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?
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.
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.”
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.
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!
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.”
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.
With three young grandchildren in the house, including a baby that recently turned one year old, I’ve taken to watching silent movies on Turner Classic Movies (TCM). There’s no dialog to hear, so surrounding noise isn’t a problem.
I started by watching the 1925 version of “Ben Hur,” which many consider the best of the three versions. It certainly has the best chariot scene, made at a time when animal rights were not taken into consideration. (Not that I advocate hurting animals – it was just so REAL!)
Recently, I watched “Love” with Greta Garbo and John Gilbert, made the following year. The two actors were more famous than Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio are today.
The movie was an enactment of Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina.” The title was changed thanks to the tabloids. The gossip papers had revealed that, while making the film, Gilbert and Gabo had started their own relationship. This enabled the movie’s producers to put the following on marquees across America: “Garbo and Gilbert in Love.” The movie was a sensation, a bigger hit than anything Hollywood turns out nowadays.
It wasn’t only the title that was changed. Producers chose to make the movie with two alternative endings. They referred to one as the “Russian ending,” with Anna, as in the classic, killing herself in front of a train after an adulterous affair that led to her losing her son. Another ending was made for Americans, with Anna’s husband dying, thereby leaving her free to marry her lover, Vronsky, and keep her son. It was felt that American audiences couldn’t handle Anna’s death. The “American” version missed the whole point of the novel.
Interestingly, the Russian ending was shown in New York and on the West coast. It was only Mid-western sensibilities that they were concerned about.
If Hollywood can’t even get a novel right, why would we expect them to be accurate when it comes to non-fiction?
Another Russian “story” caused a problem for Hollywood a few years later, by which time sound had replaced the old silent movies. This movie dealt with “Rasputin and the Empress” (1932). It’s depiction of Prince Felix Yousoupov, the principal murderer of Rasputin, was so inaccurate it led to a major lawsuit; since then movies carry the words “all characters in this film are fictional,” or similar, to protect themselves from expensive lawsuits. Now, no attempt is made at accuracy.
I’ve yet to see a Hollywood movie depict the American Revolution with any degree of accuracy. In Hollywood, everything has to be black and white. Real life is rarely like that. The Revolution was not Americans against the king; the country was equally divided — one third rebelled against the crown, one third were loyal and the other third couldn’t spell “crown.” On the eve of Yorktown, 40% were loyalists, with support for the Patriots down to 30%.
Rather than the claim that the king was acting selfishly, it can be argued that the leaders of the Patriots were. They were heavily in debt to British banks, following a bad crop in 1773 – one way to get out from under the debt was to ditch the Crown. It’s not surprising that wealthy indebted landowners led the revolution – the only revolution in history where those rebelling were richer than those they rebelled against! This issue was finally resolved after the war when the belligerents got together in Paris.
I was thinking about this over the Fourth of July, when I read a review in The Economist by their American correspondent. He reviewed a book titled: “Scars of Independence: America’s violent birth,” by Holger Hoock of the University of Pittsburgh. Mr. Hoock “. . . concluded that selective amnesia took hold soon after the war, as victors told their version of history, and the British displayed their genius for forgetting defeats. In the republic’s earliest decades, stone monuments charging the British with “cold-blooded cruelty” rose on battle sites from Lexington, Massachusetts to Paoli, Pennsylvania. Meanwhile orators told Americans that their revolt had been unusually civilized: one public meeting in 1813 declared the revolution “untarnished with a single blood-speck of inhumanity.” (The American Revolution Revisited – a Nation Divided, Even at Birth)
I have an extensive library of books on the Revolution, all of which were written by Americans. The following quote from The Economist is an accurate observation:
“Browse through school history books, with names like “Liberty or Death!” and the struggle to throw off British rule is sanctified as a victory of American patriot-farmers and artisans against battle-hardened British redcoats and foreign mercenaries, defending ideals crafted by orators in periwigs. Yet go back to contemporary sources, and they called it what it also was: a brutal civil war.” (Economist review.)
6% of America’s population died in the Revolutionary War, as against 2% in the War Between the States eight decades later. (By 1861 the population was much higher, but the percentage gives an idea of the relative suffering of the people.)
Note the following: “At the war’s end, about one in 40 Americans went into permanent exile, the equivalent of some 8m people today.” (ibid.)
The Revolutionary War was a civil war. Most battles took place without the presence of British soldiers – brother fought brother, to death, with little mercy shown. Ironically, if the Revolutionary War had not taken place, the “Civil War” would never have happened – the imperial parliament in London abolished the slave trade in 1808 and slavery itself 25 years later. No battles were fought over the issue. Additionally, states’ rights would never have been a factor or cause for conflict. Canada was spared both civil wars.
So, what did Americans gain?
FACTS TELL A DIFFERENT STORY
Consider the following gleaned from a variety of books on the subject:
>>>American historian Gordon Wood, considered the foremost expert on the Revolution, wrote in his book: “The Radicalization of the American Revolution,” that England in the eighteenth century was the freest country in the world and that the colonists were even freer. The king was the guarantor of freedom – never again could a commoner like Oliver Cromwell take power and become a dictator. Celebrations for King George III’s coronation in 1762 were greater in the colonies than in England. So, what went wrong and why, then, did some Americans want more freedom?
>>>The French and Indian Wars were fought by Britain and the colonists to defend the latter against a French Catholic take-over. George Washington, serving “King and Country”, fired the first shots. The seven-year war left the British government with serious debts, which they tried to recoup by taxing the colonies. Americans did not want to pay for the war. Over two centuries later, Americans still do not like to pay for wars.
>>>Contrary to what is often thought today, all thirteen original colonies had a democratic form of government. All property-owning males could vote, with a 90% turnout at elections. After independence, there was no immediate widening of the franchise. In 1789, when the first election was held, only 6% of the population could vote. Both the United States and the United Kingdom extended the franchise during the nineteenth century and both gave women the vote after World War One. America lagged behind England in voting rights, not catching up until the Voting Rights Act of 1964.
>>>The Right to Vote and the Right to Bear Arms were in force before 1776. Indeed, the revolution would not have been possible without these rights.
>>>It has often been pointed out that the leaders of the Revolution were richer than the people they rebelled against.
>>>In 1772, the monumental Somerset Decision sent shock-waves through the American colonies. A slave had taken his owner to court. The court ruled that nobody in the British Isles could be owned by somebody else. If extended to the colonies, this would have ruined prosperous farmers who needed free labor.
Wikipedia has this to say on the subject: “Somerset v Stewart 98 ER 499 is a famous judgment of the English Court of King’s Bench in 1772, which held that chattel slavery was unsupported by the common law in England and Wales.”
>>>Rather than the claim that the king was acting selfishly, it can be argued that the leaders of the Patriots were. They were heavily in debt to British banks, following a bad crop in 1773.
>>> Paul Revere did not ride through Lexington, Massachusetts, shouting: “the British are coming.” This would have made no sense as everybody was British. It would be like somebody today, seeing the police approaching, would shout out the warning that the Americans are coming. Rather, Paul Revere warned that “the Regulars are coming,” a reference to full time professional troops.
>>>Geoffrey Wawro, a distinguished scholar of military history who teaches at the University of North Texas, led a discussion some years ago on “Global View” (History International Channel). The panel concluded that the separation of England and America weakened the English-speaking world considerably.
>>>By 1800, almost twenty years after independence, Americans were paying more in taxes than they had ever paid under colonial rule.
>>>As the Patriots called themselves the “Sons of Liberty,” the Tories referred to them as the “Sons of Anarchy.” Partly because of what happened a century earlier when England itself became a republic, many loyalists feared a total breakdown of law and order if the country became a republic, a country without a king. A Biblically literate population was aware of the warning at the end of the Book of Judges: “There was no king in Israel in those days; every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 25:25). No king meant anarchy!
>>>Many of today’s super-patriots, those who celebrate the 4th of July most vigorously, ironically, would probably have been Tories in 1780. Conservatives don’t like change or uncertainty.
>>>This brings us back to the Russians. Newt Gingrich’s book “Yorktown” brings out that Catherine the Great of Russia offered to mediate between the British government and those rebelling against it. One idea proposed was that Americans would keep their unitary nation, but remain within the Empire. On the eve of the final Battle of Yorktown, this was acceptable to most Americans, including members of the Continental Congress. This would have resulted in America being more like Canada. It would, of course, also have meant there was no need for Canada – loyalists would have stayed where they were. Catherine’s mediation attempt got nowhere – the autocratic Russian Empress was hardly a credible mediator between two sides that both believed in democracy.
>>>The victory at Yorktown would not have happened without the French navy. After the battle, the situation was unclear. It wasn’t until the King asked parliament for more money to fight the rebellion that the war finally ended – parliament refused his request.
>>>Cut off from the empire’s trading system, the US struggled financially after independence. Even in the 1930’s, the nations of the British Empire recovered from the Great Depression quicker than the US. America was anxious to break into the imperial trading club without becoming a part of the empire.
The question remains: what did Americans gain from independence? One thing comes immediately to mind – that the new country was no longer bound by British treaties with the “Indians;” they could now expand westward.
Ironically, it was a British bank that financed the Louisiana Purchase and British investors who helped build the railways that opened up the West. So the Brits did their part to make the country expand anyway.
On the other hand, if those treaties had remained in effect, California may never have entered the Union and Hollywood might not exist – some would say, those are two very good reasons for remaining loyal to the Crown!
So, why did Americans revolt and why did the rebels (patriots) win?
Decades after the American Revolution, the Anglo-Israelite movement believed that the British Empire and the United States of America were the fulfillment of a prophecy in Genesis 48; that the two sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, would become a great company of nations (Ephraim; the British Empire and Commonwealth) and his brother would become a great single nation (Manasseh, the United States). As the “company of nations” (Genesis 48:19) was united by the Crown, the great single nation had to break away from the crown, which is exactly what the United States did. Note: ”He set Ephraim before Manasseh (verse 20)”. Britain was the world’s superpower before the United States. In relative terms, Britain was also greater than its successor. After the loss of the American colonies, the British went on to develop the greatest empire the world had ever seen.
In other words, God determined the outcome of the Revolutionary War in order to fulfill Bible prophecy.
Following the Republican debate Thursday evening, one newspaper quoted on PBS’ McLaughlin Group observed that Jeb Bush spoke as if he thinks that America’s problems are all psychological and not real at all. The Bushes have done well and live the dream and can’t understand why others have failed to achieve the same.
On Sunday, reports from Moscow showed a similar problem. President Vladimir Putin, by some accounts now the richest man in the world, thanks to the accumulation of ill-gotten gains, ordered the destruction of 350 tonnes of food from the EU in retaliation for western sanctions on Russia. Mr. Putin’s decision shows that he is oblivious to the fact that millions of Russians are struggling to feed their families. 40% of Russia’s food was imported before the sanctions were announced.
Jeb Bush and Vladimir Putin aren’t the only two politicians who are out of touch with reality. It’s difficult, for example, to imagine how Hillary Clinton, who, together with her husband, earned approximately $30 million last year, can possibly claim to represent the middle class.
It’s dangerous when politicians at the top are out of touch with people at the bottom.
In 1789, France’s Queen, Marie Antoinette supposedly said: “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”—“Let them eat cake.” That same year, the monarchy was overthrown and, three years later, the hated Marie lost her head to Madame Guillotine. It wasn’t that simple. The queen actually did a great deal for the poor through her charitable work and the words she supposedly uttered were recorded over a century earlier, attributed to the Spanish wife of King Louis XIV.
But hungry people don’t care about historical accuracy – they just want to eat.
A lack of food has been a regular cause of revolution throughout history. In 1917, a bread riot in Petrograd (St. Petersburg) started the revolution that led to the downfall of the 300-year-old Romanov dynasty. It’s not inconceivable that something similar could happen to Mr. Putin. Of course, the revolution did not improve the situation – seven decades of communism included many years of famine and regular food shortages even at the best of times.
No nation is exempt. If billboards in Michigan are to be believed, one in five Michigan children go to bed hungry.
Former presidential candidate Ross Perot warned a few years ago that food stamps are all that stand between us and anarchy – in other words, take away free food for the poor and you could see a revolution in the United States.
In June, 1932, veterans marched on Washington demanding that a bonus they were promised by Congress should be brought forward as, in the midst of the Depression, they could not afford to feed their families. They built shanty-towns outside of Washington and were determined to stay until Congress met their demands. President Herbert Hoover sent in troops under the command of General Douglas MacArthur to tear down the camps and send them home. Reports at the time tell of great hunger amongst the vets and their families, including young children. President Hoover was seen to be out of touch and uncaring (the shantytowns were dubbed “Hoovervilles”) and lost the election a few months later to Franklin Roosevelt.
Mr. Bush should remember the fate of the last Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, who lost the 2012 election to Mr. Obama. Mr. Romney was recorded dismissing the “47%” of the electorate who depend on government and who, therefore, were not going to vote for him anyway.
Mr. Romney and Mr. Bush, both claiming to be conservative, should have read a biography of Benjamin Disraeli, the nineteenth century Conservative British prime minister who warned of Britain becoming “two nations,” one rich and the other poor. He reshaped the Conservative Party to be a party that reached out to the working-man. If the Republicans are to succeed, they have to do the same, to show how their policies will help improve the life of Joe Citizen. To do this, they need to distance themselves from Big Business.
They can do it. The 1896 election was held in the midst of a Great Depression that saw 50% of the people unemployed, at a time when there were no unemployment benefits for those who were out of work. Understandably, the election saw the highest turnout in American history. 80% of the electorate voted. The presidential election that year was won by Republican William McKinley. He promised the people sound money and high tariffs to increase employment at home. It’s interesting to note that the same issues still prevail.
Left-leaning parties, whether the Democrats in the US or the Labour Party in Britain, do not represent working people. They are the parties of Big Government, which gives jobs to their supporters, but leads to a rise in taxes. Those taxes are paid by ordinary people and small businesses, making life harder for the majority of people.
Leaders, and aspiring leaders like Jeb Bush, cannot afford to be out of touch with the common people. This is especially true in democracies where every citizen has the vote. Perhaps Mr. Bush and Mr. Putin should copy Britain’s Prince William, who spent the night sleeping on the streets of London to get the feel of homelessness. At the very least, his gesture showed empathy with the poor, a realization on his part that tens of thousands of people are homeless and unable to take care of themselves.
Only a return to conservative values, including restoration of the traditional family, can help people get out of poverty. Conservatives everywhere need to convince the voters that they represent them and not Big Business.
They could start by following the example of Menachem Begin, an Israeli conservative and former prime minister. Mr. Begin spent many years in prison under the Bolsheviks. Reading a biography of Benjamin Disraeli helped him maintain his sanity and inspired his future conservative course. Focusing on struggling voters makes more sense than pursuing big business! After decades of Big Government, people want change.
"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