Our Next Six Months

Saturday update for 15 August 2020.

Cannon Hinnant

A five-year-old boy, riding his bike in front of his house is the definition of innocence. Throughout history, almost all cultures have recognized this. The media may portray this jut as a boy fatally shot.

Cannon

But it is much more than that. We could talk about how different the outcry and reaction would be if this were a black child, shot at close range in the head by a white neighbor. That would be playing into the same racialist narrative that infects so much of the dialogue today.

Cannon was an innocent, in the eyes of God his life mattered and he was innocent of all sin. We do not know what he would have grown up to be. He may have become a drug-addicted, lifetime criminal, a man that abused women, abandoned his children, and might someday die on a street after committing more crimes and struggling with police.

He may have become a saint, or he may have just become an ordinary imperfect man like the rest of us. But he was innocent and his life mattered.

Some will argue that perhaps Darius Sessoms, the man that shot Cannon in the head from close range, was an anomaly, that this is not indicative of the world. That we cannot place blame on an entire class of people because of his actions. I agree with that. We cannot condemn all 25-year-old black men as child murderers. It would be insane to classify an entire class of people as evil!

Some of the same people that would make that argument support groups that want to vilify and attack the police, all of them, as one large homogenous group of evil-doers. Some still would tell us that all white people enjoy white privilege and play a part in 'systemic racism'.  Because they have read, sat in a lecture, or saw some videos on the subject, they might even place me in a category of deniers because I do not even recognize my own 'white fragility'.

There is some hard truth that we need to come to terms with.

All of this hatred and racism that has spread like a real pandemic since George Floyd died on a street (before then really, perhaps back to Michael Brown robbing a store and wrestling for a police officers gun) played a significant role in the death of Cannon Hinnant. I can hear all of the counter-arguments, but on a basic, foundational level, that is absolutely true.

We can say that we 'love' people and want to see justice. But a parent that loves their child does not allow them to do absurd or dangerous things just because the child is upset. A friend does not stand idly by and supports a friend doing immoral things just because their friend feels wronged. Real love comes with other attributes. Real love looks at the total cost and the total benefit of a thing and measures it all against a backdrop of other principles. Real love is not blind support of anything that makes someone appear to feel better.

From the first day that churches, pastors and people that believe they operate from a position of goodwill began posting memes, making arguments, endeavoring to convince others and signaling their support for BLM and the protests (often ignoring the hateful words and violence) I have repeated over and over - this is all wrong.

Black Lives Matter as a concept is correct because all lives matter and we should seek justice. BLM as an organization is horrible. It is impossible to separate the broad concept from the organization and the hate and violence it engenders. People of goodwill and moral principles should have avoided this from the beginning.

There have been more murders beyond Cannon; many more. Some media outlets claim that 'crime has not increased', in an effort to gaslight those that see all of this in its true nature. Many are deceived by such claims, no matter how easily debunked they are.

BLM and the protests, burning, violence, riots, and mayhem have unleashed a general spirit of violence and lawlessness. This has manifested most in the cities and communities with a predominately black population. Those that support BLM had in effect subjected to many black Americans to more poverty, violence, and suffering.

This all has been and is immoral. It is wrong. Those that supported it from a position of  "goodwill" of a concept of Biblical Love that excluded all the other principles in the Bible have been and are wrong.

If this applies to you, you need to repent of your sin and search your soul to figure out what in your life made you so susceptible to a lie of the world.

Here is some truth for you.


 

I responded to a local news article the other day that claimed a minor public figure was among other things a racist. I commented that it was a terrible article and poor journalism because they made no effort to actually support the claim that the person in question was a racist, it was just stated as fact, they had said racist things.

One of the young reporters replied to me with an article from Politico. Politico stated they had 'hundreds of hours' of video with the individual making racist statements and provided a video as an example. In the provided video there were heterodox statements, things contrary to the established narrative but nothing racist.

I replied that the delivery was 'plain', but the points were no different that things Dr. Thomas Sowell has said for years. With that, the conversation turned. I too must be a racist, or a troll, or a parody account.

It is very dangerous that ideas are so easily tossed aside and those that question anything of the popular narrative are branded with a label, a scarlet letter, and dismissed.  These are troubling developments. This is not the same a labeling someone a 'radical progressive', 'liberal', 'right-winger', etc.   This is essentially the same as calling someone a pedophile, a social pariah. (It may, in fact, be worse, there are some that now claim out loud that pedophilia is a sexual orientation)

One of the most profound statements from the Granada TV documentary on the Spanish Civil War (I highly recommend it) was, 'when each side could no longer discuss ideas, violence was inevitable'.

If most of the institutions of society (most of the media, many churches, most of the educational establishment), and many of the unthinking masses are willing to carelessly label others with stigmatic labels that equals their voice and ideas unworthy of being heard - how do you believe this all turns out?

We need to return to civil discussion and an honest usage of the English language. Racism and racist language exists on both sides of the conversation today, but on the extremes. We need to apply the term precisely, otherwise real violence awaits us all.


 

  • Trump claims that mail-in voting will be an open opportunity for voter fraud.
  • Much of the media repeatedly conflates 'mail-in' voting (mass mailing out ballots) with absentee voting (registered voters actively requesting a ballot) in an effort to dismiss Trump's claim.
  • Many on the left claim without funding the USPS cannot handle mail-in voting and predict chaos.
  • Several news articles and snippets of remarks by Democratic leaders predict chaos and even hint they believe Trump will not concede.
  • The NYT reported an exercise during the Obama era where a sitting president refused to concede and a constitutional crisis ensued.
  • Marco Rubio tells us to expect election chaos.

It seems both the Democrats and Republicans completely agree. Are they foreshadowing what is to come? Is this all a singular plan, are they really working together, some claim that? Is it perhaps that both sides see the growing divide and understand what this means (I wrote that in 2018)? Are they perhaps just building a narrative for a future claim to legitimacy/illegitimacy? We cannot know. But it seems they agree that real chaos is coming. Nothing good comes from such chaos.

A New Civil War, an aggregator of news and opinion from both sides is a good place to keep up with opinions across the spectrum. When I wrote America’s Great Cultural and Political Divide in 2018 many mainstream articles on the subject at the same time dismissed the idea as preposterous, no longer is that the story.

You would be wise to get yourself and your family ready - and repent of your sins of omission and commission that helped in some way move us to this point.


 

Interference by Russia, China and others is real. Some of it is easy to detect, while other efforts are more subtle and perhaps more effective. Each side has their prefered enemy, may repeat the narratives, carelessly. We should be wise enough to see all of this for what it is, yet most do not.

The leaked release of police bodycam footage was something of a watershed moment for many. We now know why it was not released, or we can reasonably assume. It paints a very different picture than what was available only on the other angles of Floyd's arrest. I noticed thousands of people, folks that had argued passionately one way prior to the release of this evidence change their outlook. Some began to question why any of the subsequent violence occurred. Others pivoted away from ever mentioning Floyd and making all of this about something bigger (that is rather dishonest).

What is clear, is that none of these events, Micheal Brown, Floyd, and many others that have caused so much chaos were ever what they were portrayed as originally, and many people have come to see that as a reality now. The cases remain complex, but they are not clear-cut cases of racist cops gone wild, murdering innocent people. Honest people, folks of goodwill, willing to look at facts now know this.

ANTIFA and BLM have credibility and the narrative problem now. People wonder if burning, beating, violence, and mayhem were justified.

I will be the first 'not shocked' person when we see some major incident, perhaps even a mass killing, all made to look like (or at least reported as ) a white racist attack. The Boogaloo Bois are real, they are ready for the revolution, marching, and supporting ANTIFA and BLM and they already look like "white supremacists" - they are the perfect candidates to conduct such an operation.


 

I am not even convinced at this point the Democrats are running a serious campaign to win. If I were Joe Biden, I would keep my head down and watch those around me. Nothing would spell 'sympathy vote' more than a candidate being killed "by extremest on the other side". History is filled with that sort of stuff, 2020 is that odd.

Or, as some claim - is Trump just part of it all? He is getting things done the Democrats want that they could never do without many on the right taking to the streets. Think about it...I do not know.


 

China has checked off every action I predicted on 7 June, (those and more; I was probably wrong on the election but spot-on in terms of China and Belarus)

In the midst of election chaos, between November and January (probably late December, early January) I think it is highly likely that China will move decisively and quickly to take control of Taiwan. There is a scenario, that smart strategic planners have worked out, whereby China can accomplish just that in less than a week. It only requires a delayed and confused response from the US.

Such a move, successfully executed with minimal fighting and Taiwain capitulating early because of a delayed US response would fundamentally alter the East Asian balance of power.

Millions more will soon be subjected to the boot-heel of a genocidal regime because we in the US are too busy being absurd.


 

Finally - the entire alignment of many ancillary nations hangs in the balance right now. The proxy war Greece and Turkey have fought in Libya is more than two sides trying to fix something the US and NATO foolishly broke. The peace arrangement between Israel and the UAE has a significant meaning.

Will the Eastern Med/Middle-east, Caucus now realign based upon a new and more natural coalition or will unrelated wars prevail. Will all of this result in a comprehensive peace arrangement? (of later chapter Biblical proportions...)

All are possible. If the peace, initiative expands to the Balkans (Kosovo and Serbia) then Greece, Turkey, and resolves Syria and the Caucus (all interconnected) I will really be convinced we are in the end-times! If is is a geopolitical realignment, I will not b shocked.

I am inclined to think that spheres will simply realign. Russia has a common interest with many that we have a common interest with. We may come to view them differently in a new arrangement. Turkey and Pakistan and Qatar may be out, India in. Israel might be welcomed openly into a coalition with Saudia Arabia, UAE, and Syria. We may come to see Syria as a front in the battle against not ISIS but Iranian/Turkish and Chinese interest. The world could realign over this into the US versus China spheres based upon natural and historical affinities/animosities and the prevailing strategic goals of the primaries.

Russia Explained

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Let me be clear upfront. Russia is not a 'nice guy'. Also, Russia does a lot of crafty and sneaky stuff around the world. If you are a goofy guy like me, sitting in a hotel bar in Abu Dhabi (or anywhere else) and a stunningly hot young lady with a Slavic accent comes up and wants to sit and talk - the very wise thing to do is to leave the bar immediately (NOT WITH HER!) and look around for sketchy dudes following you before you go to your room. You might have been a target for intelligence exploitation or a mafia shake-down (or both because in Russia, those things mix well).

I spent most of my military career around guys that were comfortable and happy planning operations against Soviets and then Russians. Russa became the enemy of choice, it was easy, just pull out the files, no extra work required. Humans everywhere get comfortable and lazy.

But - Russia is a weak, sick man in the geopolitical arena. It still has some capability, it can still throw a punch, it can talk smack, spread rumors, and sometimes thwart your plans - but they are not a big scary bear.

 

email-disclaimer

I am speaking here broadly. Not about specific examples of if Russia did or did not 'interfere in the 2016 election' and specific details of that. Common-sense says of course they did, and so did a lot of folks with bad intention, foreign and domestic. The stakes are simply too big, of course, entities meddle and scheme.  My argument here is that Russia is not the biggest threat we face and that in fact, there are and have been several instances when Russia was on the right side of things (that is seldom true of our other adversaries). 

Some Russian Facts (broad terms)

  • Militarily Russia has some capability, specifically regionally but they lack peer-capability in most areas and lack the ability to either project or sustain operations.
  • Russian intelligence services are still robust, however, their 'sources and methods' are not nearly as formidable as they once were. Basically they lack the foundational 'ins' in the West.
  • Economically Russia is a mess, they lost an entire decade in the 1990s, flawed Western policies have kept them from developing a market economy and joining the Western world in a significant way.
  • Demographically Russia is a mess. They have a baby problem, they are not creating enough. They cannot populate the fertile areas in the east, Chinese immigrants are essentially invading southern Siberia snd making it a province of China.
  • Their best export, extremely beautiful women, are to be found in hotel lobbies and bars across the middle-east and elsewhere.
  • Since before Peter The Great, Europe has looked down upon and snubbed the Russians and the Slavs, never considering them exactly 'European'. This has played a significant role in the Russian self-image and foreign policy through Czarist Russia, the Soviet Union, and Putin's reign.
  • Russia has come to see itself as the defender of the Slavs and Orthodox Christianity, The Czars believed this, it existed during the Soviet era (with less emphasis on Orthodox Christianity) and Putin continues it.
  • Russian foreign policy centers on the 'near abroad' those historically Slavic states that border Russia proper. This is why Ukraine, Georgia, the Caucus, and the Balkans are important to them.
  • Think of Russia like Mexico, if it stood up and issued their own version of the Monroe Doctrine, telling other powers if they are going to mess with the little Latin powers in Central America, they have to come through Mexico first.
  • To the Russian, the fact that NATO did not dissolve in 1990 and US and Western intelligence agencies and militaries continued to plan for war against them was confusing. (the Russians knew they could barely drive tanks out of a motorpool at the time without breaking down.)
  • In the Balkans conflict, the Russians stood for the Slavs and Christians in the Former Yugoslavia. Clinton, Wesley Clark, NATO, and the US stood with the Muslims that committed genocide against them.
  • The Russians actively opposed Color Revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine.  They succeeded in Georgia and failed in Ukraine.
  • Russians support Armenia. Armenians were genocided by the Turks in WWI. Turkey today is working with Azerbaijan, conducting exercises and arming them, against Armenia. War is possible in the Caucus, Russia is on the right side.
  • The Russians have supported the Kurds in Northern Iraq and Syria. They have defended Christians in those areas, something no other Western power is willing to do.
  • Afghanistan is complex. Russia does stuff there. So does China. China is much more overt, direct and they come with big bags of money. Both are working to get the US out so they can exert control. Afghanistan borders Russia's traditional near abroad. It is the same as if Sweden occupied Mexico, we would have an interest in that.
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A few years ago, after Georgia's failed Color revolution, we sent over 'cultural engagement teams' to try and 'get things back on track'. These teams included US military chaplains that were supposed to engage with Orthodox clergy and build rapport. Putin was doing the same thing, sending Russian Orthodox clergy down. We sent evangelicals from denominations that support western cultural values (social gospel types). It was a disaster. The Georgian clergy knew full well the objectives of the color revolutions and some of the policies pushed. They rejected our chaplains almost to a man, called them, and their denominations, out and rejected them. 

Our Military-Intelligence machine has never accepted placing Russia on the back burner and turning the focus to China. In fact, there are people that have made a career on the "Russia desk", fighting for money and resources against other 'desks'. Most of these folks would simply not have a role if the focus shifted. It is personal, not professional that keeps a lot of these people singing the 'Russia is so bad song'.

A lot of big names in media have direct connections to our intelligence community, some did internships with the CIA. They were bought into the old way of thinking and the push Russia narrative early on.

China is a much bigger threat. (China: The Rising Dragon) China does everything Russia hopes to do but they can do it bigger and better. They are inside the US, own things, have 'sources and methods', and can back that up with an economy, a population a near-peer competitor military and a robust cyber, electromagnetic (CEMA) capability.  China can, and probably has influenced elections in the US through domestic assets. Russia has to do it primarily through Voice of America type actions, the former is much more effective and harder to detect.

It is probably true that Russia's versions of VOA, RT, influence some. People that others call naive. It is just as likely. and probable, that China spies on, manipulates, manages information and the dispenser of information (media) from within to deceive and confuse those that laugh at the group that falls for Russian deception.

In broad terms, common-sense would tell us Russia probably did want Trump to win in 2016, and China probably wanted Clinton to win. Clinton represented the establishment attitude of trade with and appeasement of China and ignoring their internal genocide and external ambitions. Trump said upfront and for years China was the real threat in the world. Each very likely used their resources to ensure their prefered outcome. Meddling in domestic politics is part of geopolitics, it is the reality of the world. That fact, and the continuing discussion in the media that Russia is the only foreign state actor become disingenuous after a time. It would be more honest to argue that China, having failed to get elected a US president that would have a softer, more appealing attitude toward their goals in 2016 has really upped their game in 2020.

Looking at it through that lens, asking yourself why all the major media outlets pivot on a dime to retell new narratives that conflict with old perhaps then it is possible to see that maybe, just maybe all of this is something else. 2020 just might be The Empire Strikes Back, China has tripled-down on its efforts to manipulate us.

Maybe.

But Russia is not the biggest boogeyman in the world. They are a kid down the street that will throw rocks at us if we ostracized them, but would be ok to let into the clubhouse sometimes. We have to admit, they have stood up against some bad things in the world that we either supported or ignored.

I would rather have them with us in a coalition against China rather than left to swing on their own and act out in their own best interests as we isolate them.

 

An example today of China sophisticated CEMA efforts:

If all the above was not clear - Russia is a jerk. but China. China is Asshole!

Syria, The Kurds and Russia

Over the course of my Army career, I had numerous opportunities to live with, train, fight beside and become friends with Kurds.  I am not unlike many others that had the same experiences over the last two decades in that my interactions with the Kurds left me with a sense of respect, admiration and affection for them. 

Naturally, I felt an initial sense of bewilderment and some anger last week at what seemed a sudden US policy shift relative to the Kurds.  We have had many foreign partners and extra-national compatriots over the years but in my and many other’s experiences, none match the overall worthiness and decency of the Kurds.  Also, considering this is not the first, but rather the third, major policy betrayal of the Kurds by the US in the last 30 years this all just felt wrong.  I made real friends among Kurdish soldiers, this all touched me on a personal level.

However, once I put emotions aside and began to analyze what has occurred critically, I have come to suspect that something much bigger has occurred.  The narrative spun by “national security experts” and parroted by hyperbolic media is an inaccurate picture of these events because none of these folks seems to be taking into account actual facts.

Facts

Despite the Kurds being one of the largest ethnic groups in the world without a country of their own it has never been a US policy tenet to support the formation of such – our partnership with the Kurds in Syria was always within the context of a restored Syria.

The “moderate” elements so often touted by liberal pundits and neoconic warhawks, were never really that moderate.  Many of those elements are now threatening genocide on the Kurds in support of Turkey (and by extension Saudi Arabia).  The Kurds were and are the only moderates in Syria.  

Turkey itself has a pretty dismal history.  There is, of course, the Armenian genocide in the early 20th Century, persecution of religious and ethnic minorities and growing repression of the rule of law and political dissent inside the regime.  The failed 2016 coup was perhaps the last best effort to set Turkey on a different path, but the resulting purge removed all remaining moderate and sane voices.  Their policies and action since have proven they are no ally and not within the Western sphere of thought and action.

By any objective measure, Bashar al-Assad was and is not that bad, relatively speaking, when compared to other outcomes in the Middle East.  The Muslim world works best, politically, with a strong government that keeps the passions of the people in check.  Assad was no better or worse than any other leader in the region in this regard.  In fact, pre-civil war Syria respected the rights of ethnic and religious minorities far better than many countries in the region – Turkey and Saudi Arabia as prime examples of “allies” that have much worse records in that regard. By international law and custom, Assad is the legitimate leader of Syria – objectively it was never correct to interject in the internal affairs of another sovereign nation without their invitation.

Many in the media bemoan the fact that a US disengagement from Syria empowers Russia and Iran.  The standard narrative conflates the interest of those two countries into an “axis of evil” but that is not a correct view.  Their interest have been conjoined only insofar as the recent geopolitical environment has made them bedfellows.  The other part of this flawed narrative is that Russia is an enemy to be feared which, when evaluated based upon real facts is ridiculous.  They are at worst a protagonist and adversary in terms of some strategic goals but Russia is a glass cannon, a shade of its former self.  The true peer competitive enemy of the US is China – focus on Russia “getting a small win” distracts from the real threat.

Assad is Russia’s ally.  Syria has invited Russia into Syria to assist with its internal conflict.  This complies with international law.  The US was never invited and short of declaring war in Syria, we were always wrong for being there.

Considering those facts, recent events make more sense.  Russia is not a threat to us.  The US was expending blood and treasure in a place, not in our strategic interest.  Syria is within Russia’s strategic interest and a stable Syria would control ISIS. 

Conclusion

Why would a rational person not see this as an acceptable outcome?

Consider this.  Less than 24 hours after the “infamous” tweet last Thursday the Kurds struck a deal with the Syria Army.  Is it reasonable to assume that enemies suddenly become allies following a tweet?  Is it more reasonable to assume a lot more went on behind the scenes prior to the announcement via tweet that facilitated this arrangement?  It is highly unlikely the US would announce that we brokered a deal like that but looking at the situation rationally it seems the most likely possibility.  If so, we really did not abandon the Kurds as is so readily portrayed in the media. 

Such an outcome is essentially a strategic win for the US.  We get out of Syria, the Syrian government can reestablish control of its territory and return to the status quo that existed prior to the civil war (and no matter what political grievances some people had then the situation was much better than the last several years, that is inarguable).  Russia bears the responsibility to see all this through, via financial and military support.  We can retract and refocus on our true threats in the world – China.

The only fly in the ointment is Turkey and their invasion of Syria.