Tag Archives: Charles de Gaulle

A CALL FROM SINGAPORE

Nestled in the heart of Southeast Asia and just at the tip of the Malaysian peninsula, the island country of Singapore is a melting pot of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Western cultures. The Lion City is one of the world’s most dynamic, vibrant and prosperous nations.

A friend from Singapore called me at the weekend.   Amongst other things we discussed President Trump’s visit to the region, which is now taking place.   He told me that Singaporeans (mostly ethnic Chinese) believe that America is on the way down and China is on the way up.   In other words, the most powerful nation in Asia and the Pacific is now NOT the US, but China.   Every nation in the region is having to come to terms with Chinese domination.

My friend, who is over 80, remembered the events of 1942 that led Singaporeans to realize the British Empire was on its way down.   One of the greatest military defeats in British history was the fall of Singapore on the 15th of February in 1942.   The story is told of Lee Kwan Yew, the first prime minister of Singapore.   While he was a student, the British blew up the causeway that linked the city to the mainland, to delay Japanese forces.   The sound of the explosion could be heard across the island.   When Mr. Lee’s British headmaster came out of the school building and asked him what the noise was, Mr. Lee responded: “It is the sound of the British Empire falling.”

Effectively, it was.   The fall of the British built and developed city started a series of events that led to American domination of Asia and the Pacific.   Now, China’s economic success means Beijing has greater clout in the area than Washington — many nations are looking to Beijing rather than Washington, to secure their future.

I posted an article to my blog in February to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the first time anybody realized that the US had overtaken the United Kingdom as the world’s pre-eminent nation.   It’s all recounted in the book “Picking up the Reins,” by Norman Moss.   It wasn’t until the following year that the term “Leader of the Free World” was applied to the US.   Seventy years later, we find people openly talking about China overtaking the United States. Chinese resentment at US domination is illustrated by an item on today’s BBC World News website.   Apparently, the Chinese use the term “Boss of the World” to describe America.

China isn’t the only power center trying to take over from America. The European Union is also determined to provide an alternative to American hegemony, with Germany’s Angela Merkel now often labeled “the Leader of the Free World.”   Bible students will not be surprised at these developments.

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IRAN – SAUDI STRUGGLE

Keep an eye on the growing Sunni-Shia struggle in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia leads the former and Iran the latter.   The two countries are fighting a proxy war in Yemen.   The latest development was a missile attack on the Saudi capital, fired by Houthi rebels, who are backed by Iran.

Iran also supports Hizbollah in Lebanon, whose prime minister resigned on Friday out of fear that he, like his father, will be assassinated.

From Monday’s Jerusalem Post:  “Saudi Arabia said on Monday that Lebanon had declared war against it because of attacks against the Kingdom by the Lebanese Shi’ite group Hezbollah.”

Syria is also caught up in the Sunni-Shia conflict.   Iran supports the Syrian president, Bashir Assad.

The West is solely focused on ISIS, a Sunni Islam group which is fighting Iranian backed forces in Iraq and Syria.   ISIS is re-grouping in a number of countries, claiming to represent and defend Sunnis from the Shi’ite heretics.

It’s all very complicated.   Not at all as simple as TV news depicts.

A new area of conflict is in the Sahara, where the US lost four military personnel last month.   Most attention was focused on President Trump’s call to the young wife of one of the men who died. Little attention has been given to the wider problem of a growing conflict right across the Sahel.

The West seems to think ISIS has been defeated; the reality is that the organization has dispersed and formed new radical terrorist groups in a number of different countries.  ISIS fighters have also been returning home to western nations – we should expect more terrorist attacks following the “defeat” of ISIS.

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WALL STREET’S BREXIT WARNING

Big banks are worried about Brexit.   A group of large financial institutions with big London operations, including JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and HSBC, has told US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross that Britain’s unstable government and slow progress in Brexit planning may force them to start moving thousands of jobs out of  the City in the near future.   The lack of clarity over a transition deal is making them nervous.

Their concerns are unlikely to be assuaged by the latest chaos in Theresa May’s cabinet.   Mrs. May is under pressure to strip two more cabinet ministers of their jobs following separate fiascos involving Priti Patel and Boris Johnson.   And the EU has warned that the UK has less than a month to make concessions on a divorce settlement.   The FT’s editorial outlines how the British government’s flailing at home is translating into weakness abroad: “Allies are increasingly wondering whether Mrs. May’s government has the focus or ability to play Britain’s traditional global position — let alone the enhanced role pledged by Brexit.”   (Financial Times, 11/8)

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TEXAS CHURCH ATTACK

26 people were shot dead in church Sunday, following a man’s argument with his mother-in-law.   Twenty others were injured, some very seriously.

This was the 307th incident of mass murder in the US this year. Today is the 310th days of the year, so, in effect, the US is experiencing an average of one mass attack per day.   A mass murder incident is defined as the murder of four or more people.

No other nation in the world sees so much violence.   Yemen, in a civil war between Shia and Sunni Muslims (see segment above), has the second highest incident rate.   Statistically, you would be safer living in Yemen, than in the United States.

I’ve always believed that people have a right to defend themselves, a right that goes back at least to the time of Henry II in the 12th century and perhaps goes back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdom prior to the Norman ascendancy.  The second amendment of the US constitution guarantees that right.   After an attack in London a few weeks ago, I pointed out that if one member of the public, just one, had been carrying a weapon, the terror attack might have been thwarted.

President Trump raised the issue of mental health in the context of mass shootings at a press conference in Tokyo.   Mental health is certainly a major issue.   But easy access to guns, especially by the mentally ill, is also a factor and needs to be addressed.   It’s time for that presidential commission of inquiry into mass gun violence.   Let the public have their say.   They are the ones that are dying, even in church.

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100-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF RUSSIAN REVOLUTION

November 7th is the anniversary of the Russian Revolution that brought the communists to power.   Not surprisingly, Russians are not enthused about the anniversary.   They rejected communism over 25 years ago.

There is still talk of a restoration of the monarchy, though most people do not seem to be in favor and do not expect it to happen.

There are lessons here from both France and Spain, two countries that were once dominated by their respective leaders, Charles de Gaulle and General Franco.   Both were strong men, who were vain enough to think that nobody could possibly replace them after their deaths.   Both men thought that the best way to preserve their nations in the future was through the restoration of their national monarchies.

De Gaulle was a close friend of the Comte de Paris, the descendant of the Orleanist monarch, Louis Phillipe, who ruled France from 1830-1848.   The Comte was aware of de Gaulle’s desire to restore the monarchy.

In 1968, France was rocked by student riots and violence across the country.   DeGaulle presented constitutional reforms (not including a restoration) that were rejected, leading to his resignation as President of France in April, 1969.   He died one year later.   De Gaulle, the inspiration behind the Fifth Republic in 1958, need not have worried  — the Fifth Republic remains to this day.

General Franco of Spain, a fascist dictator, had more time to think about the Spanish succession, proclaiming that his heir and successor was to be Juan Carlos, of the Bourbon line of monarchs. As soon as Franco died in 1975, Juan Carlos was proclaimed king.   Rather than continuing Franco’s conservative ideology, the new King dedicated himself to protecting Spanish democracy, thereby at the same time preserving the monarchy.   He even had the respect and support of Spanish communists.

Vladimir Putin may be thinking along the same lines.   He’s been a very strong leader, with a 90% approval rating at times.   He must be fearful of Russia’s future after he leaves the scene.

The restoration of the Romanov dynasty along Spanish lines, may be just what he’s thinking.   He’s already reviving Russian culture, and has helped the church take center stage.

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SYRIA SIGNS UP TO PARIS ACCORD

The US is now the only country in the world that has not signed up to the Paris climate treaty.   Syria was the only other holdout, but has now signed.

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PARADISE PAPERS SCANDAL

The Anglo-Saxon world loves its scandals, especially when its leaders are exposed.   In this regard, the Paradise Papers did not disappoint.

While TV audiences are focused on who has what and why, it should be emphasized that absolutely no one “exposed” broke the law.  They simply took advantage of legal tax loopholes, just as most people do, only theirs is on a much bigger scale than the average citizen.

The only law-breaking going on here was by the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, which somehow gained access to private financial information.   The paper’s partners in this enterprise included the British Guardian newspaper and the New York Times.  No surprises there.

Another concern is this:   the revelations are the latest “scandal” to undermine our institutions.   As if the Harvey Weinstein and other sexual revelations are not enough, we now have nightly reports that Queen Elizabeth II (and others) have been protecting their assets by moving them beyond the control of national governments.

Times have certainly changed.   Fifty years ago, royal tour-guides would proudly announce that the British monarch was the richest woman in the world.   Now, she’s not even in the top 500 wealthiest people in Britain (J.K. Rowling heads the female list), and people are getting riled about it.

The amount involved was only 10 million pounds ($13 million).

Exactly 100 years after the class warfare of the Russian Revolution, people have learned nothing.   All socialism brought was “equal shares of misery for all” (Margaret Thatcher’s definition).   Do we really want to embrace it again, naively thinking it will improve all our lives?

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OUTSIDE OF THE US

EU Flag

During a US presidential year, it’s possible for people living in the United States not to realize anything is happening outside of the country.   News programs, including even 24-hour news channels, seem to talk about nothing else but the election.

Watching CNN, Fox or CBS (which now has a 24/7 internet news channel) a viewer would have no idea of what’s going on in Europe at this time.   Mention of the Middle East would only be covered briefly when talking about America’s role.   America is fixated on itself – and it happens once every four years!

Al-Jazeera has given up and is closing its US channel.  You would think Americans would be very interested in news from the Middle East, having played a major role in the region in recent decades.  Not so.   Now there will be one less source of news for those who are interested.

Few people, a very few, will be aware that Washington wants Britain to remain in the European Union.   Even fewer will be aware that President Kennedy pressed British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan to join the EEC (predecessor of the EU) over 50 years ago.   The United Kingdom applied to join but was turned down when French President Charles de Gaulle uttered his famous “Non!”

After de Gaulle, Britain applied again and was accepted.   The EU went from six to nine members on January 1, 1973.   Now it’s 28 member countries.  It might soon be 27 if negotiations between the UK and the rest of the EU don’t go well.  Today, Friday the 19th of February, is a crucial day for talks between the parties.   British papers this morning show that Mr. Cameron is not doing well in trying to achieve his demands for Britain to remain a member.

The European Union is a big government project, with increasing numbers of well -paid bureaucrats who pay no attention to what the people want.   Although members have to be democracies to join, there’s little democracy in the organization itself.   The people have no more say in government than they did in feudal times, although they can now move around from country to country thanks to the EU’s Schengen Agreement.  Even that may go in order to deal with the massive flow of migrants.

Americans would not like to be subservient to foreign bureaucrats, so why are they so keen on keeping Britain in the EU?  The answer is the same as it was when Kennedy and MacMillan were in power.  Americans want a pro-American voice in the EU.  They also want free trade, which Britain encourages, rather than the more controlled economies that the French and Germans prefer.

In theory, the British people could reject the proposals put forward today.   However, it’s not just the British voting.  There are millions of migrants from the continent of Europe who live in the UK – they will vote to support continued membership, regardless of the terms. Many of them depend on generous British welfare payments.   There’s also millions of voters from outside of the EU who have no knowledge, understanding or appreciation of British history.

This is a mess – but it’s a mess the British themselves made when they decided to turn their backs on the Commonwealth and seek economic salvation courtesy of Germany and France.   History should have taught them the folly of such an enterprise.

The Bible shows that a European super-power is coming.   “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast.  These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast.  (Rev 17:13-14)

This will inevitably be led by Germany.   This is likely to resemble the Holy Roman Empire more than the United States.   Britain was never a part of the HRE.   That might be an indicator of Britain’s future role, or non-role, in the new Europe.

Germany is key here.  The front page headline in The Mail on Sunday summed it up well:   “Germans:  You can’t survive without us!”   Intimidation, anyone?

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Europa Rape

Nationalism is on the rise in Europe.   The cover of a Polish magazine this week has brought condemnation from around the world.   It shows an attractive white woman dressed as “Europa” being groped by  dark skinned men, representing the male Islamic migrants who have moved into European countries in the last few months.   Reports of sexual assaults on white women have been a constant in the daily papers from various European countries.

At the time of the migrant crisis, television news programs implied that most refugees were women and children; it turns out that most were actually young men who left the women and children behind in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Now those young men, brought up in a culture where women have to cover themselves from head to toe, are taking advantage of the West’s more liberal ways.   From their religious perspective, women exposing a lot of flesh are “whores.”  They have no respect for them and will take advantage whenever they can.

It’s a classic example of a clash of cultures.   The only way to solve the problem is to keep the cultures separated.  Rather difficult now, when so many western leaders are bending over backwards to accommodate them all.

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Donald Trump is clearly more supportive of the idea of separation, so much so that he advocated building a wall between the US and Mexico.  Pope Francis, visiting Mexico, made some negative comments about the wall.   He expressed the opinion that Donald Trump, in advocating a wall, showed he cannot be a Christian.

It should be noted that the one square mile Vatican City has a high wall around it!

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Last week, I included the name of the man who attacked four diners with a machete in Ohio.

I love the following comment from Mark Steyn looking back on the week’s news:

“On Thursday a machete-wielding man called Mohamed slashed four diners in an Israeli-owned restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. As is traditional, police professed to be utterly baffled. “ (Steyn Online, Sunday)