Tag Archives: the West

HUBRIS WILL NOT DEFEAT THE ENEMY

Bill de Blasio                             Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio

Yesterday (Monday) I read an article, which stated with great certainty that the US has been better at assimilating Muslims than European countries.   I also read a separate article in USA Today, which quoted the Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, claiming that “New York City has the strongest, most agile, best-trained first responders in the world.   They’re ready to protect us.”

These are just the latest examples of hubris, which is defined as “excessive pride, or self-confidence, arrogance.”

When it comes to assimilation, I am reminded of a conversation I witnessed on British television one Sunday morning a few years ago. People of African descent who had lived in both the United Kingdom and the United States were discussing this very issue.   All the participants said they felt more comfortable and more assimilated in the UK than the US.

This may or may not be true of Muslims.   My concern here is that Americans should be very careful in making such assumptions, that we cannot say for sure and that, really, it doesn’t make any difference.   We are just as threatened by Islamic terrorism as the Europeans.   Whether the US responders do a better job remains to be seen.   FWIW, France (and Canada) are the two countries that top the World Health Organization’s list of best medical systems.   The US ranks at #37.   When it comes to saving lives, Paris is one of the best places to be.

When it comes to fighting ISIS, there’s a great deal of hubris right now.   Once again, the entertainment industry is partly to blame – it’s not just James Bond that defeats the world’s greatest evils; Americans have been doing it for decades.

Or, have we?

More than fourteen years after 9-11, Al-Qaeda is still killing people.   The hotel attack in Bamako was perpetrated by an al-Qaeda affiliate.

The US has been in Afghanistan for the same length of time (longer than the Russians were there) and there is no end in sight.   In fact, the situation is worse in that ISIS now operates there, along with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

Iraq continues with daily conflict.   The immediate goal of overthrowing Saddam Hussein  was achieved by the western coalition, but the resultant mess just goes on and on.   The Iraqi conflict gave birth to ISIS, another problem that seems likely to go on and on.   And, if they are ever defeated, there will be other Islamic extremists to replace them.

Proverbs 16:18 says that:   “Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before a fall.”

I quoted Niall Ferguson a few days ago.   He showed the similarities between what is happening now and what happened to the Roman Empire in its last days – the barbarians are at the gates.   Indeed, they are within the gates thanks to the West having the most myopic immigration policies in the history of mankind.

The West has lived through a period that might be called the Pax Americana, a peace guaranteed by the United States since the end of World War II.

But the US has not had a decisive victory since World War II, when the global conflict was won by the three great powers, the British Empire (which fought the war from 1939-1945), the Soviet Union (which was forced into war six months before the US) and the United States.   The US could not have done it alone.

Korea ended up a stalemate, a burden still carried on the backs of the US tax-payer.   Vietnam was lost.   At the time, there was plenty of hubris.   Who would have thought, in 1965, that the US could lose to North Vietnam?

The next major conflict was the Persian Gulf War in 1990-91.   The immediate goal of driving Iraq out of Kuwait was achieved, but Saddam lived to fight another day, literally.   And, as I said, the mess goes on and on.

Americans are fond of saying that the US military is the best in the world and that the country spends ten times as much on its military as the next biggest spender.   That may be true, but it’s misleading.   In World War II, for every US soldier actually fighting, there were 60 people employed in support roles; for the British it was 45 to 1; for the Germans, 20 to 1.   Efficiency varies.

Additionally, US military personnel are paid more than those of other countries, so the dollar amount spent is not saying much.

Besides, the greatest threat now is Islamic terrorism, not a professional national army.   The “armies” that brought down Rome were barbaric, wild tribes, the Huns, the Vandals and, ultimately, the Arabs.   We’re faced with a similar enemy, but making it worse, our enemy is also “within.”   Let’s remember, the Babylonian Empire fell because two men betrayed it!   It only took two men to bring down the greatest empire in the world at that time.

The analogy with Babylon is apt in another way, too.   Babylon’s period of ascendancy lasted a little over seventy years, from the defeat of Assyria in 612 BC to its own defeat at the hands of the Persians in 539.   Super powers have great difficulty maintaining dominance over a longer period.   The Romans and the British were two exceptions, but countries simply burn out after 70 years.   The US is burning out, showing great reluctance to take on the growing threats to its own dominance.

It’s predecessor as global superpower number one was Great Britain.   Britain simply went broke.   The US is similarly broke, with a national debt of roughly 20 trillion dollars.   How much longer can the country lead the fight against anything?  ISIS is the wealthiest terror group ever, while the US is now penny pinching.

There’s a third lesson, too, from ancient Assyria and Babylon.   The former invaded the ten tribes of Israel, taking the people away as slaves.   The latter, Babylon, more than a century later, conquered the Jews and took them as slaves to Babylon.   The Old Testament prophets show that these nations were conquered because of their sins.

In a statement after the Paris terror attacks, ISIS said it attacked Paris because it’s a “sinful city, full of perversions.”   This does not mean that ISIS is made up of righteous people, any more than ancient Assyria or Babylon were.   But it does mean that many Muslims, appalled at the liberal values of the West, will naturally flock to ISIS.

In this sense, our own permissiveness works against us and is contributing to the violent acts being perpetrated by the terrorists.

But people in the West have hardened their hearts when it comes to God.   When the Church of England prepared a cinema ad promoting the Lord’s prayer, cinemas refused to show it; when the hashtag “#pray for Paris” appeared on Twitter following the Paris attacks, one French publication told people supporting the sentiment that their prayers were not welcome; that France doesn’t want religion!

Some asked where was God when Paris was attacked?   The answer can be found in Isaiah 59:2.   “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.”  Isaiah was preaching to a nation that had known God, but rejected Him.

There are similarities with the western world of today.   We should avoid hubris, clean up our act, and turn to the true God if we are to have any hope of defeating Islamic extremism.

 

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REFUGEE CRISIS OR A HIJRAH?

Refugees arrive at the main station in Saalfeld, eastern Germany, on 5 September by train from Austria. Photo: AFP
Refugees arrive at the main station in Saalfeld, eastern Germany, on 5 September by train from Austria. Photo: AFP

In July 1683, troops of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire attacked Vienna.  The number of troops was estimated to be between 90,000 – 300,000.   Catholic forces from Austria, Poland and other countries fought them and kept Vienna a major city of Christendom. They had stopped the advance of Islam at the very heart of Europe.

Last week, roughly three times as many Muslims entered Austria and Germany, enthusiastically welcomed by the descendants of those Catholic forces over three centuries earlier.

This is the triumph of multiculturalism.   People in the West no longer differentiate between the peoples of different nations, religions or cultures.  We are all the same.  Every life must be saved, even when it means taxpayers feeding and clothing them, with the state providing education and medical care.

Germany is at the heart of this mission of mercy.   It’s ironic, but the last time this number of people was being transported by trains from one part of Europe to another was during the Holocaust, when Jews were shipped to extermination camps.   In taking in 800,000 migrants this year, adding 1% to its population of 80 million, Germany is redeeming itself. The country has gone from being a pariah seven decades ago, to being the perceived savior of much of mankind.

Closer to home, in Europe itself, just a few weeks ago Germany was seen as very harsh toward Greece and other debtor nations, but is now extolled for its generosity.   All thanks to Chancellor Angela Merkel!

But, will it last?

The Times of Israel today has a number of front-page articles on Jews being attacked in the UK, the Netherlands, Spain and elsewhere.   A special report highlights increased anti-semitism and Islamophobia in London.   A major article explains why Syrians flee to the West and not to other Arab countries where they are hated and treated very badly.

Ethnic conflict is a major problem everywhere.   History shows that Islam and Christianity are not going to peacefully co-exist.   The Syrians and others joyfully arriving in Munich and Berlin are not likely to assimilate, though they will give a boost to Germany’s economy and help fill the half a million job vacancies in the country. Germany has a low unemployment figure of 4.6% — that’s a real unemployment figure, not to be compared to the US figure, which is calculated very differently.

Already, there are signs of a negative reaction on the part of ethnic Germans.   There was another incident today, of accommodation intended for immigrants burned down by extremists.   According to CNN, “as the number of immigrants increases, so does the number of attacks.   There have been 340 so far this year.”  (“Quest on Business”, CNN International.)   CNN’s Richard Quest warned that the massive influx of new and younger workers could have a depressing effect on German wages.

In the euphoria of the past week’s events, no thought has been given to national security.   Is the migrant surge composed of genuine refugees or is this a hijrah, a mass migration of Muslims to spread Islam to other countries?   This has happened a number of times in history.

From World Net Daily (WND), comes the following:

“To emigrate in the cause of Allah – that is, to move to a new land in order to bring Islam there, is considered in Islam to be a highly meritorious act,” author Robert Spencer wrote.   He cited the following Quranic text:

“And whoever emigrates for the cause of Allah will find on the earth many locations and abundance,” says the Quran. “ And whoever leaves his home as an emigrant to Allah and His Messenger and then death overtakes him, his reward has already become incumbent upon Allah.   And Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful” (Quran 4:100).

And now, looking at Europe and America, a migration invasion of a much greater magnitude is underway.

Evidence of that invasion came in February when an ISIS operative confirmed what many already suspected – the Islamic State is using the refugee crisis to form a fifth column of Muslim fighters inside Western nations.”

The western world has reacted emotionally to the photographs of 3-year-old Alan Kurdi who drowned, along with his 5-year-old brother and mother when their small boat capsized while trying to flee to Europe from Syria.   Voters have put a lot of pressure on leaders to take in more Syrian refugees.   Little thought has been given to the implications of this.

ISIS stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.   The strength of this most extreme of all Islamic militants lies in Syria and Iraq.   Just a few months ago, ISIS said it would send 500,000 of their fighters to Western Europe.   It’s quite likely that many of those terrorists are in the midst of those now being resettled in Europe.   The security implications are dire.

Arabs believe that they are descended from Abraham through Ishmael, the son born of Sarah’s handmaid, Hagar.   The book of Genesis predicted that Ishmael’s descendants would live amongst other descendants of Abraham and pose a major security risk to them.   Note Genesis 16:12:

“He shall be a wild man;
His hand shall be against every man,
And every man’s hand against him.
And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”

 

IS THIS HOW DEMOCRACIES PERISH?

us-government-we-need-a-tow

It’s election season in both the United States and the United Kingdom.   People on both sides of the Atlantic are enduring the nightly trauma of electioneering.

The good news is that, in the UK, the election will be over in two weeks.   On the other side of the pond, we have another nineteen months and a few days to go.

Watching both elections on television, I’ve been asking myself:  Is this how democracies perish?

Every politician seems to promise the moon, while at the same time avoiding any issue of substance.

There was a time when government had only two responsibilities – national security, without which there would be no country, and the maintenance of a stable currency, without which there would be financial chaos.

That’s all changed in the last hundred years.   Now governments have their hands in everything – and the electorate responds by holding out their own hands begging for more.

Can we ever turn the clocks back to the big two?   Life would be a lot better all round if government got off our backs and concentrated on nothing but defense and currency stability.

For all its claims to be a “people’s republic” (a communist term), China’s government doesn’t seem to do anything except defend the people and ensure the stability of their currency.   Of course, the role of the military in China involves a great deal of oppression.   But, when it comes to the economy, they have a free enterprise system that is working a lot better than any of ours in the West.

The British government boasts of a growth rate that is less than 3%, while China laments theirs is down to only 7%.   Whose system works best?

The Chinese government is not likely to look to the Bible for inspiration, but they should heed the lessons contained in I Samuel, chapter 8.  In this chapter, the people asked Samuel for a king, like all the other nations.

God was not pleased with this and warned the people of what to expect:

10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked him for a king.   11 And he said, “This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you:   He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots.   12 He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.   13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers.   14 And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants.   15 He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants.   16 And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work.   17 He will take a tenth of your sheep.   And you will be his servants.   18 And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day.” (vs 8-18)

You get the idea.   This is the first recording of Parkinson’s Law, that government inevitably expands, costing the tax-payer more and more money.   The problem in the US and UK is democracy, with the people wanting more and more.   Inevitably, this leads to government expanding.   It’s a warning to China not to democratize!

We have a special election in Michigan in a few days.   A proposal is being put before the people to raise the sales tax by another 1%.   It may not sound like much, but if you buy a used car for $10,000 right now, the tax will be $600.   After the vote, it would be $700.

The money is to be used to fix our roads, which would be a disgrace even in Africa.

While many will vote “yes” because they are tired of their cars hitting massive potholes, they are failing to look at the bigger picture.   Where has all the money gone that was previously allocated to roads?   If they look closely, they will find that it’s expanded the bureaucracy and given employees higher salaries and greater benefits, in the form of pensions and healthcare.   It has also been revealed that the state department responsible for roads has lost the warranties on roads that were previously fixed by private contractors, meaning that the taxpayer will have to pay again for the same repairs!

Additionally, the state has been wasteful.   Detroit was bailed out to the tune of $191 million.

A new “Welcome Center” is being built at the Capitol, costing an estimated $100 million.   A new State Police headquarters was built for $38 million, when the previous building was quite adequate and rented for $1 per year thanks to a generous donation.   The list goes on and on.   Waste, waste and even more waste.   It’s easy to spend other peoples’ money.

Government is inherently profligate.   The less we have of it the better.   Our ancestors understood that, which is one reason why Great Britain and the United States rose to great wealth and power.

Sadly, their descendants think that more government is the solution to every problem.   As we go down this road, the burdens on the taxpayer will only increase until we collapse under the weight of our own excess.

Perhaps we should all learn a lesson from HSBC, the world’s third biggest bank.   The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation moved its headquarters to London when Hong Kong reverted to China.   They are now thinking of moving back, to either Hong Kong or Singapore, both run by ethnic Chinese.   Taxes are lower and there is far less government regulation in these two city-states.

If they do move, it will be a big blow to London’s status as the world’s primary financial center.

This is one of those major issues the politicians are likely to avoid, as no government will stick its neck out to defend the banks.

How long our democracies last will be determined by how much government the people want.   On that score, things are not looking good on either side of the Atlantic.

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SINGAPORE LOSES ITS FOUNDING FATHER

Lee Kuan Yew

Singapore is one of the greatest success stories of the modern world.

The modern history of the country started in 1819, just under 200 years ago.  The British were looking for a strategic location to base their growing merchant and naval fleets and to thwart Dutch regional influence.

The then Lieutenant-Governor of Bencoolan in Sumatra, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, landed in Singapore after surveying neighboring islands.   A colony was soon founded with a population of only 150. Today, the population is almost 5.5 million.   Singapore’s success was based on free trade, which made it a vibrant commercial center, attracting merchants from all over Asia, the Middle East and the United States, as well as Great Britain, which dominated the globe in the nineteenth century.

The port city saw its greatest period of growth after the British opened the Suez Canal in 1869.   Control of vital sea-gates around the globe contributed to the dominance of the British Empire.   It was possible for British vessels to sail from England to Gibraltar, Malta and Cyprus in the Mediterranean, before continuing their journey through the Suez Canal and Aden, then on to points east, including Singapore.   The naval base at Singapore enabled the British to dominate the Far East and Australasia.   Singapore was a vital sea-gate, one of the arteries of empire.   Many believe this fulfilled the prophecy in Genesis 22:17 that Abraham’s descendants would “possess the gates of their enemies.”

Everything went well until the Japanese attacked the city the day after Pearl Harbor.   Once regarded as an impregnable fortress, the city surrendered on 15th March, 1942.   It remained under Japanese occupation for three-and-a-half-years.   Looking back, it was a major turning point in the decline and fall of the British Empire, perhaps the biggest single turning point.   It showed that the seemingly invincible British, a white race that ruled the greatest empire in history, could be defeated by a non-white peoples considered backward and inferior.

After the defeat of Japan, the British returned, but it was impossible to return to the pre-war order.   New political parties were formed that campaigned for independence.

In 1963, the people of Singapore voted to join the new Malaysian Federation, which the British had created six years earlier.   Only two years later, Singapore, an island of mostly Chinese immigrants, had to leave the Moslem dominated federation and go it alone.

In 1965, at the time of independence, the total Gross National Product of Singapore was only $1 billion.   Fifty years later, it’s $300 billion.   Per capita income has grown from less than $500 per year to well over $55,000, second only to Japan in East Asia.   The island state has been transformed in fifty years from a Third World outpost to a thriving city-state that belongs proudly to the First World of wealthy, affluent countries.

This achievement was the work of one man, Lee Kuan Yew, the longest serving prime minister in the world (from 1959 to 1990). Singapore’s former prime minister died at the weekend.   The man who cried when the federation broke up and Singapore had to go it alone, had a clear vision of what was needed – a free enterprise system which would become a regional financial center.   This does not mean that government was not involved.   He was mildly authoritarian, with restrictions on freedom of speech and the press.   He also oversaw massive public housing projects, which contributed to a rising standard of living for the people. The US could learn from its medical system.

He leaves behind a wealthy, efficient and honest administration – one of the modern world’s greatest success stories.   Other developing nations, struggling to survive in the contemporary world, could learn a great deal from Singapore and the man who built its modern economy.

Singapore is also symbolic of Asia’s growing might, accompanied by the decline of its former imperial master Great Britain, and the West in general.

The world has changed a great deal in the fifty years since Singapore became an independent republic.   It’s experience should give many nations pause for thought and reflection.

 

21 CHRISTIANS BEHEADED IN LIBYA

21 beheaded

Islamic terrorism continues to frighten and horrify the world.

On Saturday, two terrorist attacks in the Danish capital of Copenhagen, reminded the world that Islamic militants don’t like free speech or Jews.

At the same time, video of the beheadings of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya was posted to the ISIS website, emphasizing that the terror group does not like Christians, either.   An accompanying message warned that ISIS will soon conquer Rome.

The video production was titled: “A message signed with blood to the nation of the cross.”

Pope Francis responded with the following words:  “The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard. It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians!”

Francis added: “The martyrs belong to all Christians.”

Almost one thousand years after the Crusades, militant Islam seems set on another major clash with the “Christian” world.   In 1095, following the massacre of 3,000 Christians by Turks in the Holy Land, Pope Urban II rallied western countries to launch a “Crusade” against Islam, to ensure continued access by Christians to the holy sites in and around Jerusalem. The Crusades lasted almost two hundred years, finally ending in 1291.

What is happening now is a build-up to a major clash of civilizations, similar to the Crusades of a millennium ago.

Italy should feel particularly threatened.   The country is only 450 miles from Libya, across the Mediterranean Sea.   It is a gateway into Europe.

The southernmost point of Italy is the island of Lampedusa, which has been in the news a lot recently. Tens of thousands of migrants from North Africa and further south have landed on the island in search of asylum.   From there, they seek admission into other EU countries.   It is quite likely that, hidden amongst genuine refugees, are ISIS terrorists planning on further terror attacks in Europe.

The Director of the FBI warned at the weekend that terrorists could enter the US this way, pretending to be refugees. The same can happen in Europe.

The headline in Monday’s Independent newspaper (UK) sums up the situation:   “The mass beheading of 21 hostages on a Libya beach sees the West’s worst fear made reality: Isis on the doorstep of Europe.”

The beheadings in Libya and the terror attacks in Copenhagen, which seemed to copy those in Paris last month, are a reminder that this is the “new normal.”

They come at a time when the West has no effective strategy to deal with radical Islam and when western civilization is effectively leaderless.