by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch
Saudi Arabia May 20-21; Jerusalem, Bethlehem May 22-23; Vatican, Rome May 24
President Trump is deliberately framing his first foreign trip as a kind of pilgrimage to the capitals of the three great monotheistic religions. The only way to understand the historical and geopolitical causes and solutions of this war is to talk religion and nations. This is a respectful and deeply intelligent gesture. For now President Trump seems to be doubling down with the Israel-Saudi alliance against Shiite Iran. The huge arms deals of both President Trump and Obama have encouraged the indefensible bombing campaign of the Saudis against the Houthi Shiites of Yemen. This is the signature program of King Salman's favorite son (31-yr-old Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman) who is consolidating all the protective institutions under his control, though he is second (he's not the Crown Prince) in line for succession. His militant anti-Shiite campaign is to curry favor with the Wahhabi clerics to support him in a succession battle with many older relatives with claims to the throne as well. The argument that the Houthis are Iranian proxies is a Saudi smokescreen to hide their genocidal hatred of Shiites in their homeland, in Iraq, in Iran and in Syria. The Wahhabi Salafist form of Sunni Islam preached in the Kingdom sees the purification of Islam as depending on the destruction of any serious Shiite military power. Whenever they kill a Shiite they tell the West: "Don't look, just another Iranian proxy." The Israelis are not anti-Shiite, but they have been at war with Iran since 1979 and see them as the one nation powerful enough to be a real threat to their existence. Thus they have allied with the state sponsor of the religious purification movement that gave us 9-11.
The visit in Rome will bring new eyes to these matters. President Trump and Pope Francis have very different job descriptions and world roles. We have seen strong Peronist tendencies in both men, and expect an interesting first meeting that could lead to important Gingrichian contacts in the future. The Pope and the President are not in any way two deeply incompatible personalities suggested by so many political and religion commentators who understand neither man.
Any religious understanding of the Islamic conflict will eventually have to hear Orthodox Russia and Shiite Iran explain "the rest of the story." The same day Trump meets with the Arabs in Riyadh, the Persians of Iran will be holding an election of their own. Rome understands there are more civilizations to be heard from. If at some point a major news network could escape from the Trumpian hysteria, there is a very complicated, very interesting but very understandable religious and political situation here that needs clear reporting and description.
I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
THE VATICAN, RUSSIA, MIKE PENCE, FRANKLIN GRAHAM AND PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS: Christian unity, Vatican diplomacy, and the role of the Orthodox Church in the life of the Russian nation have all been concerns of Robert Moynihan for years. He is a good source. Now, it seems, Protestants like Franklin Graham and Mike Pence are learning about these connections in the post-Soviet Russia. Could it be in the 'weirder than fiction' camp that Callista Gingrich, as ambassador to the Vatican, may play a role too?
MIDEAST CHRISTIANS - A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE THEOLOGICAL CONTROVERSIES THAT BEGET THE EASTERN RITES AND CHURCHES: by Martino Diez. He is scientific director of the Oasis International Foundation and researcher in Arabic Language and Literature at the Catholic University of Milan.
IN EASTERN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES MAINTAIN RELIGIOUS AND NATIONAL IDENTITIES AND APPRECIATION FOR RUSSIAN ROLE DEFENDING ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY: Pew Research reaffirms primal loyalties as reported in Christianity Today.
THE GLOBALIST LEADERS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION - NO GOD, NO NATIONS, NO KIDS! "According to a new study, a quarter of European women born in the 1970s may remain childless. That trend is reflected in the fact that Europe’s most important leaders are all childless. That’s the case with the German chancellor, and with the British, Swedish, Dutch, Italian, Scottish, and Luxembourg prime ministers. The newly elected president of France, Emmanuel Macron, is also childless and is likely to remain that way since the 39-year-old is married to his 64-year-old former teacher." William Kirkpatrick at Crisis magazine.
II. ISLAM AND THE MIDDLE EAST
WHICH WAY SYRIA: Kurdistan and a buffer state?
AQAP CALLS FOR SIMPLE ATTACKS INSIDE WESTERN COUNTRIES:" We don't believe in nationalism. We believe in the Ummah. You are not alone. You are acting for the Body."
THE ODD COUPLE SENATORS FROM SAUDI ARABIA ARE LINDSEY GRAHAM AND JOHN MCCAIN: McCain in Riyadh. McCain with the UAE military chief. McCain and Graham promise "a fix" of anti-Saudi law favored by 9/11 families. A left-wing expose of McCain financial ties. McCain non-profit and Saudi charity.
ISRAEL DROPPING THE WESTERN MYTH: Israelis are not Europeans with guns.
III. CULTURE OF LIFE, CULTURE OF PROTECTION
THE FATHER, THE SON, AND A CATHOLIC MEN'S GROUP CALLED FRATERNUS: This man gets it.
GIRL SCOUTS AND CATHOLICS: Sorting out socialization strategies. We are going to raise boys and girls to become men and women. How should we do that? Who do we trust?
MINNESOTA BISHOPS, LIKE MINNESOTA DFL, STILL BEAR THEIR LAVENDER MAFIA: Bishop Hoeppner shows his colors - one of Winona's finest. Now in Crookston. Bishop Hoeppner, as Vicar General of the Winona Diocese, was part of the corrupt mostly homosexual inner circle of that diocese which has recently declared bankruptcy to pay lawsuits for the fraction of their priestly abuse cases that actually came to litigation. A more complete story of how Bishop Hoeppner threatened an honest deacon and concealed a corrupt homosexual monsignor. Finally there is a brave priest standing with the layman against the bishop.
STEPHEN COLBERT AND LENNY BRUCE: IS THIS FUNNY? Vulgarity as humor.
THE FATHER, THE SON, AND PILGRIM'S PROGRESS: Matthew Schmitz at First Things.
IV. ASIA ROUND UP
THE CHINESE ON "THE WHITE LEFT" -- MORAL CLARITY FROM ADULTS: From article by Chenchen Zhang:
"So what does ‘white left’ mean in the Chinese context, and what’s behind the rise of its (negative) popularity? It might not be an easy task to define the term, for as a social media buzzword and very often an instrument for ad hominem attack, it could mean different things for different people. A thread on “why well-educated elites in the west are seen as naïve 'white left' in China” on Zhihu, a question-and-answer website said to have a high percentage of active users who are professionals and intellectuals, might serve as a starting point.
The question has received more than 400 answers from Zhihu users, which include some of the most representative perceptions of the 'white left'. Although the emphasis varies, baizuo is used generally to describe those who “only care about topics such as immigration, minorities, LGBT and the environment” and “have no sense of real problems in the real world”; they are hypocritical humanitarians who advocate for peace and equality only to “satisfy their own feeling of moral superiority”; they are “obsessed with political correctness” to the extent that they “tolerate backwards Islamic values for the sake of multiculturalism”; they believe in the welfare state that “benefits only the idle and the free riders”; they are the “ignorant and arrogant westerners” who “pity the rest of the world and think they are saviours.”
In an academic-style essay that was re-tweeted more than 7000 times on Weibo, a user named ‘fantasy lover Mr. Liu’ ‘reviewed’ European philosophy from Voltaire and Marx to Adorno and Foucault, concluding that the ‘white left’ as a 'spiritual epidemic' is on its way to self-destruction. He then stated that Trump’s win was only “a small victory over this spiritual epidemic of humankind”, but “western civilization is still far from its self-redemption.”
At AOA we have argued what they call the "white left" is the remnant of the WASP elite. The globalist gender ideology faction is the privileged white baby-boomer generation and their children who have broken the three fundamental loyalties: 1) to God and religion, 2) to marriage and family, and 3) to country and military brotherhood.
The Chinese see the spiritual nature of this depravity very clearly. How much longer must we endure the "baizuo"?
SOUTH KOREA'S NEW PRESIDENT: This is a very good time for a leader in favor of dialogue as tension rises and that's what we got. Good cop, bad cop may give more movement than the strategic patience strategy. Remember President Trump also said in the right situation talking with the North Korea leader would be good. Even more important is for the Koreans to talk. The end game in Korea is the political order of a reunited Korea -- one of the last tragic national divisions of the WWII/Cold War era.