Tag Archives: Juan Carlos

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.

———————————————————————-

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.

———————————————————————

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)

————————————————————————-

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.

————————————————————————————

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.

—————————————————————————

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.

—————————————————————————

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?

Advertisements

LETTER FROM HOME (FINALLY)

phoenix1

Yesterday, I was able to go back to church for the first time in over four months (I’ll write about those four months later). I walked to the mailbox every day last week so that I would be able to walk into church from the parking lot, roughly the same distance.   I received a wonderfully warm reception from everybody, which was very encouraging.

It’s great to be back.

——————————————————————————————————————-

I’ve been reading a book this week on the Peasants Revolt of 1381. I know it’s over 600 years ago, but it’s still relevant and contains lessons for today, on both sides of the Atlantic. The author of the book, Alastair Dunn, even goes so far as to show that the revolution of 1381 influenced other revolutions down through the centuries, including the English, French and Russian Revolutions. The American Revolution was different as the rebel leaders were actually wealthier than those they rebelled against, which makes it unique in world history.

What I found particularly interesting is that the rebels demanded the execution of all the lawyers in the country. They even went so far as to round up any law students they could find and behead them.

Why did they do this?

They blamed the lawyers for all the restrictive and oppressive laws that had been imposed on them in recent decades.

It doesn’t take much imagination to realize that there are similarities now. Laws have been passed in recent decades that have little or no support from the people. All these laws cost money, which may explain why polls show people feel they are progressively worse off.

Nothing has changed in 3,000 years.

When the biblical prophet Samuel was asked to give them a king like the other nations, God warned the Israelites through Samuel that a king would gradually take more and more of their wealth until they would feel oppressed. The same applies in a republic. Human government is the problem.

“This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you. He will take your sons . . . He will take your daughters . . . And he will take the best of your fields . . . He will take a tenth of your grain . . . ” (I Samuel 8). You get the picture.

Dunn’s book is titled “The Great Rising of 1381.”   It’s as relevant today as it ever was.

____________________________________________________________

Kings and money. Now there’s an interesting subject.

When King Juan Carlos of Spain abdicated a few weeks ago, he was immediately succeeded by his popular son, Prince (now King) Felipe.

The BBC interviewed people in the streets, out to celebrate the ascension of the new king.

One lady commented on how monarchy is the cheapest form of government, which happens to be true, though few realize it.

In the UK, for example, the government gives the queen the equivalent of $87 million for all the costs related to the monarchy. More than twice this amount is raised by the government from entrance tickets to the royal palaces. This effectively makes the monarchy free. Contrast the cost of the US presidential system.

It occurred to me that, if this knowledge gets around, there may be a few European countries looking to restore their thrones.

Could Revelation 17 be literal?

“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.” (Revelation 17:12)

___________________________________________________________

England has been on my mind a great deal the last few days, following a conversation with one of my brothers. He was talking about how Germany now controls everything and is even trying to take what’s left, including the City of London, which is still the world’s financial capital. If this happens, England will suffer a major financial setback.

Another setback is possible next month when Scotland votes on independence.

The two are connected.

If Scotland pulls out of the United Kingdom, it will have to seek closer ties with Germany, including membership of the euro. This will leave England totally isolated in Europe, surrounded by the new European (German) superpower. This situation will worsen further if England votes to withdraw from the European Union in the promised referendum.

With rising anti-semitism across Europe and newsreels showing Germans demonstrating in the streets holding up signs saying “Gas the Jews,” it’s like going back 75 years. Who says history doesn’t repeat itself?

Further danger was highlighted today by the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, who warned that victory for the Islamic State in Iraq would lead to the establishment of a Caliphate on the shores of the Mediterranean. In turn, this would lead to terror on the streets of Britain.

I’m anxious to get over there to get the feel of things and write more extensively on the subject. This is especially important following the death of my dear friend John Ross Schroeder, who is a great loss to the COGs. John had a really good grasp of prophecy and of British and European events. His death at this time means there is nobody writing from the UK who has any great perception of history and current events.

Another friend who wrote from the UK was Rod King, who wrote for the Living Church of God’s publication. Rod is now back in his native Australia.

Three years ago John and I went to a press conference in London in connection with the upcoming celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. At the meeting, the first question asked was from Rod King. The three of us met up afterwards and went and had fish and chips at one of my favorite pubs, the Sherlock Holmes.

With John and Rod no longer writing from the UK, developments there and in Europe are likely to be overlooked, at what may be the most crucial time in their history

Bible students know that the Middle East and Europe are at the very center of prophesied end-time events.

Does anybody have any frequent flyer miles they won’t be using?