Austin Bay from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Fri, 23 Aug 2019 22:53:11 -0700 Austin Bay from Creators Syndicate a10b8b25981dd41c1e1c2fb69c2e8833 Hong Kong Confronts Beijing's Disinformation Tweets for 08/21/2019 Wed, 21 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Riots! Dark forces! Terrorism! American gangsters!</p> <p>The allegations are propaganda smears threatened dictators routinely employ to tar opponents and shift blame.<p>Updated: Wed Aug 21, 2019</p> d82ee627d49dbfc00c77a9cfaeb7bb56 Diplomatically Countering Threats to Arctic Real Estate for 08/14/2019 Wed, 14 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's candid May 6 speech at the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Finland startled many in his well-heeled audience.</p> <p>The Arctic Council consists of eight countries that control some Arctic territory (U.S., Canada, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Russia) and six Arctic indigenous groups. Greenland is a Danish possession; the island has an immense Arctic Exclusive Economic Zone.<p>Updated: Wed Aug 14, 2019</p> fa1f29d37fe17038d68b556b229e8896 China's Great Oppressor Reality Subverts Its Great Power Aspirations for 08/08/2019 Thu, 08 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Chinese President Xi Jinping boasts his nation will return to great power status before 2049. By great power Xi means return to unrivaled world power status, which his ethnic Han-centered reading of history assumes the Middle Kingdom enjoyed during its imperial golden age. By the way, it is no coincidence that 2049 will mark 100 years of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) dictatorial rule in mainland China.</p> <p>2019's Hong Kong protests, however, have exposed Xi's reviving China as a great oppressor operating as an authoritarian, corrupt and brutal political system few human beings would willingly emulate. China's senior communists can boast, but deep down they know their police state is politically brittle, which is why they employ hi-tech surveillance to monitor their citizens and Tiananmen Square-type slaughter if undeterred citizens challenge the CCP's domestic power.</p> <p>The Trump administration's trade war has caught politically challenged China in an awkward economic moment. China's economy no longer roars. Economic growth has stalled.<p>Updated: Thu Aug 08, 2019</p> 4d1a767641412b7937a758989ae0c893 Deep Fakes and the New Age of Deception for 07/31/2019 Wed, 31 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p></p><p>Forgeries, malign innuendo, smears, hoaxes and outright lies are primal psychological and emotional weapons. From lovers' quarrels to great-power warfare, they are innate factors in human conflict.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 31, 2019</p> c99bce6348797e608bbbcaa15fb79b13 Fracking Ayatollah Iran's Oil Weapon for 07/24/2019 Wed, 24 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Iran's corrupt religious dictators continue to talk, taunt and act as if their periodic attacks on oil tankers and cyclic threats to close the Strait of Hormuz to commercial and naval vessels still have the power to spike global oil prices, depress stock markets and economically throttle the industrialized nations the ayatollahs despise.</p> <p>But geo-strategically, 2019 isn't 1973, 1990 or even 2014, when oil exporter Russia invaded Ukraine and threatened to restrict natural gas sales to the Kremlin's European critics. <p>Updated: Wed Jul 24, 2019</p> c892b28e79c0be4a0cc273e0fa43e201 In Anarchic Somalia, the Global War on Terror Continues for 07/17/2019 Wed, 17 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>On July 12, al-Shabaab Islamic terrorists attacked a hotel in the Somali seaport of Kismayo. They detonated a suicide car bomb, and then gunmen shot their way into the hotel. The attack left 33 human beings dead and injured at least 50.</p> <p>Do events like this in anarchic Somalia matter beyond the immediate region?<p>Updated: Wed Jul 17, 2019</p> fa460d76bf01ff68f9ce04432472f150 Hong Kong Confronts China With Information Age Political Battles for 07/10/2019 Wed, 10 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>In Hong Kong's 2019 civil upheaval, <span class="column--highlighted-text">China's communist dictatorship confronts two intricate information-age political battles.</span></p> <p>One battle is a clash of national narratives, regionally with suspicious neighbors (including Hong Kong) who resist Chinese expansion, globally as the regime's most potent international adversary, the U.S., squeezes Beijing economically and cajoles it politically. For example, the U.S. threatens China with legal action and economic penalties for its pervasive theft of intellectual property. China has yet to effectively counter that verifiable charge.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 10, 2019</p> b8b332314a68cdc770d73c16b433aac3 Turkey's Latest Libyan War Recalls 1911 for 07/03/2019 Wed, 03 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Last week, though his military forces are deeply engaged in next-door Syria's ruinous civil war, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to launch a military campaign in another former Turkish Ottoman Empire colonial possession: Libya.</p> <p>Don't dismiss the Ottoman link as a quaint historical reference. Ottoman rule influences contemporary Libyan politics in odd but evident ways. Empire connections have some resonance in 21st-century Turkey. Imperial glory may well have psychological import for the authoritarian Erdogan. His nickname is Sultan Recep.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 03, 2019</p> 9a57b2c37be4ede3c38ed1b96a4cbdf8 Good News for NATO: Turk Voters Reject Erdogan's Ego-Sultan Regime for 06/26/2019 Wed, 26 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>If the Istanbul electoral thrashing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan received June 23 eventually topples him, Turkey's citizens will prove once again they can protect their democracy from corruption by a hyper-empowered strongman and authoritarian Islamism.</p> <p>Erdogan is on the verge of destroying Turkish democracy. He is also an emerging threat to the integrity of NATO, which means he's a threat to U.S. security. If "security" sounds vague, confront a specific. Sultan Recep (Erdogan's derisive nickname) threatens the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter's technological edge, which means he aids and abets America's military enemies.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 26, 2019</p> 5b5c490bc416542de7f7f3b92eca232b Attention Media Hysterics: Iran's Dictatorship Declared War on America 40 Years Ago for 06/19/2019 Wed, 19 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Media hysterics take note. Honest commentary on the Trump administration's 2019 diplomatic, economic and military clash with Iran's vicious dictatorship requires historical context.</p> <p>Here's critical historical Fact One: Since 1979, the year the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his initially broad coalition toppled Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the revolutionary Islamic Iranian regime Khomeini established has been at war with the United States. My sources include Khomeini and his fanatics who commandeered dictatorial power in 1980 after marginalizing non-Islamists in the anti-Shah coalition. Contemporary sources include the disgustingly corrupt clerics and Revolutionary Guard Corps officers who mastermind regime rackets, graft, oppression, war-making and terror operations.</p> <p>In November 1979, Khomeini's thugs seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran. These terrorists held American diplomats and Marines hostage for 444 days.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 19, 2019</p> d5c113e41cfe372088e6bd3111108c2e So Far, Trade War 2019 Risks Red Ink, Not Blood for 06/13/2019 Thu, 13 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>This summer, the Trump administration is conducting two calculated national security operations in which America's vast, varied and flexible Economic resources serve as the administration's primary big stick.</p> <p>Talk softly while wielding a big stick &#8212; that was Theodore Roosevelt's sound bite dictum. In 2019 we have the Trump administration, and soft-spoken it is not. But that warrants a historical reminder: TR could get loud and large, a bit like DT.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 13, 2019</p> 0e0767c231325d72e389a0bd9f2daeee Westphalia and the South China Sea for 06/05/2019 Wed, 05 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In the 1990s, political theorists, historians and more than a few political leaders debated this question: Had "transnational forces" associated with globalization made the sovereign nation-state a dysfunctional and potentially dangerous political structure?</p> <p>The 21st-century's revival of Great Power competition &#8212; competition between powerful states that value their sovereignty &#8212; indicates borders still matter.</p> <p>The U.S. and communist China are quite powerful. China's disrespect for borders is fundamental to its clash in the South China Sea.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 05, 2019</p> 20e3369642ebee592154f45c10370d49 30 Years Later, the Tiananmen Tiger Still Stalks Communist China's Dragon for 05/29/2019 Wed, 29 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>China's four-decade rise from hunger-plagued developing country to great power with global clout ranks as one of world history's more remarkable political-economic achievements.</p> <p>The Chinese dragon is back with fire in its belly &#8212; economic, military and political fire with Chinese (authoritarian) characteristics that is erasing a century of Chinese humiliation at the hands of foreigners.<p>Updated: Wed May 29, 2019</p> b4265fb19d75d61337104d5da99b8ab0 Iran's Proxy Armies Become a Regime Liability for 05/22/2019 Wed, 22 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Mark down May 2019 as the month Iran's war-by-proxy-forces racket became an undeniable problem for Tehran's dictators.</p> <p>This month, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. informed the Iranian regime it will suffer violent consequences if and when the militias and terror cells Tehran employs throughout the Middle East and the world attack Saudi and American targets.<p>Updated: Wed May 22, 2019</p> dbaf79320df189d2bf67073c6d0d824d Congo's Global Epidemic War for 05/15/2019 Wed, 15 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The Democratic Republic of Congo's daily hell of poverty, assorted wars, ethnic antagonism, frail government institutions, porous borders, cultural superstitions, meddling neighbors and corrupt elites provide a one-stop-shop example of the wicked conditions afflicting the globe's less-developed regions, sub-Saharan Africa in particular.</p> <p>Unfortunately for all homo sapiens living within 200 kilometers or so of a major airport anywhere on this planet, the Ebola virus epidemic afflicting eastern Congo constitutes a deadly, international, mass-casualty threat to human life.<p>Updated: Wed May 15, 2019</p> 5e3ec2175503d4201d23c57a93cbed55 China's Communist Dictatorship Targets American Creativity for 05/08/2019 Wed, 08 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Spies have always targeted more than military secrets. Gathering political intelligence and compromising personal information on enemy leaders is as old as our species. "Spying for profit" (economic gain) is old news, though globalization has increased the value of commercial and financial data.</p> <p>Likewise, spies have long pursued what we now call "proprietary knowledge," particularly when the intellectual property &#8212; which originally indicated a creative intellect owned it &#8212; involved technology having current or potential military application.</p> <p>However, communist China's pervasive and relentless spy operation targeting American scientific, commercial and economic creativity has no historical precedent.<p>Updated: Wed May 08, 2019</p> aa020aa3730015ebcf7193554b5ca5ee Sudan's Protestors Now Confront the Military Transitional Council for 05/01/2019 Wed, 01 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>On April 11, after four months of relentless demonstrations by Sudanese citizens, Sudan's military ousted dictator and Darfur genocidaire Omar al-Bashir. </p> <p>Rise by the sword; fall by the sword. In 1989, Bashir led a military coup that toppled the government in Khartoum. For the next three decades, he relied on the military to maintain his personal power. Force of arms intimidated his political opponents while graft rewarded his political cronies.<p>Updated: Wed May 01, 2019</p> 34a913d9ff55c5f7756217c820e01ebe Background to Sri Lanka's Easter Terror Atrocities for 04/24/2019 Wed, 24 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">Within Sri Lanka's multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, the Easter Sunday terror massacres have stirred embittering memories of suicide terror atrocities perpetrated during the nation's 26-year-long civil war (July 1983 to May 2009). The Easter bombings killed at least 321 people and injured over 500.</span><br></p> <p>Understand that the stark and numerous differences between 2019's horror and the terror campaigns waged by ethnic Tamils during their secessionist insurgency are historically and politically salient. When it comes to capturing and/or eliminating 2019's perpetrators, the differences will be determinative. I'll sketch the key ones in a moment.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 24, 2019</p> d3a3e1b61a6213ff526efceb6d9fa209 Venezuela's Maduro Starves His Own People for 04/18/2019 Thu, 18 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Venezuela's slide to chaotic penury and violence continues. Socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro and his government ought to resign in shame, but caudillos and their cronies inevitably attempt to cling to power, no matter the suffering they inflict.</p> <p>The Venezuelan people certainly suffer. In the last month, the nation with over 300 billion barrels in proven oil reserves has suffered three major electrical blackouts affecting three-quarters of the country. Even the capital, Caracas, went dark.</p> <p>There's a loss of lives as well as lights. Venezuelan sources reported that 46 hospitalized patients died as a direct result of the first blackout.<p>Updated: Thu Apr 18, 2019</p> ee08cea7dde1852c0d737aadbde688ed Manila's Beijing Bromance Wrecks on Pag-asa Island for 04/10/2019 Wed, 10 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>On April 4, the prickly Philippines president, Rodrigo Duterte, warned China that his country would react militarily if the China Coast Guard and fishing vessels continue to "swarm" and surround a small Filipino islet in the Spratly Islands, Pag-asa Island (also called Thitu). Duterte's warning followed a March 29 formal diplomatic protest the Philippines delivered to China's embassy in Manila.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Beijing's aggressive South China Sea territorial grab relies on a bully's bilateral perception of power</span>: strong China versus weak neighbor. China is an emerging great power with global economic clout and a powerful, modernizing military. In comparison, the Philippines is vulnerable militarily. It is also anemic economically, and it owes China so much money that both Duterte (belatedly) and his political opponents fear a Chinese debt trap. China could seize Filipino assets for nonpayment of loans.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 10, 2019</p>