The Elsa Kurt Show

Demystifying Global Conflicts: A Military Perspective

October 26, 2023 Elsa Kurt
The Elsa Kurt Show
Demystifying Global Conflicts: A Military Perspective
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Imagine if you could unravel the complex web of global conflicts, and understand how events like the Israel-Hamas conflict, Ukraine, and Iran are deeply interwoven by history and geopolitical intricacies. As a seasoned military professional, Clay Novak, is about to take you on a journey through time, examining the Cold War, proxy wars, and the Global War on Terror, in order to shed light on the current international landscape. We will expose the challenges of forming informed opinions in a world flooded with editorialized and biased news.

Let's take a step back to examine the role the US has played in past and present Cold Wars and how it continues to influence our world. Together, we will illustrate the US's reliance on allies and organizations to maintain peace through examples from the war on terror, the war on drugs, and the Korean conflict. Prepare to be surprised as we expose the exploitation of US open borders by cartels for drug and human trafficking, weaving a narrative often overlooked in mainstream media.

Finally, we delve into the shadowy world of espionage, highlighting its enduring threat and its monumental influence on the US military capabilities. Uncovering the often unseen role of defense contractors and the staggering cost implications of high tech military equipment, we evaluate the multifaceted support the US provides in global conflicts. Gear up for a thoughtful analysis of global terror networks, opening your eyes to the complexities of major world events and how they shape our existence. Don't miss this enlightening exploration of the intricate dynamics of global conflicts and their impact on us all.

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Speaker 1:

Hey folks, clay Novak here flying solo tonight hosting the Elsa Kurt Show. With Clay Novak, I got a good show for you tonight, running by myself, but we'll see what happens. Okay, you asked, I sent out a note to the people who are probably local reviews, and asked for input topics you guys wanted me to talk about, wanted me to run my mouth about or one of my opinion on, and I got a whole host of things. So, of course, israel probably top of everybody's mind conflict with Hamas. I got a little bit talking about the border. I had a few requests to talk about Ukraine and even had a request to talk about Iran. And thinking about all that and all the requests from all of you out there, it occurred to me that these singular topics can't be taken as an individual. Sure, I could give you my opinion on each of them, I could probably give you a little bit of background on each of them, but the reality is is that none of these and this is the conclusion I came to and really what I'm going to talk about tonight is these topics can't be taken by themselves. They are so interconnected and intertwined and, truthfully, everything that's going on in the world today is intertwined that you can't take them as a singular event. So we're going to do a little bit of background. I got some notes here just to keep myself on track and make sure I hit all the points I want to hit. But you know, we're going to go back a little bit, a little bit of history, and one of the things that we're going to talk about first off is you know, it's all connected and we as Americans have a horrible habit my opinion of sitting back and forming an opinion based on a couple of things One based on media input, and your opinion is going to be formed by whatever media you subscribe to Left leaning, right leaning there's very few that are central and very few that provide just basic news. Now, with, you know, the opportunity for the viewer or listener to determine their own outcome or their own opinion based on just facts being reported Very few news outlets just do facts anymore. So what you get is editorialized news and that obviously is going to skew your opinion. You know we all sit on our couches and the safety of our homes here in America and form opinions having no real experience or exposure, for the most part, to the things that are going on in the world. I know I'm an oddity and I know that a lot of my peers are an oddity. You know, over the last 20 years a bunch of us had a ton of experience in the Middle East, but that is less than one half of 1% of the US population has served in an ongoing conflict, specifically as it relates to terror in Iraq or Afghanistan. So while we sit home, we watch the news, we read the newspapers, maybe we read a few books. Very, very few people actually have diplomatic experience. Very few people have military experience and without that, really what you've got is academia with no practicum, truthfully. So while you may have read books on the history of the Cold War, the history of Israel or the history of whatever, if you haven't been there, smelled it, tasted it or really interacted with it, then your opinion is not fully formed. You're missing a very, very important part. So we're going to go back in time a little bit and it's really relevant because, again, we can't take anything out of context. So you know, post World War II started the Cold War, and the Cold War specifically, you know, the Western Bloc, us NATO Alliance versus the old Soviet Bloc, warsaw Pact nations, right, and it's really all the old Soviet satellites that pre-existed and really we fought a bunch of proxy wars, cold within that Cold War, very small, hot, hot wars within the bigger Cold War, because the ultimate threat was the Russian tanks, soviet tanks through the full, to gap into Europe, which culminated in a global thermonuclear war, which nobody wanted but we as the United States and as the NATO nations were trying to, you know, suppress communism globally. The communists obviously were trying to expand. So there are a lot of things that happened. You know we had the Cuban Missile Crisis. We had a whole bunch of proxy wars. The Iran-Iraq War was a proxy war. You had obviously things going on in Africa, in smaller numbers and truthfully handled by a lot of NATO nations, but you had things going on in Southeast Asia. You had the Korean War, which was, you know, a bit of a proxy war, you know, with the US and UN forces fighting against North Korean communism, backed by Chinese communism, with even backed by Soviet communism, fast forward a few years. Same thing going on in Vietnam. You had the United States with a few allies the Aussies and some others, you know, fighting against North Korean NVA, backed by the Chinese, backed by the Soviets, et cetera. So there was a lot of proxy war stuff going on and that's relevant to today because we are rolling back into that. I'm going to touch on this more in a little bit, but we're going to. We're rolling back into the Cold War mentality because we have to. So, you know, beyond the Cold War, post 1989, we all remember President Reagan, you know Mr Gorbachev tear down this wall and that was really, you know, kind of the beginning of the end of the Cold War. But at the same time, if you back up about 10 years actually not 10 years really, yeah, about 10 years or so when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, we stuck our toe into what evolved into the global war on terror. So while the Cold War was going on and we were prioritizing, you know, keeping communism at bay, we dipped our toe through a proxy war into what became the global war on terrorism. So we backed the Mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan through the Central Intelligence Agency and we backed them with equipment and training and some agents on the ground and we helped them fight the Soviets. So no major commitment by US forces, no, you know, us forces in Afghanistan, but we gave them Stinger missiles, which was a huge tide turning in the fight between the Mujahideen, the Afghan fighters and the invading Soviets. But that really is kind of where we got involved in the greater Muslim world us personally in the United States and that expanded fast forward four years from then to 1983. And really we just hit it. It was just yesterday the anniversary 40 years of the Beirut bombing Marine barracks and that was really where terrorism hit home for the United States in a very real way. And then fast forward again, right, we had numerous incidents over the following decades, with the first bombing of the World Trade Center. Some people have actually forgotten about that, some people actually don't even know about that, but the truck bomb in the basement we had the bombing of the coal and then you know, obviously 9-11 played into that and that is when we declared it to be a global war on terrorism. And why is that significant? Because it is global and truthfully, it started in Afghanistan post 9-11 as we held Al Qaeda responsible and, by proxy, the Taliban forgiving them Harbourage. We initiated a very hot war against terror and terrorism. And then that expanded so fast forward a couple of years, 2003,. We went into Iraq, wmds. That was a very conventional fight for a very short period of time Devolved very, very quickly into, you know, a war against an insurgency. Was that terrorism? On the surface you could call it insurgency terrorism. They were terrorizing the Iraqi public. I was there, saw it happening. That was a terroristic war. It was a methodology of fighting by a number of organizations in Iraq. So we continued to fight that right for the last 20 years or so and then, obviously a couple of years ago, we left Afghanistan. So the misnomer is that the war on terrorism ended two years ago because we left Afghanistan and the reality is it hasn't Never did. But you know we, you know again. I got some notes here because I want to make sure I hit all of this. But you know there are some things that are important in all of this and how it's very, very interconnected. I mentioned Iraq. You know, when I was in Iraq and Baghdad and this was really the war had been going on for a while I was in Baghdad, eastern Baghdad, and in our sector we encountered on a semi-regular basis a faction of Hezbollah. A lot of people kind of, you know, turn their head at that and they say, well, what was Hezbollah doing in Iraq? Well, they were fighting Americans, they were taking the opportunity, as a terrorist organization, to target Americans. That's what they were doing and that's what all of these terrorist organizations do. So you know, the global war on terror again didn't end, you know, two years ago when we left Afghanistan. And it continues globally, not just affecting the United States but affecting the West and non-Muslim nations. Okay, you know, let's talk about Israel very quickly. You know, if you take what's currently going on in Israel, the Israel-Hamas conflict, that's going on, I know that. You know Netanyahu, you know, declared war against Hamas and I understand that and a lot of people are saying well, this is a war and I even saw today that were counting days. I think today is day 18 of the war between Israel and Hamas. But it is a much smaller war as a part of a much larger war, which is the global war on terror. Terror organizations continue to fight. They don't have an end date and it's not regional, it's not localized, it is a global conflict that they are waging against Western, non-muslim nations, period. And I'm not saying it's Muslim people, I'm talking about Muslim, islamic extremist organizations Hamas, hezbollah, all factions, isis, all factions. Al-qaeda still exists to this day, taliban government in Afghanistan, right, and they're being backed by conventional nations such as Iran, right and now the Taliban government in Afghanistan to continue these fights against the United States, right. So you know, israel itself has been under siege. The Israelis, the Israeli people, the tribes of Israel, have been under siege, have been persecuted and attacked for going back 3,000 years and they've always had a home right in Israel, specifically in and around Jerusalem. That's acknowledged through history. If you don't want to acknowledge that, you should probably go back and read the Bible. It's all kind of captured in there, if not the history books. But the tribes of Israel, the Israelites and modern-day Israelis have been persecuted by numerous armies and governments the Romans there's been a number of different invading armies, to include the Christian Catholics, right the Persians, all the way up to and including persecution by the Nazis, and that's what got us to 1948 and the establishment of Israel as a nation as decided by the United Nations right. This was not an imposition on a Palestine as a country. There was no Palestine as a country, right. This was the establishment of Israel. Palestinian people are Muslims that live there, but this was not Palestine taken away from Israel. What you've got is the creation of an anti-Israel contingent that has evolved and grown into the modern-day Hamas terror organization. Okay, again, intertwined with everything else that's going on, we understand after 20 years of fighting terrorism that that is the most difficult type of warfare. Gorilla warfare, as fought, as a great example, in Vietnam, is gorilla warfare very, very difficult to do. Terrorism is a completely different ballgame. It's not just gorilla warfare, it's fought in a gorilla style, but they are terrorizing. They're not just focusing on military targets, they're not just focusing on a military enemy, which the Viet Cong were very much doing in Vietnam. They were focused on fighting Americans in somewhat organized, in somewhat organized fashion, but in a gorilla style. Terrorism is very different. Terrorist organizations target civilians specifically, although they do target also military targets, but they target civilians specifically to instill fear and therefore gain control. They're trying to manipulate, they're trying to control. It's about power and that's what they do. They target those who cannot protect themselves in the most heinous ways possible, which is what's going on between Hamas and Israel. We've seen it that Hamas has been capturing families, killing children, killing women. There's been torture, beheadings, all kinds of things. These are all terror tactics specifically aimed at creating fear, to drive that terror which provides them the control that they want Really? What they're looking to do is to get someone like Israel or the United States or any Western nation to capitulate and give them what they want to make the terror stop. That's the goal. The end state for Hamas, at least on the surface, is to continue to attack in a terror fashion, to terrorize the Israeli civilian populace so that they are given the land that they feel that they deserve. Will it stop there? Probably not. What they will want is and what they've stated out loud is they want all of Israel gone, the Israeli people, they want them gone. They want the country of Israel gone. They want all of it. It's not just Gaza, it's not just any goal on heights or anything else, any other little enclave that exists in Israel right now. It's about getting rid of extermination, very much on the level of the Nazis. They want the Israelis gone, jews gone completely. They don't want them in the region. They don't want them in the area. They want that piece of land, and they're going to fight with a terror tactic to do it Again. That's what they're doing. We've talked about the Cold War and our evolution from a Cold War into the modern day terror war. Now, though, we're moving backwards a little bit in time. There are new Cold Wars evolving, obviously some continuation of some other older Cold Wars that really never the embers never really went out. So where are these new Cold Wars happening? Right, obviously, the one at the top of everybody's mind in a Cold Wars fashion is the Ukraine. We, the United States, are not fighting Russia. That is not a hot war for the United States. Is it a hot war in the Ukraine? Of course it is. For us as the United States, that is much more of a proxy war as a part of a larger Cold War between the United States and the new Russia under Putin. It is a Cold War. We are not fighting Russia directly, haven't, and trying to avoid it at all costs. Where else have we got Cold Wars going on? We got Cold Wars going on, continuing to go on between us in China, focused in and around Taiwan. We run through the Straits, they run through the Straits, they fly some planes over Taiwan. We fly planes over Taiwan. We have shot at each other, but we are posturing and trying to present power or protection, in our case for Taiwan, to prevent an all out war. It is a Cold War that's going on between us and China. Additionally, korea, north versus South. For those of you that don't know, that war actually never ended. They signed a. There was no end of conflict signed between North and South Korea. That conflict is still active to them but it's shots haven't been fired in decades. Truthfully, we as still occupying or not occupying wrong word but being present as a UN force, an American force, inside of South Korea supporting the South Korean military forces, we contribute to that Cold War. We all know whoever president, president Trump, little fat guy in North Korea, all of that, they present a presence. They're not going anywhere. They haven't invaded South Korea as many times as they threatened. South Korea is in a defensive posture. That is a Cold War that continues to exist on the Korean Peninsula. We, as the US, rely on a number of allies in these Cold Wars because we are not the ones standing alone by ourselves. We've got NATO, and I continue to say this out loud I think that Ukraine cannot be a US problem, and a US problem only. It has to be a NATO problem. We've got the UN, which plays a role still in South Korea, south Korea, north Korea conflict. Then we've got a series of alliances in the Pacific the Australians, the New Zealanders and they keep, really truthfully, that Pacific Rim in check. Nobody steps out of line and that bleeds over into China as well. We've got Cold Wars going on in the past ended around 1989. Around 1979, it really ended at 1983. We had the war on terror start to ramp up a little bit and then continued on and continues on to this day. What else did we have going on? Well, go back to present right. There was a war on drugs Again. Whether people know it or not, that was a very small but at times a very hot war. There were multiple joint task forces US along with some South American, central American nations that conducted operations to truthfully fight the drug cartels back decades ago. Who are they fighting? They're fighting the cartels that manufacture, that distribute and that sell large amounts of drugs. I'm not talking about the street corner guy. I'm talking about the distribution of kilos and containers and thousands of pounds of drugs being distributed and then sold before it gets to the guy in the street corner within the United States. You could even tie that back into the war on terror, because one of the major producers of poppy, which is then made into heroin, was coming out of Afghanistan, if you think the global war on terror had nothing to do with the war on drugs. You're not connected to the dots, which again is my point to this conversation this evening. Who is involved in the war on drugs? We did have military involved, no question about it. It's documented, it's not secret, it's not classified. Really, for the United States, who's fighting the war on drugs is federal and local law enforcement. Really more federal because local law enforcement is more worried about the guy selling on the street corner or maybe the tier above that drug dealer. But federal law enforcement ATF, now Border Patrol, dea they are committed to prevention of drugs in the United States, especially in large quantities because it is illegal. So they're committed to that. So that's a law enforcement fight inside the continental United States and really in and around our borders. Now Our borders are a whole different topic and again intertwined with the war on drugs but also now the war on terror. So I know a lot of people don't wanna hear about this because they're sick of hearing about it. Some people don't even believe it's true. But our borders are open borders because they are open borders. I was stationed in El Paso for two years. I can look right in to see it at Juarez, that the borders are open. People come across all the time. It happens they actually moved through, saw evidence personally of people moving through Fort Bliss, texas, illegal immigrants using training facilities on Fort Bliss, texas as stopover points, as shelter as they move through the desert. In the middle of the night, it happens there are people moving across the border. Well, what does that do? Obviously facilitates the drug cartels. Right, they use the border and when I say the border, I'm talking from Southern tip California all the way down to Southern tip Texas. Right, they're using the entire border to move drugs across. Is it just there? Of course not. Ports of entry. They move by sea. They use, truthfully, submarines, they use boats, they use airplanes, they use any means that they can to come across into the United States, across our borders, our boundaries, not just borders, not physical borders of land, but our boundaries, international borders to come into the United States to bring their product in, to continue to make money. There's also massive amount of human trafficking that goes on across our borders and across those same boundaries and, honestly, probably almost as lucrative as drugs. People don't understand the business that is involved with moving people across our open borders. Most people, most immigrants can't make it from wherever they're coming from all the way into Northern Mexico and then make it across the border because they don't know where they're walking. They don't know where they're going, they don't know the best places to cross, they don't know how to get them. They traffic themselves. They pay to have themselves traffic into the United States. If they get caught, they lose the money. They're back in Mexico Well, maybe they're not. But if they go back to Mexico then they've got to pay again to make another attempt to get into the United States because they haven't come from somewhere in Central America or even somewhere in Northern South America all the way through Mexico to get to the border, to fail once and go nope, I'm going home. So they pay, they try again, but they're paying to traffic themselves and as a part of that, people are being trafficked Kidnapped children, kidnapped women, truthfully even kidnapped men are being trafficked across that southern border by people who do this professionally. They'll call coyotes if you've never heard it before, but that's what they do. They move people across the border. Sometimes it's just immigrants, but sometimes it's not. Sometimes it's people for sale are being moved across our borders and they move into when they get to the United States they're sold into prostitution, sex trafficking, they're sold as slave labor. There's all kinds of things that happen to these people, horrific things, truthfully. That happened and it's being paid for. It's human trafficking that happens across our southern border. Terror groups are also exploiting that very open southern border and I know this for a fact. You can read it in the news, but they have caught a number of people on the terror watch list coming across our open borders in the south. It's happening, right, it's infiltration by the terror groups that I talked about. So again, old Cold War, new Cold Wars, global war on terror, continuing into today. Right, it didn't stop two years ago when we left Afghanistan. Those terror groups still exist and they're still fighting a war against the West, non-muslim nations, specifically the United States, right, and they're using our southern border to cross into the United States for a number of reasons. Right, who's fighting this? Right now, it's federal law enforcement. So not only are they fighting the war on drugs, right, but they're also fighting against anyone coming across the border. The human trafficking part of it, the infiltration part of it. Right, this is again border patrol, this is DEA, this is FBI, this is ATF. They're all involved with trying to stop the infiltration across the southern border. We have dedicated a decent number of assets and even established a headquarters, an intelligence gathering organization called the EPIC, the El Paso Intelligence Center. I visited there a couple of times. It's an amazing organization, multinational, multi-service, joint military interagency. They've got federal law enforcement there. They actually have international federal law enforcement there to include federalis from Mexico operating there. And what do they do? They watch our borders, and I'm not just talking the southern one, I know it's stationed in El Paso, I got it, it's proximity. But they also watch the Northern Canadian border. They collect intelligence on that. The every point of port of entry coming into the United States right, and those are everywhere. Ports of entry are not just what you think of as LA, san Diego, miami, new York, seattle, they're everywhere. There are multiple ports of entry into the United States. They monitor that. Airports, international airports right, they monitor traffic there, but they do spend a lot of effort monitoring ground traffic coming into the United States across the Southern border with Mexico. And again, joint interagency, multinational. They're all trying to combat this. Assets allocating right, some of them even being, at times, military aircraft, military drones in a non-offensive posture. All they're doing is detection, intelligence gathering, but again, law enforcement committed to this. So that's a lot. They're already committed to it. Why are those terror organizations coming across the border into the United States? A couple of reasons. One is to establish themselves, to create the potential for a terror threat within the United States. They're also intelligence gathering, right, which brings me to the point of espionage. We think of espionage as James Bond, right, or maybe you know the Good Shepherd, if you're a movie fan, which is a great movie, by the way but we think of espionage in those terms right, spies, dark corners and those kinds of things. That espionage is ongoing and it's continuous and it goes truthfully gloat. So you've got. You know. Think back to the old Soviet block right, East Germany, east Berlin, west Germany, west Berlin. You know the old Soviets, us, british with MI6, there's other organizations out there. That espionage continues to. It happened back then, but it continues now, right, if you think that the Russians aren't conducting espionage against the United States, you're fooling yourself. You know, in the modern world, russia versus the old Soviets, still KGB, whatever they're calling it now, that still exists, very much like our CIA still exists, and we're still conducting espionage around the world. Iran conducts espionage, right, they are. They're spying on us. They are using that southern border to get into the United States to collect intelligence on the United States. It's a thing, it's real. Don't fool yourself into saying it's not happening because it is Pakistan. I will tell you that in the three tours that I spent in Afghanistan, one of the biggest causes of stress and, truthfully, things that we shouldn't have had to worry about, that we did have to worry about was being spied on by Pakistani intelligence spying on the United States while they were also helping us against the Taliban. So, with one hand helping us against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda because they, truthfully, in a lot of places in Pakistan, didn't want them there either but at the same time collecting on the United States and our forces in Afghanistan all the while. That's espionage. They were doing it. They were spying Happened, right. China we know there's been American politicians that have been fallen to Chinese spies, documented. We all know what's going on, right, it happens. Espionage continuing to this day, right, terror groups continue to spy on the United States and they do it on US forces that are forward deployed, but they're also using that southern border and no, by the way, conventional methods, right. We all know the 9-11 hijackers were in the United States well before 9-11. If you think that hasn't continued to happen since 9-11, again you're fooling yourself. Those terror organizations have people in the United States and they continue to collect intelligence. They're conducting espionage against the United States. So again, cold wars, right, old cold wars, espionage going on there, proxy wars going on there. Then we fall into you know what was the global, or is the global war on terror that continues? 1979, really big event, 1983 in Beirut, we have the reemergence of cold wars, right, or the continuation of some cold wars and emergence of new cold wars, all the while we're fighting the war against drugs, 1980s, reagan era, you know. And then all the way into present time, same time, we've got espionage going on right. The United States has had to protect itself from being spied upon right From various nations around the world, and so it's very easy for all of us, as we get bits and pieces of this and it's reported in the news, and then you know, to get distracted by shiny objects, and then there's a new shiny object, right. So you know, right now you've got just even in the last 10 years. Let me just read off some things right. You got Syria, ukraine, north Korea, taiwan. You've got terrorism globally, russia, china, us elections, civil unrest within the United States. You know politics current administration, previous administration. You've got the trial of President Trump. You've got the Hunter Biden stuff. There's a lot of shiny objects out there that distract the American public and, truthfully, the American government, from focusing on some of these other threats that are continuing and ongoing. So what does that do? Well, not only are we all watching these things going on, but the rest of the world is watching. Everybody watches what's going on in the United States, every nation on earth. They all watch what's going on in the United States, because our elections and what goes on here affects the rest of the globe. It's all intertwined, right? China cares who's in the White House, russia cares who's in the White House, terror groups care who's in the White House. But they also care where we are focusing our efforts. Right, if we're focusing our efforts politically, economically, militarily in one place, then that creates opportunities in other places, right? So nothing is independent and everything that's going on is an opportunity for someone else. It's easy for us to say we should go to Ukraine and fight Ukraine. We should go into Israel, help Israel fight Hamas. Okay, as a singular incident. Maybe you could argue that as a singular issue. If that was the only thing going on in the world, then yes, the United States could and possibly should get involved in some of these, but they're not. They're not the only thing going on in the world. We have to continue to worry about China. We have to continue to worry about Russia. We have to continue to worry about terror organizations. We have to continue to worry about any of the next thing North Korea, whatever pops up. Taiwan you know unrest in South America. You know Venezuela going to hell in a handbasket, whatever it is. We have to focus multiple places. We can't commit in large numbers in, you know, militarily or in dollars, into every single thing that pops up. We can't do it, we can't afford it, we don't have the ability, it's not there Right. So we do need those alliances, a lot of some of them I've talked about already. Nato is huge, and this is again why I continue to say that the Ukraine-Russia conflict needs to be a NATO problem. The US can't foot the bill. We can't commit as much as everybody wants us to to Ukraine, because it's not the only thing going on. Nato needs to chip in Right. So United Nations, right, they could take some of the weight off of the North Korea thing if they chose to. Now they've done a lot, some of it good, some of it really bad. They've done a lot in places like Africa, specifically Africa, a lot of Africa, where they've gotten involved. They've done some in the Balkans when Yugoslavia fell apart and you got all of the new Baltic nations, or really the reemergence of the old Baltic nations Croatia, bosnia, those kind of places. They the UN has been involved in small pieces and parts as peacekeeping forces, but they're international forces that present a presence that the US doesn't have to do and it doesn't have to do it by itself. The UN is important. It's not a great organization but it does take some of the weight off of us. We've utilized alliances like this over the last 20 years ISAF, which was the, you know, multinational. I think we were up to, I think, at 1.32 nations contributing in Afghanistan, 32 nations right Now. Was the US the bulk of it? Sure, we were. Did every little bit help? Yeah, absolutely, we had, you know, nato and non-NATO allies contributing. We had Muslim nations contributing in Afghanistan. Things that we needed right. That was a globally identified threat and important to the world. That Afghanistan, you know, was stabilized and, truthfully, we used an alliance there under the ISAF banner. That was helpful. It brought everything together to take some of the weight off of the United States. You know we had MNCI I think it was called multinational core Iraq, which again US Spritz other nations. You know it was an alliance that contributed there. And then we've got multiple joint task forces around the world anti-terrorism task forces around the world that we've continued to use to take some of this weight off the United States. It's important. And why is it important? Let me tell you, really, shared cost and shared responsibility, right, we can't do all of this on our own. I've said it before, I'll continue to say it, you know. But we need to know, and it's truthfully, there are some limiting factors in there what are these other nations capable of? What are they capable of contributing? What are they willing to contribute and what do they get in return? Listen, being a member of NATO is profitable for a number of nations, profitable to their military. A lot of their military stuff is funded because they are part of NATO. There's NATO money that gets back to them. If they contribute to a NATO mission, they get money and they get equipment as part of it. I've seen it happen. I've literally seen NATO nations show up to an operation almost empty hand and to get them operational, the NATO headquarters says, well, buy them this and get them that, and they need four of those and just give it to them so they can be operational and they can contribute. And then they take all that stuff home with them. It happens all the time. It's not uncommon. So those alliances are great because they take weight off the United States and we need them and we need more of them. But we need them to be valid. We need them to contribute and we need more nations to be able to contribute on a level that the United States contributes. And I'll be honest with you, the number of nations that can do that are rapidly going down and anywhere near the capability that we can is going down even quicker. So as an example I think I talked about this on the last show with Elsa I think the British Navy is down to maybe one aircraft carrier at the most, and they may be down to zero. The German Army is incapable of fighting against Russia. 1989, when President Reagan stood there at the wall and told Gorbachev to tear it down, the German Army was ready and capable and professional and equipped and they were ready to go to war to defend Germany. That army doesn't exist anymore. It doesn't. It has fallen into disrepair. The level of funding is gone. There's just not a lot there for them to be able to contribute anymore. Plus, you've got a little bit of global fatigue In Afghanistan contributed to that. There's a lot of nations that spent 20 years or maybe even 15 of those 20 years or maybe 12 of those 20 years, contributing over and over and over again and they got tired. Their armies are small, their contributions were small, but they still had a great, great impact and there is fatigue associated with that. So where are we at now? We talked about Cold Wars and we talked about proxy wars. We also talked about the US role and what we do, and let's a little bit of clarity between what we do in a proxy war and then what we do in support, because we keep talking about Israel and how we need to support them, and we talked about Ukraine and how we need to support them versus really how we would more handle a proxy role versus an actual direct support role. So in a proxy, we're going to provide some equipment, we're going to provide some ammunition, maybe some logistics and probably, in modern warfare, a whole bunch of contractors. You're probably going to get a bunch of American military contractors that are going to contribute, whether it's in logistics, in maintenance, in a direct action role, security role. There's a lot of ways that contractors can contribute. None of it's going to have an American flag on it, none of it, and that again keeps us from having to commit US forces to another fight, which is what we're trying to avoid when we're in this proxy role or we're kind of sitting behind the scenes in a proxy type war. If we're in a support role, which is what people continue to say about both Ukraine and Israel, there's American flags all over the place. We provide aircraft, direct attack aircraft support in a lot of cases Drones, unmanned aircraft, uavs in both an attack role, but also in an intelligence gathering role, other intelligence assets. We've got radio intercept and satellites and all kinds of other things that we can collect intelligence and then provide it to somebody like Ukraine or somebody like Israel. We have the best tech when it comes to that kind of stuff. We can help them out. We traditionally provide medical assets when we're in a supporting role, and that's one of the things that when we started to leave Iraq and we started to leave Afghanistan, they were very concerned about losing our air support but also losing our medical capabilities, because they can't replicate that we have the best combat care that there is on the planet and that's not something that you can just throw in place if you don't have the backbone and really the people to do it. Our Navy provides a lot of support. We've talked about China, we've talked about Taiwan presence matters. Nobody wants to go toe to toe at least not right now with an American carrier group. We just parked two of them off of Israel. We've got a whole bunch of aircraft there, but we also got a whole bunch of ships with Tomahawk missiles on them. We have a direct fire, indirect fire, cruise missile capability, and then we would have direct logistics in a supporting role where we would provide ammunition, we would provide repair parts, we would provide all those things, but it would be more in a direct role Fly it in ourselves, drop it off, fly it back out again or drop it with US aircraft very overtly. We're not trying to be secret about it, and then in the end, you've also still got American contractors involved. So it's very important when you talk about how we support a conflict, whether you're talking about us in a direct supporting role or in a proxy role. And really where all of that kind of comes to a head is our defense industry. War is expensive and we've chosen to go to a high-tech route, and every time that we commit assets to help, especially in multiple places, those are assets that we can't commit to something that we're doing. So our reflex is to get more of them. If we only have, let's throw out a number. If we only have 50 of a piece of equipment, let's say drones, say we have 50 drones and we want to commit 10 of them to support Israel, and then we've got another seven supported to Ukraine, but we've also got 10 more committed to Korea, and then we've got another half a dozen committed to Taiwan, and then we've got on our southern border. We've got another three or four. We're starting to run out of drones. So what do we do? We buy more, we get more Plus. We upgrade. Tech gets better, we replace old with new. There's only so much lifespan on pieces of equipment. So every time we commit those it's expensive and then again it goes back to the alliances. What can the other countries contribute on a light level with a light capability? That takes some of the weight off of us? It would be really, really nice if NATO could provide a drone fleet to match what the United States has and then just commit that to Ukraine and we don't have to. I mean, that would be nice. That would be less we would have to do. South Korea maybe they don't have to use American equipment at all. American intelligence assets, america, whatever, it's just Korean stuff. Then we don't have to commit to it, we don't have to spend the money. But truthfully, then it costs them money. And again, war is expensive and defense contractors are really expensive, right. And again we went tech versus mass. The old Soviets decided to buy a whole bunch like a lot of very cheap equipment where we went with a much smaller number and a much higher technical capability. Fast forward about 70 years. And now it's starting to come around that our tech has gotten so expensive that we can't replace in kind. We crash in F-22 and we're out $100 million or whatever they cost, and that's we're not talking crashing first generation jets. Right, we're talking there's only however many there are in the Air Force. If you lose one, it's not like losing air a jet where we had 7,000 of them in the Air Force. We're talking a couple of hundred and they're 500 times the cost. So our tech, while it's great and it gives us distinct advantages in a lot of places, it's very, very expensive and that the Russians are still. They're buying cheap stuff. They're developing technology, they're buying cheap stuff and they're still making a lot of it and they're still down that road and they can continue to replace things that get blown up or get destroyed or move a bunch of them around where they need them to where we can't. We have very limited number, right, but we do have the best assets in the world right now. But we do have a near period that's catching us and that's China, and they've gone combination of what we've done and what the Soviets have done. So they've gone high tech, but they also have high numbers and we, truthfully, are being a little bit hamstrung by our defense contractors because we let them, we pay for all of their R&D. When you hear things like, well, it's $700 for a hammer, well, that's because the R&D that led up to buying that hammer cost thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars, and for that defense contractor to make that money back, they overcharged, they pay, they charge the US government money to recoup their R&D fees or they even get the R&D fees upfront. It probably doesn't cost $100 million per copy of an F-22. It probably costs a lot less than that. But they probably spent $3 billion in R&D that they need to recoup. But we allow them to do that. We allow them to overcharge, we allow them to recoup that R&D because it is that expensive and we have gone down that road of allowing them to do so. Now, that's a little bit of a. You could get into a very deep discussion about who's involved with defense contracting and where our politicians are at and who's getting paid, but the reality is is it's becoming prohibitive for us to do the things that we need to do as a nation because our defense is so expensive and it's because our defense contractors and the defense industry is so expensive and we allow them to be so again, my point to all of this is that this stuff is all very intertwined. You've got old cold wars that have continued some of them. You've got the war on terror that continues. You've got the war on drugs that continues. You've got new cold wars, new proxy wars that are coming up. You've got a global, a threat in a new global power in China that continues to grow. I won't even say a merge, because they're here and they've got their own agenda. There's a lot of things that we've got to address as the United States, but we can't address everything and we can't address everything equally Okay. We can't address every threat and there's a number of reasons why One, I mean I've talked about a lot of these already Our military is too small, in both people and in numbers of equipment. Federal law enforcement is too small to do everything that they're continuing to do in the volume that they're continuing to do it in. Our current laws, politics and policies restrict a lot of this stuff, for good reason. We can't commit US active military forces inside the borders of the United States. That goes all the way back to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Like the British house soldiers in American homes. We don't wanna replicate that and that's why we have limitations on what the US military can do inside US borders. Our tech is too expensive. Frankly, public opinion won't allow us to get involved in some of this stuff, and I'm okay with that, because really some of this stuff is none of our business. Honestly, some of us we don't need to get involved Again keep harping on the NATO Ukraine thing. But Ukraine, at this point, less of a problem, really less of a problem. Do we wanna stop Russia from expanding? Yes, of course we do. Do we need to get directly involved to do that? No, we don't. The Ukrainians are actually doing a pretty good job. Nato needs to put this as one of their top priorities. There's a US. It's really less of our business than something that's a little bit closer to home. Well, we have to prioritize our people, our assets, because we don't have enough to do everything. It's just not there. The well is running dry. So I encourage everybody to kind of think through all of the things that I talked about. When a singular issue comes up right, when the next Israel comes up, when the next Ukraine comes up, when the next thing like that happens, take it in the context of everything else that's going on. You can't just say why support Israel, you can't right. Or we should commit forces to help Israel. Okay, where are we gonna get them from? And what are we gonna prioritize Israel over? And I'll tell you honestly, if you support in any way, shape or form, hamas, you are supporting global terror, not just Hamas and not just, you know, the Palestinian people. If you support Hamas in any way at all, you are supporting the global terror network that exists. If you support one, you support them all because they're all interconnected, all of them. We've already seen, you know, american weapons from Afghanistan, through the Taliban government, have made their way to you know, hamas in Israel. It's happening. Iran is backing Hamas. They also backed a number of terrorist organizations when I was in Iraq. Right, they're all interconnected and they're all intertwined. Oh, by the way, you've got, you know, multiple facets of ISIS out there. You've got multiple organizations, you know, under the flag of Hezbollah out there. If you support one, you support all of them. You can't just say why support Hamas because they're Palestinian and they just want Palestine back. No, that's not how it works. It's one, it's all of them. And we have American politicians that are outwardly supporting Hamas, and it's crazy because they are supporting terrorism, period. So please think through this stuff before you take a position, right, and don't be swayed necessarily by one media source. Don't be swayed by one media report for crying out loud. You know, I know if you're at MSNBC, you hate watching Fox. If you're Fox, you hate watching CNN. You know you don't want to hear the other side of it, but you got to. All of us have to look beyond what our normal news feed is and you've got to educate yourself. And oh, by the way, there's an entire generation of veterans out there who have looked this stuff in the eye, been very, very close to this in proximity when it comes to the execution of this stuff. Talk to them, ask them, right. Ask them what they know, you know. Add it to what you know. Don't take what they say as gospel. Don't take what I say as gospel. Okay, I'm one guy. But if you talk to them, taking into context what you have learned, what you've heard, what the media has given you, what you've read, the books that you've read, right, if you don't have your own experience base, you've never been to the Middle East, you've never interacted with any of this. Or you've never been to Eastern Europe, right, as it relates to you know Russian Ukraine. If you've never been down to the Southern border, you know whether it's Tijuana or Juarez or any of these other places. If you've never seen that stuff, talk to somebody who has. Take that into account. First hand accounts matter and it helps you make a more informed, take a more informed position than just saying well, you know, I know the history of X, I know the history of you know the Korean conflict, I know the history of you know the. You know Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I read it. Yeah, okay, that's great, it's in a book and anybody who wrote a book it's biased okay. So you've got to take multiple. That's normal education, right? It's normal adult education educating yourself, taking information in from all over the place and making an informed decision. And history matters okay. So that's kind of my point for tonight. I can't believe I want an hour. We are approaching an hour right now. You know it's been I like having else around. It's a great break. You know it's somebody that I love going back and forth with and we provide each other some great context, and I thank her for the opportunity to do this to fill in for her this week on her hiatus, given an opportunity, and me sitting here by myself. There's a couple of organizations that I just want to mention. One of them is the Allen Lynch Foundation. I'm wearing one of their shirts right now. Al's personal friend. He's a Medal of Honor recipient from Vietnam. His foundation, the Lynch Foundation, does a ton of work for veterans based out of Illinois but they do a ton of work for veterans all over the place, specifically education and some other things. But it's a great organization. Check them out. The Men the Heart Foundation, which is associated with another organization called Lazy Lab Hunt Club, another pro veteran veteran run actually active duty run organization that does some veteran service stuff. They use outdoor therapy to help veterans as they transition. A great organization. Phantom Airborne Brigade, which I'm a part of, bunch of old paratroopers who get together and again it's a veteran service style organization that we use the brotherhood of jumping out of planes and our lives as paratroopers to kind of help guys as they transition. We do some great things for some veterans. We have a couple of paraplegic, tripalegic, multiple limb amputees who jump out of airplanes with us because it helps them. It helps them kind of live their life and get the most out of their life and it's a great organization. So that's again Phantom Airborne Brigade, couple of great organizations out there too that I'm associated with Refuge Medical. If you're one of those people like me care as a first aid kit everywhere you go, refuge Medical I recommend you check them out. Condition one cases. They make some great. If you need anything that needs a hard case cameras, guns, whatever it is they make some great hard cases. You can check them out. That's condition one cases. And then, lastly, is a good friend of mine runs the Black Swamp Coffee Company, bill Edgar. They make the coffee that has my name on it keep moving, keep shooting. I've got a couple of brains of coffee and that all comes from Bill. So I recommend you check them out as well. So, again, just taking an opportunity to kind of round out the hour, but there's just some organizations that I'm associated with and some great companies run by some great people, some great Americans, who are doing a lot of awesome things for our veteran community across the board. So thanks again everybody for listening in, listening to me run my mouth for an hour. Thanks again to my partner, elsa, for giving me the opportunity. I love you and we will see everybody next week. And, as always from me, check out the book. Check out the book. Keep moving, keep shooting. It's a mantra, but it's a great book and it's my product and I put my name behind it and everybody loves it, so give it a read if you get an opportunity. Thanks everybody and see you next week. Plus, we have a weekly podcast on our website.

The Interconnectedness of Global Conflicts
Cold Wars, Drugs, Open Borders
The Continuing Threat of Espionage
Expensive Defense Industry and International Support
Discussion on Prioritizing International Involvement