A quick spin, around a few of our most pressing threats, to end the week.
We have our hands full because they are both domestic... and foreign.
Today, I will offer a couple of paragraphs on a few of our most pressing national security issues and threats. There’s a lot going on out there, and I’d at least like to check the pulse of most prominent threats.
Also, it’s time to add my normal, occasional political disclaimer, regarding my truthful assaults on the MAGA-controlled, Republican Party. Sadly, due to regular accusations, I must do this every few months.
First things first… My disclaimer to critics,
As the title of this publication clearly states, TAT, is about the most significant threats to the US and by extension, our allies who make up part of our defense structure.
I only comment on what most people call, “politics” and that I see as significant national security threats. The left, agree with them or not, isn’t a threat to our national security and so long as the GOP is controlled by MAGA/ Trump, they are. It is precisely that simple. I completely disdain big money politics and the oligarchical money that sustains political parties. I was raised in a family where political and religious opinions were not discussed outside of our home. With WCN, White Christian Nationalism and other far-right narratives underpinning today’s GOP, both are national security threats whose nexus, constitutes a severe threat to American Democracy.
My position is a parallel track regarding partisanship, as was one of my heroes, 1st POTUS, George Washington. As recorded in his Farewell Address to the nation, after his second term in office, he laid out his vision and warnings to our fledgling republic. “partisanship/ parties” were a top threat, right along with foreign influence.
Washington despised political parties which in his time, were called, “factions.” He despised them because history is a valuable lesson in how they over time, can be corrupted to the extent that they destroy the governments they claim to support. He was right then and especially now, in the Trump/ MAGA era.
I will leave you with the following two quotes from his Farewell Address:
The following quote quite accurately, describes today’s MAGA dominated GOP
To answer my critics bluntly, I will also criticize the left, if and when they become our primary national security threat, instead of today’s GOP. I won’t though wade into daily, sensationalist drama between factions.
Enough said and this opening disclaimer also demands that the next topic will be the historic indictments against a sitting POTUS, who with support of the party and other enablers such as Ginny Thomas, Roger Stone, Steve Bannon, Mike Flynn, Ted Cruz, Ken Paxton and thousands of fake patriots, attempted a coup which culminated in the armed insurrection, January 6th, 2021. This coup atmosphere is still acutely present in the MAGA base and with GOP political support, often by not mentioning or downplaying their complicity.
The Coup indictments
I won’t do a deep dive today on the indictments themselves as that I wrote on this extensively on Wednesday.
The following are the primary points of Wednesday’s piece:
The staggering amount of evidence is damning, to say the least.
We all watched, read and heard, a majority of the evidence.
The rest was intelligence from the IC/ intelligence community, Law Enforcement and a variety of other sources. All has been verified by a courageous AG/ DOJ.
January 6th was a coup, whether the indictment uses that specific term or not.
There was foreign adversary support from at least Russia and somewhat, China via a variety of methods, mostly in the realm of malign influence.
Anyone still supporting Trump is unworthy of using the term patriot to describe themselves.
Trump/ GOP supporters are in my professional opinion as an experienced, influence professional, still under the influence of three or four decades of adversarial influencers supported by adversarial nations, American and foreign oligarchs and underpinned with a global right-wing extremist movement’s ideology, employing the same narratives and tactics.
It is my sincere hope that if and when, DOJ can dig out from the massive load of criminality of the last administration, that they go after the oligarch enabler’s who financed his actions and related activities.
To sum this up, we either hold onto our constitutional principles of, “everyone being equal before the law”, or lose our democracy.
The war in Ukraine
Ukraine is having success against Russian occupying forces with their summer counter-offensive. Although it is by all appearances, achieving success, it is not the overwhelming success hoped for. There are several signs though of importance that indicate Putin is experiencing significant pain due to his failed, genocidal invasion of Ukraine. Among those are:
Putin cannot protect the Russian homeland.
There have been several attacks on symbolic sites within Mother Russia.
Global opinion against him continues to grow.
NATO is still unified and rapidly evolving in a positive manner to address collective threats, especially Putin’s.
Pressure is increasing his major nation-state enablers like China, India, Iran, and believe it or not… Saudi dominated OPEC, including the shameful US major oil producers who are profiting from Saudi imposed production cuts.
It’s important to also understand that ours and NATO’s support for Ukraine, is a key component to our national security. We invest countless billions every year from our defense budget to containing Russian aggression. Any dollar we spend on supporting our freedom loving Ukrainian brothers and sisters, is a fraction of the cost if we had to do the job ourselves. Ukraine is bleeding in order to save themselves and by extension, the free world from a despotic Putin.
This last point is important to state clearly, so that Speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy and his MAGA colleagues will stop threatening to defund our support to NATO, a treaty obligation we are beholden to and Ukraine herself. This would be not only illegal due to our NATO treaty requirements but also un-American. Anyone who understands the Cold War or like me, lived through much of it, knows that our national principles regarding liberty, are part of our heritage, not the fake patriotism of MAGA.
Yes, the nation and the world is sweltering at an unprecedented rate and increasing warming ahead of predictions. There are an endless array of devastating consequences to our political logjam and intransigence of again… a GOP that will go to any length to dishonestly enable big US oil. As a Texan, I see this daily from our extremist MAGA movement running Texas exclusively for nearly three decades.
Don’t get me wrong, we still need fossil fuels for a while longer but the industry, pulling down regular, record setting quarterly profits must be far better regulated. They must also be exposed for the climate denial BS that they initiated over 40 years ago with massive cash infusions to their hand-picked, global PR assassins. I also wish to make clear that I fully support the hard-working, fossil-fuel industry professionals that are not responsible for the death and destruction caused by profiteers in big oil board rooms.
For the record, their oligarchical profiteering resembles the reasons that former POTUS, Teddy Roosevelt and other presidents went to war with immoral corporations during his “trust-busting era.” As it pertains to Ukraine, big oil is profiting wildly from the Saudi dictated production cuts that Putin is also profiting from.
Any American voter believing that government is responsible for the high prices we pay at the pump and to heat our homes, is mistaken. The only thing politicians have to do with consumer prices is that it is they who write the laws that have diminished oversight over the industry, including those diluting environmental protections. One last note is that our now activist and ultra far-right SCOTUS, recently reduced the EPA’s regulatory capacities.
China and the Eurasian continent
With so much going on in the world of global security, sometimes it is difficult to put China’s threat into perspective. The other reason is that the Chinese threat is intensely difficult to put into a clear, succinct narrative. Due to both of these reasons, I will attempt something today a bit different, to try and relieve the complexity.
Long time readers will likely recall that I hold Einstein in the highest esteem and a member of my personal top five. I have written whole professional papers, framed by some of his most famous quotes, like the one below. Today, I will attempt to line up the simplest points regarding Xi’s aggression, not because readers are not bright enough, but to see if I can meet my hero’s requirements.
China wishes to dominate the world, first with regional hegemony by 2035 and then global domination by 2049. This is written boldly into Chinese government strategies for everyone to see publicly. Xi is very proud of his China Dream strategy. Xi will pursue this no matter what we do. It’s the personification of his Han identity. All we can do is work against Global Chinese influence.
The three most recognizable traits of Xi’s aggression are:
Please, we must come to the media scare tactics regarding Xi’s military; just having a large, well-equipped military, mostly operating on stolen technology and especially sharing mostly Russian military systems. Russia and Saddam Hussein’s armies were large and well equipped. Look at them now.
One of many examples would be his genocidal approach to the Uyghurs and other minorities/ non-Han Chinese
We must not simply defend against future Chinese aggression, we must proactively play offense by leaning on enforced economic equitability, compete more effectively for markets and slow the sell-out by many US/ Western corporations whose manner of dealing with China is, exclusively on Xi’s terms. This has cost us trillions in stolen IP/ Intellectual property. Also, in the post-Trump era, we must reprove that we are the best choice for partnership, not Xi.
We are doing better but have a long way to go. While the world is distracted over Taiwan military posturing by a feckless China, Xi is sneaking around buying friends and like a pay-day lender, coercing his new “friends.” This by the way, is the Tributary System by which Chinese strategist seek to achieve. This has long historical meaning to Han Chinese and Dynastic Emperors. Xi, is just a wanna be. The US and our strategic partners need to stop taking the bait and over focusing on just Taiwan.
As I have long advocated, Taiwan is not a bite Xi should try to chew now. The results would be a world war that he would lose, along with his head if Chinese tradition is still in play. The following links will explain all of this in detail:
Time to head for the exit…
Okay my friends, I hope that you find this relatively succinct catch-up on some of our big threats. It’s important when there are enormous political drama events like Trump’s indictment to not take your eyes off of any threat. We, the US national security community is capable of “walking and chewing gum” and keeping us safe. We still have big challenges within the community, particularly in the realm of ethical influence, in support of national security objectives and which is a habitual failure.
All of the threats updated today, have influence as their core. Without effective campaigning with ethical influence, we will lose the battle with Chinese aggression, Russian undermining of democracies around the world, even working together to combat the threat to everyone, Climate Change or as a dear friend noted to me yesterday, “Climate Collapse.” Thanks for nothing big oil corporations!
The Pentagon this week publicly released their new doctrine entitled, “Strategy for operating in the Information Environment.” This is BS military-speak for operating with influence. DoD is terrified of the word influence and continues their decades long habit of making up nonsense terms with useless gibberish. The new doctrine is no different.
I know this community as a long-time operator. The military does not train operators. Only those, like my small team and my command embraced innovation and devised our own training. It can be done but like most of big government, there is nepotism with the Defense Contracting community. This is a polite way of saying, corrupt. In blunt terms, this is a waste of yours and my tax dollars.
Dear Office of the Secretary of Defense , In all due respect Sir, please toss this one into the circular file under your desk. Like JP 3-04, it offers zero to operations and is a rehash of earlier doctrine and with even more baffling language. In fact, both the new document and new doctrine are hinderances to US national security. I mean no disrespect to the hard-working men and women who spent countless hours, weeks, months, years and decades refining the utter gibberish. Their efforts are just the latest devolution of Influence operations, we have failed at since the end of the Cold War. Yes, there are a couple niche efforts within the community that have some success but… overall, we are failures. How do I know that we have failed for decades? It’s simply my personal insights as a long time operator/ practioner in this field. Operating with influence is something that we never train. Please reread this last sentence because it is the shocking, humiliating truth. I had the good fortune to operate with a small team, serving in a unique role that gave me a first-hand chance to view this dysfunction. We devised our own training, and I can assure you, that doctrine offered zero support. Yes, zero. Einstein is quoted as saying, and I paraphrase; “if you cannot explain it to a six-year-old, you do not understand it yourself.” I had high hopes that the community was learning but within two pages of this document, those hopes were destroyed.” This, like JP 3-04 is unintelligible to anyone outside of the doctrine writers. In the first of several combat deployments with my unit, I stood in front of commanders from the team level up through Task Force commanders and coalition partners trying to explain in the then, IO terms. To a man or woman, their eyes glazed over due to the terminology is so incestuously unintelligible that they couldn’t see what was being offered. From then on, whether it was a team level, pre-mission brief, including those missions that I accompanied, I used simple, plain language and prosecuted the influence mission successfully with full unit integration. Finally, if we don’t trash the made-up/ ridiculous terminology and begin training operators with modern, thought leadership, we are entering a phase of history that our failures become critical vulnerabilities to US national security. Russian 2016 election interference and their ongoing prosecution of influence operations against the US, allies and partners should have been a wake-up call, but wasn’t. Our current obsession with CYBER/ AI etc. is a detriment to operations with human beings. While that CYBER and related disciplines are quite important, we must remember that influence is a human endeavor. CYBER in influence only has a supporting role, not the core. Respectfully Sir, please initiate a complete do-over of influence operations. Paul Cobaugh, US Army, (R) - From my open letter to Secretary Lloyd Austin yesterday on the topic of influence failures. - LinkedIn
If you called a plumber to your home for forty years and they never had success is solving your leaks, why would you continue to overpay them, or pay them at all. This is DoD when it comes to this critical vulnerability or gap in our national defense strategy. Part of this gap is the critical threat from malign influence from foreign and domestic actors. DHS nor the FBI have a clue about fighting mis/ disinformation. You’re paying the bill. Don’t you think we should get a new plumber? Yes, it’s a rhetorical question. ;)
My very best for everyone’s weekend and please, stay safely cool.