Another bonus classic format edition, this time featuring Steve in extended conversation with Col. Austin Bay, one of the proprietors of the indispensable Strategy Page, columnist for Creators Syndicate, and author of the splendid Cocktails from Hell: Five Complex Wars Shaping the 21st Century.

His column last week is a brief and lucid tour through the proxy wars America is currently confronting (against Russia and Iran, by way of Ukraine and Israel), and our conversation goes into much greater depth on both of these conflicts as well as our potential conflict with rapidly-arming China.

Can Ukraine defeat Russia? What must Israel do to prevail, and what are the risks of a wider war? Some of what Col. Bay lays out will curl your hair and make you want to buy a lot of canned goods, but he also gets into detail about how combined arms work on the battlefield and especially in the kind of urban warfare U.S. forces faced in Iraq and Israel is facing now in Gaza.

The biggest risk of the moment, Bay agrees, is with America’s pathetic leadership class, making him more worried for the fate of the country than at any time in the last 20 years.

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