Tag Archives: Merkel

WHERE THERE IS NO VISION

This is a crucial weekend for Theresa May and for Britain itself.   The final Brexit proposals are on the table (all 585 pages of them) and parliament has to vote to approve the “deal” that will determine the UK’s future.

It hasn’t been mentioned all week on network television in the United States, but the Brexit deal between the EU and the UK is in its climactic stage.   By next week at this time, Britain’s future should be decided.   At the same time, Theresa May’s future will be clear – if she cannot get the latest proposals through parliament, there will be a “vote of no confidence” and her government may be gone.   The immediate future does not look good for Mrs. May or for Britain.

It’s been over two years since the British people voted in a referendum to leave the European Union, to once again be an independent nation as the United Kingdom was before 1973.   Membership of the EU has not been good for the British people. After 46 years, it’s time to depart.   But there are many, including the prime minister, who cannot see a future for Britain without the EU. Mrs. May voted to “Remain” in the referendum, but says she wants to honor the will of the people; however, she clearly wants Britain tied as closely as possible to Brussels and the 27-nation union.   She is fearful of the country going it alone!

Following the referendum there was talk of Britain becoming a second Singapore, a low tax, free enterprise economy that would boost living standards for the British people.  Singapore now has the highest per capita income in the world.   The irony here is that the city-state was founded by a British entrepreneur less than two hundred years ago, at a time when Britain had the most successful economy in the world.   The proposed revival has not gotten anywhere.

Note the following comment from yesterday’s Wall St Journal:

“Some Conservatives are nonetheless threatening another leadership challenge to Mrs May, and maybe this time they mean it. The Prime Minister’s withdrawal plan at least clarifies the choice. Mrs. May has reached this pass because she and much of her party have lacked the conviction to push for a Brexit that would require widespread economic reform at home and a Singapore-style free-trade policy abroad.   If Britain won’t have that kind of Brexit, business groups are right that the country needs to preserve as many of the benefits of existing EU ties as possible to compensate for the disadvantages of Britain’s high-taxing, high-spending, hyper-regulated economy . . .   Any Tory inclined to challenge Mrs. May will need a plan for persuading skeptical British voters to follow a reform path.”   (“The Best Bad Brexit Deal,” Wall Street Journal, November 15th)

A famous proverb makes clear the problem here:   “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18).     The people were not given a clear vision that would have launched Britain on a new course.   Instead, they cling to their generous welfare state and free medical system, fearful of change.   They “need” a deal with the EU so as not to rock the welfare boat.

Perhaps a different leader would have made a difference?   Jacob Rees-Mogg, a prominent Conservative, said only yesterday that: “Leaving the EU is the most fantastic opportunity for the UK.”   If only Mrs. May felt that way.   If only Margaret Thatcher were still prime minister.   Or Winston Churchill.   Alas, there are lots of “if only’s” . . . the reality is that the country and the ruling Conservative Party are very divided.

Surprisingly, the 27 members of the EU are not divided, not on Brexit anyway.   They have all given their full support to the EU’s Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, an uncompromising man whose inflexibility came up against the UK’s constant dithering.   He took full advantage of London’s desperate pursuit of a “deal” that will ensure the UK’s future as a “vassal state” of the European Union (the words of former Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson).

Mrs. May is quite a bit younger than myself, so I hesitate to describe her as an old woman; but, like many older people, she is showing timidity in this crisis, as her 27 immediate neighbors  on the European bloc treat her badly. She wants peace at all costs (“peace in our time” as Neville Chamberlain said eighty years ago when confronted with other continental bullies).   She is too nice to stand up to Messrs Barnier, Macron and Merkel.   But somebody is urgently needed to stand up to them – and opt for the Singapore option.

It’s interesting to note the contrast between Mrs. May and Donald Trump – the former lacks confidence in standing up to the Europeans; the latter is overly-confident, which is just as bad in its own way.   When President Macron announced that the new European Army will defend Europe against Russia, China and the US, Mr. Trump responded in a tweet accusing the French president of an “insult.”   A clear head and a determined resolve are needed here by the two leaders of the two English speaking powers.

The present scenario brings to mind the following prophetic words about Ephraim:

“Aliens (strangers, foreigners) have devoured his strength,
But he does not know it;
Yes, gray hairs are here and there on him,
Yet he does not know it” (Hosea 7:9)

THE WEEK

Donald and Ted

There’s a lot of discussion about whether Senator Ted Cruz can run for president, due to the fact that he was born in Canada.   A few years ago, a similar concern was expressed about Barack Obama, with many convinced he was born in Kenya and therefore unqualified to run for president.

FWIW, when I went to the US Embassy in Ghana to register the births of our three children, all born outside of the United States between 1976 and 1981, I was informed that they had all the rights of any child born on American soil, “up to and including running for President of the United States.”

They were considered “natural born citizens” because their mother is an American citizen.

On this basis, President Obama, Senator Cruz and Senator John McCain all qualify even though they were born overseas, or maybe born overseas in the case of the current president.

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“In 2013 alone, 117,423 migrants from Muslim-majority countries were permanently resettled within the United States— having been given lawful permanent resident status.   Additionally in 2013, the United States voluntarily admitted an extra 122,921 temporary migrants from Muslim countries as foreign students and foreign workers as well as 39,932 refugees and asylees from Muslim countries.

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Thus, twelve years after the September 11th hijackers were invited into the country on temporary visas, the US decided to admit 280,276 migrants from Muslim countries within a single fiscal year.” – Breitbart, Julia Haha, September 15th, 2015.

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President Obama took pains in his State of the Union speech Tuesday to warn Americans not to exaggerate the threat from terrorists,” notes a Journal editorial.   But after a spate of attacks from Paris to San Bernardino to Jakarta, what “Americans want from their next President is someone who will give them fewer reasons to fear being murdered while getting coffee.”   (WSJ, Morning Editorial Report, James Freeman, “Hillary and Ted’s Big Problem”)

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In Europe, reaction to the massive influx of refugees is increasing as people experience the full significance.   One thousand young men from North Africa and the Middle East congregated in the main public area around Cologne Cathedral on New Years Eve where dozens of German women were groped and sexually assaulted. Chancellor Merkel has condemned what happened and promised those convicted would be sent to their country of origin.   The anti-Muslim PEGIDA movement has been holding rallies and now has a British branch, committed to ending the growing Islamization of the West.

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Meanwhile, the 70-year-old ban on Hitler’s Mein Kampf (My Struggle) has been lifted in Germany and a new annotated version of the book has become available.  Sales have been greater than expected.   The new publication contains the full text of the original, with scholarly notes commenting on what was written.   It is hoped that this will turn people against right-wing ideas, but the law of unintended consequences may lead to a different outcome.

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Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has called for a European Army, adding his voice in support of a development that is already taking place, with more European countries cooperating on defense.

The issue of Europe is uppermost on the minds of many in Britain at this time, with a referendum on future membership of the EU set for later this year.   Pro-EU politicians are trying to scare people by claiming that the EU has prevented conflict in Europe in recent decades. Fourteen leading British academics and historians have issued a statement saying that it is, in fact, NATO that has prevented major conflict in Europe since World War II.   This debate could intensify.   Many EU members are also members of NATO, which includes the US and Canada. But, if the EU successfully puts together its own powerful military force, the two organizations may go their separate ways.

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The British parliament is debating today, Monday, a petition signed by well over half a million people to ban Donald Trump from visiting the United Kingdom following his anti-Islamic comments.   A second pro-Trump petition has been signed by fewer people.   It seems like the Donald is dividing the UK as much as the US.   If the ban is approved by Members of the British Parliament, what will happen to the western alliance should he become president?

More immediately, what will happen to the $1 billion investment he promised Scotland?

Surprisingly, Piers Morgan came out in support of Mr. Trump on a popular British radio program.   The audience did not applaud.

The unanswered question here is why so many people on both sides of the Atlantic are determined to see a lot more Muslim immigrants arriving on their shores.   Their thinking is totally different from that of previous generations.

It’s going to be difficult to overcome political correctness on both sides of the Atlantic!

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Talking of the Atlantic, notably absent from the ocean right now are cargo ships – a sure sign the global economy is slowing.   For centuries, there have been ships crossing the ocean every single day. But right now there’s a lull.   Another sure sign of global inactivity is the fall in the oil price.   The price of oil is determined by supply and demand, as is everything else.   There’s more oil available now thanks to fracking and, from today, the lifting of sanctions on Iran. But there’s also less demand, with China’s economy weakening by the day and a deteriorating standard of living faced by most Americans, the world’s biggest consumers.

The head of the Royal Bank of Scotland warned all customers last week to get out of the Stock Market.   His warning sounded extreme, but what if he’s right?   We should know this week!

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Just remember, with all the uncertainty in global markets and in the Middle East, that Christians should not worry unduly about what’s going on. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  (Matthew 6:34)   The previous verse reminds us of where our primary focus should be at all times: “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.”