by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch
I. THE WEEKLY BRIEFFOUR FRONTS IN THE MIDEAST
There are four major fronts in the war against jihadists in the Mideast and South Asia. In Iraq around Mosul. In Syria around Raqqa. In Yemen against AQAP. In Afghanistan.
The Iraq army is leading the fight to take Mosul with Iranian allies and Shiite militias staying in the background. The group that will rule Mosul and the territory regained in Iraq will be a strong Shiite centered government (possibly led again by Maliki) in coalition with various Sunni groups represented by tribal authorities or military leaders. Politics is about organizing protective authority and comes from practical alliances of authority figures. There is an intra-Shiite struggle in Iraq as well to be settled in the next elections. Iran is an honest ally of the Iraq government. "Honest" because they bled with them when their country was being run over by ISIL. That is the fact we must come to grips with on the Mosul/Iraq front.
In Syria, the negotiating groups for establishing order must include the internationally recognized government of Syria and their chief ally Russia. The quicker we make allies with them in ridding the country of ISIL, the sooner this bloodbath will end. The United States, goaded on by our "Saudi allies," supported the revolutionaries in a revolution that failed. Now we must be on the side of reestablishing legitimate state authority. As Donald Trump said in his campaign, "I have a different view of Syria than the other Republicans."
In Yemen, the war against AQAP including troops on the ground is the war we have to win. AQAP and the ISIL forces in Yemen have to be fully degraded. They are one foreign-based group who have declared that launching attacks against the Crusader homelands is their major mission in the larger war of Salafists against the Shiites, Jews, and Christians. Saudi Arabia has not aimed its US and British purchased aircraft and bombing raids against this Salafist group. They are decimating the Shiite Houthis in Yemen. We have to reject the Saudi/Israeli line that the Houthis are really Iranians working against the US and Israel. They are Shiites trying to control their own territory against the jihadist Salafists of Saudi Arabia and AQAP. The lesson here is that there are two wars in Yemen. Our war against AQAP and ISIL, and the Saudi war against the Shiites who should be our allies.
Finally, in Afghanistan the most intractable of our conflicts we must not desert the allies who played a central role in defeating the atheistic Communism of the Soviet Union. But we must bring larger forces of order and authority to buttress the many centers of authority which make up Afghanistan. Again we are at war with too many countries we need for peacekeeping. We need Russia, China, but most importantly India and probably Iran to help here. Underlying all of this is the necessity to cut off the access of Salafist forces in Pakistan to disrupt state formation in Afghanistan. The other disabling role of Pakistan in Afghanistan comes from their deep enmity with India. Their hatred rivals that of Saudi Arabia and Iran. This has deprived the Afghans of one their most natural potential allies in stabilizing their country.
II. R&G ROUND UP
ON THE DEMONS IN DEMOCRACY: A good review.
GENERATION ZERO - DOCUMENTARY BY STEPHEN BANNON: Here is his video documentary on financial collapse of 2008, the de-industrialization of America, an indictment of baby boomers, melded together in a narrative based on the generational cycle book called "The Fourth Turning" by Howe and Strauss. A call to rectify a civilizational crisis. Five books that shape Mr Bannon.
FROM FEMINIST SWEDEN - THE PREDATORS RUN THE STREETS. THE FEMINISTS MUZZLE THE TRUTH: A TV interview and an article by an actual reporter who audaciously went to Sweden to report on the utopia. What she found.
MARINE LE PEN - A FAIR INTERVIEW WITH ANDERSON COOPER: 60 Minutes report on French presidential candidate - not a religious leader but a daughter of the secular French republic.
THE MYTH OF THE GENDER WAGE GAP: A Dennis Prager video.
MORE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVES LAMBAST THE POPE: Phil Lawler whom we deeply respect (and disagree with) joins his co-writer at Catholic Culture, Jeff Mirus, who explains how Catholics could have such a bad pope and still believe in the Holy Spirit. He lists a bevy of bad popes (with thumbnail sketches) and hopes a lesson will be learned, "It is also possible that our present cardinals will regard the current pontificate as a frightening object lesson in allowing Christianity to serve the secular values of the declining West." Pope Francis, of course, is not interested in saving the declining West. He is an Argentine from across the sea, and does not define Christendom as the West. He plays on a larger temporal and spatial field -- that is one reason he is so misunderstood by conservative Catholics still trying to rescue the West.
Austin Ivereigh, who has written the best biography of the Pope (our review), gets a lot wrong in this anti-Trump NY Times article. The armed leader of a nation and the Pope of the Universal Church have very different roles in furthering the Will of the Father. For all of Mr Ivereigh's political and theological depth, this was an unfortunate hatchet job on our President. Writing for the Times is a status temptation for a man raised in the media world. A more subtle analysis would not have been published. There is one paragraph where Ivereigh gets it very right in a way few others would see:
"Politically, too, they share a beef with globalism. Both, in the broadest sense, are nationalists. When Stephen K. Bannon, the White House chief strategist, says the United States is “not an economy just in some global marketplace with open borders” but rather “a nation with a culture and a reason for being,” he says nothing Francis has not expressed often. The pope is no mere liberal. Born in Argentina, he was shaped by a movement of Catholic continental nationalism that saw social justice and economic sovereignty as key to a better future for Latin America. He grew up under and was unquestionably influenced by Peronism, a communal movement that in the 1940s and 1950s galvanized working-class and lower-middle-class support against the liberal establishment of the day, rooting its politics in the religious and nationalist values of ordinary Argentines."Our take on Peron, Trump, and the Pope is here.
BISHOP BARRON, DAVE RUBIN AND THE "PELVIC ISSUES": Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles is an episcopal media superstar among the American Catholic episcopacy. He is literate, ironic, pleasant and often a credible witness for the good news of Christ. He was ordained in Cardinal Bernardin's Chicago, however, and reminds me of that other product of Chicago -- Barack Obama, in his utterly confused understanding of masculinity and femininity in the supernatural and political order. Bishop Barron's interview with homosexual comic and good-natured liberal David Rubin, however, was a disgrace for Catholic manhood. The much younger Rubin held the authoritative high ground once the conversation turned to same-sex relations. Fatherhood, sonship, and fraternity -- the Catholic categories of the Trinity, apostolic priesthood, and civic life were never mentioned. Rubin paraded his "wedding ring," and instead of Barron asking him what argument there might be against two brothers marrying, the good bishop tightened, squirmed, and admitted that the words of Catholic teaching and his own heart might be in conflict. The archdiocese and seminary in Chicago have a deeply embedded homosexual culture that is reflected in the profound sexual confusion of both Archbishop Barron and President Obama. One consequence of the feminist implant is that it establishes a secondary neural circuit that is incapable of coherence in discussing male relationships. Patriarchy -- the rule of the Father; Filiation -- the obedience of the Son; and Fraternity -- the public communion of the sons of God are not PELVIC ISSUES. They constitute the anthropology of accord that manifests the ordered public loves of the Catholic universe. Bishop Barron and Rubin were at their best discussing TV comedies like 'Seinfeld.' When it came to masculine anthropology, Mr. Rubin needed a father or at least an elder brother and he got instead another confused child of Joseph Bernardin's Chicago.
IRAQ TAKING BACK THEIR COUNTRY AGAIN: It was good to see that Iraq was taken off the list of travel ban countries. We are in an alliance with them and we both should begin to act like it. Neither Saudi Arabia nor Israel helped Iraq in their time of need. Iran did, and so have we. The US must ask why our allies Saudi Arabia and Israel have been so hard on the Iraqis. We should quit calling Shiite Muslims "sectarians." They are like Jews and Christians who understand they need a state to defend the free practice of their religion. On Maliki -- his enemies and his return... Saudi Arabia has not helped them, especially when they were in serious danger from the rise of ISIL. All the Saudis could see was that a Shiite leader Maliki was receiving help from his Shia neighbor Iran. The Wahhabis favor Salafist jihadists over a Shiite state every time. The first invasion of Iraq was to save Saudi Arabia from a Saddam Hussein attack from Kuwait on the Kingdom. In the second war which liberated the Iraqi Shiites, the Saudis became the new government's foe. Iran has been their ally. We did not fight to free the Iraqis so they could betray their friends. Closing in on Mosul.
GETTING CONTROL OF THE GOVERNMENT: Being elected President is one thing. Actually taking over the executive function in the government is quite another. The role of Saudi Arabia's lobbyists and "friends" as well as anti-Iranian Israel advocates is a much more significant reality in tilting US foreign policy than President Trump's DESIRE to restore normal relations with Russia. A key figure in misdirection over the years was President Obama's last CIA director John Brennan. There is a story still to be told. After the Russian hysteria dies down, we might look at how certain foreign governments exercise influence on large arms dealers, the high finance of petrodollars, Washington's think tanks, University endowed chairs, and ex Congressmen and CIA men paid to do their lobbying.