On COI #147, Dave DeCamp – News Editor at Antiwar.com – returns to the show to discuss how American pols increasingly use China as a political weapon. Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently warned that the US must pass a massive infrastructure spending bill or risk ‘losing’ to China. He also warned that Beijing is in the midst of a nuclear buildup. However, the Chinese nuclear arsenal is many times smaller than the American arsenal, and the US is planning to spend trillions updating its own nuclear weapons stockpile.
The US is working to influence the geopolitics of Southeast Asia against China, forming stronger ties with many of the country’s neighbors and endorsing territorial claims that rival Beijing’s. The last several US administrations have also sought to form stronger ties with Taiwan, including through arms sales, while an American commander recently stated the US is ready and able to defend the island.
Dave and Kyle update the Taliban offensive in Afghanistan. Provincial capitals are falling at a rapid pace as the Biden administration continues to say it is holding firm on the August 31st withdrawal date. The US still has 650 troops deployed to the Kabul embassy and is bombing Taliban targets at an increasing rate. However, the US airstrikes are not enough to turn back Taliban advances. Dave and Kyle discuss what Biden will do as the crumbling Afghan state faces tough decisions.
The Mercer Street was the first of two cargo ships attacked off the coast of Oman in recent weeks. The attack was blamed on Iran by the US, Israel and many Western allies. Israel is demanding action against Iran – which has denied involvement – and even suggested it would carry out a unilateral response. New reports from the UK press say British special forces are working with their American counterparts on the ground in eastern Yemen to bring the culprits to justice. Dave and Kyle examine the possible actors behind the attacks.
Dave updates the US mission in Iraq. A recent agreement between Washington and Baghdad said the American mission would shift to training only. However, that agreement appears to be a PR stunt attempting to appease the American and Iraqi people's desire for the occupation to finally end.
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