After yet another school shooting in the United States, the 19th this year, Pat Buchanan wrote a brilliant analysis. The following is a quote from his article, posted this morning.
“Another factor helps to explain what happened Wednesday: We are a formerly Christian society in an advanced state of decomposition.
“Nikolas Cruz was a product of broken families. He was adopted. Both adoptive parents had died. Where did he get his ideas of right and wrong, good and evil? Before the Death of God and repeal of the Ten Commandments, in those dark old days, the 1950s, atrocities common now were almost nonexistent. (“The Motives behind the massacre,” Pat Buchanan, 2/16)
Deuteronomy 28 is the classic Bible chapter that should help us all think. In summary, what it says is that the more we obey God, the greater our society will be; the more we turn away from God, the worse it will become. As Mr. Buchanan points out, “before the death of God and repeal of the Ten Commandments, in those dark old days, the 1950s, atrocities common now were almost nonexistent.”
RIPPLE EFFECT OF SCHOOL SHOOTINGS
It’s not just that US schools are unsafe, it’s clear to the rest of the world that America is a very violent country, with a governmental system that doesn’t work any more. As one writer put it, the US has an eighteenth century constitution in a twenty first century world.
Most countries already have a bad impression of the current US president. But, when Mr. Trump spoke following the shootings and talked about mental illness, that impression only worsened. Mental illness was (and usually is) a major factor, but what differentiates America from other western countries is easy access to weapons. Even the mentally ill can walk into a gun dealer and buy an assault rifle!
Parkland will not be the last school mass shooting.
ISLAM AND THE WEST
Sheikh “Abu Qusay” delivered a Friday sermon in Jerusalem, in which he said:
“Oh dweller of the White House, let me tell you, from the pulpit of the Prophet Muhammad, that this is the promise of Allah and His Messenger: Jerusalem is the heart of the land of Islam. We will storm your White House, stomp on your head, kill your soldiers, and capture your land. This is the promise of the Prophet Muhammad.” The sermon was posted to the internet on December 22nd. (MEMRI)
Nervous Rex? Tillerson in Turkey
The war in Syria has already tested and destroyed many alliances. Turkey’s relationship with America may be next. Having launched one army offensive against Kurdish insurgents in north-west Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government says it will soon order another, this time in the north-east. There, the militants are flanked by American troops, who are supporting them in their fight against Islamic State. It will be up to America’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, who arrives in Turkey today, to calm nerves and prevent the diplomatic row between the two NATO allies from exploding into an armed one. That will not be easy. After an American general warned that his forces would retaliate against any attack on their positions inside the Kurdish strongholds, Mr Erdogan said the United States “had clearly never received an Ottoman slap.” Slap or no slap, Mr. Tillerson’s ears will be ringing by the time he gets back to Washington. (Economist, 2/15)
German government plans massive military expansion in Iraq By Johannes Stern, 13 February 2018
The new grand coalition in Germany is planning a massive expansion of the German army (Bundeswehr) mission in Iraq.
This was announced by Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen (Christian Democratic Union, CDU) in the course of her trip to the Middle East last weekend. Von der Leyen praised Germany’s cooperation with the Peshmerga [Kurdish military forces] during her visit to Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region in northern Iraq. The Bundeswehr has been arming and militarily supporting the Kurdish force for three and a half years. It was “impressive to see the great success of the Peshmerga training mission,” she said, thanking “Bundeswehr soldiers” on the spot. Von der Leyen then announced that in future the Bundeswehr would be deployed throughout Iraq.
There will be “another mandate,” she said, “a mandate with a new balance … between Baghdad and Erbil on equal terms on both sides.” The defense minister made no concrete statements about the planned operation, but left no doubt she envisaged a long-term military engagement throughout Iraq. “Both in Kurdistan, as well as in the central government in Baghdad,” there is “a request above all to help in the implementation of reforms, in the construction of ministry structures,” the minister said. In Erbil, for example, “the construction of an entire sanitary unit is necessary,” but this also involved “of course the entire planning, organisation, recruitment and training.” There is also “considerable demand” for logistics. Germany wanted to “make its contribution” to provide Iraq with “independent, loyal operational forces for the long term.”
The Socialist Equality Party rejects the coalition pact, which focuses on the return of Germany to an aggressive foreign and great power policy, and calls for the disclosure of all the talks. Under conditions of escalating warfare in Syria and Iraq, and US preparations for war against North Korea, which threaten to provoke a Third World War, this demand, along with the demand for new elections, is becoming increasingly urgent.
Special Dispatch No. 7339
Hamas, Palestinian Factions In Response To Israel’s Airstrikes In Syria: ‘Any Israeli Attack, On Any Front, Will Be Answered With A Comprehensive War On All Fronts’ (MEMRI 2/15)
Macron Vows to Reform Islam in France
“It is time to bring in a new generation”
by Soeren Kern, February 13, 2018 at 5:00 am
- The overall objective of President Macron’s plan is to ensure that French law takes precedence over Islamic law for Muslims living in the country.
- The plan, as currently conceived, is vague and short on details, but appears to involve three broad pillars: determining who will represent Muslims in France; delineating how Islam in France will be financed; and defining how imams in France will be trained.
- “It is time to bring in a new generation. We have seen fifteen years of debate to defend the interests of foreign states.” — Hakim el-Karoui, a French-Tunisian expert on Islam who is advising Macron on the reforms. (Gatestone)
A New Élysée Treaty – Berlin and Paris are seeking a “new Élysée Treaty.” On the 55th anniversary of the original 1963 Élysée Treaty, in which the Federal Republic of Germany and France committed themselves to hold “consultations” on major political issues, Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron announced the drafting of a new treaty aimed at “deepening” cooperation between the two countries and “strengthening” the EU. In a declaration, the parliaments of both countries called for harmonizing almost the “complete range of policy issues.” This would amount to massively enhancing the “German-French axis.”
(Own report) – In Washington serious warnings are being raised against an independent German-European military policy aimed at weakening NATO. The militarization of the EU is being supported as long as “it is complimentary to NATO,” a senior Pentagon official was quoted. However, Washington would intervene if Berlin and the EU were to pull military resources away from NATO and use them for their own wars. This statement was made in light of the NATO defense ministers’ meeting that begins today, which will include a decision on the establishment of two new NATO headquarters. One will be established in the United States, to secure the military supply routes from North America over the Atlantic to Europe. A second will be established in Germany, to optimize rapid redeployments of West European troops eastwards across the continent. At the current stage of planning, this will be under German sovereignty and available also for use outside of the NATO framework.
Despite its loss in U.S. trade court against Bombardier, Boeing believes 2018 will be a turning point in its lengthy WTO challenge to Airbus over government subsidies. The threat of hefty tariffs could redraw the playing field — or trigger a trade war among traditional allies. (Dominic Gates,The Seattle Times 2/10)
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday rejected the sale of the Chicago Stock Exchange to a group that would have included Chinese investors, capping a two-year battle over a deal that sparked political opposition in Congress, reports the WSJ’s Dave Michaels. (2/16)
Some like it hot: America’s economy
The White House will announce its infrastructure plan today. It is expected to call for $200bn more in government spending to encourage private investment, hoping for a total of $1.5trn towards spending on roads, bridges, ports and more. Were Congress to pass such a plan without cutting spending elsewhere, it would be the third recent salvo of fiscal stimulus. Last week lawmakers passed a budget that will raise spending by $143bn (0.7% of GDP) this year; in December President Donald Trump signed into law tax cuts worth about $280bn in 2019. America’s budget deficit will probably reach $1trn (5% of GDP) that year. All this will stimulate an already hot economy. Unemployment is just 4.1%, and real-time estimates of GDP growth in the first quarter of 2018 are as high as 4%. The natural question is: when will inflation take off? This strangely timed fiscal experiment will reveal the answer. (Economist Espresso, 2/12)
China, Maldives: Beijing’s Boats Send a Message to India — China’s increased military presence in the Indian Ocean gives the country more options to respond to the crisis in the Maldives, in addition to challenging New Delhi’s influence in the region. (Stratfor, 2/16)
Finally, Mo Ibrahim has found an African president worthy of the $5 million prize the Sudanese billionaire offered to any leader who would step down after losing an election. The prize goes to Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. It’s been eleven years since the prize was established. “Ellen Johnson Sirleaf took the helm of Liberia when it was completely destroyed by civil war and led a process of reconciliation that focused on building a nation and its democratic institution,” said the head of the prize committee.
Liberia’s gross domestic product was only $550 million when Mrs. Sirleaf became president in 2005. At the end of her tenure in office it had increased to $2.1 billion. (Wall Street Journal, 2/14)
COMMENT ON OXFAM CHARITY SCANDAL
Can charities be truly bad? It seems perverse to say that they are, but the Oxfam abuse scandal has revealed a sinister side to international aid — and about time, too. In our cover package this week, Harriet Sergeant argues that, in Africa and elsewhere, NGOs often do more harm than good. Mary Wakefield, meanwhile, who wrote about rapist aid workers in the magazine a fortnight ago, well before the Oxfam story broke, asks why polite society prefers to ignore scandals which relate to organisations that people want to believe are good. (The Spectator, UK, 2/15)
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils — Berlioz