Austin Bay from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sat, 20 Oct 2018 20:18:42 -0700 Austin Bay from Creators Syndicate 86695cc91e8c926ff91c0ae5db7ee1f4 Bringing North Korea to the Nuclear Point of No Return for 10/17/2018 Wed, 17 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>This week, South Korean President Moon Jae-in offered North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un another encouraging word. Moon said the crippling economic and political sanctions imposed on North Korea will begin to ease "when and if we decide the North's denuclearization process has at least reached a point of no return..."</p> <p>Call that a word carrot. North Korea didn't receive a bankable financial instrument or written agreement, just a verbal incentive to continue the denuclearization process Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump began in Singapore last June.</p> <p>South Korean media now refer to that meeting as the "unprecedented U.S.-North Korea summit." It certainly was. Trump assured Kim that he and his nation had a safe and wealthy future backed by American and South Korean security guarantees &#8212; as long as Kim followed through on his promise to completely, verifiably and irreversibly denuclearize, or CVID.<p>Updated: Wed Oct 17, 2018</p> 0bd22a72fb45e34ab34dbd778c54b436 Iraq's New Government Confronts Iran and Corruption for 10/11/2018 Thu, 11 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>After four months of vote recounts and bitter negotiations following May's indecisive election, in September Iraq's strife-ridden Council of Representatives voted to form the nucleus of a stable government when its parliamentarians agreed to select Barham Salih as president.</p> <p>In early October, Salih chose Adel Abdul-Mahdi to be prime minister and charged him with forming a new national government. Abdul-Mahdi must accomplish this feat in 30 days.<p>Updated: Thu Oct 11, 2018</p> cfccdd5f2b1cccf1eb48eb97911dcca3 The US-Mexico-Canada Trade Deal Is a Weapon Against Chinese Imperialism for 10/03/2018 Wed, 03 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>As China's Communist government sees it, the "neo-NAFTA" U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is far more than a revised North American trade arrangement. It is an act of strategic warfare aimed at China.</p> <p>Beijing has got this one right. The Trump administration's USMCA gives Washington a powerful economic and diplomatic tool for achieving the U.S. and its key allies' most vital long-range goal in the Indo-Pacific region: preventing the rise of a hegemonic regional power, in this case China. Key U.S. allies in the Indo-Pacific is shorthand for Canada, Japan, Australia, South Korea and Singapore. India is a quiet ally, though continued Chinese misbehavior will ensure India morphs from quiet to key.<p>Updated: Wed Oct 03, 2018</p> 8e97687b90e695d2ef541e920381c0d6 McCaul and McRaven Discuss Food Insecurity and National Security for 09/26/2018 Wed, 26 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>War and anarchy directly link to mass human hunger.</p> <p>In 2017, the United Nations reported 37 countries confronted food insecurity or scarcity conditions that required external assistance - meaning food supplied by international agencies or donor nations like the U.S. Internal conflicts or regional warfare afflicted at least 30 of these countries.</p> <p>The problematic connection between violent conflict and hunger led the University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs to organize a forum (held Sept. 17) addressing the national security aspects of food insecurity.<p>Updated: Wed Sep 26, 2018</p> e83792de07f2844f6055a8dd855b46f0 The Population Threat to China's Prosperity for 09/05/2018 Wed, 05 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>While the Chinese Communist government basks in China's economic success, several terrible authoritarian decisions made in Beijing put the country's stability and sustained prosperity at risk.</p> <p>Though a forbidden public topic, the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre haunts the government. Chinese citizens bitterly resent the massacre, its cloak of totalitarian silence and Beijing's continued police state repression.<p>Updated: Wed Sep 05, 2018</p> f8bd019845fb3bb073d500974c39e1f9 Will Venezuela Explode Before It Implodes? for 08/29/2018 Wed, 29 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>In 2007, now deceased Venezuelan socialist dictator Hugo Chavez toyed with launching an invasion of Curacao, a Dutch-protected island just off the Venezuelan coast. That wasn't his first military threat to a neighbor. Circa 2000, he began suggesting Venezuelan forces might intervene in neighboring Colombia, at the time fighting a narco-Communist guerrilla insurgency. </p> <p>Controlling Colombia would be a major step toward creating what Chavez called his socialist version of the South American "super-state" envisioned by 19th-century South American revolutionary Simon Bolivar. The Chavista "Bolivarian" state's territory would include Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and a slice of Surinam. Peru and Bolivia were possible future targets.<p>Updated: Wed Aug 29, 2018</p> 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>