Saturday, August 29, 2015

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturdays, August 15, 22, and 29

by David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch 


The three American boyhood pals who saved countless lives by stopping the jihadist on a French super train teach a great lesson. They are living examples of the best homeland security program we could devise. Let us revive a trained patriotic masculine presence and identity everywhere that American men gather. We are brother protectors all the time in every situation. The civic culture should train all men to be efficient fighters (this means obligatory masculine military training, not universal national service). The Church should cultivate the virtue of courage as a response to danger, and teach men that loving our neighbors means protecting those around us. The men on the train were prepared to act courageously, and the military training of some of them helped them act effectively. French President Hollande in awarding the heroes France's highest honor saw them as a symbol of "humanity." In an earlier statement he said that "brave women and men" like them would be the antidote to terrorism. We Americans must remind the modern Frenchman that Napoleon swept Europe by calling  "every male a citizen soldier." That other French warrior, Joan of Arc, knew the same truth. Her cry was always: "Men of France, do your duty." Both the Maid of Orleans and the Little Corporal knew that the essence of citizenship in a Christian culture was based on a male fraternity of sacrificial love. This is the essence of male citizenship: men do for our countries what Christ did for humanity. A dying culture will not make such men. A culture of life will.


CHRISTIAN REALISM: A review of the work of Reinhold Niebuhr. Niehbuhr disagreed that progress would always come from education, so he was against Dewey. He thought nations in the real world would do actions that would harm the innocent. He had a low view of the morality of nations,  thinking they were always agents of self-interest.

HENRY KISSINGER INTERVIEW ON REALISM AND STRATEGY - DON'T MAKE RUSSIA AN ENEMY: Thirty-year anniversary of National Interest magazine interviews Mr. Kissinger. In a understated way he attacks the momentum of US policy toward Russia and our utterly ahistorical approach to the relationship of Russia and Ukraine. He doesn't explain Kiev Rus, but he knows it exists.


CATHOLICS IN NATIONS ON THE RISE (PINS): John Allen of Crux (Boston Globe project to report on the Catholic Church as a worldwide institution) looks at the Philippines, India, Nigeria, and South Korea.

CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THE BIG BANKS: Letting criminals go while extorting big money from the institution is not just a legal strategy against the Catholic Church. Fines after The Great Wall Street Robbery have a similar feel - pick the deep institutional pockets and let the individual crooks take their profits.

POPE FRANCIS, SPIRITUAL WARRIOR FOR MARRIAGE: Paul Kengor on the Pope Francis strategy to defend marriage. Is he giving away the store or is he a wily spiritual warrior?


THE MYTH OF INCLUSIVE GOVERNMENTS IN THE WAR AGAINST ISIS: The war in the Mideast will be fought as shifting coalitions of communal groups. The criticism against Iraq's first Prime Minister Maliki (2006-2014) that he wasn't inclusive was never fair. He might have been a bad ruler - I don't know, but his sin was not that he tried first to consolidate Shiite control and then find Sunnis who would deal with him. The new prime minister is going to do the same as the agreement with Iran affects strategy in Iraq.

SAUDI ARABIA AND 9-11: One part of the national debate on foreign policy during the presidential campaign should insist on the release of the 28 pages of the 9-11 Commission report that deal with the role of the Saudis in the attack. House of Saud and House of Bush tells one tale while Wikipedia is as far as your research has to go to find, not just the Clinton Foundation, but the Carter Center deeply beholden to the Saudis. People talk about the Jewish lobby and Israel, but the Saudi lobby is much more nefarious -- for it seems both ubiquitous and hidden.

MUSLIMS IN THE US-MATURATION US: Muslims can be a strong force for bringing America back under God. Will religious Americans see them as fellow citizens and believers? It took Protestants a long time to admit Catholics into the American Covenant. There is a parallel for men who understand that political bonds emerge from religious loyalties.

TURKS FIGHT KURDS AND SAUDIS KILL THE HOUTHIS--WHO WILL FIGHT THE SALAFIST SUNNIS? Stratfor has a lot of reporting on the Saudi invasion of Yemen in the Mideast which seems to have garnered the news coverage of black men shooting black men in American cities. Stratfor (which we learn from daily), however, maintains its almost pathological insistence on reporting conflicts as if religion doesn't exist. Meanwhile, Turkey's new commitment to fight is much more aimed at the Kurds, not ISIS.

IS THERE DISSENT IN ISRAEL ON IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL? Is there a security bloc that doesn't agree with the Netanyahu depiction of the Iran nuclear deal as a catastrophe?

SUNNI EGYPT: The Muslim Brotherhood won an election, and now there is a military government. Is that a problem?


JAPAN AND WWII: A moving apology and perspective from President Abe.

CHINA AND A US MARITIME STRATEGY: The Defense Department Strategy document on Maritime policy with special emphasis on the expanding shores of China.

POLAND'S NEW PRESIDENT: President Duda's worldview.

THE ARCTIC NATIONS: Understanding Finland.


SECULARIZATION AND CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH: Aidan Nichols, O.P. is a great scholar of history, theology and philosophy. At the Imaginative Conservative, he writes about secularization.


NATURE IS NOT YOUR MAMA: The antidote to pantheism and nature worship is to understand a few salient facts about the physical universe. Most of the universe is utterly hostile to life. Even on earth -- which is a set-aside environment improbably, but unmistakably, conducive for life -- nature herself is utterly unforgiving. The Universe begins with a casting out, and still manifests that in the expanding dissipating universe. It is a place of conflict and has been, long before man was created and sinned.

God called back matter with the attractive forces (strong nuclear and gravity) and the elements were formed in the stars. Eventually by an act of the Holy Spirit, a handful of matter on earth was incorporated into a cell. It was an enclosure of life -- a sort of tiny Eden. About 3.5 billion years after the first life, Man was created in another enclosure: the Garden of Eden. He was cast out into the battlefield where now he is being integrated into the Body of Christ who appeared also by an act of the Spirit in a sacred enclosure. Only selected matter associated with human beings and our dominance are being integrated onto Christ. Most of matter is still being cast out with the spiritual beings who started the battle long ago. Matter itself is law-abiding, but it has no preference for man. Bishop Robert Barron, who usually does not comment on this aspect of the Universe, sees clearly here the radical indifference of Nature.

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