Austin Bay from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sun, 18 Mar 2018 05:24:57 -0700 Austin Bay from Creators Syndicate f2fe2770fb1d5f044a640362be103fe7 Is Russia's Nerve Gas Attack in Great Britain An Act of War? for 03/14/2018 Wed, 14 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The British government has directly accused Russia of using a very sophisticated chemical weapon &#8212;-a "poison gas" in common idiom &#8212; in a failed attempt to murder a former Russian defector and his daughter. </p> <p>A vengeful Kremlin assassination team prowling Britain sounds like a scene in a Cold War spy novel and the botched March 4 homicide has Cold War echoes. The targets, former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were sitting on a park bench in Salisbury, England.</p> <p>However, immediate 21st century contexts matter. Vladimir Putin's Russia is an especially relevant context. Putin's Kremlin is currently engaged in global political and cyber agitation while waging so-called "hybrid war" in Ukraine and Syria.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 14, 2018</p> 7d4a3459fbceb9fea1cf9a3704ecb2a9 Hard In Either Direction As North Korea Prepares To Discuss Denuclearization for 03/07/2018 Wed, 07 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>North Korea's criminal dictatorship routinely violates weapons and security agreements, so reports that dictator Kim Jong Un wants to "dialogue" with the U.S. and South Korea about his precious nuclear weapons warrant deep skepticism.</p> <p>However, Pyongyang's latest offer to hold "discussions about more discussions" may not be completely superficial.</p> <p>North Korea's rapid move from the Olympics' political theatrics to publicly acknowledging substantial issues and expressing a willingness to address them isn't decisive, but it is encouraging. <p>Updated: Wed Mar 07, 2018</p> 3513fbef319c03a25584a825943c6e2e China's Emperor Xi Rides The Tiananmen Tiger for 02/28/2018 Wed, 28 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>For the last five years, Chinese President Xi Jinping has methodically acquired additional positions of authority within China's government. </p> <p>Xi is this century's most powerful Chinese leader. His power matches that of modernizer Deng Xiaoping and approaches that possessed by Chairman Mao Zedong.</p> <p>So prepare for Emperor Xi, a high-tech 21st century monarch clothed in presidential garb, draped in Communist Party propaganda and supported by the globe's second largest GDP.<p>Updated: Wed Feb 28, 2018</p> 4a78f97801a7bc6542ee0f27baf3259f Kremlin Covert Influence Operations Target More Than U.S. Elections for 02/21/2018 Wed, 21 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>During the 2012 presidential campaign, Mitt Romney argued that Vladimir Putin's Russia is America's chief geopolitical foe. In a now-embarrassing display of sanctimony and arrogance, President Barack Obama dismissed Romney as a benighted Cold War revivalist. "The 1980s are now calling and want their foreign policy back," Obama sneered.</p> <p>Subsequent history has proved Romney to be correct and Obama dismally wrong. Russia's 2014 invasion and annexation of Crimea and its creeping war of aggression in Ukraine are two very dangerous examples of war-making by the Kremlin that challenges American security and American allies. </p> <p>Russia's war in Ukraine targets Ukraine, but NATO is the deeper target. The Kremlin's incessant anti-NATO propaganda narrative attests to that.<p>Updated: Wed Feb 21, 2018</p> d554cba87f729b878406224fc3432f43 The Director of National Intelligence Assesses America's Complex Threat Environment for 02/14/2018 Wed, 14 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>On February 13, U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee and discussed his just-released "Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community" report.</p> <p>That document synthesizes what U.S. military and civilian intelligence analysts, cyber warriors and counter-intelligence experts regard as the "sobering" (a word Coats used) threats to the American people and their interests.</p> <p>During his testimony, DNI Coats was flanked by the directors of the FBI, CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, NSA and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). Their agencies contributed to the assessment.<p>Updated: Wed Feb 14, 2018</p> 0864951592a2b0460d0dfa94b43a791b Is the Greece-Macedonia 'Name War' Finally Ending? for 02/07/2018 Wed, 07 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>A new round of diplomatic negotiations promoted by the UN, the EU and NATO may finally end The Name War &#8212; the odd but bitter little conflict pitting Greece against its northern neighbor, Macedonia. </p> <p>Understand that calling Macedonia "Macedonia" riles many Greeks &#8212; over 60 percent according to a poll touted by Greek nationalists. Riled Greeks prefer to refer to Macedonia as the FYROM, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Macedonia is its "communist era" name.</p> <p>Whether Macedonia or FYROM, the country became independent in 1991, when Yugoslavia dissolved amid civil war.<p>Updated: Wed Feb 07, 2018</p> 8d031faa3a68e7ea26e400e3ee87a44e China Prepares to Win 'Informationized Local Wars' for 01/31/2018 Wed, 31 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>CIA Director Mike Pompeo pegs Russia and China as America's two most powerful and worrisome adversaries. And the CIA Director is worried. Both Russia and China conduct covert influence operations targeting U.S. security efforts, important institutions and political processes, to include American elections. </p> <p>In a recent interview with the BBC, Pompeo said he believes Russia will meddle in the 2018 U.S. midterm election. The Kremlin will also continue political subversion campaigns in Europe.</p> <p>Yes, Russian political subversion in Europe. Does it sound like the Kremlin has revived the Cold War? Except Eastern Europeans, particularly Estonians, Ukrainians and Moldovans, will remind you that Russia never stopped waging subversive warfare against its neighbors.<p>Updated: Wed Jan 31, 2018</p> 7212fdf46f2b651f1e6778ad755a8767 Disputing China's Spurious Territorial Claims in the South China Sea for 01/24/2018 Wed, 24 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>On January 22, Chinese government media angrily accused the U.S. of "wantonly provoking trouble" in the South China Sea. </p> <p>The alleged American provocation? On January 17, the U.S. Navy's USS Hopper, a guided missile destroyer, passed within 12 miles of Scarborough Shoal &#8212; a sea feature within Filipino territory that China now calls Huangyan Island.</p> <p>Got that? Within Filipino territory, but China claims it.<p>Updated: Wed Jan 24, 2018</p> 3a161f655e53ed1d34335e0da6adb599 Learning From Hawaii's False Missile Attack Fiasco for 01/17/2018 Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>The false missile attack alert that the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency issued at 8:05 a.m. on January 13 provides American civil defense agencies and military planners with numerous points to ponder.</p> <p>Three deserve immediate attention.</p> <p>Point 1: Hawaii's civil defense warning system procedures are abysmally bad. <p>Updated: Wed Jan 17, 2018</p> 66d44c9852d41ca778b9b830fe2fb6a8 The 2018 Korean War Olympiad for 01/10/2018 Wed, 10 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Next month wealthy South Korea will host the XXIII Winter Olympics in PyeongChang &#8212; despite the on-going Korean War.</p> <p>Sorry, this is not a technicality but a bitter historical fact and dangerous political reality. The war between North and South Korea that began in 1950 continues. The 1953 armistice is not a peace treaty but a ceasefire deal that established a Demilitarized Zone and assumed peace negotiations would follow. Unfortunately, fire on the peninsula never quite ceased and peace has not followed. North Korea's criminal regime must shoulder the blame.</p> <p>The resort town of PyeongChang, the prime Olympic venue, is some 80 kilometers south of the DMZ. This puts it beyond the range of North Korean field artillery pieces, though not beyond the range of terror attack, strike aircraft and ballistic missiles.<p>Updated: Wed Jan 10, 2018</p> 45d53bf18ad6795f25353d80552e03e3 The Ayatollahs' Brittle Regime Confronts A New Iranian Revolt for 01/03/2018 Wed, 03 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>The anti-regime protests now jolting Iran send the world two core messages &#8212; one dismal and sobering, the other an explosive cocktail of the deadly and the hopeful. Both core messages provide guidance for open-minded American and free world policy makers.</p> <p>It takes a narrow-minded Obama Administration apologist to miss the dismal and sobering message. Here it is, offered with prayers for the abused Iranian citizens who suffer the consequences: Not quite nine years after Tehran's theocrat fascist dictators and their brutal Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps thugs crushed the 2009 Green Movement, Iran remains a domestic political disaster and economic disaster. </p> <p>Yes &#8212; domestic political disaster and domestic economic disaster. The political requires emphasis since many initial mainstream media reports addressing the protests downplayed the political oppression component. <p>Updated: Wed Jan 03, 2018</p> 026421b58f39b8b9130d61d0c30a6b5a Trump Security Strategy Will "Compete" With Every Instrument of National Power for 12/20/2017 Wed, 20 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>The national security strategy President Donald Trump outlined in a December 18 speech has drawn searing criticism from China. That's a good indication Trump is on the right track.</p> <p>In his speech, the president declared that America will utilize all elements of national power (in appropriate combinations to defend its national interests.) The elements of power are diplomatic, information, military and economic power, which is what Trump meant by the phrase "we must compete with every instrument of our national power."</p> <p>Moreover, his administration will defend American interests by recognizing and engaging a 21st century geo-political reality that prior administrations either sought to finesse or attempted to ignore: great power rivalries that intensify current armed conflicts and seed future wars. <p>Updated: Wed Dec 20, 2017</p> ae486439d13886b5e446ca2306964f12 The Real Challenges for American Intelligence Agencies for 12/13/2017 Wed, 13 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>In October 2003, former Secretary of Defense and former CIA Director James Schlesinger observed that "major organizational change (in American intelligence agencies) is not the salvation. I would submit the real challenge lies in recruiting, fostering, training and motivating people with insight."</p> <p>Insight. Sounds arcane, mysterious, rare, tough to describe to human resources directors much less cable television talk show hosts &#8212; and indeed it is. </p> <p>Yet this highly individual talent is indispensable to American security. That's why Schlesinger &#8212; ever the erudite patriot &#8212; said identifying it, hiring the individual possessing it and then nurturing, cultivating and promoting this gifted employee in a government institution jumbled by Beltway bureaucratic procedures and garbage politics, is "the real challenge" to real leaders in U.S. intelligence services.<p>Updated: Wed Dec 13, 2017</p> cc6b6867ff42976de0c0c899961dace3 The 'Two Big Wars At Once' Threat Returns With A Vengeance for 12/06/2017 Wed, 06 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>A quick scan of existing and emerging threats to the U.S. and its vital interests ought to end any lingering debate. The Pentagon must prepare to fight two simultaneous wars in two widely separated geo-political theaters.</p> <p>Right now, I don't think we can do it.</p> <p>During the Cold War, the U.S. prepared to fight globally, but the Asia-Pacific region and Europe were the primary theaters. As the Cold War faded, "two major regional contingencies" became a buzz phrase for large regional wars. Planners often added the word "conventional." In a "conventional contingency," the U.S. did not expect the use of or encounter nuclear weapons.<p>Updated: Wed Dec 06, 2017</p> 75bc077dc55b270ae842ada9b5fb911a The Islamic State's Bloody Defeat In Mosul for 11/22/2017 Wed, 22 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>On June 21, as Iraqi ground forces neared the center of Mosul's Old City, Islamic State fighters detonated explosives and destroyed the al-Nuri Grand Mosque.</p> <p>For eight centuries, the building symbolized Mosul, which is why, in June 2014, ISIS senior commander Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed the ISIS caliphate from a Grand Mosque balcony. Speaking freely in the great house of worship demonstrated Al-Baghdadi's control of Mosul. As an internet propaganda tool, video of his declaration confirmed he was a caliph, the religious-political ruler of an expanding militant Islamist territorial state.<p>Updated: Wed Nov 22, 2017</p> 85bfc8b3c93b473aa92ce1ed07691331 Have Iranian Threats Spurred a Saudi-Israeli Alliance? for 11/15/2017 Wed, 15 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The Iranian-sponsored November 4 ballistic missile attack on Saudi Arabia's capital, Riyadh, continues to roil the Middle East &#8212; and it should.</p> <p>Last week, I wrote a column arguing that missile attack signaled an escalation in the simmering regional war between Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Iran's Shia Islamic revolutionary regime. Their proxy war in Yemen would become more intense and could spread to the Persian Gulf littoral.<p>Updated: Wed Nov 15, 2017</p> b91fab0068571ec6a4c1e4d88e6076e0 The Saudi Arabia-Iran War Escalates for 11/08/2017 Wed, 08 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>On November 4, a U.S.-made Patriot missile intercepted an Iranian-manufactured Burkan H-2 short-range ballistic missile as its warhead plunged toward the international airport outside Riyadh, Saudi Arabia's capital.</p> <p>Though the missile was launched from Yemen, with good reason Saudi leaders called the attack an act of "aggression" by Iran. A human rights organization said the "indiscriminate" missile attack was "an apparent war crime."</p> <p>Under any circumstances, the missile attack signals that war between the Sunni Muslim kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Iran's Shia Islamic revolutionary regime is escalating and their proxy war in Yemen will become more intense.<p>Updated: Wed Nov 08, 2017</p> 6863e67f0629bfcf9040e228f5a3b587 North Korea's Criminal Sovereignty for 11/01/2017 Wed, 01 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The economic and political sanctions regimen the Trump Administration has placed on North Korea and its corporate enablers may help undermine one of the dictatorship's most important industries: its global organized crime operation.</p> <p>Military and diplomatic analysts agree that criminal organizations influence several ongoing wars. But crime syndicate participation is rarely a decisive factor.</p> <p>However, trans-national narcotics trafficking organizations like Mexico's notorious drug cartels have the financial resources to bribe key government and law enforcement officials. They can also hire gunmen with military-level combat skills and arm these gunmen with better weapons than the federal police.<p>Updated: Wed Nov 01, 2017</p> cc5833f97d3766e52b3b5fb12198ea68 Niger and the West African War on Terror for 10/25/2017 Wed, 25 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In his October 23 Pentagon press conference describing the U.S. military presence in Niger, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford demonstrated it is possible to address serious national security issues and finesse the current spate of domestic political hysterics.</p> <p>"This area (in west Africa) is inherently dangerous," General Dunford said. "We're there because ISIS and al-Qaida are operating in that area."</p> <p>Here's the predicate to Dunford's statement: on October 4, four U.S. Army Green Berets died in combat in Niger. They were part of a 12-man U.S. detachment accompanying 30 Nigerien soldiers on a patrol returning from the village of Tongo Tongo, near Niger's border with Mali. Five Nigerien troops died in the battle.<p>Updated: Wed Oct 25, 2017</p> 6486b0ea209495774de59d8b167a5f18 As Benghazi's Port Re-Opens, Libyan Factions Start to Talk for 10/04/2017 Wed, 04 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The UN and western diplomats are trying to put Libya back together again.</p> <p>Previous diplomatic attempts to glue the broken state have failed &#8212; bloodily. The Libyan curse of regionalism is a major reason.</p> <p>World leaders underestimated the damage done to Libyan society by dictator Muammar Gaddafi. During his four decades in power, Gaddafi savaged the country, leaving a legacy of torture and corruption. He exacerbated factional resentments. The factional resentments fed the regional rivalries and distrust that, in turn fired, the episodic warfare that has shredded Libya from 2014 through mid-2017.<p>Updated: Wed Oct 04, 2017</p>