target.<p>Updated: Wed May 31, 2017</p> fea7bbd413eb7f8fe3bb620742408664 North American Strategic Energy Adds Diplomatic Clout for 05/24/2017 Wed, 24 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Sophisticated American and Canadian energy industries have given the Free World an economic boost and a powerful diplomatic weapon.</p> <p>The North American "fracking" revolution &#8212; hydraulic fracturing to tap vast reservoirs of "tight" natural gas and oil &#8212; has altered the world's strategic calculus.</p> <p>U.S. and Canadian firms began experimenting with advanced oil and gas recovery techniques well before the "shale oil boom" made headlines. However, the development of fields in North Dakota and Texas helped develop techniques, technology and expertise. Fracking has opened previously untapped reservoirs. Frackers use improved drilling and production techniques to exploit existing fields. Information technology helps energy companies identify new oil and gas reservoirs and reduce the risks of "wildcat" oil and gas exploration.<p>Updated: Wed May 24, 2017</p> 8980b565570fb2b5d964ec602206faad Gray Area Attacks on Computers and Food for 05/17/2017 Wed, 17 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The so-called WannaCry computer virus attack that began on May 12 appears to be a global extortion operation. The attackers demanded that victims with infected computers pay a ransom if they wanted their information restored. Otherwise, the victims' information would be destroyed.</p> <p>Investigators speculate that a hacker group called The Shadow Brokers created the malware. According to the latest estimate, the WannaCry malware damaged over 500,000 computers in at least 150 countries.<p>Updated: Wed May 17, 2017</p> 92ca51702769b79075ef467c1bf8924a The Pentagon's Air and Sea Lift Deficit for 05/10/2017 Wed, 10 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>On May 2, U.S. Transportation Command commander Air Force General Darren McDew told the Senate Armed Services Committee that America doesn't have enough supply ships, transport planes and tanker planes to move a large combat force to a distant battlefield (like Korea) and sustain that force.</p> <p>To win a war, warriors and weapons must reach the battlefield and soldiers and machines must be supplied.<p>Updated: Wed May 10, 2017</p> 486313816693325b3ff448881c50889a Mexico Versus Mexico: The Battle over Impunity for 05/03/2017 Wed, 03 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Last month was a bad month for crooked state governors in Mexico, which means April 2017 was a potentially promising month for Mexican citizens disgusted with the culture of impunity.</p> <p>For outraged Mexicans, the word "impunity" signifies the deep injustice and corruption embedded within their nation's governing institutions. Mexico's politically-connected and wealthy can commit horrendous crimes and then avoid accountability. They steal &#8212; and even kill &#8212; with "impunity."</p> <p>Impunity has become a political problem for President Enrique Pena Nieto and his Institutional Revolutionary Party. As a presidential candidate in 2012, Pena promised to reform government and to penalize corruption. Then 2014 arrived with revelations that he and his wife had acquired luxury homes, with the help of wealthy media and business big shots.<p>Updated: Wed May 03, 2017</p> 97a948bfb3771db5ff1311368826355c North Korean Nukes and the Osirak Precedent for 04/26/2017 Wed, 26 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Call it the Osirak Precedent: a preemptive conventional attack on nuclear facilities can delay and possibly destroy a rogue dictatorship's nuclear weapons program.</p> <p>North Korea's Kim regime knows the history. In 1981, Israeli fighter-bombers attacked and destroyed Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor and support facility. Osirak was the critical facility in Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons production program.</p> <p>At the time, military analysts estimated the air strike delayed Saddam's nuclear quest by 10 to 15 years. Had Saddam possessed nuclear weapon when he invaded Kuwait in 1990, Operation Desert Storm may have had a different outcome.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 26, 2017</p>