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New Year, Same Challenges: From China To Russia, Covid And Beyond… Are We Ready?

Many leave the year 2021 behind us with hard feelings.  We’ve faced draconian COVID response mandates, manufactured social division, supply shortages, inflation, unprecedented national spending, and a loss of American prestige around the world.  Sadly, as we enter 2022, many of these issues have followed us into the New Year.

In just one of many arenas, the disaster of the American withdrawal from Afghanistan has shown our international competitors, (and potential enemies), that the Biden Administration is ready to roll over and let these bad actors run rampant.  Let’s take a look at what we as a Nation could be facing on the world stage in the New Year:

Al Qaeda/ISIS-K:

Since the calamity of our withdrawal from Afghanistan, it has been reported in the Hill.com that:

“U.S. special representative for Afghanistan Tom West said the Taliban, which took over Afghanistan in August, are dealing with escalating attacks by Islamic State-Khorasan Province, or ISIS-K…. Washington believes that the ISIS group could have the ability to strike outside of Afghanistan within six to 12 months, while al Qaeda could do the same within one to two years, Reuters reported.”

I am certainly not an expert in international affairs, but in this case, the hindsight shown by the Biden Administration is a “no duh” moment. Under the current Taliban rule of Afghanistan, ISIS-K has actively recruited between 1,500 and 2,200 fighters to carry out their terror attacks.  Their ranks continue to grow. In the first four months of 2021 alone, the group carried out seventy-seven attacks, according to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

Unfortunately, the terror threat is not solely contained in the Middle East.  Our Southern Border has become a magnet for bad actors who mean us harm from all over the world, including Al-Qaeda and ISIS-K.

As disseminated by Republicans Homeland:

“• Over 400,000 people illegally crossed the border and got away this last year, according to former Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott. Border officials have no information about these individuals or their current whereabouts.

  • This is doubly concerning given that known or suspected terrorists are crossing the border ‘at a level we have never seen before.’ “

The flow will never end without tough resolve and competence that we don’t see in the Biden Administration.

China:

Sadly, American economic relations with China has been cultivated to our detriment for years.   However current US policy toward China has done far less to successfully protect American interests than in the previous Administration.  The US response to the COVID-19 pandemic has given China much to celebrate. The Chinese economy grew exponentially in 2020-2021 while the US economy shrank. During the Biden Administration, flows of foreign investment into the United States were almost cut in  half in 2021, while China increased their inward investments.

With the expansion of China’s economy, their military build-up is inevitable.  According to the  US Defense Department’s annual report of 2021,

“Throughout 2020, the PLA continued to pursue its ambitious modernization objectives, refine major organizational reforms, and improve its combat readiness in line with those goals. This includes the PLA developing the capabilities to conduct joint long-range precision strikes across domains, increasingly sophisticated space, counterspace, and cyber capabilities, and accelerating the large-scale expansion of its nuclear forces. In 2020, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) announced a new milestone for PLA modernization in 2027 broadly understood as the modernization of the PLA’s capabilities to be networked into a system of systems for “intelligentized” warfare. If realized, the PLA’s 2027 modernization goals could provide Beijing with more credible military options in a Taiwan contingency.”

In  clearer language, the report suggests that China is quickly moving to match or out-do US nuclear capabilities.  According to military experts, China will quintuple its nuclear arsenal by 2030.  As bad as nuclear proliferation is, China is not just concentrating on nuclear arms. The report cited above also states the Pentagon’s concerns about China’s “dual-use” biochemistry research, which  violates international bans on biological and chemical weapons.  The report also cites the recent developments of hypersonic weapon systems that already outpace equivalent US capabilities.  If the malaise exhibited by the White House continues, American allies in the Pacific region will be put in serious jeopardy.

Russia:

In December of 2021, Russia made a very aggressive move, amassing military troops at the border of Ukraine triggering the greatest security crisis in Europe since the Cold War.  Ukraine has thrown off the yoke of the iron Curtain and has been an independent country for thirty years.

In 2014, during the Obama Administration, Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine, much to the disapproval of the international community.  In the last seven years since, Ukraine has aligned itself with NATO, the European Union and the United States.  During the last Administration, the United States and its allies have taken significant punitive actions against Russia during the seven-year-old conflict.  However, despite our best intentions, little headway has been made in helping to restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity, but it stood as a stalemate. The recent buildup of Russian military forces along the border with Ukraine has renewed fears that Moscow is preparing for a large-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The Biden response has been viewed as lackluster at best, suggesting international sanctions, and holding summits with Russian President Vladmir Putin, scheduled for January 9-10, after their embarrassing video conference call on December 7. According to Newsmax,

“Biden doesn’t have a forceful approach when it comes to dealing with foreign adversaries, Rep. Claudia Tenney said on Newsmax Thursday, so she hopes that members of his Cabinet, including Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and others will back up a strong, ‘forceful presence’ against Putin’s ‘intent to invade Ukraine.’

Ric Grenell, acting director of national intelligence under former President Donald Trump, told Newsmax that Putin is ”smelling weakness’ from the U.S. and Biden on Ukraine.”

If the Biden Administration lets this go, by turning a blind eye to the needs of our allies who are struggling against a tyrannical State, we’ve lost our honorable standing on the world stage.

US Military:

In an article I wrote for Patriot One News in November of 2021 titled, Social Engineering of the U.S. Military:  Enough is Enough, I wrote about the social indoctrination of our current military branches that completely undermines the morale and fighting spirit of our men and women in uniform.  From the Executive Branch, to the Armed Forces General Staff, down through the Chain of Command  the push has been to indoctrinate the ranks in fundamentally contradictory and distorted narratives about our Country, our history and our identity.

To add extreme insult to injury, the Armed Forces Budget for fiscal year 2022 will be seriously cut.

As reported in ArmyTimes.com:

“All three components of the total Army face small personnel cuts, totaling 1,700 troops. The service’s overall spending will decline from its current fiscal 2021 authorization of $176.6 billion to $173 billion if enacted — a $3.6 billion decrease… The Biden administration is also requesting less in procurement, research, and maintenance funds compared to fiscal 2021′s enacted spending. This includes a $1.3 billion cut to aircraft procurement.”

As also taken from MarineCorpsTimes.com:

“The Marine Corps plans to continue downsizing… reduce the active duty manpower in the Marine Corps to 178,500, from the 181,200 Marines authorized in fiscal year 2021.

All of the cuts will come from the enlisted side, with the Corps planning on cutting 3,066 enlisted Marines.”

As also taken from BreakingDefense.com:

“The shrinking Navy… this budget decommissions 12 ships early (seven cruisers, five previously planned plus two additional, an LPD amphibious ship, and four LCSs) and buys relatively few replacements. Some of the ship decommissionings, especially the cruisers and amphib, had been expected since the Navy has fought with Congress about extending their service lives. However, the LCSs had only been in service four to nine years out of a potential 30-year lifespan. The budget proposes buying only eight battle force ships, of which four are combatants (one DDG 51, one frigate, and two Virginia-class submarines). Assuming a 30-year service life, that implies a fleet of only 240 ships.”

In a nutshell, it appears that the U.S. military is only marginally able to defend America’s vital national interests, and the majority of the services are going in the wrong direction. The Heritage Foundation’s  2022 Index of U.S. Military Strength  paints a grim picture of our national security.  The rankings are as follows:

“The Index gives each service a “capacity,” “capability,” “readiness,” and “overall” rating on the following scale: very weak, weak, marginal, strong, or very strong. Overall ratings are highlighted below:

Army: Marginal.  Navy: Marginal, Trending to Weak.  Marine Corps: Strong. 

Air Force: Weak.  Space Force: Weak. 

Nuclear Capability: Strong, Trending to Marginal.”

The New Year will bring new opportunities for us.  Especially as this is a swing-election year.  I am hopeful that this year will see the beginning of a reversal of the national bungling being exhibited by our elected officials.  I pray for the return of the days when America will become the shining beacon on the hill again for all to see and emulate.

Jonathan Tisk
Jonathan Tiskhttps://jonathantisk.wixsite.com/freelanceinvestigate
Freelance Investigator, licensed by the NYS Dept. of State, proud to serve the corporate community as well as the private individual. I am always on the look out for common sense solutions for our personal, professional and political lives.
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