Saturday, April 2, 2016

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, April 2

by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch


THE HOLIEST WEEK OF THE YEAR: Pope Francis - his real message.
POPE AS DIPLOMAT: A summary of how Pope Francis is trying to bring Christ into the center of international relations.

MOTHER ANGELICA PASSES ON EASTER: Her passing remembered by John Allen. Mother's half-hour video response to the deliberate "abomination" of a woman mime, playing Jesus in a Stations of the Cross performance during Pope John Paul II's 1993 visit for Denver World Youth Day. The response of certain bishops to her eloquence was vitriolic, especially from the homosexual Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland. This historical rebellion of American episcopal leaders (Mahony, Bernardin, Weakland, and McCarrick) against the papacy of John Paul II was illuminated in the biography of Mother Angelica by Raymond Arroyo. Here is a brief article on the episode and the book.



SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY ON THREAT OF ISIS AND SYRIAN CIVIL WAR TO EUROPE: From Atlantic interview of J. Goldberg and President Obama; note how the breakout of nationalism and fascism are equated:
Recently, when I asked the secretary of state a general question—is the Middle East still important to the U.S.?—he answered by talking exclusively about ISIS. “This is a threat to everybody in the world,” he said, a group “overtly committed to destroying people in the West and in the Middle East. Imagine what would happen if we don’t stand and fight them, if we don’t lead a coalition—as we are doing, by the way. If we didn’t do that, you could have allies and friends of ours fall. You could have a massive migration into Europe that destroys Europe, leads to the pure destruction of Europe, ends the European project, and everyone runs for cover and you’ve got the 1930s all over again, with nationalism and fascism and other things breaking out. Of course we have an interest in this, a huge interest in this.”
LONDON'S MAYOR APPLAUDS SYRIA'S ASSAD AND RUSSIA'S PUTIN FOR SAVING PALMYRA: Boris Johnson is a rising political force in English politics. He favors Britain leaving the EU and here talks sense about the real allies needed to defeat ISIS.

BOMBING THE VILLAGE TO SAVE IT: Thinking about how to decapitate ISIS without killing the captives.

THE REAL WORLD - THE GERMAN SS MAN WHO WORKED FOR MOSSAD: Before Iran's centrifuges there were Egypt's rockets. Here is how Israel dealt with that project.

GEORGE W BUSH ON THE SAUDIS AND EGYPT'S MUBARAK: As much as one might respect Mr. Bush as a sincere and good man, this NRO interview shows such a disinterest in the religious ideology of Saudi Arabia that it is jolting. Mr. Bush's "freedom agenda," with the added twist of setting up women-to-women networking, reveal the same baby-boomer inadequacies that President Obama showed in his recent foreign policy interview. The feminist chip that has rewired the thinking of a whole generation of American leaders has made us particularly inept in understanding the religious patriarchies and brotherhoods of the Mideast. Some excerpts:
I say to Bush, “There is a lot of nose-holding in foreign policy. In geopolitics. You have to deal with unsavory regimes, out of national interest. If you can join hands with Josef Stalin to win a world war, you can do anything.” He knows what I’m talking about, of course. And he knows — because I signaled this before coming to Dallas — that I want to hear about Saudi Arabia.

He says,“Let me talk about the Saudi government, at least when I was there, and I’m not there now, obviously. But King Abdullah and I became friends.” (Abdullah was king of Saudi Arabia from 2005 until his death in 2015.) “The first thing you gotta do, working with anybody, is understand their problems. One of my favorite questions was, ‘What keeps you up at night?’ And then I would tell them, what kept me up at night was a terrorist attack. “But His Majesty understood the need for liberating his society. He was just at a pace that others just didn’t agree with. Nevertheless, I’ll never forget sitting and listening to him talk about the opening of a university where men and women study side by side. He was very proud of that. But he also gave me an in-depth description of how he had to navigate the power centers in Saudi. “To me, there was no holding my nose when I was dealing with Saudi because I understood the difficulties.” A pivot: “Some of the leaders were disdainful of the freedom agenda. He wasn’t. [Meaning, Abdullah.] Just so long as one didn’t make public extraordinary demands. And I never did that, because I didn’t like it when people made public extraordinary demands on me, which was quite frequent. “You know, President Mubarak never came to see me in my second term. I think that’s true, and I think if we researched that, one would view that as an oddity.”

It’s true. Mubarak did not visit Washington in Bush’s second term. He returned to Washington in the summer of ’09, President Obama’s first year. Why did Mubarak stay away during those Bush years? “Because he didn’t like the freedom agenda,” says Bush, “and there’s a reason he didn’t like the freedom agenda, because he liked power. And it cost him.” In Egypt, “there was no viable opposition except for one group: the Muslim Brotherhood. Therefore, when there was an election, I wasn’t surprised that the only organized opposition won, because these young people who had helped overthrow Mubarak had no understanding. They’re smart, they’re capable, they handled the negative [i.e., the toppling of the strongman], they just couldn’t figure out the positive, which is, What do we do?”

So, "this caused Laura and me to think about how we can help."

They came up with the Women’s Initiative Fellowship, aimed at building woman-to-woman networks in the Arab world. “I believe that women will lead the democracy movement in the Middle East if given a chance,” says Bush. “So part of what we’re doing here is to enable women. One of the real challenges is, How do you make an impact as a former president? How can you impact things in a way that is beyond holding a meeting?”

From National Review Online interview with George W Bush by Jay Nordlinger in 2016.


ON RACE: CAN WE TALK? Divisive Rhetoric by Heather McDonald.


MORMONS' ANTIPATHY TO TRUMP - THE WIVES' CHRONICLE: Mormons and Trump - Losing Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho. The shellacking Trump received in these states was not from voter love for Ted Cruz. A highly effective media campaign, including pictures of Mr. Trump's wife (posing nude but mostly covered), was presented as our future first lady - "...or you could vote for Ted Cruz on Tuesday." This elicited from Trump a threat "to spill the beans" on Cruz's wife. (This later turned out to be biographical notes about her work for Goldman Sachs, NAFTA, and other elitist organizations that make the Cruz twosome look more like a Clinton power-couple than 'Little House on the Prairie comes to DC').

TRUMP'S FOREIGN POLICY ADVISORS AND A REVEALING NY TIMES INTERVIEW: Here is an excellent talk by Trump advisor Walid Phares. He understands and names Salafists, Wahhabis, and the Deobandi school. He says these groups became deeply embedded in Washington think tanks, American universities, and government agencies decades ago when we were allies in the war against Communism. (This is mindful of the many Communist spies and sympathizers in the US government during the Cold War who had their roots in our previous WWII alliance with the USSR.)  Mr. Phares suggests that CAIR should be investigated because they are already named by the UAE as a terrorist organization. He also says the first step of radicalizing terrorists is to be indoctrinated -- and he specifically says the indoctrination is about SALAFISM. Mr. Trump will approach Russia and ISIS in a dramatically different manner than previous Republican and Democratic regimes. The NY Times interview with Mr Trump shows an America First policy very different than current Republican paradigm.

DAVID BROOKS' PARADIGM CHANGE AND THE REAL MEANING OF TRUMP: A perceptive NY Times essay on The Post-Trump Era by David Brooks who has always been better at describing than prescribing. It's hard to prescribe when you don't believe in God! Probably the best essay David Brooks ever wrote was in the Atlantic: Kicking the secularist habit.

ANDREW JACKSON AND HIS BELOVED RACHEL: Mr. Trump did not quite measure up to an Andrew Jackson response when his wife was defamed. Old Hickory would defend his wife Rachel by dueling with men, but never attacking their women folk. In the all-out war against an Andrew Jackson presidency, besmirching the reputation of his wife "by telling the truth" was a major theme of his opponents as well. Rachel died of a heart attack before Jackson assumed the White House. He forever blamed her attackers for her death.

NEOCONS AND FOREIGN POLICY - A HISTORY AND AN ALTERNATIVE: Conservative Foreign Policy - what would it be? An essay on Reclaiming a Conservative Foreign Policy. An excellent history of neocons who have almost no stake in the traditional religious and sexual obligations which define a moral conservative. Their utilitarian and atheistic roots are hardly conservative. Their interest is a militarized foreign policy in general, and support of Israel in particular. One of the earliest and very effective essays in 1993 which helped shape the contours of the movement was The Arabists: the Romance of an American Elite by Robert D. Kaplan. He wrote a book of the same name as well as many excellent field reporting books on the Balkans. Mr. Kaplan was Stratfor's chief geopolitical analyst from 2012-2014. His more recent books are Asia's Cauldron  and The Revenge of Geography.


HUNGARY PRESIDENT VIKTOR ORBAN: His State of the Nation February 2016 Speech. President Orban has been called a fascist and enemy of Europe. Here he explains his opposition to "open immigration" in his own words. He has a distinctly Christian view of the nations of Europe. He came from one of the "captive nations" of the USSR. Those nations are increasingly depicting the EU as another atheistic superstate imposing a cultural imprisonment upon free nations. The financial  hand of Mrs. Merkel has replaced the steel fist of Stalin.

EUROPE AND THE BURQA: To cover one's face is to prevent social bonding. That is the argument of the European Human Rights Commission that rules both abortion and sodomy as basic human rights, while the ritual covering of the feminine is an assault on "European values."

BRUSSELS SOCCER CLUB HOOLIGANS JOIN EASTER MOURNING TO SAY "THIS IS OUR COUNTRY": Are they racists? Are they fascists? Is every male arm raised in defiance a Nazi salute? "Hooligan" is their own term for themselves. The 500 Belgium men who marched on Easter Sunday and were doused with high-power hoses came from many of the athletic clubs that still serve as a site of male bonding throughout European cities. They objected to teddy bears and flowers as the only public display after the Brussels killings. They felt it was not enough to weep, while intoning "stop the killing." Among these men are certainly ethnic racists. Are there also Christian patriots who believe a nation of protectors must rise to define a circle of protection, not another crowd of graveside mourners? The young men know they are supposed to be doing something besides crying. Their instincts are exactly right. Now older men should lead them with wisdom, not disperse them with hoses. Violent Salafists and emasculated Europeans are not the only actors in this drama.

OPEN EUROPE -- BRUSSELS NOT A CITY BUT A BAZAAR EXCEPT THE MUSLIM NEIGHBORHOOD WHERE DEEPER BONDS ARE FORGED: NY Times on Brussels, a city of 177,000 in a country of 11 million. Belgium is mostly Catholic, with the next largest religion Islam; and about one third modernist atheism. The modern West dominates the official culture - it is the headquarters of NATO and the European Union. The country of Belgium has three major language groups: French, German and Dutch. About 25% of Brussels is Muslim. The Islamic neighborhood of Molenbeek comprises Muslims, mostly from Morocco, but its mosque was financed by Saudi Arabia.

THE IRISH NATION REMEMBERS THE EASTER UPRISING 100 YEARS AGO: Some book reviews are about the reviewer much more than the book. This is especially true of this review about the revolutionary generation of the 1916 Easter Uprising in Ireland. The reviewer Denis Donoghue is poetic in his defense of the Catholic nationalists (especially Thomas Pearse) who died or were executed in the aftermath of the uprising. W.B. Yeats' poem, 'Easter 1916,'  is beautifully integrated as he criticizes the revisionist historians who try to dispel the "mystique" of sacrifice required to free a nation. Read the review, skip the book.

The proclamation of the Uprising of Irish nationalists against their British occupiers began:
"In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom."
The reviewer on Yeats and the changing Irish sentiments caused by the Uprising:
Yeats goes on to meditate on the transformation of these ordinary men and one distinguished woman, each of them “changed in his turn,/Transformed utterly:/A terrible beauty is born.” I read “A terrible beauty” as Yeats’s phrase for the sublime, that experience of astonishment, terror, dread, and ultimate pleasure that Edmund Burke described in A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757): “Whatever is qualified to cause terror is a foundation capable of the sublime.” Many of the ordinary people of Ireland, I judge, felt a sense of the sublime, even if they never heard of the word, when they thought of the “sixteen dead men,” to refer to another of Yeats’s poems of 1916.

Botched as the Rising was, it had a dramatic effect on the attitudes of the ordinary people of Ireland—or the executions had. Something like Pearse’s vision came about: the sacrifice of the holy few transformed the lazy many. Within a short time, even those who were indifferent or hostile to the Rising in April gave their sympathy to the insurgent party Sinn Fein (Ourselves) and turned against the constitutionalists, the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP), which advocated that Ireland continue as part of Great Britain, represented in the British Parliament with the aim of being granted Home Rule by the British government. The British threat to impose military conscription on Ireland in early 1918 also did much to turn Irish people against the Empire. In the election of 1918 the IPP was virtually wiped out. Sinn Fein won 73 of the 105 seats. A mystique began to suffuse the memory of the executed leaders of 1916, especially Pearse, which has not disappeared. Yeats wrote in “Sixteen Dead Men”:

You say that we should still the land 
Till Germany’s overcome;
But who is there to argue that
Now Pearse is deaf and dumb?
In poems and prose, Pearse, several years before 1916, invoked Christ’s blood sacrifice, his death on the cross, and his resurrection. He was not ashamed to associate those supernatural images with his own love of Ireland and the Irish language...  The mystique to which I have referred still surrounds Pearse, Connolly, Mac Diarmada, and the other martyrs, despite many efforts by revisionist historians—the School of Irony, as I think of them—to dispel it."

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