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We’ll start this episode with the latest news about China, and there’s two big pieces of news from there. Then, we’ll move on to the following:
Russia is now (falsely) claiming that Ukraine might use a dirty bomb on its own territory. This, of course, makes no sense. So why are they saying this? We’ll dig into that a bit.
The Progressive House Caucus issued a letter calling for a negotiated settlement to end Russia’s war in Ukraine, but they then withdrew it. I’ll explain why they did, and what I think is the bright spot from this action.
Russian drones are increasingly raising concerns in Norway. There have been seven arrests already and we’ll explore what’s going on.
A deadly raid by Israeli troops against a new organization of Palestinian fighters, who also happen to use TikTok, and who are rallying the Palestinian people in a way that hasn’t been seen in years.
Things are getting pretty ugly in Haiti. If you haven’t heard what’s happening in that island country only a short distance from America, you might want to keep that on your radar. I’ll talk about that for just a bit.
I’ll also cover a short story to remind us all that the cost of freedom isn’t cheap, even in peace time.
And, as always, we’ll end with our motivation and wisdom section.
We start with China…
The biggest news of late is two big announcements regarding China. The first is U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying China is speeding up its potential invasion of Taiwan, and that China has decided it will use force to “reunify” with Taiwan (something it’s never stated in the past). Backing up this news is the appointment of President Xi Jinping to a third term, while also pushing out a couple of rivals.
Let’s begin with the increased threat of an invasion or use of force.
Secretary Blinken made pretty big news when he said China has rejected the status quo in regards to the situation with Taiwan.
From the story:
Blinken said, "What's changed is this: the decision by the government in Beijing that that status quo was no longer acceptable, that they wanted to speed up the process by which they would pursue reunification.”
He added that China has also made decisions on exerting more pressure on Taiwan and holding out the possibility of "using force to achieve their goals" if pressure tactics do not work.
"That is what has fundamentally changed."
Also, making news at a different forum, Blinken stated that "Beijing was determined to pursue reunification (with Taiwan) on a much faster timeline," though he did not specify a date.
Clearly, all of this made quite a bit of news.
But so far at least, this appears to be a bit of an overreach by Blinken. The Pentagon did not seem to be on the same page.
As proof, I’ll share this part from a recent Pentagon briefing.
Question: Thank you, (inaudible). Two questions on China. Secretary Blinken said yesterday Beijing was determined to pursue (inaudible) unification with Taiwan on a much faster timeline. Does Secretary Austin agree with Secretary Blinken's assessment? And secondly, the U.S. military has assessed that China might have the capability to invade Taiwan by 2027. Is there any change in that assessment?
GEN. RYDER: So we continue to see China as the pacing threat. I don't have any specifics to -- you know, any comment on Secretary Blinken's comments, specific comments on those other than to say I think within the United States government, we all agree that we need to continue to work closely with our allies and our partners in the region and throughout the world, really, to highlight the fact that China continues to pose a challenge. And so we'll continue to do our part to preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific, again, working closely with allies and partners. But beyond that, I don't have anything new to provide. Thank you.
But I don’t want to reduce the tense and quite real possibilities of China using force.
Without question, the leader of China strengthened his hand this weekend to prepare such a possibility.
The news coming out of the country is that President Xi pushed out two very-experienced rivals, one of whom was trying to reform the country. The other one could have become the next president.
They’re now both gone.
And John Ruwitch, a NPR correspondant out of Beijing who has covered China for 20-plus years described Xi’s re-appointment and power moves as thus:
“The big headline, as you say, is Xi Jinping getting another term. He's consolidated power in the party and in the military. He's eliminated rivals. The way it all went down this week just bolstered his power. And it surprised a lot of observers, frankly.
“The country faces huge challenges, though, particularly in economics and on the global stage. And it's really hard at this point to see who's left in the inner circle to stand up and offer criticism or even just an alternative viewpoint to the way Xi Jinping wants to run things. And that's worrying.”
Let’s move to Russia/Ukraine news now…
As you’ve probably heard, Russia is now (falsely) claiming that Ukraine might use a dirty bomb on its own territory. (Russia's defense chief warns of 'dirty bomb' provocation.) This, of course, makes no sense. So why are they saying this? We’ll dig into that a bit.
Tom Nichols, a retired professor with a deep history involving Russia and nuclear weapons, was all over the story.
From the story:
Let’s hope that this is just the Kremlin trying to engage in scare tactics. If, however, Putin and his circle are really considering a dirty-bomb provocation, it is likely because they would see such a plot as solving multiple problems at once. Russia would probably try to flip the script, and go from an aggressor likely guilty of multiple war crimes to the victim of a nuclear “event.” It might then issue an ultimatum to the Ukrainians that elevates the war to a nuclear crisis (which is probably the only way Moscow thinks it can win, now that the Russian army lies in pieces on the battlefield).
The Russians, in such a gambit, would likely be betting that a faked dirty bomb would alleviate the “first use” stain from any Russian decision to attack — or as they would almost certainly say in this scenario, “retaliate” — with a nuclear weapon. With nuclear weapons now in play, the West would have to decide just how much to commit to nuclear deterrence on behalf of Ukraine.
I wanted to share one other bit of news about the war in Ukraine, which I think has a bright spot.
Members of the Progressive House Caucus issued a letter calling for a negotiated settlement to end Russia’s war in Ukraine.
From the letter:
As the risk of nuclear war increases, fighting in Ukraine escalates, and global economic insecurity deepens, 30 members of Congress urged President Biden to pursue direct diplomacy for a negotiated settlement to end Russia’s war in Ukraine.
In a new letter the lawmakers, while recognizing the “difficulties involved in engaging Russia given its outrageous and illegal invasion of Ukraine,” urge the President to pair the U.S. military and economic support provided to Ukraine with a proactive diplomatic push to seek a realistic framework for a ceasefire, consistent with the President’s own recognition that “there’s going to have to be a negotiated settlement here.”
The lawmakers propose an approach that could include “incentives to end hostilities, including some form of sanctions relief,” and an international arrangement to “establish security guarantees for a free and independent Ukraine that are acceptable for all parties, including Ukrainians.”
Thank goodness the progressive Democrats withdrew their foolish, misguided letter. (Liberal U.S. lawmakers withdraw Ukraine letter after blowback.) Now let's see the House Republicans who've opposed helping Ukraine step up their support, as well. How anyone could NOT support Ukraine's fight for freedom is a bit beyond me.
That concludes our deep dives for this week, but here are a few stories you should have on your radar.
First, this news out of Norway.
And in the Middle East, I wanted to share this news:
Finally, if you haven’t heard what’s happening in Haiti, you might want to keep that on your radar.
Before we get to the motivation and wisdom portion, let’s remember this: The cost of freedom isn’t cheap, even in peacetime.
Motivation and Wisdom:
You know, just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day. And we all know that opportunities don't happen, you create them.
So, I want to make sure I do my best to feed you mentally. As you’ve probably heard, people often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing, that's why we recommend it daily.” That was said by the great Zig Ziglar, and I’ve found it to be true for sure.
Without further delay, let’s just begin.
And, I always like to end with this one:
And with that, thanks for joining us this week on The View from the Front.
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As a reminder, please be kind and try your best to love your fellow Americans.
So many men and women have sacrificed, fought, and died to keep this country together the past 240-plus years. Please work daily to unite our country again. The vast majority of Americans are decent, loving, great people.
Please don’t name-call the other side. They are mothers and fathers and folks not much different than you.🇺🇸🇺🇸
Also, please try to be a better person each and every day. Try to be kinder on social media and how you interact with others with whom you disagree.
Also, if you have a dream kicking around in the back of your mind? Go after it. If you have that friend or family member that you know you should reach out to? Reach out to them.
Finally, and this especially goes to all my awesome military folks listening out there, if you need help, reach out to someone. Please. Call that friend or family member. Do it for us all. We’ve already lost too many of the greatest folks that this country has produced to suicide. So I’m asking you to be brave once more, and show some vulnerability. Take a deep breath, breathe, and call a friend or family member or someone who can help.
I appreciate each and every one of you. Every tweet, every share, every email, etc. I can’t even tell you how much those mean to me, and I love each and every one of you all.
Please join me again in our next episode, and please stay safe until then.
Thanks again, everyone! You guys are the best. As always, don’t forget to check out my books. You can find all 11 of them on Amazon.
And with that, I’m out.
Stan R. Mitchell
P.S. Don’t forget to check out my books. I’ve written a CIA/Marine sniper series, a detective series, a private investigator series, an action-packed Western, a motivational/biography book about President Obama, and two realistic war novels: one about World War II and one about Afghanistan.