The 10/8/21 dispatch.

Hope everyone has had a great week!

Since my last post on Tuesday, I’m sad to say that things have gotten even testier with China. News broke that the United States ALREADY has troops in Taiwan, who are operating as advisors. This was previously unknown and certainly top secret information.

There are reportedly roughly two dozen U.S. troops, including a Special Operations unit and a contingent of Marines, training military forces in Taiwan. Even crazier, they’ve been there for more than a year, the Wall Street Journal reported.

A couple of interesting things about the story, which I’m sure many of you have already seen:

First, the Washington Post story says that “Taiwan’s Foreign and Defense ministries declined to comment on the report,” which the Post took for confirmation.

Secondly, the Post says the Pentagon denied last year that Marine special operatives were training in Taiwan, but now there don’t seem to be any denials. In fact, it’s the opposite. The Pentagon said the following in a Reuters story:

"I don't have any comments on specific operations, engagements, or training, but I would like to highlight that our support for and defense relationship with Taiwan remains aligned against the current threat posed by the People’s Republic of China," said Pentagon spokesman John Supple.

Those are pretty strong words.

Remember, China believes that the island of Taiwan is a part of China. And even though 24 million people live in Taiwan, and even though Taiwan is staunchly democratic, China has for years threatened to retake the island if Taiwan formally states its independence. (The two countries have a long history, marked by war and decades of threats.)

It’s my belief that this news breaking that the U.S. has troops in Taiwan is NOT an accident. I think China’s recent moves of so many aircraft threatening the island has unnerved the U.S. to some extent (see below about tensions behind the worst in 40 years), and the U.S. decided to leak the information of U.S. troops there. Just as a not-so-subtle signal/reminder that not only will we defend Taiwan, but we literally already have troops there.

According to the BBC, Taiwan’s defense minister believes a full-scale invasion of the island could happen by 2025. I personally think China could have been looking at a mild form of escalation as a way to scare Taiwan back into its arms, and America back into its own hemisphere. China knows that in the long game, more countries are turning to face their frightening and fearsome growing power.

But clearly the U.S. is saying that a short-term escalation won’t work. The U.S. is signaling, “We’re here, we’re staying, don’t mis-read a single thing.”

Staying on the China situation for a moment longer, I found this story of a submarine collision just so, so interesting. (Mainly because any time I see a sub story like this, I immediately think up crazy plots like the Hunt for Red October. Except in this scenario, I imagine an American commander either ramming — or getting rammed — by some undersea Chinese sub. Okay, apologies for the crazy theories, but I am — after all — a fiction writer.)

In other matters, I was sad to read the below article. I can’t imagine how scared these women in Afghanistan must be.

The only good news out of Afghanistan (I kid, clearly) is that the Taliban is NOT messing around with drug addictions. If you want to see how a crazy, intolerant government uses religion to fix things, take a gander at this article.

Back to U.S. matters, seems the F-35 is still getting a little more operational. It’s had all kinds of pitfalls for years and it’s been a LONG journey for the jet, but maybe (just maybe), it’s getting there.

Moving along, I thought I’d share something pretty deep that I came across. (It’s sort of about Facebook, but it’s about so much more. It’s about getting older, being isolated, how cruel we are as a society, etc. It’s absolutely worth the read if you get a moment. Warning: it does have some harsh language in it.)

If that link above doesn’t work, you can go directly here to read the post:

I’ll end this edition with some good news from science. Given how dry things are getting in the West, technology such as this could prove pivotal (as it becomes less expensive).

That’s it for this post. Stay safe and be kind. As always, please share this post if you enjoyed it.


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Every Tuesday and Friday, I write about conflicts and military matters that are happening throughout the world. Such as what’s happening in Afghanistan or Iraq. How we’re aligning ourselves to counter China’s growing influence. Updates on new military technology that we’re fielding.

As long-time readers know, I do all of this from a moderate perspective that focuses on unity in our country. I also don’t believe in clickbait, over-the-top headlines, or other tactics created to increase fear or panic, all in the hope of adding to web traffic. You will always get the sober, mature view, with a slight bit of my optimism peering through. 

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Semper Fidelis,

Stan R. Mitchell

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