Archive for the ‘CONSERVATISM’ Category


November 19, 2017

Newsmax on November 17, 2017, published a list of the 100 Most Influential Evangelicals in America including pastors, teachers, politicians, athletes, and entertainers — men and women from all walks of life whose faith leads them to live differently and to help others in a variety of ways. Please find below the top ten names:

1. Billy Graham — Rev. Graham has slowed down in his active ministry — he will turn 100 next November — but he’s built a legacy as the greatest preacher of the gospel America has ever known. Graham has preached the gospel to nearly 215 million people in stadiums around the world and led more than 3.2 million people to Christ at his Crusades over the years. But his influence is felt beyond the call of invitation as well. Graham opposed racial segregation in the 1950s, integrated his services, and worked to dismantle the black and white divide in America’s church. He advised U.S. presidents on spiritual matters over the course of five decades.

2. Franklin Graham — A bit of a prodigal son in his youth, Franklin Graham eventually followed in his father Billy Graham’s footsteps while also forging his own influential ministry through Samaritan’s Purse, an organization that provides disaster and humanitarian relief and also offers the gospel to millions of people around the world.

3. Joel Osteen — Encouraging people to believe that God will bless them in big ways, Osteen’s messages are televised to more than 7 million viewers each week and 20 million each month in more than 100 countries. He pastors the largest church in America, Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, with some 45,000 weekly attendees.

4. Mike Huckabee — The former pastor who served as governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007, Huckabee was a Republican primary presidential candidate in 2008 and 2016, winning the Iowa Republican caucuses in 2008. He had a talk show on the Fox News Channel from 2008 to 2015 and has also written best-selling books about the intersection of politics and religion. He now hosts “Huckabee” on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.

5. Pat Robertson — Perhaps best known as the host of the “The 700 Club,” Robertson is the chancellor and CEO of Regent University and the chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network. He also founded the International Family Entertainment Inc. (ABC Family Channel, now Freeform), and the American Center for Law and Justice, among other organizations, and is an important voice for conservative Christianity in the United States.

6. Rick Warren — The founder and senior pastor of Saddleback Church, a megachurch in California, Warren became a household name with the release of his book “The Purpose Driven Life,” which sold more than 32 million copies and is widely billed as one of the best-selling nonfiction hardcover book in history.

7. Jerry Falwell Jr. — The president of Liberty University, one of the largest evangelical Christian colleges in the U.S., Falwell took over after his father’s and the school founder’s death in 2007. He has made controversial remarks about gun rights and endorsed Donald Trump for the Republican nomination, speaking at the 2016 Republican National Convention in his support. Falwell Jr. also invested $5 million of Liberty’s endowment in Israel in 2016.

8. Joyce Meyer — A charismatic Christian author, Meyer has written more than 100 books and hosts a popular TV show, “Enjoying Everyday Life,” that teaches people how to live the Christian life and overcome their problems with faith in Christ and common sense.

9. Mike Pence — The former Indiana governor was chosen by Trump to be his vice president in large part for his traditional Christian conservatism. He is notably creationist and pro-life, and attributes many of his political stances to his evangelism. As one commentator put it, “Pence doesn’t simply wear his faith on his sleeve — he wears the entire Jesus jersey.”

10. Mark Burnett and Roma Downey — A married couple, Burnett and Downey are television and movie producers who have produced faith-based content like “The Bible” miniseries and 2016’s “Ben-Hur,” run Lightworkers Media, the family and faith division of MGM studios, and launched Light TV in 2016, a faith-based television channel through MGM.



October 9, 2017

The Guardian (UK) on September 29, 2017, published an article, (”The right is rising and social democracy is dying across Europe – but why”) by Josef Joffe, a German editor of the journal Die Zeit and American academic (Hoover Institution, Stanford University). A similar article by Joffe but on the global implications of this trend can be found on-line at the journal American Conservative (”The Relentless Decline of the Social Democracy in the West”) in October 2017.

It is an important subject. For excerpts from the Guardian article see below:

To put it brutally, the reformist left is losing its customer base

The common denominator is resentment and protest.

…these sentiments highlight a…bigger picture: the precipitous decline of those large centre-left parties…that have governed…Europe since the second world war.

The[German Social Democratic Party] SPD is battling long-term decay. Here, too, Germany is not alone; the signs of decline for social democracy stretch across Europe.

In Italy, the once mighty Italian Socialist party (PSI) is no more. The Socialist party in France used to be strong…In this year’s presidential race, they captured only 6.4% in the first round. In Scandinavia, the moderate left has taken a beating.

The Dutch Labour party (PvdA) has plunged from 19% to less than 6% in five years. A similar fate has befallen Greece’s Pasok. To take in the whole panorama, imagine a map of Europe. Twenty years ago, the map was mainly covered in red, the traditional colour of social democracy. Today, only five countries are inked in red. (Comment: one of these five countries is the small island of Malta in the Mediterranean).

Then look farther afield. At first sight, Britain sticks out as the great exception because Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour almost edged out the Tories in the June election. Arguably, the verdict was more anti-May than pro-Labour.

In the US, the Democrats seem to fare much better, given their majority of the popular vote in 2016. Now look again, at middle America. Since Barack Obama’s first victory, the Republicans have gained 1,000 additional seats in the state legislatures, and 34 out of 50 governors are Republicans.

What happened?

Historically, social democrats rose to power in tandem with a rising working class. Now, this once mighty force is shrinking along with manufacturing as a share of GDP. In the past 50 years, that portion has roughly dropped from 35% to 15% throughout the West. To put it brutally, the reformist left is losing its customer base, and it shows in all recent elections.

It is also losing its unique selling point, which is redistribution and the all-providing state. Take Martin Schulz, the SPD’s hapless candidate for chancellor. His message was “social justice” – taking from the rich to help the poor through taxes and benefits. But today’s German workers are middle class, and the highest tax bracket bites at €50,000 – the salary of an upper-level teacher or skilled worker.

These folks do not look forward to more taxation – not in a country where the government takes in almost half of GDP…So the SPD must find another selling point. Yet the SPD is trapped by its traditions.

Comment: It is important to consider the Scandinavian countries. These were once the core of European social democracy. Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden were for decades ruled by social democratic parties sometimes with the support in parliament by communist parties. In 2017 the scene is different. The center right is ruling in Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Finland. Sweden is the only exception. The reason for social democratic rule in Sweden is not that voters like overwhelming state influence in most sectors. In the 2014 elections the voters had lost confidence in the center right alternative. In 2017 the center right parties have not regained the confidence they had from 2006 to 2014. They may still have chance in the 2018 elections but must shape up. The Swedish Social Democratic Party (SAP) is in the fall of 2017 supported by around 30 percent of the electorate. The party should be down at around 20 percent like the German SPD.

In general terms the way forward in the West is not a moderate reformist brand of socialism. What saved Sweden between 2006 and 2014 was a center right government that lowered taxes and introduced pro-enterprise reforms. Like Germany Sweden is an exporting country and SAP has been able to remain in power thanks to the reforms of non-socialist parties and a fairly strong economy in Europe. The relentless decline of social democracy will most likely continue in the West. Rule by social democratic parties in America and Europe can only mean continued decline of the West. One can only wish that the present trend of social democratic parties on both sides of the Atlantic will continue.

Preussisk renässans?

August 7, 2017

Tyskland har efter murens fall upplevt en renässans för den 1945 upplösta staten Preussen, dess historia och kultur. Redan 1986 förde den dåvarande östtyska regimen vid firandet av 200-årsminnet av Fredrik den stores död tillbaka hans ryttarstaty till Unter den Linden i Berlin. Den finns givetvis kvar nu och ser mycket bättre ut efter en grundlig renovering.

Det har skrivits en rad böcker om Preussen under de senaste årtiondena: Sebastian Haffners ”Preussen ohne Legende” (1978), Marion Gräfin Dönhoffs ”Preussen – Mass und Masslosigkeit”. Nya tjocka biografier om Preussenkungarna har kommit ut. Haffner skrev i sin bok att han med den ville befria Preussen från två legender: den ”svarta” legenden, som de allierade skapade 1947 då de upplöste staten Preussen och den ”gyllene”, att Preussen alltid sett som sin uppgift att ena Tyskland.

Större delen av Preussen på Fredrik den stores tid ligger nu i Polen, Ryssland och Litauen. Kvar i Tyskland finns egentligen bara kärnlandet kring Berlin och den omgivande delstaten Brandenburg. Det finns få stater som satt känslorna så i svallning som Preussen. Samtidigt kan man inte jämföra Preussen med Bayern eller Sachsen. Det var i stället ett konglomerat av territorier.

Vilka var då de preussiska dygderna, det positiva: pliktuppfyllelse, lydnad, fromhet, tolerans, trofasthet, öppenhet mot flyktingar, enkelhet. Listan är lång och imponerande.

Fredrik den store var en liberal monark. Landet erkände som ett av de första Förenta Staterna. Ett år före sin död undertecknade Fredrik ett vänskapsfördrag med USA, som av George Washington betecknades som ”det mest liberala fördrag, som någonsin tecknats mellan två oavhängiga stater.” Brandenburg-Preussen tog 1685 emot tiotusentals franska hugenotter och gav dem fristad i Berlin, Stettin och Königsberg (nu ryska Kaliningrad). Från Schlesien, Österrike, Schweiz och Holland kom religionsförföljda till Brandenburg. I den preussiska landsrätten infördes tidigt en rättighetskatalog liknande den som finns i den amerikanska författningen. Likhet inför lagen var inte en tom fras i Preussen.

Preussen var inte heller krigshetsande. En genomgång av krig mellan 1680 och 1940 visar att Preussen-Tyskland förde mindre angreppskrig än England, Frankrike, Spanien och Ryssland. Landet var således inte någon barbarisk soldatstat utan centrum för kultur, litteratur och vetenskap.

Tysklands roll efter 1945 har varit att vårda det goda i det preussiska arvet. 2001 var det utställningen ”Preussen 2001 – en europeisk historia” (Charlottenburgs slott), ”Marksteine: Eine Entdeckungsreise durch Brandenburg-Preussen” (Kutschstall, Potsdam).

Sedan 2001 har det kommit en rad nya böcker om Preussen. En av de viktigaste var ”Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947” av Christopher Clark, ett massivt verk på 816 sidor, som utkom 2006. Den torde ha bidragit till att förändra den anglo-saxiska bilden av Preussen.


June 2, 2017

Washington Times on June 1, 2017 published a commentary by Wesley Pruden on President Trump’s abandoning of the Paris climate agreement. Excerpts below:

“As of today,” he said, “the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country. We’re getting out but we’ll start to negotiate and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine.”

This was exactly what the 196 signers needed to hear, and the president told them without heat, bombast or blather.

The president thus makes good on one of his most important campaign promises, mocking the holy writ of global warming, or “climate change” as it’s called now because the globe refuses to warm as promised and all the dead polar bears are still not dead and the ocean that was supposed to have inundated the financial district of lower Manhattan by now, [is still above water].

The president sounds like the reasonable one now. “In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris accord for an entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States.” He identified several sectors of the American economy that would lose jobs and paychecks if the United States stays in the accord — 2.7 million jobs by 2025.

This puts a large dent in Barack Obama’s legacy, about which he can’t stop talking.

“The nations that remain in the Paris Agreement will be the nations that reap the benefits in jobs and industries created,” he said, trying to remember how to affect a presidential tone. “I believe the United States of America should be at the front of the pack. But even in the absence of American leadership, even as this administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future, I’m confident that our states, cities and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got.” This was a stunning exercise in disrespect for the one president we currently have, and for the office as well. Pittsburgh and Peoria with a foreign policy.

Mr. Trump’s critics are eager now to play holier than thou — even the pope, who had said earlier that if Mr. Trump withdrew from Paris the Vatican would take it as “a slap in the face.” Leonardo DiCaprio was disappointed, too, because he had earlier urged Mr. Trump to “make the moral position.” Moral tutelage from the Vatican and Hollywood on the very same day. Religiosity reigns, if only for the day.

But back where it counts, the president’s decision won praise from Republicans in Congress. “I applaud President Trump and his administration for dealing with yet another blow to the Obama administration’s assault on domestic energy production and jobs.” Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, chairman of the Senate Committee on the Environment, observed that “the Paris climate agreement set unworkable targets that put America at a competitive disadvantage.”

Whatever new agreement President Trump can make will be a treaty, and must, as the Constitution makes clear, be ratified by the Senate. Barack Obama, the famous professor of constitutional law, wouldn’t do that because he knew that the Paris agreement would never have made it through the Senate..

Wesley Pruden is editor in chief emeritus of The Times.

Comment:  The Paris climate agreement is an unequal treaty forcing the United States and other Western nations to pay for China’s heavy use of fossil fuels.  Conservatives in the United States have praised the president for his move.

Mike Needham, CEO of Heritage Action for America: [Trump is “not succumbing to pressure from special interests and cosmopolitan elites.”

“Withdrawal from the agreement marks a critical step in unraveling former President Obama’s destructive legacy,” President Trump’s decision is a win for both his administration and the American people.”


The Club for Growth:  [Trump’s decision put] “American taxpayers and businesses back in the driver’s seat.”

“For far too long the Obama Administration allowed foreign governments and alarmist environmentalists to dictate, not only climate change policy, but worse our nation’s economic policy,” President Trump’s decision sends a strong message to the environmentalist movement: no longer will the United States be strongarmed by their scare tactics intended to harm our economy and inhibit economic growth.”


Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute: [Trump is] “leading the world toward a brighter future.”

“The Paris Climate Agreement promises no measurable climate benefits at an incredible economic and political cost to Americans,” By getting out of the agreement, President Trump is leading the world toward a brighter future as low energy prices over the long-term will benefit consumers and energy-intensive industries.”


February 8, 2017

Washington Times on February 7, 2017, published the text of Governor Robert Bentley’s State of the State adress. Remarks as prepared, Excerpts below:


Companies and industries have poured over 24-billion dollars of investment into Alabama, in our people and in the belief that their products will be made best when they are Made in Alabama.

Companies like Polaris, in Huntsville, are building and producing ATV’s and hiring 17-hundred Alabamians and creating hundreds of positions for technicians, programmers and welders. GE Aviation is investing more than $200 million to build two factories in Huntsville and is expected to employ up to 300 people. And it’s not just our larger cities with new well-paying jobs. With an intentional focus on bringing jobs to rural Alabama we bring industry to our smallest towns. Moller Tech is building a 46-million dollar flagship facility in Woodstock, in Bibb County, supplying Mercedes and hiring 220 Alabamians. Alabama’s auto industry hit another record high in 2016, as workers at Hyundai, Mercedes and Honda rolled out over a million Alabama-made vehicles. Montgomery’s new Hyundai Santa Fe, Lincoln’s new Honda Ridgeline and Tuscaloosa’s four Mercedes models are all taking center on the world stage. Besides receiving awards for some of the best vehicles on the market, they all have one important thing in common – their Home’s in Alabama. We opened Alabama’s newest Interstate – I -22, not just providing convenience and safer travel for our people, but paving the way for greater economic development in financially-strapped Northwest Alabama. There is simply no place like Alabama’s beautiful Gulf Coast, and the incredible Gulf State Park Project is well on its way to becoming an international benchmark of economic and environmental sustainability. On track to open next year, the Gulf State Park Project will be the pride of our state for outdoor recreation, education and hospitality. Economic opportunity grows and thrives in our state, especially for the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our state and our country, yet ask for so little. Alabama is the proud home of over 420-thousand Veterans, and through the Alabama Executive Veterans Network – or AlaVetNet, and the Alabama Small Business Commission we are making sure veteran owned businesses succeed and prosper. And today Alabama’s Unemployment Rate for Veterans stands at 4.1 percent – lower than the overall state and national rate.

Comment: States all over the United States are focusing on job creation. Alabama is a fine example of the upturn in US economy after January 2017. Especially important is investment in the Huntsville area.


October 12, 2016

Washington Times on October 6, 2016, published an opinion piece by Wesley Pruden on the dangerous world the Obama administration is leaving behind. Mr. Pruden reflected on Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize. Excerpts below:

…everyone agreed that Mr. Obama certainly didn’t deserve the prize, cheapened as it had become by politics. Nearly eight years later the president has become something of a maker of war, not peace, which is the usual lot of any man or woman elected, like it or not, leader of the world.

The world is a far more dangerous place now. Radical Islamic terrorism, which the president still dares not call by its name, has become the new normal everywhere, gruesome death of innocents in the name of a prophet dead for centuries. The world hasn’t measured so many deaths in battle since the end of the Vietnam War, and refugees from war and terrorism have washed over Europe in numbers to remake the map, and threaten now to overwhelm the culture in America.

Mr. Obama…has pulled more than 100,000 soldiers out of Iraq, enabling the success of ISIS in taking vast territory for its so-called Islamic State, and now he has to begin the painful and embarrassing task of sending some of them back…

He rewarded Fidel Castro and the old men of the Cuban revolution, eager for the comforts of capitalism as they lie dying, but he is unable to do anything but draw imaginary red lines in the sand, like a child with his coloring book, to prevent the destruction of the Syrians.
But the president’s peacemaking legacy will be the sweetheart deal he made with the mullahs in Iran, preserving their dream of an Islamic bomb, which the mullahs promise to use to make a second Holocaust of Israel.

Hillary Clinton goes along with the president’s cynical assurance that against emerging evidence he has halted the development of the Iranian bomb.

Mr. Kaine, trying to reassure with his Howdy-Doody smile and happy talk, said three times that the Iranian nuclear-weapons program had been “stopped” or “capped.” He divided the “credit” between Mr. Obama and his negotiating skill and Hillary’s performance as secretary of State.

Whether manufacturing peace or disarming Islamic terror, Barack Obama and his protege have demonstrated incompetence all but unique in the history of the American presidency. And Hillary Clinton wants America to reward the incompetence with four more years.

Wesley Pruden is editor-in-chief emeritus of The Times.

Comment: The Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama has certainly left the Western world during his four years in power in a dangerous position. The traditional challengers of the West, Russia, China and Iran, have become increasingly powerful as the Obama administration has abandoned the wise and traditional policy of securing the rimland to avoid one or more powers to rise in Eurasia. It was Nicholas J. Spykman, the founder of the Institute of International Studies at Yale in 1935 who formulated the Rimland Doctrine. He argued that geography was everything and the United States as hegemon had to be involved in the rimland from Scandinavia to Japan. The reason was that the rimland was key to world power. The United States has followed Spykman’s advise since the Second World War but since 2009 America has been withdrawing from the rimland opening up the West to international terrorism and the three anti-Western empires Russia, China and Iran. It is up to the next U.S. president to steer America back to the Rimland Doctrine and increase American presence in the Middle East and the Far East.


September 27, 2016

Washington Examiner on September 27, 2016, reported that two Republican senators pointed to Scandinavia to argue that Donald Trump supporters are raising legitimate concerns about the danger of opening the United States’ doors to refugees. Excerpts below:

“One need not support Mr. Trump to acknowledge these reasonable concerns of the 14 million Republicans who voted for him in the primaries and the tens of millions who will vote for him in November,”wrote Sen. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., and Sen. Tom Cotton, R- Ark., in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece.

The senators argued that their recent visit Norway and Sweden convinced them that the… response to the influx of immigrants can provide a lesson for the domestic political establishment. They asserted that the attitudes of many Swedish leaders parallel those held by American politicians. The senators, on the other hand, have argued against taking in massive numbers of refugees.

“Norwegian leaders responded to similar concerns and their country is safe and stable. Swedish leaders didn’t and their country faces economic, social, and political upheaval. There is a lesson here for American elites.”

While asylum applications dropped 95 percent between the last quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016 in Norway, the senators wrote that Sweden has accepted 280,000, which is more than any other EU nation, after the country “threw open its doors in 2013” by offering these immigrants permanent residency.

“Norway is far from hardhearted. … But Norwegians understand that an open-border policy would strain their resources, disrupt the integration of other recently arrived immigrants, and undercut the legitimate desire of Norwegians to preserve their nation’s culture and character,” the senators wrote.


July 19, 2016

On May 18, 2006, Richard Koch and Chris Smith wrote about their book Suicide of the West in Financial Times, London. Excerpts below:

In 1900, most Westerners were confident and optimistic, full of pride about their civilization. Since then, the West has made enormous strides in economic, scientific, military, political and social terms. Yet the earlier confidence has gone. We have stopped believing in the ideas that drove earlier generations to improve the world.

Six main ideas made the West, century after century, progressively successful, powerful, and attractive – Christianity, optimism, science, economic growth, individualism and liberalism.

Christianity: Christianity transformed the West. It was the world’s first individualised, activist, self-help movement. Ordinary people were encouraged to clean up their act and given God’s help to do so. Everyone had a “soul”; individual human dignity and responsibility were greatly enhanced.

Optimism: the importance of optimism in driving success – of individuals, of whole civilizations – has been greatly overlooked. Optimism comes from three Greek and Christian “myths” – the myth of autonomy, the myth of progress and the myth of human goodness. Creation is ultimately good.

After 1760, our stories began to feature bad heroes – egotistical people, amoral or immoral. The last century confirmed a dim view of human nature – Freud’s ideas, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, two world wars, horrific and hateful societies. A diminished view of people facilitated these horrors.

Science: science is pre-eminently Western. It arose through belief in a perfect, rational Creator, and in our ability to figure out the perfect universe that God created.

Growth: the West’s stunning economic advance over the past 1,000 years, and especially the last 200 years, has made mankind a …success and the West dominant. Victories over hunger and disease are unprecedented.

Individualism: this has always been the West’s most striking characteristic. Now many inside the West are worried by individualism. Our highly atomistic society makes it easy to feel a failure.

If we do not demand truly responsible individualism, from our leaders, role models and ourselves, our civilization will disintegrate.

Liberalism: the greatest threat to the West comes from [classical] liberalism’s decline … Also from the “ultra-liberals”, the relativists who see nothing special about Western liberal society, who deny personal responsibility and incubate the “victim mentality”.

Western civilization has reached a fork in the road…[The West needs] a recovery of nerve, confidence in ourselves and our culture, unity within and between America and Europe, a society of individuals held together by self-improvement, striving, optimism, reason, compassion, equality and mutual identity. The road chosen will determine whether our civilization collapses or reaches its destiny.

Richard Koch, an author, and Lord Smith, former UK culture secretary, are co-authors of Suicide of the West (Continuum, 2006).

Comment: There is much of interest in the Koch-Smith book but they do not agree with James Burnham (1905 – 1987) in their conclusions. In his book Suicide of the West Burnham focused on the intangible, often vague leftist doctrine that is dominating Western civilization.

Long after Burnham’s death the suicidal tendencies of the West have increased greatly, especially in the last eight years. The first edition of Burnham’s book was published in 1964. It was republished in 2014.

There is no lack of resources or military power in the West, said Burnham, but there is an erosion of intellectual, moral, and spiritual factors in modern Western society represented by the liberal left. It represents the ideology of Western suicide. It can be argued that civilization is not about military might. It is true but without bases, posts, and soldiers there can be no civilization, there is nothing. The lines of defense are the limes also of civilization. Left liberalism has a way of comforting us in our afflictions. It transmutes the dark defeats, the withdrawals and catastrophes into their bright opposites: into gains, victories, advances. The geographic, political, demographic and strategic losses emerge as triumphs of Freedom, Equality, Progress and Virtue.

Burnham wrote during the Cold War but his views continue to be accurate. At present the liberal leftist leaders are telling us that we should not be troubled by the attacks of Islamic terrorists. These terrorists are on the run, they say, although the West is not using its full military resources to defeat them. Both the Russian, Chinese and Iranian empires are challenging the West, but the liberal leftist leaders assure us that all is well and appeasement works if we only accept peaceful coexistence with these empires. When the final defeat of the West comes the liberal leftist leaders will declare that Mankind as a whole is joining in a utopian universal civilization that has risen above distinctions and divisions of the past. It is in truth, they would declare, eternal peace and happiness.


July 17, 2016 has an interesting article by Robert W. Merry in which he is making some important comments about the West and Islam. Excerpts below:

[Many Muslims in Europe] despise the West as a morally inferior civilization that has, however, dominated many lands of Islam through a superior technology of warfare.

“The underlying problem for the West,” wrote Huntington, “is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power. The problem for Islam is that the West, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the universality of their culture and believe that their superior, if declining, power imposes on them the obligation to extend that culture throughout the world.”

Huntington also wrote, “Some Westerners . . . have argued that the West does not have problems with Islam but only with violent Islamist extremists. Fourteen hundred years of history demonstrate otherwise.”

There is a natural tension between the West and Islam that has always been there.

“The preservation of the United States and the West,” Huntington wrote, “requires the renewal of Western identity. The security of the world requires acceptance of global multiculturality.” In other words, domestic multiculturalism erodes America’s ability to preserve its identity. And global universalism exacerbates civilizational tensions unnecessarily. And yet that precisely is what America has been pursuing—domestic multiculturalism and global universalism. This can’t possibly work.

The Muslim population of France is about 7.5 percent, a critical mass that threatens ongoing domestic strife within that country. The renewal of Western cultural identity urged by Huntington won’t come easily there. Our hearts must go out to the entire country in the wake of episodes of mass murder like the truck attack in Nice on July 14, 2016.

The Muslim population of American, by contrast, is about 1 percent, though Muslims make up about 10 percent of ongoing legal immigration and differential birthrates will boost that population segment in coming years. The question for America is whether it should seek to craft immigration policies designed to prevent America from facing the challenge now confronting France. It’s a question that most Americans clearly don’t want to face, as reflected in the reaction to Trump’s suggestion of a temporary halt to Muslim immigration. But, if the trend lines of violence continue along their current trajectory, here and throughout the West, political sensibilities on the issue could change.

Robert W. Merry is a contributing editor at the National Interest and an author of books on American history and foreign policy.

Comment: Merry brings up a fundamental question in his article invoking Huntington’s clash of civilizations theory. There are many challenges today to the declining West.

It is important first to remember that there are many distinct cultures within Islamic civilization. The main challenge to the West is coming from the Arab subcivilization. The Iranian empire (former Persia) is the breeding ground for hatred against the West. Iran is a strong supporter of terrorist groups that attack the West. The Turkic and Malay subcivilizations of Islam have so far not turned against the West although there are Islamic terrorist groups in Central Asia. Muslim terror groups exist in for instance countries like the Philippines and Indonesia but their activities so far do not constitute a civilizational clash with the West. For centuries, however, there was a clash in Europe with Islam and a serious military Islamic threat to what was the the Western heartland.

The declining West has many more challengers than the Arab subcivilization. Other challengers are the Russian and Chinese empires. The main question is if the West will be capable of stopping and reversing internal decay, the inner challenge?

According to American macro-historian Carroll Quigley in The Evolution of Civilizations (1961) this is questionable:

Western civilization existed in full flower about A.D. 1500, and will surely pass out of existence at some time in the future, perhaps before A.D. 2500.


June 29, 2016

Fox News on June 29, 2016, reported on the 800-page Benghazi report blaming a “rusty bureaucratic process” for the Obama administration’s slow-moving response the night of the attack. The report said that despite orders from President Obama and then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to deploy assets in response to the attack on the compound to aid Ambassador Chris Stevens, his staff and security personnel, the first military force did not do so until more than 13 hours after the attack started. Excerpts below:

Republican committee members — let by Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. — insisted their work was not political.

“Read the report,” Gowdy repeatedly said.

“You can read this report in less time than our fellow citizens were taking fire and fighting for their lives on the rooftops and in the streets of Benghazi,” he also said in a written statement.

The report faulted the Obama administration for a range of missteps before, during and after the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya that led to the deaths of Stevens, foreign service officer Sean Smith and former Navy SEALs Ty Woods and Glen Doherty.

The report said one anti-terrorism security team known as the FAST unit sat waiting for three hours in Rota, Spain, as Marines changed “in and out of their uniforms four times,” and even debated whether they should carry personal weapons, according to one witness. All together, the report said, “it would take nearly 18 hours” for that team to move.

The report described a web of internal debates and hold-ups, including apparent State Department guidance that “Libya must agree to any deployment,” though Panetta would later say Libya approval was not necessary.

The report also said Clinton told the Egyptian prime minster they knew the attack had nothing to do with the film and was a planned attack – despite statements being made by her and others referencing the video.

Lawmakers contrasted the “heroism” of those on the ground with the discussions in Washington. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., described the D.C. attitude as “near fecklessness.” He said, “They were more concerned about how they’re going to offend the Libyan government than how this rescue is going to take place.”

The report also showed:

During a White House meeting convened roughly three hours into the attack, “much of the conversation focused on the video.”

The forces that came to evacuate State Department and CIA officers that night were not fellow Americans, but a secret unit of former military officers from the Qaddafi regime, which the Obama administration had helped overthrow.

“Security deficiencies plagued the Benghazi Mission compound in the lead-up to September 2012.”

Panetta told the committee “an intelligence failure” occurred, while former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell also acknowledged an intelligence failure.