Well, we have the Christmas Holiday behind us now.  Hopefully, you have all come out of the self-induced food coma you put yourselves into yesterday and are looking at today’s football schedule. Or maybe you’re are returning from the store where you have returned that gifted sweater that is uglier than a hungover Blobfish.  By the way, looking at the NFL standings we could see a rematch between the Patriots and the Chiefs this year.  That would be one of the most-watched Super Bowls in history for sure.

Here is a recap of the week.

China and India

Lot’s going on in foreign policy, dominated by the actions of China and Russia towards their neighbors.  China is building military installations along its border with India.  These two countries have a long-contested border in northeastern Arunachal Pradesh state in the mountains of Himalaya.  We don’t think this means China and India will go to war any time soon.  There are a couple of reasons China is building these installations.  This border runs through an area that is at high altitudes, cold and desolate.  These installations would give their troops more comfort while on station, and allow China to extend their deployments.  China also has a lot more money than India and building these installations up to a semi-permanent state would compel India to respond in kind with their own build-outs of installations at great expense.  Finally, as China directs its foreign policy efforts in the Pacific region against the U.S. and western countries, it would want to make sure that India couldn’t exploit this border region and make a move while Beijing’s strategic gaze is looking the other way. The smart play by the United States when China acts up in the Pacific would be to bolster India in order to put China in the position of having to fight a war on two fronts simultaniously.

Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to ratchet up pressure on China by conducting a High Energy Laser test in the Gulf of Oman, along with the U.S. joining France and the U.K. in formal cooperation to train together and share tech and intelligence to counter the threat posed by hypersonic anti-ship missiles from China, Iran, and Russia.

Israel and Iran

We also saw Israel strike at Iranian-backed militias in Syria again in their latest series of strikes trying to prevent the build-up of weapons and troops in the region which Israel believes will be used to attack them.  The former head of Israel’s military intelligence agency, Major General G Tamir Hayman has stated in an interview that Israel played an important role in the killing of Major General Qassem Soleimani of Iran in January of 2020.  The revelation itself may be calculated to provoke Iran to rash action that Israel can retaliate against or may just be a way of showing how little they fear Iran’s ability to strike at General Hayman or at Israel proper. 

France and Niger

Even as the French seemed to be following the lead of the U.S. in Iraq by announcing last week the withdrawal of their combat troops in Mali in favor of a training and advisory role, it still put a warhead on the forehead of ISIS leader Soumana Boura in revenge for Islamic terrorists killing of six French aid workers and two guides in August 2020. The French say, “Mieux vaut tard que jamais” which means “Late is worth more than never.”

Russia-Ukraine-Europe

As things go in Europe, the Biden administration took off the table any option of NATO troops going into Ukraine to defend it from attack, or to repel an attack by Russia.  Last week we wrote about the unlikelihood of Russia invading Ukraine with an understrength force in winter which all but assures its failure.  Russia wants a legal guarantee that Ukraine will never be given NATO membership. This announcement by the administration was followed a few days later with Moscow announcing it was pulling ten-thousand troops away from the border.  This could be a normal rotation of combat units that could see them replaced in days or weeks,  or it could be part of small tit-for-tat moves that get Putin closer to his goal of not having Ukraine as a NATO member on its border.

United States

The Pentagon announced what amounted to a restatement and additional instructions to the troops and commanding officers regarding what constituted political extremism in the ranks. When the Secretary of Defense announced that he would make fighting political extremism in the ranks a priority, there were concerns that the definition of extremism would be bent to serve partisan interests and those holding conservative political views would be targeted.

Our read on the restatement of this DoD policy is that it will not result in a witch hunt or purge of conservative service members, and does so in part by informing unit commanders on what clear evidence of extremism looks like before taking any punitive action.  It also informs service members on how to conduct themselves on social media.

Staff Writer Matt Hill makes some interesting points on whether TikTok, a company under the control of communist China is being used to subvert law and order among young people in this country.  TikTok users have issued a series of “Challenges” to other users to commit and film criminal acts that include vandalism of school property, attacking teachers, and even shooting up schools.

Well, that’s it for the week in review.  This week after Christmas is already looking like it will be a busy one.  We’ll keep you posted on developments.

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