Saturday, May 6, 2017

Religion and Geopolitics Review: May 6, 2017

by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch


At the end of World War Two, there were huge migrations of populations especially during the partition of Pakistan and India as well as the expulsion of ethnic Germans from neighboring lands. Throughout Europe and Asia there were battles between Communists and nationalists who had resisted the Nazi or Japanese occupation and now fought each other to lead their nations. Four countries were divided: Germany, China,  Korea, and Vietnam. Three of those have been reunited, two by civil wars won by the communist side. North Korea (25 million) and South Korea (50 million) fought a stalemate war from 1950-1953 with 1.2 million battle deaths (34,000 US). Today there are still 28,000 US troops in South Korea acting as a tripwire. North Korea has a million troops to the South’s 600,000. There have been verified underground nuclear tests by North Korea in February, June, and September of 2016. The September test was the largest by far measuring 10-25 kilotons by seismic data. The nuclear bomb at Hiroshima was 15 kt and Nagasaki 20 kt.  President Obama warned President-elect Trump that his most urgent problem would be North Korea. North Korea has missiles and load to deliver 10-20 nuclear bombs over Japan and South Korea. There are 50,000 US troops in Japan and 40,0000 dependents. The North Koreans have designed but not tested a delivery missile that can go the 5500 miles to San Francisco. An actively testing nuclear armed North Korea is the most urgent national security problem facing the United States. Eventual reunification of Korea and defusing the nuclear threat of North Korea in the region is a problem that may bring Japan, China, the Phillipines and other nations of the region into a new level of cooperation. There are other scenarios just as likely and not so reassuring. Sometimes the first 100 days of a presidency have little to do with campaign promises and everything to do with the world as it really is, but wasn’t talked about. The Trump administration will not use the words of his predecessor -- "a pivot to Asia" -- but we are seeing a protector focus the group on a true threat and assemble a coalition to deal with it.


POPE FRANCIS IN EGYPT: "'...without God the life of man would be like the heavens without the sun'. May the sun of a renewed fraternity in the name of God rise in this sun-drenched land, to be the dawn of a civilization of peace and encounter." Pope Francis at Al Azhar University in Egypt - his speech is the working document for his approach to Christian-Islamic relations. If Sunni authorities declare the works of ISIS and the Wahhabis to be outside the pale of Islam, this will give national political leaders the warrant to fight against them. Something different about Pope Francis. Something different about Egypt. Crux on the visit.

Al-Azhar University in Egypt where the Pope spoke will play an important role in defining a Sunni response to the Wahhabi version of the Hanbali school of Islamic fiqh. They are a center of authority in defining Sunni Islamic law traditions. Pope Francis came to them. He is playing on a much bigger battlefield than the Catholic conservative intellectuals who spend so much time undermining him. Here is our Mapping the Schools of Islamic Law to locate the Epicenter of Terror. Isolating the Wahhabis is the political task of nation leaders. Extending the hand of peace is the role of the Pontiff. The political leaders of nations must protect their borders and revitalize their national identities. The Pope must represent Christ, the supranational Church and humanity. He points a way of fraternity before the wars, in the midst of wars and after the wars.

RR RENO ON THE BENEDICT OPTION: Reno acknowledges many insights but stop it already.

CATHERINE OF SIENNA - A SAINT FOR OUR DAYTo love Jesus and love his Vicar on earth.

METHODISTS SAY NO TO LESBIAN BISHOP: The African and Asian Methodists are winning. The American traditional Methodists need backbone to go with their orthodoxy. The highest church court rules against lesbian bishop.


WHERE IS PRESIDENT TRUMP HEADED IN THE MIDEAST? Pat Buchanan doesn't like what he sees.

THE SAUDI LOBBYING MONEY MACHINE ROLLS ON: Getting vets to tell their tale.

SYRIAN CHRISTIANS AND TURKEY BOMBINGS: Turkey bombs Christian area aiming for Kurds.


THE PRESIDENT CALLS THE SENATE: President Trump called the Senate as a body to the White House to be briefed by his top cabinet members on North Korea. This act of pulling them from the chamber that has become partisan at the expense of the polity was an effective reminder about national security and the nature of the Senate as an institution,

TUCKER CARLSON AND RICHARD DREYFUS: A surprisingly eloquent civics lesson.

RUSTY RENO ON NATIONALISM: "We need to renew solidarity, rather than encourage the dissolving trends of globalization. This means taking populist, anti-immigrant trends seriously, not denouncing them. It also means thinking hard about how to strengthen what Abraham Lincoln called our 'mystic chords of memory.' We need a Christian nationalism, one that encourages the unity of mankind while recognizing that human beings thrive best as members of a particular people and as proud recipients of a distinctive cultural inheritance." R. R. Reno is editor of First Things.

FRANCE: WHAT MAKES HER A NATION? Rogers Brusker wrote a book Citizenship in France and Germany in which he argued that French citizenship is much more a territorial state which then created a nation, while Germany was a community of descent (jus sanguine) that created a state. There is also the history of shared identity through the Francophone empire in Africa where the French language continues to play a role in public life. The Algerian is not a Turk. But is he a Frenchman? The great paradox of French citizenship is that a Catholic France could better "integrate" believing Muslims than an ethnic France committed to the strictest of laicism principles. We do not know if voting for the failed policies with a new face (Marcon) or a revival of French nationalism without religion (Le Pen) will be better for the country. That's why the French are voting and not their rulers in Brussels or friends in America. Russ Douthat on Le Pen. Very well put.

There is the atheist France founded in 1789. There is the ancient regime France of throne and altar forever lost except in the minds of some Catholic traditionalists. And there is the Catholic republican nation of Charles DeGaulle and Charles Peguy. Maybe next election there will be a candidate of that tradition.

KISSINGER ON ADENAUER: A great history lesson from Mr. Kissinger about the German chancellor who was much more interested in a Christian Europe than a German nation. Adenauer is a example of man who understood his time and circumstance. Europe does not need to repeat the strategy demanded after the devastation of World War Two and the omnipresence of the Red Army. Europe needs men of the character of de Gaulle and Adenauer to take new initiatives in bringing the nations into fraternal agreement, and this time that means Russia as well.


THE FIRINGS AT ESPN - WHY? Good economic and cultural analysis.

PHILIP RIEFF ON CULTURE: And the personalities that carry the embedded dictates and prohibitions that make culture. From his book on The Triumph of the Therapeutic.

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