Discover more from The View from the Front. By Stan R. Mitchell.
The 1/4/22 dispatch.
Happy New Year! Hope everyone is getting back into the grind of things and ready for all that may come your way in the coming months!
I’m pretty excited because I’ll be announcing a new book soon, but I’m not really a New Year’s resolutions kind of guy. Instead, I try to get after it and kick my tail on a daily basis.
No need to do that just once a year, after all. haha. (On that note, I should have three books released this year! That’ll bring me to thirteen, so get some!)
Moving onto news…
In Ukraine, the standoff continues with Russia. CNN summed up the situation most recently by saying:
President Joe Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday that the US and its allies "will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine," according to a readout of a call between the two leaders provided by the White House.
The two spoke just a few days after Biden urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to ease an unremitting military crisis on Ukraine's border and before Russian and US officials are set to meet in person in Geneva later this month.
Zelensky said in a tweet Sunday evening that the call with Biden underscored "the special nature of our relations." He added, "Joint actions of Ukraine, United States and partners in keeping peace in Europe, preventing further escalation, reforms, deoligarchization were discussed."
Ukraine, Zelensky added, "appreciates the unwavering support."
But The Atlantic writes that a Russian invasion appears quite likely.
This time, the alarm bells are ringing louder in Washington than in Kyiv. Secretary of State Antony Blinken began warning European allies about a possible new Russian invasion of Ukraine several weeks ago, and rumors of genuinely terrible things to come are flying around other Western capitals too. An invasion of Kyiv. An occupation of the country. The warnings seem to be based not just on the operational intelligence that many have seen — ominous photographs of military equipment and personnel accumulating around Ukraine’s borders — but on strategic intelligence, insights into the thinking of Kremlin insiders, which U.S. officials are allegedly showing their allies.
The alarm bells are also ringing because of the public behavior of Russian diplomats and officials, including President Vladimir Putin, who have spent the past couple of weeks accusing the United States and its allies of nonexistent aggression, such as imaginary plans to use chemical weapons against Russian-backed forces in eastern Ukraine. In fact, the sole aggressor in the region is Russia. Russian troops occupy not only parts of Ukraine but also parts of Georgia and Moldova; Russian “advisers” — latter-day Soviet commissars — now prop up a violent dictator in Belarus and may be about to annex that country too. Russian propaganda organs regularly issue violent threats. On New Year’s Eve, the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti tweeted a prediction: “Russia will destroy Ukraine within 10 minutes.”
Perhaps Putin has finally decided to realize his long-standing dream of removing Ukraine from the map. Back in 2008, the Russian president told leaders gathered at a NATO summit that Ukraine is “not a state.” Last summer, he published a long essay arguing, among other things, that Russians and Ukrainians are “one people.” He then sent that essay to every soldier in the Russian army. Putin’s interest in invading, occupying, dividing, or otherwise destroying Ukraine — a country that has no nuclear weapons and could not invade Russia — is not strategic. It is emotional.
Sticking with Russia, but moving to a different topic, it appears the U.S. caught a Russian they had been wanting to get their hands on. U.S. Catches Kremlin Insider Who May Have Secrets of 2016 Hack.
From the article:
In the days before Christmas, U.S. officials in Boston unveiled insider trading charges against a Russian tech tycoon they had been pursuing for months. They accused Vladislav Klyushin, who’d been extradited from Switzerland on Dec. 18, of illegally making tens of millions of dollars trading on hacked corporate-earnings information.
Yet as authorities laid out their securities fraud case, a striking portrait of the detainee emerged: Klyushin was not only an accused insider trader, but a Kremlin insider. He ran an information technology company that works with the Russian government’s top echelons. Just 18 months earlier, Klyushin received a medal of honor from Russian President Vladimir Putin. The U.S. had, in its custody, the highest-level Kremlin insider handed to U.S. law enforcement in recent memory.
Klyushin’s cybersecurity work and Kremlin ties could make him a useful source of information for U.S. officials, according to several people familiar with Russian intelligence matters. Most critically, these people said, if he chooses to cooperate, he could provide Americans with their closest view yet of 2016 election manipulation.
Read the full article here: U.S. Catches Kremlin Insider Who May Have Secrets of 2016 Hack.
We haven't discussed China in a bit, but they’re up to the same old, same old.
Map of the area:
In addition to the protests, China has sent coast guard vessels into the area to increase pressure, Indonesian government sources said, citing eyewitness accounts.
Jakarta, which contends that no territorial dispute with China exists, has not disclosed Beijing's protests. Indonesia apparently regards a public response to the protests as tantamount to acknowledging the existence of a dispute. The round of drilling was completed in late November, said Vice Adm. Aan Kurnia, who heads the Indonesian Maritime Security Agency, known as Bakamla.
China has territorial disputes across the South China Sea. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have all made claims. Beijing has intensified activity near the Natuna islands since 2019, escalating tensions with Jakarta.
Moving now to Iraq, there was this news from there:
No one was wounded, but this is yet more proof that drones are increasingly being used across the world. A few quick examples:
In my last news item, I thought we’d discuss this uncomfortable topic.
I often discuss supporting veterans, such as the video below:
Having experienced many of the mental struggles that so many veterans go through, I know how important this is. And I wanted to share the below article:
From the article:
The death by suicide rate for young service members in 2020 was well over double the rate for civilians the same age, according to Department of Defense reports and data recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and higher than all age demographics in the civilian population. Female and Black service members are also more likely to take their lives than their civilian counterparts.
The institution’s indifference and the fear it inspires is an unquantifiable stress. When I was an infantry officer and attempted to voluntarily access mental health care upon my return home from Iraq, I faced negative consequences on my career. I was told by my superiors that I wasn’t fit to stand in front of soldiers because of it, even though there had never been a negative mark on my service record. The chilling thought that came into my head as I heard those words: how many soldiers who had sought treatment before me had been targeted? How many more would come after?
Women on active duty have a suicide rate that is twice the national average, and women veterans have a suicide rate that is 2.5 times higher than their non-veteran peers. Most of them are young.
Members of minority groups in the military are at especially high risk for suicide and suicide attempts … In 2020, Black servicemembers had a suicide rate that was three times higher than that of Black Americans who have not served.
The article discusses some of the ways the military is trying to change these absolutely awful numbers, but as the article says, “Young idealistic Americans are dying. We need to do more to protect them from despair or their deaths will be our shame.”
And while we wait on the military to sort this out, I say what I said in the video above. Be a part of the solution. Reach out to those who have served. In so many cases, they are NOT all right. Even when they say they are.
Finally, let’s end with some fun. Such as this impressive clip:
And also some motivation:
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 on social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. 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.