by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch
THE WEEKLY BRIEFTHE STAKES IN NORTH KOREA Kim Jong Un, the 34 yr old leader of North Korea, is not old enough to be a US President. Like 31 yr old Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, he has brought a young man's assertiveness to his country's foreign policy. North Korea has 25 million people while South Korea has 50 million people in a land mass 5/6 of North Korea. China with 1.4 billion people and Japan with 126 million people are neighbors with histories of conquering this ancient people. Both South Koreans and North Koreans believe a united Korea is the eventual political goal and Koreans on both sides of the 38th believe Korea needs the technology of advanced weapons to balance the threats of their larger neighbors. All of those considerations have nothing to do with America.
Turning to the US, the North Koreans see South Koreans as their countrymen in occupied territory. Kim Jong Un notes that when a small nation like Libya gave up their nuclear weapons, the leader was soon decapitated (Gadaffi killed in 2011 after US inspired NATO intrusion in country). He sees a hostile American Congress to Iran even after Iran gave up weapons grade uranium in a deal sanctioned by Europe, Russia and China. Korea has been split along the 38th parallel since the end of WWII. In the Korean War of 1950-1953, the Chinese allied with the North Koreans after American led UN troops drove to the Yalu River-a demarcation of China and North Korea. More than 80% of North Korean trade is with China. In Asia, Kim Jong Un is not a great statesman but he is a real leader. He is most definitely not seen as a crazy little oriental dictator ridiculed by the Hollywood media and then cyber-revenged in real life. It is not at all clear that a US attack on North Korea would be seen by the Chinese as anything but continued border infringement by US. It didn't help when on Aug 10 US warships sailed within 12 miles of the new Chinese airfields on the man made isle they have constructed to display their claims in the South China Sea. Henry Kissinger warned in his book China that the most likely scenario for China going to war would be infringement on their borders or foreign encroachment on a neighboring country. China has much more in common with North Korea trying to defend itself than the US projecting culture and weapons 7000 miles away from our homeland. North Korea is not targeting the continental US or Asian population centers. Much better strategic targets are the unpopular US military bases throughout Asia and 160,000 US citizens on Guam next to Anderson Air base. Guam has been called "an aircraft carrier posing as an island".
The US wants this conflict to be seen as a young bellicose dictator disrupting Asian stability and threatening world order. North Korea wants to depict the US as a continuing reminder of the 19th century of shame when western white nations colonized and disrespected all the great civilizations of Asia. It is doubtful that North Korea would aim its firepower at Asian populations--- not even their traditional enemy Japan. They say to China (and they whisper to nuclear armed Pakistan), "Why is the one country in human history who laid waste to Asian population centers with nuclear weapons now contesting Chinese borders, emasculating Japan and South Korea with military occupations, and threatening us because we are developing nuclear weapons to deter them? Is there no man or country to resist them and reclaim our honor?" The Philippines have a strong leader who is establishing order at home and has changed sides in the China-US dispute over Chinese territory claims in the South China Sea. This geopolitical transformation of a once dependable ally in Asia is treated in the US press as an opportunity to scold the elected Rodrigo Duterte as a sexist and a thug. We must see the Asian nations and their leaders clearly. The division of Korea is the last "nation tragedy" of the Cold War. If Russia, China and the US cannot come to a long overdue real Cold War peace than once again the small nations will serve as killing grounds. It will be full of sound and fury. And it may well "signify nothing."
I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
The New York Times reported this in August 2016 better than Catholic conservatives:
"Leaders of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups expressed dismay on Wednesday after Pope Francis said that schoolchildren are being taught they can choose their gender as part of what he called an “ideological colonization.”VATICAN OPENING TO RUSSIA: Top diplomat goes to Russia. This is a priority that the Pope and the President share. Forget the Jesuit and Protestant journalists who do not understand America. Watch the actions of the Pope and his diplomatic corps.
Francis was meeting privately with bishops in Poland last week when he broached the matter. “Today, in schools they are teaching this to children — to children! — that everyone can choose their gender,” he said, according to a transcript released by the Vatican on Tuesday.
Marianne Duddy-Burke, the executive director of DignityUSA, a leading organization of L.G.B.T. Catholics, said the comments represented a “dangerous ignorance” about gender identity, which is no more a choice than height or hair color.
“It’s very troubling that the pope would say this,” Ms. Duddy-Burke said on Wednesday. “It also shows that the pope doesn’t understand the danger that his words can mean for gender-nonconforming people, particularly those who live in countries with laws or cultural pressures that put these people at risk for violence.”
A CATHOLIC STATESMAN: An Englishman with a top hat and six kids.
CATHOLICS AND/OR AMERICANS: Smirak on Chaput.
THE TRANSFIGURATION AND POPE PAUL VI: A profound Christological and historical reflection.
THE PARISH - THINK COSMICALLY AND ACT LOCALLY; THE BENEDICT OPTION IN PRACTICE: Reflection of August 4, Memorial of St John Vianney. Fr George Rutler - advice for a young priest.
MILITARY AND SEMINARIES - WHY ALL-MALE INSTITUTIONS HAD FEMINIST SPEECH CODES: From Peggy Noonan on generals and admirals:
"On social issues they generally tend to be moderate to liberal. I have never to my knowledge met a high officer who was pro-life. They largely thought Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell a reasonable policy, but they’re realists: Time moves on, salute and execute. They don’t want to damage or retard their careers being on the wrong side of issues whose outcomes seem culturally inevitable. You don’t die on a hill that is not central to the immediate mission."There was no place in American culture where honest discussion of sex roles was shut down earlier and more definitively than the military. To speak against women soldiers could be a career ending statement showing inability to "lead the new modern army." Catholic all-male seminaries experienced the same paradox. If seminarians (candidates for the priesthood) spoke too loudly against women priests that was taken as evidence those "rigid" fellows were incapable of "working collaboratively with the newly empowered laity." The all male seminary forbade assertively masculine public discussion. Military bases where even intramural sports teams had to be female inclusive were similar to the seminaries--these male groups could not speak AS MEN in public speech.
II. ISLAM AND THE MIDDLE EAST
A NEW ONLINE VIDEO VOICE LOOKING AT 9/11 AND SAUDI ARABIA: A video laying out a few basics.
PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS AND MIDEAST: A book review and AOA essay in the StarTribune stressing the obligation of our Christian nation to protect Christians.
RUSSIA, CHINA, EUROPE, AND BRITAIN GO TO IRAN INAUGURATION - WHOSE NOT COMING TO DINNER? The US policy of ignoring civic functions of crucial nations deprives us of ritual acts of international diplomacy that a nation state must employ to build fraternity among peoples. Saudi Arabia and Israel are both at war with Iran. We are not.
III. AMERICAN POLITICS AND FOREIGN POLICY
SCANDALS TO INVESTIGATE NOT MANUFACTURE: Real stories seeking light from Victor Davis Hanson.
MCMASTER CLEANING HOUSE AT NSC - AN OBJECTION FROM ISRAELI RIGHT: Everything that bothers Carolyn Glick here. Seems like a useful and necessary balance in American policy. Israel's intent is to ally with Saudi Arabia and bring down the Shia government of Iran.That should not be US policy.
IN RUSSIA: A Statue to Gorbachev and Reagan.
WHILE IN THE US - CONGRESS SANCTIONS LAW HOBBLES EXECUTIVE AND STRIKES OUR EUROPEAN ALLIES: Europe Uneasy as Congress lets its anti-Trump anger hamper American diplomacy.
TRUMP IS LOSING HIS RUSSIA POLICY TO REPUBLICAN STAFF AND MILITARY HAWKS: Buchanan explains. When will an anti-war Democrat or a Christian public intellectual come to the President's aid and shake off the grip of the war interests? Listening to the effeminate Lindsey Graham talking about destroying North Korea should raise the ire of every Christian man and honest patriot. Asians will not think US bombing of an Asian population(North Korea) is an act of protection. Emotionally many see the antics of North Korea the way their ancestors saw the Japanese defeat of Russia in 1905 - finally a yellow nation resisting the white foreigners. Unfortunately Diversity Training has not yet taught American policymakers to see the world through the eyes of other countries and cultures.
THE COLLUSION TO OVERTHROW THE AMERICAN ELECTION: It is not the Russians but illegal "spies and traitors" inside the government in collusion with the major East Coast media who are engaged in illegal acts trying to overthrow the legitimately elected President Trump. Did the Washington Post have a "duty" to publicize transcripts of presidential calls? Doesn't that greatly reduce the ability of the President to deal with foreign leaders in a trusting confidential manner which makes war and conflict less likely?
REVEREND HILLARY: Will Mrs. Clinton turn to Methodist preaching?
IV. CULTURE OF LIFE, CULTURE OF PROTECTION
HITTINGER ON DAWSON AND SAVING THE WEST: An essay from the Imaginative Conservative.
BLACKS, THE IRISH, AND BOXING: The way men should write sports stories. he is a white writer in the black press. Multiple white editors would not take his piece.
A NOVEL FOR OUR TIME - THE POSSESSED BY DOSTOEVSKY: From a review of the novel:
"In late 1860s Russia there was an unusual level of political unrest caused by student groups influenced by liberal, socialist and revolutionary ideas imported from Europe. In 1869, Dostoevsky conceived the idea of a 'pamphlet novel' directed against the radicals."An important correction of the title from another book review:
According to translator Richard Pevear, the demons are "that legion of isms that came to Russia from the West: idealism, rationalism, empiricism, materialism, utilitarianism, positivism, socialism, anarchism, nihilism, and, underlying them all, atheism."
The counter-ideal to the demons (expressed in the novel through the character of Ivan Shatov) is that of an authentically Russian culture growing out of the people's inherent spirituality and faith.
In a letter to a friend, Dostoevsky alludes to the episode of the Exorcism of the Gerasene demoniac in the Gospel of Luke as the inspiration for the title: "Exactly the same thing happened in our country: the devils went out of the Russian man and entered into a herd of swine... These are drowned or will be drowned, and the healed man, from whom the devils have departed, sits at the feet of Jesus."
The title is a case in point. The Russian word means evil spirits, not the people possessed by them. Had Dostoevsky wanted to name this work "The Possessed," he could easily have done so, Russian having an exact equivalent. There is also a perfectly good Russian word for devils, and it is not the word Dostoevsky chose to use.
"Demons" is the Dostoevsky novel for our age; in fact, it is a key novel as such for an age that has come to recognize the evils of ideology--any ideology. At the time it appeared in Russia, it could be read as the other sort of "key novel," a roman a clef , based as it was on the ideologically rationalized murder of a party member who had strayed from the fold. Millions and millions of ideologically rationalized murders later, it is infinitely more timely. Dostoevsky could not be published at all in the Soviet Union during the Stalinist years, and even in the relatively liberal post-Stalinist period this novel remained taboo and thus virtually unavailable in popular editions. Now that Russia has renounced its ideology it is being read with a vengeance: "Demons" tells Russia's story in microcosm, and in advance.
V. AROUND THE WORLD R&G ROUND UP
MODI AND FOREIGN RELATIONS: A review.
AP REPORTER ON LEAVING: Venezuela. In South America, the capitalism vs. communism debate is an atheist knot to be untied by a host of Catholic Bolivar/Peron/Franco nationalists rising in each country to ally with a Christian nationalist United States to the north. Establishing police order and justice in land and labor are paramount.