My friends, thank you so much for joining us today on The View from the Front podcast. My name is Stan R. Mitchell and in a nice guy, who’s working as hard as I can to unite this country. This show is mostly about military and defense news, and I’ll explain in a moment why I think it’s important we stay informed on this topic, but the show also includes plenty of motivation, which I hope inspires you and helps you in your daily journey toward your goals.
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 may not be the great Zig Ziglar, but my friends say I’m pretty motivating.
But this show is about more than just trying to help you as you confront whatever struggles you’re dealing with. This show is about a bigger issue confronting us, and that’s the great division that we face in America.
A house divided cannot stand, and I will not remain silent while politicians and media personalities throw gas on a dangerous fire. These hotheads and extremists are simply seeking their own personal gain, and with every waking moment of their day, they’re doing their best to tear this country apart. And they're doing it so that they can advance to a higher office, or so that they can get more followers and advertising dollars.
These hotheads and extremists are a danger to our country -- a serious one -- but I don’t think they speak for most Americans. Most Americans are good people, who would help you in a heartbeat. I’ve been helped out in the country, and I’ve also been helped in major cities.
My friends, most Americans are good. And I think you need to hear this said out loud on a regular basis.
Let’s not let the loud, angry politicians and media personalities darken our hearts. And let’s also not let them rip apart this country that we all love.
I fully understand how frustrated most Americans feel at how divided we are, and it’s time for a better way.
That’s why I’m doing this. I couldn’t find a podcast designed for people who love their country, and for people who are tired of their news being over-the-top and scary, so I decided to create one.
This is a show designed for people who are also tired of hysterical, over-the-top politicians and media pundits, who manipulate and take advantage of an under-informed public.
It’s a show for average citizens, who I know are too busy to really study al of the issues that confront us. I’ll do my absolute best to explain things as simply as I can.
I feel I need to say just a bit about why I’m convinced that foreign-policy decisions matter. Foreign policy decisions can be tragic and heartbreaking, and it’s important that we get them right. When we get them wrong, such as we did during the Vietnam War, our very country can be ripped apart by division and chaos. It’s also crucial that when we get them wrong, as we did in Vietnam, then the faster we can course correct, the faster we can reduce how many lives we lose.
America is the world’s leading power, and we mostly lead the world from a position of moral authority, showing other countries how they should behave in regards to ethics, restraint, and providing freedom for their citizens.
We are a force of good for the world, although I will acknowledge that we are not perfect.
I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I know that our democracy doesn’t work without informed voters. And I also know we need to grow closer together and show more patience and kindness.
I strongly believe that more unites us than divides us, and while we face great challenges as a country, America has stood together for more than 240 years.
It’s only by pulling our country closer together that we can pass on a better future for our kids, and we need to hold and cherish the beliefs that got us here today. Beliefs such as patience, kindness, and a strong belief that our best days lie before us. These are the beliefs that got us to this point. And they’re also the kind of optimistic beliefs that will get us to a brighter future.
So, let’s get a little better informed, which I’ll do my best to help you do, while also keeping it interesting and brief. And let’s also work to get a little more united as a people.
And with that, let’s get started.
The View from the Front by Stan R. Mitchell is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Moscow’s rapid loss of more than 2,300 square miles of territory in northeastern Ukraine has raised the prospect that the Russian military is spent as an offensive force for the foreseeable future, which could limit Russian President Vladimir Putin to defending the Ukrainian territory he already holds while leaving him open to additional defeats, according to military analysts.
The situation is a sobering reality for Putin, whose forces barreled into Ukraine on Feb. 24 on a mission to “demilitarize” and “denazify” the country but retreated from Kyiv just over five weeks later to concentrate on expanding control over Ukraine’s east through artillery warfare.
As Ukrainian forces roll back those eastern gains, Putin faces obstacles in replenishing the battered ranks and degraded equipment of his military to any degree that would allow Russia to again take the initiative on the battlefield. The result is an opportunity for Ukrainian forces, which despite significant losses of their own, are hoping to make more territorial gains before winter conditions harden battle lines. Further gains by Ukraine — particularly around the southern city of Kherson — would deal additional blows to Russian morale and increase pressure on Putin, who is already facing calls by hard-line Russians to announce a general mobilization that could be politically toxic for his regime.
Ukraine’s Coming Winter of Decision, by Richard N. Haass, a long-time analyst and foreign-policy advisor.
With Russia cutting off gas supplies, Ukraine’s recent military success will make it easier for European governments to justify economic and personal sacrifice during what promises to be a difficult winter.
Ukraine’s counteroffensive is having a powerful impact on Russian politics as well. Putin, facing growing criticism from conservative, nationalist forces at home, will have to decide whether to double down on the war effort and, if so, how to go about it. Doing more and asking more of the Russian people is not without domestic political risks, but arguably it could be less risky for him than a course of action that leads to additional, cascading military defeats.
For now, there is the prospect of several more months of intense fighting in the northeast and south of the country. Eventually, though, the scale will diminish as a result of frigid weather and the inability of either side to sustain large military operations.
“The Russians are in trouble,” one U.S. official said bluntly. “The question will be how the Russians will react, but their weaknesses have been exposed and they don’t have great manpower reserves or equipment reserves.”
The officials were skeptical that Putin, who has resisted calling up additional forces, would resort to extreme tactics such as the use of chemical or tactical nuclear weapons. For all their shortcomings, the Russians still have the capability to regroup and hit back hard, some officials cautioned.
Hat tip on the below goes to Steven Pifer, former US ambassador to Ukraine.
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said on Thursday that Moscow understood that China had “questions and concerns” about the war in Ukraine — a notable, if cryptic, admission from Mr. Putin that Beijing may not fully approve of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
And his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping — in his first face-to-face meeting with Mr. Putin since the invasion began — struck a far more subdued tone than the Russian president, and steered clear in his public comments of any mention of Ukraine at all.
Taken together, the remarks were a stark sign that Russia lacks the full backing of its most powerful international partner as it tries to recover from a humiliating rout in northeastern Ukraine last week.
Nick Gvosdev: At all levels of Russian society, from the cab driver in the street to the Kremlin insider, there was a strongly held belief that Russian forces would be greeted as liberators, especially in the Russian-speaking areas of Ukraine. Indeed, the initial Russian military plan was based on the assumption that Ukrainian soldiers would refuse to fight and Ukrainian politicians would defect. This turned out not to be the case. Even more striking, it was the two largest Russian-speaking cities in Ukraine—Kharkiv and Odesa–which proved to be focal points of the successful blunting of the Russian invasion. … almost all the atrocities we’ve seen have targeted people precisely in those parts of Ukraine that are part of the Russian-speaking world. There does appear to be a strong undercurrent of giving these “traitors” their due recompense.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke with Philippines Senior Undersecretary and Officer in Charge of the Department of National Defense Jose Faustino, Jr. on the phone today to discuss opportunities to further modernize and strengthen the U.S.-Philippines alliance. This was their first phone call since Senior Undersecretary Faustino assumed his current roles.
The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of the U.S.-Philippines alliance, especially in light of changing regional dynamics in the Indo-Pacific. Secretary Austin noted that the U.S. commitment to Philippine security is ironclad, and that U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty commitments extend to Philippine armed forces, public vessels, and aircraft in the South China Sea. Secretary Austin and Senior Undersecretary Faustino agreed to continue close operational coordination in the region.
Both leaders noted the importance of enhancing the posture of the alliance to address new and emerging challenges, including by deepening cooperation under the Visiting Forces Agreement and the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. Secretary Austin also expressed his thanks for the Philippines’ support for the people of Ukraine.
The Secretaries closed the call by underscoring the importance of a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific.
Department of Defense Spokesperson Lt. Col. Martin Meiners provided the following readout:
Assistant Secretary of Defense Dr. Ely Ratner co-chaired the 2022 U.S.-Vietnam Defense Policy Dialogue (DPD) with Vietnam Deputy Defense Minister Senior Lieutenant General Hoang Xuan Chien in Hanoi, Vietnam on September 12, 2022. The U.S.-Vietnam DPD is the highest-level forum for advancing bilateral defense cooperation.
The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of the U.S.-Vietnam comprehensive partnership, especially in light of changing regional dynamics in the Indo-Pacific. Dr. Ratner noted that the U.S. commitment to a strong, prosperous, and independent Vietnam is enduring, and also highlighted continued U.S. support for ASEAN centrality. Both leaders reaffirmed the importance of the rules-based international order and agreed to work collectively and with like-minded partners to peacefully address and resolve disputes in the region.
The two leaders underscored the importance of practical cooperation between the United States and Vietnam. Dr. Ratner and LTG Chien highlighted the importance of collective efforts to recover remains of both U.S. and Vietnamese missing personnel, and Dr. Ratner noted the Department’s enduring commitment to dioxin remediation efforts. Dr. Ratner shared new data, collected by Harvard University, to help identify missing Vietnamese personnel. Looking forward, the two leaders agreed to focus on enhanced cooperation on defense trade, maritime security, information sharing, cyber security, and military medicine.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke with Indian Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh today to discuss a range of recent security developments of shared interest, including in East Asia, the Indian Ocean Region, and beyond. Their call came on the heels of a productive set of engagements in New Delhi last week for the 2+2 Intersessional and Maritime Security Dialogues.
The Secretary congratulated Minister Singh on the commissioning of the INS Vikrant, noting the significance of the event for India’s role as a security provider in the Indo-Pacific. In light of the evolving regional security environment, the two defense leaders committed to expanding information-sharing and logistics cooperation as the U.S. and Indian militaries operate and coordinate more closely together. Secretary Austin expressed his support for additional mid-voyage repairs of U.S. Navy ships in India following the historic visit of the USNS Charles Drew to Chennai in August.
They agreed to initiate a dialogue later this year to deepen bilateral collaboration in space, cyber, artificial intelligence, and other new defense domains. Secretary Austin and Minister Singh highlighted their commitment to strengthening defense technology and industrial cooperation to support India’s rise as an industry leader and regional security provider.
They also underscored the value of advancing cooperation through the Quad partnership to sustain regional peace, stability, and prosperity, including through coordinated humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
The two leaders committed to an ambitious set of initiatives leading up to the 2+2 Ministerial in India early next year, as the United States and India work to swiftly expand the depth and breadth of their cooperation. They concluded the call by reaffirming the centrality of the U.S.-India defense partnership to their shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
Learn more about RIMPAC here: https://www.cpf.navy.mil/RIMPAC.
Motivation and wisdom:
I always like to end with this one:
And with that, thanks for joining us this week on The View from the Front.
For those who want to know just a little bit more about me, here’s the short version.
I’m from Knoxville, Tenn., and I left home to join the Marine Corps at the age of 17. I was also crazy enough to demand that the Marine Corps put me down for guaranteed infantry, even though the recruiter lied and said they didn’t have any infantry slots. He was trying to get me into intelligence because I managed to somehow score high on the ASVAB test. Maybe he would have gotten a bonus if he’d been successful.
But I was a persistent little SOB and I started talking to the Army and even did a weekend training drill with their recruiters. They told me I could get infantry with them with a chance to become a Ranger. I was just about to sign when lo and behold, my Marine recruiter somehow found a guaranteed infantry slot.
It’s been said that I don’t usually stop when I make my mind up to make something happen, and I suppose that’s true to this day. I served four years in the infantry, saw enough danger to decide I no longer had anything else to prove, and exited military service in 1999.
I earned a degree from the University of Tennessee in journalism and spent ten-plus years in the news business. I worked initially as a reporter, but then went on to start a weekly newspaper. What can I say? Anyone crazy enough to start a weekly newspaper at the age of 27 is probably a dreamer and an optimist, and I confess that I’m both.
I owned that weekly newspaper for nine years, from 2004 to 2013, but once it was clear that owning a newspaper wasn’t the best path to financial security, I went on to become an author. To date, I’ve written eleven books, and while I still have my sights set on the tallest peaks in the writing world, I’m now here, as well, a twice-a-week podcaster, who’s still in love with both this country and the news.
And I see this podcast as a small way to continue serving our country, doing my best to inform and unite us in a time that we’re as divided as we’ve probably been in a hundred years.
Well, I’ve talked enough about me. I really hope you’ll consider at least signing up to be a free subscriber. It sounds cheesy, but every new subscriber I get — and I promise you I get an email for each one — they really do help make my day.
And if you can, consider at some point becoming a paid subscriber.
The View from the Front is a reader-supported publication. The best way to make this work sustainable, and to help improve it, is with a paid subscription. But at the same time, free ones are appreciated, too!
As a reminder, please be kind and try your best to love your fellow Americans.
Let’s all work together to unite this country.
So, 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.