by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch
I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
KEEP THE OCTAVES - IT IS STILL CHRISTMAS AND HANUKKAH: A blessed Christmas and remember the real lesson of Hanukkah.
AFTER TWO ARABS AN ITALIAN AS APOSTOLIC ADMINISTRATOR OF JERUSALEM PATRIARCH: There are no two state negotiations right now. A new man for a new age?
A NEW LEADER FOR OPUS DEI
Opus prelate dies.
CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION IN EGYPT: Egypt’s Christians and the source of persecution. By Gabriel Said Reynolds, a professor of Islamic studies and theology at the University of Notre Dame. He knows the difference between Shiites and Sunni and understands the Salafist Sunni as the principal force for terror.
II. ISLAM AND THE MIDDLE EAST
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER - WRONG FROM THE START: Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer has an enthusiastic fan and media base praising him as a great conservative intellectual. I have watched him for years and find him tendentious and narrowly single minded. He seems the opposite of a serious intellectual but in the land of the blind, he is called perceptive. He never understood Trump. His views on foreign policy tend to mimic the Likud Party with no attribution. He has been for multiple military interventions in the Mideast and has seldom distinguished Shia from Sunni in his commentary. He is always willing to depict Putin as a bully and Obama as a wimp. His take on Syria shows no understanding of the huge change taking place in relations in the Mideast. He treats a good thing (the reestablishment of Syrian state rule in Aleppo) as a disaster. As usual, he pulls out President Obama for one last tongue lashing. His highly personalized emotional commentary is a big reason the Mideast seems so confusing to so many who watch the news every night at Fox.
TURKEY AND RUSSIA - AN ASSASSINATION: This assassination may cement the Russian Syrian Turkey alliance rather than disrupt it. If Turkey’s Erdogan is to reconcile with Russia, he will have to change his long standing opposition to Syria’s Assad. He may be joining the coalition of the established states which includes Iran and Syria against the jihadist revolutionaries. This Wash Post story describes what is happening very well but it can not see that the way President Trump will respond to this is not by weaning Turkey back to the West but by joining the Russo-Turkey alliance. When will it begin to strike the established media that Donald Trump's understanding of international relations is far more reality based than the think tanks who so uniformly opposed him?
TRUMP AND ISRAEL: Trump's new envoy to Israel - not wedded to two state policy. David Goldman, Spengler, on Jewish neocons and election. No serious nationalist will ask Israel to surrender the territory that gives it defensible borders.
BRITAIN CONSERVATIVES WILL HELP THE GULF MONARCHIES AGAINST IRAN: When Iranians finally overthrew the colonially-imposed Shah, they made enemies of America, Israel and Britain. Britain returns to make deals with the Gulf Monarchs. The US should not go down this path. Iran should not be treated as a pariah state because they overthrew an emperor propped up by foreigners. They have established a religious nation state. Welcome to the future.
III. RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA
QUIT POKING THE BEAR: An excellent review of US-Russian relations since the end of the Cold War by Robert Merry at the National Interest. From the comments to his article are some facts about Soviet leaders to distinguish them from the Russian nation. "I also remind you that Soviet Union and Russia are different countries. The Soviet Union was led by Lenin (half Russian - half Tatar), Stalin (Georgian), Khrushchev (Ukrainian), Brezhnev (Ukrainian), Andropov (Russian), Chernenko (Ukrainian) and Gorbachev (Russian). It was a system, not a nation."
TRUMP AND RUSSIA, McCAIN AND CLINTON ON DISRUPTING ELECTIONS: Pat Buchanan continues as one of the two or three most perceptive journalists of our time. By far the most consequential aspect of a Trump foreign policy will be a new emphasis on diplomacy with the other major world powers.
A RUSSIA R&G ROUND UP: Gorbachev, Russia and US - the rise of a new union? Niall Ferguson on Russia and US. He is a historian and calls this “the Russian question.” We can't agree with his conclusions but he is formulating a big part of the story on a basic question. Orthodox Church, Putin’s Russia, and one of the world’s highest abortion rates. The attempt by Putin to bring religion and nationalism to revitalize a people corrupted by a century of atheism should not be criticized because the popular culture is so depraved.
IV. AROUND THE WORLD R&G ROUND UP
FAMILY OF FRENCH NATIONALISM: Excellent depiction of three generations of the Le Pen family. The youngest is the most seriously Catholic of France's first family of the Right.
FROM PORTUGAL, A NEW UN SECRETARY, PRO-LIFE, PRO-MARRIAGE PRO-REFUGEE: William Kirkpatrick thinks those aren’t three equal goods.
POLAND RETURNING TO GOD AND NATION AS THE WEST FRETS. THEIR REVOLT AGAINST A SUPREME COURT RUN AMOK: The Polish Law and Justice Party is attempting to weaken the sovereignty of its high court which uses its oversight role to significantly restrict the kind of laws allowed in Poland. Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who holds no office but is the leader of the party, has called the court “the bastion of everything in Poland that is bad” for obstructing what he sees as the popular will. This sounds familiar to Americans who have seen the police power of states abolished by courts in matters of sexual conduct. The New York Times and European commission are distraught that the nation of Poland is emerging again to fight the culture of death spread by a superstate. This is not a revolt against the rule of law as the Times says. This is a movement to replace the bipolar tyranny of the sovereign individual and the superstate with a rule of law by political communities of fellow citizens. The institution favored most by the superstate is the Court which in the name of individual autonomy destroys the policing function of local communities and the religious basis of laws regulating sexual behavior.
The man who describes this best is Polish philosopher and public official Ryzsard Legutko author of The Demon in Democracy. This book is a brilliant depiction of how communism and the new sexual ideology of the West are both offspring of the atheist modern project for egalitarianism. No sovereignty of God, no hierarchy of nation or church, no distinction of male and female---these characteristics of the egalitarian project reveal the modern West and Communism as two faces of that same old serpent.
Anne Applebaum wrote very important pieces on the Soviet Gulag. She is married to a progressive western style Polish official now out of office. She joins the western chorus praising women’s freedom to abort and a primacy of press and courts that is being challenged by the new religious patriots and Polish nationalists. Not everyone who was reliably anti Soviet is now pro religion and nation.
CHINA AND PAKISTAN: Development as Policy.
NIALL FERGUSON ON TRUMP, KISSINGER, AND THE WORLD: Ferguson is probably one of the best historians in the world today, certainly the best British historian. After lucid works on the history of finance and the British empire , he has devoted over a decade to the life and work of Henry Kissinger. Here is an interview with him on the new Trump administration. He sees the cabinet as very strong and is very much in favor of new less confrontational relations with Russia and China and a more focused fight against radical Islam. American Interest (the online journal) has been very disappointing in the last few years as a place to learn. They upgraded their content by tapping this historian on diplomacy.