Beyond the Cusp

January 2, 2018

War with North Korea Now Inevitable….Iran?

 

Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen, who served under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, told ABC News “This Week” in a Sunday interview, “We’re actually closer in my view, to a nuclear war with North Korea and in that region than we have ever been.” When queried on possible routes for negotiations or other options to actual war, he replied, “I don’t see the opportunities to solve this diplomatically at this particular point.” Mr. Mullen’s commentary on President Trump’s efforts did shed some light as he stated, “I think President Trump has made China move more than they have in the past. Whether they continue to do that to help resolve this is the open question. A real measure of how this all comes out is whether China is going to commit to a peaceful resolution here. If they don’t, then I worry a great deal that it’s much more likely there will be conflict.” On the other side of the coin, Mr. Mullen criticized President Trump stating that his actions have been “incredibly disruptive, certainly unpredictable in many many ways. Those who have been our friends for many years ask questions about our commitments to them…and our enemies, those that would do us ill, seem to be able to take advantage of the uncertainty.” Towards the end of the discussion Mr. Mullen added another worry into the mix, Iran, stating, “I worry greatly about the fact that the Iranians will bring forward a nuclear weapon capability. They were very close when the deal was struck. They can redevelop it, I think, very rapidly.” The remarks were in obvious reference to the fact that President Trump decided not to certify that Tehran as being in compliance with the treaty in October leaving the final decision to the Congress.

 

The first thing we would like to point out is that Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen has been out of the loop and not receiving briefings or other information since 2011, quite a period without such vital input for making anything other than broad conjecture. Sure, he has friends and other contacts but many of these would probably not be friendly to President Trump. We have to admit that those who are tied in any way to either the Bush family or President Obama, and Mr. Mullen served under both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama, likely view President Trump in a dim light. With that in mind, let us proceed. First, As far as the charges of President Trump being, “incredibly disruptive, certainly unpredictable in many many ways. Those who have been our friends for many years ask questions about our commitments to them…and our enemies, those that would do us ill, seem to be able to take advantage of the uncertainty.” What does Mr. Mullen think happened under President Obama when our former allies were directly rebuked and former adversaries taken in a coddled like no nations had been so adorned with affection in American history. Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia were all thrown under the bus, Iraq and Afghanistan were evacuated prematurely, the Taliban allowed to return in Afghanistan, ISIS left unchallenged until they became a threat to the Russians who, with the help of the Kurds with President Trump’s air support and weaponry, were eliminated in approximately six months. Under President Obama Iran was rewarded for going ahead with their nuclear weapons research during negotiations, left to inspect themselves and probably had a fairly substantive stockpile of nuclear warheads to fix atop their numerous ballistic missiles. They were also left completely free to develop ballistic missiles and likely have come close if not already having an ICBM. Further, under President Obama North Korea was not sanctioned any more seriously than the United Nations would allow, which is to say nothing additional was imposed, while they developed nuclear warheads to include thermonuclear weapons and Super EMP weapons and the ICBM capable of striking at the least Chicago if not all of the globe. Calling President Trump returning to a more traditional foreign policy and supporting Israel like no president since Truman’s initial recognition, visiting and having a fairly successful summit with most of the Arab League members in Saudi Arabia and restoring our relations with Egypt while placing Iran and North Korea on notice that the party is over and they are being scrutinized once more as the problem rather than a solution a disruptive foreign policy confusing our friends and coddling our enemies explains why he was so admired by President Obama, he has friends and enemies confused just as his President had.

 

The real item here is whether or not the world, the United States in particular, is on the verge of a nuclear war with North Korea or will things inevitably go beyond the cusp leading to all out nuclear war between the United States and North Korea. The one item we agree with Mr. Mullen is that probably the second greatest influence on this entire situation is China. The leadership in China can assist President Trump in two means and work to his detriment in only one way. China has already placed a modicum of pressure on Kim Jong-Un and they can certainly do far more. The two means of assistance they can offer is, of course, putting on a full press and freezing all trade with North Korea and giving President Trump their complete support, or on a lesser note, simply letting Kim Jong-Un know that if he decides to take on the United States that he will be in that endeavor completely on his own and China will do absolutely nothing to prevent the United States from acting as deemed necessary in their own defense. Either of these will help greatly in relieving the pressure unless Kim Jong-Un is truly insane and suicidal. The one means China, or Russia, have of making the situation far more dangerous would be to make known that they are willing and capable to protect North Korea and come to their aid should the United States take any action against the regime of Kim Jong-Un, even in self-defense.

 

President Trump, Kim Jong-Un, President Xi Jinping, President Putin

President Trump, Kim Jong-Un,
President Xi Jinping, President Putin

 

That now allows another layer to be examined. We must determine if Russian President Vladimir Putin or Chinese President Xi Jinping are likely to attach their fate to that of Kim Jong-Un and would they risk war with the United States over protecting North Korea even from an American attack in response to a North Korean offensive strike. Let’s say both Russia and China were to warn-off Kim Jong-Un impressing upon him that they will not support him in attacking the United States and would only protect him from an attack were he to enter negotiations and while the negotiations progress, refrain from any testing of nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles. Even should they arrange four party talks, that should be acceptable providing the Chinese and Russians assure President Trump that their participation will not be in order to protect Kim Jong-Un but to bolster reasonable negotiations. They need also put to rest any ideas of the United States needing to bribe or in any other means reward North Korea for acting responsibly beyond loosening sanctions in stages as they prove their good intentions. The antics and threatening behavior exhibited by Kim Jong-Un is something President Trump would be well advised to make an example such that when the time comes to deal with Iran, they will understand that there will be no rewards or knuckling to threats. President Trump might even invite Russian President Putin to join in pressuring Kim Jong-Un and let the leftists scream Russian collusion anew. Their insane reaction to cooperating with Russia and possibly China as well could prove amusing and even more deranged than the current round proved. However, you slice it, North Korea is but half the problem and even once they have been tamed, there will remain Iran. We would like to close with something which the mainstream media has left unemphasized, Iran and North Korea have colluded, cooperated, traded technology, exchanged knowhow and in all ways worked together to advance their mutual nuclear and ballistic missile technology to the point of carrying out tests, one for the other, to get around sanctions.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

October 5, 2016

Too Many Leaves Have Fallen

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In these days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Jewish New Year and the Day of Atonement, Jews spend much of their free time, and some of the not so free time, reflecting on their actions and shortcomings of the last year and also their entire lives where less than golden practices became habit. In this time I have too often strayed beyond my shortcomings and looked beyond to the shortcomings of my people and the entirety of the human race. Slavery has to be a practice which was carried on far too long nearly into modern times and even now exists in some measure. We were slaves and know its hardships which we recount every year at our Seders. Passover is one of the singular observances where traditions are pretty much set in stone. The odd thing is there are different stones for Jews of different backgrounds. I should know as my father was as Ashkenazi as one can be and my mother was equally Sephardim. Perhaps this was why we only got a half serving of rice at Passover and never enough for a meal. The Seder service which is said in the home in privacy closes with an important and universal hope of all Jews, “Next year in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem). The Seder is far from the only set of prayers which end with this overriding and continual desire amongst all Jews no matter their individual customs, Jerusalem, as the Song of Babylon states, “If I forget thee may my right hand lose its cunning (strength) and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.” That is the seriousness a Jew or any Israelite feels for their eternal Capital City and why the Arabs so demand they control the Old City, the part of which that pleading relates for they know that is the Jewish heart.

 

Remembering our past no matter where your ancestry originates there were pogroms, purifications, jihad, and just simple hatreds which drove our ancestors from their homes with what they could carry. All too often the older children had to carry the younger while father and mother carried what meager belongings they could, the Shabbat table cloth, candle holders, challah plate and cover were mother’s load in addition to what kitchen utensils she could manage while father carried his Tallits, Tefillin, Prayerbooks, Siddurim, Haggadah, necessities for his trade (which may include leading a cow or two or sewing machine, threads, cloth, butchery knives, or whatever and the Rabbi and sons carried the Torah, as many as possible and a few more as leaving even one behind was unthinkable), and whatever other items mother or children could not continue without (his was the burden of family). These fleeing Jews were often the fortunate ones as behind them were those Jews who joined the too lengthy list of fallen leaves. Every Pogrom, Purification, Jihad, forced conversions, Crusades, conquest for Allah, blame for every calamity, blame for disease in the community, and all too often just because we were Jews the leaves fell. People ask how humans could treat their neighbor so cruelly. Well, look to Europe or the past hundred years in the Arab and Muslim worlds or to Russia and remember Nazi Germany and the reasons abound.

 

One need understand the enormity of the history of the Israelite people. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob came from the time when agriculture and herding were just coming into their own and the city states were forming. At this point the first Jews were but a family and believe it or not we are largely still that very same family plus those we have married and the few converts over the ages, often these converts also married into the family and converted in order to do so. There are the claims that the Exodus from Egypt we brought numerous non-Jews with us and if one reads Torah they will see we know of this and these people were kept in a separate camp and were partially responsible for the sin of the golden calf. These others were sent on their separate way with many sailing to Greece with even some Jews who found our ways too difficult and desired a more earthy and pleasure seeking existence which was all the rage in those primitive times. Egypt saw us build a city to a Pharaoh who fashioned himself to be a god. The story of our exit from Egypt is chronicled in the best-selling book in history and one of, if not the, first books ever printed by the printing press. Our travels and travails of forty years in the desert are well chronicled and many youth learn of it early in their educations. The reason why is not so well noted. Put simply, we lacked faith in the promise from Hashem that the land would be granted us by His hand. Instead ten of twelve spies told of giants living in cities behind great and unbreakable walls. The illogic of giants needing walled cities never occurred to the Israelites who reacted to these recounting with great timidity and fear. The two who told of peoples in fear of the coming of the chosen of Hashem and a land flowing with goodness went unheeded as the Jewish people who had lived a life under slavery had not the bravery or independent spirit to conquer a land even with Hashem. For forty years we gave birth to a new people free of the yoke of slavery and filled with the miracles of Hashem such as the manna which fed them in the parched desert of the wastelands they traveled through.

 

Israelite Sin Worshiping of the Golden Calf

Israelite Sin Worshiping of the Golden Calf

 

Jericho put to rest the fears of the former generation as its great walls were no match for the formulae given by Hashem which brought them down. The following victory of Ai and then of the combined armies of the Kings of Canaan proved Hashem truly would grant us the land. What is often passed over is that the Torah gives the Jews the exact method we are to pursue when coming into our promised land with any tribes of people who reside within and it is a very simple method for selecting how one treats those tribes. We are to make them a simple offer. They have three choices of varying ease for their people. The most easy is to remain within the lands on the lands they hold and simply obey the Seven Laws of Noah, the Noahic Code and we will both live and prosper in peace. They can leave the lands and we will not pursue them and wish them well. The least favorable choice is they can choose to war with us at which time we will endeavor to kill every last inhabitant and member of their tribe and burn their crops, slaughter and leave for the buzzards their cattle and remove any and all record that they ever existed from the story of mankind. That was then and we no longer live in those times. What is not well known is that some of the Canaanites chose the first two options and were granted what was promised.

 

History passed and we had an expository period under King David and King Solomon who conquered lands until they reached the Euphrates River, the farthest we have ever reached and we desire far less today, only what was promised which is well documented and for the sake of my regular readers we will not go over this again. You’re welcome. The life went well until we had strayed from Torah and had practiced even idolatry and thus lost the guardianship of Hashem so we fell before the Babylonian sword. This was not our best of times but this exile ended when the Persians conquered Babylon and knowing of Hashem from their recounting of history beseeched that we return and rebuild our Temple and worship Hashem as we desired and simply pay our tribute to the Persians and we would be left in peace. Rather nice of them had that continued forward but there came an overachiever named Haman the Agagite and descendant of Agag, the king of the Amalekites and our saving grace in the form of the Persian Queen Esther. We built the Second Temple and in human history soon thereafter came such luminaries as Confucius, Buddha, Tao, and others who all founded various ancient religions of which a few continue into the modern era. The namedropping was more as making note in history when much of what we call a more modern age came into being and where much of Eastern philosophy had its roots. Eventually we once again gained our freedom, but wait, there’s more.

 

Eventually there was the inevitable family squabble and the Tribes of Israel chose sides with the ten northern tribes taking the name Israel and the southern two tribes being called after the far larger tribe, Judah and the Priestly tribe remained spread amongst the people and largely in Jerusalem under Judah. After the ten northern tribes were carried away as slaves by the Assyrians there were just the priests in Jerusalem and the tribes of Benyamin (a smaller tribe) and Judah the lion, the defenders of the southern borders, remained where most belonged to the tribe of Judah so we became Judeans and eventually simply Jews. The Assyrian Greeks eventually defeated Judah as well and then the Polemic Greeks and one more the Assyrian Greeks followed by the Romans. The Romans got a little put out after the Jews, the name had cemented by them, did which no other people managed, threw off the Roman yoke twice. They dispersed the Jews to the far reaches of their kingdoms and everywhere inbetween such that we would never again challenge Roman rule. That worked rather well and as the Roman Empire slowly crumbled the Jews spread even further but we had a secret weapon through which we remained attached to Jerusalem and our lands always hoping for the Messiah to return us to Eretz Yisroel, and that weapon is Torah. Torah is our history, our rules for life, our traditions, and our defining center which keeps us in touch with Hashem and our covenant and the promises Hashem gave to us. The Torah has kept us a family despite great distances and the stories abound of Jews traveling to a strange place often not by their choosing and upon arrival finding family there, finding Jews who greeted them as only family greets one they have never even known existed. This too was one of the many strands of string that when twined together make the rope which will eventually be spun in Israel, in Jerusalem.

 

Now, as we gather slowly from the far corners of the globe from America to Europe to Japan and the Philippines and India or Ethiopia as well as South Africa, Australia, even the outback and places even stranger and more remote, the time has come to stop believing we are Jews as we no longer are. Jew was the name we were given in captivity by the Greeks and Romans who shortened Judean to Judian to Juw which became spelled Jew. The actual spellings and pronunciations are not important but what Jew came to mean to the gentiles is important. The Jew was the reason for famine, for plague, for war they were always siding with the enemy on both sides as both sides saw Jews fighting for their enemy but were blind to the Jews fighting with them in their armies. The Jew was accused of every ill and even potential harm and the fact that the Jews lived in their own small area, ghetto, and practiced a different religion, often the parent religion to the one the others practiced, they had to be the reason as they were the other wherever they found themselves. When the time came to clean the lands of the disbeliever, the Jew too was cast out or burned at the stake, hung, crucified or whatever punishment was dealt the disbeliever. Often they were simply driven from the land and forced to travel through place after place before finding one which allowed them to settle and reside for the time being. The Jew always kept a number of suitcases packed and one special suitcase in which all their religious items were kept. They would be removed when required to observe the Sabbat or to do morning prayers or observe a holiday and then carefully and respectfully repacked in case they had to leave with little notice. This suitcase was the first one grabbed by the mobs of the pogrom, Crusade or whatever reason was for killing the Jews as this suitcase must have precious jewels to be so carefully guarded. Imagine the look when all they found were some candlesticks, candles, a special tablecloth and few other religious items and books but no jewels or gold or silver other than the few religious items, often only the Shabbat candlesticks. The main thing is the Jew was a temporary guest to be bullied and thrown away when hatreds overwhelmed the people and a frenzied mob sought a target.

 

We are now coming home and we are not going to be bullied or thrown from our lands. We may not be granted easy access to all our lands, even our most precious Biblical Lands in Judea and Samaria. Jerusalem will hopefully not allow to be divided and we again forbidden from visiting our Temple Mount which we built during the times of the Second Temple before Christianity and long before Islam came into this world. Allowing the Synagogues we so meticulously restored or even rebuilt to once again be defiled and destroyed would be a sin of great magnitude. Where we need to try and be accommodating and live with our neighbors on this little sphere orbiting an insignificant star in a moderately large galaxy soon to be merged with an even larger galaxy, we also must remain true to ourselves, our history and, most of all, to Hashem which means that Jerusalem’s old city must remain with the Temple Mount as an intricate and vital part of Israel. The Islamics know the importance of these areas which is the sole reason they demand them to be separated from the Jews. This is the same story which was the reason there were so many wars between Christian and Muslim over Jerusalem and only Jerusalem as that was the reason behind the Crusades and the Islamic conquests, they both wanted to hold the City of the Jewish holiest of places as that is the home of Hashem which both claim to worship (the validity of such claims cannot be covered in brief even in this article). But Jerusalem must remain a part of what is Israel and that should not ever be placed in doubt and slowly the Israelis are realizing this fact.

 

As for the name Jew, that needs change. Those of us residing here in the Holy Lands of Israel are no longer merely Jews even if we are of the seed of Judah, we are Israelites once again. With the airlift of Ethiopians and the Bnei Menashe community from India home to Israel we are once again to be known as the tribes of Israel. There is a group in southwestern India who call themselves the Tribe of Ephraim who were found when a Chabad couple shared a Passover Seder with them. With these tribes of the ten lost tribes of Israel reappearing, the people of Israel are not all but universally of the tribe of Judah, we are once again in transition and should recognize such and refer to ourselves as what we are, Israelites, the Tribes of Israel reuniting in our ancient and holy homelands.

 

Some may ask what should become of the Arab Palestinians. Well, we can offer them three choices. They can live in their own area under their own leadership in a semiautonomous area within Israel where we promise them security and to live in peace and in return they obey the Noahic Code, or they can leave and settle elsewhere in the world and we will wish them safe travels and the best of luck and promise not to pursue them or do them harm as they leave, or they may choose to treat us with violence and hate and do injury to us as a form of war for which we will do as we can to destroy their existence and to erase the fact that they ever resided amongst us. That is what any other people would do and for those who doubt such we would like to point to items such as Northern Ireland and the British.

 

Continuing on, other examples abound such as the Spanish and the Tribes of the Basque and Spain and even France, the many different tribes which made up Yugoslavia until they each went their separate ways, the Czech Republic and Slovakia which separated from Czechoslovakia and the numerous nations which were formed by the victorious powers after World War I that make up much of the Arab Islamic world today and which are now breaking even further into tribal regions, and the conquered lands which now live under the fist of their conquerors such as Tibet or those threatened by nations claiming their right to regain control of these areas such as Taiwan and Mainland China (Red China if your old enough to remember that term) and also Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus and the currently challenged Ukraine all of which are currently under direct or indirect challenge from Putin the Invader’s Russian bear. The changing tides of war and the formation and dissolution of nations has not ended as many wished to believe and world wars are no longer unimaginable. The claim that after the fall of the Soviet Union that history had ended and everything was now at peace and in equilibrium leading Francis Fukuyama to write a piece titled, “The End of History?” which has proven as much folly as the claim once made by the Commissioner of the United States Patent Office in 1899 who it is (attributed) claimed to have said, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.”

 

With all the turmoil in the world today, it is beyond reasonable but is yet true that the world considers what the Israelis do within the lands granted under international laws and treaties to them for their homeland dating from the early 1920’s and the numerous conferences, treaties and conventions which were signed by all the parties involved including the Arab League and King Farouk granting the lands west of the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea to be the area for the land of Israel to be formed. We, the Israeli people ask for no more than that which all powers, even to include the Arabs and Japan, British, French, German, Ottoman, Russian, and eventually the United States, League of Nations and United Nations all recognized and gave their blessings and agreement and yet to this day this is contested. The facts are not contested, just the realization, and there appears to be an undercurrent which is driven by the concept that by ridding the world of Israel, and with it the Jewish people once and for all, will end their ever considering having a real home anywhere on Earth. This is considered a desirable and possible eventuality by the leaders of the Western World to appease and pacify the Arab World. There is one answer for such people, and it is what we promised, “Never Again!”

 

Beyond the Cusp 

 

February 4, 2013

Syria and Israel as the Rumors Fly

It is rumored and pretty much understood that there were a couple of Israeli launched airstrikes against positions and assets inside Syria. There are varying stories as to what exactly was the target of these airstrikes. The initial rumor released by the newswires was that the Israelis struck a truck convoy which was to transfer SA-17 Russian manufactured anti-aircraft missiles to Hezballah in Lebanon. The Syrians claim that what was struck was a military research facility which was used to develop military technologies. Some rumors implied that the facility was a chemical weapons factory but such was not confirmed by Syria. It was recognized that the Syrian sources had a very good reason to deny that they had been preparing to send SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles to Hezballah as they had an agreement with the Russians that the sale of these advances weapons were strictly for use by Syria and would never be transferred to other users, especially Hezballah. Syria would not wish to antagonize their foremost weapons supplier and the veto in the United Nations Security Council which the Russian possess.

Israel, as is their usual protocol, has not admitted nor denied their involvement in the airstrike on Syria. In unofficial statements the Israelis have admitted that they had a high priority on preventing the arming of Hezballah with the SA-17 missiles and that they were not simply boasting when they had stated that the attempt to transfer either such weapons or any chemical weapons to Hezballah in Lebanon would be crossing a red line and would be treated as an act of war against Israel. Their basic position could be seen as claiming that they had prayed that such a transfer would not take place and their prayers were answered. Meanwhile, the Israelis have taken precautions against any retaliatory strike by positioning Iron dome batteries to the north of the country. They have one near Haifa and another placed in the Central Galilee. This has also raised the anxiety of many who live in the north though you would be hard pressed to tell as they continue with their daily lives as to act otherwise would be a form of defeat.

There have been numerous threats made against Israel from numerous fronts. Syria has claimed that they have the means with which to retaliate and strike a mortal blow against Israel and will decide when and how to take their revenge. The Iranian leaders have claimed their right to also respond to the Israeli aggressions and have promised to make Israel and the Hegemonic Force to pay for their actions against the Iranian ally, Syria. Translating, the Hegemonic Force the Iranians are referring to is the United States which is quite normal for them. Iran tends to blame Israel and the United States jointly for any action the Iranians disapprove by either country. They appear to believe that the United States and Israel confer and jointly act as one such that any act by either one damns both in the eyes of Iran. Iran also added that their retaliation might come in the form of an attack made at their direction by their ally Syria; as if Syria would need to be told to attack as otherwise they would forget. Also, Hezballah claims the right to retaliate against Israel for the unwarranted aggression against their ally Syria which they claim had endangered their people as well. With responses like this, it is no wonder why it is often thought that any action made by Israel might ignite the whole of the Middle East. There have been threats made against Israel by similar forces after one of them has committed a very serious terrorist attack which they fear will require an Israeli response. The hope is that Israel would forgo any retaliation if the consequences appear to be too dire. An additional reason for such threats is these terrorists know they can count on the United Nations, the European Union, many NGOs, and numerous individual countries to join their chorus and demand that Israel and all sides show suitable restraint. Strange is there is never a call for quiet and restraint when Israel is the subject of terrorist threats or other aggressions by neighboring countries near and far. Example is the numbers of times the worldly powers that be have insisted Israel take no actions against the Iranian nuclear program without first receiving the blessings from those who will never grant such permission. I guess when it comes to Israel and violent actions the world believes that concerning Israel, it is better to receive than to give. And to think that Israel does not appreciate such generosity.

Beyond the Cusp

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