Austin Bay from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Wed, 29 Mar 2017 20:56:06 -0700 Austin Bay from Creators Syndicate 5369b642c184a6b759c7729266908201 Kony 2017: The Facebook World Didn't Catch Him for 03/29/2017 Wed, 29 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In October 2011, the Obama Administration ordered 100 U.S. special operations troops to deploy to central Africa to help African and U.N. forces capture Joseph Kony, the psychopathic commander of the Ugandan rebel Lord's Resistance Army.</p> <p>Kony is an evil man. Note the present tense: is, not was.</p> <p>In the late 1980s, Kony took control of a movement whose goals linked the Acholi tribe's demands for autonomy in northern Uganda with a promise to govern Uganda according to the Ten Commandments.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 29, 2017</p> 5274282b5f93bf9e02c1a238929be437 Soft Diplomacy Didn't Stop North Korea's Nuclear Quest for 03/23/2017 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>More than five decades ago, the wry British humor magazine, Punch, observed that "Idealists maintain that all nations should share the atomic bomb. Pessimists maintain that they will."</p> <p>Nuclear weapons in the hands of North Korea's hereditary Communist dictatorship vindicate the pessimists.</p> <p>Yes, a hereditary Communist dictatorship. North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is the grandson of Kim Il Sung. In 1950, Kim Il Sung invaded South Korea and started the Korean War. He also began North Korea's nuclear weapons program.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 23, 2017</p> e5d17acf7a5b8a154d94a0d78cf6a99a Emerging Threats Drive the Navy's Frigate Controversy for 03/15/2017 Wed, 15 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>U.S. naval officers charged with making sure the future fleet can fight and win American wars have concluded the Navy needs a new generation of frigates.</p> <p>Building new frigates to replace the U.S. Navy's Perry-class frigates was something many naval officers and Pentagon budget analysts wanted to avoid. All told, 71 Perry-class frigates served with the fleet. The last one was decommissioned in 2015. </p> <p>Like most debates over military weapons acquisition, the frigate controversy has a complicated back-story.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 15, 2017</p> b8579898d19585ba67dcea79c0bf2b04 Paranoid Kim's Paranoid Spring for 03/08/2017 Wed, 08 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un's 2017 intimidation offensive is so uniquely threatening it deserves its own nickname: Kim's "Paranoid Spring."</p> <p>In January, Kim Jong Un seeded this extraordinary season of fear by threatening to strike South Korea, Japan and the U.S. with ballistic missiles. The fear factor rose on February 12 when North Korea successfully launched a solid fuel intermediate range ballistic missile.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 08, 2017</p> 6817817859fb551ddd00a7ce5320e705 Retaining America's 'Hard Power' for 03/01/2017 Wed, 01 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Secretary of Defense James Mattis made reviving the U.S. Army his priority project. That meant he was going to give it the budget dollars it needs to be the Army America needs.</p> <p>A lot of people with real expertise in the complexities of national defense agreed with him, but that's no surprise. Jim Mattis himself ranks as one of America's foremost national security thinkers.</p> <p>Over the last decade, the Army has taken the brunt of Defense Department cutbacks and reductions. Last fall, the Heritage Foundation issued its "2016 Index of U.S. Military Strength." That study rated the Army's condition as "Weak." Heritage rated the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and strategic nuclear forces as "Marginal."<p>Updated: Wed Mar 01, 2017</p> a28e004f1a601db575969de5f3d877dc Spy Novels and Whodunnit: North Korea's Criminal Reality Is Intolerable for 02/22/2017 Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and his vicious Pyongyang regime are on rampage, this time combining cold-blooded sibling murder with ballistic missiles and nuclear threat.</p> <p>On February 13, assassins murdered the dictator's half-brother, Kim Jong Nam. The hit team found their quarry in Malaysia, at the Kuala Lumpur airport.</p> <p>Initial reports echoed spy novel plots. At least two female assassins played key roles in Kim Jong Nam's dispatch. Japanese television has shown a grainy closed circuit television video clip that allegedly records the attack. A female agent approaches Brother Jong Nam and appears to spray his face with a poisonous aerosol. Novel? No, a criminal reality show.<p>Updated: Wed Feb 22, 2017</p> 373ff2375be91ebc97501e67d24ccd4d A Renaissance for Small Aircraft Carriers? for 02/15/2017 Wed, 15 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>The U.S. Navy may be on the verge of a light aircraft carrier renaissance. New technology spurs the revival, both new smart weapons in the arsenals of potential military adversaries and new American weapons systems, the USMC F-35B strike fighter being the most pertinent example.</p> <p>The issue is complex, so the back-story here is particularly relevant. In World War II, the U.S. Navy made extensive use of small aircraft carriers, ranging from very small carriers escorting convoys (CVEs) to light aircraft carriers (CVLs) that were essentially downsized models of the iconic big carriers (CVs).</p> <p>CVLs could handle post-WWII jets. However, the Navy concluded super carriers made more sense strategically and economically. Nuclear-powered super carriers (CVNs) could carry a wing of multi-mission, high-performance combat aircraft and pack an array of defensive weapons. They could remain at sea for months. <p>Updated: Wed Feb 15, 2017</p> 752f5915f7520e2e77d938a59c37a474 The U.S. Army Moves Back to the Future for 02/08/2017 Wed, 08 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>As a retired Marine Corps general officer, Secretary of Defense James Mattis knows firsthand that America's adversaries attempt to exploit American weakness, with the goal of making America pay a price.</p> <p>That's why Mattis intends to address emerging weaknesses and evident deficiencies in American defenses &#8212; to avoid paying a costly price.<p>Updated: Wed Feb 08, 2017</p> 6f98446d9c469d05371a1ec6957047e9 Russia's Probe in Ukraine Targets the Trump Administration for 02/01/2017 Wed, 01 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>It's mid-winter, with temperatures plunging to five degrees Fahrenheit, but Russia's creeping war of aggression in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region is heating up once again as Kremlin-supplied rebels attack Ukrainians defending the town of Avdiivka. </p> <p>Despite the Minsk Protocol ceasefire of September 2014, the Kremlin's Ukraine war has never ceased. It began in Spring 2014, an opportunistic follow-on to Russia's February 2014 invasion of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula. Then Russia annexed Crimea. The one-two punch of military aggression and territorial annexation by a major European power has a tragic historical record. The combination tends to produce Continent-wide mass slaughter.<p>Updated: Wed Feb 01, 2017</p> d9a219effa0bba9deeee49edba0d0b43 Confronting China's Slow Invasion of the South China Sea Is Long Overdue for 01/25/2017 Wed, 25 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Since the 1990s, China has insistently waged a slow and deliberate imperial war of territorial expansion in the South China Sea. </p> <p>"Imperial war" is the apt description. China exhibits classic imperial ambition. Using economic, diplomatic and military muscle (camouflaged by propaganda), Beijing adds territory to its imperial dominion at the expense of less powerful neighbors. </p> <p>In 1950, the newly installed Communist regime in Beijing took Tibet. The Communists defended their action by claiming that "traditionally" Tibet was a Chinese province. As progressive Communists they were liberating Tibet from non-progressives. If that sounds like old time Communist propaganda gospel, it was.<p>Updated: Wed Jan 25, 2017</p> bfa0e0d985fd7a4e910333d40a8de024 Bill Clinton's Kosovo War Isn't Quite Over for 01/18/2017 Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>This week Kosovo accused Serbia of preparing to emulate "the Crimea model" and annex a predominantly ethnic Serb enclave within Kosovo.</p> <p>The accusation reflected a surge of nationalist anger in both countries and stirred legitimate fear of rekindled war. "Crimea model" refers to the 2014 Russian invasion and annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula &#8212; the Russia led by President and former KGB colonel Vladimir Putin.</p> <p>The Obama Administration responded to the Serbia-Kosovo tensions by asking their respective governments "to avoid dangerous rhetoric..."<p>Updated: Wed Jan 18, 2017</p> 819e5e0ae730f2e8fdbc457167f6e480 The Great Mexican Gas Price War Exposes Core Mexican Problems for 01/11/2017 Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Since January 1, the great gas price war has rocked Mexico. <span class="column--highlighted-text">The turmoil involves the four core problems Mexico confronts in the 21st century: economic adjustment, systemic political change, crime and national distrust.</span></p> <p>The ostensible match that lit this conflagration was the Mexican government's December 27 announcement that gasoline and diesel prices would increase from 14 percent to 20 percent during 2017. Economic adjustment &#8212; check, and one long overdue.<p>Updated: Wed Jan 11, 2017</p> 516fa0301a6f73948015d94b287f28fb North Korean ICBMs Mean U.S. Must Expand Missile Defense for 01/04/2017 Wed, 04 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>In March 2013, when Austin, Texas appeared on a map displaying a North Korean missile strike plan, dictator Kim Jong Un's ballistic missiles couldn't reach the Lone Star State. For the record, Honolulu, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. appeared on the same map.</p> <p>Hello, 2017. Almost four years have passed &#8212; four years filled with the Kim regime's usual threat, paranoid belligerence and murder, along with trial and error missile testing.</p> <p>In his 2017 New Year's Day message, the rotund Kim announced his country is on the verge of fielding an intercontinental ballistic missile. According to Kim, "We have reached the final stage in preparations to test-launch an intercontinental ballistic missile."<p>Updated: Wed Jan 04, 2017</p> 7600da96ed46a923625dfdc3ad431b09 25 Years Since the Soviet Union Collapsed for 12/28/2016 Wed, 28 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p>25 years ago this week, on December 31, 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed.</p> <p>Though Cold War has no definitive peace treaty per se, with the Kremlin's Communist empire in fragments everyone knew the great military and economic struggle between the free world and the Communist bloc had ended.</p> <p>Fortunately the Cold War didn't end with a nuclear bang. North Americans and western Europeans typically reacted with the same mix of relief and pinch-me disbelief that characterized their reactions on November 9, 1989, the day the Berlin Wall cracked. Oh, there were some intellectuals who swore history had ended and liberal democratic free enterprise had defeated all comers. Others noted the brewing conflicts in the Balkans and thought they were about to get a return to ugly history. We could agree that with USSR's demise meant there was less to dread. But what would replace it?<p>Updated: Tue Jan 03, 2017</p> 16dfc3ffb66dea0d12f87c0a68ced6b9 In Berlin, Christmas Was Terror's Iconic Target for 12/21/2016 Wed, 21 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>It should come as no surprise that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has claimed credit for the Dec. 19 Berlin terror attack that killed 12 people and left another 48 injured, many critically.</p> <p>The attack was brutally simple and hideously effective. It also bears the classic signs of sectarian calculation.<p>Updated: Wed Dec 21, 2016</p> 8b82f3df5ba4fed1035da79bb0142f10 Mexican Cartel War Ten Years On for 12/14/2016 Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Mexico was battling well-financed criminal organizations long before December 2006. But that's the month, 10 years ago, when former President Felipe Calderon decided to use military forces to fight the well-armed and well-financed drug cartels that had begun to threaten Mexico's internal stability.</p> <p>Mexico's Cartel War (la guerra contra el narcotrafico) began on December 11, 2006 , when Calderon ordered the Mexican Army to quell cartel-inspired violence in the western state of Michoacan. Calderon believed the cartels were in the process of creating a "criminal mini-state" in the region.</p> <p>The Familia Michoacana drug cartel was an Army target. The Valencia and Gulf cartels were waging a turf war in the Michoacan. The Sinaloa cartel also had a presence in the state.<p>Updated: Wed Dec 14, 2016</p> c9ca1c7c52df5c6cb24fc367ac214665 Trump Combines Art of the Deal and Art of War for 12/07/2016 Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>A month after the presidential election, U.S. president-elect Donald Trump has executed his own political "pivot to Asia."</p> <p>Trump's pivot consisted of two phone calls, one with Taiwan's president and the other with the president of the Philippines. <p>Updated: Wed Dec 07, 2016</p> 4856c62c0908004eded0c3d176b1dae4 Russia's Cyclic War in Ukraine Continues for 11/30/2016 Wed, 30 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Intense combat suddenly erupts in eastern Ukraine. Russian-backed rebels &#8212; using Kremlin-supplied heavy artillery, mortars and machine guns &#8212; launch a series of attacks on Ukrainian military positions. Other rebels raid neighborhoods or probe Ukrainian defenses around the Black Sea port of Mariupol.</p> <p>Then the violence stops. All appears to be quiet on Europe's eastern front. Ukraine contends Russian intelligence agents planned the attacks and Russian Special Forces officers directed them. The Kremlin denies supplying or financing the rebels and announces it has convinced the rebels to respect the ceasefire agreement with Ukraine. Russian propagandists promise peace, soothing the headline consciousness of U.S. media. As a result, a war in Europe involving a nuclear power draws scant American attention.<p>Updated: Wed Nov 30, 2016</p> 2ed2a849a99d11bd1b1d318838c69c9a The Islamic State's Afghan Intrigues for 11/23/2016 Wed, 23 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p>On November 21, an Islamist terrorist entered the Shia Muslim Baqir ul-Uloom mosque in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul. He detonated his explosive-laden suicide vest, killing 30 people and wounding over 70.</p> <p>Afghanistan's Taliban militant organization denied responsibility for the attack. However, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria claimed credit for the slaughter, touting it in a press release.</p> <p>The terror attack incited anger and provoked fear throughout Afghanistan. Even headline writers for Western media outlets understood that dimension. The carnage and human suffering was evident and targeting worshippers in a mosque stirred curiosity. Voice of America published an article that said the mosque attack "is yet another indicator" of ISIS' "expanding terror activities" in Pakistan and Afghanistan.<p>Updated: Wed Nov 23, 2016</p> 8ffb53a5c90bfcfc1fb0d3c9c616b198 Bangladesh Battles Islamist Terror and Ethnic Cleansing for 11/16/2016 Wed, 16 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Impoverished, predominantly Muslim and below-media-radar Bangladesh continues to wage a careful war on militant Islamist terrorists.</p> <p>This is good news. Bangladesh is the world's eighth most populous country, with around 168 million people.</p> <p>Unfortunately, the latest news begins with an act of calculated Islamist terror that also had a greed-driven criminal angle.<p>Updated: Wed Nov 16, 2016</p>