Beyond the Cusp

December 31, 2017

The Muslim Challenge

 

Islam periodically since its birth tests the world and the strength of the backbone and the willingness of the world to actually stand up and say, “No!” If the world shouts that no loud and clear, then Islam settles back down and waits a period of a few hundred years before rising again and testing the waters again. The most recent previous testing of the world’s waters was literally testing waters, the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean near the North African coastlines. This was referred to as the Barbary Pirates who demanded the Jiyza from the Western World in order to allow their merchants to sail the seas in safety. Of course, there was still the occasional, well, more like regular stopping of ships and stealing their contents and some of the sailors taken in to serve the Muslims as slaves. In cases that are more drastic, the Barbary Pirates would sink a ship taking the entirety of the crew into captivity for ransoming the officers and slavery for the working sailors. The problem first met with the Americans, they chose the same treatment as the Europeans had taken, paying the ransoms. Throughout the terms of the first two Presidents, George Washington and John Adams and during the term of Thomas Jefferson, the third and most isolationist and noninterventionist President, who finally reached the point where the demanded ransoms became too high for the young nation to afford, and this brought on the First Barbary War. Once the Americans had engaged and defeated the Barbary Pirates, the Europeans also stopped paying their protection demands and instead patrolled their trade routes with naval warships. This ended the Barbary Pirates for a period of time and after the war between the British and the United States in the War of 1812, the Barbary Pirates thought perhaps the two largest navies, Britain and the United States, having fought a war and might be less likely to fight against them and their pirating resumed. The United States soon thereafter engaged in the Second Barbary War and again they defeated the Barbary Caliph and a second peace was reached ending the Islamic pirating of the trade routes.

 

The recent history with the rise of al-Qaeda, the Taliban and finally Islamic State, the world is once again facing the Islamic pressures to see if the world will resist or simply roll over and submit to Islamic demands and dominance. Once again, the Europeans do not appear to care to engage in any resistance and some have even gone so far as to invite the Islamic refugees into their nation with Germany taking the lead. There are some exceptions that have surfaced from eastern Europe such as Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, three of the eastern European nations which the European Union has launched a legal case for their refusal to take in Arab refugees. There were others, but the European Union has specific persons they wish to intimidate and the most successful of the former Warsaw Nations so as to force them to knuckle under to their leftist policies. The Warsaw nations have witnessed a lifetime of leftist policies and politics from the Soviet Union and want nothing to do with such policies again. They demand to be permitted to draw their own lines of travel in politics, economics and other vital policies which are very different from those the western or old European nations and the established European Union members. These newer eastern European nations may find they will have a new friend from an unexpected source, merry olde England and the British Isles. These former Warsaw nations may be forgoing taking in refugees for economic reasons or for political reasons, that is irrelevant. What is important is they are taking a stand against the encroachment by Islamic forces, be they refugees or as some have claimed, an advance force in the lead of an Islamic invasion and conquest of Europe. This may appear to be somewhat of a preposterous idea or it may be valid, as Islam has attempted three times to conquer Europe, once being stopped at the Battle of Tours by Charles the Hammer Martel and twice at the gates of Vienna, once by Polish King John III Sobieski and his Polish hussars. Perhaps those who believe this may be the start of a fourth attempt by Islam to spread and conquer Europe may be correct or at least have at least a shred of good sense to be warning such.

 

That leads to the current state of the Middle East. If one were to plot the wave of violence spread across the Middle East and one would find it has two sources, two sources which may be linked in some means. The initial cause could be traced to the United States and what many have called an ignorant and foolhardy foreign policy steeped in mistaken concepts, while others might believe that there was a central underlying goal behind the policies of President Obama. There was some who posited that President Obama was simply pro-Arab while others thought he was a supporter of the Shiite branch of Islam. There is a third possibility in that President Obama desired an opposing force to counter Israel in the Middle East seeing such a force could be the answer through which Israel could be forced to make a peace demanded of them in exchange for the offer of protection. His initial push was with the Muslim Brotherhood which he worked to install in Egypt and might have hoped for them to also rise to power in Syria after removing Bashar al-Assad and likely have them replace King Hussein in Jordan and surrounding Israel. The Muslim Brotherhood failed in every place which they had hoped. This may have been what led President Obama to seek a new champion with who to finalize his Middle East plans and pose as his necessary opposing force to cow Israel into allowing a Palestinian State by whatever borders were offered by President Obama and the State Department. Iran was the next choice to fulfill President Obama’s hopes but time ran out. Iran had their designs as well which included the Shiite Crescent and surrounding Saudi Arabia, their main adversary and the center of Sunni Islam (see map below). This required their supporting the Shiite takeover in Iran which required strengthening the Shiite governance and cleansing of any and all Sunni influence. Then there was another pair of challenges even further afield, Yemen and Syria. President Obama had caused sufficient distress in Syria when pressing to have the Muslim Brotherhood replace Assad and the Iranians required placing him back into power. In Yemen, the Iranians required to control Yemen as it gives them a southern front against Saudi Arabia and gives them the Bab-el-Mandeb Straight and control of the southern exit from the Red Sea. Yemen required the overthrow of the existing government, so the Iranians backed the Houthi rebels in another civil war. Once Yemen and Syria are consolidated the Iranians may finally be in the position required to threaten Israel for President Obama, but they are a year or more too late and the new President, Donald Trump, has no plans, as far as any can see, to press Israel into a peace they cannot survive.

 

Shiite Crescent including Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Iran

Shiite Crescent including Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Iran

 

Islam, be it the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State, al-Qaeda, Hamas, Palestinian Authority, Iran, terrorists striking Western cities or the waves of refugees flowing into Europe; they are all signs of a resurgent Islam, though from different perspectives, which if left unchecked will simply continue to gain strength and grow more and more virulent. This has been the case before with the birth of the Caliphate, the Ottoman expansion, the Barbary Pirates and now with both of the major strains of Islam, Sunni and Shiite. The question is will the Western powers raise up and face the growing threat or will they wait and suffer the advances and insults from Islam as they did the Barbary Pirates until it was all but too late or will they see the coming storm and band together and make the proper united front before it becomes too dire and the conflict that results in a carnage from which the world may not survive. It will take the presence of worldview from the United States to lead the Europeans. The eastern nations are still growing from their release from Communism and the others still believe that the end of history has occurred and the world will have no more conflicts. Unfortunately, the United States is also not likely to realize what is infecting the world as the President knows only what he has been told and then only until another five thoughts come his way pushing the former out into oblivion. One can only wonder if the Pentagon survived the evisceration by President Obama of the generals with the most combat experience to also see what is forming in the not so distant mists of the future. One would think with so many generals including two Marines that they might be capable of finding a clue about the coming threats, but then they might be uncertain as to how their President might handle such news as he has likely stated that his only concerns are the economy and domestic issues and prefers for foreign entanglements to be avoided as he has no knowledge or interest in the world outside of trade. Whatever the truth, it may be fortunate that the Middle East is still having convulsions as such a series of events may delay any complete resurgence for Islam until the world is ready, and perhaps not. The future is on shaky ground, the ground is simply getting less and less stable with time, and much of that is due to the growing restlessness of Islam. It might even take Russia or China to show the world the need for actions before the situation becomes formidable, or worse, unstoppable. Islam is following the same path it has in the past, will anybody ever sit up and take notice, that is the question of the hour.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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October 19, 2017

Will Europe Divide Over Religion?

 

Those of us old enough to have experienced a divided Europe between free and Communist also remember the Iron Curtain. Some may even recall the origins of that phrase being a speech given at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill on March 5, 1946. United States President Harry S. Truman was with the British Prime Minister on the dais listening to the speech. The speech is actually titled “The Sinews of Peace” despite the most famous phrase history remembers was the term “Iron Curtain” used as Churchill stated, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.” The entirety of the speech can be viewed below. That curtain will potentially become the basis for a new wall in Europe, one where religion remains an important cornerstone of society and one which has entered what many are referring to as the post-Christian society. Some of the functionaries of the European Union describe this divide a between élites of Western Europe who favor a more cosmopolitan and tolerant society which is democratic-liberal and accepting of people of all faiths with various views against those of Eastern Europe who are less enlightened exhibiting xenophobic views where they are bigoted against foreigners and those with whom they are unfamiliar seeking protection in the religions of Old Europe and an age long left behind by New Europe.

 

 

The reality is that one Europe lived in a free society which brought them more freedom than they could manage leading them into a hedonistic fervor where personal pleasure was the new aim by which life was measured and immediacy of realization of those very pleasures superseded all other pursuits. Thus, they left behind the limitations of Christianity and entered their new multiculturalist, post-Christian age where the self replaced the church and each person became the definer of their own religious beliefs. The restrictions of morality imposed by religion were replaced with the hedonism of an older age where barbarity ruled and the gods demanded child sacrifice. This new age has its own version of child sacrifice where pregnancies are terminated by abortions such that the party can continue without consequence or interruption. This has led to Western Europe having such a low rate of childbirth by the native population that they have fallen way below replacement rate leading to an aging population requiring the importation of foreign workers. In an effort to find these workers, leaders such as Angela Merkel made a decision to permit free and unregulated immigration from the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) calling for any who consider themselves to be refugees of any nature seeking the liberal governance of Western Europe to come and join in the wonders of Europe. This has brought on a huge wave of Islamic “refugees” which happened to be largely males, unaccompanied males, and unforeseen problems. This may be the result of their utopian dream becoming their nightmare.

 

Now for Eastern Europe and why they have a different view of what their new freedom means compared to their fellow Europeans at the western end of the continent who have had freedom ever since the end of World War II. The Eastern Europeans were behind that “Iron Curtain” Winston Churchill so perfectly described. Other than East Germany which reattached to West Germany to reestablish the whole of Germany and thus are being taken for a political ride as their neighbors from West Germany had a population advantage and thus control the politics. That tore East Germany from the remainder of the Warsaw Pact nations. These nations led by Poland, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Czech Republic and the rest of the former Warsaw Pact nations, had experienced the godless forced atheism of the Communist regimes imposed by the Soviet Union. This denied them their Christianity making it something more sacred with time. Their areas were closed societies which left their towns, cities and nations as homogeneous as they were at the end of World War II, in simple terms, Poland remained very Polish, Rumania remain Romanian, Hungary remain Hungarian and so on. Once free of the authoritarian governments which had oppressed these societies, they were still in a similar state as they had been under the Nazis who were another socialist and atheistic society, thus these societies are still flocking to their churches and Christianity is having a revival throughout Eastern Europe or the old Warsaw Pact nations. Thousands of Polish Catholics replete with rosary beads ringed much of their nation gathering at border points protesting the continued atheistic secularism of their government and in solidarity with fellow Christians across Europe who have been victimized by the spread of Islam across parts of Europe.

 

New Divide of Europe Between Western and Eastern Europes

New Divide of Europe Between Western and Eastern Europes

 

The two Europes could not be any more separate, the first shedding Christianity for the liberation of no religion and the other embracing Christianity after forced atheization under Soviet Union dictatorships. The first has shed the concept of traditional marriage replacing it with alternate definitions and simple hook-up culture and other alternate lifestyle choices where too many are child-free lifestyles. This had the consequence of a low reproductive rate and an aging population. Since 1950, the reproductive rate in Western Europe has steadily declined to the point that it has fallen well below replacement rate and showing no signs of recovery. The other Europe had a depressed reproductive rate while under Communism and its oppressive governance which was consistently below replacement rate. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and their respective Communist governance, the Eastern European nations have slowly risen from their melancholy lethargy. Their governance has had a less than smooth transition from Communism to Democracies independent and free from the central planning under Moscow. Their economies have slowly emerged as they faced an initial necessary improvement of infrastructure in order to make industrial growth possible. The reinitializing of free and independent nations did not exactly go without its challenges and little hiccups along the way. Where the real benefits of the newfound freedoms appears to actually taking root about now as the first generations raised entirely free of the pains of Communism are reaching adulthood, the reality of the freedom is now starting to be truly felt and the signs are impressive. The people are returning to their religious roots which had been illegal and forbidden for so long. Marriage is gaining amongst the youth and it appears that population numbers are slowly returning towards replacement rate and hopefully above into a range unseen for over half a century. Eastern Europe may be approaching a bright future if they can survive the European Union. The Western Europeans would gladly chase their Eastern Europeans from the European Union and if the Eastern Europeans are smart, they will be running so fast from the European Union that their Western European counterparts will be unable to catch them to chase them out.

 

There is nothing to prevent the Eastern Europeans from eventually following in the exact same footprints down the merry path which the Western Europeans have already tread. Perhaps the disaster that Old Europe is about to become and the potential for internecine violence and possible wars similar to the past wars against the spread of Islam, are about to repeat themselves, except this time with modern weaponry. Such conflicts will be more devastating with much higher toll in human lives than previous wars. While these threats are on the increase and the violence is growing in Western Europe, Eastern Europe will be experiencing their return to their various Christian roots with their population slowly recovering and starting to grow. It may become required for Eastern Europe to come and aid their Western Europeans otherwise they may fall to Islam and then pose a threat to Eastern Europe. Maybe history will find another John III Sobieski, King of Poland, though the next Polish savior of Europe will be possibly a Polish President, or a Romanian hero whose name will convey evil as did the name of their King Vlad III Dracula, but who will turn back invading enemies. Perhaps Western Europe will be the next conquest to eventually make up the Caliphate when Islam finally settles for the lands they posses and desire no more Jihadi Wars. What the future holds we cannot know and should we be patient, it does reveal itself in its own time. Time is the owner of great secrets of which we can know those revealed already and see those that come as we live and only strike with conjecture at what time holds from us in what we always pray will be a fantastic story for our children and their children and on for generations yet to come. For now, this is what we can say today, maybe we will say more in our hoped for mutual futures.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

July 1, 2016

Brexit Opposition Proves There is but One Side

 

Both progressives and conservatives are ridiculing the British for voting to leave the European Union (EU) and reestablish their borders, control of their economy and implementing their own independent immigration law as well as seeking their own trade deals. All of these and more were denied Britain while mired in the EU. There should have been less surprise as the British have for all their history been an independent sort and always a bit apart from the rest of Europe. But there was another item which has become very evident since the Brexit vote, almost everybody was piling on the scorn all claiming that the British had gone absolutely and madly insane voting to leave the bureaucracy that is the EU because the cold and moderating decision making by the overlords in Brussels simply was and always would be superior than anything any elected government can produce because elected governments often change between conservative and progressive thus often working against themselves alternating directions as the governing coalitions change back and forth. This had, for reasons that escape us, brought out condemnations from progressive leftists and right wing conservatives which are an unusual occurrence as these two sides never seem to agree on anything. So, what is at work here to get these presumably opposing sides of the political arena to agree?

 

There has been a theory which is often relegated to the perpetually discontented that there is little difference between the two opposing parties in the United States, the Republicans and the Democrats. The only difference is the speed in which they are driving off the cliff. They claim the left is Thelma and Louise at the end of the movie driving off the cliff with the foot to the floor going as fast as the vehicle will go while the right are driving in a Model A Ford which is only capable of going 35 MPH thus creeps over the cliff, but over the cliff both sides are taking us. We are somewhat less familiar with the particulars of European politics but are willing to bet that Europe too had its perpetual malcontents who feel the same way, just with more parties to blame. Then there is the Israeli politics where if you are happy with the government, just wait a few minutes and it will pass. But the editorial cartoons, editorial articles and even what today passes for news reports all questioned the sanity of the British body politic, or at least those voting on Brexit favorably. No matter what newspaper or news broadcast and the vast majority of talking heads all were scratching their heads and completely gob-smacked over the yay vote on the Brexit referendum. Some even went so far as to question the sanity of David Cameron in keeping his promise to hold a public referendum over remaining in the EU as promised during the campaign. One must respect David Cameron for holding himself to keep what he promised after his party won an outright majority thus not requiring their forming a coalition with another party on who they could claim demanded no referendum as a condition for joining the coalition. Sometimes winning is losing and the Brexit vote was exactly that because the Conservative Party won an outright majority making Cameron Prime Minister and leading to Brexit, forcing Cameron’s resignation.

 

EU Flag

 

All the immediate ramifications aside, the reality is the reactions to Brexit passing has revealed that there are things that the left and the right can come together on, even if they did so independently with their shock, amazement and disapproval of the British decision to leave the EU. Some who came out a little upset had previously denounced the EU bureaucracy as a dictatorial menace threatening all of Europe with its edicts and such and now they were lamenting that Brexit could signal the end of the EU many guessing who would be the next to leave the sinking ship which was obviously the EU. We have our reservations on this automatically leading to the death of the EU as there will always be a remaining core even if France were to depart. Brussels can always count on Germany remaining along with Belgium along with Hungary, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Italy, Greece and likely others as other than Britain the other nations mostly retired their currencies in favor of the Euro so leaving the EU would leave them facing a potentially cost prohibitive task of recreating the national currency. The previous paper currency would probably need updating or face an untenable threat of counterfeiting as their older bills probably lack the newer intricacies newer paper money use to prevent easy counterfeiting of their money. Still, if a nation planned their leaving of the EU, plus the fact that exiting the EU can take at least two years, an exit could be managed providing the government was stable enough that they would not need fear too many challenges. But what would possibly be the promise the EU proffered that would be so tempting to both ends of the political spectrum that there would be such agreement?

 

Many people probably have long forgotten one of the selling points originally given for the establishing of the precursor and then finally the making of the EU. The theory was that this was going to be the making of a “United States of Europe” which could rival the United States in economic force and be able to hold their own against the United States and also China on the world market. This was probably wishful thinking but there was a secondary reason spoken of in whispers and hushed tones as if it were some taboo subject, one which must not be permitted the light of day. The EU was to be another unifying economic and governance organization. The United States already represented one of the “great blocs” and the EU would be the next such bloc and it was thought that Russia and China with a few satellites would be a third and this would leave Africa, the Middle East and South America to form one or two other blocs. The oil cartel OPEC came to be seen as one and the South America trading bloc which to a limited extent included India made another loosely grouped bloc. The aim behind the EU was for them to challenge the United States in the coming unifying of these blocs going forward in the next stages where these trading blocs would also begin to take on governing as the EU had with bureaucrats smoothing out any differences allowing for unifications of currencies, trading and governance. Eventually these separate blocs would start to merge into one world-wide trading bloc leading to a unified governing bloc and soon thereafter a world body of bureaucrats who arranged trading formalities and mechanisms which also controlled a unified currency and would supersede the individual government through holding a veto power over legislations and the first task the bureaucrats would face would be unifying the legal systems and laws beginning with trade laws, tariffs and expand from there. The eventual aim was to be that new world order which would be called anything other than new world order, but it would be a world government which would be made up of experts and specialists who would be given the powers and other needful supervisory roles which would grow until the system was inescapable and all national borders would slowly be erased and the world would be unified into one super-governance.

 

There would be a few nations who would require additional pressures in order to force them into the mold of a singular ruling bureaucracy. The United States, Canada and originally, and once again, Britain would be the potential standouts whose strong self-defining histories would make incorporating them into such a system would present special problems. The idea that the Islamic world was not also viewed as a potential set of difficulties is another overlooked problem. Then there was one other nation that from all the lists and presumed alliances and the institutions which were to be formed and slowly merged all left out one nation. They were most definitely refused an alliance in the Middle East, Europe would not offer them a hand, they were nowhere near Asia and the United States had more often than not been in an adversarial role despite accusations of the United States being all but controlled by this nation and Africa and South America likely have no intention of including them. That troublesome country would be Israel. Europe has admitted Israel into projects if Israel adds far more than anyone could argue that they were not an asset to the aims, and thus Israel is accepted in order to advance European interests. With Brexit the world has thankfully taken a giant step back from bureaucratic Gehenna and potential liberty and freedom have taken a step towards safekeeping into the future.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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