ROYAL WEDDING EUPHORIA HIDES GRIM REALITY

Prince Harry’s wedding to actress Meghan Markle, was a great success, watched by approximately one billion people around the world.   Everything to do with the wedding went smoothly, as we have come to expect from royal events in Britain.

Various estimates were given as to the cost of the wedding. Fox News said it was $34 million.   A British source said 32 million pounds (one pound = $1.34).   The cost was higher than seven years ago, when Prince William got married.   According to Fox, security alone was more than $30 million, considerably higher than at William’s.   Harry had a greater need for security, a sign of the times, together with terrorist threats made against him for his military role in Afghanistan.

The Queen paid for the wedding; the tax-payer covers security.   When President Trump visits London in a few weeks, security will also be expensive.     At least with the royal wedding, the financial outlay will be more than covered by increased tourism, television rights, sales of merchandise made for the occasion, and all those celebratory drinks and meals.

The cost of the monarchy is covered by entrance fees to the royal palaces.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

The Economist’s first editor, Walter Bagehot (pronounced “Badge It”), wrote a classic book on the English Constitution, in which he explained the function of the two branches of government.   The monarchy, he said, represented the “dignified” branch of government; while parliament was the “efficient” branch.

The Economist has a weekly column on British politics, called “Bagehot,” in memory of its founder, who edited the publication from 1860-77.    “A royal wedding is as good a time as any to conduct an audit of the British constitution,” is the opening line of this week’s offering.

In the past, the weekly newsmagazine has called for the abolition of the monarchy.   “An Idea whose time has gone,” was one such cover story about twenty years ago.

But this week’s publication points out that the monarchy and parliament have changed roles – “The efficient branch is in its worst state since the 1970s.   The two main parties have been captured by their extremes.   The prime minister lacks authority.   Westminster has been rocked by scandals about sexual harassment and bullying. The Home Office is in turmoil.   The government is preparing for Brexit, its most complicated task since the second world war, without a majority in the Commons or a consensus in its own ranks.” (“Something old, something new”, Economist, 5/19).

Most Members of Parliament do not support Brexit, but the people did in a referendum two years ago.   “The efficient branch now has an agonizing choice: implement a policy that it believes to be foolish, or frustrate the “will of the people.”

“The dignified branch (the Crown), by contrast, is thriving.   The Queen represents stability in an unstable world, as well as unity in a polarized one.   She has spent 66 of her 92 years on the throne and has survived twelve prime ministers and innumerable political crises.”   Last week’s wedding has boosted the popularity of the monarchy around the world; Prince Charles was chosen last month as the new Head of the 53-nation Commonwealth, to succeed his mother; Prince Harry was appointed as an Ambassador to Commonwealth youth; Zimbabwe has asked to return to the organization after leaving fifteen years ago over human rights abuses and failure to uphold the rule of law and democratic norms.

It remains the case, however, that twenty years ago, the monarchy wasn’t doing so well; a reality that could return at any time.

This is the age of populism and no politician is more popular than Queen Elizabeth II, whose approval rating in Britain is always above 70%, more than double the highest rated politician.   Even in her overseas dominions, her popularity surpasses the politicians, so much so that many of them would like to say goodbye to her and the institution of constitutional monarchy. It is the ordinary people who feel differently and from whom she gets her greatest support.

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GERMANY TO REPLACE US AS HONEST BROKER IN MIDEAST Handelsblatt Global, 18 May 2018

“Iran, Gaza, Jerusalem: If ever the time was right for EU countries to unite in their foreign policy as in their trade policy, it is now . . .    May 2018 could one day enter history books as the moment when the EU countries including Germany at last embarked on a common foreign policy.   The catalyst, as long expected, will have been an external power.   Not, however, a common foe, but an ostensible ally: America’s Donald Trump.

“. . . the US and Europe can no longer pretend to be aligned.   The US has forfeited its role of honest broker [in the Middle East] . . .   If there is today an honest broker, it may ironically be Germany…

“Angela Merkel and her EU peers have certainly grasped the urgency of the moment . . .   For Germany to play a diplomatic role . . .   it would need to boost military spending far beyond its paltry 1.2% of GDP…”

(Handelsblatt is an influential German business paper; the German equivalent of the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times.)

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EUROPEAN NEWS

Macron to Silicon Valley: Embrace Europe’s Regulations:   French President Emmanuel Macron ratcheted up tensions with U.S. tech giants Thursday calling on them to embrace Europe’s regulation of topics ranging from taxation to privacy to artificial intelligence, because Washington is failing to do so.

Europe Seeks Russia’s Help on Saving Iran Deal, Despite Chill:  U.S. President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran has added fresh impetus to a European outreach to Russia—although European officials say existing tensions make it far from a thaw.

Britain Takes Stab at Wrangling Dirty Money:   The publication this week of a U.K. parliamentary report calling for tougher action to stop the flow of dirty Russian money into Britain is a landmark moment for the City of London, writes Simon Nixon.

ECB Warns Against Trade Spats, Urges Patience in Easing:   European Central Bank officials warned at their April rate-setting meeting that international trade conflicts could hurt the eurozone economy and called for patience in phasing out the bank’s easy-money policies.                                                                                                        (Brexit and Beyond, WSJ, 5/23

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IN FACE OF A GLOBAL TRADE WAR

The EU announced its first defensive measures against US plans to penalize European companies’ business engagements with Iran, by reactivating the 1996 “Blocking Statute.” That law prohibits companies from terminating their business engagements with Iran, to avoid severe penalties in the United States.   Some companies from Germany and other EU countries have already announced that they will cancel their contracts with Tehran to avoid endangering their business ventures in the US. German companies, involved in profitable ventures with Russia, could be facing a similar situation.   Washington threatens to demand that businesses from Germany and the EU comply also with the April 6 sanctions announced by US President Donald Trump, against some Russian oligarchs and their companies.   According to government advisors, German Russia-oriented businesses are “virtually panicking” because of the escalation of a global trade war.
(https://www.german-foreign-policy.com/en/news/detail/7612/)

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Newsletter – How to Become a World Power

Berlin is seeking to use Washington’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal to increase its pressure on Tehran. In their joint statement published Wednesday, the governments of Germany, France and the United Kingdom declared their continued commitment to the agreement, while demanding that the Iranian government limit its ballistic missile program and its efforts to obtain influence in the region.   The reintroduction of US sanctions offers Berlin a chance to disguise its continued pressure on Tehran as a war preventive measure.   At the same time, US sanctions against Iran continue to fuel the power struggle between the EU and the USA.   The Airbus Company alone could lose €16 billion in commercial deals due to the sanctions imposed by the US government.   Commentators recommend resistance:   “You don’t become a world power in a conference room.”   At the same time, Israel is exacerbating the escalating tensions with its aggressions against Syria.

more…
(https://www.german-foreign-policy.com/en/news/detail/7606/)

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Der Spiegel comment on EU / US relations

“With his decision to blow up the Iran deal, U.S. President Donald Trump has thrown Europe into uncertainty and anxiety — and raised the specter of a new war in the Middle East. One thing is certain: the
trans-Atlantic relationship has been seriously damaged.”

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Zimbabwe Formally Applies to Re-Join Commonwealth

To re-join, Zimbabwe must demonstrate that it complies with the fundamental values set out in the Commonwealth Charter, including democracy and rule of law plus protection of human rights such as freedom of expression.   The membership process requires an informal assessment to be undertaken by representatives of the Secretary-General, followed by consultations with other Commonwealth countries.   Zimbabwe has also invited the Commonwealth to observe its forthcoming elections in July.

Zimbabwe was suspended in 2002 for breaching the Harare Declaration.  In 2003, when the Commonwealth refused to lift the suspension, Zimbabwe withdrew from the Commonwealth.   Since then, the Commonwealth has played a major part in trying to end the political impasse and return Zimbabwe to a state of normality.(http://allafrica.com/stories/201805210678.html)

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ISLAM INCOMPATIBLE WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

  • The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) itself has become a prime motivator and enforcer of the rejection of human rights.
  • The other charters of human rights are to be found exclusively in the Muslim world.   Anything that falls within Islamic shari’a law is a human right; anything that does not fall within shari’a is not a human right.
  • “For us the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is nothing but a collection of mumbo-jumbo by disciples of Satan”. — ‘Ali Khamene’i, Iran’s current Supreme Leader.
  • “The underlying thesis in all the Islamic human rights schemes is that the rights afforded in international law are too generous and only become acceptable when they are subjected to Islamic restrictions.” — Ann Elizabeth Mayer, Islam and Human Rights: Tradition and Politics.
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#8

The body of a Palestinian baby who died of tear gas inhalation during protests, according to Gaza’s health ministry, is held by her mother at a Gaza City morgue on May 15, 2018 (AFP Photo/MAHMUD HAMS)

Last week, I posted an article showing how decisions made by the Trump Administration are inadvertently leading to the fulfillment of prophesied events.   I listed seven areas where this is happening, including the growing rift between Europe and the US; pressure on Germany to rearm; recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; tearing up the Iran nuclear deal; and the imposition of tariffs that will harm global trade.   Additionally, attacking Syria adds to the growing Shia-Sunni conflict and pulling out of the climate change treaty is separating the US from the rest of the world.

Since I wrote, there have been two other developments.

Number 8 took place on Monday, with the opening of the new US Embassy in Jerusalem.  Sixty residents of Gaza were killed that day by Israeli troops.   The responsibility for their deaths cannot be blamed on Israel, which is what the world’s press is doing.  The blame goes to Hamas, the militant Palestinian group that runs Gaza. They stirred up the mob and sent people, including young people, to their deaths.

But what happened makes it next to impossible for the US to broker a peace deal between Palestinians and Israelis, as Washington is clearly not even-handed.

The peace process started over forty  years ago.   Since 2003, all efforts toward a “deal” have been based on the “two-state solution.” The American goal has been the eventual establishment of two nations, side by side, living in peace.

This almost happened in 1993 when leaders of Israel and the Palestinians talked peace in Oslo.   The Israelis offered generous terms to the Palestinians, but the process stalled, as it always does, when it became clear that the Palestinians would not recognize Israel, as a political entity.   They want to take over Israel, giving third generation Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, the “right to return” to the lands they occupied prior to the establishment of the nation of Israel.   The “Right of Return” has been a constant stumbling block.

Now that the US cannot be an honest broker in trying to resolve these issues, somebody else will have to do it – and fairly quickly as the situation is deteriorating.

Enter Europe.

Bible students are aware that there is to be a final revival of the Roman Empire, prior to Christ’s Second Coming.   This may sound incredible, but it’s important to understand that a revival of the Roman Empire has been a constant theme throughout European history.   Rome fell in 476.   Less than a century later, Justinian, the Emperor in the East, tried to restore the Empire. In 800, the Emperor Charlemagne established the Holy Roman Empire, which lasted over a thousand years.   It was Napoleon who abolished the H.R.E., but then he himself wanted to revive the Empire, crowning himself a new Caesar and naming his son “King of Rome.”

More recently, Italy’s leader, Benito Mussolini, proclaimed the restoration of the Roman Empire in 1922, while Hitler, a little over a decade later, declared that his Third Reich would last a thousand years, just like the First Reich of the Holy Roman Empire.

Even after these violent attempts to restore the Roman Empire, the dream never died.   Twelve years after the collapse of the Third Reich, the Treaty of Rome brought six European nations together to form what is now the 28-member European Union.   A final union of European nations is prophesied to come together, perhaps out of the rubble of the present EU.   It’s also possible there could be a peaceful transformation from the present conglomeration to something else.

Bible prophecy shows this union will get involved in the Middle East peace process.  This is prophesied in Daniel 9:27, at the end of the Seventy Weeks Prophecy, a prophecy about the future of the Jewish people, written by the prophet Daniel in the sixth century B.C.   The last few verses deal with the coming of the Messiah.   It is a remarkably accurate prophecy about His first coming, even down to the year His ministry would begin and the day on which He would be put to death.   As many Bible commentaries explain, “seventy weeks” equals 490 years (70 x 7 days in a week; each day representing one year).   This period of time began with Persian King Artaxerxes’ decree, authorizing the Jews to rebuild the Temple.

  • The fourth decree was also by Artaxerxes Longimanus, issued on March 5, 444 b.c. (Neh. 2:1-8).   On that occasion Artaxerxes granted the Jews specific authorization to rebuild Jerusalem’s city walls.   This decree is the one referred to in Daniel 9:25. (Old Testament prophecy, Royal decree).

“After the sixty-nine weeks (the 63 + 7), the Messiah would be “killed” (Dan 9:26), an apparent reference to his crucifixion, and “the city and the Temple” of Jerusalem would be destroyed.   The “armies” (9:26) were the Roman people, who destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70. There is evidence of a gap between the 69th and 70th week, for what is predicted in 9:27 has not yet taken place.  The “ruler” (9:26) is the Antichrist, who will rise out of what may possibly be a revived type of the Roman Empire (7:8, 24-26)”.   (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary, Daniel 9:27, page 319.   Published in 1990.)

Note the following from the Expositor’s Bible Commentary, page 1389 (1994):

“If it was a ruler of the Roman people who was to destroy Jerusalem (in AD 70), then it would be a ruler of the Roman Empire – in its final phase, i.e. the ten-toes phase of chapter 2 and the ten-horned beast phase of ch. 7 – who will conclude this covenant.” “ . . . the latter day ruler over the “Roman” people will “confirm” a “covenant” with the believing Jews for a stipulated period of seven years, permitting them to carry on their religious practices.” (page 1390)

The next paragraph adds:   “After about three and one-half years, the world dictator will break his agreement with the Jews.   Possibly he will feel secure enough in his autocratic position to carry out his original, secret plan to impose an absolute dictatorship on all the peoples of his empire, especially the Jews.   All pretense of religious toleration will be dropped as he aspires to display himself as the incarnation of all divine authority on earth.”   (II Thess 2:4)

Tyndale adds:   “ In the middle of the “one set of seven” (9:27), or “week,” he will take control of the Jewish temple and put a stop to worship, demanding that he be worshipped (cf. Matt 24:15;  II Thess 2:4).   But he will be destroyed at Christ’s second coming.”  (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary, Daniel 9:27, page 319, 1990).

Again, it should be noted that this revived Roman system will broker an agreement between the Jews and the Palestinians, solving what has seemed like an insoluble problem.   Of course, it won’t really be resolved, as it only lasts three and a half years.   Clearly, America’s role as honest broker is about to be replaced by active European involvement.

For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman.   And they shall not escape.” (I Thess 5:3)

Unger’s Bible Handbook (1966) says this about this time period: “The final week of seven years constitutes the climax of Jewish history prior to the establishment of the messianic kingdom, 27.   It is divided into two half periods (three and a half years each).   During the first half the “prince” (world ruler, “little horn” of 7:8, 24-25) will make a covenant with the Jews, who are restored in Palestine with a resumption of temple worship.   In the middle of the week the covenant is broken, worship for the Jews ceases (II Thess 2:3-4), and the time of Great Tribulation ensues.   The advent of Christ the Messiah consummates this period of desolation, bringing everlasting righteousness for Israel, 24, and judgment upon the “desolator,” the prince, and his hosts (Rev 19:20).”    (page 392)

US recognition of Jerusalem as the “eternal capital of Israel” was the catalyst for this.   Expect more violence, perhaps even threatening the very existence of Israel.   This will then force the Europeans to get involved, leading to “peace” which won’t last.

#9

Another development, on Thursday, may also be a significant development.

EU leaders, meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria, agreed that EU based companies will be prosecuted if they go along with the Trump Administration’s sanctions on Iran.   These sanctions follow Mr. Trump’s decision to tear up the Iran nuclear treaty that was agreed between the US, EU, Germany, France, the UK, Russia and China in 2015.

The 28-nation European Union is sending a clear signal that it will no longer be dictated to by the United States.

 

 

PROPHESIED EVENTS SPEEDING UP UNDER TRUMP

When President Trump was elected, many Christians thought this would mean a delay in prophesied end-time events, as America was “made great again”.

The opposite seems to be the case.

As Sky News put it following Mr. Trump’s announcement that the United States is pulling out of the Iran deal, the president’s proclamation sent an “earthquake” through the Middle East.

Rather than delaying prophesied events, Mr. Trump is speeding them up, laying the groundwork for rapid escalation.

Consider the following:

  1. The growing rift between Europe and America.   Less than a month after French President Emmanuel Macron paid a seemingly highly successful visit to Washington, DC, the French today condemned America over the re-imposition of sanctions on Iran, calling the decision “unacceptable.”   Earlier in the week, France, Germany and the UK all expressed support for the Iranian deal, refusing to support the US.

It should be emphasized that it is not Europe distancing itself from America; it’s America that keeps on making decisions that are taking the country down a new path of isolationism.

It’s America that is changing, not the rest of the world.   But changes decided in Washington are going to have a profound effect internationally.

Just today, European Union boss Jean-Claude Juncker is capitalizing on America’s decision to call once again for a United States of Europe with its own, single, unified military.

At some point, prophecy shows that ten nations in Europe will unite to form a formidable military, political and economic alliance.   You can read about this in Revelation, chapter 17.   “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast.” (Rev.  17:12-13)

  1.  Pressure from the US on Berlin to build up the German military.

After two world wars that were started by Germany, you would think nobody would want to rearm the country that lies at the heart of Europe.   And that has been the case with every Administration since World War II.   But now it’s changing, as President Trump feels that the Germans must spend more on the defense of the western alliance – which may not be an alliance much longer!   Building up its military will leave Germany in the perfect position to lead the ten nation revival of the Roman Empire.

  1. Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, thereby recognizing the city as the “eternal capital” of Israel.   No other major nation has followed America in this.   This is just one decision that has changed the Middle East dramatically.

The Old Testament Book of Zechariah is a Millennial prophecy, which speaks to us today.   It contains prophecies which could not have been fulfilled until the restoration of the Jewish nation exactly seventy years ago. Note chapter 12, verses 2 & 3.

 “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem.    And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.”

Judah is the biblical name for the modern nation of Israel, whose population is mostly Jewish, people who are descendants of the ancient tribe of Judah.

Given time, conflict around Jerusalem will involve more nations. Note Zech 14:2:  “ For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle.”

  1. US support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has emboldened Israel to strike at Iran in Syria.   It’s worth remembering that it was Netanyahu who warned President George W Bush about weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq, calling on Washington to do something.   That did not work out well.   Could we see greater intervention by the United States in a rising conflict between Israel and Iran?   Iran this week attacked Israel for the first time.
  2. Add to this, the growing conflict between Shia and Sunni Islam, with the US clearly supporting Sunni Muslim countries (notably Saudi Arabia) against Shi’ite countries (Iran, Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon).
  3. The decision to tear up the climate change treaty, signed in Paris.   Mr. Macron tried to change President Trump’s mind, but failed.   People may criticize the US president for many things, but he’s certainly fulfilling his election promises, including this one.   The rest of the world remains committed to the treaty.
  4. Trade is another area of growing conflict, as President Trump puts “America First.”   Here certainly the US has many grievances on unfair trade practices, but, again, it adds to the growing sense of divergence, as the US moves in a different direction from the rest of the world.   Other nations continue to support globalization as a way to universal prosperity.

This growing trade war could even backfire on the US, if China decides to divest itself of US dollars. The result would be a serious downward pull on the greenback’s international value.

Even in less important areas, there has been significant change.   For the first time, royal wedding planners had to announce that no politicians will be invited to next week’s wedding.   This was the only way out of inviting the US president to a wedding where the bride is an American.   But the alternative was a massive demonstration outside the church, thereby giving the British a security headache.

It’s not that all the changes are wrong.   As an article headline in the Wall Street Journal put it:   “Everything about Trump is bad, except for all his policies.”   Rather, it’s the combined effect that all the changes are making that has sent an earthquake around the world. The aftershocks will be with us for some time.

Many Christians will no doubt continue to believe that Trump is going to reverse America’s fortunes and usher in a new glorious age, but it seems more likely that the radical departure from previous policies is only going to speed up the prophesied events that culminate in the return of Jesus Christ.

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CBS this morning showed a few minutes of an interview with the Pope, to be broadcast in its entirety on “60 Minutes” this Sunday.  This morning, the pope was talking about the Jewish seventh day sabbath being a day of rest.  He actually used the terms “seventh day” and “sabbath.”

IS MACRON NOW “THE LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD”?

“Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might and the beginning of my strength.   The excellency of dignity and the excellency of power.  Unstable as water, you shall not excel.”  (Gen 49:3-4 NKJV)

President Emmanuel Macron of France has just visited the United States.   He and President Trump certainly have a good rapport with a great deal of mutual back-slapping, hugs and kisses (French-style).   The first state visit of the Trump presidency included a lavish dinner at the White House.   Everything went extremely well.

Well, almost everything . . .

The day after the dinner, M. Macron addressed Congress.   In perfect English, he went on to criticize the Trump Administration for various policies, including climate change, Iran and trade.   The Democrats and many Republicans were greatly pleased and gave him a standing ovation.

His charm offensive has raised the question – is Macron now the leader of the free world?   This is an epithet that has often been used to describe American presidents.  But, clearly, now that the US is out of step with most western democracies, with Macron clearly preferred by many leaders, is it not time to all get behind the French president?

France is, as Mr. Macron pointed out, “America’s oldest ally.”  Well, sort of.   It is true that France and the new United States formed an alliance in 1778, an alliance that eventually gave victory to the Patriots.   But that was under the Bourbon monarchy.   France is now a republic – the Fifth Republic, to be exact.   This fact illustrates that France historically has been quite unstable.

After the fall of the monarchy in 1789 and the establishment of the First Republic, there followed a period of great upheaval and terror. Eventually, Napoleon came to power and set about conquering the whole of Europe.   After his fall, the monarchy was restored but didn’t last long.  There followed another monarchy, then another republic, then a revival of the Napoleonic Empire.   Another attempt at a republic (the Third Republic) was made from 1870 to 1940.   This fell when Germany invaded and imposed the collaborationist Vichy France on parts of the country.

After World War II, the Fourth Republic came into being and lasted just twelve years.   It had some serious economic problems and faced uprisings in Indo-China and Algeria.   In 1958, wartime leader General Charles de Gaulle was instrumental in establishing the Fifth Republic, which is now sixty years old.

DeGaulle himself was not overly-confident that the Fifth Republic would last.   He was brought down by internal chaos and street rioting after ten years in power.   At one point, he was discussing the restoration of the Orleanist monarchy with the Comte de Paris.

The above summary should remind American presidents that France is not always the most reliable ally.   More recently, France was not supportive of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.  A few weeks ago, the country took the initiative on attacking Syria with the UK and the US.

So, could Macron lead the free world?   Not only is the US president impressed with him; Germany’s Angela Merkel has also developed a good friendship with the French president.

But note the following, from the UK’s Financial Times:

“There is no Franco-German friendship  (according to ) Ashoka Mody, a former IMF bailout chief in Ireland:

“However daring and appealing Macron’s European vision may be, France has fallen so far behind Germany that any partnership between the two countries is unrealistic.”  (Brussels Briefing, 4/26)

The United States is still the dominant power in the West. Economically, Japan and Germany are the second and third greatest economic powers  in the West.  Japan is not western in the same sense that Europeans are.   So, if the US withdraws from its leadership role for whatever reason, the mantle of leadership would fall on Germany, which has the next biggest economy, made much bigger by its domineering role in the European Union.

Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor, arrived in Washington today for talks with President Trump.  She was not invited for a state visit and will not have a lavish dinner with the Trumps.

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THE KOREAN TALKS

North Korea’s leader crossed into South Korea today, for talks between the two leaders.

The world looks upon all of this favorably.   President Trump has achieved something no other US president has been able to do.

But North Korea’s track record is not good when it comes to keeping promises.

It should also be remembered that the belligerents already have different interpretations of current developments.  Whereas the US and South Korea think sanctions have put pressure on the North to come to the conference table, North Korea believes its nuclear weapons program is forcing the two allies to talk.

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ROYAL NEWS

The British Royal Family is having a very good year!

The 53 Heads of Government of the Commonwealth have all agreed that Prince Charles will succeed his mother as head of the organization.

Prince Charles opened the Commonwealth Games in Australia and drew crowds that politicians can only envy.

Earlier, Prince Harry was appointed by his grandmother to be a Commonwealth Ambassador to Youth.

Next month Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle.

And a new baby arrived earlier this week, fifth in line to the throne. His name is Prince Louis Arthur George.

His mother presented the baby on the steps of the hospital only seven hours after delivery.

Prince William was seen dozing off the day after the birth.  All parents can identify!  The prince will soon have a break from the bay — he and his wife are heading to Israel on the first official visit by a member of the royal family since the country became independent (from Britain) seventy years ago.  This reflects changing attitudes in the British Foreign Office, which has always been pro-Arab.

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GRISLY FIND IN PERU

Ancient Mass Child Sacrifice May Be World’s Largest

More than 140 children were ritually killed in a single event in Peru more than 500 years ago.  What could possibly have been the reason?   ​National Geographic​ * 4/ 26, 2018

Evidence for the largest single incident of mass child sacrifice in the Americas — and likely in world history – has been discovered on Peru’s northern coast, archaeologists tell National Geographic.

More than 140 children and 200 young llamas appear to have been ritually sacrificed in an event that took place some 550 years ago on a wind-swept bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, in the shadow of what was then the sprawling capital of the Chimú Empire.

While incidents of human sacrifice among the Aztec, Maya, and Inca have been recorded in colonial-era Spanish chronicles and documented in modern scientific excavations, the discovery of a large-scale child sacrifice event in the little-known pre-Columbian Chimú civilization is unprecedented in the Americas—if not in the entire world.

COMMENT:   It’s interesting to note that those reporting this are shocked at the news.  Over 140 children sacrificed at one time?   More than 140 children a day are sacrificed in the US – but we call it abortion.  It’s perfectly legal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AMERICA’S FIRST CIVIL WAR

The Battle of King’s Mountain, North Carolina. Picture courtesy of North Carolina Office of Archives and History.

Idealism has played a role in American interventions.  Misguided idealism.   It goes back over two centuries to the country’s revolution against Britain.

This is the subject of a new book by Holger Hoock of the University of Pittsburgh, called “Scars of Independence,” the best book I’ve ever read on the revolution.

Mr. Hoock shows that the war was very much “America’s first civil war,” with Loyalists and Patriots doing most of the fighting.  (After the “final” Battle of Yorktown, there were over 200 battles and skirmishes between those loyal to the Crown and those in revolt. None of these involved British troops.)   Loyalists were denied the opportunity to return to their former properties (and families) after the war, by local revolutionary committees – this enabled the “victors” to distort historical accounts of exactly what happened. But those accounts are still there.   Mr. Hoock quotes from newspaper and other accounts at the time, of atrocities committed by both sides. Neither side looks good by the end of the book.

He also shows how America’s mis-interpretation of the Revolutionary War affects us today.

Because America’s leaders see the war for independence as a revolt by simple farmers against a mighty tyrant king of England, they see analogies with leaders like Saddam Hussein.   Overthrow him and you can introduce democracy, which will solve all the country’s problems.   This was a prominent idea at the time of the invasion. The reality is that a democratic election in Iraq has caused many problems.   The repercussions never seem to end.   As with every other military adventure in the Middle East, the quicksand just keeps sucking us further in!

The reality of our history is that the thirteen original colonies were democracies before the revolution.   Each colony had its own representative assembly.   The political system of each colony evolved from England whose parliament was founded in 1265.   That’s a long history of democracy.

This is important to understand and appreciate.   Because the common mythology believes that it took a revolution to introduce democracy in America, our foreign policy keeps trying to do the same thing over and over again.  

We fail to understand that democracy is unlikely to be successfully introduced in some nations for cultural reasons.   America’s democracy evolved over centuries in the mother country; it cannot suddenly be imposed on most alien cultures.

POST-WAR DELUSIONS

Post-war America kept pushing for the dissolution of the European empires.   Country after country was given independence.  Most of them have not been very successful democracies; in many, the people are worse off than they were under colonialism and the people have less freedom.   These are reasons why millions are trying to reach North America, Europe and Australia.   But, again, Americans see independence as a solution to all problems, based on their own misinterpretation of history.

“It was the Suez crisis of 1956 which first sounded the alarm, and brought those of us associated with Britain and the Empire face to face with the hard reality that Britain could no longer call the tune on the international stage.   The United States was now in the driving seat, constantly propagating the philosophy that colonialism was inherently bad and that the pace of its elimination had to be stepped up.

“The Americans joined forces with the Russians in this anti-colonialist campaign, albeit for opposing reasons.   The Russian plan was for world conquest, the take-over by Marxism-Leninism.  As the metropolitan powers pulled out of their empires, the Russian plan was to move in.  The Americans, on the other hand, believed that the presence of the colonial powers was denying them the opportunity to develop in these areas the expertise, skills and economic success of their free enterprise system.   Sadly, they seriously misjudged the situation.

“First, the Russian plan was organized and well laid . . . As everybody knows only too well, in the fields of espionage and propaganda, the Marxists-Leninists are world beaters . . . Once they control a country, the free enterprise system goes out the window – and that is exactly what happened in every case.

“The second point, which should have been obvious to the USA, was that wherever Western colonialism was the vogue and the free enterprise system thriving, with American skills, capital and equipment everywhere – big mining and industrial development, motor cars, heavy transport, earth-moving equipment – all doors were open to everybody, including the Americans.   But once the Russians moved in, everyone else was frozen out.   So the result turned out to be contrary to the United States’ expectations. However, there is no way of correcting these mistakes, we have to live with them.   This is easy for the Americans: they live 10,000 kilometers away and can go on living their own lives.   The problem lies with the people on the spot, who have to go on living with the disaster forced onto them.”   (Bitter Harvest, Ian Smith, Rhodesian Prime Minister, 2008, pg 34)

AMERICAN REVOLUTION

It’s also the case that, denying the Revolutionary War was, in fact, a civil war, we overlook the case for the Loyalists.   Those that remained loyal to the Crown were, ironically, the equivalent of today’s Republicans.   They called the Patriots “the sons of anarchy.” fearing that a republic, a country without a king, would be like the English Republic of the previous century.   When King Charles I was executed in 1649, parliament was supreme for a while, but was soon replaced by a military dictatorship under Oliver Cromwell.   The king had always been seen as the guarantor of freedom – without him, it was likely there would be a breakdown of law and order.

There were also concerns that America would be cut off from other colonies around the world.   Together, they all constituted an Empire of the English speaking peoples, that had built up the best trading system in the world.   Tens of thousands, maybe more, wanted to maintain that trading empire because their livelihood depended on it. It was also an empire built on basic freedoms, of enterprise, political thought, the press and religion; and the rule of law.

“There are good reasons why Americans portray their revolution and war for independence as an uplifting, heroic tale, as the triumph of high-minded ideals in the face of imperial overreach, as a unified and unifying nation-building struggle to deliver a free and independent United States.   But, in doing so, they risk neglecting its divisive and violent strands.  To understand the Revolution and the war – the very birth of the nation – we must write the violence, in all its forms, back into the story.” (“Scars of Independence,” Holger Hoock, 2017, page 12.)

It’s not just foreign policy that has been affected.   Mr. Hoock shows that the basic divisions of the “first civil war” continue to this day, as do the means of achieving an end.   The Patriots tried to silence the Loyalists, by smashing their printing presses, tarring and feathering them, even hanging them.   Today, we see a frightening liberal-fascism that tries to silence any voices that oppose their aims.   It’s the same intolerance.

I remember a few years ago listening to an interesting segment on NPR.   It was an interview with a Canadian politician who was asked to explain the difference between the Canadian and American political systems.   I will always remember his answer (paraphrased): “In Canada, on any issue, we begin with the four parties stating their respective positions.  We then discuss and discuss until we finally reach a compromise.   In the US, there are two sides.   Both argue their case and then head for the barricades.”   Sadly, there is a lot of truth to that.

We have a culture of intolerance, which is causing irreparable division.  In Mr. Hoock’s opinion, it all goes back over two centuries to the Revolutionary War.   Incidentally, that war made the “second civil war” inevitable.

Although many Loyalists left the new republic to live in other colonies, many also remained with their families in the US.   They remain in our midst even now.   The post-World War II Secretary of State, Dean Acheson came from a Loyalist family.

“Dean Acheson was born in Connecticut into the Anglophile East Coast establishment.   His father was a Canadian-born Episcopalian bishop and the family always celebrated the King’s birthday.” (“Picking Up The Reins”, Norman Moss, 2008, pg 65).

“Scars of Independence” should be read by all Americans.   The writer’s basic premise is that the country’s violent birth still affects us negatively.   Before we make any more mistakes, we ought to be honest about our origins.

From a Biblical perspective, there is also something to think about. Most Christians would say that the US is not mentioned in the Bible. It certainly does not seem to be mentioned in end-time prophecies. However, other Christians believe that the United States is modern Manasseh, the half-tribe of Israel, descended from Joseph.   Manasseh broke away from the “multitude of nations” that was the Empire.  (Genesis 48)

Manasseh’s name means “causing to forget.”   “And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house.” (Genesis 41:51)

Forgetting has been America’s history from Day One.

IMMINENT MISSILE ATTACK ON SYRIA

“Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, And it will be a ruinous heap. (Isaiah 17:1) 

By an amazing coincidence, I have been reading a book on “Munich” while the current crisis in Syria has been building up.

At Munich in 1938, Hitler and Chamberlain met to discuss Hitler’s claims on German Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia.   Chamberlain famously gave in to his demands. The former British PM described Nazi Germany’s annexation of the area of German-speaking Czechoslovakia in 1938 as “a quarrel in a faraway country between people of which we know nothing.”

Similar words could be spoken today about Syria.

At the time of writing this article, President Trump is deciding on how to react to Syria’s use of chemical weapons on its own people. If the US does nothing, nobody else will.   In 1938 Neville Chamberlain, as British Prime Minister, was the leader of the western world; today it’s President Trump.   Less than a year after Chamberlain’s famous appeasement toward Hitler, Britain and Germany were at war.   It had become all too clear, even to Chamberlain, that Hitler was intent on global conquest.

There’s been plenty of evidence that Russia has similar territorial designs.   The Russians took control of part of Georgia a few years ago; this was followed by the conquest of Crimea and of eastern Ukraine.   Domination of Syria makes them the most powerful voice in the Middle East.  This role is growing – last month, Putin met with the leaders of Iran and Turkey in Ankara.  These three are now in a de facto alliance while Turkey remains officially in NATO.

Geoffrey Wawro, a professor at the University of North Texas, wrote a book called “Quicksand” (2010), on “America’s pursuit of power in the Middle East.”   Reviewer Rick Atkinson sums the book up well, writing that Wawro reveals “how an extraordinary tale of idealism, politics, force and miscalculation began and unfolded over the last century.”

The more the US got involved, the more the US was sucked in; hence the title “Quicksand.”   Why should we expect any other outcome following action in Syria?   Could US intervention lead to war with Russia?

“There was no reason for war in 1914, beyond the murder of an archduke in Bosnia.   As AJP Taylor said of 1914:   “Nowhere was there a conscious determination to provoke a war.   Statesmen miscalculated [and] became prisoners of their own weapons.   The great armies, accumulated to provide security and preserve the peace, carried the nations to war by their own weight.”   I wonder what Taylor would have said of Trump’s “Get ready, Russia” tweet.” (“Look at Syria and you can see all the elements that have led to world wars,” Simon Jenkins, The Guardian, April 12th.)

A miscalculation now could be fatal for the US, Russia and Syria.

SYRIAN COMPLEXITIES

Syria is a perfect illustration of the complexity of modern warfare and the geopolitics that complicate everything.

Syria was established after World War One and the fall of the Ottoman Empire.   After “the war to end all wars,” the Treaty of Paris carved out a number of new countries from the ruins of the Turkish ruled empire.   The treaty was aptly described as “the peace to end all peace” by a British general who saw a future of never-ending conflict in the region.   A century later nothing has improved.

Before World War One, Mesopotamia was a sleepy backwater of no interest to anyone.   The same could be said of Syria.   Bible students know that this had to change to fulfill apocalyptic prophecies about Israel (the Jews) and its neighbors.   The prophesied Jewish national homeland was established exactly seventy years ago, in May 1948.

Syria was a Mandated territory of the League of Nations.   France was given the mandate; Britain was given Iraq and Jordan to administer, again under a Mandate from the League.   Palestine was also a League of Nations mandated territory, given to the British.

After World War Two, the French left Syria.   It soon fell under the Soviet sphere of influence.   From 1970 Syria has been the home of a Russian naval base, the only one Russia has on the Mediterranean. The Russians are not going to give it up.   And they will support President Assad as long as it is in their interest to do so.

The US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 helped Russia to gain further influence in the region.   By removing Saddam Hussein from power and arranging an election in Iraq, the majority Shi’ites came to power, altering the balance of religious and political power in the Middle East.   Iran is the leading nation of Shia Islam.   An arc of Shia Islam now exists, from Iran through Iraq to Syria and Lebanon, roughly the same territory of the ancient biblical King of the North. Russia is heavily involved with the Iranians and Syria.   Turkey is now also with them, wanting to stop its Kurdish minority from breaking away.   The Turks are not Arabs, so this does not present a conflict for them.

Syria is not majority Shia.   Assad’s support comes mostly from his Alawite clan, a branch of Shia Islam, which amounts to only 11% of the population.   The Sunnis do not want to be ruled by Assad. Neither do the Sunnis in Iraq want a Shia government over them.  This is why ISIS formed, to “protect” Sunnis from Shi’ites.

It’s all very complicated.

No wonder the president is taking his time.

If he does nothing, he will be seen as weak against Syria and the Russians.  If he does something, innocent lives will be lost, but Assad will remain in power and Russia will continue as its benefactor.

A further complication came today when the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, announced that Moscow has “evidence” the video of the gas attack was performed by actors.   How does the West prove the film was real?

It seems like a no-win situation for the United States.

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European Immigration:   Nuns Out, Terrorists In                                                          by Douglas Murray, April 13, 2018 (Gatestone Institute)

  • When the same Home Office that forbade Sister Ban even to enter the country discovered that the young male Iraqi was in Britain, he explained clearly that he had been trained by ISIS.  He told the Home Office officials that the group had trained him to kill.   The Home Office promptly found him a place to live and study, and treated him as the minor he said he was but most likely was not.   He subsequently told a teacher that he had “a duty to hate Britain.”
  • Last year the Institute of St. Anselm (a Catholic training institute for priests and nuns, based in Kent) closed its doors because of problems it had getting the Home Office to grant visa applications for foreign students.   One nun last year was apparently denied entry to the UK because she did not have a personal bank account.
  • So, those who flee ISIS are turned away, while those who are trained by ISIS are welcome.

 

 

QUEEN AND COMMONWEALTH

                

The press gave a lot of coverage last week to Meghan Markle’s first public appearance with the Queen.   She was also seen singing “God save the Queen” for the first time ever.   Her attire was, of course, described in great detail and contrasted with what her future sister-in-law was wearing.

I didn’t see anything on the actual event the royals were attending.

It was a church service for Commonwealth Day, a day few will be aware of. One American news commentator, clearly bewildered, said it was “Queen Commonwealth Day.” Well, yes, the Queen is Head of the Commonwealth, a loose association of 53 countries, almost all of them former British colonies. Outside of the Commonwealth, many people think the queen does nothing – in contrast, it can truthfully be said that without her the Commonwealth would not exist.   She has worked tirelessly during her reign to keep the organization alive at a time when successive British governments have ignored it.

Until now.

Suddenly, once again, the Commonwealth is becoming important.

Thanks to Brexit.

The United Kingdom (also held together by the Queen) is set to exit the European Union a year from now, though there will be a transition period of 21 months following that exit. By the end of 2020, the EU will exist, after almost fifty years, without the UK.

Before Britain entered the EU (then the European Community), most of the country’s trade was with EFTA and the Commonwealth. EFTA is the European Free Trade Area. Fifty years ago, it had many members, but most left to join the EU, a much more centralized and controlling bloc of countries.

BRITISH BETRAYAL

Within the Commonwealth, Britain did a lot of trade with Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, through a system known as Imperial Preferences, a preferential trading agreement between the nations, which were then called the Dominions, fully independent countries within the Commonwealth who shared a joint allegiance to the Crown. (South Africa left the Commonwealth in 1961, but continued to enjoy the preferential trade.) In addition, there was a great deal of trade with former colonies in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, all now fully independent countries. These countries entered a preferential trading agreement with the EU in 1975 – they are unlikely to want to exchange those ties for closer ties with their former colonial power.

When Britain entered the European Common Market she turned her back on her former trading partners. To put it bluntly, she betrayed the countries she once ruled.

Now, she hopes to get that trade back.

Australia and Canada have both offered a new trade deal, but the UK is dragging its feet, seemingly hoping to salvage something from its trade ties with Europe.   Britain’s reluctance to put Europe behind her could mean she will miss out on good trade deals, at a time when the world seems headed toward a trade war.

Australia’s High Commissioner (Ambassador) in London on Monday encouraged the British people and their government to be more optimistic about their post-Brexit future. Alexander Downer was interviewed on London’s LBC radio station.

“Look you may have voted for Brexit, or you may have voted for Remain, but if Australia ends up in a difficult situation like that, and we did when the UK joined the European Union, we have an expression in Australia which is ‘she’ll be right’.

“So we’ll work it out somehow and she will be right, in our case we’ve always done pretty well as a country because we run our country well.

“You’ve always done pretty well as a country, you’ll work your way through it and there’s no need to be too pessimistic.”

The Australian High Commissioner also called on the Government to do more to promote post-Brexit optimism in Britain.” (“There’s no need to be pessimistic,” Darren Hunt, Daily Express, 3/21).

Mr. Downer pointed out that when Commonwealth trade ties abruptly ended with Britain entering the European Community, Australia suddenly faced enormous challenges, but met them all and has continued to thrive.

There are some in the UK who are optimistic about the future. In some cases, people are hankering after the glory days when Britain had the world’s greatest empire and the Royal Navy dominated the globe.

This is not going to happen again. Let me explain why.

EMPIRE DRIVEN BY RELIGION

It’s been 400 years since the British Empire started to form. It started under the first Queen Elizabeth back in the sixteenth century – and it had a lot to do with religion.   Elizabeth’s father, Henry VIII, had broken away from Rome and a power struggle followed between Catholics and Protestants. His daughter, who many consider to be the country’s greatest monarch, secured the Protestant Reformation against the major European Catholic powers, Spain, France and the Holy Roman Empire. The Pope had proclaimed Elizabeth a “heretic,” which meant that any Catholic who killed her would receive a reward in heaven.

By not marrying, the throne passed on her death to her closest relative, King James VI of Scotland. He relocated to London and became James I.   England no longer faced a threat from the north as it had done for centuries when Scotland was an independent country.

Having secured the nation’s freedom, the country had to look beyond the seas for trade. Trading posts were gradually established around the world, leading in time to the founding of colonies.   More wars were fought to maintain the country’s religious and political freedom.   In 1864, the colonies of Upper and Lower Canada asked for independence. This they received as a Dominion of the British Empire in 1867.   Other countries followed and became the Commonwealth.   These nations, sometimes referred to as “Britannia’s daughters,” were the free world’s first line of defense through two world wars and many other conflicts.

“If the day should come when the supremacy of Britain on the high seas is challenged, it will be the duty of all the daughter nations to close around the old Motherland and make a rampart to ward off any attack.”
Sir Wilfrid Lauirer, Prime Minister of the Dominion of Canada – Canadian Courier, Toronto, 3 April 1909

After World War II, Britain started to dismantle her empire, partly to focus on problems at home.   Resources were redirected into the National Health Service and the nationalization of the coal-mines, steel and railways, leaving little money for defense. After four centuries, the Royal Navy was no longer a priority. Instead of protecting the kingdom from European powers that frequently turned despotic, Europe was pursued as the solution to all the nation’s problems.

Now, Europe is seen more as the problem, as many warned it would be fifty years ago.

But, a divorce after 50 years of marriage, does not mean you can go back to your youth as if nothing has happened.

The driving force behind the formation of Empire, at least initially, was a strong belief in God, the God of the Bible. Under the Catholic Church, the Bible had not been accessible to the British people; even the priests did not have copies.   After King Henry VIII lifted the ban on the Bible following the break from Rome, there was an enormous enthusiasm for the scriptures. In his last speech to parliament, the King even corrected the people for being too enthusiastic, as many had taken to studying the scriptures in the country’s pubs.

This enthusiasm led zealous Christians to want to spread the gospel to the rest of the world. Jamestown and the Plymouth Colony, both founded under James I. were driven by strong religious beliefs.

Many Englishmen saw themselves as fulfilling biblical promises. To some, the British Empire was the Kingdom of God; to others, the multitude of nations promised to Joseph’s son, Ephraim, in Genesis 48:19.  Certainly, after Elizabeth’s heir, James, took the throne and authorized an official translation of the Bible (the 1611 King James Version), there was a profound zeal in those who took the Bible into other lands.   This continued right up to the end of the nineteenth century when Victorians saw themselves as bringing light into darkness, stamping out slavery in Africa and introducing primitive societies to the rule of law and basic Protestant Christianity.

All of this is now forgotten.   Any television documentaries on the Empire made now will focus on negatives in an attempt to ridicule and dismiss it.

Having written all the above, it would still be a good idea for Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand to build stronger ties; but they will never be what they were – not without God and the Bible. Constitutional monarchy has worked well for these nations, giving them maximum freedom with the rule of law.   They worked together in the past in preserving freedom, most notably in the two world wars. They need to work together again. Or, given time, they will cease to exist as they are, as demographic trends threaten them all.

"Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened." — Sir Winston Churchill