Happy Friday! Hope everyone has had a great week!
Things continue to be tense along the Ukrainian-Russian border.
David Ignatius writes in The Washington Post that despite outreach from the U.S. to calm things down, “Putin seems to be relishing the West’s anxiety.”
In fact, Ignatius states that Putin made comments yesterday that it wasn’t Russia trying to escalate the situation. It was the West, who was ignoring Russia’s “red lines” and “escalating the situation” with shows of force.
Currently, the situation is as thus, according to Ignatius:
Nearly 100,000 Russian troops have massed along the border, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. This faceoff continued Thursday. U.S. officials didn’t detect any change in the Russian military presence, up or down.
There are nearly daily skirmishes in the contested Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian troops. The conflict could escalate if Russia sends “humanitarian” aid convoys into the region under a decree issued Monday by Putin. Ukraine has recently augmented its defense of the Donbass, using Turkish drones to combat pro-Russian rebels — and drawing a protest from Moscow.
You can read his full column here: The U.S. is warning Russia on Ukraine. So far, the message isn’t getting through.
At least for now, this situation certainly bears watching.
You might have remembered a drone attack against Iraq's leader that I mentioned two or three newsletters ago.
There are now reports that Iran likely didn’t order that.
A couple of things about this.
First, there’s the lesson of unintended consequences. You may have remembered the killing of Qasem Soleimani. That probably has led to some increased challenges to Iranian control of their various backed groups.
But secondly, Iran uses its “lack of control” of these groups as a strategic weapon, allowing for plausible deniability. Which, in shadowy, covert operations, is often a good thing for a country trying to exert its influence.
Moving along, America continues to strengthen its ties with Taiwan.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) led a congressional delegation to Taiwan last week and met with the Taiwanese government, led by President Tsai Ing-wen.
Cornyn was quoted in the Post saying:
“This has been a discussion about, ‘How do we prevent an invasion of Taiwan?’ This trip convinced me, we need to open the aperture and look at other ways that we can deter China,’ Cornyn said. “The key to deterrence is to rely on the thing the [People’s Republic of China] does not have, which is our friends and allies in the region.”
That was a bit of an obvious statement, since the Biden administration is already pursuing that with great haste and energy. But I share it because it’s important readers understand that defending Taiwan is a bi-partisan issue.
There is plenty of support in D.C. to remain engaged in the defense of Taiwan from Chinese aggression.
Full story here: The battle to protect Taiwan’s democracy is already underway.
While we’re on the subject of China and Taiwan, there’s this bit of news:
In other news, two Iranian men were charged yesterday, accused of a hacking and disinformation campaign that targeted American voters in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Full story below:
Weighing on this, Clint Watts said the following:
This article is an important reminder that we must come together as Americans. The demonizing of our fellow citizens as communists, socialists, fascists, extremists, etc is not only ineffective as far as persuading goes. It’s also detrimental, un-Christian, and about as immature as watching two seven-year-olds argue.
Please do your part and help discourage this horrendous, constant divisiveness.
This is an old story that probably every Marine knows. (Or at least the ones that served when I did, when the story wasn’t quite so dated.)
But if you’ve never heard this story, it’s worth a couple mins of your time.
And while we’re on the topic of Marines, there’s no real reason to have to share this, but I just thought it was a beautiful photo. And what Marine grunt doesn’t love a Cobra? (Although technically, these upgraded helo’s based on the Cobra are called Vipers. Full history here.)
All right, let’s wrap this up. Plus, I see on Twitter that the Kyle Rittenhouse decision has just landed, so it’s not like there’s going to be a lot of folks talking about my little newsletter today anyway. lol
Before we go, for motivation this week, I thought I’d share several things.
First, there’s this:
Then this, from US Army Command Sergeant Major Nicholas M. Curry.
And finally this:
That’s it for this post.
Let me say before we depart with this edition that we all need to be kinder in our online interactions with strangers, whether it’s Facebook or Twitter or wherever.
Please work daily to unite our country again and constantly remind yourself that 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.
As always, please share this post if you enjoyed it, as well as comment below.
Stan R. Mitchell
P.S. Don’t forget to check out my books. I write fast-paced military and mystery thrillers. You can find all ten books here: amazon.com.