National Security

US military moves air defense systems into Iraq following attacks on American troops

The U.S. military said Thursday that air defense systems are “moving” into Iraq following attacks on American and coalition forces in recent weeks. The weapons include Patriot surface-to-air missiles and a variant of the Navy’s SeaRAM and CIWS, or close-in weapon system, which fires 3,000 rounds a minute, a defense official with knowledge of the order told Fox News. For operational security, the U.S. military is not disclosing what bases are being reinforced. Two Americans and a British Army medic were killed in a rocket attack outside Baghdad last month, leading to U.S. airstrikes that destroyed five weapons depots used by the Iranian-backed militia blamed for the attack. Hostilities have escalated in the region between Iran and the United States following a rocket attack in late December 2019 that killed an American contractor in northern Iraq. Following American airstrikes days later on bases in western Iraq and eastern Syria, an angry mob attempted to storm the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on New Year’s Eve. President Trump ordered the assassination of Iran’s most powerful general, Qassem Soleimani, in a drone strike in Baghdad days later. Iran countered by launching more than a dozen ballistic missiles from Iran again bases in Iraq housing American troops. A series of rocket attacks last month led to U.S. and coalition troops being killed and wounded. President Trump warned in a tweet Wednesday that Iran “or its proxies” were plotting a “sneak attack” on some of the 5,000 U.S. troops inside Iraq and vowed that if Iran followed through, the Islamic Republic would pay a “very heavy price.” Iran has been ravaged by the coronavirus, and some fear the mounting death toll inside the country, along with the continued U.S. sanctions, could cause Iran to launch another series of attacks. In recent days, U.S. troops have abandoned three bases in Iraq — including one where the American contractor was killed — and turned them over to local forces. Earlier this week, Soleimani’s replacement visited Baghdad, the first known visit from a senior Iranian leader to Iraq’s capital since Soleimani was killed, along with Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

‘Radical changes’: Marine Corps overhaul aimed at confronting China

The Marine Corps plans to give up its tanks, dramatically remake its artillery batteries, cut its helicopter fleet and take a host of other “radical” steps in arguably the most sweeping American military overhaul in a century — all with the goal of preparing for a potential 21st-century conflict with China. And a little global pandemic hasn’t stopped the Corps from hitting a very different beach. Seventy-five years after storming beaches at Iwo Jima, Marine Corps leaders unveiled a blueprint this month concluding that the branch’s traditional approach no longer meets the nation’s needs. “The Marine Corps we have been building for many years now is increasingly out of step with the problems they’re going to face” in confronting China, said Chris Brose, chief strategy officer at Anduril Industries and former staff director for the Senate Armed Services Committee. “There are reasons for why that is the case,” he added. “The Marine Corps has borne the burden of a lot of the deployments overseas post-9/11. They were optimizing for a different set of challenges.” Pentagon officials argue that China’s rapidly improving military capabilities make the prospect of a traditional Iwo Jima-type shore landing exceedingly unlikely, and the Corps instead will shift its resources toward becoming a “stand-in” force that can operate within enemy range rather than fighting its way into theater from the sea. In a sweeping planning document released last week, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David H. Berger laid out a host of other major changes designed to remake the service with the recognition that preparing for a World War II-style conflict — or even a major ground- and air-based operation such as the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq — can no longer be the service’s top priority. Some critics are already arguing that the new approach is too China-centric, but top Marine officials stress that now is the time for systematic change. “I am convinced that the defining attributes of our current force design are no longer what the nation requires of the Marine Corps,” Gen. Berger said in the document, which lays out a decadelong plan to shift the service into a more modern role. “With the shift in our primary focus to great power competition and a renewed focus on the Indo-Pacific region, the current force has shortfalls in capabilities needed to support emerging joint, naval and Marine Corps operating concepts.”

Gen Berger hasn’t exactly been instilling much in the way of confidence, as of late.  He’s been giving in to the pressures of political correctness, and undermining the cohesion of the Corps.  So, we’re a bit leery of whatever grandiose plans he may have for the future of the Marines.  Historically, the mission of the Marine Corps is to “secure the beachhead.”  In other countries, they are called the “naval infantry.”  And, our Marines execute that mission better than any other naval infantry on the planet.  Period.  But, sounds like Gen. Berger wants to somehow change their mission to a “more modern role,” whatever the heck that means.  As a former “field grade” Army officer, I’ll remain skeptical, given the General’s spectacularly poor decisions as of late, until we’re provided more specifics.  Regardless, I know my brothers and sisters in the Corps will rise to the challenge and do us proud no matter what.

Afghan peace deal on verge of collapse after Pompeo’s intervention fails

One of President Trump’s top foreign policy priorities appeared on the verge of collapse Monday after the U.S. announced it was slashing aid to the U.S.-backed government in Afghanistan as a feud between its leaders threatens to undermine a delicate peace deal inked last month between the Trump administration and Taliban. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the announcement in an unusually blunt statement after a whirlwind day of diplomacy in which he made an unannounced trip to Kabul. The half-day visit evidently failed to resolve a bitter power battle between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and chief rival Abdullah Abdullah, both of whom claim to have won the country’s disputed September presidential election. Despite separate and joint talks with the visiting American diplomat Monday, the two men “have been unable to agree on an inclusive government that can meet the challenges of governance, peace and security, and provide for the health and welfare of Afghan citizens,” the State Department said Monday evening. Mr. Pompeo said the U.S. was “disappointed” in both men and their conduct, which he said had “harmed U.S.-Afghan relations and, sadly, dishonors those Afghan, American and coalition partners who have sacrificed their lives and treasure in the struggle to build a new future for this country.” The State Department said aid this year would be slashed by $1 billion, and a similar amount could be cut in 2021. Other aid programs will also be reviewed for “additional reductions.” The impasse puts in doubt Mr. Trump’s plans to withdraw the bulk of U.S. forces from Afghanistan in the coming months, ending the combat role in what is now the country’s longest war

Chinese Companies Reap Huge Profits Making Medical Masks

Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) reported on Friday that mainland Chinese companies are reaping huge profits selling face masks to combat the virus unleashed upon the world by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). One Chinese manufacturer literally described its operation as a license to print money. Numerous factories were converted to face mask production in February, as the virus was rampaging across China and beginning to spread across the globe. One of the top customers for Chinese face masks is reportedly Italy, which is suffering through the Western world’s worst outbreak of the disease. According to Chinese data cited by RTHK, some 8,950 manufacturers began producing face masks this year, some of them converting from garment production and other industries that were already working with fabric. They are very pleased with their profits, according to the report:

Yeah.. We don’t doubt that.  For more, click on the text above.

Pompeo accuses Chinese government of secrecy about coronavirus

China must provide more information about the nature of the coronavirus now ravaging populations and economies around the world, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday. Speaking after an online meeting of Group of Seven foreign ministers, Mr. Pompeo criticized the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for what he said was secrecy and dissembling about the virus outbreak and more recently for a disinformation campaign blaming the U.S. for the pandemic. He said the other G-7 ministers shared his concerns. “The Chinese Communist Party poses a substantial threat to our health and way of life, as the Wuhan virus outbreak clearly has demonstrated,” Mr. Pompeo said. The pandemic dominated the teleconference of ministers from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and the U.S., and Mr. Pompeo repeated charges that China continues to withhold information about the coronavirus and COVID-19. He called for “full transparency” from all states. Beijing has said the spread of the virus has receded inside China, although the accuracy of data on the declining number of new infections has been questioned. Mr. Pompeo said the Trump administration has sought to work with the Chinese leaders throughout the crisis that began with the outbreak in Wuhan, China, in early December. “We tried – you’ll remember – from the opening days to get our scientists, our experts on the ground there so that we could begin to assist in the global response to what began there in China, but we weren’t able to do that,” he said. A joint report by China and the World Health Organization made public in February stated that Chinese President Xi Jinping was in charge of a high-level Party “leading small group” that handled the response to the virus.

Kudos to Sec. of State Mike Pompeo, a man who graduated #1 in his class from West Point, for sticking to his guns and putting pressure on the corrupt communist Chinese government on this issue.  Outstanding!!  For more, click on the text above.

Trump Calls for American Independence Agenda to Defeat Coronavirus: U.S. Must Never Rely on a Foreign Country

President Trump is calling for Republicans and Democrats to unite behind his American independence agenda to defeat the spread of the Chinese coronavirus. During a Tuesday press conference, Trump detailed the “critical” need for American independence in manufacturing, the energy sector, and territorially at the nation’s borders to stop the coronavirus crisis: We should never be reliant on a foreign country for the means of our own survival. I think we’ve learned a lot. This crisis has underscored just how critical it is to have strong borders and a robust manufacturing sector. For three years, we’ve embarked on a great national project to secure our immigration system and bring back our manufacturing jobs. We’ve brought back many jobs, record numbers of jobs, and this really shows, this experience shows how important borders are. Without borders, you don’t have a nation. [Emphasis added] Trump said his agenda to fighting the coronavirus and lifting the United States out of a state of globalist dependency includes manufacturing pharmaceuticals and essential supplies and equipment in America, made by American workers. “Our goal for the future must be to have American medicine for American patients, American supplies for American hospitals, and American equipment for our great American heroes,” Trump said. “Now both parties must unite to ensure America is truly an independent nation in every sense of the word.” “Energy independence, we’ve established it, something incredible we’ve established … manufacturing independence, economic independence, and territorial independence enforced by strong, sovereign borders,” Trump continued: America will never be a supplicate nation. We will be a proud, prosperous, and self-reliant nation. We will embrace commerce with all but will be dependent on none. Above all, we know the best thing for our economy and the world right now is a very, very powerful victory over the virus. [Emphasis added] On immigration, Trump has invoked a federal statute to close the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders to foreign migrants to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Trump has also implemented travel bans on China, Iran, and Europe to prevent travel-related infections in the U.S. Meanwhile, Trump’s administration has worked closely with private industry to ramp up domestic production of necessary supplies and equipment — including one deal with 3M to produce 35 million respirator masks a month at its South Dakota manufacturing plant. The results of U.S. free trade with China have meant that the U.S. currently depends on China to produce an estimated 97 percent of all antibiotics and 80 percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients that are needed to manufacture drugs in the U.S. Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was enacted and China entered the World Trade Organization (WTO), nearly five million American manufacturing jobs have been eliminated from the American economy — 3.4 million of which are due to U.S. free trade with China. The mass elimination of working- and middle-class jobs and depressed U.S. wages due to NAFTA and China’s entering the WTO have coincided with a 600 percent increase in trade deficits.

Thankfully, NAFTA is history, and many of those dreadful trade deals with China are being redone.  That said, we definitely welcome this new position by the Trump Administration.  We rely heavily on China and other countries for key products, goods and services.  And, recently, China not-so-subtly threatened to hold back critical drugs during this Wuhan virus epidemic.  We cannot allow ourselves to be held hostage to another nation for energy, or key goods and services like pharmaceuticals.  As we oftentimes say here at The Daily Buzz…  If given the option to buy a product made in China or maybe one that’s a few bucks more, but it says Made in the USA…PLEASE PLEASE consider buying the American product, made in America by American workers.  Let’s all vote with our wallets.

Afghan peace deal on verge of collapse after Pompeo’s intervention fails

One of President Trump’s top foreign policy priorities appeared on the verge of collapse Monday after the U.S. announced it was slashing aid to the U.S.-backed government in Afghanistan as a feud between its leaders threatens to undermine a delicate peace deal inked last month between the Trump administration and Taliban. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the announcement in an unusually blunt statement after a whirlwind day of diplomacy in which he made an unannounced trip to Kabul. The half-day visit evidently failed to resolve a bitter power battle between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and chief rival Abdullah Abdullah, both of whom claim to have won the country’s disputed September presidential election. Despite separate and joint talks with the visiting American diplomat Monday, the two men “have been unable to agree on an inclusive government that can meet the challenges of governance, peace and security, and provide for the health and welfare of Afghan citizens,” the State Department said Monday evening. Mr. Pompeo said the U.S. was “disappointed” in both men and their conduct, which he said had “harmed U.S.-Afghan relations and, sadly, dishonors those Afghan, American and coalition partners who have sacrificed their lives and treasure in the struggle to build a new future for this country.” The State Department said aid this year would be slashed by $1 billion, and a similar amount could be cut in 2021. Other aid programs will also be reviewed for “additional reductions.” The impasse puts in doubt Mr. Trump’s plans to withdraw the bulk of U.S. forces from Afghanistan in the coming months, ending the combat role in what is now the country’s longest war.

Disappointing news to be sure…but not surprising.  Hopefully these two Afghan leaders can put aside their petty personal differences for the good of the poor Afghan people.  Guess we’ll see…