The 11/5/21 dispatch.

Happy Friday! Hope everyone has had a great week.

I thought I’d start this week off about China again.

Long-time national security expert David Ignatius wrote a piece about the ambiguity the United States has in place regarding if China attacks Taiwan, and how this unstated vagueness has so far served both the United States and Taiwan quite well.

But though this gray area has existed since the 1972 Shanghai Communique, President Biden recently answered that America would defend Taiwan.

“Yes, we have a commitment,” Biden said in a CNN interview.

The White House quickly countered his words.

As Ignatius writes of the episode:

“White House press secretary Jen Psaki affirmed the next day, “There is no change in our policy.” The Chinese, after momentary indigestion, decided to accept that Biden had just made a gaffe. That’s the blessing and curse in being perceived as an old duffer; people don’t take Biden’s words all that seriously.

The rhetoric on both sides of the strait is uncompromising. President Xi Jinping vowed last month to pursue reunification by peaceful means — but that came after China sent waves of planes near Taiwan. Taiwan President Tsai defiantly replied a day later: “We will continue to bolster our national defense … to ensure that nobody can force Taiwan to take the path China has laid out for us.”

Ignatius sums up his column with this recap of the standoff:

For now, this is a war that nobody wants. It would puncture Beijing’s economy and derail Xi’s march toward what he calls his “China dream.” For Taiwan, the wreckage would be worse; Tsai frankly says that she wants no more than “maintaining the status quo.” The United States doesn’t want a war that past Pentagon war games have predicted it would lose.

The Taiwan straddle continues, because for now it serves everyone’s interest. But the ambiguity won’t last forever. When Xi says he is determined to achieve reunification, you have to assume he means it.

You can read his entire column below.

No one wants a war over Taiwan. But that won’t last forever.

Moving to a different topic, I came across an outstanding piece this week about Russia.

Ian Kelly had a great piece in The Atlantic about how the West and NATO have allowed Russia to expand its influence beyond its borders in three key neighboring states.

“Russia is now in the driver’s seat as never before. It has troops on the ground in all three Caucasus countries—two with the consent of the host (Armenia and Azerbaijan), and one without (Georgia). Moscow is also pushing a new multilateral mechanism for the region, called the “3+3,” which would include the Caucasus states plus three illiberal (and former imperial) powers, Russia, Turkey, and Iran.

Kelly writes that “the Kremlin has exploited its straddling position on pipelines and land routes to punish countries who dare to reorient to the West.”

He concludes by writing:

“By failing to offer realistic alternatives to Russian-centric economic and security mechanisms, the West has left another region to the tender mercies of a predatory power and helped create another zone of instability. The West must step up its diplomatic game before the region slips further beneath the waves of Russia’s illiberal hegemony.”

You can read the full piece by clicking below (or by clicking here: Russia Took Advantage While the West Slept).

Moving along, in Middle East news, there’s this:

I have briefly touched on the war in Yemen before. It’s been a total nightmare for the Saudi’s. It’s lasted almost seven years and you can read all about it here: Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen.

Or if you’re not a fan of Wikipedia, you can read about it here from the BBC: Yemen crisis: Why is there a war?

In technology news this week, I came across this:

And let me tell you. This concept robot is incredibly impressive, both in idea and what it could potentially do.

Essentially, it’s a mobile robotic mine. And if tanks approach, it will roll up under them and explode upward, killing the tank from its thin underbelly.

But wait, there’s more.

The weapon would also house a machine gun or sniper rifle. And if infantry come within range, well, it’s bye-bye infantry.

Why, you ask? Because the dang thing is bulletproof, too. So good luck killing it. Especially if it’s moving.

There’s probably still plenty of glitches, but these things are designed to hide in ambush positions and awaken when they detect movement. I can assure you that I wouldn’t want my platoon to go up against about a dozen of them.

If you can’t get to the story above from the Twitter link, here’s the web link: Australian Army Getting Bulletproof Swarming Attack Robots.

Moving still further along, you might’ve remembered me mentioning an underwater collision with a U.S. sub a few weeks back. Apparently, here’s what actually happened in that situation:

And here’s the full story on it: Navy fires two top officers of submarine damaged in collision.

While we’re on the topic of subs, I thought this article was really interesting about it, as well.

How did a $3 billion US Navy submarine hit an undersea mountain?

Fnially, I know this edition has been a bit denser than most, but here’s a small piece of motivation for you.

That’s it for this post.

Let me say before we end this that I ask you to be kinder in your online interactions with strangers, whether it’s Facebook or Twitter or wherever.

Please work daily to unite our country again. 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.

We owe it to these guys below, and so many others who have sacrificed for this country, to work hard toward binding the wounds of our land.

As always, please share this post if you enjoyed it, as well as comment below.


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Semper Fidelis,

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: