Austin Bay from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Wed, 16 Aug 2017 16:00:14 -0700 Austin Bay from Creators Syndicate 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> 33acd7a2a52067fb48ecf948c6037e41 U.S. Diplomatic Strategy for 04/19/2017 Wed, 19 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The Trump Administration is suggesting China will receive a favorable trade deal &#8212; and perhaps other unspecified considerations &#8212; if Beijing helps terminate North Korea's nuclear weapons program.</p> <p>Cooperate to terminate &#8212; that's the gist of the U.S. diplomatic strategy to deal with North Korea's rogue nukes.</p> <p>During his recent visit to South Korea, Vice-President Mike Pence gave a more expansive but still focused description. "...President Trump," Pence said, "is absolutely committed to marshaling the energy of the world community, in countries in the Asian pacific, to use economic and diplomatic power to isolate North Korea and achieve a goal of a denuclearized Korean peninsula."<p>Updated: Wed Apr 19, 2017</p> 348ed42df9ccc25fd398471f9e80c942 North Korea and Syria: Two Heriditary Dictatorships for 04/12/2017 Wed, 12 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is once again threatening war with South Korea, Japan and the U.S. He assures us his ballistic missiles will soon bear nuclear warheads.</p> <p>Last week, aircraft loyal to Syria's Assad dictatorship dropped nerve agent bombs on a civilian neighborhood. The U.S. retaliated for the war crime with a classic punitive strike. American cruise missiles hammered the airfield used by Assad regime jets.</p> <p>North Korea and Syria present the world with different diplomatic and military challenges. They differ geographically &#8212; East Asia and the Pacific basin versus Southwest Asia. They differ in historical origin.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 12, 2017</p> 7a78e8f6589f72c587b6a8a1e8bf566b Obama's Red Line Horror for 04/05/2017 Wed, 05 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Syria's Assad regime has once again used banned chemical weapons to inflict mass casualties on civilians.</p> <p>On April 4, Syrian Air Force jets bombed a rebel-held village in the Syrian province of Idlib. The U.S. State Department said banned chemical weapons were used in the attack. White House press secretary Sean Spicer blamed the Assad regime and didn't mince words: "Today's chemical attack in Syria against innocent people, including women and children, is reprehensible and cannot be ignored by the civilized world." Then he added "These heinous acts are a consequence of the past administration's (Obama Administration's) weakness and irresolution."<p>Updated: Wed Apr 05, 2017</p> 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>