Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 4.1.24

Freedom Under Siege

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States has enjoyed status as the sole world superpower.


The defeat of the Evil Empire, coined by President Ronald Reagan, meant freedom could sound across the globe.


In 2024, those gains of freedom are under siege.


Challenging those freedoms as well as the leadership of the United States are a set of bad actors across the globe. While their motives vary, those actors share the common goal of thwarting freedom and the best interests of the United States.


Among them is the Communist People’s Republic of China (China).


China persists in its desire to supplant the United States as the world’s main superpower. President Xi Jinping has gone great lengths to consolidate his power. Xi secured an unprecedented third term as China’s leader, making him China’s longest serving head of state since 1949, longer than Mao Tse-tung, the first Communist leader of China.


President Xi wields the world’s second-strongest economy, with attempts to use his Belt and Road initiative to expand Chinese influence throughout the globe.


China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, as well as its escalating efforts to control Taiwan, positions itself as a dangerous, power-hungry actor.


China has projected its military capabilities by participating in joint drills with numerous countries, most recently a five-day exercise with the navies of Russia and Iran.


Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has shocked the West. As I have discussed in an earlier column, we have witnessed Finland and Sweden join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) within the last year to signal Western unity in the face of Russian aggression.


Many Western leaders do not see Putin’s encroachment stopping with Ukraine.


In that previous column, I mentioned the potential threat to Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Also threatened could be the Republic of Moldova.


Moldova is situated east of Romania and to the southwest of Ukraine.


The Dniester River, which runs through Ukraine and Moldova, splits Moldova. The region east of the Dniester is known as Transnistria.


In Transnistria, the people have much closer ties to Russia than Europe. Many Russians settled there during the Soviet Union era. Russian is the predominant language. Their flag maintains the old Soviet hammer and sickle. Russia reportedly maintains a military garrison, albeit small, of roughly 1,500 troops in Transnistria. All of these ties contribute to Transnistria’s classification as a breakaway republic.


Also within Moldova, but separate from Transnistria, lies an autonomous region known as Gagauzia. Home to a populace of mainly ethnic Turks, Gagauzia holds Russia-friendly, anti-European sentiments. Their governor met last month with Putin despite Moldovan objections. Putin has promised to extend his support to Gagauzia and its people.


Moldova’s concerns are legitimate.


Russia’s activity in other parts of the world is also concerning, particularly their close relationship and their arms deals with Iran.


Iran is a major instigator in the Middle East, contributing further to the destabilization of the region.


On October 7 of last year, Iran-backed Hamas executed a terrorist attack of grotesque proportions, igniting a deadly war with Israel. Iran continues its threats of escalation with Israel as Israel fights in self-defense.


Further, the Red Sea, an important trade route for the global economy, is under siege from Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, who are supported with weapons and ammunition by Iran. The Houthis have upended the world supply chain with their attacks on cargo ships, supposedly targeting any vessel that is linked to Israel.


It should come as no surprise that in March, the Houthis came to an agreement with China and Russia, assuring the two powers that their ships will have safe passage through the Red Sea.


But that is not true for Western shipping, particularly US and British ships. The Houthis have fired on US and allied shipping on a fairly regular basis.


Also earlier this year, three U.S. service members in Jordan were killed by a drone strike led by Iranian-backed militants. This outpost is just one of many that have taken fire from Iranian drones and missiles.


Also Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon are backed by the Iranians. 


We are living through a remarkable flashpoint in world affairs. Our foreign adversaries grow more emboldened every day, jeopardizing the long-term best interests of freedom and the United States.


We should show resolve by defending our own borders, and not coddling our adversaries with favorable trade deals and sanction relief.


If not, freedom may no longer ring from sea to shining sea or around the globe.


If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office.  You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at

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