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Posts Tagged ‘Foreign Policy’

F18

An F-18 takes off from a US aircraft carrier.

My apologies for the rather bland headline this week. I just couldn’t think of a catch title for this edition of the Review. Well, I’ll try to do better next week. And without further ado, let’s dive into this week’s stories.

Syrian Crisis Escalates

Perhaps the biggest story this past week was the downing of a Syrian government SU-22 jet by US F-18s from the aircraft carrier George Bush. The incident, which occurred Sunday 6/18, is said to represent the first time a US jet has downed a foreign manned aircraft since 1999.

The US has claimed that the jet was attacking fighters of the US backed Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), but, as Ron Paul and Daniel McAdams reported this week, this clam has been contradicted by the Syrian Observatory For Human Rights, which stated “sources confirmed that the warplane did not target the Syria Democratic Forces in their controlled areas.”

As Daniel McAdams pointed out, the Syrian Observatory For Human Rights is generally considered to be pro- US backed rebels. The group has even been cited the US government. As such, it is surprising for this group to contradict the storyline put out by the US.

The Syrian government claims that the jet, rather than attacking the SDF, actually was going after ISIS at the time it was shot down. If what Damascus says is true, it would be another piece of evidence backing the contention that the US, in fact, supports ISIS.

Although this may sound like a shocking claim, the logic of it is simple and compelling. The US and ISIS have a common goal in Syria, both want to overthrow Syrian president Bashar Assad. And if they have this common goal, would it be such a stretch to believe that the US would shoot down a Syrian government jet that was attacking ISIS?

Syria’s ally Russia reacted angrily, announcing it would no longer us a communication channel designed to prevent the targeting of US aircraft operating in Syrian airspace.

The big takeaway in all this is that the US and Russia took another step closer to war in the middle east, a place where the US has no legitimate security interests, but which could serve the powder keg that sets off a major regional or world war.

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North-Korea-condemns-US-for-ICBM-launch-from-California

North Korea expresed outrage after the U.S. Air force announced the successful launch of an unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile, the Minuteman III, on Wednesday.  Photo by Ian Dudley/U.S. Air Force/UPI.

Long long ago, in a strip mall far far away, nerdy teenagers used to hang out in now almost mythical places known as video arcades.

 

For a quarter, you could zap space invaders, blow up asteroids, or play the part of some Italian plumber named Mario.

I know all this, you see, because I lived it. Yes, I was a first generation gamer, tokens in pocket, hanging out with my fellow freaks and geeks in the backroom of Baker Street Books – yes, believe it or not, the local bookstore had a game room – to see who could get high score on Gorf.

In an age of Xboxs, 60 inch flat panel monitors, and online gaming, I suppose all that sounds pretty quaint. But this was the golden age of the video arcade, and we had a blast.

One of the most popular games from this period was Missile Command. The goal of the player was to protect his cities from being nuked by using anti-ballistic missiles to shoot down the enemy’s incoming ICBMs. If you lost your cities, it was, in classic video game lingo, GAME OVER.

In retrospect, I suppose a game like that, inspired by the Cold War as it was, served to add a bit a levity to what was the deadly serious, ever present threat of nuclear war between the US and the Soviet Union.

And speaking of the Cold War, all the headlines about North Korea and nuclear bombs this past week brought back memories of those bad old days when we were regularly treated to newscasts featuring stony faced Leonid Brezhnev, massive eyebrows and all, watching columns of Red Army soldiers, tanks and missiles pass before his reviewing stand in the Kremlin.

Those same headlines also got me to thinking about the foolishness of America’s interventionist foreign policy, and how intervention, once the decision is made to start it, can take on a life of its own.

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Trump_Syria_MissilesThis past week, what has it brought? Quite a bit and nothing good. At least that’s how it looks from where I sit. Among the gifts that came our way were a flip-flopping president, wars and rumors of wars, and the traditional IRS tax deadline.

Put Not Your Trust In Princes

The psalmist tells us, “Put not your trust in princes, not in the son of man, in whom there is no help.” Wise words those, and one’s that Christians would do well to heed when talking politics. And the words and actions of President Trump drove this point home this past week.

America First. That was a consistent motto of Trump the candidate.

This platform was not original with Trump. It hearkened back to the days prior to WWII when a movement by that name arose. The goal America Firsters was to keep America out of WWII.

In Trump’s case, it was a reference to the many ongoing conflicts the US has found itself in.

Trump made a number of excellent statements during the campaign about having better relations with Russia and ending America’s involvement in Syria.

Trump questioned NATO calling it obsolete. And he was exactly correct in doing so.

But this past week, Trump repudiated all this.

Late last week, on the flimsiest pretext, he lobbed 59 Cruise missiles at Russia’s ally Syria. This one act likely destroyed any hope of Trump ever repairing relations with Russia and embroiled the US deeper than ever in the Syrian conflict, a war which the US has no business fighting.

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Susan_Rice,

Susan Rice

The news came fast and furious this past week I seem to say that a lot, but the past seven days have been off the charts. Let’s take a look at it.

On Trump

It seems like longer than that, but it was just last weekend that alt-media superstar Mike Cernovich revealed that Obama administration official Susan Rice was the one who requested the unmasking of Trump transition team officials.

In March Trump sent and outraged tweet claiming that Obama “wiretapped” him, which prompted howls of protest from the mainstream media. Trump had no proof they said. What do they say now?

If one were to take the term “wiretap” in the strictest literal sense, then the revelations about Rice do not support Trump’s allegation. But if we understand “wiretap” as a general term for surveillance, then, yes, the story certainly does back up Trump.

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Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.

– John Quincy Adams

Stay out of foreign wars. Time was when Americans, from then least of them to the greatest of them, understood this simple, Biblical maxim of foreign policy.

But beginning with William McKinley and the Spanish American War in 1898, America got into the vulgar business of empire. Over the following century, the language of war, once foreign to American patriots, became the nation’s native tongue.

I was born during the Vietnam war. As a nine year old, I recall watching the nightly news as a helicopter evacuated the last remaining personnel from US embassy in Saigon, signaling the end of US intervention there.

Seven years later there was the intervention in Grenada.

In October 1983, America was shocked to hear that 241 Marines were killed in their barracks by a suicide bomber driving a truck.

In the late 90’s as the Soviet Union went belly up, war hawks went into panic mode as talk of a “peace dividend” was in the air.

There were no more monsters. What’s an interventionist to do?

But never underestimate a globalist. Indeed, they are a determined lot.

And it wasn’t long before the found just what they were looking for in the person of former ally Saddam Hussein.

Gulf War I quickly followed.

Then came Somalia, the Balkans, Gulf War II, Afghanistan, Libya, and more drone strikes and covert interventions than I could begin to name.

All of it, naturally, in the name of defending “our freedoms,” which were daily being consumed by the burgeoning security state fostered by the same folks who brought us the wars.

Now as I write Thursday night, across my phone comes the headline, “Trump launches attack on Syria with more than 50 tomahawk missiles.”

The search for monsters once again has found its mark.


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March MadnessAh, March madness, AKA man cave season. I had a boss once who always took off starting the Thursday of the first tournament game and spent his whole weekend binge watching college basketball. I’m guessing he probably wasn’t alone.

I’m not quite that hardcore, but I do love me a little college hoops too, especially when my Cincy Bearcats are playing well. Nice win tonight over K-State!

Of course, watching basketball has also manages to interfere with writing, which is why I getting a late start with this week’s TWIR, which is why this won’t get posted until Saturday. But hey, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

On a more philosophical note, it seems to me that March Madness isn’t limited to the basketball court, but can be found in any number of places having nothing at all to do with Mr. Naismith’s invention. Take for example…

Monetary Madness

There are few, if any, examples of mass derangement to rival the hoopla surrounding a meeting of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC).

Eight times a year we’re treated to weeks of speculation about the FOMC’s upcoming decision, will they or will they not raise interest rates.

These meetings, as well as the Fed chairman’s semi-annual Humphrey-Hawkins testimony before Congress, are breathlessly reported on by the mainstream media.

To give you a sense of the absurdity of the coverage, back in the day when Alan Greenspan was in charge of the Fed, there were people who believed they could tell what would be done with interest rates based upon which hand “The Maestro” used to carry his briefcase.

We were treated to another such round of absurdity this past week as Janet Yellen, high priestess of the FOMC herself, sauntered forth from the bowels of Eccles Building to announce to the world her latest oracle: The economy’s awesome and we’re hiking interest rates.

All this was reported with the utmost seriousness by the mainstream financial press who dutifully played their roll as Fed echo chamber.

All, that is, except for one.

As Zero Hedge reports, Kathleen Hays of Bloomberg TV was perplexed at just how a supposedly data dependent Fed – the Fed is always talking about how their decisions on interest rates depend on economic data – could hike interest rates at a time when hard economic data is in a downward spiral.

The Bloomberg report’s pointed questions apparently both annoyed and frightened t he high priestess who never really answered the questions put to her.

And so it goes.

An even better question then why the Fed is choosing to raise interest rates into a deteriorating economy is why the Fed should have any say in interest rates at all.

Interest rates are the price of money, and as with the price of all other goods and services, interest rates ought to be set by the free market, not the monetary politburo called the FOMC.

There is no sound Biblical, constitutional, or economic argument for central banks, central bankers, or the fixing of interest rates by them.

But while sound reason based on Scripture leads to the rejection of central banking, the Marxists love it. In fact, the establishment of a central bank was one of the Ten Planks of the Communist Manifesto. There, Marx on Engels advocated for the, “Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.”

In the US, the central bank is called the Federal Reserve Bank, AKA “The Fed.”

That’s right. The button pushing boys and lever pulling girls in the Eccles building (that the Fed’s headquarters) are the dupes, slaves, and minions of one of history’s most destructive thinkers.

Actually, if you throw in the money printing madness inspired by one John Maynard Keynes, you can make that two of history’s most destructive thinkers.

Stop the monetary madness! End the Fed!

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ark-encounter_lights

Ark Encounter rainbow lights.

 

We’re down to the last day of 2016. To say the least, it’s been an interesting year. One which, Lord willing, I’ll review in a little more depth later this weekend. But for now, here’s a few thoughts on the news from this past week.

The Ark and the Rainbow

Since the Ark Encounter theme park is located just a little south of Cincinnati, from time to time articles about it appear in the local paper. For those who may not be familiar with Ark Encounter, it’s a park built around a full sized replica of Noah’s Ark. Having opened in the summer of 2016, the attraction is part of Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis ministry, which runs the Creation Museum, located in the Cincinnati area.

The main message of both Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum is that the history presented in the early chapters of Genesis is just that, actual, literal history. Adam and Eve were actual people. There really was a Noah who built an actual ark of a certain size and shape. God really did end the world as it was know by means of a cataclysmic flood that wiped out all human and most animal life except what was on the ark, etc.

This is sound Bible teaching, but definitely not the sort of thing that plays well in some quarters. In some cases, opposition comes from within the Evangelical community. In others, it comes from without.

LGBTQ activists are the latest group to be put off by Ark Encounter, this time by a light display that baths the replica ark in rainbow colored lights at night.

As Ham puts it, the rainbow is not a symbol of “freedom, love, pride or the LGBTQ movement.” It is the sign of the Noahic covenant, God’s promise to never again destroy the earth by water.

Naturally, LGBTQ activists reacted with scorn to Ham’s comments, with one expressing concern for the effect Ham’s message will have on younger people.

But who has the real compassion for young people wrestling with the sin of homosexuality? A man who presents the truth of what God says in his Word, or a man who peddles the lie that homosexuality is merely a lifestyle choice with all the ethical weight of a decision on what color carpet to install in the family room.

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