by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch
THE WEEKLY BRIEF
ASIA, THE ARMISTICE, AND THE NATIONS
ASIA, THE ARMISTICE, AND THE NATIONS
Ninety-nine years ago on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month an Armistice (separation of armies and laying down of arms) ended World War One. The war began with the assassination of an Austrian archduke by a Serbian nationalist protesting an empire. By the end of the war, four empires had disintegrated. The Romanovs of Russia, the Hapsburgs of Austro-Hungary, the Hohenzollerns of Germany and the Ottomans were finished. The Polish nation reappeared on the map and the commitment to the self determination of nations thrilled colonized peoples from Africa to Asia. It was a "Wilsonian moment" of anti colonial nationalism for Egyptians under British rule, for Vietnamese under the French and for Koreans under the Japanese. The Soviet Empire was soiling its swaddling clothes while the British and French empires were enjoying their final century of spoils in Africa and Asia. Before China and Korea could function again as nations they would have to expel the emerging Japanese empire. That didn't happen until the end of World War Two. The liberators fought a civil war in China with the Communist Party under Mao Tse Tung emerging as victors in May 1949. Chiang Kai Shek and the Chinese Nationalists established a state in Taiwan (the Japanese had ruled the island from 1895-1945 ).
THE KOREAN EXCEPTION
The Korean people were never unified as Russian and American liberators split military control of the country in 1945. The Russians installed Kim Il Sung (1912-1994) in their northern area of control. He was the grandfather of present supreme leader 35 yo Kim Jong-un, the second son of Kim Jong-il (1941-2011). The Americans installed Syngman Rhee (1875-1965) who ruled South Korea until 1960. Kim Il Sung almost unified the Peninsula with his invasion of the South in June 1950. He was a brutal but competent nationalist dictator who used both Russian and Chinese support to consolidate his rule. The Chinese offensive in November 1950 saved him from defeat after the American counterattack (Inchon September 1950) drove back the North Koreans to their Yalu river border with China. The Korean War ended in 1953 where it began with the country split at the 38th parallel. 37,000 Americans, over two million Koreans and 600,000 Chinese were killed. Major population centers of the North were leveled by bombing. Seoul in the South was captured twice.
THE PROMISE OF NATIONS
After World War One, Woodrow Wilson had offered the war weary world of crumbling empires a vision of a fraternity of nations determining their own fates. He said later he had no idea how many different peoples would hear that call. National self determination (not liberal democracy!) was central as well to FDR's War goals outlined in the Atlantic Charter in 1941. Throughout Asia, the nationalist call has been heeded. The emergence of economic nation states and strong national leaders is the ascendant political form throughout the East. (President Trump has an affinity with Modi of India, Abe of Japan and Xi Jinping of China that dwarfs his ties with Theresa May of Britain or Angela Merkel of German Europe. So much for "white nationalism"). Communist ideology is dead even if communist parties are continuing instruments of governance. Neither Capitalism nor Communism proved as powerful a glue as that biblical mandate of law, land and leader forming a people into a nation.
The Korean people remain divided a century later. South Korea (pop: 50 mill) is one of Asia's most Christian cultures. North Korea (pop: 25mill) has a unique communal religion/ideology called Juche. Religious sentiment may become a guiding impetus for the restoration of national community. The new South Korean President Moon Jae-in is a practicing Catholic. He was a candidate of national reconciliation which he will need to propose in the Confucian language of Juche. The devastating loss of life and infrastructure that the Korean people paid during the Korean War was never repaid with national unity. Their continued division as a nation is a fundamental injustice which must not be lost in the fog of nuclear fears. Germany, Vietnam and China are reunited. Japan was never sundered. Korea-the Hermit Empire-- is still split along a line of latitude drawn 80 years ago in the midst of great power conflicts that first enslaved and then divided a great nation.
I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
WHO WON THE REFORMATION? Russ Douthat, the NYTimes house Catholic helps us think about these last 500 years. He is best at debunking the standard secular tale.
THINKING ABOUT BODIES: On All Souls Day.
FATHER ARNE PANULA (d 2017): “The lack of transcendence in secularism is its greatest weakness, alongside its carnality and its hubris of man-as-god. It fails to satisfy what’s deepest in us.”
RELIGIOUS JOURNALISM AND SECULAR JOURNALISM: Who tells the fullest story?
II. ISLAM AND THE MIDDLE EAST
THE REAL COLLUSION - US AND SAUDIS AND WAHHABISM: One of the best histories of the alliance which makes our war on terror incoherent, contradictory, and unwinnable. The author is a man of the left but has been given space on a website called The American Conservative. The truth shall set us free.
THE CROWN PRINCE RIDDING HIS OPPONENTS: Bruce Reidel is a longtime diplomat and student of Saudi Arabia. He says the most important man removed in the bin Salman purge is:
"Minister of National Guard Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah, the favorite son of the late King Abdullah, is intended to remove a potential powerful rival of his own favorite son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Mutaib's ouster is the most crucial part of a large-scale wave of arrests in the kingdom that suggests deep opposition to the young prince's ambitions.VOX explains the bin Salman purge.
The Saudi Arabian National Guard was the creation of King Abdullah in the 1950s and 1960s. It has been the power center for the Abdullah wing of the family and the Shammar tribe for over a half-century. The National Guard was originally designed to be a counter-coup force to defend the royal family from revolutionary plots in the regular army. It is deployed in the capital and holy cities as well as along the borders. It was a crucial player in the forced abdication of King Saud in 1964 that brought Faisal to the throne, and it bore the brunt of the fighting for the recovery of the holy mosque in Mecca from religious extremists in 1979."
LEBANON SUNNI PRIME MINISTER VISITS SAUDIS AND RESIGNS: He then blasts Iran and Hezbollah.
U.A.E. BUYS A THINK TANK: Michelle Flournoy was expected to be Hillary Clinton's Secretary of Defense. The UAE Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba and the Saudi Crown Prince have been cultivating America's think tanks and foreign policy elite for a while. This is why the US falsely targets Iran instead of the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Funny how feminist careerism plays the useful idiot in these international wars.
The Crown Prince continues to consolidate power. This time it is an anti-corruption campaign. The US is supporting a regime more and more isolated from its own people, as well as other Sunni allies not to mention Shiites of the Mideast. This is not a reform movement. (NOTE: The best source of news on Saudi, UAE, Israel collusion is increasingly from left wing outlets). Both Israel and the US are tied to a young leader in the Mideast whose penchant for warmaking and expulsion of rivals has led to an isolation that cannot end well - for him or his allies.
THE SUNNI MEETING TO EXPEL WAHHABISM - PLAYING THE CHECHNYA CARD: September 2016 meeting provides a theological basis for the coalition needed. Sunnis disavowing the theological violence of Salafists is the necessary distinction. Vladimir Putin understands this if the US doesn't. Another description of this meeting. One Hundred Sunni scholars say the Wahhabi are not Sunni.
THE OTHER COLLUSION: US and Israel policy are not always the same. To point out that there are many Jewish intellectuals who use their positions in media and the universities to advocate Israeli policy which is sometimes against US interests is neither racist nor anti-Semitic. The American Conservative magazine has often been a voice against the Jewish neoconservative influences at the Weekly Standard, Commentary, the National Review and Fox News. The founding of the American Conservative was built around the silencing of Pat Buchanan in other publications because he saw the Iraq war as the implementation of Likkud policy from Israel rather than in American interests. The magazine editor Robert Merry recently fired a contributor Philip Geraldi for his suggestions regarding Jewish policy makers. I (Dr. Pence) think the editor, Merry, has a pretty good case that Geraldi's argument "crossed a line" deserving separation from the magazine. It remains true though that our inability to speak about the influences of Saudi Arabia and Israel in confusing our foreign policy has cost many American and Arab lives. It is leading us now to the precipice of war against Iran. Giraldi's explanation of the situation. Giraldi's offending article - America's Jews are driving America's Wars.
OSAMA BIN LADEN AND IRAN: The evidence is very sketchy but is it possible that a few quotes are going to be used to keep building case against Iran as the major source of terrorism in the world? The fact is that the goals of the Salafist Saudi Sunnis led by Osama bin Laden and the Shiite strategy of Iran were often at distinct cross purposes. It is also true that Osama bin Laden was willing to work with all Muslims including Shiites in the war against the larger "Satans" - the US and Israel. This release of documents is feeling less like transparency and more like cherry picking to link the name bin Laden to the country of Iran. One significant difference between ISIS and the bin Laden movement is that ISIS made Shiites a principal enemy in destabilizing the Iraq government.
CHARLIE ROSE WITH THE EMIR OF QATAR: October 2017 interview with the 37 year old emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani. The Crown Prince (Muhammed bin Salman) of Saudi Arabia has initiated a devastating blockade against this tiny neighbor. All of the Qatar peninsula land border is with Saudi Arabia. 90% of their food and medicine came by land. Qatar is the richest country in the world by GDP. They are also Wahhabis but tend to support popular movements against monarchies. They took in the US Air Force when the Saudis bent to salafist pressure to evict the Crusader infidels. Qatar allows Christian worship. They share commercial relations with Iran. In the interview, the emir noted that it was Iran who fed their people after the unexpected blockade emptied their food shelves. The Saudis call this playing both sides in the fight against terrorism. Qatar is owner of the most exuberant form of freedom of the press in the Mideast called Al Jazeera. The Saudis want this shut down. Qatar has 2.2 million inhabitants but only 300,000 citizens. They will be home to the 2022 World Soccer Championship. A huge stadium for the event is being built by foreign workers who do almost all of the physical labor in the country. A good way to understand the country is to look at these maps and short descriptions comparing the Sunni Gulf States.
HEZBOLLAH: An explanation.
UZBEKISTAN AND TERRORISTS. THE HOMELAND OF SAYFULLO SAIPOV: A profile of a Muslim majority country run by adamant secularists. Uzbekistan has 32 million people, 81% Uzbek ethnicity, 21 million speaking Uzbek. 5% are ethnic Russians and Orthodox. The land was part of Czarist Russia or the Soviet Union for two centuries. The first post-Soviet leader was militantly secular, greatly restricting religious customs. Their legal tradition is the Hannafi school (to be distinguished from the Salafist Hanbali school). This is the home of the man who in the name of ISIS killed eight people in New York City by driving them down with a rental truck.
III. CULTURE OF LIFE, CULTURE OF PROTECTION
THE GOOD GUNMAN: He tells his rifle story. God bless him. From the Texas Church shooting.
MICHAEL ORESKES EDITORIAL DIRECTOR OF NPR HAS BEEN A SERIAL SEXUAL HARASSER. AT NPR THIS IS NOT NEWS: The feminist OWN (old woman's network) has always proudly contrasted the face of their kind of female dominance vs. the blond foxes of Fox News. Judy Woodruff is the 70 year old wife of fellow liberal journalist Albert Hunt. Solid power couples with different last names and never a hint of sexual allure from Mrs W. But behind the scenes, same old Hollywood script - a male predator with excellent feminist credentials and plenty of power in career advancement is a sicko with the young ladies... and all the older well placed feminists know about it.
HARVEY WEINSTEIN: Thomas Frank of the Guardian describes a "certain kind of liberalism." Insights on the left from the left.
INCEST - COSMOPOLITAN IS FOR IT: This article is interesting for an inclusion of the arguments that Thomas Aquinas made against the most fundamental perversion. Christians should never discuss sodomy as a type of marriage but as a subset of incest.
SOCIALIZING MALES DOESN'T COME NATURALLY: Every society's challenge.
THE AMERICAN SOUL AND RACE: Myron Magnet reviews Reckoning with Race by Gene Dattel. from the review:
Dattel quotes Malcolm X, who noticed how much the change in elite white attitudes was harming blacks as early as 1963, just as the new white liberal worldview had begun “lowering the ‘moral standards’ of the black masses,” as Dattel paraphrases Malcolm. “Our young girls, our daughters, our baby sisters become unwed mothers before they are hardly teens,” Malcolm lamented. “And our community has tens of thousands of little babies who have no father to act as their provider and protector.”
IV. AMERICAN POLITICS
AMERICA: We got the pluribus, where is the unum? President Eisenhower on why he hung a picture of Robert E. Lee in the White House and Judge Clarence Thomas on the sundering of our nation.
JOSEPH EPSTEIN ON LEON WIESELTIER: An amazing biographic tale of the intersecting world of the Jewish left and right atheist intellectuals by one of America's best writers.
HOW HILLARY CLINTON TOOK OVER THE DNC AND FROZE OUT BERNIE SANDERS: The tale is told by long term Democrat Donna Brazille reported by Politico.
V. NATIONS R&G ROUND UP
VICTOR ORBAN, PRESIDENT OF HUNGARY SPEECH ON CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION: In the name of liberal democracy, Christianity and the nations are being attacked. From Orban's talk:
"For wherever we may live around the world – whether we’re Roman Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox Christians or Copts – we are members of a common body, and of a single, diverse and large community. Our mission is to preserve and protect this community. This responsibility requires us, first of all, to liberate public discourse about the current state of affairs from the shackles of political correctness and human rights incantations which conflate everything with everything else. We are duty-bound to use straightforward language in describing the events that are taking place around us, and to identify the dangers that threaten us. The truth always begins with the statement of facts".THE WATCHMEN - ORBAN EXPLAINS WHY HUNGARY IS HOSTING CONFERENCE ON CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION: "We have come from different countries, yet there’s something that links us – the leaders of Christian communities and Christian politicians. We call this the responsibility of the watchman. In the Book of Ezekiel we read that if a watchman sees the enemy approaching and does not sound the alarm, the Lord will hold that watchman accountable for the deaths of those killed as a result of his inaction."
RUSSIA ONE HUNDRED YEARS LATER: In Soviet times, November 7 was an annual national holiday celebrating the Bolsheveik revolution. . But Russian President Vladimir Putin, the longest-serving Russian leader since Stalin, is not publicly commemorating the centennial. Instead, the former KGB agent unveiled a monument last week to the victims of the Great Terror of 1937-38, during which hundreds of thousands of falsely accused “enemies of the people” were rounded up and executed or sent to prison camps.