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.

————————————————————–

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.

———————————————————-

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.

———————————————————————

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

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.

—————————————————————————–

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.

REPEATING THE 1930’s

Chamberlain (right) shakes hands with Mussolini after signing the Munich Agreement while Hitler and other European leaders look on, 30 September 1938. Photograph: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

It’s DEJA VU all over again!

The world is starting to resemble the 1930’s, which ended in WWII.

1) ITALY may not seem important.  But In 1922 the fascists came to power and Mussolini proclaimed a revival of the Roman Empire.   That was the beginning of World War II in Europe.   Fascism was a major force in a number of European countries in the thirties.

The country had an election last Sunday.  The result stunned Europe — two populist parties got most of the votes.   The two parties are widely seen as the equivalent of the fascist party that ruled Italy up to and during WWII.

This follows an election a few months ago that had a similar outcome in Germany.  The AfD there is now the main opposition party.   These parties in Germany, Italy and elsewhere in Europe are often labeled “far-right.”   They are all “populist” parties that have gained support at the expense of mainstream political parties.   They are anti-EU and anti-immigrant, as well as very nationalistic.

2)  There is increasing talk of a TRADE WAR on both sides of the Atlantic.   What started out as retaliation against unfair Chinese trade policies is spreading into a full-scale trade war between the US and the EU.   The Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930 followed the stock market crash and put high tariffs on US imports.   It is considered a major development on the road to the GREAT DEPRESSION, which led in turn to WW2.  It is difficult to see how the western alliance can hold together with increasing conflict over trade.

Historically, trade wars increase unemployment;   while unemployment leads voters to turn to the right, becoming more nationalistic.   A trade war will strengthen populist parties everywhere.

3) GERMANY REARMING  — President Trump has been pushing  for this to force Germany to contribute more to western defense.   Germany now has a military presence in the Sahel,  Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf and Baghdad.  Germany is also at the forefront of calling for a united European military force.

4)  UK & GERMANY AT LOGGERHEADS — In 1938 the British government was seeking to appease Germany; it still is, though this time there’s no talk of war. Just TALK, TALK, TALK over trade following Brexit. It does not look good for Britain as I write.

5)   GROWING ANTI-SEMITISM.    There have been a number of attacks on Jews in France, so many, in fact, that French Jews are leaving in record numbers for Israel; the Polish parliament has passed a law that forbids people from claiming Polish involvement in the Holocaust, even though it’s known that 200,000 Poles helped the Nazis round up Jews during World War II and assisted in the extermination camps; thirdly, Iceland has just banned male circumcision, while other countries are considering it.   This action will affect Muslims as well as Jews.

6)  RUSSIA IS MAKING THREATENING NOISES UNDER PUTIN, just as it did under Stalin.   Could Russia and Germany repeat the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop pact?    Both China and Russia now have dictators for life.   A prominent spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church is calling for the restoration of the monarchy in Russia.  He seems to have Putin in mind as Czar.  Whatever happens domestically in each country, the US will likely be in confrontation with both in the future.  In the 1930’s Stalin’s threats were ideological;  now the threats are just plain old-fashioned nationalism.

7)  AMERICA FIRST – in the 1930’s it was AMERICAN ISOLATIONISM, now it’s called AMERICA FIRST. And it’s not just Trump – America is focused on itself.   There is little foreign news on TV and most people just aren’t interested in what’s happening overseas.  It took Pearl Harbor to wake Americans up.   What will it take this time?

CONCLUSION

History repeats itself.  But it does not repeat itself exactly.   It remains to be seen how future events play out.  But the similarities with the 1930’s are definitely there.

There are, however, two big differences.

During the 1930’s the world’s only superpower was the British Empire.    This no longer exists.   There is also no Winston Churchill warning of the dangers ahead.   Without a warning message it is doubtful nations will make the changes needed to change course and avoid the mistakes of eight decades ago.

The above is a speech I’ve prepared for Men’s Speech Club  tomorrow.   I decided to post it to my blog.

 

 

 

 

 

US EMBASSY MOVE TO JERUSALEM

For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem.” (Zech 14:2)

Sheldon Adelson offers to help pay for Jerusalem embassy — report

State Department lawyers investigating legality of private donation to cover costs said to be over $500 million ( Times of Israel * 23 Feb 2018)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is considering an offer from Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson to pay for at least part of a new US embassy in Jerusalem, four US officials told The Associated Press.

Lawyers at the State Department are looking into the legality of accepting private donations to cover some or all of the embassy costs, the administration officials said. The discussions are occurring as the new embassy clears its final bureaucratic hurdles. On Thursday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ended weeks of delay by signing off on a security plan for moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city, according to the officials, who weren’t authorized to discuss the issue publicly and demanded anonymity.

In one possible scenario, the administration would solicit contributions not only from Adelson but potentially from other donors in the evangelical and American Jewish communities, too. One official said Adelson, a Las Vegas casino magnate and staunch supporter of Israel, had offered to pay the difference between the total cost — expected to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars — and what the administration is able to raise.

Under any circumstance, letting private citizens cover the costs of an official government building would mark a significant departure from historical US practice. In the Jerusalem case, it would add yet another layer of controversy to Trump’s politically charged decision to move the embassy, given Adelson’s longstanding affiliation with right-wing Israeli politics.  Trump’s administration has been sifting through options for fast-tracking the Israel embassy’s relocation.

The US has looked at several possible sites.  The most likely plan involves a phased approach to opening the embassy in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood at an existing US facility that handles consular affairs like passports and visas. The US could initially retrofit a small suite of offices in that facility to accommodate Friedman and one or two top aides such as his chief of staff. That would allow the administration to hang an “embassy” sign over the door and formally open it, perhaps in the next few months. The ribbon could be cut in time for Israel’s Independence Day, Yom Ha’atzmaut, which takes place in April.

(https://www.timesofisrael.com/sheldon-adelson-offers-to-help-pay-for-jerusalem-embassy-report/)

**************

Netanyahu to invite Trump to inaugurate US embassy in Jerusalem in May

PM thanks US president for his leadership and ‘strong friendship,’ will reportedly ask him to visit Israel for ribbon-cutting ceremony (Times of Israel * 24 Feb 2018)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to invite US President Donald Trump to Israel in May to inaugurate the US embassy, which Washington announced on Friday will be relocated to Jerusalem on Israel’s Independence Day, Hadashot TV news reported on Saturday. In a video statement posted to his social media channels on Saturday night, Netanyahu said the US announcement to relocate the embassy, which follows Trump’s historic declaration in December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, marked a “great moment for the State of Israel.”

**************

The US State Department notified Congress on Friday that the Jerusalem embassy will open in May, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel declaring independence. The State Department confirmed the timing of the move, with an official telling The Times of Israel: “The Embassy will initially be located in Arnona [in south Jerusalem], on a compound that currently houses the consular operations of Consulate General Jerusalem. At least initially, it will consist of the ambassador and a small team.” 

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is being planned for mid-May. Israel proclaimed independence on May 14, 1948. According to Channel 10 and Hadashot news, the ceremony could be held on May 14 to honor that date. (Israel celebrates its anniversary of independence according to the Hebrew calendar; Independence Day — Yom Ha’Atzmaut — falls on April 19 this year.)

(https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-to-invite-trump-to-inaugurate-us-embassy-in-jerusalem-in-may/)

 **************

 TOP ISRAELI MINISTER:  US TO MOVE EMBASSY TO JERUSALEM ON 70TH INDEPENDENCE DAY

A May opening appears to represent an earlier time frame than what had been expected. (BY JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS / FEBRUARY 23, 2018)

The US embassy will move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by May 14, in honor of the 70th anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence, according to Minister of Transportation and Intelligence Israel Katz. Katz tweeted on Friday saying, “I would like to congratulate Donald Trump, the President of the US @POTUS on his decision to transfer the US Embassy to our capital on Israel’s 70th Independence Day. There is no greater gift than that! The most just and correct move. Thanks friend!”

The date has not yet been confirmed publicly by the White House. However, an unnamed US official told Reuters on Friday that the US is expected to open its embassy in Jerusalem in May. A May opening appears to represent an earlier time frame than what had been expected. While speaking to the Knesset last month, US Vice President Mike Pence said the move would take place by the end of 2019. Trump announced in December that the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, setting in motion the move of the embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.  (Jerusalem Post, 2/28)       (http://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Report-US-embassy-Jerusalem-move-date-decided-543465)

**************

Iran threatens to ‘level Tel Aviv,’ — and kill Netanyahu — if Israel attacks Senior Iranian official dismisses PM’s ‘unwise’ speech, in which he brandished an Iranian drone and threatened military action  – Times of Israel * 20 February 2018

Tel Aviv will be “leveled to the ground” if Israel attacks Iran, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not escape with his life, a senior official in the Islamic republic’s regime threatened. His comments came in response to Netanyahu’s speech on Sunday at the Munich Security Conference, in which the prime minister brandished a piece of an Iranian drone downed in Israeli airspace and threatened direct military action against Iran. “About Netanyahu’s unwise words, I should say that if they carry out the slightest unwise move against Iran, we will level Tel Aviv to the ground,” Mohsen Rezaei, secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council and former chief of the country’s Revolutionary Guards, told the Hezbollah-affiliated Arabic-language al-Manar TV channel Monday.

Adding a personal threat to the Israeli leader’s life, Rezaei added that Tehran “will not give Netanyahu any opportunity to flee,” Fars News reported.

(https://www.timesofisrael.com/iran-threatens-to-level-tel-aviv-kill-netanyahu-if-)

**************

Embracing relations with China and Russia, Ayatollah Khamenei signals Tehran has given up on hopes of establishing a detente with the United States   Times of Israel * 26 Feb 2018 * TEHRAN, Iran (AFP)

Iran’s supreme leader has signaled a decisive shift in favor of relations with China and Russia, indicating that patience is running out with efforts to improve ties with the West. 

One of the most popular slogans during the 1979 revolution was “Neither East nor West,” a defiant vow that Iran would no longer favor either of the world’s major forces at the time — American-style capitalism or Soviet Communism. It was therefore striking to hear its current leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, declare on February 19 that: “In foreign policy, the top priorities for us today include preferring East to West.” Analysts say this does not change the basic idea that Iran refuses to fall under the sway of outside powers. But it does suggest that the latest attempt at detente with the United States — represented by the 2015 nuclear deal in which it agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of sanctions — is running out of steam.

“Khamenei has repeatedly outlined that the 2015 nuclear deal was a test to see if negotiations with the West could yield positive results for Iran,” said Ellie Geranmayeh, of the European Council on Foreign Relations. “The leadership perceives the US as acting in bad faith on the deal. Khamenei’s statement signals a green light for the Iranian system to focus greater diplomatic effort on deepening ties with China and Russia,” she said. Khamenei’s comments come at a critical moment, with US President Donald Trump threatening to tear up the deal and reimpose sanctions unless Iran agrees to rein in its missile program and “destabilizing activities” in the Middle East.

Even before Trump, Iran felt Washington was violating its side of the bargain as it became clear that remaining US sanctions would still hamper banking ties and foreign investments, even blocking Iranian tech start-ups from sharing their products on app stores.  …“If the Europeans don’t have the courage to stand up to the US then they shouldn’t expect to be partners with us,” said Marandi. “If some doors are closed and some doors are open, we are not going to wait outside the closed doors forever.”

(https://www.timesofisrael.com/irans-eastern-shift-shows-patience-running-out-with-the-west/)

**********

GERMANY

From a German Euro to a German European Central Bank    (German-Foreign-Policy.com newsletter * 22 Feb 2018)

The EU finance ministers’ decision to appoint the Spaniard Luis de Guindos to be vice president of the European Central Bank (ECB), will boost the chances of German Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann to become its next president.  Berlin has welcomed the decision for Spain’s current Minister of the Economy Guindos, considered to be one of the fathers of the Spanish real estate bubble. Subsequent to his designation as vice-president, a northern European is expected to be given the post of ECB president, due to the EU’s proportional regional representation. According to observers, a conceivable deal may be reached with Germany’s Weidmann at the helm of the ECB and the post of EU Commission President going to France. The current German Bundesbank president is unpopular in Southern Europe because he has been systematically trying to prevent current ECB President Mario Draghi’s bond buying programs, considered to be vital for the crisis stricken countries.

With Weidmann as ECB president, Germany would further tighten its grip  on the euro zone’s financial institutions.

more…      https://www.german-foreign-policy.com/en/news/detail/7542/

 **************

TRADE WAR ESCALATES  (Financial Times UK briefing: 23 Feb 2018)

— The ECB is scared of Trump. Mario Draghi and company are worried the US is trying to start a deliberate global currency war, according to the central bank’s latest minutes.

**************

German Left Party voices support for military rearmament and war

As the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Christian Democratic Union (CDU) work to form a new grand coalition government, whose central aim will be the rearmament of Germany in pursuit of neocolonial war and great power conflict, the Left Party has expressed its categorical support for German rearmament.

By Johannes Stern * 26 Feb 2018 * Copyright © World Socialist Web Site

Last Monday, Stefan Liebich, a Left Party representative in the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, enthusiastically greeted the speech of Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) at the Munich Security Conference. “That’s long overdue; I honestly said that and that’s what our party advocated when we had much friendlier governments there [in the US] because we’re no longer living in the Cold War era,” he said on the political talk show “Unter den Linden.” Germany is “a sovereign country with its own interests, which very often coincide with the interests of the United States, but sometimes not.” In Gabriel’s war speech in Munich, the Social Democrat blustered about foreign policy “carnivores” and a common European “power projection in the world.” He made it clear that a new edition of the grand coalition with the Christian Democrats will massively upgrade the Bundeswehr (Armed Forces) and develop an independent great power policy. …Liebich left no doubt that what he means is military intervention.

…The militaristic tirades of a Liebich or Bartsch are not lapses, but show the core right-wing and pro-imperialist character of a party that has been deeply integrated into the structures of the capitalist state and its intelligence and military apparatus for many years.  (http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/02/26/left-f26.html)

————————————————————-

German Chancellor promotes rearmament and war in speech to parliament                                                                                                                           By Johannes Stern * 24 Feb 2018 * Copyright © World Socialist Web Site

Merkel focused in particular on strengthening Europe’s common military and great power policies so as to enable Germany to pursue its economic and geostrategic interests in conflict zones around the world. At the beginning of her speech, Merkel stated that Europe is “exposed due to its geographic location,” because “these wars and conflicts in Syria, Libya and Ukraine are not taking place somewhere else in the world but only a few hours flight from Berlin.”  She is “therefore convinced that, firstly, the world won’t wait on us—neither in Germany nor in Europe—and secondly, we urgently need European answers to the major problems of our time.” For this reason, it is “no accident that the first chapter of the coalition agreement between the CDU, CSU and SPD is devoted to Europe,” Merkel said. At stake is “our national response to the European agenda.”

Merkel left no doubt about the fact that this “national response” includes rearmament and war.

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/02/24/merk-f24.html (World Socialist Website)

**************

Let’s work together on defense, France and Germany tell Europe   (Reuters Staff * 16 Feb 2018)

In a speech to the Munich Security Conference, German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen said Europe’s countries would not be able to respond nimbly enough to global challenges if they were stymied by the need to decide joint foreign policy approaches unanimously.

“Europe has to up its pace in the face of global challenges from terrorism, poverty and climate change,” she said. “Those who want to must be able to advance without being blocked by individual countries.”  Her French counterpart Florence Parly said any such deepened cooperation would be complementary to the NATO alliance, which itself was based on the principle that members contributed differently depending on their capacities.

…Von der Leyen pledged to spend more on its military and the United Nations, but called in return for other countries not to turn away from mulitlateralism.  The pledges come as the EU seeks a new basis on which to cooperate with Britain, traditionally one of the continent’s leading security players, after its vote to leave the EU.  Earlier on Friday, the leaders of the three countries’ security services said close security cooperation in areas like terrorism, illegal migration, proliferation and cyber attacks, must continue after Britain’s departure.

“Cooperation between European intelligence agencies combined with the values of liberal democracy is indispensable, especially against a background of diverse foreign and security challenges,” they said.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-security-vonderleyen/lets-work-together-on-defense-france-and-germany-tell-europe-idUSKCN1G01K9

**************

GREATER ROLE FOR EUROPE IN MIDEAST

 NATO in Baghdad (German-Foreign-Policy.com newsletter)

(Own report) – Today, Thursday, NATO’s defense ministers begin their preparations for the war alliance’s Iraq mission, NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg announced in light of the ministers’ meeting ending today in Brussels. The mission is in accordance with US demands, which not only seek to empower Iraqi armed forces to permanently suppress IS, but particularly, to scale back Teheran’s significant influence on Baghdad. Iran owes its new influence in Iraq and other countries of the region – from Syria to Yemen and Qatar – to the failed and bloody wars and various aggressions by the West and its closest Middle East allies. Teheran could not have achieved its current influence in Baghdad, without the 2003 US invasion and subsequent extensive destruction of the country. Berlin signaled its interest to participate in the upcoming NATO mission to Iraq.

https://www.german-foreign-policy.com/en/news/detail/7534/

**************

Double Standards — German Foreign Policy

(Own report) – The German government is increasing political pressure, in its efforts to have a greater impact in the power struggle over Syria. In view of the civilian population’s horrible situation in the fiercely contested region of East Ghouta, east of Damascus – dominated by an al Qaida offshoot and several of its allied militias – Chancellor Merkel is accusing the Syrian government of not waging a war “on terrorists” but on “its own people.” Similar accusations have already been raised during the battle to retake Eastern Aleppo, which cost the lives of nearly 3,500 civilians, according to western sources. No such accusations, however, were raised against the anti-IS war coalition – with German Bundeswehr participation – when at least 1,400, and from 9000 – 11,000 civilians were killed in their battles to retake Raqqa and Mosul respectively. Double standards are typical for politicians and media in countries involved in war, particularly when they face defeat.

more…
https://www.german-foreign-policy.com/en/news/detail/7546/

**************

BREXIT

Britain has a German Brexit ally…but it’s the AfD. Germany’s new Bundestag – which features the far-right AfD for the first time – had its first full debate on Europe ahead of an informal EU27 summit in Brussels today. Handelsblatt sums up the heated debate in an unusually rancorous German parliament. Divisions included whether Germany should help out Italy’s unemployed youth, and coughing up for a bigger EU budget. On Brexit, AfD co-leader Alice Weidel called for Berlin to go easy on the Brits and backed an EEA-style deal.  (FT Brussels Briefing, 2/23)

**************

The Munich Security Forum — UK Prime Minister May warns EU against freezing Britain out of defense developments              (Defense News * 17 Feb 2018)

MUNICH — The United Kingdom’s prime minister sent a subtle message to the European Union that going it alone in defense development efforts without full cooperation with the U.K. would be a step backward in regional security. 

Theresa May focused much of her speech at the Munich Security Conference on reassurances that an exit from the EU by the U.K. does not translate to an abandonment of collective European security. But in terms of defense research and development, May was pointed about the U.K.’s contributions. “The U.K. spends around 40 percent of Europe’s total [investment] in defense research and development, and this provides a sizeable stimulus to improve Europe’s competitiveness and capability, and this is to the benefit of us all,” May said. “An open and inclusive approach to European capability development, that fully enables the British defense industry to participate, is in our strategic security interests.”

…She also pointed to the NotPetya cyberattack perpetuated by Russia against Europe as an example of why development cooperation in network security is so critical. And in the space domain, May noted that “the U.K. hosts much of Europe’s cutting edge capabilities on space,” with a leading role on the Galileo program as one example. “The key for this is to continue as part of our new partnership, but as is the case more widely, we need to get the right agreements concluded, which will allow the U.K. and its businesses to take part on a fair and open basis.”

(https://www.defensenews.com/smr/munich-security-forum/2018/02/17/uk-prime-minister-may-warns-eu-against-freezing-britian-out-of-defense-developments/)

**************

POLISH ANTI-SEMITISM

“A Catholic priest said on state TV that it was hard to like Jews.”

Polish Jews stunned, scared by eruption of anti-Semitism (Associated Press•February 17, 20180

Poland’s Jewish community is the surviving remnant of a vibrant and diverse Polish- and Yiddish-speaking community that numbered 3.3 million on the eve of the Holocaust. Only 10 percent survived the German genocide, while postwar violence and persecution in the first decades of communist rule forced out many of the survivors. 

Anxieties have been creeping in amid a global rise in xenophobia that was also felt in Poland. Matters escalated a few weeks ago when Israeli officials sharply criticized new Polish legislation that criminalizes blaming Poland as a nation for crimes committed by Nazi Germany. They accused Poland of seeking to use the law to whitewash the role of the Poles who helped Germans kill Jews during the war. Amid Israeli criticism, a prominent Polish right-wing commentator used an offensive slur to refer to Jews. Rather than being punished, he was welcomed on TV programs, including a state television talk show where he and the host made anti-Jewish comments, including jokes about Jews and gas chambers. The negative comments just kept on coming. A Catholic priest said on state TV that it was hard to like Jews, and his words were then quoted by the ruling party spokeswoman. An adviser to the president said he thought Israel’s negative reaction to the law stemmed from a “feeling of shame at the passivity of the Jews during the Holocaust.” Commentators have also suggested that opposition to the Holocaust law was a cover for Jews wanting money from Poland, a reference to reparations that international Jewish organizations seek for prewar Jewish property seized by the communists. The current wave of discrimination comes just weeks before the 50th anniversary of an anti-Semitic campaign orchestrated by Poland’s communist regime in March 1968. That campaign began with rhetoric eerily similar to the things being said today and ended up with 20,000 Jews forced to relinquish their possessions and their Polish citizenship and flee the country.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/polish-jews-stunned-scared-eruption-anti-semitism-125719594.html

**************

Poland freezes Holocaust survivors’ property restitution bill 73 years after World War Two ended, restitution for lost Jewish property has not yet been regulated in Poland, with new bill dealing with issue put on hold, possibly due to ‘death camp law’;                        (Ynet news * 15 Feb 2018)

‘Survivors can’t wait,’ says Jewish organization; Polish Senate speaker also appealed to Poles living abroad to report to the authorities any statements hurting ‘Poland’s good name.’ The government of Poland has decided to reexamine a draft bill on restitution for Holocaust survivors whose property was confiscated during World War Two.

The bill was put up for inspection by the country’s Justice Ministry, and may be shelved altogether.

https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5115706,00.html

**************

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned as “outrageous” his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki’s remark Saturday that ‘Jewish perpetrators were also responsible for the Holocaust’.  Both were at the Munich Security Conference 2018  (Times of Israel * 17 Feb 2018)

**************

Jews were murdered in the Holocaust and Poles took an active part in their murder. The Israeli government must be here for the millions murdered and strongly condemn the Polish prime minister’s words,” he said.  Tzipi Livni, a Zionist Union MK and former foreign minister who was in the audience, said it was “moving to hear Ronen Bergman asking/attacking the Polish prime minister over the law that forbids mentioning the participation of the Polish nation in the Holocaust, as [Bergman] told his family story and received applause from the audience.”  Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, one of the most vocal Israeli critics of the Polish law, said Morawiecki’s statement is “anti-Semitism of the oldest kind.”  “The perpetrators are not the victims. The Jewish state will not allow the murdered to be blamed for their own murder,” he said, while calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to recall Israel’s ambassador to Warsaw.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-calls-polish-pms-claim-of-jewish-holocaust-perpetuators-outrageous/ 

**************

Netanyahu:  A Great Prime Minister – Despite Everything                 By Vic Rosenthal * Feb 27, 2018

It’s hard to imagine a clearer case of the media appointing itself judge, jury and executioner.

Netanyahu has his flaws; but his claim to have dedicated his career and his life to the security of the state of Israel is indisputable.

(http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/abu-yehuda/a-great-prime-minister-despite-everything/2018/02/27/)

**************

Report: Anti-Semitic incidents in US soar by 57% in 2017

In highest total since 1994, Anti-Defamation League reports 1,986 incidents last year, including vandalism, harassment and bomb threats and even physical attacks; ADL director says increase fueled by emboldened far-right extremists as well as the ‘divisive state of our national discourse.’

**************

ISLAM VS THE WEST

Columbia, SC Imam Muhammad Adly Warns Muslims Not To Send Children To Non-Muslim Schools: Gay And Lesbian Teachers Might Pass It On To Your Child (MEMRI # 6426)

**************

GOOD QUESTION

Somali-born ex-Muslim author Ayaan Hirsi Ali “asks why do we loudly defend a woman’s right to wear the hijab but when it comes to supporting Muslim girls who refuse to wear it, feminism is strangely quiet?” (Photo by Elisabetta Villa/Getty Images)

**************

HEALTH

Proverbs 23:2 ESV : “And put a knife to your throat if you are given to appetite.”

Many adults ‘don’t know signs of eating disorders

The charity Beat says the main signs to watch out for are: 

  • becoming obsessive about food
  • changes in behaviour
  • having distorted beliefs about their body size
  • often tired or struggling to concentrate
  • disappearing to the toilet after meals
  • starting to exercise excessively

People with eating disorders can become very secretive as they try to hide the extent of their problem.   (http://www.bbc.com/news/education-43140176)

————————————————————–

 

IRANIAN MISSILES AIMED AT ISRAEL

An image grab taken from Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV on November 5, 2017 shows Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Lebanon’s militant Shiite movement Hezbollah, giving a televised address from an undisclosed location in Lebanon. / AFP PHOTO 

“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that it’s desolation is near” (Luke 21:20).

Special Dispatch No. 7328

Pro-Hizbullah Lebanese Website:  “Hizbullah Has 70,000 Iranian Missiles Across Syria Ready To Launch Into Israel;  In A Year It Will Have 500,000”  (MEMRI, 2/12)

***************

Iran has 10 military bases in Syria, two near Israel border — analyst

Up to 20,000 fighters trained by Tehran are in country, now focused on Israel, after neutralizing IS threat, NY Times reports                                   Times of Israel * 19 Feb 2018

Iran operates 10 military bases in Syria and is training militias loyal to President Bashar Assad’s regime for a possible battle with Israel, with two key facilities located near the border with Israel, an analyst for an American think tank said in an article published Monday.  Up to 20,000 fighters from various militias throughout the war-torn country have been trained by Iranian military personnel, giving Tehran its “true muscle” in Syria, according to the Monday report in The New York Times.   Israel has been warning for years that Iran is seeking to entrench itself militarily in Syria.   According to Israeli political and military assessments, Tehran, which has shored up Assad in the Syrian civil war, has been working to create air and naval bases in Syria, from which it can arm the Lebanon-based terror organization Hezbollah and other Shiite groups, as well as carry out attacks of its own against the Jewish state.   Monday’s report said hundreds or thousands of Iranian military officials are in Syria and that about 6,000 of the Iran-trained combatants in the country are members of Hezbollah, with the rest coming from Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other countries.   Most of them view the battle against non-Shiite Muslims and against non-Muslims in the region in religious terms, the report added.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/iran-has-10-military-bases-in-syria-two-near-israel-border-analyst/

***************

EXTREME RIGHT CONTINUES TO RISE IN GERMANY

DW remains an excellent source of European news.  The German news program is shown on PBS on weekday evenings.

On Monday it reported the appointment of Chancellor Merkel’s “heir apparent”, Annegret Kram-Karrenbauer, as General Secretary of the conservative Christian Democrats.   This is a role that Mrs. Merkel had before becoming Chancellor – the same development could happen again.   Already, the media has dubbed her “Mini-Merkel”.

On the same evening news program, it was reported that the latest polls show support for the left-wing Social Democrats is plummeting.   At the same time, the “extreme right wing party, AfD, continues to rise dramatically.   DW’s Oliver Sallet commented that “this is unheard of.   It has never happened before in (the Federal Republic of) Germany.   The general trend continues, which is the rise of the Right in Germany.”

***************

RENEW LAUNCHED IN UK

Prior to the above news item, the program reported the launch of a new party in the United Kingdom.   “Renew” is dedicated to reversing the Brexit decision.

Britain remains very divided on whether the country should restore its independence, or further immerse itself in the German dominated European Union.

It’s also reported that the American billionaire George Soros has donated 600,000 pounds to try to ensure Britain does not go ahead with Brexit; at the same time, the CEO of Bank of America is speaking out against it.   Neither of these men is British.   In the US, the nightly news frequently brings up Russian interference in the last US election.   It’s time the British government condemned outside interference in Brexit.   This is a British matter for the British people to decide.

***************

TRADE WAR GETTING WORSE

Chart du jour:   Donald Trump, look away now

The EU’s trade surplus with the US jumped in 2017 and Donald Trump won’t be happy about it.   Having already dubbed Germany a potential “currency exploiter,” the White House will be wincing at new figures which show EU exports to the States jumped 3 per cent last year to €375bn.  Bloomberg reckons the figures could further strain trans-Atlantic trade ties between the two economic giants.  (FT 2/16)

***************

RECOMMENDED FAMILY SHOW

Friends recommended “When Calls the Heart,” which is available on Netflix.   The show is now in its fifth season on Hallmark.

It centers on the development of a small town “the other side of the Rockies” and the relationship between a Canadian Mountie and an adventurous school teacher from a wealthy family.   It’s a very good family show.

Prior to watching it, I was saying to my wife that we have watched good programs from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and the USA, but nothing from Canada.   Now, finally, here’s a series set in Canada.   That’s not the same as being “Canadian.” Hallmark, a US based channel, has left its prints all over it.  Even the Mountie is an import from Australia!

King Edward VII conferred the title “Royal” on the Mounties in 1904, six years before the series is set.   At the time, all outposts of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) would have displayed a photo of the King in their office.   Schools would, too, as any reader of “Anne of Green Gables” knows.  (Perhaps, we can overlook this as the school in the series meets in a saloon!)   The government is referred to as “the federal government,” whereas Canadians refer to the government in Ottawa as the “Government of Canada.”   Additionally, the only time any political subject has come up in the series, it’s been about US presidents.  Also, New York, San Francisco and Hollywood have received special mention, as if they are a part of the same province.

In other words, a very uplifting series is slightly marred by historical error, which could have been avoided.   Hallmark missed an opportunity to teach Americans about their bigger neighbor to the North.

It’s not very often that Philippians 4:8 comes to mind when watching a television series.  But it did with this one:

Philippians 4:8 NKJV – “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.”

There is no bad language in this series, no sex and minimal violence.  My wife and I recommend it as good family viewing, suitable for our grandchildren.

One final comment:   famously, Mounties always get their man, but the Mountie in this series is taking a very long time to get his woman!  It’s sometimes painful watching what must be one of the slowest courtships in dramatic history.  It’s good, though, for teens today to see how people used to court the opposite sex.

Watch it and see for yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

"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