The French election on Sunday went as expected, with a victory for Emmanuel Macron, a centrist with no real political experience.
A few days before the election, his opponent, the very conservative Marine LePen, said that one week later France would have a female leader, either Ms. LePen or Germany’s Angela Merkel. As if to prove the point, Mr. Macron’s first promise, to issue joint Eurobonds, was quickly over-ruled by Germany’s leader. Germans are far more frugal than most other nations – the idea of issuing joint bonds with France is not going to come to fruition.
Macron is a very successful investment banker, with considerable personal wealth. He is likely to be successful in moving France’s economy forward. He will certainly be an improvement over his socialist predecessor who is leaving office with a 4% approval rating. But he is not likely to solve France’s immigration problem or the connected problem of domestic terrorism. In fact, he doesn’t even seem to see these two problems.
The movement that brought him to power (En Marche – “On the move”) is only now starting to form a political party, with only a few days before the elections for the French parliament. It is quite conceivable that Ms. LePen’s National Front could dominate parliament and give M. Macron a hard time. M. Macron hasn’t started yet, while Ms. LePen certainly isn’t finished.
Macron has also been speaking out against Brexit, describing it as a “crime.” That shows little respect for British democracy. A French lawyer is also trying to get Brexit cancelled on the grounds that the referendum was “illegal” – in effect, both men are saying that no matter how bad Europe is, you have to stay in it! The EU’s dictatorial nature is becoming more and more apparent.
It is also increasingly clear that every nation in Europe has to bow to Berlin. Note the following:
Macron to hold talks with Merkel in Berlin on first day of new job Oliver Gee * firstname.lastname@example.org , 12 May 2017, The Local
Emmanuel Macron will head to Berlin on Monday – the day after he is inaugurated as the new president of France – to hold talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The German leader had welcomed Macron’s win in France, saying he “carries the hopes of millions of French people and also many in Germany and across Europe.”
The 39-year-old had stressed his “common ground” with the German chancellor on economic reform, fiscal discipline and Europe’s future. The former economy minister had also wanted to strengthen ties with Germany. The symbolism of Macron meeting Merkel on his first full day as president won’t be lost on the far right Marine Le Pen who had criticized Macron for being pro-EU and said if he won then France will remain under Merkel’s rule.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble on Thursday underlined common ground with Macron in Germany and France’s bid to bolster the European Union, which has been buffeted by Britain’s decision to quit the bloc.
Germany’s growing ties to Turkey are highlighted below. It brings back memories of the alliance between Germany and Turkey forged immediately prior to World War One. Germany seems to be replacing the US as Turkey’s chief ally – a situation that will receive a further boost now that the US is supplying arms to the Kurds in the war against ISIS. Turkey has its own problem with the Kurds and does not want them to receive arms.
Germany is negotiating new arms deals with Turkey German-Foreign-Policy.com newsletter , 11 May 2017
BERLIN / ANKARA (Own report) – The German government is negotiating new German-Turkish arms deals, as was confirmed by the German Ministry of Economics. Brigitte Zypries (SPD), Minister of the Economy, spoke with the CEO of Rheinmetall weapons manufacturer about upgrading the Turkish Leopard battle tank. “In principle,” such deals with NATO partners “can not to be restricted,” according to Berlin. The German government is also seeking to re-invigorate German-Turkish economic cooperation, to strengthen bilateral relations. Germany does not want to lose Turkey as a “bridge” connecting Germany and the EU to the Middle East. Under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Ankara is not only strengthening the country’s economy and, in the long run, making it one of the world’s top ten economies (“Vision 2023”), he is also planning to transform the country into an independent regional power, forming alliances as it chooses – no longer dependent on the western states.
The reorientation of its foreign policy is accompanied by the country’s transformation into a presidential dictatorship.
AUSTRIAN ELECTION LIKELY
Following the resignation of the OVP party leader from the governing coalition, another election in Austria is likely. This time, the right wing People’s Party is doing well in the polls, which show they have more than 30% of the population behind them. The party, like other right-wing parties in Europe, is against Islamization and the arrival of millions of Muslim immigrants.
With the French and Dutch elections, we saw that European countries are out of line with the US and Britain.
We also see the remaining 27 countries of the EU sticking together – it’s increasingly unlikely that any other nations will break away, especially as the EU seems determined to punish the UK for leaving the organization.
Thirdly, a clearer picture is emerging of Berlin’s role as the leader in Europe.
Europe now is a German led super power, with a greater economic role than the US and with the potential to play a much bigger military role.
President Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May have just made their biggest mistake.
The American president received Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House last week. At a press conference, he clearly made the German chancellor uncomfortable when he publicly called for Germany to bring its military budget up to the full 2% of GNP agreed on by NATO. This would raise military spending from 37 billion euros a year to 60 billion. It would also restore German military might.
Across the ocean, Mrs. May is seeking closer military ties to Germany at the same time as pursuing Brexit. The idea is to keep Germany close. It would also contribute to restoring German military might.
British war time leader Sir Winston Churchill promised at the end of World War II that Germany would never rise again; 45 years later British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher opposed German reunification following the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Attitudes change. It’s now over seventy years since the fall of the Third Reich. Today’s leaders see Germany as a model democracy and think it will always be that way.
Mrs. May has other things on her mind right now. A terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge on Wednesday afternoon left 5 dead, including the terrorist and an unarmed policeman; also 29 hospitalised, seven of them critically. The terrorist was known to the police as a “radical Islamist.” No surprise, there.
As the terrorist was “British born,” the implication is that somehow it’s Britain’s fault and that more can be done (costing more, of course) to avoid such incidents in the future.
What will not be considered is this – Islam means “submit;” it’s the exact opposite of “freedom” which is what Britain is all about. Muslim children raised in Britain will inevitably struggle with internal conflict, unable to reconcile the two opposing ideals.
A few weeks ago the BBC interviewed Somalis on the streets of Minneapolis, asking them how they felt about life in America and related issues. Clearly better off than they were in Somalia, nevertheless every single one of them said they would rather live in a Muslim country and that America would be a better country if it embraced sharia law!
I first heard the news of the terror attack when I was having lunch with a friend. A man sitting alone at the next table was checking his mail on his phone and suddenly exclaimed “there’s been a terrorist attack in London.” He had no idea I was from the UK. When I told him, his first question was “why don’t they arm the police? How can a policeman defend himself when attacked like this?”
I explained that one third of all the police are now armed and you see a lot of them in London, protecting the main tourist sights. But Wednesday’s murder shows that every policeman needs to be able to defend himself, even if it’s only with a stun gun.
BREXIT MOVING AHEAD
Mrs. May has also announced that she will invoke Article 50 of the Treaty of Rome on March 29th. This will formally begin Britain’s exit from the European Union. Failure to reach agreement on terms within a two-year period will automatically mean a “hard Brexit,” with Britain simply leaving the EU and signing trade deals around the world with other countries. There would be no trade deal with the 27 remaining EU countries.
Such a failure would likely impact any military agreement between Germany and the UK. It would be hard for the two countries to maintain a good friendship when they cannot even reach an agreement on future trade.
The formal triggering of Article 50 will put a dampener on celebrations in Rome, for the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome. All 27 leaders of the EU will be there – Mrs. May will not be attending. Interestingly, all 27 leaders will also be meeting with the pope.
SCOTTISH REFERENDUM #2
The Scottish leader, Nicola Sturgeon, continues to mimic a “Rottweiler.” With her teeth firmly latched onto Mrs. May’s pants, she will not let go of her demand for a second referendum on Scotland’s independence. (If the vote goes against her, she will ask for a third and a fourth, until she gets what she wants!)
Scotland depends heavily on subsidies from England. Ms. Sturgeon should concentrate first on improving the nation’s finances, showing that Scotland can go it alone. Then she could go back to the Scottish electorate and claim an independent Scotland would do better on its own.
But that’s not what’s happening. Rather, Scotland is hoping Germany will come to its rescue. Edinburgh has even opened a trade mission in Berlin (whisky for cars?).
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to make light of a serious situation. The United Kingdom is better with Scotland. It would be a real shame if England’s northern neighbor pulled out after more than 300 years of unity within one nation.
It would also present a potentially serous security issue if Germany replaced England as Scotland’s benefactor. Scotland’s independence would be compromised — the Irish parliament already finds it cannot agree on a budget without Berlin’s agreement.
1400 YEARS OF SECTARIAN CONFLICT
There’s a big battle going on in Mosul between ISIS and government forces. Optimism has been expressed on the imminent defeat of the terror organization.
Overlooked is the fact that Shia militias are operating in Iraq, without restraint. The government is majority Shia. Many Sunnis identify with ISIS. If the terrorists are defeated, another organization (perhaps worse than ISIS) will arise to protect the Sunnis from the Shia.
Western countries, led by the US, have been sucked into the ancient Sunni-Shia conflict in the Middle East. Whereas the West sees things ideologically, Middle Easterners see the situation from a sectarian viewpoint. To us, ISIS is bad because it’s a violent terrorist organization; to Sunni Muslims living in a majority Shia country, ISIS is their protector. To the Sunnis, this is also America’s fault – until the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the country was dominated by Sunnis. They lost out when America came in!
There’s two lessons here for the West – 1) Get out of the Middle East and stay out! 2) Stop importing the region’s sectarian conflicts through immigration policies that do not take into account national security.
In other words, let’s get back to the pre-1914 Middle East, before the war that brought down the Ottoman Empire and led to the fragmentation we now see in the region. The war led to increased British dominance of the region, and now American domination. It’s a mess. It’s time to get out.
On another note – why is the US getting involved in Yemen, another territory witnessing increased fighting between Sunni and Shia? A US Navy Seal was killed there last month in a raid by American forces.
The Sunni-Shia conflict has gone on since the 7th century, almost seven times as long as the United States has existed as a nation. Do we really think that our involvement is going to end the conflict between the two major branches of Islam? Do we really think that moving Shia and Sunni from the Middle East to the US (and Europe) will suddenly make them love each other? After the London attack on Wednesday, one security expert interviewed mentioned that the UK knows of 850 British passport holders, fighting with ISIS in Iraq and Syria. If they are British raised, why are they still identifying with Sunni Islam and anxious to fight Shia Muslims? It’s a question that needs to be addressed.
It’s just been announced that the perpetrator of the London attack was Kent-born and raised Khalid Masood, aged 52. He was the son of immigrants and a convert to Islam.
It should also be noted that the perpetrator was unusually old for a terrorist.
If you can find it on pbs.org, this week’s Frontline examined the rise of the Shia militias in Iraq and the (Shia) government’s failure to address the problem.
ANOTHER BLESSING OF BRITISH RULE
“Among some contemporary Israelis the British Mandate has come to be viewed nostalgically. Although Palestine did not have the elephants, maharajahs and tigers of the Indian Raj, the same culture of Highland reels, polo and pink gins in the King David Hotel flourished. So did an incorruptible civil service, possibly a novelty in the region.” (‘Blood and Rage”, by Michael Burleigh, 2009, page 89)
THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS
A few days ago a friend gave me a copy of the Seventh Day Adventist magazine, “Amazing Facts.” The cover story was titled: “The Power of Forgiveness.” Forgiveness is sadly lacking, even amongst Christians. Church organizations often find it hard to forgive, so how can they teach their members to forgive others?
Yet our eternal life depends on it.
When the Apostle Peter asked Jesus Christ how often should he forgive his brother, Peter suggested that seven times would be enough; the Messiah’s response was “seventy times seven”, meaning an unlimited number of times (Matthew 18:21-22).
Jesus expounded on one of the points in His model prayer, adding:
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
If Christians always practiced forgiveness, we would no doubt have more Christians.
Perhaps, given time, even the Muslims would follow and learn to forgive a 1400-year-old schism.
One hundred years ago, on this day, March 15th, the “ides of March,” Czar Nicholas II of Russia, under pressure, abdicated, ending the dynasty that had ruled Russia since 1613. The end result was not the liberal democracy that many hoped for, but, rather, seventy years of communism, a period far worse than anything under the czars. When the czar abdicated, nobody could have foreseen the ultimate outcome. The czar himself brought attention to the fact that the day was the “ides of March,” the day Julius Caesar was assassinated, changing the course of Roman history, ending the Roman Republic, replacing it with the Roman Empire. The term became popular through Shakespeare’s famous play, “Julius Cesar.”
Today, March 15th, The Netherlands is voting for a new government. It’s the first time ever that Holland has received this much media attention. Once again, an uncertain future awaits the country and the European Union; that is, if Geert Wilder’s ‘Party for Freedom’ makes significant gains and goes on to form a government. Mr. Wilders has been labeled Holland’s Donald Trump. He’s a populist, who wants to restore his country to what it was, ending the multiculturalism that has fundamentally changed the country. In addition, he wants to leave the EU. He also wants to ban the Koran and Islamic schools and has called for the closure of all mosques; and end the wearing of burqas and hijabs, requiring people to wear western style clothing.
The election result is likely to have a profound effect on France and Germany who hold elections later this year. If a populist government comes to power in the Netherlands, then, maybe populism will see gains in the two biggest European countries, France and Germany. This could make 2017 as significant a year as 1989 and 1848 in European history. Change is in the air. But, as with Russia a century ago, the future of change is unpredictable. Sweeping populism may sweep away the European Union, but what will replace it? Will liberal social democracy be replaced by more nationalistic forms of government? Could a swing to the right in the Netherlands lead to similar swings elsewhere on the continent? The European Union, which turns 60 in ten days, may have to go back to the drawing board.
It’s not just the election that is making news in Holland. For over four centuries the Dutch, once a great maritime power, have had a peace treaty with Turkey. But now, the two NATO members are going through a verbal conflict that could easily get out of hand. The basic problem is immigration. Millions of Turks live in Holland, Germany and other EU countries. The Turkish president wants to send members of his government to speak to these Turkish citizens, so that they will vote for Mr, Erdogan in a referendum that will grant the president more powers. Naturally, Holland does not want the Turkish election to be conducted in Holland. Allowing Ankara to do so would expose the lie that Muslims are assimilated and are, in fact, Dutch. They are not, identifying primarily with their own religion and culture, not with that of the host country.
A Turkish government minister was not allowed to address a rally in Holland. Consequently, relations have been negatively affected.
The Netherlands isn’t the only European country that’s hitting the headlines internationally. The United Kingdom is also in the news.
It’s taken nine months for the groundwork to be laid for Britain to activate Article 50 and apply to leave the European Union. It’s been a rocky road, with members of Britain’s ruling elite doing everything possible to undermine the will of the people, expressed in June’s Brexit vote. The unelected House of Lords was the final hurdle.
As if invoking Article 50 is not difficult enough, Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National Party picked the same time to demand another referendum.
This time, she believes the Scots will vote to leave the United Kingdom as the majority of Scots voted to remain in the European Union.
In effect, what Ms. Sturgeon wants is to replace English domination with German domination. Ignorant of history (except possibly watching “Braveheart” over and over again!), Ms. Sturgeon has no problem replacing London with Berlin.
When the UK completes its negotiations with the EU settling Brexit terms, Ms. Sturgeon’s Scotland will have to act quickly and apply to use the euro. It will also need massive amounts of aid as Scotland has needed English financial support ever since it voted to join the union with England, over three centuries ago.
Scottish loyalists will have to get used to shopping with a new currency – and won’t even be able to stay home and watch the BBC!
Tuesday February 21st marks a special anniversary that will most probably be overlooked.
It happens to be the 70th anniversary of the United States replacing Great Britain as the world’s number one power.
After fighting two world wars, Britain was faced with three major international crises all at once.
The new British Labour government had already announced plans to give independence to India, after two centuries of British rule. This led to turmoil on the sub-continent between Hindus and Muslims. British troops tried to keep the peace.
At the same time Palestine exploded. In 1946 Jewish nationalists blew up the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, British military headquarters in the mandated territory, killing 91 people.
The first two problems occurred on British territories; the third was in Greece, where communists were trying to take over the country.
At the same time, Britain was broke, following the two major global conflicts of the first half of the twentieth century. Early in 1947, economic problems at home meant that Britain could no longer allocate funds to the conflict in Greece. They decided to inform Washington to see if America wanted to take over.
“On Friday, February 21st” the Secretary of State General George C. Marshall, left the State Department early to attend the bicentennial celebrations of Princeton University and receive an honorary degree. Then the British Embassy telephoned to say it had two urgent notes.” As these notes were urgent, Dean Acheson, the Under-Secretary of State, asked the Embassy’s first secretary to deliver them rather than wait until the Monday. “Recalling this episode in later years, Acheson wrote, “They were shockers”.”
“It was not being asked to provide aid to Greece that was shocking. The State Department was already preparing a plan for aid. It was the fact that Britain was pulling out and proposing to hand over responsibility. After all, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff had advised the previous year: ‘The defeat or disintegration of the British Empire would eliminate from Eurasia the last bulwark of resistance between the US and Soviet expansion . . . Our present position as a world power is of necessity closely interwoven with that of Britain , , ,
“This was a momentous change. For two centuries Britain had been the dominant power in the eastern Mediterranean. Now it seemed to be surrendering that role in two key countries. It is often said that Americans lack a historical sense that Europeans have, but on this occasion it was the Americans who saw the historical significance of that moment. To British ministers, battling from day to day to keep the country’s head above water, this seemed to be just a temporary retrenchment in one area. None of them appeared to see any larger implications in the decision. The American view was put in grandiloquent terms by Joseph M. Jones, who was in the State Department at the time: ‘Reading the messages, Hickerson realized, as had Henderson before him, that Great Britain had within the hour handed the job of world leadership, with all its burdens and all its glory, to the United States.” (“Picking up the reins,” Norman Moss, 2008, page 64, italics mine).
The whole world did not recognize the change immediately, It was to be another ten years before it became clear to all. At the end of 1956 the Suez Canal crisis showed that London could not do anything without American support. Soon afterward, the US was encouraging Britain to dismantle its empire and then to join the European Union (then the European Economic Community).
US vs EU
It’s ironic then that, over the weekend, at the Munich Security Conference, “leading German foreign policy experts” called “on the EU to reposition itself on the world stage, replacing the United States as the West’s ‘torchbearer.’ Since Washington’s change of government, the United States no longer ‘qualifies as the symbol of the West’s political and moral leadership, according to Wolfgang Ischinger, Chair of the Munich Security Conference. It is therefore up to Europe ‘to make up for this loss.’” (GermanForeignPolicy.com)
That’s easier said than done. But the EU could be the world’s dominant military power for the simple reason that it is the world’s biggest trading power. That’s the main reason why the US took over from Great Britain. Economic power = military power. The US is struggling economically which is one reason why President Trump is demanding the Europeans pay more for NATO. Of course, the Europeans have their own financial problems, but they have an urgent need to protect themselves from both Russia and Islamic terrorism. If they are going to have to pay more for defense, why not go-it-alone? Especially when they no longer have confidence in American leadership.
One of the first superpowers, Babylon, was predicted to last “seventy years” (Jeremiah 25:12 & 29:10), illustrating how seventy is a significant number. In Psalm 90:10, Moses was inspired to write that “our days may come to seventy years,” the lifespan of many human beings. Perhaps more significantly in the rise and fall of nations is the fact that, after seven decades, most people have forgotten everything. Few today remember World War II. Few remember that Baron Ismay, Secretary General of NATO from 1952-55, described the alliance as intended to “keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down.” In the current debate on the future of the alliance, this has been completely forgotten.
Dismantle the alliance and two things will happen: 1) the American president will no longer be “the Leader of the Free World;” and 2) Germany will become the undisputed Leader of Europe (she already is economically). On the 70th anniversary of America’s ascendancy, the Munich conference saw nations actively discussing the end of America’s pre-eminence.
President Trump in Washington and Vice-President Mike Pence, who addressed the conference, may see themselves as being in the lead, calling the shots, insisting on changes within the alliance; but the other member nations have the choice of forming their own military alliance, which will not be led by the United States.
As with the change seventy years ago, it may take a while to fully emerge, but this is the direction we are heading in. On Sunday, Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, announced she is seeking closer ties with Russia to bring about the defeat of ISIS.
It might be good for Washington’s new leaders to take a lesson from the great nineteenth century German Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, who once observed that a great power, to survive, must be “one of three” in a world governed by “five.” Note the following:
“Of the five original great powers recognized at the Congress of Vienna, only France and the United Kingdom have maintained that status continuously to the present day, although France was defeated in the Franco-Prussian War and occupied during World War II. After the Congress of Vienna, the British Empire emerged as the pre-eminent power, due to its navy and the extent of its territories, which signaled the beginning of the Pax Britannica and of the Great Game between the UK and Russia. The balance of power between the Great Powers became a major influence in European politics, prompting Otto von Bismarck to say “All politics reduces itself to this formula: try to be one of three, as long as the world is governed by the unstable equilibrium of five great powers.” (“Great Power,” Wikipedia)
In 1914, the German and Austrian empires went to war with the British, French and Russian empires. Germany was one of two in a world governed by five. The Germans lost. They repeated the same mistake in World War II, when Germany and Japan were the two, in a world still governed by five. The three opposing powers were Britain, America and Russia. Again, the Germans lost.
The five major powers right now are the EU, China, the United States, Japan and Russia (a great military power, but not so great economically). The US remains in alliance with the countries of the EU and Japan, making it one of three in a world governed by five. If the EU separates from the US, that will reduce America to being one of two.
This all may seem incredible with almost daily news of set-backs in the EU. France and Holland may leave after elections early this year; Greece and Italy have serious financial problems, which may affect the euro. But the fact remains that Germany dominates the continent and Germany is putting together a European military force to rival America’s. The Munich security conference showed the will is there, boosted considerably by the change of administration in Washington.
Daniel 2:21 says that God is behind the rise and fall of nations. “And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings.” It could be, that after seventy years, the American Era is coming to an end. Munich this weekend showed that many want to see that happen.
Something to think about as the US passes its seventieth anniversary!
Our 8-month-old grandson Hayden had major cranial surgery on Wednesday of last week. The technical name for the condition was saggital craniosynostenosis (see diagram above – Hayden wasn’t quite as pronounced as that). He was in the operating theater for seven hours and remained in the hospital for seven days. The surgery was to reshape his head. Without it, seizures could likely start as his brain could not grow sideways, only forwards and backwards, resulting in a football shaped head. We were informed that one in every 2,000 babies needs the surgery. I’d never heard of it until a few weeks after he was born. The surgery was performed at the University of Michigan’s Mott Children’s Hospital, the best in our state. It’s about 75 miles from our home.
As is often the case with surgery, things did not go entirely as planned. He lost so much blood he needed a blood transfusion. In the days following surgery, he could not keep food down. Additionally, although the surgeon said that he would not feel much pain as there are no nerve sensors in the skull bones, the pediatrician said on the third day that he was clearly in pain. His face remains swollen and he spends most of the day and night crying. My wife gave our daughter a break last night and held him in her recliner while he slept. He cannot lie down in a cot yet.
It’s good to have him home, but it’s going to take a while for him to fully recover. The swelling must go down. So must the pain.
We’re very thankful that the surgery is available. A generation or two ago he may not have survived very long. It’s marvelous what medical science can do nowadays.
I would like to also thank you all for your prayers and concern during this difficult time.
Hopefully, medical science will soon find a way to stop “old” people falling. I fell on the ice this morning while taking Hayden’s two older brothers to school. As they are both aged four, they naturally wanted to look at the “owie” on my knee. I refuse to give them the morbid satisfaction of seeing me fall again!
After dropping them at school I came home to write this column. Yesterday, after taking them to school (which I do most days), I went to McDonald’s to wait for Leeson, who is only in school for three hours. I ordered a hot tea (I’ve got them trained!) and sat down with my laptop to read and write. CNN was showing on the television, thankfully muted. Whenever I looked up at the screen, they were “bashing Trump.”
Today, at home, I thought I would try CNN International, which is broadcast from London. It’s always been a better channel than CNN. They have an “International Report” at 10am, that was also devoted to “Trump bashing,” though they did include a brief “Breaking News” item about a serious bomb blast in Baghdad, which killed at least 48 people.
CNN’s audience has been shrinking, with viewers lost to Fox and Fox Business Network.
Critical analysis is needed of this (and every) president, but non-stop, one-sided, often personal attacks on President Trump take away from the network’s credibility, which has been seriously eroded in recent months. No wonder people are switching to Fox. No wonder, also, that millions of households have “cut the cord” and no longer have cable, saving an average of $100 a month.
CHANGING DYNAMICS (NEWS YOU WILL HAVE MISSED IF YOU WATCH CNN)
From Der Spiegel:
Germany must stand up in opposition to the 45th president of the United States and his government. That’s difficult enough already for two reasons: Because it is from the Americans that we obtained our liberal democracy in the first place; and because it is unclear how the brute and choleric man on the other side will react to diplomatic pressure. The fact that opposition to the American government can only succeed when mounted together with Asian and African partners — and no doubt with our partners in Europe, with the EU — doesn’t make the situation any easier.
So far, Germany has viewed its leadership role — at least the leadership understanding of Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble — as one that is by all means in opposition to the interests of other European countries. Whether Schäuble’s austerity policies or Merkel’s migration policies, it all happened without much co-coordination and with considerable force. It is thus somewhat ironical that it is Germany, the country that is politically and economically dominant in Europe, that will now have to fill in many of the gaps created by America’s withdrawal from the old world order, the one referred to by former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer as “Pax Americana.” At the same time, Germany must build an alliance against Donald Trump, because it otherwise won’t take shape. It is, however, absolutely necessary.
It is literally painful to write this sentence, but the president of the United States is a pathological liar. The president of the U.S. is a racist (it also hurts to write this). He is attempting a coup from the top; he wants to establish an illiberal democracy, or worse; he wants to undermine the balance of power. He fired an acting attorney general who held a differing opinion from his own and accused her of “betrayal.” This is the vocabulary used by Nero, the emperor and destroyer of Rome. It is the way tyrants think.
New German President anti-Trump
A German parliamentary assembly has elected Frank-Walter Steinmeier to become the country’s next president by an overwhelming majority. Mr. Steinmeier, Germany’s former foreign minister, strongly criticised Donald Trump during the US election campaign.
(The President of Germany is a figurehead with similar powers to the British monarch. He is elected by parliament. His role is largely ceremonial but he has a great deal of influence.)
German army to be anchor for small Nato partners
German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen meets Friday in Washington for the first time with her new American counterpart James Mattis ahead of Nato defence ministers’ meeting in Brussels next week. The longer-term strategy would turn the Bundeswehr into the leading Nato army in Europe, with small countries integrating their military forces into the German command structures, reports German daily FAZ
CHANGES AHEAD IN EUROPE
A growing number of Europeans are rebelling against decades of government-imposed multiculturalism, politically correct speech codes and mass migration from the Muslim world.
Europe’s establishment parties, far from addressing the concerns of ordinary voters, have tried to silence dissent by branding naysayers as xenophobes, Islamophobes and neo-Nazis.
“This disruption is fruitful. The taboos of the last few years are now fully on the agenda: illegal immigration, Islam, the nonsense of open borders, the dysfunctional EU, the free movement of people, jobs, law and order. Trump’s predecessors did not want to talk about it, but the majority of voters did. This is democracy.” — Roger Köppel, editor-in-chief of Die Weltwoche, Switzerland.
(Gatestone Institute 1/22)
As with the EU, the cracks in the USA seem far beyond hairline fractures. Many sense the country could come apart. It did once before. And could Southerners and Northerners have detested each other much more than Americans do today? (“Is the Left playing with fire again?” Pat Buchanan 2/14)
BORROWING FOR US GOVT TO BECOME MORE DIFFICULT
In the age of Trump, America’s biggest foreign creditors are suddenly having second thoughts about financing the U.S. government.
In Japan, the largest holder of Treasuries, investors culled their stakes in December by the most in almost four years, the Ministry of Finance’s most recent figures show. What’s striking is the selling has persisted at a time when going abroad has rarely been so attractive. And it’s not just the Japanese. Across the world, foreigners are pulling back from U.S. debt like never before.
From Tokyo to Beijing and London, the consensus is clear: few overseas investors want to step into the $13.9 trillion U.S. Treasury market right now. Whether it’s the prospect of bigger deficits and more inflation under President Donald Trump or higher interest rates from the Federal Reserve, the world’s safest debt market seems less of a sure thing — particularly after the upswing in yields since November. And then there is Trump’s penchant for saber rattling, which has made staying home that much easier.
YEMEN – NEXT US WAR
Yemen shapes up for US-Iran military clash
Eight armies are fighting for dominance in Yemen, a country of 25 million inhabitants: The Iranian-backed Houthi insurgents, together with a breakaway force, are battling the army loyal to President Abdulrabbuh Mansur Hadi, which is supported by Saudi, Egyptian and UAE military forces and their hired legion of Colombian mercenaries. Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) elements, most acting as advisers to the Houthi rebels, intervene actively from time to time. Last October, they conducted missile attacks on US vessels on the Red Sea from shore batteries. In response, the US Navy on October 9 and 12 knocked out those batteries and the radar stations that were manned by IRGC teams. Tehran countered by deploying to Yemen long-range Shahed 129 drones carrying Sadid-1 rockets and sowing sea mines around the international Bab Al-Mandeb Straits. US President Donald Trump’s sharp warning on Friday, Feb. 3, after just two weeks in office, that Iran was “playing with fire” and the fresh round of sanctions he clamped down were galvanized by Iranian aggression in Yemen and the Red Sea as much as by its ballistic missile test. And indeed, the deployment of the USS Cole destroyer to the strategic Red Sea Straits of Bab Al-Mandeb on the same day turned the compass needle toward the potential arena, should the escalating tension between the US and Yemen explode into a military encounter, such as a US special operations force going into Yemen to strike IRGC targets. (Debka file)
While US media has been focussed on alleged Russian hacking of the US electoral process, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has strengthened its role in the Middle East.
The morning that America suffered a major setback in the Middle East, American news networks led on two deaths – those of actresses Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds. Tragic though these deaths were, developments in the Middle East put America where Great Britain was exactly six decades ago.
Before World War Two, the British Empire was the dominant power in the region. Britain withdrew from Israel in May of 1948. Immediately, the Jewish nation was invaded by five neighboring Arab nations. Miraculously, Israel survived. In those early days, it was not helped by the United States.
In 1952, as a direct consequence of defeat against Israel, Egypt’s King Farouk was overthrown by the military. The new leaders soon seized the Anglo-French Suez Canal. Together with Israel, these countries invaded Egypt but were soon stopped by US President Eisenhower. This single event led directly to the dismantling of the British Empire. In 1958 the pro-British King of Iraq was overthrown. Britain was losing its remaining influence in the area. The country fought a war against rebels in Aden, withdrawing from the protectorate in 1967.
It was a gradual decline, with one setback after another. Now, the UK does not play any major role in the Middle East.
Since Britain, America has been the dominant power in the region. During the time of the Soviet Union, the US and the USSR were rivals in the area, with Moscow backing Egypt and Syria. Later, Egypt switched sides and allied itself with the United States, but Moscow retained its influence in Syria. Iran was in the US sphere of influence until the Shah was overthrown in 1979.
The region has seen never-ending turmoil since the fall of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire after World War One. That turmoil shows no sign of ending.
The recent war in Iraq has left a big mess in the region. At its root is the almost 1,400 year sectarian conflict between the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam. Until the US invasion of Iraq, the country was dominated by Sunni Muslims, even though the majority of people were Shia Muslims (the reverse is the case in Syria). Following the US backed election in Iraq, the majority Shia now rule the country. This development has altered the religious balance in the region and is causing repercussions everywhere. ISIS was formed to protect Sunni Muslims from the now dominant Shia.
In Syria, Sunnis have been trying to overthrow the Alawite (Shia) minority regime of President Assad for five years. Enter Moscow. Russia’s backing of the Syrian president has enabled Assad to win. The US showed a great deal of weakness, refusing to get involved even when the Syrian government crossed the line and used chemical weapons on its own citizens. Now, after months of fighting in Aleppo, the biggest city of the country, Assad is firmly in power and Russia is sponsoring “peace talks” with the rebel factions in the country. The US is not invited to the peace talks. Russia now controls Syria. To accomplish this, the country needs Turkey’s help. The two are pushing for peace in the country. Turkey, the second most powerful military power in NATO, is now working with the Russians to bring peace to the Middle East.
That’s two set-backs for Washington in just a few days.
A third set-back is in Israel. The outgoing administration in Washington did not veto the latest UN vote against Israel, condemning the country for building new settlements for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Friction between the US and the only western style democracy in the region is unsettling, to say the least. This set-back may only be temporary as a new President takes over in the US in just three weeks, but that gives a few days for further negative developments. Even the British have criticized America’s condemnation of Israel. The State Department seems set on causing rifts with US allies in the final days of the current Administration.
Keep in mind, too, that Syria borders Israel on the Golan Heights. What happens in Syria may affect Israel. Perhaps that’s why Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to Moscow in June, the fourth time in a year that he sat down with President Putin to discuss the situation in the Middle East.
The tables have been turned once again in the region. Over sixty years ago, the UK was the dominant power in the region; since then, it’s been the US. But now Russia is arguably the dominant power in the area. The Russians are in alliance with the Shi-ite Muslims in Iran and Syria; they are also working with Sunni Turkey, which ruled the whole area prior to 1919. At the same time, it seems that Israel’s prime minister is more comfortable with Putin than with Obama, with whom he’s had a serious exchange of heated words in recent days.
There’s even a fourth development that puts Russia ahead. Following the hacking scandal, President Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the US; President Putin made it clear that he will not expel any Americans. This is a triumph for Putin in the propaganda war with America.
What lies ahead? Remember that the Middle East is the primary focus of Bible prophecy with Jerusalem at the epicenter.
In the nineteenth century, there was no indication that the Jews were about to become an independent nation again. Their period of self-rule ended with the Romans before the time of Christ. Their rebellion against the Romans in the first century AD led to the Diaspora, a dispersion that scattered the Jewish people throughout the Roman Empire and left them scattered until fairly recently. Bible prophecy showed that the Jewish nation would be restored and that happened in 1948.
Exactly a century ago, British and Australian forces entered Jerusalem in the continuing war with the Ottoman Turks. At this point in time, a Jewish nation became possible. The British were given a mandate to administer Palestine by the League of Nations. This was an impossible task as Palestinians and Jews clashed repeatedly. Eventually, the League’s successor, the United Nations, divided the territory up between Jews and Palestinians, the latter never accepting their loss of land.
For over a decade she’s been called “the most powerful woman in the world”. In recent weeks, she has received the accolade “Leader of the Free World” as many nations see America turning its back on its international role.
But she may not even be in power one year from now.
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, generously allowed into the country one million asylum seekers in recent months. On Monday, one of those migrants staged a terrorist attack in Berlin, killing twelve and seriously injuring almost 50. The attacker stole a heavy goods vehicle and drove into Christmas shoppers in one of the capital’s famous Christmas markets. The method copied the attack in Nice, France, which killed 84 people in July.
Many Berliners thought themselves immune from attack. Their liberal city welcomed migrants. Now, many Germans are doing a rethink. The right-wing AfD (Alternative for Deutschland) party looks set to gain at the polls next year. Their anti-immigrant policy is in stark contrast to their “conservative” Chancellor and other centrist parties. Germans could easily follow British and American voters by turning away from the liberal immigration policies of the past.
“Everything has changed for Merkel after Berlin terror attack, says expert” was the headline Thursday morning in the British Daily Express. ‘Angela Merkel’s open-door migrant policy will come slamming shut and Germany will become a Big Brother state after the Berlin Christmas market terror attack, a leading political commentator has warned.” (Alix Culbertson)
The article continues: “Josef Joffe said Germany has only had to deal with no or low victim lone-wolf attacks, unlike many other Western countries, until this year but after a spate of seven in 2016 the government will be forced to change the way the country is run.”
At the same time, there is concern across Europe about America’s commitment to the continent’s democracies. Many are now looking to Germany and Angela Merkel to take over America’s seven decade leading role in western Europe.
“President-elect Donald Trump hasn’t taken the oath of office or outlined his administration’s plans for the nation’s foreign policy, but his election has already forced the United States’ European allies to contemplate a future where the United States might no longer underwrite Europe’s security. Faced with an American president who has dismissed alliances such as NATO while denigrating liberal values, Germany will assume an increasingly consequential role as a leader in the turbulent transatlantic order while it takes gradual steps to shore up its lagging military capabilities. But the prospect of nationalist victories in important European elections next year raises an under-discussed question: as the European project comes under unprecedented strain and prepares to face a President who promises to turn the United States away from the world, could a fractured and increasingly nationalistic Europe come to fear a more powerful Germany again?”
The following paragraph is of particular interest: “In a profound twist of historical irony that is not yet appreciated widely, only 71 years after World War II, a sitting German chancellor has warned the next leader of the United States to respect the transatlantic order’s commitment to the rule of law and liberal values.” (“Could Europe fear Germany again?” by Adam Twardowski, Small Wars Journal, December 19th.)
Political Revolution Is Brewing in Europe
Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician who leads the anti-immigrant party, was found guilty this week of inflammatory language against Moroccan immigrants, all Muslims. The following was written by Mr. Wilders and appeared in “The Gatestone Institute’s” newsletter:
The German authorities are dangerously underestimating the threat of Islam . . . They have betrayed their own citizens.
Let no-one tell you that only the perpetrators of these crimes are to blame. The politicians, who welcomed Islam into their country, are guilty as well. And it is not just Frau Merkel in Germany, it is the entire political elite in Western Europe.
Out of political-correctness, they have deliberately turned a blind eye to Islam. They have refused to inform themselves about its true nature. They refuse to acknowledge that its all in the Koran: the permission to kill Jews and Christians (Surah 9:29), to terrorize non-Muslims (8:12), to rape young girls (65:4), to enslave people for sex (4:3), to lie about one’s true goals (3:54), and the command to make war on the infidels (9:123) and subjugate the entire world to Allah (9:33).
We will have to de-islamize our societies . . . But it all begins with politicians with the courage to face and speak the truth.
More and more citizens are aware of that. This is why a political revolution is brewing in Europe. Patriotic parties are rapidly growing everywhere. They are Europe’s only hope for a better future.
Prince Charles warns against religious persecution
Prince Charles has spoken out about the danger of religious persecution, warning against a repeat of “the horrors of the past.” Delivering BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day, the Prince of Wales said the rise of populist groups “aggressive” to minority faiths had “deeply disturbing echoes of the dark days” of the 1930s. The prince said the scale of religious persecution around the world was “not widely appreciated” and was not limited to Christians, but included many other minority faiths. He went on: “That, nearly seventy years later, we should still be seeing such evil persecution is, to me, beyond all belief.” The Prince said: “Whichever religious path we follow, the destination is the same – to value and respect the other person, accepting their right to live out their peaceful response to the love of God.”
ANGLOS ON DECLINE
It may not be too serious yet, but a group of Californians has just opened an “embassy” in Moscow. They are seeking international recognition for an independent California.
Don’t think it’s not possible.
Many Scots want independence from the United Kingdom, with a call this week for a second referendum within two years; many Australians want to sever the tie with the Crown after the Queen’s reign ends.
These three developments all have something in common – they reflect the decline of the Anglo-Saxons and the increasing presence of non-Anglo immigrants. Watch for more fragmentation in the Anglosphere. It’s inevitable considering the low Anglo-Saxon birthrate everywhere. California, remember, is now a majority Spanish speaking state.
THE FALL OF ALEPPO
I took the latest Economist magazine to a medical appointment yesterday, expecting to have to wait for some time. The doctor commented on the depressing cover on “The Fall of Aleppo.” I’m pleased to say that he did not ask: “What’s Aleppo?” You have to be a presidential candidate to be that ill-informed. Rather, he asked me what the difference is between East and West Aleppo.
I started to explain that East Aleppo was the “rebel” side, made up mostly of Sunni Muslims; West is where the pro-government Shi’ites live. The rebels have now been defeated, not by a few hundred Syrian troops, but by Shia volunteers from Iraq, Iran, Lebanon and Afghanistan; together with Russian air power.
He jokingly asked what my solution would be to the 1,400-year-old Shia-Sunni conflict. We then joked about attempts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which goes back even longer. It has been suggested that Donald Trump’s 35-year-old Jewish son-in-law could make a difference and resolve the conflict!
After I left, I remembered one of the funniest scenes in the movie “The Flintstones,” supposedly set in prehistoric times. As the paperboy delivered the morning newspaper, if you look carefully you can see the headline from 3000+ years ago: “Mideast peace talks fail.”
One small change has taken place in the Middle East and that’s in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, from where the BBC’s James Longman has been reporting to the world about the developments in Aleppo, 180 miles away. Apparently, the 29-year-old, good-looking, athletic reporter has quite a female following. Hundreds of thousands around the world who, until recently, thought Beirut was a root vegetable, an expensive perfume or a new wine at the local liquor store, are now becoming interested in Middle East affairs, so much so they eagerly turn to BBC World News first thing in the morning.
It is, however, having a negative affect on news channels. Fox started it all by employing attractive blondes, seemingly a requirement for employment at the news channel. Now even men on global news networks are being chosen according to their physical appearance.
Fortunately, Mr. Longman also knows his Middle East. Born in England, he is fluent in both French and Arabic, which give him a distinct advantage in the region. His reporting on the area is worth watching.
The BBC, like other networks, does not give enough attention to the religious divisions that exist in the Middle East. Religion is at the core of all the sectarian violence that afflicts the region. It may be difficult for people raised in secular England to fully comprehend this.
The Jewish-Palestinian conflict has the potential to lead to World War III. Increasingly, it seems that the Shia-Sunni conflict could do the same.
Some in the West think the solution is the end of religion. Another solution is found in the Lord’s Prayer, in the words “Thy Kingdom Come.” (Matthew 6:10)
When that Kingdom comes, the Bible shows us that the true religion of the Messiah will be imposed over all the false religions. You can read about this in the book of the Old Testament prophet, Zechariah, which looks to the future Millennial rule of Jesus Christ.
“And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain. If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.” (Zech. 14:16-19)
Egypt is 90% Muslim, and is a country that is witnessing a continued decline in its Christian population, which has been persecuted and discriminated against for generations. The latest outrage was a bomb going off in Cairo’s St Mark’s Cathedral. This passage of scripture shows that the Egyptians will in the future be forced to change from the Islamic religion to the true religion.
Christians should also take note, especially at this time of the year. Christmas is not mentioned in this passage. Rather, we see the biblical Feast of Tabernacles mentioned; once thought of as a Jewish festival, it will, in the future, be observed by everybody. At the same time, we will see the end of all the sectarian violence that today is at the root of all the suffering and violence in the area.
WE’VE COME A LONG WAY
PBS’s “The Hollow Crown” is taking us through Shakespeare’s historical plays and the last kings of the Plantagents, England’s bloodiest dynasty. They reigned for over 300 years, from 1154 to 1485. The last thirty years saw the Wars of the Roses, as the two royal houses of York and Lancaster battled for supremacy.
The series has inspired me to read Alison Weir’s “The Wars of the Roses,” first published in 1995. The following paragraph should be of interest to all.
“Formal education was provided for boys only. Women were seen as the inferior sex and regarded as the chattels of men. The author of “The Goodman of Paris” (c. 1393) advised wives to behave like faithful dogs in order to please their husbands, and Margaret Paston of Norfolk referred to John Paston as “right worshipful husband” in her letters. The husband was lord of his family as God reigned supreme over the universe. The chief duty of a wife, therefore, was to be submissive. If there was discord in a marriage, or infertility, people automatically assumed it was the wife’s fault. Women had virtually no freedom beyond that which their fathers or husbands allowed them. Within these confines, however, many managed businesses, shops, farms or noble estates, and proved themselves the equal to men.” (page 17)
"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