Austin Bay from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sun, 26 Jan 2020 00:30:27 -0800 Austin Bay from Creators Syndicate 899d30ecc97100d89c655fb212cb3015 Vladimir Putin Seeks Power, Confronts Protests for 01/22/2020 Wed, 22 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>On May 1, 2019, Russian police in Moscow and St. Petersburg arrested over a hundred demonstrators who had made it clear to all observers they were protesting one man: Russian President and former KGB Col. Vladimir Putin.</p> <p>On Jan. 15, 2020, Putin announced that he would send the Russian parliament legislation that would amend the constitution and alter the current senior leadership structure. Putin called the legislation a necessary "reform" that offers "more power to the people."<p>Updated: Wed Jan 22, 2020</p> 59065199e4243db120644a5bbe1cb648 Iranians Attack Their Real Enemy: The Ayatollah Regime for 01/15/2020 Wed, 15 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">Since December 2017, deeply aggrieved Iranian citizens have publicly denounced two blatantly linked injustices perpetrated by the corrupt ayatollah regime: the clerical dictatorship's hideous corruption and Iran's acute economic deterioration.</span><br></p> <p>Iran's Islamic revolutionary dictatorship is a case study in repeated failure, incompetence, corruption and mass murder.<p>Updated: Wed Jan 15, 2020</p> 167ff6dcf41b92917d2f3e6e5d5bd126 Soleimani's Fatal Arrogance Reveals a Fool's Contempt for His Enemies for 01/08/2020 Wed, 08 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Understand these facts first and foremost: Qassem Soleimani was a career state-sponsored terrorist whose financial, ideological and strategic sponsor was the Iranian theocratic dictatorship the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini founded in 1979.</p> <p>Another fact: In 1984, the U.S. State Department placed Iran on its list of state sponsors of terrorism. If 1984 sounds like an Orwellian omen, 1983 was arguably more apt. The 1979 assault on and occupation of the U.S. embassy in Tehran by Khomeini's zealots constituted an attack on sovereign U.S. territory and ought to rate as terrorism. Holding 52 American diplomats hostage for 444 days while screaming, "Death to America," in my view crossed the criminal terrorist line. However, the Iran-sponsored 1983 bombing of Beirut's U.S. Marine barrack was definitely terror. Lebanese Shiite Iran proxies &#8212; Lebanese Hezbollah being their nom de guerre &#8212; were identified as the culprits.<p>Updated: Wed Jan 08, 2020</p> 9fdb7cdd15d460b72ff16f38524e0851 Kim Jong Un, Choose Your Future for 01/01/2020 Wed, 01 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Christmas came and went, and North Korea failed to deliver an unspecified but ominous "Christmas gift" to the U.S. As I finish this column, New Year's Day looms. Kim Jong Un's slimy regime still has enough holiday season to ignite a ballistic missile or nuclear firework display.</p> <p>Alas, if Kim reverts to Little Rocket Man, he must live (perhaps die) with the consequences of his decision to end his missile- and nuclear-testing moratorium. Punitive confrontations with the Trump administration &#8212; ever-tighter economic sanctions being the least of these harsh measures &#8212; will darken Kim's new year and subsequent desperate years.<p>Updated: Wed Jan 01, 2020</p> ba24a6b7fcffcce2c3361fc9704c0dc2 2019's Year of Global Protests for 12/25/2019 Wed, 25 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>2019's fierce protests against national governments begs comparison to 2011's year of Arab Spring and 1989's Eastern Europeans' rebellion against Russian-backed communist tyrannies.</p> <p>Yet 2019's assorted civil ructions are demonstrably more global and more transcultural than 2011's and 1989's largely regional uprisings.<p>Updated: Wed Dec 25, 2019</p> 963b3f25e243f21d10b35517838e08a8 North America's Influential Energy Diplomacy for 12/18/2019 Wed, 18 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Since 2010, the North American fracking revolution has radically affected global energy markets for the better, to the benefit of human beings who prefer prosperity to poverty.</p> <p>Price-setting energy production capability by two politically free and stable economic power houses &#8212; the U.S. and Canada &#8212; has given both nations strategic freedom to maneuver and created an influential diplomatic tool.<p>Updated: Wed Dec 18, 2019</p> 8634b9eeb62d9aaf009240b89fe66fb4 Ayatollah Iran's Bloody December for 12/12/2019 Thu, 12 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>In December 2017, angry Iranian citizens began publicly denouncing two blatantly linked injustices: their nation's acute economic deterioration and the clerical dictatorship's hideous corruption.</p> <p>That's right. Two years ago, insistent and widespread protests in Iran's major cities shook the ayatollah regime. Shutting down the internet didn't stop the worldwide circulation of cellphone videos that documented the protests and the social media dissemination of grievances.<p>Updated: Thu Dec 12, 2019</p> e7589173230a2065b8d41c15d0903180 Trump's Canny Diplomatic and Psychological Feints on the International Stage for 12/04/2019 Wed, 04 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Three years ago, Donald Trump began a rhetorical offensive targeting the governments of NATO nations that chronically failed to meet their allied defense financial commitments. With bombastic huff, Trump intimated that allies pay their share or America might walk.</p> <p>It's 2019. Few NATO members currently meet the 2% GDP defense commitment. However, several once-laggard NATO nations have increased military spending, and the alliance is stronger for it. The era of blithe freeloading has ended. Cheapskates like Germany pay a price in lost prestige. America not only hasn't walked; it is modernizing its forces.<p>Updated: Wed Dec 04, 2019</p> 623633965e8778592f14b74c0297b5be Hong Kong's Ballots Challenge Chairman Mao's Gun Barrels for 11/27/2019 Wed, 27 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The Hong Kong pro-democracy movement's overwhelming Nov. 24 election victory demonstrates that the city's brave citizens disdain Mao Zedong's political ditties almost as much as they scorn the crooked Chinese Communist Party tyranny the mass-murdering former chairman created.</p> <p>Mao, who fancied himself a poet and philosopher, declared that political power grows from the barrel of a gun. From the Soviet Kremlin to the University of California, Berkeley to Jane Fonda, the global left waved Mao's Little Red Book, applauded his so-called "thoughts" and proclaimed radical Marxism to be humanity's future.<p>Updated: Wed Nov 27, 2019</p> c268f4d84725a59f5fb10dd10be58229 America's Home Front Is a Complex War Zone for 11/20/2019 Wed, 20 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The U.S. home front has become a war zone under persistent attack by adversaries who employ an array of weapons and execute operations exploiting stealth, ambush, naivete and, in many cases, utter stupidity.</p> <p>I'll use the terror threat to make a general point.<p>Updated: Wed Nov 20, 2019</p> e80104c655f5cc92e8790fee0f9edd5b Hong Kong in History's Lens for 11/13/2019 Wed, 13 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>How will historians in 2060 frame the 2019 Hong Kong crisis?</p> <p>"The first battle of the Second Cold War" is one possibility, though Russia's 2014 Crimean invasion deserves that cruel award.<p>Updated: Wed Nov 13, 2019</p> 5f86dc10a25ee327726b28c9a9e33940 The Fort Hood Terror Attack As Bitter History for 11/06/2019 Wed, 06 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Vice President Mike Pence deserves praise for not only remembering the national horror but also personally showing up and speaking out at Fort Hood, Texas, the scene of the Nov. 5, 2009, terrorist massacre that killed 13 American soldiers and citizens.</p> <p>It has been a decade since that terrorist attack on U.S. soil by a self-identified Islamic terrorist and American traitor. Ten years on and only a damnable trickle of mainstream media bother to reflect on this horror. In terms of mainstream printers, TV images and internet pixels, this savage outrage has been ... briefly mentioned, barely touched.<p>Updated: Wed Nov 06, 2019</p> d6b4420ba6c5bf898ec55fa5241bd7ec Al-Baghdadi's Death as Counterterror Information Warfare for 10/30/2019 Wed, 30 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>What a shame Washington political and media elites couldn't briefly halt their uncivil domestic political brawl to applaud a victory over the world's most vicious international terrorist organization, the Islamic State group of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.</p> <p>A more unified and strategically thoughtful reaction to ISIS commander, mass rapist, savage torturer, mass murderer and slaver Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's justified slaying would have magnified the effects of the Pentagon's military operation by sending a clear and powerful message with moral weight and what strategists call "deterrence value" to challenge terrorist propaganda appeals.<p>Updated: Wed Oct 30, 2019</p> a3dc9c36bc0ae539409899b3b6441adb America's Individual-Sanctions Weapon: Economic and Diplomatic Warfare Power With an Information Edge for 10/16/2019 Wed, 16 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>With the goals of halting human rights abuse and deterring corruption, the U.S. Treasury Department and State Department now routinely impose assorted financial, travel and legal sanctions that target specific "perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption" &#8212; individual bad actors and organizations (entities) the thugs and scumbags manipulate.</p> <p>Earlier this year, I was asked if these types of sanctions "ever worked." I had been discussing operations combining elements of power: diplomatic, information, military and economic (DIME). The Treasury wields economic power; the State Department has diplomatic clout. I thought the question was fair, though I had the impression the questioner thought individual sanctions often amounted to Beltway moral posturing. Noble words, sir, but do the operations ever produce laudable deeds?<p>Updated: Wed Oct 16, 2019</p> 6b4e571f25b03b83aecbcb4465339273 Algeria's 'Smile Revolution' Boils Below the Radar for 10/09/2019 Wed, 09 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Algeria's first nationwide protest occurred Friday, Feb. 22, some 16 days after then-President (for life) Abdelaziz Bouteflika's National Liberation Front (FNL) caregivers published a letter announcing the hospitalized stroke victim would run for a fifth term in 2019.</p> <p>By mid-March, even the FNL's hardened, corrupt old guard realized "the Friday protests" opposing Bouteflika and his clique had become a careful but powerful mass insurrection.<p>Updated: Wed Oct 09, 2019</p> f03abf8c0274f20c03af1fda78dd5055 Hong Kong's Protests Shame Red China's Parade -- Does This Mean War? for 10/02/2019 Wed, 02 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>On Oct. 1, the Chinese Communist Party threw itself a celebratory propaganda jubilee trumpeting the 70th anniversary Mao Zedong's civil war victory and his clique's seizure of power on the mainland.</p> <p>The centerpiece of the CCP National Day self-glorification festival was a grandiose parade featuring high-stepping People's Liberation Army troops; armored vehicles; an intercontinental ballistic missile on a mobile launcher; a curious float with a giant winged robot; cheery performers wearing blissful smiles and pastel attire; and a convoy of cult-of-personality floats bearing mega-portraits of Mao and Chinese President Xi Jingping.</p> <p>Xi insistently associates himself with Mao. Xi's visage, Mao's visage &#8212; for Xi, it's a domestic mega-propaganda must.<p>Updated: Wed Oct 02, 2019</p> 57fc386e6e4dfa90c0cdc234f20f2ca8 Invoking the Rio Treaty Diplomatically Attacks Venezuela's Dictatorship for 09/25/2019 Wed, 25 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>In 2018, the BBC reported U.N. officials were comparing the Venezuelan refugee problem to the "Mediterranean crisis" spurred by the civil wars in Syria and Libya.</p> <p>The comparison still has unfortunate merit. Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro and his regime wage what amounts to a slow war of oppression and starvation on their own people. Thanks to the regime's catastrophic socialist economic policies, life for Venezuelans lacking regime connections is wretched.<p>Updated: Wed Sep 25, 2019</p> 0d622c291508de53d620d3eb82af00c3 Proxies and Proximity: Iranian Drone Attacks on Saudi Oil for 09/18/2019 Wed, 18 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Two previous Iranian-proxy drone attacks on Saudi Arabian petro-targets look suspiciously like rehearsals for the Sept. 14 attacks on the Abqaiq oil production complex and Khurais oil field.</p> <p>The attacks, on May 14 and Aug. 17, 2019, would have provided Iran with intelligence regarding Saudi air surveillance operations while combat-testing the strike and guidance capabilities of its armed drones and cruise missiles. Those attacks should have alerted the Saudis to quickly improve the local air defenses of key oil shipment "chokepoints" like Abqaiq.<p>Updated: Wed Sep 18, 2019</p> 17622b6fa4b24301ebe1e97025bb1df9 Trade War a Weapon Against China's Spy War for 09/11/2019 Wed, 11 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>In May, I wrote a column arguing China's pervasive spying and influence operation in America has no historical precedent.</p> <p>Beijing literally targets the whole of American society.<p>Updated: Wed Sep 11, 2019</p> e3c62cfac82b888849703b591e953b3f Hong Kong Moves From Protests to Civil Unrest As China Threatens Intervention for 09/04/2019 Wed, 04 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">Author and war correspondent Michael Yon reports that one can feel the collective political and emotional change on Hong Kong's streets &#8212; change that may have dire consequences.</span><br></p> <p>At the end of August, I emailed Yon a couple of questions based on an observation he made in a videocast shot some 10 days prior. (See He livestreams via Facebook.) In the video, Yon said Hong Kong's populace showed signs of moving from protest to civil unrest. My questions: <span class="column--highlighted-text">What's the current situation? And will communist China crack down (i.e. armed intervention)?</span><p>Updated: Wed Sep 04, 2019</p>