Saturday, July 1, 2017

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, July 1

by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch


Foreign countries try to influence American foreign policy and elections. Countries often have "favorites" in the elections of other countries. Especially since the end of WWII, the US has played various roles in "helping countries determine their leadership." That is an understatement. Two recent instances were unpublicized efforts in the Ukraine (2014) and more overt presidential efforts in the Brexit vote (2016). The outrage about Russian efforts to influence the US 2016 presidential election shows a remarkable ahistorical naiveté. It should be an intellectual embarrassment if we still had a public face that could blush. After a large investigation over a small matter, journalists might report on the sustained and successful efforts of the two countries that most influence American officials, elections and foreign policy. They are Saudi Arabia and Israel. Any honest appraisal about their roles in influence peddling, shaping public discussion and financially supporting  public officials would put the Russian efforts to shame. All of this is in plain view for those who wish to look. Saudi Arabia and Israel have for several years united their foreign policy goals of destroying the Shiite state of Iran. This was not the policy of the US President from 2008-2016. The overthrow of the Iranian government (or "regime change" as they like to say) would certainly not be the strategy of a rational anti Taliban, anti ISIS, anti al Qaeda policy. President Obama figured that out. Iran is the most effective nation state fighting ISIS and the Wahabbi salafist ideology.  President Obama tried to change the strategic calculus in the Mideast by not demonizing Iran just as President Trump is trying to realign our nation with Russia as a natural ally against radical Sunni jihadists. Both presidents ran into serious domestic and foreign opposition. The efforts of the Israeli President with the cooperation of Republicans to undermine negotiations with Iran was unparalleled in the use of a joint session of Congress as a platform for a foreign president to argue against the policies of our own chief executive. Likewise Saudi money in our universities, think tanks, and charitable foundations as well as their habit of purchasing former lawmakers as lobbyists has been enormously successful in obfuscating the religious and territorial roots of the 9/11 attack. These two countries are understandably trying to further the goals of their own governments by influencing the US. But what if their goals and our goals diverge? What if we decide to make policy based on  an America First strategy.  Who will protect us from our allies? President Trump will see what President Obama saw: a large group of US officials, think tankers, and the media arguing for the policies of a foreign government against the alliances he is trying to forge. 


BISHOP PAPROCKI VS JAMES MARTIN SJ ON HOMOSEXUALS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCHPaprocki rules and Martin lambasts. To understand the Jesuit homosexual advocate better, consider James Martin's heroes. Is the problem in the Catholic Church that we are not open and welcoming to homosexuals; or that our priesthood, our episcopacy, and our formation programs are debilitated by this brand of incest? It is hard to build the brotherhood of fathers when brothers and fathers are fostering a different form of attachment. There is a deep fundamental disorder in the personality structure of most homosexuals. There are the Charmin Tissue James Martin priests (soft and white). But there are also the Cardinal Burke, Michael Voris, Robert Sirico type personalities. Some of the most debilitated non fraternal non paternal and NON FILIAL male personalities are homosexuals who forgo sexual relations but express their conflicted narcissism in a distorted sense of Catholic Life as an endless battle for doctrinal super orthodoxy. It is a battle where they are featured as warriors. This posture attracts all sorts of other  "intellectuals" who support these very peculiar leaders against the fatherhood of the Pope.

TOP TEN SITES IN THE CATHOLIC WORLD: A reminder from Our Sunday Visitor of remarkable places to go and pray. In each place the stones and glass shout glory to the Name of God.

THE NEW CROWN PRINCE OF SAUDI ARABIA AND DEMANDS FOR QATAR: Shut down al Jazeera and don't deal with Shiite nation of Iran. A peculiar road to peace. The thirteen demands made against Qatar by Saudi Arabia are undoable without a forfeiture of sovereignty. This new offensive against a neighbor state is led by the new Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia-Muhammad bin Salman (MbS). The public relations drive to paint him as a reformer certainly doesn't apply if you think what must be reformed is the Wahabbi jihadist movement controlling the Holy Cities of Islam. The allies of the Crown Prince are the UAE, Isarel, and the US. Inside the kingdom the Wahabbi clerics are his primary base. Many relatives within the Saudi royal family know there are several older males who have more claim and competence to rule than the 31-year-old. His enemies are legion. MbS looks much less experienced and much more isolated than the Shah of Iran in 1978. MbS (Muhammad bin Salman) and his UAE counterpart.  Here is Al Jazeera story on the matter. Will the US Senate hold on the big Saudi  arms deal? They have thirty days and there are forces in the State Department who want bin Salman to back off the Qatar dispute. Senator Corker is willing to pause.  The anti Shiite war in Yemen and the attempt to isolate Qatar are the aggressive acts of the young male who is next in line to be The King of Saudi Arabia. The State Department and a growing number of U.S. senators are learning this may be the wrong time to build a Sunni Alliance led by the Saudis. Isn't this real and troubling news about Saudi Arabia more important and frankly much more interesting than the present media obsession with Russia?

WALL STREET JOURNAL FIRES FOREIGN AFFAIRS CHIEF: It is hard to report on the arms industry when you are a courier. When it come to rich Sunnis and poor Shiites, the rich Sunnis seems so much more amenable to members of the official government/media complex.

NORTH KOREA - OPTIONS: The timetable is closing. The lives most at risk if shooting breaks out in Korea  are our troops and bases in Asia. They are unpopular and they are considered the last outside forces from two centuries of foreign military projections of power. The US should use the new leftist South Korean president to help get our troops out of an untenable position. President Trump does not want a repeat of the bombing of our Marines in 1983 Beirut.

UKRAINE CRIMEA AND RUSSIA - THE SHORT STORY AND A LONG FASCINATING RUSSIAN DOCUMENTARY: This short Vox video of Crimean ethnic and language maps will help you remember there is more to this tale than a Russian invasion. Vox videos have a leftist bent but they are some of the best educational summaries of history and geography on film. Why can't the evening news look like this? This long documentary is a fascinating narrative from near neighbor Russian perspective but also from Russian speaking Crimeans. The Crimean Spring and the Maiden Revolution.

GETTING TO KNOW ANGELA MERKEL - CAREERISM VS. GOD AND NATION: Her father moved from West Germany to East Berlin in 1957. The Khrushchev speech denouncing Stalin (1956), the East German uprising (1953),the return of Polish nationalist Gomulka (1956) and Hungarian revolt (1956) were recent history. The revolts had been crushed and the ouster of Khrushchev was seveb years away. Her "Protestant theologian" father was not part of these nationalist liberation movements. A few excerpts from a Merkel profile:
Merkel’s father’s move was highly unusual in that he left the thriving West German city of Hamburg to run a home for mentally disabled children in an East German town still in ruins from wartime bombing, with streets made of sand and few cars. When the Berlin Wall was built four years later, her mother — a teacher of English — sat crying in church, while her Left-leaning father was said to have felt liberated.

It remains unclear how much he colluded with the communist regime, but while the authorities in the atheist state viewed protestants with suspicion, because he was a pastor his family were allowed to watch Western TV and read Western newspapers. They even played Monopoly, the ultimate capitalist board game.

Kasner, a cold and distant father by all accounts — Angela had a younger brother and sister — drove his daughter hard, constantly telling her she had to do better than the other pupils at Templin’s local school.

As a result, Merkel ensured she was always top of the class. She even learned Russian, the language of the oppressors, showing such dedication that she won a regional prize of a trip to Moscow. She was also a member of the socialist group the Free German Youth, for whom she organised excursions.

‘Whenever she is doing something, she wants to be number one,’ says Gerd Langguth, a professor of political science and another biographer of Merkel.

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