Saturday, June 25, 2016

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, June 25

by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch


Citizens in the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) voted for Great Britain to leave the European Union. This was against the urging of the British Prime Minister who has resigned and the US president. It was against the advice of the cosmopolitan press and financial experts. The vote to leave was led by older voters and the working class of the English countryside. Scots and Northern Ireland, as well as the city of London, voted strongly to remain. A leftist-dominated Scotland will now probably vote to leave Britain and stay in the European Union. This will cause acute economic re-configurations. Long term it is devastating to the European project and its institutions -- the EU and NATO. The two foreign leaders who will cheer this are Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. The foreign leader most discredited by this action is Merkel of Germany.


ORLANDO - A FAMILIAR SOFT TARGET FOR A JIHADIST OR A HATE CRIME AGAINST HOMOSEXUALS: We know the gunman was an excellent marksman. We know his father is misdirecting the narrative. He said his son (the shooter Omar Mateen) was upset that his three-year-old boy had seen a couple men kissing. But multiple witnesses have said Mr. Mateen was a regular visitor to the Pulse nightclub. He was not repulsed by the Pulse, and while not adapting a gay identity, he had no problems with male-male sexual contact for release. We need to see much more of the transcripts of negotiations. But what has been released makes no comments about the degeneracy of the club. When asked his name he stated: "My name is I pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of the-Islamic State." Now that is a pretty clear identity and plenty of motivation.

The New York Times, the FBI, and  NBC have been quick to downplay his proclivity for same-sex relations. Almost all political officials have said this was an attack on "the LGBT community for who they are.” The FBI has said there is no physical evidence that “he was gay”. There are multiple witnesses to his homosexual interests but technically witnesses are not “evidence.”  There will also be some publicity seekers  whose lies will be used to discredit all other testimony. There is desire to paint this story as more hate crime and  less jihad.  But once the gay pride parade season is over, the obvious truth will emerge if there are men who will speak it. It will help if we understand the man who did the mass shooting has told us clearly why he did it. It will also help if we leave the peculiar modern western notion that same sex encounters constitute a “gay identity."  Along with 99.9% of all men who have regularly or sporadically engaged in such acts, Mr. Mateen would never consider himself or call himself “gay" and neither would his relatives.   It seems more likely that the Pulse club was a very well known, very soft target in which one killer could execute a maximum number of Americans in retaliation for "bombing my country" and in solidarity with the new Islamic caliphate of al-Baghdadi. He knew the place well and did not fear there would be a "let’s roll" response to thwart him. At one point he asked people hiding in the bathroom if there were any blacks among them. He said he would spare them  because they had suffered enough. As of now there are no reports that he made any distinctions of special animus in terms of sexual proclivities.

A homosexual nightclub (like the printing offices of Charlie Hebdo’s anti-religious pornography magazine) will prove to be an irresistible symbol of a depraved United States for ISIS propaganda. ISIS will spin this as a heroic single Muslim gunman able to kill fifty and wound fifty spiritually emasculated Americans. This model of warfare is much more deadly and repeatable than the highly coordinated, capital intensive attacks of 9/11 which required government level organization and funds. This was a huge loss for America.


CHINA AND INDIA - PICKING SIDES, GOADING DIFFERENCES, LIVING TOGETHER: Getting these two civilizational nations right is what  the "tilt toward Asia" is really about. This review of Manuel’s new book is a good start. Anja Manuel, This Brave New World: India, China and the United States.

IS THE US POLICY TO SURROUND THE CORE CIVILIZATIONAL STATES OF RUSSIA, CHINA, AND IRAN? "In the coming era, the avoidance of major intercivilizational wars requires core states to refrain from interfering in conflicts of other civilizations." Samuel Huntington.

US fleet forward in Pacific. Apparently no one read Huntington’s book (Clash of Civilizations) about allowing regional powers their own spheres of influence in a post-bipolar world. The US is building up military forces against Russia on her land border to the West and against China on its eastern sea border. Both countries were attacked from these areas of US build-up in WWII - a war in which those two allies of the US lost millions more soldiers and civilians than we did. In the Mideast, here is a typical rather hysterical account of how "our allies" like Saudi Arabia are feeling abandoned because the US is not doing enough to restrain the hegemony of Iran. Hegemony is the state of dominance by one power in a region. It is a fairly natural state of affairs which can be acceded to by lesser powers (often called bandwagoning) or opposed (often called balancing) when allies are recruited against the dominant power.

ARMS INDUSTRY - TOP SELLERS AND TOP BUYERS: The top buyers are Saudi Arabia (by a big margin), India, Egypt, UAE, Australia and South Korea. The five top sellers are a who’s who in the UN Security Council: USA, France, Russia, China, and then Germany. Is there something wrong with this picture?


BODY COUNT - OBAMA AS MCNAMARA: In answering a June 12 question about why Islamic terrorism was not named as the enemy, press secretary Josh Earnest defended the strategic incoherence with this: "Obama's record combating terrorism speaks for itself, and that record includes a lot of dead terrorists." This reminds us of the worst days of General Westmoreland in Vietnam and the "body count" rubric for success. While there is no clear strategy it is true there have been a lot of killings.

From a Council on Foreign Relations report on death by drones: "As of today (January 2016), there have been approximately 550 strikes - 50 under George W. Bush, 500 under Obama, which have cumulatively killed an estimated 3,405 militants and 470 civilians." -Micah Zenko in January 2016 report on those killed by drones.

HILLARY AND THE SAUDIS: The Saudis got this quote offline in a hurry but they are big fans of Mrs. Clinton's campaign. They put their money where their mouths are. What if the state we need to declare war against is Saudi Arabia?

THE WAR CAUCUS: Fifty officials in the State Department sent an unusual letter to the president urging resumption of bombing of Assad government. While the president seems to passively welcome Assad and Russia fighting ISIS, there are plenty of dissenters in his government. This could be résumé padding for a job interview with a future Clinton administration. Mrs. Clinton has been much more hostile toward Assad than has President Obama.

IMMIGRATION REFORM NEEDED BUT NOT BY FIAT: The Supreme Court was deadlocked and thus a lower court voiding President Obama’s executive action to change the status of millions of illegal immigrants will not go into effect. The one best chance President Obama had to reform immigration was in his first term when he had both House and Senate majorities. No laws were passed at that time and thus he tried to do by fiat what he chose not to do by legislation earlier.

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