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Preview: Austin Bay from Creators Syndicate

Austin Bay from Creators Syndicate



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Last Build Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2018 00:51:25 -0800

 



The Director of National Intelligence Assesses America's Complex Threat Environment for 02/14/2018

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800

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.

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.

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.

Updated: Wed Feb 14, 2018




Is the Greece-Macedonia 'Name War' Finally Ending? for 02/07/2018

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800

A new round of diplomatic negotiations promoted by the UN, the EU and NATO may finally end The Name War — the odd but bitter little conflict pitting Greece against its northern neighbor, Macedonia.

Understand that calling Macedonia "Macedonia" riles many Greeks — 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.

Whether Macedonia or FYROM, the country became independent in 1991, when Yugoslavia dissolved amid civil war.

Updated: Wed Feb 07, 2018




China Prepares to Win 'Informationized Local Wars' for 01/31/2018

Wed, 31 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800

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.

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.

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.

Updated: Wed Jan 31, 2018




Disputing China's Spurious Territorial Claims in the South China Sea for 01/24/2018

Wed, 24 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800

On January 22, Chinese government media angrily accused the U.S. of "wantonly provoking trouble" in the South China Sea.

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 — a sea feature within Filipino territory that China now calls Huangyan Island.

Got that? Within Filipino territory, but China claims it.

Updated: Wed Jan 24, 2018




Learning From Hawaii's False Missile Attack Fiasco for 01/17/2018

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800

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.

Three deserve immediate attention.

Point 1: Hawaii's civil defense warning system procedures are abysmally bad.

Updated: Wed Jan 17, 2018




The 2018 Korean War Olympiad for 01/10/2018

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800

Next month wealthy South Korea will host the XXIII Winter Olympics in PyeongChang — despite the on-going Korean War.

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.

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.

Updated: Wed Jan 10, 2018




The Ayatollahs' Brittle Regime Confronts A New Iranian Revolt for 01/03/2018

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800

The anti-regime protests now jolting Iran send the world two core messages — 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.

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.

Yes — 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.

Updated: Wed Jan 03, 2018




Trump Security Strategy Will "Compete" With Every Instrument of National Power for 12/20/2017

Wed, 20 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800

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.

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."

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.

Updated: Wed Dec 20, 2017




The Real Challenges for American Intelligence Agencies for 12/13/2017

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800

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."

Insight. Sounds arcane, mysterious, rare, tough to describe to human resources directors much less cable television talk show hosts — and indeed it is.

Yet this highly individual talent is indispensable to American security. That's why Schlesinger — ever the erudite patriot — 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.

Updated: Wed Dec 13, 2017




The 'Two Big Wars At Once' Threat Returns With A Vengeance for 12/06/2017

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800

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.

Right now, I don't think we can do it.

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.

Updated: Wed Dec 06, 2017




The Islamic State's Bloody Defeat In Mosul for 11/22/2017

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800

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.

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.

Updated: Wed Nov 22, 2017




Have Iranian Threats Spurred a Saudi-Israeli Alliance? for 11/15/2017

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800

The Iranian-sponsored November 4 ballistic missile attack on Saudi Arabia's capital, Riyadh, continues to roil the Middle East — and it should.

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.

Updated: Wed Nov 15, 2017




The Saudi Arabia-Iran War Escalates for 11/08/2017

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800

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.

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."

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.

Updated: Wed Nov 08, 2017




North Korea's Criminal Sovereignty for 11/01/2017

Wed, 01 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0700

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.

Military and diplomatic analysts agree that criminal organizations influence several ongoing wars. But crime syndicate participation is rarely a decisive factor.

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.

Updated: Wed Nov 01, 2017




Niger and the West African War on Terror for 10/25/2017

Wed, 25 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700

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.

"This area (in west Africa) is inherently dangerous," General Dunford said. "We're there because ISIS and al-Qaida are operating in that area."

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.

Updated: Wed Oct 25, 2017




As Benghazi's Port Re-Opens, Libyan Factions Start to Talk for 10/04/2017

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700

The UN and western diplomats are trying to put Libya back together again.

Previous diplomatic attempts to glue the broken state have failed — bloodily. The Libyan curse of regionalism is a major reason.

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.

Updated: Wed Oct 04, 2017




The Nationalist Aspirations in Kurdistan and Catalonia for 09/27/2017

Wed, 27 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700

Kurdistan and Catalonia both have long histories. That's one reason many Kurds and Catalans argue that they deserve their own nation states.

Iraqi Kurds voted September 25, and it appears a majority support establishing an independent Kurdistan in what is now Iraqi Kurdistan. Though the referendum is advertised as "non-binding," Kurdish leaders say the results will empower them to negotiate a "peaceful secession."

On October 1, Catalans will vote on secession from Spain. Current polls indicate Catalan voters will narrowly reject secession. However, ham-handed Spanish attempts to halt the referendum have sparked a pro-secession uptick.

Updated: Wed Sep 27, 2017




Russia's War in Ukraine and War Games in Belarus for 09/20/2017

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700

Russian President Vladimir Putin's personally expressed dismay at the collapse of the Soviet Union connects directly to two current events: Russia's war of conquest in Ukraine and the Russian Army's large-scale war games in western Russia and Belarus. By the way, the Russian military calls its war game enemy "The Western Coalition." The name deliberately incriminates NATO, the USSR's Cold War nemesis and an outfit on which Putin ritually blames 21st century Russian woes.

A minor dispute rages over the precise translation of Putin's April 25, 2005, USSR lamentation. Did he say that the USSR's demise was "a major geopolitical disaster of the (20th) century" or that it was the "greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century"?

The BBC and NBC News chose the "catastrophe" translation. Both renditions confirm the USSR's collapse appalled the former KGB colonel, who is now Russia's president.

Updated: Wed Sep 20, 2017




Congo's Vicious Kasai War Could Reignite The Great Congo War for 09/13/2017

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700

In August 2016, small but violent conflict erupted in the Democratic Republic of Congo's south-central Kasai region.

In the world beyond the Kasai region's five provinces (Kasai, Kasai-Central, Kasai-Oriental, Sankuru and Lomami) the cause of the violent outburst was unclear. According to initial reports, it involved a local grievance.

The Kasai region's relative isolation contributed to the lack of information. However, President Joseph Kabila's government wanted to limit news coverage. A self-serving decision made by his regime and related to the upcoming November 2016 national election was the "local grievance" that deeply offended hundreds of thousands of citizens within the region. Members of the dominant Luba tribe scorned Kabila's decision as an arrogant cultural insult and an outright political crime.

Updated: Wed Sep 13, 2017




Yemen's Odd War Is A Human Disaster for 09/06/2017

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700

Three civil wars with roots in Arab Spring revolts continue to plague the Arab world: Yemen, Syria and Libya.

Syria receives the most international attention. With over 500,000 dead that's understandable. Libyan battles over oil facilities also draw headlines.

Updated: Wed Sep 06, 2017