Tag Archives: recovery

JAMESTOWN AND IDENTITY

Bernard Lewis was a British American writer on international affairs.  He was an expert on oriental studies and Islam.  He died this year.

Mark Steyn wrote the following about him in his weekly column:

“Bernard Lewis, the west’s preeminent scholar of Islam, worked for British intelligence through the grimmest hours of the Second World War.   “In 1940, we knew who we were, we knew who the enemy was, we knew the dangers and the issues,” he told The Wall Street Journal.   “In our island, we knew we would prevail, that the Americans would be drawn into the fight.   It is different today.   We don’t know who we are, we don’t know the issues, and we still do not understand the nature of the enemy.”   All true.  (12/31)

Thanks to digital television, you can now see old TV shows from the 60’s.   That includes British TV shows, such as The Saint, Danger Man, the Avengers and Doctor Who.  I quite like the first two, but never enjoyed the last two.  I am one of the few people left alive who can remember seeing the premiere of the first episode of “Dr Who.”  I seem to remember it was made on a budget of about twenty pounds!   (Ok, so I exaggerate!  A little.)

Anyway, I occasionally watch “The Saint” and “Danger Man” if only to see the England I grew up in, the England that Bernard Lewis was writing about.   Back then, over fifty years ago, the Citizens of England were English.   Their ancestors had lived on the island for over one thousand years.   Now they come from anywhere and everywhere.   This has complicated life immensely.   Now we don’t know who we are, we don’t see the enemy clearly and we certainly do not understand the nature of the enemy.

Another thing strikes me – there was no obsession with Europe.   These programs were made 50 to 60 years ago, before Britain entered the EU.   Note for all those panicking over Brexit, nobody was starving and Britain played a major role internationally, as “Danger Man” showed.

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JAMESTOWN

“Jamestown,” on the surface, is a very good show.   It’s based on fact, though the individual stories are fictional.   The physical challenges are all there.   It’s set in 1619, the year that the first females landed in the colony, after twelve years.   It also happens to be the first year that slaves were imported into America.   Additionally, it was the year that the first democracy was established in the Americas.

People often forget that the American colonies were democracies, that they each had their own House of Burgesses, or whatever they chose to call it.   In colonial Williamsburg you can go into the House of Burgesses and see the colonial parliament as it was.   Now, there’s an attempt to denigrate this by claiming that the United States owes its origins and inspiration to the Iroquois Confederacy, the union of six (Native American) tribes that dominated the north east of the country.

It’s all a part of the ongoing denigration of the Anglo –Saxon – Celtic peoples who really did found the colony of Virginia and the other colonies. “Jamestown” will likely digress to show that the African slaves and the Native Americans contributed more than their fair share to the economic development of the colony.   History is being rewritten as we slide ever further into multiculturalism and political correctness!  The second series begins Monday on PBS.

The Bible says: “where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18)   The people who founded Jamestown had a vision of establishing an English colony with representative government.   It was also dedicated to Protestantism.

It led, in time, to the establishment of the United States of America.

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BREXIT is yet another example of identity politics, the struggle of half the people to reclaim their national identity and birth right.

“In theory, Britain is leaving the EU on 29 March 2019.   But the legal small print, published by Brussels, shows what this means. Parliament will be asked to ratify a deal which clearly admits that ‘all references to ‘Member States’ and competent authorities of Member States . . . shall be read as including the United Kingdom.’ (Article 7)    So the UK will be bound by EU laws, at least during a transition period.   But this ‘transition period’ can be be made to last forever (Article 132).  And even if a successor deal is agreed, the UK will have signed away other rights for years to come.”   (“The top 40 horrors lurking in the small print of Theresa May’s Brexit deal,” The Spectator, 12.30 18.)

The title of this article says it all.  “The top 40- horrors” in the proposed agreement illustrate that Brexit is impossible if the UK pushes for a deal with the EU.   Better to go ahead with no deal on March 29th.

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A GOOD YEAR FOR ISRAEL

Israel’s identity is clearer – it’s the national home of the Jewish people.

Things have been going the country’s way, as highlighted by an article in “Israel Today.”    “Everything Israel Endured and achieved in 2018” (dated 1.1.19).

Firstly, there was President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.   This was followed recently by Australia.   Guatemala and Brazil are two other nations that have changed their stance.

Secondly, the US and some other western countries finally decided to act against the “pay for slay” policy of the Palestinians.   Under this policy, the Palestinians forked out $355 million annually to terrorists’ families, compensating them for the loss of a family member engaged in acts of terror.   The US decided to withhold $215 million annually to the PA under the Taylor Force Act, named after an American murdered in Israel by a Palestinian terrorist.

The Trump Administration also decided to stop funding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), an organization that gives aid to Palestinians.

Thirdly, thanks largely to outgoing US Ambassador Nikki Haley, the UN voted to condemn Hamas, in a vote that was 87 for and 57 against.   (There are 57 Muslim nations in the Islamic Conference.)

Another very real sign of progress has been Israel’s reaching out to Sunni Arab states, finding areas of common interest with Saudi Arabia, Oman and other Gulf Arab states.   The Sunni Arab countries all share a common fear of Iran.

Prime Minister Netanyahu also visited Chad and Azerbaijan, two Muslim countries a long way from Israel.   Right now, he is in Brazil, a country whose new conservative government is going to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The like-minded Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, has been working on measures to stop anti-semitism from becoming a bigger problem in the EU.

Mr. Kurz, sometimes labeled a “Nazi” for his right wing views, has ironically turned out to be Israel’s best friend in the EU.

“On the security front, the year began with a huge Israeli success when a 100-man strong Mossad team succeeded in stealing a large part of the secret Iranian nuclear archive under the noses of the mullahs in Tehran.   The more than 11,000 documents and disks that the Mossad smuggled to Israel indicated that Iran has never abandoned its plan to obtain a nuclear weapon.”

So, 2018 was a good year for Israel.

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NEW US CONGRESS HAS A RECORD NUMBER OF WOMEN

The former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt may not be the first person you would think of when you ponder Isaiah 3:12:   “As for my people, children are their oppressors and women rule over them.”   But the late First Lady did inadvertently shed some light on the scripture.

In a 1951 radio program, which I heard on BBC Radio 4, she enthusiastically spoke about the role women had played in Congress.   At the time women had only had the vote for thirty years.

“All the great social reforms have taken place since women got the vote”, was the verdict of Mrs. Roosevelt.

If you overlook the first social reform, Prohibition, which was a disaster, others include social security.   Her husband, Franklin Roosevelt, was responsible for the three R’s, Relief, Recovery and Reform and set America on the road to socialism in the first five years of his presidency.

If you accept the claim that “all the great social reforms have taken place since women got the vote,” another way of putting this is that “the road to national bankruptcy began in the 1930’s with all the great social reforms,” for every social reform adds to the nation’s debts.

And this new Congress is set to increase them further.

While the media boasts of “diversity,” and much has been made of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ radical socialism, more social reforms are expected to follow.   Her top two priorities are Medicare for all and forgiveness of student debt.   Norah O’Donnell this morning announced enthusiastically, talking of the new entrants to Congress, that “Trump has met his match!”

Our national identity is being threatened, with all this talk of “diversity” and radical socialism.

 

 

 

RECOVERY AND RETREAT

us military footprint

Russian Troops Remain In Georgia During Fragile Ceasefire

It has been said that the greatest threat to world peace is the problems in the US economy.  The United States cannot continue to be the world’s biggest military power when its economic strength is weakening in the face of global competition and the country is so steeped in debt.

While some claim that the economy is improving, others say otherwise.  One of those is Mortimer Zuckerman, the owner of US News and World Report.  Zuckerman is one of the wealthiest men in the country.  As it happens, he also voted for President Obama in 2008 but is now greatly disappointed in his policies and critical that the economy shows no real signs of recovery.

In an editorial titled “We need a recovery to recover from the recovery” (US News and World Report, 24th May), Mr. Zuckerman shows that claims of a recovery have been grossly exaggerated and that, in fact, the country is still headed downhill.

‘Millions of Americans think the economy is in decline. They are right.  The US economy is visibly losing momentum . . .  The millions of Americans who are unemployed or underemployed are pessimistic and even frightened about their future.  Those who have jobs worry about losing them.  Fewer Americans are at work today than in April 2000, even though the population has grown by nearly 30 million people since then.  Millions of homes have been foreclosed.”

“’America the Beautiful’ is a country where 23 million households (or some 48 million people) now need food stamps, representing almost 15 percent of the population and 30 percent of adults.  Add to that some 11 million Americans who live on disability benefits.”

Clearly, Mr. Zuckerman does not think things are improving in any significant way.

But, reading this over Memorial Day weekend, I also read an article that said the exact opposite.  Titled:  “Improving economy changes political landscape,” Associated Press reporter Tom Raum wrote that, now the economy is clearly recovering, Republicans have to look elsewhere to find fault in President Obama.  ‘Amid a series of recent positive economic reports, Republicans are revving up their portrayal of the Obama administration as scandal-ridden and inept, while largely abandoning the where-is-the-recovery criticism.”  (26th May, Lansing State Journal)

Where you live can determine your outlook on the economy.  If you live in an area where things are going well, you will naturally have a rosier view than if you live in, say, Michigan, where I live.  Party loyalty may also be a factor.  Those who voted for the Democrats will more likely believe the administration’s claims than those who didn’t (though Mr. Zuckerman voted for the Democrats five years ago).  A third factor that could influence your thinking is if you work for government.  Government workers have been shielded from the worst of the downturn, receiving annual pay increases and benefits as if nothing has changed.

Back to world peace, where this article started . . .

Before the United States, the British Empire was the world’s dominant power.  After World War II, during which the British spent 25% of their national wealth, it was clear the British economy was in serious trouble.  In February 1947, London had to ask Washington to take over in Greece and Turkey, whose governments had been propped up by Great Britain.  This was the beginning of the massive transference of global leadership that was about to take place, from the United Kingdom to the United States.

In other words, Britain’s military decline paralleled its economic decline.

The day after Memorial Day, columnist Bret Stephens had an excellent article in the “Wall St Journal.”  Stephens is one of the most perceptive conservative writers in the US, especially on matters concerning the Middle East.

In Tuesday’s column, Mr. Stephens commented on President Obama’s speech five days earlier to the National Defense University, calling the president’s new policy the “Retreat Doctrine.”  Just as Great Britain was in retreat following World War II, so the US is now in retreat following over ten years and three wars (Iraq, Afghanistan, and the War on Terror).

And, just as the British put a positive slant on their global retreat, so the Obama Administration is doing with the US.  Mr. Obama declared an end to “continual warfare,” even though we are clearly facing an increased domestic threat from terrorism and, arguably, a growing international threat.  But the War on Terror is now over, says the Administration, and we’ve won.

Mr. Obama also noted that the war had cost the U.S. “well over a trillion dollars . . . exploding our deficits and constraining our ability to nation-build at home.”  That sounds like a lot of money, until you consider that federal government outlays since 2002 come to $31.3 trillion and counting.  The depressing truth about the war on terror isn’t that it has bankrupted us.  It’s that we fought it on the cheap while gorging on entitlements, ethanol subsidies, bridges to nowhere and ObamaCare.”  (“The Retreat Doctrine,” Bret Stephens, May 27th, Wall Street Journal)

Concluding, Mr. Stephens writes:  “These realities don’t sit well with the Retreat Doctrine—but then, the ultimate purpose of the Doctrine isn’t to revitalize America.  It’s to reduce America, as Britain was reduced after 1947, from world-spanning empire to wan social democracy.  At least the British had the excuse of the Somme and the Blitz.

“To retreat isn’t to decline.  But retreat can lead to decline when a nation develops a taste for it, and when adversaries take advantage of it, and when disasters result from it.  Britain had the U.S. at its back when it ceased being a power to be reckoned with.  Should that day come for us, who will have ours?”

It’s a good question.  Who will replace the US as the #1 global power?  Inevitably, the day will come, as any student of history knows.  But it seems that it will be sooner than expected, with continuing economic decline and, additionally, the willful military decline that is set to take place.