In the Pacific, we have more antics in the South China Sea, among the nations that border that area, that is sparking a new naval weapons race. The Chinese are upgrading their naval capability and their presence in the South China Sea. In one instance, they even have built a base in the middle of nowhere, by dumping and building on an island that originally was little more than a rock protruding above sea level. This naturally caused concern to their neighbors, and now places like the Philippines and Vietnam are trying to either build up their navies, or some cases, trying to create one. The simple facts are that this is how confrontations take place, and we have something building there that nobody wants to see. (Deflated footballs are far more interesting after all.......)
In the Middle East, we have Yemen imploding, the death of the Saudi King, and Iran making deals with Russia. The implosion of Yemen is real, and while the implications are yet to fully surface, there will ultimately be a significant impact on our own security. Most certainly, there is an impact on Saudi Security, which is now bordered by several hostile regimes, while at the same time having to adjust to their new internal leadership. To their credit, their succession plan appears to have worked well and efficiently, but for the new King, he will be faced by the hostility arising from ISIL, AQAP, Syria, Yemen, and Iran. Not a great situation for them, especially, when Iran is now openly dancing with Russia. It is also a pretty poor situation for us, when Yemen is part of the US efforts to keep various terrorist groups contained.
In Russia, the economy is in a precarious position, but to compound their money woes, they appear to have taken a much more aggressive role in the Ukraine. On Saturday, with the use of MLRS systems, the bombardment of Mariupol by separatists began in earnest. So, what does this little city mean to that region? It is the strategic key for Russia and its surrogates to the surrounding area, and would allow them to cut off most of Eastern Ukraine. From a naval standpoint, the use of the Sea of Azov without Mariupol on their flank, along with the ease of transit to and from Crimea, makes this a prime target for Russia.
Meanwhile, in Europe, terror cells are being sought out, and the terror alerts are at an all-time high. The Central Bank also was heard from, with the easing of some austerity measures, and a change in their policies regarding their purchases of governmental bonds. This is set against a backdrop that has seen the growth of European Nationalism at levels not seen since the end of the Cold War. In short, Europe is in turmoil for monetary, nationalistic, and terror reasons. Then when we toss in the threat of possible Russian aggression, you simply have a nasty cocktail brewing for other bad things to happen.
Finally, in our own border skirmish with drug cartels, we get word that a drone, “overloaded” with drugs, crashed on our own southern border. If they can bring in drugs with drones, how long will it before other things that are far more threatening to us are also flown in that way? Then finally, there is our attempt to begin some sort of normalization of diplomatic relations with Cuba. This is at the same time our old buddy Putin, and the Russians, are building back up their presence in places like Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.
Clearly a busy week, and regardless of where you stand on the basic political issues, these are nothing more than a recap of the facts. There isn’t a slant, there is no bias, and there is no pushing of any one agenda over another one. These are simply the major issues arising and facing us as a nation, and regardless of your preferred method of approaching these problems, they are still serious problems. While there is a hope and desire to avoid such things, we don’t get to pick the time and place of someone else’s actions. One thing is sure, you can’t stick you head in the sand, because if you do, then you invite more of the same. Don’t take my word for it, pick up a history book, where the clear lesson is that you need to stop it sooner, before it grows into something you can’t stop.
So, going back to basic math, and examining most of this in search of that common denominator, I personally can come up with one answer. Instead of asking, “who deflated the footballs?”, we should be asking, “who is common to almost all of these problems?” I’ve got an answer, and without perhaps knowing all the nuances or even the connection to the South China Sea, I can say that most everything else has a certain Russian Leader’s fingerprints all over it. Again, this is just a simple observation on my part, but if I were a betting man, I would probably pick Putin as my choice of key world troublemaker. ~Michael S. Pauley