Discover more from The View from the Front. By Stan R. Mitchell.
The 12/21/21 dispatch.
Happy Tuesday! Hope everyone is having a great week and excited about Christmas here in just four days. (For the males out there, a quick reminder: four days isn’t long. And the longer you wait, the more you’re going to spend… Wait till the day before? And you’re going to end up buying diamonds or serious amounts of gold. Trust me on this. I speak from experience!)
Speaking of gifts, did you know you have the option for this?
And also this?
Moving along to news, which unfortunately isn’t good and will quickly end whatever good cheer you were feeling, things remain tense in Ukraine.
Increasingly, this is looking like it might be some kind of conflict in Ukraine.
I’ll share some insights I’ve come across of late. Here’s some context of what is on Ukraine’s border currently, and in the past, in regards to Russian battalion tactical groups (BTGs). This is from a Russian expert.
PGMs are precision-guided munitions (PGM, smart weapon, smart munition, smart bomb) and MLRS is a multiple launch rocket system, something that can fire almost 20 miles.
And there’s more than mere tweets from analysts who have studied Russia.
Take a look at this piece from David Ignatius at The Washington Post:
From the story:
The planning, described Sunday by a knowledgeable official, includes ways to provide weapons and other support to the Ukrainian military to resist invading Russian forces — and similar logistical support to insurgent groups if Russia topples the Ukrainian government and a guerrilla war begins.
The weapons the United States might provide include shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles. The CIA’s delivery of such weapons, known at the time as “Stingers,” had a devastating effect on Soviet forces during their 10-year war in Afghanistan, from 1979 to 1989.
The administration task force, which includes the CIA and other key agencies, has been studying how insurgencies were organized against the Soviets in Afghanistan and Russian-backed forces in Syria — and also against the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s an ironic example of turning the tables, weighing whether and how to inflict harm similar to what U.S. forces have suffered in recent years.
The task force includes a legal team that is studying how any assistance to a Ukrainian insurgency could be provided without violating U.S. or international laws.
So the bottom line is, if you had any Christmas plans to visit Ukraine, you might want to re-consider. And I’ll continue to keep a close eye on this little, I mean BIG, hotspot.
Moving along to another pressure cooker, whose heat is getting hotter…
I’m not sure of the intent of this story:
But I’ll throw out two quick theories.
Theory one is Israel is trying to pressure America into conducting the attack, so their analysts are leaking out that they CAN’T pull off the attack.
Theory two is Israel DOES plan on doing the attack, as some previous articles I’ve linked to has alluded to, but Israel wants Iran to think that it CAN’T.
And I’ll add one more. Let’s say theory three is just a “let’s try to freak out the public and get these dumb Americans talking about this issue again instead of Covid or Spiderman.
As you can tell, these things can get complicated and deep in a hurry.
But the Iran-nuclear situation isn’t going away.
I’m still leaning toward Washington telling Israel to simply deal with Iran procuring a nuclear weapon. (After all, Israel has probably 300 or so of them.)
The Department of Defense is still trying to make sure it doesn’t have Congress come after it any time soon.
From the article:
Warning that extremism in the ranks is increasing, Pentagon officials issued detailed new rules Monday prohibiting service members from actively engaging in extremist activities. The new guidelines come nearly a year after some current and former service members participated in the riot at the U.S. Capitol, triggering a broad department review.
According to the Pentagon, fewer than 100 military members are known to have been involved in substantiated cases of extremist activity in the past year. But they warn that the number may grow given recent spikes in domestic violent extremism, particularly among veterans.
Officials said the new policy doesn’t largely change what is prohibited but is more of an effort to make sure troops are clear on what they can and can’t do, while still protecting their First Amendment right to free speech. And for the first time, it is far more specific about social media.
Full story here: Pentagon issues rules aimed at stopping rise of extremism.
Continuing to move along, here’s a more general story about foreign policy, America, and the world.
The Economist had a great story recently: Why medium-sized autocracies are projecting more hard power abroad from.
The Economist stated that “as America retreats from its role as globo-cop, it has opened space for medium-sized powers to become more assertive.”
As evidence, the article went on to say:
Turkey has occupied a chunk of Syria, sent troops to Libya, helped Azerbaijan vanquish Armenia and dispatched its navy in support of dubious claims to Mediterranean waters. Iran backs militias that prop up Syria’s despot, have a chokehold on Lebanon and were accused this month of trying to murder Iraq’s prime minister with an explosives-laden drone. Pakistan helped a group of misogynistic jihadists take over Afghanistan. Belarus hijacked a plane and has been giving migrants bolt-cutters and ordering them to cut through Poland’s border fence. Cuba trains Venezuelan spooks. Saudi Arabia bombs Yemen. Medium-sized menaces are on the march. They are making the world more confusing and more dangerous.
While The Economist says none of this is good for global stability, it predicts “these newly assertive countries will find that the costs of adventurism outweigh the benefits. Wielding hard power is expensive, and hard to do effectively.”
Turkey has gained swagger and territory, but alienated nearly all its allies. Saudi Arabia is stuck in a quagmire in Yemen. The uae’s missions failed not only in Yemen but in Libya, too. Pakistani colonels gloated over President Joe Biden’s hasty retreat from Afghanistan. The Taliban are friendly with Pakistan and hostile to India. But Kabul’s new rulers have no idea how to govern. Afghanistan is in economic meltdown and their ruthless, exclusive approach could provoke another war on Pakistan’s doorstep.
And in the end, The Economist states some of these mis-steps might bring down these leaders.
Moving along (quickly now, because I know you’re about to bounce), here’s a short blip that barely made the news (if it did at all):
Just remember that our troops continue to face danger around the world. And most of the time, you’ll never even hear of it.
Before ending this post, let’s end with some motivation and wisdom.
That’s it for this edition. And as a reminder, please be kind and endeavor to love and support your fellow Americans. 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.