30 November 2015

The Chechen Factor in Syria and Ukraine

The whole of the Chechen conflict and its context have been largely underreported in the Western media and for good reason. The US has taken an aggressive posture toward Russia since the end of the Cold War and this has only increased under the tenure of Putin.

28 November 2015

The Syrian Powder Keg

Here are three links of interest and a few comments related to the Russo-Turkish incident on the border of Syria and Hatay Province.

26 November 2015

Syria and the Strategy of Tension

For some time it has been suggested that the United States is involved in some kind of semi- or informal relationship with al Nusra in Syria. This seems to many to be an assertion that is prima facie absurd. How could the United States even consider allying with a branch of al Qaeda? Doesn't that fly in the face of everything the War on Terror is all about? You might think so, but you would be mistaken.

25 November 2015

American Thanksgiving: Civic Deism at Best


This showed up in my inbox. We use this organization for our standardized tests that we have turn in every few years. I appreciate that service but little else about them. They proffer Theonomic heresies and I receive not a few of these disappointing emails. I've written them back but to no avail. Every year or so, when we buy a new test for one of our children, we're back on their miserable list. I do find some satisfaction in the fact that I 'share' their emails, but not in the way they would wish.

24 November 2015

Belmokhtar, Hekmatyar and Blowback in Bamako

If reports are to be believed, Belmokhtar's Al-Mourabitoun movement, a branch of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is responsible for the 20 November 2015 attack on the Radisson Hotel in Bamako, Mali. This claim has been countered by al Qaeda's rival, ISIS who also wishes to claim credit for the attack.

There's an irony here. Belmokhtar as a young man fought in Afghanistan under the command of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, one of the Mujahideen warlords heavily backed by the United States. Hekmatyar is a character straight out of a novel, a man of blood and intrigue, a keeper of secrets and dark alliances.

21 November 2015

Establishment Media's Hostility to the Left

While listening to a BBC podcast on 'The Obama Doctrine' I was surprised to hear Jeremy Scahill was sitting on the discussion panel. Scahill who is best known for his affiliation with 'The Intercept', his book on Blackwater and the movie 'Dirty Wars' represents the kind of figure the mainstream media usually avoids. His views are considered too extreme.

19 November 2015

Establishment Media and the Hastert Scandal

You would think that if the Mainstream Media was really committed to the Leftist agenda then they would be going after the Dennis Hastert story. It has the potential to be one of the biggest scandals in US political history.

15 November 2015

Erdogan and the AKP's 1 November Victory- For the Present

Erdogan cut a deal with the United States. The Kurds entering the political spectrum had all but sabotaged his political ambitions and constitutional aspirations. He allowed the US to formally utilize the bases in the south (Incirlik and Diyarbakir) to strike ISIS while at the same time at the behest of Erdogan, the US betrayed the Kurdish factions in Syria which it has been backing contra ISIS. In truth most US allies are not allies at all, but throw away tools, a type of fodder to feed the war machine. Thus Erdogan was given the go-ahead and promptly began to bomb Kurdish positions seeking to break their growing power along the Syrian border. This harmed the fight against ISIS in one sense but for the Americans it allowed them closer striking points for their aircraft.

Freedom, Security and the Budget: A Few Reflections on the Democratic Debate

There's much that could be said about Saturday night's Democratic Presidential debate, but I don't have time to pursue it.

Nevertheless I was struck by two things Sanders said. At one point he was talking about reforming the VA and meeting veterans. He mentioned they defended his freedom. Earlier he said the Iraq War was a total disaster, a mistake and that the rise of ISIS is directly related to it.

14 November 2015

European Paradigm Shift: The Friday the 13th Attacks

The 13 November Paris attacks will prove a political boon for the European Right. If there are proven connections to Syrian refugees this will quickly escalate the immigration crisis. Further border controls, nationalism and a waxing police state will be the result and this will aggravate already existing economic stresses and tensions.

13 November 2015

Energy Independence: Realpolitik, Neo-Conservatism and Nativism

While perusing a financial magazine in a waiting room I stumbled upon an article about billionaire T Boone Pickens, a name that's been floating around for some time. I've heard him interviewed on NPR from time to time and was already pretty familiar with his controversial energy plan. In fact not long ago while reading Steve Coll's book on Exxon, I recalled Pickens argument for energy independence. It was pertinent and represented a mindset in Conservative circles less than appreciated by representatives of Big Oil.

09 November 2015

Dead vs. Living Stones

While I'm not endorsing this website, this article recently brought to my attention is a good read.

Just a couple of weeks ago I was teaching on 1 Peter 2 and thinking about the Temple Mount and the Wailing Wall. It struck me in light of the passage that these people are putting their faith in dead stones. The image is striking to me. Our Temple is made of living stone and it must be contrasted with these dead ones. Judaism's devotion to a temple of dead stone is the basis of their rejection of the Messiah. The doctrine of the Living Temple, the very person of Jesus Christ becomes a stumblingblock and occasion for offense.

08 November 2015

Multinationals, Corruption and the Tool that is the FCPA

The previous discussion regarding Multinational mining companies and their relationships with the Indonesian government compelled me to mention the ambiguous nature of the SEC and the Justice Department's mandate with regard to multinationals and diplomacy.

06 November 2015

America's Byzantine Tactics at Work in Indonesia

Nairn does a fine job simply explaining how the US relates to many of its allies. It establishes diplomatic relations, and backs a government that in some cases is not fully in line with Washington's policy. There's an element of ambiguity inherent in the bilateral relationship.

05 November 2015

The Asian Cold War: A Mysterious Shooting in the Philippines

We will probably never know the full story. I am reminded of the Ray Davis incident in Pakistan. A fuller version of the story later came out, but at the time of the incident, it was just a mysterious blurb in the press.

03 November 2015

Pentagon Ministries and North Korea

This report is really not all that surprising. For many years there have been hints of and in some cases confirmed reports of Christian ministries and various NGO's collaborating with American intelligence agencies. This has happened in many countries and contexts. Occasionally foreign governments will act with hostility toward these groups. While we must lament all such actions our media both mainstream and Christian often fail to report the full story and provide context.

02 November 2015

The Guns of November?


Another helpful Margolis commentary. I think a lot more could be said with regard to the legality of US actions in the region but regardless he draws out the necessary point. While China is hardly some kind of moral exemplar, the American presence in the region, their provocations as well as their alliances play no small part in driving China toward its own questionable moves.