The January 28, 2023 edition of The Status Quo: An Electronic Newsletter is dedicated to the memory of Thomas Paine (1737-1809). Author of Common Sense and a soldier in General Washington’s army, he was an inspiration to many who joined the struggle to create a new nation. He wanted his nation to be an “asylum for mankind” and was ready to sacrifice his life to make it so. Unfortunately, the nation he helped create is no longer a nation of responsible citizens united for a common purpose. It has become a nation of men and women who refuse to accept responsibility for their own actions let alone those of their elected officials and no better proof exists than the election of House of Representatives member George Santos. This pathological liar and borderline simpleton is the new Thomas Paine. How pathetic. How American. 

The Spoon Feeding of Americans 

On January 6, 2023, Abigail Zwerner, a Virginia teacher, was in the middle of a lesson in her first-grade classroom when a 6 year-old boy pulled out a gun, aimed it at her, and fired. The teacher, 25 years young, was rushed to the hospital but only after she secured the classroom and made sure the children, including the shooter, were safe. Bravo Ms. Zwerner. You epitomize everything that is good in America. 

On January 2, 2023, a multi-millionaire about the same age as Ms. Zwerner suffered a heart attack while on the job. He was lucky that the very best medical care imaginable was at his worksite. Medical professionals were able to render life-saving first aid and he was transported to a local hospital where he was again provided the best medical care in the world.  

These two events present an excellent example of how the mass media has turned America into a country where the elites and those who serve them determine what Americans think is important. By spoon feeding Americans what they should believe is important, they can divert attention away from what is really important. Health care, failing schools, crushing debt and the widening gap between the rich and the poor are what is important, not the recovery of a multi-millionaire from an on the job injury. The emotional outpouring for the multi-millionaire with the finest medical care in the world was nothing short of ridiculous. Some in the media even hyped this outpouring of sympathy as the beginning of the process to unite Americans. Only the gullible and the ignorant would believe such hyperbole. 

To watch the media fall over each other to report on this tragic event, the heart-attack not the shooting, made this Veteran sick. Constant updates as to his condition and the reports of how great a man he was for buying toys for kids was too much. If buying toys for kids is what counts for greatness in America we are all in trouble. Wait. We are all in trouble because 6 year-olds are going to school armed with a weapon they clearly knew how to use and school administrators could not find despite searching him for a weapon.   

It is not the intention of this article to cast this athlete in a negative light. He may indeed be a good man who cares about children but kids shooting teachers and America’s failed education system should have been the stories the media ran repeatedly this month. Unfortunately, we know those are stories the media only reports in passing because there are no solutions to those problems in America 2023. Real solutions require compromise and that is something the career politician and those they serve cannot afford to do.

A Dangerous Time  

The Chinese government (President Xi) recently reversed the three year-old policy referred to as zero covid. This about face has shocked many around the world and for good reason. The question is why did he change course when according to him, his policy had been such a success. There must be a reason. The article offers one possible reason. 

Despite his assertions of success, the economic and social impacts of his zero covid policy have not only brought China civil unrest unlike anything seen since the June Fourth Incident, it has pushed President Xi into a corner economically and politically. As such, this failed zero covid policy may be forcing him to alter his time table for bringing Taiwan into the fold. 

We know the Chinese economy is not just critical to the world economy, but absolutely critical to the Chinese government’s military buildup and its plans for Asian domination. It only follows that any economic downturn, like the one predicted for China in 2023 and beyond, will impact President Xi’s plans to continue the rapid build-up of China’s military. According to Zhang Yesui, former Chinese Ambassador to the United States:

 “Maintaining a proper and steady increase in defense spending is needed to safeguard our sovereignty and development interests, fulfill China’s international responsibility and obligations, and promote the transformation of the Chinese military with Chinese characteristics”

The above quote from the former Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. provides a glimpse into President Xi’s mind. If President Xi believes that serious economic problems await the Chinese economy following the lifting of his zero covid policy, he may feel the window of opportunity to take control of Taiwan is closing and urgent action is required. Moreover, if President Xi wants the resources that Taiwan offers China while denying it to the West (America), he may believe the time to act is now. 

We must assume that President Xi knew in late 2021 that the lifting of the zero covid policy was inevitable and that serious economic consequences would follow. If this was the conclusion he came to in late 2021, it might explain another development in world affairs. The development in question is President Putin’s decision to invade the whole of Ukraine in February 2022.  

The Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014 was limited to a very finite area of Ukraine. What President Putin did not do until 2022 was move to take the whole of Ukraine. The question is why. 

This article asserts that it was only after President Xi assured him of China’s continued support both financially and militarily that President Putin launched his invasion in February 2022. This article also asserts that it was President Xi who approved the invasion because President Xi needed America to commit to Ukraine while he initiated his campaign to bring Taiwan into the Chinese fold. 

Assuming that the U.S. continues shouldering the burden of supplying Ukraine with the material it desperately needs to defend its territory, the question then becomes will that commitment diminish America’s ability to respond to a Chinese move against. The answer may lie in what we already know about Presidents Xi and Putin as well as what is happening in America.  

First, Presidents Xi and Putin knew that President Biden would divert military resources from America’s stocks to aid Ukraine in early 2022. They knew he would because it was the right thing to do from a national security perspective. Second, Presidents Xi and Putin knew that the Republican Party would use President Biden’s decision to aid Ukraine to sow discontent among Americans because they know that is what career politicians do. Third, Presidents Xi and Putin knew that America has a growing fiscal crisis that will pose serious internal and external problems for the U.S. going forward.  Fourth, and most significant of all, Presidents Xi and Putin know how difficult a time the Army is having in recruiting young Americans. Of all the morsels of truth cited above only one keeps this Veteran up at night. It is also a truth that makes this time a dangerous time for us all.