Foreign Crises/American Blindness

Americans don’t like to think much about foreign affairs. Sometimes, we can be shortsighted, hiding from the reality that what happens on the other side of the world could have a direct impact on us. The new terror group, ISIS, has declared it plans to fly its flag over the White House. Unrealistic boasting? I hope so. But the only way to make sure it never occurs is to take action while we can.

Meanwhile, as Israel continues to fight for its very survival, we have Hamas sympathizers in America who see Israel as the real problem. Are they blind as to how Hamas operates?

Prisoner of War

If some of us are blind, part of the reason is not hard to figure out:

Hangman

And if you are counting on the UN to lend a helping hand, you must be blind to history:

UN Resolution

If it seems like the crises are piling up, you are right. Ah, for simpler times:

Good Old Days

Wouldn’t it be nice to have some real leadership at this crucial time in our nation’s history?

Obama’s Strange Dichotomy

It’s a strange dichotomy. On the one hand, President Obama is fully engaged, while on the other, he’s about as disengaged as a president can be. What am I talking about? On his watch, government has become more intrusive than ever, yet America has nearly disappeared as a world power. I say that’s strange, but the more I think about it, it actually makes sense in an Obama kind of way.

He believes fervently that government direction and control over people’s lives is “better” for them. Government is wiser and more altruistic, in his view. Consequently, he takes over the entire healthcare system (or at least tries to—the jury is out on that, fortunately) and issues executive orders for things a president has no authority to do. Congress, he claims, is too slow and inactive, so he simply must do all of this on his own. He won’t let a little thing like the Constitution stand in his way. He even dares others to try to stop him:

Sue Me

“I have a pen and a phone,” he warns. “So sue me,” he taunts. Those statements won’t exactly go down as some of the most memorable in American presidential history:

Legacies

For the record, I think FDR’s famous line was rather meaningless, but that’s another entire blog post—I’ll skip my thoughts on that one for now.

So our president seems to want to put all Americans in a stranglehold when it comes to their individual choices and he seeks to amass more power for the executive branch than at any time in the American experience. Yet while he focuses on those goals, the world’s problems don’t seem to engage his attention much at all. America, he believes, has been the big bully in the world and needs to step back now. Mouth the right phrases once in a while—Israel has a right to defend itself—but don’t do anything to interfere with the drift into world chaos. In fact, send your secretary of state over to the hot spots like the Middle East and try to win Israel over to all of Hamas’s demands. This is a serious departure from traditional American foreign policy and a near-desertion of one of our staunchest allies.

What does President Obama do while conflagrations abound all around him? He continues to do what he does best:

Oblivious

And fundraisers—don’t forget fundraisers.

While he lives in his fantasy world of government largesse at home and abandonment of global responsibilities, the rest of us suffer the consequences.

No Moral Equivalence in the Middle East

I support Israel. Why? It is the ancient homeland of the Jews, the place where God handed down His law, the center of the world from the establishment of His people through the ministry of Jesus. It is where Jesus suffered and died for us all. It was the scene of His resurrection. Now, none of that necessarily means I should support Israel today. If that nation was a hotbed of terrorism and a threat to the world, I wouldn’t support it. However, it is not. It is the only oasis in a desert of Islamist extremism.

Israel has had to defend itself against nearly everyone in the Middle East, and has done so since 1948. It is doing so again, in an attempt to stop the rocket attacks from Hamas in the Gaza Strip. As I’ve noted in a previous post, if Hamas and all the other extremists were to lay down their arms, there would be peace; if Israel were to lay down its arms, it would be wiped off the map. There is no moral equivalence here; the aggression lies on one side.

Cease Fire

The only time Hamas is in favor of a ceasefire is if it helps renew the attack:

Reload

In the past, America has been the stalwart ally of Israel, while simultaneously attempting to broker peace agreements. We always had the good of Israel in mind. Under the Obama administration, that is no longer the case. Ronald Reagan always used to say that the nine scariest words one can hear are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Israel is hearing those scary words today:

Here to Help

John Kerry’s latest truce appeal was so one-sided toward Hamas that Israel had no option but to reject it. His ideology mirrors that of his president. Neither views Hamas or Muslim extremism as the real problem; therefore, they have no real solution:

More Daisies

Hamas should be anathema to all Americans, but the organization has something going for it in our country:

Secret Weapon

The media will focus on demonstrations in favor of Hamas while neglecting to mention some salient facts like how that terrorist group uses children as human shields and stores weapons in schools and hospitals. Children also were used to dig the tunnels that are used to spread more terror in Israel. Reports indicate that hundreds of children died digging those tunnels, but that’s barely news to those who are ideologically blind:

Undermined

And behind it all is Iran, which is financing the terror attacks, hoping Hamas can carry out the ultimate aim—complete destruction of the Jewish state.

Puppet

Our administration doesn’t see the threat. Our political leaders may give lip service to it once in a while, but that’s just standard talk for public consumption. Beneath the talk is the true motivation: empathy for the oppressed Palestinians. Never mind that they are oppressed primarily by their own people. It’s far easier to blame Israel.

America, Russia, & Israel

There will be wars and rumors of wars, Jesus told His disciples. They will end only when He returns. I don’t know if there are more wars and disturbances now than ever, or if we simply are more aware of them due to mass communications. But the underlying cause for them is the sinful heart of man. People want something, and they do not have it, so they strike out at others, the apostle James declared. Biblical instruction from thousands of years ago remains true today.

In the past week, the world has been rocked by two major events. The first is the downing of a Malaysian airliner carrying nearly 300 people. All perished in the attack by dissidents/terrorists in Ukraine who want to unite with Russia. This is an outgrowth of Vladimir Putin’s encroachment on Ukraine and his desire to take it over, piece by piece. While the international community—such as it is—wrings its hands over this atrocity, few doubt the hand behind it:

Heat Signature

Then there’s the Middle East, always ripe for violence. Those of us who pay attention to Biblical prophecy and try to sort it out are not surprised. We also know this area will never be at peace. Again, it is the sinful heart of man that has led to the latest round of violence. Let’s be clear, though: when it comes to Israel and its enemies, this is not a moral equivalence situation. As noted by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, the difference can be expressed this way—if Hamas lays down its weapons, there will be peace; if Israel lays down its weapons, there will be no more Israel.

It’s Hamas that started the rain of rockets into Israel that has led to most of the citizens living in shelters. A nation can’t put up with that for long. Israel had to respond and try to destroy Hamas’s capability to continue those attacks (missiles supplied by Iran, by the way). Their invasion of Gaza is completely justified. They warn Palestinians to get out of the way; Hamas tells them to stay put so that many will die and they can use the deaths for propaganda purposes:

Death to Israel

The foolish among us then blame Israel for what is happening. The U.S., historically, has been Israel’s staunchest ally. We have helped them install the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system that has effectively neutralized many of those missiles. Hamas has an Iron Dome of its own, but entirely different:

Iron Domes

Yet Israel’s strongest supporter in the past is no longer its greatest ally, if it is an ally indeed. Both President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry mouth the usual platitudes about Israel having the right to defend itself, while simultaneously casting aspersions on Israel for actually doing it. Their public statements seem to imply that Israel is the real problem. They point to the loss of life in Gaza as if this is Israel’s fault. Kerry even was caught on a “hot mic” before his Fox interview sarcastically commenting on Israel’s precision strikes in Gaza. No longer can Israel count on the American government:

Stands Behind Israel

In both these situations—in Ukraine and the Middle East—where is the American president? Out fundraising. Some commentators are beginning to refer to him as the semi-retired president. He’s no real leader.

Leading from Behind

As I’ve said repeatedly, and will say again here: we’re in trouble.

Through the Lens of Christian Faith

I’m grateful for the Thanksgiving break last week. It was good to get away, spend time with extended family and some “old” friends/former students, and kind of let the world do whatever it chose to do for a while without my involvement. Yes, I did check in from time to time to see if the world was still here. While on my hiatus, the following events transpired:

  • More layoffs occurred or have been planned by businesses since the election. The primary reason: the looming specter of Obamacare, which is threatening to destroy those businesses that can’t pay the increased costs. I see that some of our less-well-informed citizens are blaming the businesses themselves rather than the onerous regulations and cost associated with the Obama administration’s signature legislation. Our ignorance continues apace.
  • Hamas decided to declare an unofficial war against Israel. Tensions peaked, with an Israeli invasion of Gaza readied. Why did Hamas choose this time to act? Could it have had something to do with the election as well? They know they have an ally in the White House for four more years, a man sympathetic to their aims. Israel, on the other hand, is poised to suffer through another four years of perfunctory public pronouncements of support coupled with private disdain and contempt. President Obama will say whatever is necessary for public consumption while undercutting the Israeli state at every turn. Meanwhile, one poll shows that only about 40% of Democrats back Israel in their quest for self-defense. It appears the image of anti-Semitism that raised its head at the party convention is making progress. One wonders how long American Jews will remain blinded by the treatment their brethren are receiving from the political party to which most of them have chosen to give their allegiance.

  • Secretary of State Clinton and Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi hammered out a truce between Israel and Hamas—one that Hamas considers a victory. Don’t be surprised if this duo wins the next Nobel Peace Prize for accomplishing . . . nothing. After all, it’s been granted for doing nothing before. Right, Mr. President?
  • Morsi then declared himself dictator of Egypt, setting aside the entire judicial system of that country. He is now claiming one-man rule. Ah, the fresh breeze of the Arab Spring still inspires!

Yet despite all these developments, I see no sign that the American electorate is suffering any remorse over its latest decision. As I noted in a previous post, we are a nation on the edge, positioned to jettison our Biblical heritage once and for all. We no longer think Biblically; in fact, to do so is becoming precarious for those who remain faithful to Biblical truth. Biblical morality is increasingly considered a “problem.”

The society around us is attempting to divorce itself from the truths God has implanted within each of us and seeks to create new “truths.” Christian apologist C. S. Lewis, in his treatise The Abolition of Man, described pretty well the futility of any such effort:

There never has been, and never will be, a radically new judgment of value in the history of the world. What purport to be new systems or (as they now call them) “ideologies,” all consist of fragments from the Tao [Natural Law given by God] itself, arbitrarily wrenched from their context in the whole and then swollen to madness in their isolation, yet still owing to the Tao [Natural Law] and to it alone such validity as they possess. . . . The rebellion of new ideologies against the Tao is a rebellion of the branches against the tree: if the rebels could succeed they would find that they had destroyed themselves. The human mind has no more power of inventing a new value than of imagining a new primary colour, or, indeed, of creating a new sun and a new sky for it to move in.

The rebels ultimately will fail, but they will hurt and destroy lives along the way, and may drag an entire society into the pit as they proceed.

As I said at the beginning of this post, it was nice to take a break, but I cannot leave the field of battle for the hearts and minds of my fellow citizens. Another Lewis quote reverberates within me:

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.

My pledge is to keep on faithfully viewing and writing about our culture, our politics, and our government through the lens of the Christian faith. It shines the light of truth on everything it touches . . .  and it touches everything.

Sure, Why Not Another Terrorist State?

I’ve been concentrating on electoral politics lately. There have been other stories that deserve attention as well. One of those is the Palestinian effort to be recognized as a legitimate nation at the U.N. This comes to the forefront of what the media has dubbed the “Arab Spring.” The narrative goes something like this: despotic rulers are being displaced by freedom-loving moderates throughout the Arab world, so we should rejoice over this encouraging development.

Unfortunately, I believe this is closer to the reality:

Those freedom-loving crowds are the same ones attacking the Israeli embassy in Egypt and calling for death for all non-Muslims. The centerpiece of this Middle Eastern religious and cultural clash is the promotion of a Palestinian state. That’s why Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made his trek to the U.N. last week to press for statehood. He gave a speech to the General Assembly, arguing the merits of this move:

The problem is that both factions of Palestinians—the Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO] and Hamas—have, as their philosophical foundation, the destruction of the nation of Israel. The most fanatical of them seek to kill all Jews. Of course, Abbas didn’t say any such thing in his address, but the undercurrent is present nevertheless.

No, he didn’t wear the t-shirt, but that doesn’t negate the underlying premise.

The Obama administration’s response, so far, has been in line with American policy in all the decades since Israel’s birth in 1948. We’re told we will continue to stand with Israel by vetoing, in the Security Council, any attempt to recognize a Palestinian state. But please forgive me if I still have some concerns about that. We have a president who is so sympathetic to the Palestinian cause—remember his “church” back in Chicago that put statements from Hamas in its Sunday bulletins?—that I’m not sure he will remain steadfast with that veto.

The only real hope that he will keep his word is that he needs the Jewish vote again in 2012.

The Media Drumbeat

Have you caught the new media mantra? It goes something like this: “What a weak field of presidential aspirants on the Republican side. There’s no one of real stature there.” The goal of some, I believe, is to repeat this endlessly until the majority believes it. After all, if something is uttered often enough, it must be true, right?

Well, that field includes a former governor of Minnesota who managed a Democrat-majority state for two terms and still maintains his conservative credentials. It also has a sitting congressman, a former senator, another former governor, and a business CEO. A congresswoman who not only raised her own family but also opened her home for twenty-three foster children is poised to enter the race as well.

Now, I don’t agree with all of those candidates on everything, and there are a couple I could never see myself voting for, but that doesn’t mean it’s a weak field. Do you want to consider weak credentials for the presidency? How about the following example?

Consider a man who, while a state senator, earned a reputation as “Senator Present” for avoiding votes on many controversial issues—who served as a U.S. Senator for two years, virtually in absentia because he almost immediately began running for president—who commented that he had visited all 57 states [does anyone recall the media ridiculing him for that? Sarah Palin never said she could see Russia from her front porch, yet she is still ridiculed for that bogus statement made by a comedian]—who told supporters that the problem with some Americans is that they are bitter clingers to their guns and their religion, and they don’t like anybody different than them—who clearly told a man that it was best for the government to redistribute his income to help others—who sat in a church for twenty years listening to a wacko “pastor” speak out against America and Israel and white people generally—a man who had absolutely no executive experience and never ran anything—

Do I really need to continue?

Yet somehow this man became president, while a true reform governor like Palin has been ripped apart for things she never said and events she never caused [remember the Tucson shootings?].

This past week, he said Israel should return to its pre-1967 borders. I know he tried to backtrack afterwards, but if you listen carefully even to his later words, the onus is on Israel, in his mind, to make concessions—even to terrorist organizations like Hamas.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu took this president to task the day after his infamous statement. Some commentators were horrified that a foreign head of state would dare to “lecture” the U.S. president. If you watch what Netanyahu said, you will see that he carried himself with diplomatic civility while delivering a much-needed message.

The tragedy is that this president is so ideologically bound to the other side that he won’t really learn anything from the lesson.

So, as you hear the media drumbeat that will attempt to trivialize Obama’s competition, keep in mind these media people have their own agenda. They are “in the tank,” so to speak, for his reelection. Don’t allow the “newspeak” to sway you. Listen to what those competitors for his job are really saying and make up your own mind as to their worthiness. In my opinion, any of them would be an improvement over what we now have.