Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...

Category: Foreign Affairs

China Reaches Out to Taliban in Afghanistan

Somehow, I don’t think the U.S. SOS is reading this right.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said China’s possible involvement in Afghanistan could be “a positive thing”.

 

He said this was if China was looking towards a “peaceful resolution of the conflict” and a “truly representative and inclusive” government.

 

His comments came after Taliban representatives visited China.

 

China said it saw the Taliban playing an important role in the peace process and rebuilding of Afghanistan.

 

“No one has an interest in a military takeover of the country by the Taliban, the restoration of an Islamic emirate,” said Mr Blinken, who was asked about the talks while on a visit to India.

 

He urged the Taliban to come to the “negotiating table… peacefully”.

California Needs to Listen to its Elder

A long shot, but it would be a sea change if Elder won in California.

A new poll has revealed conservative radio host Larry Elder is gaining popularity with California voters as Gov. Gavin Newsom faces a recall election in September.

 

The Emerson College/ Nexstar Media poll, published on Friday, found 48 percent of voters still want Newsom to remain in office, even as momentum for a recall grows. 43 percent of people polled now say they will vote to recall Newsom – up from 38 percent in March.

 

If Newsom is removed from office, there are 40 candidates currently vying to replace him – and the new poll shows Elder leading the pack.

 

The 69-year-old Republican gets 16 percent of the vote share among those candidates, ahead of businessman John Cox and former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, who are tied in second place with 6 percent respectively.

 

Meanwhile, the poll shows Caitlyn Jenner struggling to gain traction among voters despite widespread name recognition. The Keeping Up With The Kardashians star is polling at just 4 percent.

Narcostate Economics

Interesting.

This man has sent maybe 30 women to Rafaela Martinez for surgery. At around $6,500 (£4,700) for lipo-sculpture, procedures are not cheap. Often the payment is made in cash.

 

“Obviously, in these cases the money comes from drug-trafficking,” Martinez says. “I used to say, ‘This definitely isn’t good.’ Now, it’s not that I’ve changed my mind, but I no longer think about it so much before operating. That’s because the economy here in Sinaloa – restaurants, bars, hospitals – depends on drug-trafficking.”

 

Martinez tries to counsel women whose operations are paid for by a lover.

 

“I ask the patient if she’s OK about the surgery he wants her to have. Sometimes they say, ‘It’s fine, whatever he wants.’ And I explain to them that after a while, he won’t be their boyfriend any more, but their body will be theirs for the rest of their lives. So they must choose what they want – not what he wants.”

Johnson Opposed Lockdowns

While the British press is portraying this as a scandal, Johnson’s alleged comments make perfect sense. It is a rational approach to managing a pandemic by balancing divergent interests and consequences. I wish he had stuck to his guns.

Boris Johnson was reluctant to tighten Covid restrictions as cases rose last autumn because he thought people dying from it were “essentially all over 80”, Dominic Cummings has claimed.

He also said the prime minister had messaged him to say: “I no longer buy all this NHS overwhelmed stuff.”

 

Mr Johnson had wanted to let Covid “wash through the country” rather than destroy the economy, Mr Cummings said.

 

The claims came in an interview with BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg.

 

It is the first time Mr Cummings – Mr Johnson’s former chief adviser – has given a one-on-one TV interview during his career in politics.

 

In response, Downing Street said the prime minister had taken the “necessary action to protect lives and livelihoods, guided by the best scientific advice” throughout the pandemic.

And the government had prevented the NHS “from being overwhelmed through three national lockdowns”, a spokesperson added.

Havana Syndrome Continues to Spread

The fact that this is happening globally and has been going on for so long is a great cause for concern.

There are more than 20 new cases of the ‘Havana Syndrome’ among US diplomats in Vienna, Austria that are being looked at by medical teams at the State Department, Pentagon and CIA.

 

It’s part of a recent rash of mysterious health incidents that have similar symptoms to those first reported by US diplomats and spies in Havana, Cuba, in 2016 and 2017 for which no definitive cause has yet been determined.

Symptoms include headaches, dizziness and symptoms consistent with concussions and some have required months of medical treatment. Some have reported hearing a loud noise before the sudden onset of symptoms.

American Communists Unite In Solidarity Supporting Cuban Regime

Is anyone really surprised?

Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Cori Bush of Missouri have yet to weigh in on Black Lives Matter declaring its support for Cuba’s communist regime, even though the congresswomen have been vocal BLM supporters in the past.

 

Black Lives Matter sparked a backlash late Wednesday after posting a statement that blasted the U.S. embargo and praised Cuba’s government.

Border Invasion Continues Unabated

Biden’s open border policy may not be in the news as much, but it hasn’t changed.

From January to May, 711,784 migrants were encountered by Customs and Border Protection at the southern border – five times the amount during the same period in 2020 – and the Biden administration is on track to encounter 1 million by the end of July.

 

CBP’s latest data, released in June, show that there were 180,034 encounters with illegal crossers in May, the highest of any month in the last 20 years. The spike in migration under President Joe Biden‘s administration continues to grow with no signs of it coming to a stop any time soon.

 

The numbers for June have not yet been updated on CBP’s webpage, but pictures emerge at least weekly of groups of hundreds of migrants turning themselves over to U.S. immigration authorities at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Biden Voices Support for Cuban Protestors

Finally. This is the correct response from an American president when people rise up against Communism and other forms of totalitarianism.

In a statement earlier Monday, Biden said, “We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime.”

 

“The Cuban people are bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights. Those rights, including the right of peaceful protest and the right to freely determine their own future, must be respected. The United States calls on the Cuban regime to hear their people and serve their needs at this vital moment rather than enriching themselves,” he said.

 

Fans Restricted For Olympics

So after all the expense to host the events, the local economy won’t even get any benefit. Given the history of Olympic host cities, I don’t know why anyone would ever want it again.

The Olympic Games in Japan will be held without spectators at venues in and around the capital after a spike in coronavirus infections.

Olympics Minister Tamayo Marukawa made the announcement after talks with officials and organisers on Thursday.

 

A state of emergency in Tokyo will run throughout the Games, to combat coronavirus.

 

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told reporters it would run from 12 July and remain in place until 22 August.

 

Bars and restaurants will not be allowed to serve alcohol and must close by 20:00 (11:00 GMT).

 

Venues in Tokyo and other areas near the capital city will not be allowed to hold events with fans during the Games.

But stadiums in the regions of Fukushima, Miyagi and Shizuoka will be permitted to have spectators up to 50% of capacity and up to 10,000 people.

Biden Administration is Abandoning Afghan Allies

This is a travesty and a stain on America. We must protect those who protected us.

Rep Seth Moulton, D-Mass., spoke at a rally on Friday to demand presidential action for American’s Afghan allies, such as interpreters who took great risks to help American troops and now are being left behind as U.S. military forces withdraw from the country.

 

Standing in Lafayette Square in front the White House, Moulton, a former Marine officer with multiple combat tours, said, “I want to thank veterans all across America, veterans of different political parties and different wars, who are coming together today and reminding Americans that we have a promise to uphold.”

 

The rally came one week after the New York Times reported that the Biden administration was notifying lawmakers that the U.S. would soon begin relocating thousands of Afghan allies to third countries while they await processing for their special immigrant visas. However, congressional members on both sides of the aisle have yet to receive details.

Haitian President Assassinated

Yikes.

Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse has been killed in an attack on his home in the nation’s capital, according to the country’s interim prime minister.

Claude Joseph said the president’s home in Port-au-Prince was stormed by unidentified armed men at 01:00 local time (05:00 GMT).

 

First Lady Martine Moïse was also injured in the attack.

 

Mr Joseph said that “all measures had been taken to guarantee the continuity of the state”.

 

He has now taken control of the impoverished Caribbean nation, and has urged the public to remain calm.

He called the shooting of the president a “heinous, inhuman and barbaric act”.

I had to search for who Claude Joseph is. University professor to acting president in a year-and-a-half. Curious.

Russia Lays Claim to Champagne

Not the region (yet). The word.

 

The law has sparked controversy and the renowned winemaker Moet-Hennessy said Monday it was suspending champagne shipments to Russia. The law that was adopted on Friday allows the term to used only for “Russian champagne.”

Taliban Retaking Afghanistan

Shame.

More than 1,000 Afghan soldiers have fled to neighbouring Tajikistan after clashing with Taliban militants, officials have said.

The troops retreated over the border to “save their own lives”, according to a statement by Tajikistan’s border guard.

 

Violence has risen in Afghanistan and the Taliban have been making significant gains, particularly in the north of the country, in recent weeks.

 

The surge coincides with the end of Nato’s 20-year military mission.

The vast majority of remaining foreign forces in Afghanistan have been withdrawn ahead of a September deadline, and there are concerns that the Afghan military will collapse.

As a matter of national interest, it was past time to pull back from Afghanistan. Notwithstanding the clumsy way in which we withdrew, we needed to do it. Unfortunately, the Afghan government is not strong enough to withstand the Taliban with their Neolithic methods.

What now? The reason we went into Afghanistan in the first place was because the Taliban, who ran the country, we providing safe haven for terrorists who attacked the U.S. It was a breeding ground for global terrorism. For 20 years, we have been successful in fighting them in their home base and disrupted their ability to strike out homeland. With our withdrawal, we are relying on the weak Afghan government to keep them in check. If (when) they fail and the Taliban takes over again, we will lose that check completely.

The good news is that 2021 is not 2000. Our advancements in technology, surveillance, and financial tools are substantial. Also, as we see from Biden’s recent attacks in Syria that went almost unmentioned, our willingness and ability to blow up a terrorist camp on foreign soil is different. Also, at least for the moment, we are more aware of the danger, but it seems that our domestic turmoil is making us ignore foreign threats at the moment. We can only focus on a limited number of things at one time.

So… we’ll see. The Taliban will have full control of Afghanistan by the end of the year. It will return to being a safe haven for terrorists who hate America. Has the Taliban learned the lesson and will keep their terrorists focused on domestic concerns to avoid 20-year forced hiatus from power? Will regional interests take more interest in their rogue neighbor? Will we go back to the state of things in 1999?

 

Time will tell.

Outrage Over Making Military Women March in High Heels

Meanwhile, in Ukraine...

Plans by Ukraine’s defence ministry to have female soldiers march in high heels instead of army boots in a parade next month have caused angry reactions.

Iryna Gerashchenko, an opposition member of parliament, said it was sexism, not equality.

 

Ukraine is preparing to stage a military parade on 24 August to mark 30 years of independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

 

The defence ministry say the shoes are part of regulation-dress uniform.

 

Many in Ukraine expressed shock at the plan, with a group of lawmakers calling on Defence Minister Andriy Taran to offer an apology.

 

“The story of a parade in heels is a real disgrace,” commentator Vitaly Portnikov said on Facebook, arguing that some officials had a “medieval” mindset.

Ms Gerashchenko said she initially thought the pictures of women soldiers rehearsing in combat trousers and black pumps with block heels was a hoax. She said it was sexism, not equality, and wondered why the ministry thought heels were more important than designing body armour tailored to women.

US Exits Bagram

End of an era. I know a number of people who spent time on that base.

The last US and Nato forces have left Afghanistan’s Bagram airbase, the centre of the war against militants for some 20 years.

The pull-out could signal that the complete withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan is imminent.

 

President Joe Biden has said US forces will be gone by 11 September.

But the withdrawal from the sprawling base, north of Kabul, comes as the main jihadist group, the Taliban, advances in many parts of Afghanistan.

China’s New Sub

Interesting.

Why the faceting? Sutton speculates that the fin shape is designed to reduce the submarine’s radar signature. Diesel-electric subs require air for their diesel engines to operate, and so they must remain surfaced or at snorkel depth to operate. Unlike nuclear submarines, which can cruise at depth for weeks at a time, non-nuclear subs often spend a great deal of time on or near the surface, only submerging once at their patrol area or when they expect enemy contact.

 

Many modern anti-submarine aircraft, such as the U.S. Navy’s P-8 Poseidon, utilize long-range radar to detect surfaced submarines or submarine snorkels or periscopes. An airplane with a long-range radar could detect a surfaced submarine from many miles away, before the sub spots it, and then close in for the hunt.

 

A stealthy sail, however, would allow the Type 39C/D to leave port and travel the hundreds of miles to its destination surfaced with less of a chance of being detected. This would save fuel and allow the submarine to patrol even farther. The sail is reminiscent of the A-26 design that’s currently under construction in Sweden, but Sutton says it’s too early to judge the new submarine a copy of the Swedish boat.

Churches Being Burned to the Ground in Canada

Religious persecution in Canada.

Two more Catholic churches burned down in indigenous communities in western Canada early on Saturday.

The fires at St Ann’s Church and the Chopaka Church began within an hour of each other in British Columbia.

 

Officers said both buildings were completely destroyed, and they were treating the fires as “suspicious”.

 

Last Monday two other Catholic churches in the province were destroyed in fires, as Canada marked National Indigenous People’s Day.

“The investigations into the previous fires and these two new fires are ongoing with no arrests or charges,” Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt Jason Bayda said.

Biden Freezes Defense Aid to Ukraine on Eve of Russian Summit

The world is getting more dangerous.

In an interview prior to the Biden-Putin summit announcement, Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Laura Cooper told the Washington Examiner that the Pentagon was providing a wide range of military assistance to Ukraine.

 

“We are working to ensure Ukraine, in particular, has the resilience it needs to defend itself against acts of Russian aggression, and here we have a very comprehensive training and equipment program,” Cooper said.

 

At the time, the Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia official described assistance including Javelin anti-tank missiles, counter-artillery radars, grenade launchers, and Humvees.

 

Asked if the Russian troop buildup prompted additional military assistance, Cooper said security assistance conversations were ongoing.

 

“We always talk about Ukraine’s requirements, and we’re always evaluating what they need and what the threat environment is,” she said. “It’s a very active and dynamic conversation and continues as such.”

 

Kuleba said talk needs to turn into actual military assistance, something Biden reportedly rescinded ahead of the Putin summit.

 

“Talking is important. However, talking becomes irrelevant when it’s not followed by actions,” the foreign minister said.

China and Iran Evade Sanctions to Fund Iranian Nuclear Ambitions

I guess this is one way China bought Iran’s silence as China commits genocide against the Uighers.

A ‘ghost armada’ of sanctions-busting tankers carrying black-market oil to China is bankrolling Iran’s secret nuclear programme, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

 

The rogue state has almost doubled its fleet sailing under other countries’ flags to 123 in the past year, letting China smuggle in up to a million barrels of oil per day – or two-thirds of the UK’s daily use.

 

Intelligence experts warn that the expanded fleet shows Iran, which announced hardliner Ebrahim Raisi as its president yesterday, is boosting development of its nuclear capability despite international curbs.

 

[…]

 

Iranian vessels are also ‘spoofing’ – manipulating the GPS that reports a vessel’s position so it appears to be elsewhere when it docks undetected in prohibited areas.

 

Satellite imagery provided to the The Mail on Sunday shows ships in the illegal armada allegedly spoofing last month, and others travelling to load oil on to Chinese ships in the South China Sea.

 

Ships also use ‘flag hopping’ to switch their registration between nations and mask their identity.

 

US sanctions designed to stop Iran financing international terrorism and developing its nuclear programme ban the Middle East state from selling oil abroad.

 

But China has flouted the ban and increased its secret dealings at sea over the past six months to help bankroll Iran’s nuclear activity, according to United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), an international not-for-profit group led by former US ambassador to the UN Mark Wallace.

Biden Sets Back Russia Policy With Multiple Blunders

Ouch. When senior administration officials are walking back the President’s statements within minutes, it’s bad.

The White House clarified Sunday that President Joe Biden isn’t doing any ‘swaps’ of cyber criminals with Moscow – after Biden appeared to take at face value a proposal floated by Vladimir Putin to extradite any U.S. ransom hackers to Russia in exchange for sending any Russian hackers to the U.S.

 

Biden entertained an idea Putin floated in a TV interview that aired Sunday about extraditing ‘criminals’ who engaged in ransom hacking against either the U.S. or Russia when he was asked about it at a press conference.

 

[…]

 

Biden said he had been briefed on the idea in flight, and called it a potential sign of ‘progress’ – only to have his security advisor later note the U.S. already holds hackers to account.

 

[…]

The quick walk back was an illustration of the type of situation the White House may be trying to avoid by keeping Biden out of a joint press conference with Putin where the Russian former KGB officer might try to steer the event to his advantage.

 

Biden at the presser explained why he did not want to hold a side-by-side presser with the Russian strongman.

 

‘This is not a contest about who can do better in front of a press conference or try to embarrass each other,’ Biden said at the end of the G7 summit.

 

‘It’s about making myself very clear what the conditions are to get a better relationship with Russia. We are not looking for conflict. We are looking to resolve those actions which we think are inconsistent with international norms,’ he said.

Archives

Categories

Pin It on Pinterest