I’m going to be offline for awhile and I need to let you know why…

I wanted to take time to wish all of you, our faithful readers — and even our dear progressive socialist detractors — Happy Hanukkah and a very Merry Christmas.

Today is the birthday of my wife Angela’s father, but please keep him and Angela’s family in prayer as her dad isn’t doing well health-wise. He was hospitalized the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and his condition has continued to deteriorate. So, we shall be in San Antonio to spend time with her dad, a career Army Soldier, retired Master Sergeant, with two tours in Vietnam as an infantryman.

Ironically, tomorrow, Saturday, Christmas Eve is the 27th wedding anniversary for Angela and me. It was Christmas Eve, December 24, 1989, that Angela and I were married at Big Bear Lake in the mountains above San Bernardino, California. And of course, the next day we remember the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the reason for the season, Christmas.

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So, I’ll be off the net for awhile and it’s important we take the time to cherish family.

However, I want to just remind y’all that the world is not one of unicorns and rainbows, and sadly much of the last eight years of the Obama administration has led to this deplorable state of global security.

In cherishing our families over this Christmas, remember those who stand on freedom’s rampart on guard to keep our enemies at a distance. Those men and women in uniform are the embodiment of the sacrifice for which Christ was born for us all. Christ sacrificed for our eternal life…our American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines sacrifice for our daily earthly lives. To those families who will be missing a loved one who has made the ultimate sacrifice, the last full measure of devotion, we can never say enough to heal the pain you feel. What we all can do, is let you know how much we love you, our Gold Star Families.

We must remain vigilant, resolute, and steadfast for the wolves do gather. And as the sheep rant about, uttering that incessant and disturbing noise, we the guard dogs are ready to defend, and attack, against the wolves, who do not rest this Christmas season.

As reported by the BBC, “The US army’s commander in Europe has accused Russia of using its military campaign in Syria as a “live-fire training opportunity”.

Lt Gen Ben Hodges said Russia’s “disregard for civilian casualties… is not the conduct of a nation that wants to be treated like a superpower”. Russia’s defense minister said on Thursday that its air force had killed 35,000 fighters in Syria. But Russia has been accused of using heavy weapons in civilian areas. It has consistently denied targeting civilians.

Russia’s aerial intervention in the Syrian conflict last year has helped the Syrian army capture eastern Aleppo. But it has further heightened tensions with the West, after it annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in March 2014. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said 162 types of modern armaments had been tested during the campaign in Syria, which included 18,800 aerial sorties.

“What we see in Syria of course is a demonstration of capabilities and using weapons that are not necessary,” Gen Hodges told the BBC. President-elect Donald Trump is known to want better relations with Moscow, but Gen Hodges said the US military was pushing ahead with plans to bolster its presence in Europe.

“All the indications show we are going to continue our commitment,” he said. President Vladimir Putin gave a bullish account on Thursday of Russia’s military strength at the defense ministry’s final meeting of 2016, describing it as “currently stronger than any potential aggressor”. But he said Russia had to “strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces, especially with missile complexes that can reliably penetrate any existing and prospective missile defense systems”. Mr Shoigu accused Nato of doubling the intensity of its military exercises, mainly with the focus on Russia.”

There’s a quote oft repeated and attributed to one George Santayana, circa 1928, which says, “those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

In the case of Russia and the comments of LTG Ben Hodges, an extraordinary warrior leader whom I know, history is indeed repeating itself. It was back in the early 1930s during the an internal conflagration that we can find a parallel. That conflict was called the Spanish Civil War and the major outside nation that interjected itself was Germany.

“German involvement in the Spanish Civil War commenced with the outbreak of war in July 1936, with Adolf Hitler immediately sending in powerful air and armored units to assist General Francisco Franco and his Nationalist forces. The Soviet Union sent in smaller forces to assist the Republican government, while Britain and France and two dozen other countries set up an embargo on any munitions or soldiers into Spain. Germany also signed the embargo but simply ignored it. The war provided combat experience with the latest technology for the German military. However, the intervention also posed the risk of escalating into a world war for which Hitler was not ready. He therefore limited his aid, and instead encouraged Mussolini to send in large Italian units. Franco’s Nationalists were victorious; he became an informal ally of Germany, while remaining neutral in the Second World War.

The Spanish episode lasted three years and was a smaller-scale prelude to the world war which broke out in 1939. Nazi support for General Franco was motivated by several factors, including as a distraction from Hitler’s central European strategy, and the creation of a Fascist Spain friendly to Germany to threaten France. It further provided an opportunity to train men and test equipment and tactics.”

The similarities of the Spanish Civil War to the Syrian Civil War are striking and alarming. Instead of Germany, insert Russia, who has been utilizing its combat air forces to conduct massive bombing in Syria against the rebel forces. Just replace General Francisco Franco with Bashar Assad. And instead of Italy and Mussolini, replace that with Hasan Rouhani and Iran who has a large presence in Syria with its Quds Force and Hezbollah.

But what LTG Hodges alluded to is exactly what happened in the Spanish Civil War, it was a testing ground for new weapons and technology that ended up being a catalyst because as the Spanish Civil War ended, World War II began. Russia and Iran, just as Germany and Italy, are gaining vast amounts of combat experience and refinement of their tactics, techniques, and procedures. And just as Hitler saw the Spanish Civl War as a distraction from his real intentions in Europe, LTG Hodges is a prescient leader who realizes and sees Putin operating in the same way. We can never forget Putin’s real strategy is focused on Ukraine and the Baltic States — just as Hitler was focused on the Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia, and then into Poland. Remember, Hitler perfected the art of “Blitzkrieg” and the Stuka bombers in the Spanish Civil War.

And where does the United States fit into this all? Ironically enough, we are the Soviet Union of then, deploying smaller forces to aid the resistance, which was eventually crushed — a la Aleppo. The issue for the incoming Trump administration is to have visionary, prescient leaders as part of his team who see ahead, three to five years from now. The sad reality is that the Obama administration lacked that quality and here we are today.

Hitler entered the Spanish Civil War in 1936 with strategic intentions and we must ask ourselves, what are ours? We are at the three-year point with the Syrian Civil War and Assad, with the assistance of Putin, Iran, and Turkey. Obama talked about red lines and ranted on about Assad must go, but words are useless against men of action, despots and dictators. Just as then, where does this go now? That is the true strategic question.

And oh by the way, at the same time an Asian nation was building up its military and would eventually invade China and much of Southeast Asia and expand in the Pacific militarizing islands — sound familiar?

Oh, and don’t forget that seven Muslims were arrested in Australia as part of a thwarted Christmas bombing plot. They were ISIS sympathizers — that’s the wild card that didn’t exist back in 1936-1939 — non-state, non-uniform belligerents. We’re on the verge of something due to “leaders” such as Obama and Merkel being in a state of denial and dismissive.

It’s imperative that we see the world not just as it is today, but in the future in order to assess this global game of thrones occurring before our very eyes. We can no longer play checkers while our enemies are playing chess. That’s why LTG Hodges’ words are so important, and his assessment critical. All of this falls in the lap of the Trump administration which must be more than ready in 28 days to assume the helm while others have a clear advantage and head start.

Let’s pray over this Christmas holiday that history does not repeat itself, and if it does, then may the Lord our God grant us victory as He did with our fathers of the Greatest Generation.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah everyone. I shall return…

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