Saturday, May 5, 2018

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, May 5

By Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch


President Donald Trump's face to face, nation to nation diplomacy in Asia has invigorated Xi Jinping of China to intervene actively in pressing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un toward new initiatives of denuclearization and national reconciliation in Korea. Korean leaders Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un  have responded with a renewed desire for national reconciliation.

Could a truly nationalist strategy in the Mideast lead to a similar realignment of forces and understanding? This can only happen if we become clear about the national, ethnic,  and religious loyalties which are driving (and obscuring) our two major conflicts. These are two different conflicts. Afghanistan is a conflict set in a South Asia context with national and tribal loyalties confused by the old British line of demarcation (the Durand Line) separating Pashtuns of Pakistan from Pashtuns of Afghanistan. India, China and Russia from the outside and Iran and Pakistan from the inside are needed to end this conflict. It is difficult to see how a US military presence will be a catalyst for that fivesome to come together. We have one chip to play and that is leveraging our departure.

In the Mideast, the most crucial dispute among nations which must be resolved is the long standing war of Israel against Iran. Israel is a US ally but their desire to destroy the Shiite government of Iran cannot be embraced as our foreign policy. The US policy toward Israel should be a radical allegiance to their existence within defensible boundaries but an end to our blanket endorsement of their out of state military strikes. Israel has a much better claim to build settlements on the West Bank than to bomb military facilities in neighboring sovereign states. Israel is a real nation which won the Golan Heights as a northeast border and the Jordan River as their eastern border in an honest war. Palestine as a nation is an imagined community of a globalist bureaucracy more attached to a nation that does not exist than the real nations with border guards. There may not be a Palestinian nation but Syria, Iraq and Iran are real nations. All three are Muslim and the states of all three are being undermined in their ability to govern. When states are undermined, the refugees flow. A nationalist American policy will defend Israel inside its national borders but will not sanction strikes against the sovereign state of Syria, threats against the sovereign nation of Iran and the continuing undermining of Iraq's ' ability to establish internal order and choose its own allies. What principle of international law allows Israel to tell Syria that they must evict their ally (Iran) who just shed blood to help save their state?

The most notorious government disrupting the order of sovereign nations and religious freedom in the Mideast is the Wahhabi-Saudi bargain known as Saudi Arabia. The foreign policy of the ever  shrinking Salman branch of the Saudi royal clan is driven by a need to placate Wahhabi clerics in their jihadist campaign against Shiites as false Muslims. Mistaking the Wahhabi jihad as a bitter rivalry of one country (Saudi Arabia) against another (Iran) is more evidence of the spiritual blindness that has misdirected our response to the attack against our nation on  9/11/2001. The Saudi bombing of Shiite Houthis of Yemen, their suppression of the Shiite majority in  Bahrain, their limitation of Shiite expressions of worship in the Holy Cities, their suppression of Shiite political expression in their Eastern oil rich provinces, their fomenting of anti Shiite violence against the elected Iraq government, their support of civil war against the Assad Shiite-Sunni government in Syria, and their blockading of Qatar for trading with Shiites are not fronts in a war against Iran as a nation. These are all instances of the deep and murderous anti Shiite campaign that Muhammed bin Salman is waging to keep the support of the Wahhabi clerics in his bid for royal power. He has many relatives with contesting claims to the Saudi throne. He needs the clerical establishment. Part of the bargain is to get the religious police to ease up on a few rich ladies who want to drive and go to soccer games. What is allowed and accelerated  is the killing of Shiite Houthis in impoverished Yemen, executing Shiite clerics inside of Saudi Arabia, and forging a military alliance with Israel to cripple the mullahs of Iran. America's atheist feminist press corps will report this bloody bargain as progress for women and evidence that the Saudis are no longer anti-Jewish.

The salafist Sunni movement of armed religious purification by al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, and al Shabaab has a hundred names and iterations but it flows from a single spring. This is  not a senseless cycle of sectarian violence. This is not the continuation of a thousand year war of all Shiites against all Sunnis. This is the very modern Wahhabi play for leadership in the world of Islam through jihad. One could argue it started with the Saudi-Wahhabi expulsion of the Hashemites from Mecca and Medina in 1925.  But the accelerated renewal started in 1979 with a salafist takeover of the mosque in Mecca and the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. The movement dramatically targeted  the US in 2001 and then turned on the Shiites in Iraq in 2006. The alliance of Israel with this anti Shiite purification movement against Iran is at least a decade old. It is a doomed alliance and inimical to the US principle of accepting sovereign nation-states in the Mideast. This joining of the most secular militaristic interests in Israel  under Netanyahu with the most virulently jihadist religiosity of Wahhabis under bin Salman is an alliance which Christian America cannot underwrite. Unfortunately it is the chariot that President Trump has presently chosen for his ride into battle.

Benjamin Netanyahu is the de-facto leader of the armed and godless West. He is certainly more a leader than Angela Merkel. But his fear of Iran  cannot be ours. He was "the man" used by Republican conservatives to insult President Obama in a way they did not dare themselves.  We are reaping the bitter fruits of such partisan disrespect for the office of the President.  Prime Minister Netanyahu is  more Saul than David. He is putting faith in an unholy alliance with a very young and very dubious foreign prince. That has never ended well for Israel.  Mr Netanyahu has shown no inclination to trust a spiritual power greater than Israeli arms, scientific knowledge and technology. He is sowing hatred  among neighboring nations that will bring a curse upon future generations of Israelis.  The Netanyahu foreign policy is anti nationalist at its core. Christian America cannot be a peacemaker or a protector by supporting an alliance of the arms of the West with the hatreds of Wahhabis against the religions and nations of the region. Israel as a nation we should defend. Israel in alliance with the Wahhabi jihad we should reprimand and rescue. God is just and the nations of the Mideast are Abraham's offspring as surely as all nations come from Adam and Noah. President Eisenhower refused to accompany  Israel, France, and Britain on their imperial adventure against Nasser and Egypt over the Suez Canal in 1956. His nationalist impulses were right. Eisenhower did not let us play the imperialist then and Trump should save us from acting like the Great Satan now.


The Persian Shiites are bordered by radical Sunnis in Pakistan and harassed by frightened Jews in Israel. Both Israel and Pakistan have deliverable nuclear weapons. Persia had centrifuges.

President Obama in the face of unprecedented  foreign interference by our ally Israel and our enemy Saudi Arabia moved the US forward in dealing with Iran. At great personal cost and humiliation, he saved us from war with Syria. He refused to play the Saudi game which John McCain and Hillary Clinton urged upon him. His reticence for war allowed President Trump the chance to eliminate ISIS by keeping us from war against Syria, Russia, and Iran. President Trump now has a real opportunity for peace if he does not enter the Saudi-Israeli war council against Iran.

There is a huge worldwide opportunity to remake alliances after the divisions of WWII and the Cold War. Just as Ronald Reagan benefitted from the Nixon-Kissinger China diplomacy and the Carter-Brzezinski Afghanistan initiative, President Trump must not waste the strategic American achievement of John Kerry and Barack Obama. He must think America First and reject the fleeting foreign policy objectives underlying the brittle alliance of Muhammed bin Salman and Israel.

War against Iran will quickly pit us against Iraq, the very country we liberated a decade ago. This will also set us against the two major countries that President Trump should be seeking in a new post Cold War concert of powers: Russia and China. It is time for journalists and senators to elevate the national conversation about  our place among the nations as a nation. If they want to obsess about Stormy, they should get her off the evening national news and watch at night on their home computers. Our national journalists should be dealing with a war that is looming and a peace that is possible. We must deal in our public discourse with the life and death national decisions facing the President we elected. We have to show him true loyalty as our  president so we can have a fruitful discussion with him on policy. We must think like men, like nation-men with a world map shaping our shared imaginations and a historical timeline informing our corporate memory. Candidate Trump once suggested restrictive policies on Muslim immigration until we figure out "what the hell is going on." With Iran, Israel and the salafist jihadists of Saudi Arabia, we have not yet figured out what the hell is going on. We haven't really paid back those murderers who attacked our beloved New York. Can we talk?


POPE FRANCIS' KITCHEN CABINET WAS ESTABLISHED TO BE AN INTERNATIONAL TEAM THAT COULD REFORM THE CURIA: This Council of Nine from various countries was to be a trusted non-Curial, non-Italian international instrument for reform under the Pope. It was part of the genius of Francis that he would not try to tackle the labyrinth alone. He would set up a trusted synodal form working for reform. But his trusted council cannot be trusted. The corruption runs very deep in the Catholic episcopacy. His team is in tatters. The cabinet as an instrument was an excellent strategy. He needs to replace and rebuild.

WHY DID SHAPE OF WATER WIN THE OSCAR? Catholic Bishop Robert Barron predicted it.

SMUT NIGHT: The White House Correspondents Dinner - by Buchanan. Here is AOA's response to the dinner.


WHY WE THOUGHT WE WENT TO WAR - A HISTORY OF INTERVENTIONS: Wars and Lies is uncomfortable reading and convincing documentation often revealed years after the fact.

EMMANUEL MACRON - KEEPING THE FLAME FOR MULTILATERAL GLOBALISM: ..against "aggressive nationalism." He may be friends with President Trump but he does not understand the movement of the nations. He is a committed multilateralist and "Western values universalist". He is decidedly non-religious. He is a younger reincarnation of the Obama-Clinton-Merkel sensibility. It is very good to talk with him and understand his view. He is much more level-headed about Iran than the neoconservatives of our own country. He is young but he is most decidedly not the future.

THE ISRAEL-IRAN CONFLICT IS THE MIDEAST'S MOST DANGEROUS: Can Russia be their mediator? Israel vs Iran - more and more direct role in Syria.

No comments:

Post a Comment