The 9/21/21 dispatch.

French officials erupted in anger over the nuclear sub deal that I discussed last week. The agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States led to France recalling its ambassadors from Australia and America. The French didn’t quite go so far as recalling their ambassador from the UK.

Max Boot writes of the deal:

AUKUS is the kind of “tremendously big deal” that former president Donald Trump always bragged about but seldom delivered. It turns the “Pacific pivot” that former president Barack Obama advertised into more than an empty slogan.

Ten years ago, Obama dispatched 2,500 U.S. Marines to Australia. The impact of that deployment is trivial compared with having eight Australian nuclear submarines patrolling the silent depths of the Pacific. China is building cruise missiles and ballistic missiles to target surface ships, including U.S. aircraft carriers. But the Pentagon reports that “it continues to lack a robust deep-water anti-submarine warfare capability.”

That is a weakness the Royal Australian Navy will be able to exploit in conjunction with the U.S. and British fleets. (The United States already operates 68 nuclear submarines, Britain 11.) Once Australia’s nuclear submarines are ready, China’s ability to dominate sea lanes and invade or blockade Taiwan will be reduced. (The naval balance of power would tilt even further against China if Japan, which already has 20 diesel submarines, were to build its own nuclear subs.) But the first submarine is not due to be built Down Under until 2040. The program needs to be accelerated to reduce Australia’s window of vulnerability — and reduce the incentives for China to commit aggression while it still can.

President Biden is expected to soon talk to French President Emmanuel Macron about the deal, in an effort to reduce tensions. One interesting thing that Boot mentioned that I wasn’t aware of is that France has been bucking the U.S. of late, as well.

“France’s enraged response is over the top,” he writes. “Macron should remember that he supported a now-suspended European Union investment agreement with China that was signed in December 2020 — i.e., right before Biden took office — over U.S. objections. Back in February, Macron rejected the idea of a U.S.-E.U. common front against China. Now he complains when the United States pursues its own strategy against China. What’s French for chutzpah?”

Something that didn’t make the news, but that sickened me late last week, was the news coming out of Russia.

Alexei Navalny, the jailed opposition figure, who also survived an attack by a nerve agent that he was poisoned with, has continued his efforts to oust Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia had an election set for last week and Navalny, even from prison, planned to weaken Putin’s grip on the country.

Part of his plan was to make a list of good candidates that voters could select in the election. This is because Putin and his party are cunning and run tons of names, so that you cannot know who best to vote for. This splits the vote, and of course, on top of that, Russia controls the media.

Navalny had a good plan. His group would make a list on a website of candidates that voters should support. This might’ve worked, but Russia took down the website.

But Navalny is no fool. He also had created an app for both Google and the Apple store, which also had the list of candidates. This posed such a risk to Putin that he went to extreme lengths to stop the effort.

The government’s campaign to stop this “escalated bit by bit from ludicrous trademark complaint to threats to arrest the firms’ employees,” The Washington Post reported. And when even that wasn’t enough, Russia sent armed me to the offices of Apple and Google.

You can catch a lot of the background on this story at this video link, which Rachel Maddow pulled togehter. I know not everyone is an MSNBC fan, so you can also google this and read about how it went down on your own. (Having said this, Maddow pulled together an 8-min segment that is more in-depth than anything else I’ve seen out there.)

Moving along, it turns out as I right in my last post when I said that it was likely the U.S. had made a targeting error in Afghanistan. Since the post, the U.S. military has addmited that it made a mistake in their final drone strike in Afghanistan. (See below.)

As is now being confirmed, the driver was a longtime aid worker for a U.S.-based group and was hauling water cans for his family, according to video obtained by The Washington Post and others after the incident.

In lighter news, there’s this:

I thought that was pretty cool news. I mean, wow. Thirty-seven years later. How crazy is that?!

Finally, we’ll end with some motivation.

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.

I also post some motivation, as well as veteran interviews, when I can schedule them. (Veterans NEVER want to talk about themselves or what they’ve done. If you know a veteran, please reach out to me at I would love to feature them on my site.)

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Semper Fidelis,

Stan R. Mitchell

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