Discover more from The View from the Front. By Stan R. Mitchell.
The Stan R. Mitchell report for 1/28/22.
Happy Friday, everyone! Hope everyone has had a great week and is ready for the weekend!
My goal in this edition is to NOT mention Ukraine. The situation there remains tense and unchanged, but I’ve written about it at length and I’m convinced that each of you are tired of reading about it.
Bottom line: it’s Putin’s move and he’ll either make it or he won’t.
Moving to another topic… let’s discuss China for a moment.
Being the obnoxious, bullying giant that it is, it’s increasingly becoming clear that China’s Belt and Road Initiative is not the amazing deal it was originally sold as.
Following a tip that I’ll bring up below, I did some digging about it and found an article from last year where The Wall Street Journal reported some interesting things.
Namely, that not only are there risks of corruption, labor violations and environmental dangers, but China is also charging interest rates up to four times higher than those offered by other lenders. Plus, the loans have shorter maturity periods; often 1/3 as long, which if you’ve ever paid off a loan, you know that gives you very little breathing room and much higher payments. This is a potential problem for the poor countries that don’t read the fine print, but need the infrastructure projects.
Unsaid in the article is the fact that when these impoversihed countries default, or beg for mercy, this will also allow China to pressure their governments and wiggle their way into getting Chinese arms around the country’s local resources.
Here’s the article from The Wall Street Journal: Hidden Debt Plagues China’s Belt and Road Infrastructure Plan, Studies Find.
But huge hat tip to Ian Bremmer, who shared the chart below recently, and caused me to do some digging.
While we’re on the subject of China, I think I need to share this as well…
Citing the limits of nuclear submarines, the author argues that Australia should also acquire the long-range B-21 stealth bomber. This would help balance the threat from China. (It’s a great article, so give it a read if you have a moment.)
I said earlier that I wouldn’t mention the Ukraine/Russian crisis, but I had to highlight this story, in the off-chance that you missed it:
In other news, my long-time readers know that I’ve been a critic and (at best) a skeptic of the F-35.
Well, Max Hauptman highlights that the VERY expensive jet is off to a rough start this year.
Already, one has sunk into the South China Sea and another one made a belly landing after it was hit by a bird. (Check his story out below.)
As our last news item, here’s a topic that’s near and dear to my heart… The Marine Corps has some good news of late.
The CH-53 was always one of my favorites. I rode in them a ton in the late 90s as a Marine infantryman. (Frankly, I still distrust the tilt-rotor Ospreys, and I was glad I managed to never have to fly in one.)
But the good ole’ CH-53s, which are actually really fast, are what my platoon used to enter Albania in 1997. And those things stayed close to the ground, helped us evade some ground fire (by maneuvering like you wouldn’t believe), and brought us all back safely.
Honestly, it flew so close to the ground on some of those hills and mountains, and then dropped so hard on the other side (to stay close and low), that many of us nearly got sick. It was like a roller coaster, but staying low keeps you safe, and I’ve always appreciated the skill of those pilots.
Bottom line, I’m glad 53s are sticking around. And the one in the story above is far better than what even we flew in. Read that story if it interests you.
Finally, before we go, let’s end with some wisdom and motivation.
And lastly, there’s this if you’re an artist or creator. (Or want to be!) Read the whole thread. (And if you don’t have Twitter, I’d suggest getting it. There are so many valuable nuggets out there in the weeds of it. Get it to read this, and then use it for networking.)
That’s it for this edition. And as a reminder, please be kind and endeavor to love and support your fellow Americans. We need to pull this country together, and that starts with all of us.
As always, please share this post if you enjoyed it! And I welcome any and all respectful comments below.
Stan R. Mitchell
P.S. Don’t forget to check out my books. I’ve written 10 military and police thrillers, as well as a self-help, motivational book about Obama, which completely avoids politics or liberal vs conservative positions. To date, I’ve been fortunate to have sold 70,000-plus copies, to thank you to who have supported me on this journey! You can find all eleven books here: amazon.com.
P.P.S. You can also find out more about me, with lots of FAQs about my military background, at my website: stanrmitchell.com.