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Congo Op - A True Story

The request (order?) to travel back to the Congo (renamed Zaire) came from an unexpectedly high echelon in Washington. It was set forth in simple terms but there was no doubt as to its political importance. The son of the chairman of the South African Stock Exchange had left his post as an officer in the elite British cavalry regiment, The Blues, to join the mercenaries battling against the Soviet-backed African rebels in the eastern Congo. Technically, Gary Wilton had not resigned his commission in one of the two regiments that comprise the Queen's Household Calvary, but nonetheless had taken an “extended leave” without authorization. To make this long story shorter let's just say this action had created possible international implications as well as considerable family distress. Enter an experienced American government professional who had “worked” Africa quietly for some years and was thought to be able to handle this diplomatically embarrassing affair. At the very least h
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China Uber Alles

The ASEAN Post is dedicated to covering all matters concerning the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Recently this journal has been focused diligently on Chinese claims in the South China Sea. The fact is that the nations of that region have all been publicly drawing attention to the subject. The Peoples Republic of China (PRC) has vigorously pursued its ambition to control that entire waterway, and thus the region. Small and large islands in this oceanic region are targets for development by the Chinese in total disregard of the impact on historical interests and understandings of many regional countries. These include among others, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and even Cambodia. Obviously, regional Western powers such as Australia, New Zealand, and even Great Britain with its traditional activity in that area are involved. Of course, the United States has maintained an economic and political interest and presence in that region since World War II. The truth is that

What's Next With Iran

In the middle of this October Iran will regain the legal right to rebuild their conventional weapon capability under terms of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) first agreed upon by the Obama Administration and subsequently rescinded by the Trump Administration. Nonetheless, the other members of the agreement still recognize the original terms. This means that the Tehran government will be enabled to use a broad array of non-nuclear weapons to coerce, control or even invade neighboring countries. The term “conventional” can be interpreted to include ordnance and support elements of considerable capability, just so that it is not nuclear related. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo stated on Fox News recently that the United States could “handle” this new situation. Unfortunately, he didn't expand on that statement. Effectively, the entire issue is operationally tied to Iran's ability to make deals – usually financial. Iran never has had a problem with arranging

The Game Of Games

There has been a great deal of discussion about how one or another major international figure, and other relatively minor ones, are “in the pocket” of this or that political entity. The fact is that all major governments have at their disposal organizations and individuals who specialize in these forms of deception often referred to as “disinformation”. In brief, this activity is simply a way to disseminate propaganda and sometimes even tactically false information for operational purposes. The entire activity has been a staple of rival governmental activity since the earliest of times. Essentially, this political weapon is based on human frailties that are then exploited by the opposing group. The alternatives are endless. It's both an offensive and defensive weapon. We have seen it used recently in the case of the coronavirus where many in the international community placed blame on the Chinese government seeking to embarrass Beijing. To protect themselves, the PRC respond

After Action Report

The pandemic of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has exposed the shortcomings of numerous countries, but the profoundly communist Peoples Republic of China seems to have been caught up in its own political insecurity. As usual, the vastly over organized political structure of the PRC resulted in an initial effort to disclaim any role in the evolution of the new virus emanating from the city of Wuhan. At the same time worldwide, similar confused political elements sought to avoid placing blame for the siting of the virus on China - or at least quickly condemning those who did. The fact that it had been recognized in the first week or two of January – or even before that by American and other intelligence services that a new and serious epidemic had hit the city of Wuhan was kept from the public for well over a month in many cases and more in others. It appears that even Beijing's leadership were unaware of what their local security service had been reporting after they learned o

Vlad Staying On

The West reacted predictably when Vladimir Putin announced he would stay in office after his current term was over. Of course, this was greeted with claims of “dictatorship” outside of Russia. These claims may be justified on the face but are not very insightful. To begin with, it is important to recognize that Putin's background, parentage and upbringing have been carefully confused in official rewriting. There are few facts that seem consistent. It seems fairly sure that his father was a mechanic, but he was raised by his grandparents in most reports. Who his mother was is disputed in several accounts, though there now seems to be agreement on Maria Ivanova Putin (family name: Shelonova). None of this seem to matter very much except that he came from a 'working class” family. What is important is the general agreement that Putka, as he was called in his early years, seemed to be fascinated by the organization of the secret police, the NKVD, as it was then called. It has

The Puzzle That Is Israel

Israel is supposed to be a staunch ally of the United States and in many ways it is. However, the American public in general knows little about Israel and certainly nothing about its internal politics. This doesn't matter very much because the only thing of importance to Americans is that they believe Israel will provide military-related assistance, if and when necessary, to the U.S. in the Middle East. That is the ultra-simplified way to consider U.S./Israel relations, but still essentially accurate. While the American public is largely ignorant of Israeli political matters, it is always a bit surprised when the news media bring up situations that reflect serious divisions within this determinedly friendly state. The truth is that the non-Jewish American public seem to be unaware that Israel has had any other prime minister that wasn't Bibi Netanyahu. Maybe there is a glimmer of remembrance of the others, but Bibi is just about the only one they can recall. This may be a