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Austin Bay

Articles by Austin Bay

Headlines to dread

Two topics ought to rate persistent headlines in 2010: governmental corruption and cybersecurity. Published January 8, 2010

Predator war

In November 2002, a Hellfire missile launched from a CIA-operated Predator hit a vehicle on a road in Yemen's Marib province. The strike killed six al Qaeda terrorists, among them Qaed Senyan al-Harthi. Al-Harthi organized the October 2000 terror attack on the USS Cole (in the Yemeni port of Aden), which left 17 American sailors dead. Published December 19, 2009

Cooling Hugo Chavez

Last April, during the Summit of the Americas, President Obama shook hands with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Their greet-and-grip photo op had that street-smart flair - hooked thumbs, hip dude grins, brothers in populist cool. Published December 12, 2009

Al Qaeda’s prospects

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's treachery and terror jolted Americans. As Maj. Hasan's attack demonstrates, al Qaeda and al Qaeda-influenced fanatics can strike and kill on American soil. Published November 21, 2009

Communism cracked open

On Nov. 9, 1989, large crowds of German citizens from both East and West Berlin approached the Berlin Wall. At several border crossing points, East Berliners began shouting at the armed Communist guards, demanding they open the gates and shove aside barbed wire obstacles. Published November 7, 2009

Boots on the ground, from the ground up

Maintaining a competent military organization is a challenge for wealthy nations, even in times of relative peace. Bureaucrats and politicians hijack budgets as politically connected officers wrangle promotions at the expense of creative, forward-thinking war-fighters. War reveals the organizational corruption, stagnation and decay, and this institutional decline exacts a stiff price in soldiers' sweat and blood. Published October 31, 2009

Fill in the blanks later

Action in the world ought to trump worlds evoked by words, especially when awarding a global prize allegedly recognizing sustained, courageous effort on behalf of peace in our world's deeply conflicted corners. Published October 17, 2009

Sudan’s simmering struggle

Sudan's genocidal Darfur war still attracts international attention, and though large battles pitting national government troops against Darfur rebels are less frequent there, violent anarchy still afflicts that sad region. Published October 3, 2009

Indefensible defense

When it came to acting on behalf of peace in the 21st century, the Obama administration weighed "sphere of influence" against "sphere of security" and came down solidly on the side of the Russian czars. Published September 26, 2009

Don’t damage the first line of defense

Morale even matters in an "overseas contingency operation," the hazy bureaucratic phrase the Obama administration sought to substitute for "The Global War on Terror." The GWOT is a poor name in my opinion (terror is a tactic), but at least it sketched the wicked problem al Qaeda's Sept. 11, 2001, attack posed -- a war fought on a global scale, where transportation, weapons and communications technologies had shrunk the planet. Sept. 11 demonstrated that the distance between "over there" (overseas) and "over here" could be easily bridged by a terrorist organization. Published September 12, 2009

Two Septembers: 1939 and 2001

Unleashed in the early hours of Sept. 1, 1939, Germany's "lightning war" -- the blitzkrieg -- quickly pierced Poland's border forces and sliced through the Danzig Corridor. As the German Luftwaffe hammered Poland's air force, panzer divisions smashed Poland's army, leaving its units scattered and surrounded. Published September 5, 2009

The Hitler-Stalin pact

"Communazi" became magazine shorthand for their collaboration, dark slang connecting the two totalitarian ideologies of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany after they ratified the Hitler-Stalin pact. Published August 29, 2009

Calderon courts reform

Credit Mexico's president, Felipe Calderon, with vision and guts. In the midst of the Cartel War's vicious bloodletting, Mr. Calderon continues to pursue his "systemic revolution" on multiple fronts, and he's doing so with an enviable cool and steadiness. Published August 22, 2009

BAY: Japan rewrites script

When it comes to international provocations, North Korea's experienced extortionists have an outline that guides their bellicose dramas. The starving Stalinists' latest armed tantrum fits the general theatrical scheme of past confrontations - up to an uncomfortable point. Published April 4, 2009

BAY: Flash mobs and tea parties

Last month, a young man posting on a Web site dubbed "The Urban Prankster Network" (Headquarters for Global Agents of Stealth Comedy!) suggested a novel way to cool off the city of Austin, Texas, when the inevitable hell of a Texas summer bakes streets and fries brains - a citywide water gun and water balloon war waged by a "flash mob." Published March 21, 2009

BAY: Missile technology and Mr. Kim

President Barack Obama's new administration confronts a complex tangle in East Asia - a tangle exacerbated by interlinked economies, economic decline and a paranoid tyrant working an extortion racket. Sorting through the tangle will require very smart diplomacy that includes pursuing Bush administration initiatives and accepting the utility of missile defense. Published March 13, 2009

BAY: Pulling out, polemically

President Barack Obama's military "pullout" from Iraq as announced last week isn't what his campaign promised - thank goodness. Published March 6, 2009

BAY: A hotel in Babylon

"If you have the chance, Austin, make sure you visit Babylon," an Iraqi-American friend told me a month before I left the States for military duty in Baghdad. "We," he said, meaning Iraq and Iraqis, "have so much history." Published February 27, 2009

BAY: A Balkan birthday

The Serbian government called the anniversary "irrelevant." Despite the Serb snub, tens of thousands of Kosovar Albanians celebrated Kosovo's first year of independence. Published February 20, 2009

BAY: ‘Wicked’ vexations

The war in Afghanistan now vexes Barack Obama and his administration. It is a tough struggle, a Himalayan slog, but one President Obama himself claims is a "must win." Published February 13, 2009