Podcast Episode 5-18-23
Welcome to the show! In this episode, we’ll be discussing several topics, which you probably haven’t seen in the news. As I always say, our media does a terrible job covering our military and potential hotspots, so I’m hoping to fill this void.
But, in addition to ending the podcast with some awesome motivation and wisdom, we’ll cover:
Timestamp: 1:32. Trump won’t commit to backing Ukraine in war with Russia.
Timestamp: 11:30. The lure of isolationism, and why it’s wrong.
Timestamp: 17:01. Biden forced to cut foreign trip short because of failed negotiations regarding the debt ceiling.
Timestamp: 20:50. Turkey’s longtime president to face down main rival in runoff as uncertainty looms.
Timestamp: 25:05. A far-right nationalist politician may decide Erdogan’s political fate.
Timestamp: 25:45. Why is Erdogan still popular?
Timestamp: 29:23. Ukraine achieving some success in besieged Bakhmut.
Timestamp: 32:45. Germany to supply Ukraine with largest aid package yet, worth nearly $3 billion.
Timestamp: 34:41. Wagner chief offered to give Russian troop locations to Ukraine, leak says.
Timestamp: 37:14. Russia may have just lost four aircraft in one day. Here’s what we know.
Timestamp: 38:54. Strikes in Russian-held Luhansk showcase Ukraine’s longer-range missiles.
Timestamp: 40:08. A former U.S. Army general predicts 'successful' Ukrainian offensive.
Timestamp: 41:35. Opinion | I’ve never seen the Kremlin so rattled.
Timestamp: 45:46. Russian attack damages Patriot system and Russia agrees to extend Ukraine grain deal in a boost for global food security.
Timestamp: 49:10. China sentences 78-year-old US citizen to life in prison on spying charges.
Timestamp: 50:38. Iran’s leaders are asking for trouble.
Timestamp 52:05. Attack on U.S. convoy in Nigeria.
Timestamp: 53:30. The best part of the show. The motivation and wisdom part.
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!
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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.
Trump won’t commit to backing Ukraine in war with Russia
Former President Donald Trump would not say Wednesday night who he thinks should prevail in Russia’s war against Ukraine, instead telling New Hampshire GOP primary voters that he wants “everybody to stop dying.”
“I want everybody to stop dying. They’re dying. Russians and Ukrainians. I want them to stop dying,” Trump said at CNN’s town hall moderated by “CNN This Morning” anchor Kaitlan Collins. “And I’ll have that done in 24 hours.”
Biden forced to cut foreign trip short because of failed negotiations regarding the debt ceiling.
The three-nation trip had been meant as a triumphant global leadership showcase, and instead threatened to become a truncated reminder of how partisan disagreements have undercut U.S. standing on the global stage.
“I’ve cut my trip short in order to be here for the final negotiations and sign the deal with the majority leader,” Biden said in remarks before departing the White House. “I’ve made clear America is not a deadbeat nation, we pay our bills.”
Turkey election news:
Turkey’s longtime president to face down main rival in runoff as uncertainty looms
Conservative Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces a runoff with his main rival in two weeks that will decide who leads a country struggling with sky-high inflation and hosting Syrian refugees as it plays a key role in the Middle East and in NATO expansion.
Election officials said Monday that the May 28 second round will allow Turks to decide if their nation remains under the increasingly authoritarian president’s firm grip for a third decade, or if it can embark on the more democratic course that Kemal Kilicdaroglu has claimed he can deliver.
Erdogan faced electoral headwinds due to a cost-of-living crisis and criticism over the government’s response to a devastating February earthquake. But with his alliance retaining its hold on the parliament, Erdogan is now in a good position to win in the second round.
A far-right nationalist politician may decide Erdogan’s political fate
Until Sunday, Sinan Ogan was a fringe, ultranationalist Turkish politician virtually unknown outside Turkey. But for the next two weeks, he may become the most important figure in Turkish politics, potentially deciding President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s political fate.
Ogan, the third candidate, received 5.17%, enough to swing the runoff vote in favor of either of the candidates. With that, he found himself as the kingmaker in the most important elections in modern Turkey’s history.
Why is Erdogan still popular?
By many measures, things aren’t great in Turkey right now.
Inflation is at 44% (down from 85% in October), and analysts say it’s likely higher than official numbers suggest. Meanwhile, the lira, Turkey’s currency, is tanking, having fallen 76% during President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest term in office (since 2018).
That’s to say nothing of the 1.5 million people left homeless by February’s devastating earthquake, which killed 50,000 in the country’s south and exposed the depths of Ankara’s cronyism and corruption. The list goes on.
But Gabrielle Debinski writes in GZero
Offered cheap housing loans.
Implemented a debt-relief program for millions
Passed a law allowing more than 2 million Turks to retire immediately.
Raised the minimum wage for the private sector by 94% year-on-year in Jan. 2023.
Managed to appeal to Islamic conservatives, while also not imposing harsh Islamic laws on non-religious Turks.
Russia and Ukraine news:
Ukraine achieving some success in besieged Bakhmut, Russia says
Russian and Ukrainian forces are engaged in heavy fighting in Bakhmut, the eastern city where Ukrainian soldiers have held out against a months-long assault by the Russian army, officials of both countries said Thursday. But accounts differed on whether it’s the start of Kyiv’s much-anticipated spring counteroffensive.
Yevgeniy Prigozhin, head of the mercenary group Wagner, a key element of the Russian assault on Bakhmut, said the Ukrainian operation was “in full swing” and its forces were attacking his flanks.
“Unfortunately, in some places they are successful,” Prigozhin said in an audio message posted to Telegram. “All the units that have received the necessary training, weapons, equipment, tanks, everything else — they are already fully engaged.”
Later Thursday, he said the attack was “shaping up according to the worst of the predicted scenarios.”
More confirmation and details.
Germany to supply Ukraine with largest aid package yet, worth nearly $3 billion
Germany announced on Saturday that it would supply Ukraine with an aid package worth nearly $3 billion to strengthen the country’s defense, marking Berlin’s largest pledge in military aid since the start of the war.
The German Ministry of Defence said in a statement that the package may include a variety of military hardware, including armoured personnel carriers, 30 Leopard tanks, reconnaissance drones and ammunition.
“With this valuable contribution of urgently needed military material, we are once again showing that Germany is serious about its support,” Germany’s Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said.
Ukraine's President Zelenskyy is in Germany for the first time since Russia invaded
It is his first visit to Berlin since the start of the war and comes a day after the German government announced a new package of military aid for Ukraine worth more than 2.7 billion euros ($3 billion), including tanks, anti-aircraft systems and ammunition.
Zelenskyy thanked Scholz for Germany's political, financial and military support, saying the country is now second only behind the United States in providing aid to Ukraine — and joked that he is working to make it the biggest donor.
Scholz made clear that Kyiv can expect German aid to keep flowing.
"We will support you for as long as necessary," he said, adding that it is up to Russia to end the war by withdrawing its troops.
Wagner chief offered to give Russian troop locations to Ukraine, leak says
In late January, with his mercenary forces dying by the thousands in a fight for the ruined city of Bakhmut, Wagner Group owner Yevgeniy Prigozhin made Ukraine an extraordinary offer.
Prigozhin said that if Ukraine’s commanders withdrew their soldiers from the area around Bakhmut, he would give Kyiv information on Russian troop positions, which Ukraine could use to attack them. Prigozhin conveyed the proposal to his contacts in Ukraine’s military intelligence directorate, with whom he has maintained secret communications during the course of the war, according to previously unreported U.S. intelligence documents leaked on the group-chat platform Discord.
Prigozhin has publicly feuded with Russian military commanders, who he furiously claims have failed to equip and resupply his forces, which have provided vital support to Moscow’s war effort. But he is also an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who might well regard Prigozhin’s offer to trade the lives of Wagner fighters for Russian soldiers as a treasonous betrayal.
Wagner boss denies Washington Post report he offered Russian intelligence to Kyiv in exchange for territory
But the head of the Russian paramilitary group speculated the story could have been planted by his enemies, according to an audio message posted to his Telegram channel on Monday.
“I can say with confidence, if we’re being serious, that I have not been in Africa at least since the beginning of the conflict, but in fact a few months before the start of the SMO (Special Military Operation),” Prigozhin said, referring to Moscow’s euphemism for the war in Ukraine.
“Therefore, I simply could not meet with anyone there physically.”
In his message, Prigozhin asked rhetorically, “Who is behind this? I think that either some journalists decided to hype, or comrades from Rublyovka have now decided to make up a beautiful, planted story.” Rublyovka is the name of an affluent neighborhood in Moscow along the Rublyovo-Uspenskoye highway, which is known for its luxurious residential estates and mansions for the Russian elite.
Russia may have just lost four aircraft in one day. Here’s what we know
Russia’s air force may have just suffered one of its worst days since the Ukraine war began. Unconfirmed reports say that four of its aircraft were shot down within Russian territory, in what would mark a significant coup for Ukraine.
There are conflicting accounts about how many planes and helicopters may have been brought down inside the Russian region of Bryansk, but one Russian media outlet says that at least two combat aircraft – an Su-34 and an Su-35 – and two Mi-8 helicopters crashed.
Social media videos geolocated by CNN show at least one helicopter crashing near the town of Klintsy in Bryansk, which is 50 kilometers from the Ukrainian border.
Strikes in Russian-held Luhansk showcase Ukraine’s longer-range missiles
An explosion rocked the occupied eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk early on Monday morning, the latest in a barrage of strikes in recent days that show Kyiv using new, longer-range weapons to hit deep inside Russian-held territory.
Luhansk, controlled by Russian-backed separatists since 2014, sits 60 miles east of the front line and has been out of reach of most Ukrainian weapons, making it a place of relative calm. Since Friday, however, it has come under regular attack.
The Russian Defense Ministry has linked the explosions in Luhansk to Storm Shadow cruise missiles, recently supplied to Ukraine by Britain, which have a range of 155 miles, as well as infrared targeting and stealth capability.
A former U.S. Army general predicts 'successful' Ukrainian offensive
Retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, a former commanding general of U.S. Army Europe: “I actually expect, however, that they will be quite successful. They've been training hard. The West has provided a lot of very good equipment, but also the Ukrainians have worked hard to build up several armored brigades that will be used to penetrate these long, linear Russian defenses.
Opinion | I’ve never seen the Kremlin so rattled
A mysterious drone attack on the Kremlin. A car bombing that wounded a key advocate of the invasion of Ukraine. Four military aircraft shot down in a single day — inside Russia’s borders.
If the Ukrainians and their allies wanted to rattle the Russian leadership, it’s working.
Never, in more than two decades of covering Vladimir Putin’s regime, have I seen it in such an obvious state of chaos and disarray. These days, Kremlin-watchers don’t have to read tea leaves or decode cryptic utterances from the leadership to spot the signs of intrigue — it’s all out in the open, thanks to Putin confidant Yevgeniy Prigozhin.
Russian attack damages Patriot system
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky again called on allies to provide more air defense assets following a barrage of Russian airstrikes on Kyiv. Ukraine’s military shot down 18 missiles during the attacks on the capital, Zelensky said, but more support is needed to protect the entire country. “We need additional air defense systems and missiles,” he said. “We also need modern fighter jets.”
The Patriot air defense system damaged by Russian fire in the vicinity of Kyiv suffered an indirect hit but is still mission capable, a U.S. defense official said Wednesday, though the extent of the damage is still being assessed.
Russia agrees to extend Ukraine grain deal in a boost for global food security
China sentences 78-year-old US citizen to life in prison on spying charges
China sentenced a 78-year-old United States citizen to life in prison Monday on spying charges, in a case that could exacerbate the deterioration in ties between Beijing and Washington over recent years.
Details of the charges against John Shing-Wan Leung, who also holds permanent residency in Hong Kong, have not been publicly released.
Leung was detained April 15, 2021, by the local bureau of China’s counterintelligence agency in the southeastern city of Suzhou, according to a statement posted by the city’s intermediate court on its social media site. His detention came after China had closed its borders and imposed tight domestic travel restrictions and social controls to fight the spread of COVID-19.
Middle East news:
Iran’s leaders are asking for trouble
But Iran’s conservative government now sees that it’s much easier to use tried-and-true methods to beat back demonstrators than to force all women and girls to wear the hijab in public. After all, many are simply ignoring the rules.
So, authorities have authored a new law and are using new tactics. Women who flout the state’s dress code can be kept out of school and denied services. Businesses that welcome them can be fined or shut down. Last month, cameras were installed in many city streets to boost enforcement. The next ugly confrontation ending in violence and public fury is all but inevitable.
Motivation and Wisdom:
Let’s end this edition with plenty of motivation and wisdom.
Guys, you need to hear this. At least one of you out there needs to hear this.
Life is passing you by. You only get one shot at life, and you’re letting it slip through your fingers, day by day. Life has beaten you down, kicked you in the face, ignored you, punished you, rained on you, assailed you with illnesses and injuries, burdened you with debts and levels of despair that I know are breaking your spirit.
But you have to get up? Do you hear me? You have to get up.
You’re going to get up, get up now, and start fighting back. Do not let despair win. Get up and take a step to confront those things facing you now.
Do it now.
And let these following items lift your spirit and take you to a higher level. You can do this.
You’re meant to do this.
And you have to do this. For yourself. For your family. For your creator.
With all of that being said, I truly hope these help pick up your spirits, revive your hopes, and make you a better person.
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.
Love and peace,
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.
P.P.S. Want to know more about me? Click here: About me. You can also learn more about my journey here: Writers are crazy, and I’m crazier than most.