–As the world’s focus continues to center on the Middle East, momentous events that were virtually unthinkable in the recent past are now falling into place. A Vatican news source on the Internet reviewed comments from Rabbi Michael Melchior, Israeli Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and leader of the Meimad religious party in Israel. What he sought from the Pope was the Vatican’s support.
Behind the scenes, the Vatican has welded worldwide cooperation among this world’s major faiths. There is a kind of “position paper” on every major issue–the two Koreas, Russian religious freedom, wars and their resolution, etc. Although the recent scandals involving Catholic priests in America have drawn the attention and comments of the Catholic hierarchy, they portray these scandals as an American issue–one that is merely an outgrowth of society. Calls for a change in celibacy rules for priests have not penetrated the entrenched traditions that currently hold sway.
We now see the “need” for a stabilizing force in the Israeli-Arab debacle. Once again, American troops are being suggested. However, the more likely influence will begin to flow from Europe and the Pope as he exercises his unmistakable stature and global influence. It appears that the Jews must yield to outside help in the search for a peaceful approach or lose their hard fought respect among the world’s nations.
— The European Union made clear that they will seek compensation for President Bush’s tariffs on foreign steel. The EU is supported in this by Japan, Brazil and Australia. The EU claims that they will incur losses of $2 billion annually over the three year life of the tariffs, according to an article in Yahoo! News of March 16.
— President Bush defended a politically charged Pentagon proposal (Nuclear Posture Review, NPR) to create new types of nuclear weapons and expand the nation’s list of potential nuclear targets, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times of March 14.
— The Times in Great Britain reported on March 18 that former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher published a new book, advocating that “Britain must start to quit EU.” Mrs. Thatcher wrote that most of the problems that the world has faced, including Nazism and Marxism, have come from mainland Europe. The Times continued, “Lady Thatcher stops short of calling for a total withdrawal from Europe, preferring to retain some existing arrangements while opting out of ‘present and future mechanisms which harm our interests or restrict our freedom of action.'”