Welcome to the View from the Front podcast. If you just happened to stumble by, let me say a quick word about what we’re doing here.
For those who don’t know, my name is Stan R. Mitchell, and I’m a prior Marine and journalist.
Every week, I primarily do three things with my podcast:
Work to highlight what our military troops are doing around the world, while also trying to better educate Americans about looming hotspots and foreign policy news you absolutely should know. (Why I focus on foreign policy...)
Attempt to unite our country and remind us of how lucky we are to live in America. Our division and animosity toward each other is dangerous, and I want to do my small part to remind us that more unites us than divides us, and that most Americans are good and not screaming, crazy extremists like you see on the news all the time. (My thoughts on the division in this country...)
Finally, I always share plenty of motivation and wisdom at the end of the episode, because I want to do my small part to help encourage you and lift you up. Life is certainly hard, and I think it’s fair to say all of us need all the motivation and encouragement that we can possibly get.
In this episode, we’ll be discussing several topics, that I think will really interest you, and that I almost guarantee you haven’t seen in the news! T
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Enough of the sales pitch, I hope you enjoy today’s edition. Again, you should listen to it from the player above.
Russia and Ukraine news:
In life, actions have consequences.
Just a few days after Russia again upped the ante on their aggression by downing an American drone in international air space, the NATO of country of Poland has expedited some of its plans.
And as I discussed as a possible option two weeks ago on the podcast, Slovakia is moving forward to donate its fleet of 13 MIGs.
All-in-all, Ukraine can expect to receive around 20 MiG-29s from Poland, as well as the 13 that Slovakia will provide.
While we’re talking about weapons…
This won’t matter in the short term, but this will be pretty big news in the fall.
From the story:
The Pentagon, in a significant shift, said Tuesday that it will send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine by the fall, after facing scrutiny for initially saying it could take a year or two to procure the powerful weapons and get them to the battlefield.
The new plan calls for refurbishing tank hulls already in the U.S. arsenal, officials said. President Biden, under intensifying pressure from Ukrainian officials, agreed in January to pledge 31 M1 tanks as part of a long-term arrangement that afforded German leaders political cover so that they could approve the immediate provision of Leopard battle tanks.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is finally moving back in the right direction on the issue of Ukraine (which used to be his original position).
DeSantis has a history of supporting U.S. aid to Ukraine. As a member of Congress in 2014, DeSantis voted for the Ukraine Support Act, which authorized President Obama to send arms to Ukraine to repel Russia’s occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea region.
The following year, 2015, DeSantis said on Bill Bennett’s radio show that “We in Congress have been urging the President … to provide arms to Ukraine. They want to fight their good fight. They’re not asking us to fight it for them.”
And last year, in the early days of the war, he called on Biden to get tough with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “This is a guy who basically is an authoritarian gas station attendant — OK?” he was reported as saying, and he advised Biden to “hit him where it counts.”
And even though it’s clearly a walk-back, it’s the right position. I’ll take what we can get, especially if he can stabilize support for Ukraine on the right.
In other news, I wanted to share something that isn’t the biggest news, but to me, this is SUCH a moving (and inspiring) video.
In other news, most worried Russia would succeed in destroying Ukraine’s energy system this winter with the relentless attacks on the energy grid.
But now, not only are air defense system better, but so too is the country’s ability to repair its electric grid.
From the story:
"It tested the tenacity of energy planners for the 15th time this winter. But with most of the country swiftly brought back on line, it did not change the fundamentals; Ukraine is still winning a battle in which few had expected it to prevail."
Finally, here’s more talk about the must-discussed spring offensive by Ukraine.
Instead, U.S. officials are more focused on getting Ukraine ready for a major spring offensive to retake territory, which they expect to begin by May. Hundreds of Western tanks and armored vehicles, including for the first time eight armored vehicles that can launch bridges and allow troops to cross rivers, are en route to Ukraine for the offensive. The U.S. and European partners are also flowing massive amounts of ammunition and 155mm shells, which Ukraine has identified as its most urgent need.
U.S. aid packages “going back four or five months have been geared toward what Ukraine needs for this counteroffensive,” said one U.S. official, who was granted anonymity due to the administration’s ground rules.
While U.S. officials are careful not to appear to tell Kyiv how to fight the war, Pentagon leaders said Wednesday that the equipment and training being provided will enable Ukraine to win the war — where and when it chooses to do so.
China’s leader Xi Jinping is in Russia for a three-day visit. Day one included a four-and-a-half hour meal and NOT meeting Jinping at the airport, because that’s official Russian protocol (Is this not MORE proof that the Russians are a cold-hearted people? I jest. But only a little. lol.)
The Washington Post stated that Putin and Xi appear to be positioning themselves as the leaders of a new global order opposed to U.S. power.
Putin may be glad to finally have a friend, so to speak, in the short term, but he may regret the imbalance between China and Russia. As Russia’s economic and military might crater further, Putin will soon find China using its clout with the Kremlin to extract further political concessions, including Chinese access to Arctic naval bases owned by Russia or pressuring Russia to alter its own dealings with China’s regional rivals, such as India, argues a group of experts in an analysis piece of The Washington Post.
This comment, by esteemed analyst David Ignatius, reinforces the above point: that China is increasingly becoming the dominant partner between these two.
A strong China is bolstering a weak Russia. That’s the real headline that describes the showy meetings in Moscow this week between the two countries’ leaders. The Chinese aren’t providing weapons (yet), but Xi certainly offered moral and psychological support in what might be described as a get-well visit to an ailing relative. White House spokesman John Kirby on Tuesday rightly called Putin a “junior partner.”
The paradox of the Ukraine war is that Putin’s bid for greater power in Europe has made him weaker. This diminished Russia will fall increasingly under China’s sway — unless there’s an unlikely turn post-Ukraine and a Western-leaning leader replaces Putin. Maybe that’s the biggest reason for Xi’s fraternal visit: He is bolstering a flank against America and the West.
Perhaps the most shocking thing is how quickly this is already happening.
As Patrick Fox states, China is already starting to influence and lead former Soviet satellite states.
Here’s an update and a bit more on the submarine deal between the US, UK, and Austraila.
Defence Minister Richard Marles says Australia’s fleet of nuclear-powered submarines will help deter a foreign adversary from launching a shipping blockade which could cut off the country’s trading routes from the rest of the world.
With 99 per cent of Australia’s trade coming from ships, Marles says the nation is very reliant on trade by sea and that needed to be protected.
Without naming China or any other country, Marles said the nation needs a “capability which would give any adversary pause for thought about disrupting the trading routes to Australia and the way in which we connect to the world”.
Moving along, I had a great question from a reader, that I wanted to answer here.
Thomas D stated:
As far as China goes, I love the sub deal. However, I've heard the straight where the Taiwan invasion would take place is pretty much impervious to submarines due to the shallow depths.
So, that’s a great question.
And here was how I answered that.
Those are great points about the straight. I think it's not to get there and actually block with the subs, but to have platforms that can launch Tomahawk cruise missiles. Those have a range of 1,300-plus miles, and the subs are a platform not easily destroyed by China's ballistic missiles or air force if the subs remain undetected.
Also, here’s an update from news from a couple of weeks ago about a new base the US will use.
The United States and the Philippines started rehabilitating the runway of the Basa Air Base in Pampanga on the island of Luzon, one of the five original Philippine military sites identified to host rotating American troops and their equipment under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
And then, in the category of absurdity, check out this video below.
This video is pretty much a synonym for every dictatorship in the world. Let us just blow you away with our military parades and complete shallowness and huff puffery.
And you better be awed and afraid, do you hear me?
DO YOU HEAR ME?!
We all TOTALLY saw this coming. (Hat tip @aida74432322)
This is of course why one of the big reasons to keep a force of a couple of thousand American soldiers in country was made by so many, including me. (Also, that it wasn’t that big a burden to the military, it kept a somewhat pro-Western government in place, it helped protect women’s rights there, it helped show the world Western resolve, and the importance we place on protecting and supporting allies.)
In tech news, how cool is this?
Motivation and Wisdom:
Be unique and don’t feel like you have to conform:
That’s it for this edition.
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.
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.
Please join me again in our next episode, and please stay safe until then.
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 self-help book about President Obama, and two realistic war novels: one about World War II and one about Afghanistan. You can find all of these books on Amazon.