Tag Archives: America First

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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TRADE WAR LOOMING

Consternation has been expressed this week that the US currently has no Ambassador to South Korea, at a time when war between the US and North Korea is a definite possibility.  Nothing has been said about the fact that the US has no Ambassador to the European Union, also at a very critical time.

On Sunday, in a British television interview, President Trump described the EU’s trading policies as “unfair” to the US and threatened increased tariffs on imports from the 27-member nation trading club.

The US president, Donald Trump, claimed in an interview with ITV broadcast on Sunday that the EU had been “very unfair” on American exporters, and that it would “morph into something very big” that would “turn out to be very much to [the EU’s] detriment.”

Washington is currently examining the case for protecting US economic interests on national security grounds, including the imposition of import tariffs on aluminum and steel.

Responding to Trump’s comments, a spokesman for the European commission told reporters in Brussels that the EU was ready to hit back if its importers were made to suffer.

The spokesman said:   “For us trade policy is not a zero sum game.  It is not about winners and losers.  We here in the European Union believe that trade can and should be win-win.

“We also believe that while trade has to be open and fair it also has to be rules-based.  The European Union stands ready to react swiftly and appropriately in case our exports are affected by any restrictive trade measures by the United States.”

(“Brussels prepared for trade war with US if it restricts EU imports,” Daniel Boffey, The Guardian, 29th January, 2018).

There is an assumption in the United States that America is the biggest trading power in the world and can dictate to others when it comes to trade.   This may not be the case.

“The adjusted GDP of the 28 EU member nations is bigger than both China and the US, the traditional list of world’s economic super powers.

“In nominal U.S. dollar terms, the European Union (plus Norway, Switzerland, Iceland) accounted for 25.4% of world output in 2014 according to data from the International Monetary Fund.  That was greater than America’s share (22.5%) and well in excess of China’s—13.4%,” said Quinlan.

(“Europe is bigger than the US”, Bob Bryan, Business Insider, 30th June, 2015).

These facts will have changed in the 2 ½ years since this was written. When the United Kingdom leaves the European Union next year, the figures will need to be further adjusted.   But the figures do convey that the US, the EU and China are each roughly on a par when it comes to the size of their economies.

What is not conveyed here is how powerful the European Union is through its trading agreements.   Whereas the US has twenty major trading partners, the EU has eighty.   These countries will all likely side with Brussels if a trade war worsens.

Nobody is likely to benefit from a trade war.   The latest tariffs the US imposed on Chinese washing machines, for example, will increase the cost of purchasing a washing machine in the US.   This will apply to thousands of products as tariffs are increased by all three economic powers.

There’s a lesson from history here.  The Smoot-Hawley Act, passed by Congress in 1930, raised tariffs on over 20,000 items imported from other countries.   One side effect was that US trade decreased by over 50% increasing unemployment.   This period became known as the Great Depression.

The first shots have been fired in a new trade war.   It’s not likely that the US will come out ahead here, certainly not in the long term.   Putting “America First” will mean the rest of the world coming together in a renewed commitment to globalization, leading to the new global economic system predicted in Revelation 18.

Note the following just after Angela Merkel’s speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos:

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted on Wednesday “protectionism is not the answer” to world problems, addressing the Davos economic summit before US President Donald Trump appears to defend his “America First” agenda.

“We think that shutting ourselves off, isolating ourselves, will not lead us into a good future.   Protectionism is not the answer,” Merkel said in a speech in the Swiss resort.

She spoke a day before the arrival of the US president whose aggressive trade policies have raised concern among defenders of globalization.

“Let us not shut off from others, let us keep pace with the best in the world and let us canvas for this multilateral approach,” Merkel said.”

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Headline in WIN (World Israel News)

German FM in Israel rejects US Jerusalem move, warns of European ‘frustration’ (1st February)

During a visit to Israel, German FM Sigmar Gabriel blasted those who oppose a Palestinian state, demanding a two-state approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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DARKEST HOUR

We went to see “Darkest Hour” recently.   Although not perfect, the movie is a fairly accurate attempt at showing what Winston Churchill was up against when he suddenly became Prime Minister in May, 1940.  Forgotten now is how close Britain came to being invaded by Hitler’s armies.   The future of the world depended on what was to follow – if the UK had fallen, other nations would have had to sue for peace on Hitler’s terms.   Those “other nations” included the United States, which was totally unprepared for war in 1940.

Britons like to say that they “stood alone” against Hitler.   Certainly, in Europe that was true.   But forgotten now is a simple fact:   at the time, Britain ruled a quarter of the world’s people.   All these nations fought with Britain.   Two and a half million Indians were in the British Army, plus hundreds of thousands of people from Africa and the Caribbean.   Additionally, the British dominions (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Southern Rhodesia) played a major role.

In the event of another threat to Britain, none of these countries will be likely to come to her aid.

Watching the movie, you can also see clearly the similarities with today.   Whereas, in 1940, Britain was faced with an enormous military threat from Germany, today it’s an economic threat – from the German dominated EU.   As the Brexit negotiations continue, the EU has the advantage, because the Brits are allowing them to.  There seems to be a lack of backbone in standing up to Brussels, Berlin and Paris.  The FT’s Philip Stephens today described the mess as “Britain’s nervous breakdown.”

Sadly, there is no Winston Churchill waiting in the wings!

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Note the following headline from the British Daily Express newspaper following an incident were young leftists stormed the Churchill café, screaming that Churchill was a racist.   Nigel Farage is the man who led the Brexit campaign.   Churchill was an Empire-loyalist, an unforgiveable sin in today’s Britain!

“Nigel Farage TEARS APART ‘pig-ignorant’ lefty gang who terrorized Churchill café.  NIGEL FARAGE aimed a furious tirade in the direction of a group of protesters who burst into a Winston Churchill-themed cafe in London while chanting Britain’s wartime leader was a “racist.”

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TRUMP’S AFRICA

You will remember that Donald Trump reportedly described African countries as “****hole countries.”

At least two countries on the Dark Continent are capitalizing on this.

Namibia is promoting tourism with posters proclaiming that “Namibia is Africa’s Number One ****hole country.”

Namibia is not the only country to take advantage of Trump’s words.

According to the Wall Street Journal yesterday, “A Facebook page run by a marketing group promoting tourism in Zambia – famed for the Zambezi River that feeds the spectacular Victoria Falls – includes a slogan welcoming visitors to “****hole Zambia.”   “Where beautiful vistas and breathtaking wildlife are our Trump card!” says an accompanying post.

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FOR FUN!

Some entertaining posts on FaceBook . . .

 

GROWING ANGLO ISOLATION

President Trump announcing US withdrawal from Paris climate accord deal.

An historic upheaval is taking place around the world as the US and UK, the two leading Anglo-Saxon powers, inadvertently separate from other nations.

It started a year ago with the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom. One year later, the country is about to enter dialog with other EU nations, a divorce settlement that is going to have a lasting effect on both the UK and the EU.

The historic upheaval continued last week when President Trump ended an international trip with a NATO meeting in Sicily that made it clear the US will no longer guarantee the security and independence of other NATO countries if they are invaded by Russia.   This effectively ends Clause 5 of the NATO Treaty that required all member nations to come to the aid of another member if attacked.

The only time Clause 5 has been invoked was on September 11th, 2001, in defense of the United States.   Alliance members came to America’s aid.

A third development could end America’s leadership role in the world.

I posted a few weeks ago an article on the 70th anniversary of America’s replacing Britain as the world’s chief superpower and international policeman.   The question I asked was: “Could 70 be it for the US?” (February 19th).

It looks increasingly likely that, indeed, 70 could be it!
I say this following President Trump’s announcement yesterday that the US is withdrawing from the Paris climate deal.

Climate change has certainly become politicized.   It’s also true that it has cost jobs, in the US and other countries.   But the fact is that 195 countries in the world signed the deal – the only two that didn’t were Syria and Nicaragua.

More is at stake than a simple climate deal to reduce carbon emissions.

What’s at stake here is America’s global leadership.

Next time the US goes to other nations and asks for help (Afghanistan in 2001, Iraq in 2003 are two examples, the fight against ISIS more recently), it’s likely the country will be rebuffed.

The dispute within NATO also risks the US president losing the accolade “Leader of the Free World.”   In recent days, Angela Merkel seems to be filling that role.

Jacob Hellbrunn, editor of the American magazine National Interest, asked in the May 28th issue, Is Trump Pushing Merkel to Create A German Superpower?

“Donald Trump entered office hoping that he could splinter the European Union.  But what if his presidency has the effect of further unifying it —against America?
“. . . Until now, the core relationship in American foreign policy in Europe has been with Germany.   That tie appears not simply to be fraying but on the verge of snapping.   It will be no small irony if Trump has impelled Europe to transform itself into a unified great power.”

Two days later, the National Interest, in a separate article by Salvatore Babones, once again addressed the issue of Germany:

“Germany is not among America’s “closest and oldest allies.”   That honor surely goes to the United Kingdom.   And second, Merkel didn’t single out just the United States.  She said that Europe can no longer rely on the United States or the UK for its security.   In other words, Merkel wasn’t just declaring her independence from Donald Trump.   She was declaring independence from Theresa May, too. But can Germany defend Europe itself?   And even if it could, would Europe want it to?   The most likely answer to both questions is “no.” (“Can Germany defend Europe on its own?”)

The last question and answer overlooks the possibility that the US may push the Europeans into standing on their own; and the only leader, in such a situation, is Germany.   This likely development has been made more likely by Brexit, even though London says it is not turning its back on Europe.   The outcome of Thursday’s election in the UK could be decisive here – a change of government, even a hung parliament where no party has enough votes to govern effectively, would seriously weaken Britain’s role relative to the EU.

SHIFTING ALLIANCES

Yesterday, it was France’s turn.   Emmanuel Macron, the new President of France, took the unprecedented step of announcing France’s “disappointment” at Mr. Trump’s decision and inviting scientists from around the world to fight climate change from France.   Paris was where the deal to fight climate change was signed in December 2015.   The new French prime minister described Trump’s decision as “calamitous.”   (It should be noted that this was the first time ever that a French president addressed the world in English from the Elysee Palace. It was clear to whom it was addressed.)

CBS’ Ben Tracy put it well this morning when he said:   “The president (Trump) is fundamentally shifting alliances around the world” (CBS This Morning).

Note the following from a British newspaper Friday morning:
“One senior European NATO diplomat said:   “Trump showed that we have fundamental differences about what NATO is for. NATO is designed to defend the territory of its members, not stop terrorism or immigration.   We are heading in opposite directions.”   (NATO joins forces in fight against ISIS – but it’s branded as POINTLESS in Germany” (Katie Mansfield, Daily Express, June 2nd).

Many Bible students know that another superpower will soon replace the United States as the world’s global leader.   Some have felt that Donald Trump would reverse America’s fortunes by putting “America First” and strengthening America’s role in the world.   At this point in time it seems more likely that he will speed up the rise of an alternative global power that will rival the United States of America.   Revelation 13, 17 & 18, together with Daniel 2 & 7 describe this new superpower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GROWING DIVIDE BETWEEN ANGLOS AND EUROPE

Jean Claude Juncker is the President of the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union.   Clearly frustrated and somewhat dazed since the successful Brexit vote nine months ago, Mr. Juncker yesterday threatened to support secessionist movements in the United States, if President Trump continues to support the British Brexit.   He specifically mentioned Ohio and Texas.

As Ohio has no secessionist movement that I’m aware of, it shows that Mr. Juncker has little knowledge or understanding of the US.   If he had listed Alaska, Hawaii and California, along with Texas, he would have had more credibility.   All four states have vocal secessionist movements.

However, Mr. Juncker is not the only one who is ignorant of other nations a long way away.   Americans have very little knowledge or understanding of Europe.   The vast majority of people in the United States have never heard of Mr. Juncker.   As the president of the executive branch of the EU, which has more people and a bigger economy than the US, he is one of the most powerful people in the world.   If the European Union succeeds in forming a military alliance and acquires nuclear weapons, both of which are being discussed, he could be the most powerful man in the world.

What is becoming increasingly clear is that Ignorance on both sides of the ocean could easily cause the Atlantic alliance to unravel.

This has to happen to fulfill Biblical prophecies about the coming Beast-power in Europe and the fall of the English speaking nations.

Footnote:  Headline on tonight’s BBC World News America:  Germany Rejects US Pressure For NATO Spending Rise.

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GERMANY, JAPAN PUSH TRADE PACT IN MERKEL BID TO STYMIE TRUMP          (Bloomberg)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for a concerted effort to defend free trade, expanding the list of economic powers joining together to counter the U.S. shift toward protectionism.   After clashing with President Donald Trump on economic policy at their first White House meeting, Merkel called for swift conclusion of a trade accord between Japan and the European Union.   That followed a renewed German-Chinese commitment to open markets on the eve of her trip to Washington and Merkel’s backing for a free-trade accord between the EU and Mercosur, the South American economic bloc. “Internationally, we are seeing a tendency toward protectionism and navel-gazing,” Abe said alongside Merkel during a news conference at the CeBit tech show in Hanover, Germany, on Monday.   “What we need is trade that’s both fair and free.”

The display of German-Japanese unity underscores a rift elsewhere among the world’s biggest economic powers after U.S. insistence on “fair” trade triggered conflict at a weekend meeting of Group of 20 finance chiefs in Germany.   Another potential clash looms when Trump, Abe, Merkel and the leaders of Canada, France, Italy and the U.K. meet at a Group of Seven summit in Sicily in May.   Merkel pushed back against Trump’s pledge to enact “America First” policies and drew contrast to Japan and Germany, the world’s third and fourth-biggest economies.

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THE MOST POWERFUL MAN IN THE WORLD

CNN’s special:   “The most powerful man in the world” profiled Vladimir Putin, partly in an attempt to show why he is so paranoid when it comes to the opposition.   His critics all seem to be found dead shortly after making their criticism.   The one-hour documentary was produced by Fareed Zakaria.   It was an interesting perspective.   Putin has more power than Trump, both domestically and internationally.   Russia also has more nuclear weapons than the US.

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REAL POSSIBILITY OF 4 FAMINES AT SAME TIME

Another famine is about to tighten its grip on Somalia.   And it’s not the only crisis that aid agencies are scrambling to address.   For the first time since anyone can remember, there is a very real possibility of four famines — in Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria and Yemen — breaking out at once, endangering more than 20 million lives.

One powerful lesson from the last famine in Somalia, just six years ago, was that famines were not simply about food.   They are about something even more elemental: water.   If there was any doubt, the recent news from Somalia or Nigeria should erase it.  — Reuters.

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CANADIAN ANTI-SEMITISM

In a Friday sermon delivered at Dar Al-Arkam Mosque in Montreal, Canada, Jordanian cleric Sheikh Muhammad Bin Musa Aal Nasr cited an antisemitic hadith, according to which, on Judgment Day, the Trees and the Stones Will Call on Muslims to Kill the Jews.  The sermon was delivered on December 23, 2016, and was posted on the Mosque’s YouTube page. (MEMRI 3/31/17)

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WHAT’S GOING ON?     (Peggy Noonan, WSJ, 12/16/17, while President Obama was still in office)

“I close with a story that I haven’t seen in the mainstream press.   This week the Daily Caller’s Peter Hasson reported that recent Syrian refugees being resettled in Virginia, were sent to the state’s poorest communities.   Data from the State Department showed that almost all Virginia’s refugees since October “have been placed in towns with lower incomes and higher poverty rates, hours away from the wealthy suburbs outside of Washington, D.C.”   Of 121 refugees, 112 were placed in communities at least 100 miles from the nation’s capital.   The suburban counties of Fairfax, Loudoun and Arlington—among the wealthiest in the nation, and home to high concentrations of those who create, and populate government and the media—have received only nine refugees.”

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WORSENING SHIA-SUNNI CONFLICT

“ISIS Calls On Iranian Sunnis To Rise Up And Carry Out Attacks In Major Cities In The Country,   Warns Iran:   ‘Just As You Tasted Our Power In Iraq And Syria. , , , We Will Conquer Persia And Restore It As A Sunni Country” (MEMRI 3/28)

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MORE BRITISH BLESSINGS – WRITTEN BY AN INDIAN NATIONAL

This Quote is taken from the book The Politically Incorrect Guide to the British Empire by H. W. Crocker (Oct 21, 2008).

The paragraph is written by Dinesh D’Souza, an Indian who now lives in the United States.

“As someone who grew up in India, I often hear people ask, ‘What have the British done for us?’  Until I read this book, I didn’t have the full answer.   And here is Crocker’s answer:   ‘Apart from roads, railways, ports, schools, a parliamentary system of government, rights, separation of powers, checks and balances, the rule of law, and the English language . . . nothing!’”

Dinesh D’Souza, President of the King’s College and best-selling author of The Roots of Obama’s Rage

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RANSOM, Kansas — The Farm Belt is hurtling toward a milestone: Soon there will be fewer than two million farms in America for the first time since pioneers moved westward after the Louisiana Purchase.  (WSJ 2/8)

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MOST AMUSING LINE IN A TV SHOW

I don’t recommend the program, but Diane and I did watch the first episode of “Time after Time” on a Sunday night when there was no Masterpiece Theatre.   The new ABC show is based loosely (very loosely) on HG Wells’ book The Time Machine.   While showing his friends his machine in 1890, Jack the Ripper absconds in the machine to New York City in 2017, in an effort to hide  from the police who are looking for him.

After the usual Ripper murders in America’s financial capital, HG decides he needs to persuade Jack to return to Victorian London with him.   Jack responded with the following:

“Are you kidding?   In Victorian London I was a freak.   Here, I’m merely an amateur!”

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ATTITUDES HAVE CHANGED

A young manager at our local Kroger store complained to me recently that it was his birthday, yet he had to work.   He had also been required to work every day over the Thanksgiving weekend. He thought it was because he was the only manager with no children.  I suggested he start a family.   “No way.   The last thing I want is kids.”

There’s a number of young men roughly the same age at our local bank.   Every single one of them has their own apartment and is living with a girlfriend, as is the manager at Kroger.   I would assume that none of these relationships is platonic.

This illustrates a major problem that affects the western world – a low birthrate.

Previous generations believed God’s instruction:   “to go forth and multiply.”  (Genesis 1:22)

The West has a low birthrate and is making up for the short fall in people with seemingly unrestricted immigration from undeveloped countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

People from these countries will radically change our society – but few seem to care.

Other nations are preparing for war.   We see it on the news all the time.   War is fought mainly by young men.   When the time comes, will we have enough young men?

I am reminded of another Bible verse from more than 2,500 years ago.   It could be speaking to us today.   “They shall commit harlotry, but not increase;  Because they have ceased obeying the Lord.” (Hosea 4:10)

Sexual immorality is rampant, but there are few children.   Children are a blessing, but few realize that in today’s western world.