Tag Archives: Obama

Coming Soon: Dystopia!

dystopia filmsRecently there have been a variety of movies released by Hollywood that have been exploring the “post-apocalyptic” or “dystopian” themes about the future. Generally speaking, in such movies civil society is going or has already gone to hell (the reasons vary). As a result, everyone is left scrambling to survive or die amidst ruins, violence, and fear except for the hero of the story and his/her love interest who somehow manage to save the day and restore hope in some form. Or, if it’s a European movie, the hero gets killed off and the villains win.

Nevertheless, one assumes most of those screenwriters have merely fallen ill to a creative bug of pessimism  spawned by that infectious Hollywood disease of financial avarice. After all what better way to make a few hundred million than to exploit the public’s perverse desire to be scared spitless by some horror, for a few hours. But then, after the show we expect to go home to our comfy beds and then get up in the morning to pursue our  predictably pleasant and mostly enjoyable existence. Nobody really wants to wake up stuck in a feverish dystopian nightmare of hopeless hardship and gut-wrenching fear that won’t go away like a bad dream.

But my heart is heavy with grief. Weep for me, for I wither away. Deceit still prevails, and treachery is everywhere. Terror and traps and snares will be your lot, you people of the earth. Those who flee in terror will fall into a trap,and those who escape the trap will be caught in a snare. Destruction falls like rain from the heavens; the foundations of the earth shake. (Isaiah 24:16b-18 New Living Translation).

Unfortunately for us, too many of our current world’s leaders are deceitfully writing the scripts for a future distopia that I would have only thought to be product of some Hollywood scriptwriter’s over-active imagination.

Who would have thought that the leaders responsible for one of the world’s most important greek bank robberycentres of liberal Western civilization–the European Union–would have transformed itself into an austerity-obsessed, undemocratic “debtor’s prison”–to quote from Philippe Legrain in his article, “The Berlin Bulldozer and the Sack of Athens,” Foreign Policy magazine, July 13, 2015.

What the Eurozone’s leaders are doing to the Greek people is truly astonishing. Their current “bailout plan” will force the Greeks to add an additional Euro 85 billion to the current Greek debt level of Euro 325 billion–pushing the Greek debt to GDP ratio to over 200 percent! Yet the Eurozone leaders knew when they proposed this bailout plan that the International Monetary Fund had called the Greek debt greek suicide choicepredicament “highly unsustainable” (http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2015/cr15186.pdf).

If an already bankrupt Greece does not presently have  a hope in hell of paying off its current  debt of Euro 325 billion, then how does adding an additional Euro 85 billion over the next three years make any financial sense? Even the International Monetary Fund knows it’s crazy-making irrationality!

As Philippe Legrain writes:greek debt uphill

“The Eurozone as a whole remains an economic basket case and a democratic disgrace. It is trapped in a nightmarish limbo where politics precludes the creation of common institutions that would cage German power and put the European Central Bank in its place, while fear prevents its victims from leaving. So much for the European dream.”

And what about the just signed-in-Vienna Iranian Nukes Deal? Will it facilitate the dream for peace in the Middle East?

neville kerryHow will financially strengthening Iran–the world’s foremost state-sponsor of terrorism–to the tune of about an extra $100 billion annually–make for peace in the world’s powderkeg? The deal allows the Iranian mullahs to earn at least one trillion extra dollars from their oil sales over ten years for merely promising to delay for a decade their development of nuclear bombs! This is a great deal for Iran and goes a long way towards helping it become the new Middle Eastern hegemon–the blood-soaked region’s new top dog.

The Vienna deal will allow Iran to continue its work on the development of its ballistic missilesobama mock iran while at the same time, secretly, to refine its nukes program (everyone knows they will cheat). Obama’s approved deal will relieve the Islamic Republic from the effects of the West’s regimen of punishing financial sanctions. So now  Iran will be able to strengthen its regional proxies: Lebanese Hezbollah, Palestinian Hamas, Yemeni Houtis, Syria’s Assad, and the various Iraqi Shi’ite militias. After ten years of this “good” deal, Israel–the West’s only reliable democracy in the region–will face an existential threat that it will be hard-pressed to effectively counter. Oh yes, arms dealers will also be big winners of this “good” Iranian nukes deal.

chinese stock marketAnd finally there’s the news of the Chinese stock market meltdown. With its opaque financial data and economic system who knows what to believe when the Chinese state tells big investors to buy and hold or be executed? Talk about voodoo economics! We know the world’s financial system almost melted down about 7 years ago. It may yet happen again due to the Chinese contagion and we’ll only learn about it the morning after.

Throughout the world, our leaders are now writing the scripts for a coming dystopia that will be so bad that Jesus of Nazareth prophesied:

For then there will be great tribulation (a dystopia of affliction, distress, and oppression) such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now—no, and never will be [again]. And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would endure and survive, but for the sake of the elect (God’s chosen ones) those days will be shortened (Matthew 24:21-22 Amplified Bible).

So where do we find security in times like these?

The Lord is exalted, for He dwells on high;
He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness.
Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times,
And the strength of salvation;
The fear of the Lord is His treasure.

(Isaiah 33:5-6 NKJV)

Want to learn more? Watch these videos.
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The depth of the West’s impotency

g7There were important international meetings this week in the Western world that resulted in some speeches by various leaders of the West, a number of press conferences, and even a non-binding U.N. resolution denouncing Russia’s annexation of Crimea. We heard a lot of talk about “isolating” Russia, including throwing them out of that exclusive club formerly known as the G-8, as well as a series of announcements applying travel restrictions and financial sanctions on maybe 30 to 40 insider Russians and pro-Russian Ukrainians.

But the uncontestable bottomline is that Crimea is now a part of Russia and the West has proven itself to be impotent to do anything more than talk and issue vague threats about what will happen if Putin continues to be a bad boy. obama hague

For the new interim government in Kyiv, the depths of their defeat in Crimea has now come into sharp focus. Igor Tenyukh, Ukraine’s interim defense minister, resigned this week, taking the blame for this catastrophe. He learned the hard way that Western talk was no match to Russian resolve and organization. Of course the Ukrainian defense minister was also shamed by the fact that about three-quarters of his Ukrainian military force stationed in Crimea decided to switch sides and swear allegiance to their Russian rivals!

All this seems to lend credence to the feeling by many observers that the new anti-Russian Kyiv government is utterly incompetent if not delusional.

For example, when announcing her intention to run for the Ukraine presidency in the upcoming May elections, Yulia Tymoshenko—the former prime minister of Ukraine who had previously lost the 2010 presidential elections to Viktor Yanukovych who was then forced out of office about a month ago by the street rioting in Kyiv — this same Yulia promises the voters of Ukraine that she Yuliacan work miracles to revive Ukraine’s disorganized, corrupt government, and turn around the bankrupt national economy, while at the same time re-arm its military with the latest weapons in order to force the “return” of Crimea from Mother Russia.

Good luck with all that, Yulia! From the results of her first term in office I would be somewhat skeptical about her ability to make good on her promises.

The United States and European Union are going to have to bail out the Ukrainians to the tune of tens of billions of dollars/euros— repeatedly. They have announced that they going to do this. But why?

Since neither the United States nor the European Union were willing to risk going to war with the Russians over Crimea, I doubt they would be able to bring themselves to put it all on the line for any other piece of the Ukraine should the Russians decide to carve off another chunk when provided with an appropriate excuse by the Kyiv government itself!

Why keep the Ukrainian government afloat with its polarizing, unrealistic leaders like Yulia? Just so that they can foment another crisis with the Russians sometime in the near future, and so set up the Western powers for a repeat demonstration to the world of their complete political impotency?

Since the Second World War the world has looked to the president and government of the Unitedpax States to exercise effective leadership in international affairs. And for 70 years or so now the developed world has mostly enjoyed a Pax Americana of peace and prosperity. But the age of American hegemony is obviously weakening.

Three times now Vladimir Putin has put America to the test and found it wanting: by slapping down the nation of Georgia in 2008, by protecting the Bashar Assad regime in Syria from Western bombing in 2013, and now by annexing Crimea. Russia acted on its interests contrary to the United States and nothing of any significance happened as a result. The U.S.A.’s decline is on open display.

The consequences of this American political impotency are just starting. Consider this:

obama policeman“Last week [Israeli Defense Minister] Ya’alon spoke at a forum at Tel Aviv University that was closed to the media. There he bemoaned the Obama administration’s abandonment of the US’s traditional role as the world’s policeman and considered its significance for Israel. With regard to Iran’s nuclear program, Ya’alon said that the time had come for Israel to recognize that the US has not met its expectations and taken the lead to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. As a consequence, “We [Israelis] have to look out for ourselves,” (Caroline Glick, “Why bring down Ya’alon,” Jerusalem Post, Mar. 24, 2014).

The Georgian (the nation) newspaper, Rezonansi, ran this front-page headline “Ridiculous sanctions—the West’s punishment is greeted with ironic amusement in Moscow.”

The Czech Republic daily newspaper, Lidove Noviny, remarked in despair and frustration, “Putin’s signing of the annexation treaty is a done deal. This deal reflects the West’s helplessness—all it could manage in response are declarations and sanctions. These are steps which simply cannot stop the Russian president.”

Petras Vaitiekunas, the Lithuanian ambassador to Ukraine, was quoted by the business newspaper, Verslo Zinios, in saying that the day the Crimea voted to join Russia was “the day when the world order collapsed, which for 69 years has guaranteed the peace of Europe.”

Wild exaggerations? How long will it be before the next test comes? How long will OUR North American peace and prosperity zone last if this display of U.S. impotence continues?

If you’re wondering why America and the West have become politically impotent, read my previously posted blog. Obama and America need to clean up their own act before they are in any position to tell off Putin and Russia with even a remote chance of success.

The Sunset of the American Empire

1-Obama-vs-PutinWhen it comes to the quick and successful Russian occupation of the Crimean peninsula, U.S. President Barak Obama insists that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “on the wrong side of history.”

Again, in comments about the Crimean takeover, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said, “The world cannot just allow this to happen.” But neither Obama administration nor the other Western democracies are even remotely suggesting they use the military option to meet such aggression with determination and power.

Neither Obama’s America nor the European Union will risk going to war with Russia over the fate of the Crimea or even ALL the eastern Russian-speaking half of the Ukraine. It’s just Putin’s for the taking.

Like the recent crisis in Syria over the use of poison gas to kill Syrian rebels and civilians, it appears that Putin’s Russia is setting the agenda in the arenas of its choosing.

And I have to acknowledge that in such an age as ours with its omnipresent video and social putin bear obamamedia, Putin is remarkably media savvy. He has cleverly stage-managed a Crimean velvet invasion, avoiding nasty scenes on the nightly news and Internet of Russian troops causing violence and bloodshed.

Still, whatever the Russian rationale (and they can make an interesting case) the heart of the issue remains clear in international law: invasion of one state by another without a serious existential threat or provocation in order to annex coveted territory is plainly and simply a no-no. If not effectively opposed and reversed what’s happened in Crimea will be a blinking neon sign advertising that its now open season for the world’s aggressors to initiate a new round of changes to the world’s maps.

What’s at stake is not just about defending the right of Ukrainians to decide their own future. What’s hanging in the balance is the whole structure of current international relations and the present status quo. Is the crisis in the Ukraine announcing the sunset of the American Empire? Has America effectively abandoning its role as the world’s policeman?  And, if it will not longer act as the dominant power of the world—how long will it be before the American dollar also loses its role world’s reserve currency? The implications of all this is profound. Is the American era unraveling and coming to an end before our very eyes?

The consequences of what has happened in Crimea should not be viewed in isolation from what has been happening elsewhere on the world stage over the recent past. There are some principles iranian hostage crisisof human affairs that are immutable. High stakes diplomacy is inevitably a test of wills. Every act by a state during a crisis signals either of its strong will and convictions or its lack thereof. Weakness invites more aggression.

The present situation calls for a beefy presidential backbone rather than a turkey wishbone to be sitting in the Oval Office. Many commentators are drawing parallels between Jimmy Carter’s weak presidency and that of the current occupant of the White House. But actually, the situation for America now is much more dire now than it was 35 years ago during the Iranian hostage crisis.

crimea europe mapWithout strong leadership from America, the rest of the Western democracies will prove unwilling to make any move that could harm their own narrow economic interests and/or complicate their domestic politics. Besides, all together, the Western allies just don’t possess the raw military power that the U.S. does.

Although the United States actually has the power to force a reversal of the Crimean takeover, America’s political leadership doesn’t have the strength of will that comes from strong moral convictions to actually use that power to stand up for the underdog Ukrainians.

Of course this isn’t the first time the current U.S. president preferred wet noodles over backbone. This is the same president who last year refused to force the Shi’ite Iranians to stop developing their nuclear weapons program that threatens to destroy and/or intimidate America’s major allies in the Middle East: Jewish Israel and the Sunni Arab petro-states of the Persian Gulf.

So why does the United States lack the backbone to speak softly while credibly threatening to use their great big stick on the world’s bullies? Why indeed!soldier flag

The answer is surprising.

From its founding, America thought of itself as an “exceptional” nation, a shining city on the hill beckoning all of humanity to embrace high moral values. The explicit foundation of this American “exceptionalism” was the nation’s Judeo-Christian morality, which was sustained by a vibrant personal religious zeal that believed that faith must be put into action whatever the cost in time, treasure, and blood. This lively personal piety flowed from the private sphere into the public sphere to enlighten the conduct of the nation’s business. Judeo-Christian morality informed the government in its policies, diplomacy, and even the exercise of power. Americans saw themselves as the best hope to change and improve the world. And they did something about it because they believed they had a mission to do so.

But for two generations now the well-spring of American exceptionalism has been dramatically drying up just like the American Southwest has been drying up in its worst drought in 500 years. In ca droughtfact most leaders of the American public sphere can no longer sincerely proclaim “In God We Trust” without a large dose of brazen hypocrisy. I almost gag when I hear some particular American politicians say, “God bless America.” They are such hypocrites!

Major segments of America’s leadership have completely turned their backs on biblical morality and are actively seeking to undermine and destroy it.

Consequently, the shining city is being transformed—rapidly now—into a 21st Century version of Sodom and Gomorrah with a heavy emphasis on prosperity and almost none on biblical morals. The shining city on the hill is fast becoming a den of iniquity that must resort to buying its lovers attention since it can no longer attract them with the beauty of sincere high moral virtues.

As a direct consequence, the Bible’s God promises that He will “break the pride of your power” (see Leviticus 26:18-19). God is speaking in this scripture of an “exceptional” nation that once publicly claimed Him far and wide as their God. But such a people later turned against Him and became degenerate in the both public and private spheres as defined according to the biblical scriptures. As a consequence, those people were punished and punished some more until they repented of their faithlessness and turned back to their God.

Woe to any nation like the Ukraine that depends on a similar faithless, hypocritical nation to defend it from the covetousness of an audacious enemy. A hypocritical, faithless nation’s pride in its power will always be broken—eventually. The Ukrainian crisis is revealing to the bullies of the world just how weak America’s pride in its power has become.

Leviticus 26:18-19 (ESV) 18 And if in spite of this you will not listen to me, then I will discipline you again sevenfold for your sins, 19 and I will break the pride of your power, and I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze.

When Does the Other Shoe Fall?

Last week the most astonishing news came out of Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put together, unexpectedly, a much larger governing Likud coalition for the State of Israel by bringing into the government the middle-of-the –road, politically speaking, Kadima party. This new unity government controls a little more than 78 percent of the votes in the Israeli parliament. Very few governments in the Western, democratic world can match that sort of consensus. In fact, the weighty impact of this majority is described by one Israeli columnist as a “hundred tons of solid concrete” (Charles Krauthammer, Netanyahu’s unity government prepares the ground for May 1967, National Post, May 11, 2012). What does Netanyahu’s move mean?

Oh yawn, you think. Another boring news story about byzantine coalition-building? I mean, over the weekend all we heard about was how the Greeks have been unable to cobble together enough similarly minded parties to run a government that would either go along with the German-imposed austerity plan or reject it. This political deadlock will most certainly force that nation back to the polls in another 3 or 4 weeks to see if the Greek nation can achieve a majority consensus one way or the other.

But what is happening in Israel, today, is diametrically the opposite of what is happening in Greece. Yet these opposites are part of a continuum of change that is going to dramatically rock the world in the near future. How? Why?

In Israel it is clear that Netanyahu in making his coalition deal with Kadima turned down an opportunity to call elections for this fall at a time when the polls clearly indicated Likud would win another mandate for four more years of government and do it in a manner that would increase the number of the Likud seats in the Knesset.  So why make a big tent coalition that at the most has only 17 more months in power before parliamentary elections must be held? The math doesn’t make sense on the face of it. Why pick 17 months of governing authority instead of 48?

Well, Netanyahu isn’t doing the coalition deal to force concessions from his right-wing religious coalition partners about requiring the ultra-orthodox Israeli Jews to actually do their compulsory army service like all the rest of the Israelis. Though it will help.

Nor is he doing it to be able to make painful concessions to the Palestinians in peace talks. The Palestinians really can’t bring themselves to make a deal that Netanyahu could live with. After all, deep down, the Palestinians are holding out for the whole Canaan pie not just a slice of the pie in the West Bank and Gaza. Peace talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis are a zero-sum game. That’s why no solution has been able to be found ever since the United Nations split up the old British mandate of Palestine in 1947. Netanyahu understands this. So that is not a reason for his new super-majority coalition.

The reason for this “hundred tons of solid concrete” is to make a crucial, nationally existential decision within a rather narrow window of five months beginning now and running to shortly before the U.S. elections on November 11, 2012: Does Israel stop Iran in its headlong drive for nuclear weapons or not?

Israel must act during this time while Egypt and Syria are still divided and in confusion. Israel must act while Barak Obama still needs the votes of American Jews and those of many other Americans who are both friends of Israel and democrats. Once Obama is re-elected this fall, which is likely, Netanyahu doubts his tiny nation could expect much help from what was once its most important ally.

Israelis have had to learn the hard way that it is foolish to ignore the threats of annihilation uttered long and loud by their enemies.  The effects of such a conflict as a catalyst will be profound, and unsettling, leading to many unanticipated consequences in both the European Union, the United States, and  other nation states.

It is amazing to think that here we are in the 21st Century and still a little nation called Israel and the Jews continue to play a central role in the theatre that is Western civilization. Consider this prophecy that is as current today as when it was originally penned about 520 B.C by the Prophet Zechariah:

I have decided that Jerusalem will become a bowl of wine that makes the neighboring nations drunk. And when Jerusalem is attacked, Judah will also be attacked. But I will turn Jerusalem into a heavy stone that crushes anyone who tries to lift it.

When all nations on earth surround Jerusalem, I will make every horse panic and every rider confused. But at the same time, I will watch over Judah. Then every clan in Judah will realize that I, the Lord All-Powerful, am their God, and that I am the source of their strength.

 At that time I will let the clans of Judah be like a ball of fire in a wood pile or a fiery torch in a hay stack. Then Judah will send the surrounding nations up in smoke. And once again the city of Jerusalem will be filled with people (Zechariah 12:2-6 Contemporary English Version).