Saturday, July 28, 2018

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday July 28

By Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch 


Pakistan has elected a national sports hero on an anti corruption platform upsetting the two major parties which have ruled Pakistan for years. 65 yo Imran Khan is a Pashtun (born in Lahore, Punjab) but he did well in the dominant Punjab ethnic areas as well.  In Pakistan the security establishment and the military are significant institutional and national players and the military sided with the newcomer. Pakistan is the 7th largest nuclear power in the world, the fifth most populous (212 million), and the third largest Muslim country. In 1947, India and Pakistan were granted Independence from Britain and underwent  a bloody interchanging migration scheme called the Great Partition. We have described Pakistan as radical jihadist Sunni power who have actually been our foes during the now 16 year old war in Afghanistan. They were our indispensable ally in the Cold War and certainly played a more pivotal role than France or Great Britain in winning that struggle against the atheist materialists who ran the Soviet State. But in the post 911 war on terror, Pakistan security services sided with their Pashtun ethnic kinsmen who dominated the Taliban. (The 1890 Durand Line marking the Afghan/Pakistan border was a deliberate British line of bisection through the major ethnic group of the region.) Osama bin Laden benefited from Pakistan hospitality after his Afghan base was destroyed in 2001.
Pakistan does not share the radical antipathy of their Saudi Arabian allies against all Shiites. They have not participated in the murderous attack on Yemen, the hostilities toward Iran, nor the isolation of Qatar advocated by Saudi Arabia's Salman family. 15% of Pakistan is Shiite. Pakistan's greatest ally is China who is helping build major infrastructure projects. Their greatest foe is India. Their most significant problem is corruption. President Khan could be the new leader needed to help assemble the near neighbors (Pakistan and Iran)  and the far neighbors (Russia, China and India) needed to end the war in Afghanistan. He will advocate a strongly religious and nationalist course but may still prove an essential nuclear armed Sunni alternative to the toxic salafists of Saudi Arabia. 


POPE FRANCIS' C9 COUNCIL OF CARDINALS IS IN NEED OF REFORM AS WELL: The Pope established this council when he first took office to have a collaborative council to help him take on the daunting Curia. The coordinator of the council is Cardinal Maradiaga, the Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. His trusted Honduran auxiliary bishop(Juan Fasquelle) has just resigned for longstanding homosexual abuse. He had been vigorously defended by Maradiaga. Only a formal request by the Pope for an apostolic visit in 2017 uncovered the financial and homosexual works of Fasquelle.  How long will he remain on the pope's junta?


What is so encouraging(to give courage) about the McCarrick case is that real punishments and consequences are  being delivered.  This is in stark contrast to the continuing shame that Rembert Weakland is still in the College of Cardinals.

AOA ON CLEANING THE SCANDAL: Our outline of essays on Masculine Anthropology and Reform of the Catholic Priesthood

THERE IS NOTHING GAY ABOUT CHICKEN HAWKSA very good review asking about bishops' complicity in the McCarrick abuse - well known and well covered.  A penetrating expose of three cardinal-bishops Wuerl, O'Malley, and Farrell. 


ISRAEL PASSES NATION STATE LAW: A nation for the Jewish people with the right of return for all Jews. Hebrew is the official language. Jewish settlement communities are to be encouraged as benefits to the nation. Jerusalem is the capital...and more .  This is an honest attempt to insert a corporate identity that must be protected in laws and customs. Israel is not just a "democracy of individuals".  There is a great debate pitting nationalism vs. hyper individualism of globalism. The Israeli Parliament just voted with the nationalists.

IRAN NEW GENERATION OF HARDLINERS: Ruhollah Faghihi writes: "On foreign policy, the new generation strongly opposes any sort of relationship with the West, rather emphasizing strong ties with the East, including Russia. In addition to slamming Rouhani for the nuclear deal with the West, they blame the hard-liner old guard for coming to the terms with the JCPOA. In line with their effort advocating relationships with the East, young hard-liners on social networks and on shows on state TV have been ardently portraying Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, as new members of the axis of resistance and as being influenced by Iran's revolutionary policies. In the coming years, the role of the innovative revolutionaries is likely to increase, presenting the new face of the hard-liners as Russophiles who are softer on cultural matters but more strident in political affairs and generally uncompromising."

The never Trumpers can't explain his nationalist strategy but they can play on his antipathy to Iran 
Tucker Carlson is distinguishing himself as the most penetrating journalist on TV.


MEXICO'S ATYPICAL LEFTIST -  PRESIDENT IS A NATIONALIST AND ANTI-CORRUPTION: Newly elected Lopez Obrador promises a tightening of Mexico's southern border to keep out illegal influx of Northern Triangle (Guatemala, Honduras El Salvador) refugees. Profile of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) - an atypical leftist.

POLITICS IS ABOUT "THE WELL BEING OF THE SOUL" - IS THE MEXICAN LEFT TURNING TO LOVE? Obrador describes himself in the broad sense as a Christian and received the endorsement of the evangelical party (Social Encounter Party). A telling article of how he campaigned.

It was Obrador opponents in the PRI who pushed gay marriage. He called them the Mafia elite.
Obrador named his party MORENA an acronym for Our Lady of Guadalupe as well. He announced his candidacy on December 12.  His hero is Lazaro Cardenas the leftist nationalist president (1934-40) who brought Mexican oil under nationalist control. Gay rights activists push the memory of President Calles - the viciously anti-Catholic leader who caused the Cristeros war. Cardenas was not a practicing Catholic but his right hand man and successor Manuel Camacho was.  Cardenas did not continue the hostile policies of the Calles era toward religion in general and the Catholic Church in particular. AMLO is no Plutarch Calles. He has requested the "accompaniment" of Pope Francis in his quest for Mexico's "moral regeneration".

Three quotes from AMLO: "It is indispensable that we start a new current of thought based on a moral paradigm, love for one's family, neighbor, nature and nation." "The highest goal of politics is to achieve love" "Some have said , 'Christ is love'."


“July 19 happens to mark the 39th anniversary of the victory of the Sandinistas, the left-wing revolutionary movement that overthrew the brutal, U.S.-backed dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza. Now Ortega, a 72-year-old former Marxist guerrilla, increasingly resembles the tyrant he and his comrades once toppled. Masaya was once a Sandinista hotbed; now it's seen as a bastion of opposition.

“After returning to power in 2007, [Ortega] sidestepped the constitution to get himself reelected in 2011. He then completed his palace coup by assuming full control of all four branches of government, state institutions, the military, and police,” explained journalist Tim Rogers, a veteran Nicaragua hand. “He banned opposition parties, rewrote the constitution, and turned Nicaragua into his personal fiefdom, which he rules from inside the walls of his stolen compound, a concrete fortress he rarely leaves.”

Having long shed any pretense of Marxism-Leninism, Ortega maintained power by cultivating support among the clergy and the country's business community. Until recently, he also could count on the largesse of Venezuela. “But then Venezuela cut its aid, and the government’s fiscal problems were exacerbated by corruption,” noted the Economist.

Now Nicaragua faces its own Venezuelan moment, with a regime violently clinging to power in the face of vehement popular unrest. “The demands of the people are clear: justice for those who have been killed, a return to democracy and the resignation of the ruling family,” Dánae Vílchez, a Managua-based journalist, wrote for The Post's opinion section last month.

The duo, critics warn, is following the same tactics as leaders in Caracas. “Like Hugo Chávez, Ortega sought to remain in power indefinitely, but lately planned to hand the reins to his wife,” wrote Otto Reich, a former U.S. diplomat in Latin America.


COMPARATIVE POPULATIONS 2017: MEXICO - 125 million, NICARAGUA - 6 million, IRAN - 82 million, CHINA - 1.4 billion, NIGERIA - 190 million, North Korea - 25 million, South Korea - 50 million.

CHINA TRADESome sobering insights from David Goldman (aka Spengler) - an insightful at times idiosyncratic thinker on international relations.

The lack of reporting about this after the hyperbolic message that Trump had left our allies in Europe to become a Russian puppet would be stunning if we expected journalism from journalists. We are now seeing true American negotiations in the world of trade that will be combinations of tariffs and even subsidies if our productive capacities are challenged--This is the kind of national mercantilism that built the American economy.  One approach in farm production as battle lines sort out is to recall an old idea of Hubert Humphrey's:  build up a "seven year granary" as part of our national security strategy. Food, water, infrastructure, defense--all need to be tended.

KOREA - THE ROLE OF CHRISTIANITY IN RECONCILIATIONSyngman Rhee-ex marine pastor explains.

RUSSIA IS NOT THE SOVIET UNIONA comparative history lesson from Pat Buchanan. A Christian Conservative, biographer of Solzhenitsyn, Joseph Pearce looks at Russia anew 100 years after the czar and his family were murdered. He suggests, "Give Peace a Chance."

NIGERIAIs it the spread of the Sahara, the animosity of herdsmen for farmer or the spreading animosity of Sunni Jihadists who are killing Christian farmers?


GEOPOLITICAL THINKERS. KISSINGER ON THE DEATH OF BRZEZINSKI. JFK ON NIXON: Which diplomatic brain would he compare in today’s US establishment to himself, say, or the late Zbigniew Brzezinski — his former sparring partner, who also served as national security adviser? The mention of Brzezinski triggers something. “When Zbig died, which was a great surprise, I wrote to his wife that no death has moved me quite as much as his,” Kissinger says, again with evident feeling. “Zbig was almost unique in my generation. We both considered ideas about the world order to be the key problem of our time. How could we create it? We had somewhat different ideas. But for both of us, we were above all concerned to raise diplomacy to that level of influence.” Who is asking those questions today, I ask. “There is no debate today,” Kissinger replies. “It is something we need to have.”

Kissinger's words are a reminder of the relationship of Richard Nixon and John Kennedy. They both entered Congress in the same year after fighting in World War Two. They respected each other as the two best geopolitical minds of their generation. JFK implied if he lost the Democratic nomination in 1960 to Adlai Stevenson he would privately vote for Nixon.

THE DC CHURCH WHERE BRETT KAVANAUGH WORSHIPSBlessed Sacrament profile from Get Religion.

OBAMA IN SOUTH AFRICA: Selections from President Obama's Nelson Mandela lecture in South Africa, July 2018:                           
French World Cup –they don’t look like Gauls

And, if you doubt that, just ask the French football team that just won the World Cup. Because not all of those folks look like Gauls to me. But they’re French. They’re French.

Common humanity doesn’t preclude tribe, race or country

Embracing our common humanity does not mean that we have to abandon our unique ethnic and national and religious identities. Madiba never stopped being proud of his tribal heritage. He didn’t stop being proud of being a black man and being a South African.

Legitimate Claims of common language, citizenship, and borders

In the West’s current debate around immigration, for example, it’s not wrong to insist that national borders matter; whether you’re a citizen or not is going to matter to a government; that laws need to be followed; that, in the public realm, newcomers should make an effort to adapt to the language and customs of their new home. Those are legitimate things, and we have to be able to engage people who do feel as if things are not orderly.

A Shout out to Objective Reality

I should add: for this to work, we have to actually believe in an objective reality. This is another one of these things that I didn’t have to lecture about. You have to believe in facts. Without facts, there is no basis for coöperation. If I say this is a podium and you say this is an elephant, it’s going to be hard for us to coöperate.

Inspiration not leaders

And that’s what we need right now. We don’t just need one leader; we don’t just need one inspiration. What we badly need right now is that collective spirit. And I know that those young people, those hope carriers, are gathering around the world.

Feminism and Gay Rights are not Western Ideas but Universal Imperatives

We have to resist the notion that basic human rights like freedom to dissent, or the right of women to fully participate in the society, or the right of minorities to equal treatment, or the rights of people not to be beat up and jailed because of their sexual orientation—we have to be careful not to say that somehow, well, that doesn’t apply to us, that those are Western ideas rather than universal imperatives.

Greed and the desire to dominate have lasting holds especially on men.

We have a better story to tell. But to say that our vision for the future is better is not to say that it will inevitably win. Because history also shows the power of fear. History shows the lasting hold of greed and the desire to dominate others in the minds of men. Especially men. History shows how easily people can be convinced to turn on those who look different, or worship God in a different way.

On the International Elite

In every country, just about, the disproportionate economic clout of those at the top has provided these individuals with wildly disproportionate influence on their countries’ political life and on its media; on what policies are pursued and whose interests end up being ignored. Now, it should be noted that this new international élite, the professional class that supports them, differs in important respects from the ruling aristocracies of old. It includes many who are self-made. It includes champions of meritocracy. And, although still mostly white and male, as a group they reflect a diversity of nationalities and ethnicities that would have not existed a hundred years ago. A decent percentage consider themselves liberal in their politics, modern and cosmopolitan in their outlook. Unburdened by parochialism, or nationalism, or overt racial prejudice or strong religious sentiment, they are equally comfortable in New York or London or Shanghai or Nairobi or Buenos Aires or Johannesburg. Many are sincere and effective in their philanthropy. Some of them count Nelson Mandela among their heroes. Some even supported Barack Obama for the Presidency of the United States, and by virtue of my status as a former head of state, some of them consider me as an honorary member of the club. And I get invited to these fancy things, you know? They’ll fly me out.
But what’s nevertheless true is that, in their business dealings, many titans of industry and finance are increasingly detached from any single locale or nation-state, and they live lives more and more insulated from the struggles of ordinary people in their countries of origin. Their decisions to shut down a manufacturing plant, or to try to minimize their tax bill by shifting profits to a tax haven with the help of high-priced accountants or lawyers, or their decision to take advantage of lower-cost immigrant labor, or their decision to pay a bribe, are often done without malice; it’s just a rational response, they consider, to the demands of their balance sheets and their shareholders and competitive pressures.

"Men have been getting on my nerves lately. Whats wrong with you, brothers?" ( He then corrected himself.. ) "Whats wrong with us?  We're violent, we're bullying.  I think the continent would be better off if more women got empowered."
President Obama is truly his mother's son--a white feminist atheist anthropologist. Men "get on his nerves."

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