Current Events

Is the World Facing Another Global War?

Times-On-Line wrote on August 24:

“Is the world drifting towards a new global war? From this week the dominant super-power, America, will for three months pass through the valley of the shadow of democracy, a presidential election… Barack Obama and John McCain will not act as statesmen but as politicians… Their eye will stray from the ball.

“Meanwhile, along history’s fault line of conflict from Russia’s European border to the Caucasus and on to Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan… drums are sounding and harsh words are spoken. The world is now run by a generation of leaders who have never known global war. Has this dulled their senses?…

“The world is showing alarming parallels with the 1930s. Lights are turning to red as the world again approaches depression. The credit crunch and the collapse of world trade talks are making nations introverted. Meanwhile… Russia… is flexing its muscles and finding them in good working order…

“Any student of McCain or Obama, of Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev, or of the leaders of Britain, France and Germany, might conclude that these are not people likely to go to war. They are surely the children of peace. Yet history shows that ‘going to war’ is never an intention. It is rather the result of weak, shortsighted leaders entrapped by a series of mistakes. For the West’s leaders at present, mistake has become second nature.”

Russia’s Intentional Provocations Continue

The Associated Press reported on August 26:

“Russia formally recognized the breakaway Georgian territories [Abkhazia and South Ossetia]… heightening tensions with the West… a day after Russia’s Kremlin-controlled parliament voted unanimously to support the diplomatic recognition. Western criticism came almost immediately.”

AFP added on August 26:

“US President George W. Bush on Tuesday demanded that Russia reverse its ‘irresponsible decision’ to recognize Georgia’s rebel regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states. ‘The United States condemns the decision,’ he said… warning that ‘Russia’s action only exacerbates tensions and complicates diplomatic negotiations’ on the future of Georgia.

“Leading the West’s outraged response, Bush said Moscow’s diplomatic gesture violated a French-brokered August 12 ceasefire pact, as well as ‘numerous’ UN Security Council resolutions backed by Russia in the past… ‘In accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolutions that remain in force, Abkhazia and South Ossetia are within the internationally recognized borders of Georgia, and they must remain so,’ he said…

“Absent significant, concrete reprisals, [Medvedev] has shrugged off warnings of growing isolation from the international community [and a new Cold War], saying: ‘We’re not afraid of anything’…

“German [Foreign Minister] Frank-Walter Steinmeier said all sides were ‘playing with fire’ and urged: ‘The spiral of provocation must stop, and immediately.'”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on August 26:

“It looks as if Moscow is courting isolation. Russia’s relationship with the West was already straining under the ongoing crisis in the Caucasus. Now, though, the situation has become even more tense…

“The Russian move was swiftly met with sharp Western criticism, revealing the dismay with which Europe and the United States have watched Moscow fail to be swayed by any international threats. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the decision ‘completely unacceptable’ while France expressed its deep regret and reiterated its commitment to the territorial integrity of Georgia. A spokeswoman for the British Foreign Office said: ‘We reject this categorically and reaffirm Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.’

“Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said the fact that Russia’s leadership ‘has now chosen this route means they have chosen a policy of confrontation, not only with the rest of Europe, but also with the international community in general’…

“The move has certainly upset the markets, with Russian stocks falling to their lowest level in two years directly after Medvedev’s announcement, as traders worried about rising tensions in the region. Masha Lipman, an expert at the Moscow Carnegie Center think tank said that the decision is likely to lead to the further diplomatic isolation of Russia. Speaking to the Associated Press, she said that it was an ‘indication that Russia has opted for further aggravation in relations with the West, and a very serious rift this time.'”

Europe Must Act With One Voice

Bild Online reported on August 26 that German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned Russia’s decision to recognize two former provinces of the Russian Empire, stating that the EU must and will act as a unity, and that Georgia and Ukraine will become members of NATO.

“Explosive” Proposals as to How to “Deal” With Russia

On August 26, The Wall Street Journal published the following opinion by Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator from South Carolina, and Joe Lieberman, an Independent Democratic senator from Connecticut:

“Russia’s aggression is not just a threat to a tiny democracy on the edge of Europe. It is a challenge to the political order and values at the heart of the continent… There is disturbing evidence Russia is already laying the groundwork to apply the same arguments used to justify its intervention in Georgia to other parts of its near abroad — most ominously in Crimea. This strategically important peninsula is part of Ukraine, but with a large ethnic Russian population and the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet at Sevastopol…

“Our response to the invasion of Georgia must include regional actions to reassure Russia’s rattled neighbors and strengthen trans-Atlantic solidarity. This means reinvigorating NATO as a military alliance, not just a political one. Contingency planning for the defense of all member states against conventional and unconventional attack, including cyber warfare, needs to be revived. The credibility of Article Five of the NATO Charter — that an attack against one really can and will be treated as an attack against all — needs to be bolstered.”

The Former Soviet Republics Faced With Russian Aggression

In its September 1, 2008, edition, Time magazine published a map designating the former Soviet Republics. Many of them must now be afraid of Russian invasion. As the magazine stated, “… after the invasion of Georgia, former members of the U.S.S.R. face an inescapable truth: you can’t run from geography. Try as they might to move closer to Europe, many are now nervously eyeing a resurgent Russia on their borders.”

Starting with the former provinces in the north and then moving towards the south and the east, the former Soviet-Russian republics, which are all bordering on Russia, are as follows:

The Baltics and their “prickly relationship with Russia,” consisting of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania;

Eastern Europe, consisting of Belarus, Ukraine [“Russia has held a grudge against Ukraine” since 2004] and Moldova;

The Caucasus [“a vital region for the West”], consisting of Georgia, Armenia [“which borders Turkey and Iran, readily accepts Russian protection”] and Azerbaijan; and

Central Asia [“wedged between Russia and China”], consisting of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Russia Determined to Threaten the West

The Associated Press reported on August 26:

“Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is warning his country may respond to a U.S. missile shield in Europe through military means. Medvedev says that the deployment of an anti-missile system close to Russian borders ‘will of course create additional tensions. We will have to react somehow, to react, of course, in a military way…'”

On August 27, AFP reported:

“As Medvedev prepared to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao, a KEY ALLY , the Russian military criticised NATO’s naval presence in the Black Sea, said by the West to be part of planned exercises and to deliver aid to Georgia…

“Russia’s ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, warned that any attack by the alliance on the Moscow-backed regions would ‘mean a declaration of war on Russia’…”

The Associated Press added on August 27:

“A U.S. military ship loaded with aid docked at a southern Georgian port Wednesday, and Russia sent three missile boats to another Georgian port as the standoff escalated over a nation devastated by war with Russia… Although Western nations have called the Russian military presence in Poti a clear violation of an European Union-brokered cease-fire, a top Russian general has called using warships to deliver aid ‘devilish.'”

Russia Tests Missile, Receives Some Support from China

AFP reported on August 28:

“Russia on Thursday tested an inter-continental missile, heightening tensions with the West as France said the European Union could impose sanctions on Moscow over the Georgia conflict…

“The missile test in northern Russia came barely a week after the United States completed an accord with Poland on basing an anti-missile shield in central Europe and as Russia accuses NATO of building up its navy vessels in the Black Sea… Russia has been developing the missile in response to US plans to develop a missile-defence shield…

“A statement released by the six nations at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit voiced support for Russia’s ‘active role’ in ‘assisting in peace and cooperation in the region’… [The statement was] signed by Medvedev, President Hu Jintao of China and the leaders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.”

However, as Der Spiegel Online pointed out on August 27, the SCO refused to follow Russia’s lead to recognize Georgia’s rebel regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states. This prompted Russian media to criticize Medvedev and calling his mission a failure, according to Der Spiegel.

Russia Shows Strength, While Europe Shows Weakness

On August 27, The Wall Street Journal published the following analysis about Russia and the EU:

“Russian power is extraordinarily brutal in the post-Soviet era, as we have already seen in Chechnya. This brutality has been confirmed — although on a smaller scale — in the spectacle of the Russian army occupying a sovereign country, moving through it as it pleases, advancing and retreating at will, and casually destroying the military and civilian infrastructures of a young democracy as an astonished world watches. Today it is Georgia. Tomorrow will it be Ukraine? Or, in the name of the same solidarity with the supposedly persecuted Russian-speaking populations, will it be the Baltic countries? Or Poland?…

“The new Russia is indifferent to international protests, admonishments and warnings… Russia has no shame when it comes to twisting principles and ideals… European — and in this instance French — diplomacy is weak. We expect a great democracy to condemn and sanction the aggressor, without nuance. But in effect the opposite was done… Mikheil Saakhashvili, the Georgian president, was… forced to ratify a document that the Russians speak of as the ‘Medvedev document.’ Not a word in it mentions the territorial integrity of the country. Then there are the famous ‘additional security clauses’ acknowledging the Russian army’s right to be stationed there and to patrol, as scandalous in principle as they are vague in their modalities of application. Has the world turned upside down? This must be a dream.

“Western public opinion fell with disconcerting facility for the thesis advanced — from the very first day — by the Kremlin’s propaganda machine. We know now that the Russian army had been hard at work on its war preparations since before Aug. 8… We must analyze in greater depth the mechanisms of… blindness… Reason, if not honor, demands that we go to the rescue of Europe in Tbilisi.”

China and the USA–“A Biblical Seven Years”

The New York Times published the following article, which was re-published by Der Spiegel Online on August 27, titled, “A Biblical Seven Years”:

“China did not build the magnificent $43 billion infrastructure for these games, or put on the unparalleled opening and closing ceremonies, simply by the dumb luck of discovering oil. No, it was the culmination of seven years of national investment, planning, concentrated state power, national mobilization and hard work. Seven years… Oh, that’s right. China was awarded these Olympic Games on July 13, 2001 — just two months before 9/11.

“As I sat in my seat at the Bird’s Nest, watching thousands of Chinese dancers, drummers, singers and acrobats on stilts perform their magic at the closing ceremony, I couldn’t help but reflect on how China and America have spent the last seven years: China has been preparing for the Olympics; we’ve been preparing for Al Qaeda. They’ve been building better stadiums, subways, airports, roads and parks. And we’ve been building better metal detectors, armored Humvees and pilotless drones.

“The difference is starting to show. Just compare arriving at La Guardia’s dumpy terminal in New York City and driving through the crumbling infrastructure into Manhattan with arriving at Shanghai’s sleek airport and taking the 220-mile-per-hour magnetic levitation train, which uses electromagnetic propulsion instead of steel wheels and tracks, to get to town in a blink. Then ask yourself: Who is living in the third world country?

“… the first rule of holes is that when you’re in one, stop digging. When you see how much modern infrastructure has been built in China since 2001, under the banner of the Olympics, and you see how much infrastructure has been postponed in America since 2001, under the banner of the war on terrorism, it’s clear that the next seven years need to be devoted to nation-building in America.

“We need to finish our business in Iraq and Afghanistan as quickly as possible, which is why it is a travesty that the Iraqi Parliament has gone on vacation while 130,000 U.S. troops are standing guard. We can no longer afford to postpone our nation-building while Iraqis squabble over whether to do theirs…”

Iran Builds Submarines With Capacity to Launch Torpedoes and Missiles

On August 26, The New York Sun reported the following:

“Iran’s Defense Ministry said it started to build submarines to give its military ‘the most advanced arms’ and maintain ‘security’ in the Strait of Hormuz. The production line for the Qaem submarines, which will have the capacity to transport and launch torpedoes and subsurface missiles, was inaugurated yesterday, Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar was quoted as saying…

“The Strait of Hormuz, at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, is a chokepoint between Iran and Oman through which about a fifth of the world’s daily oil supply is shipped. Iran is caught in a standoff with Western countries over its nuclear program. America, while saying it is committed to a diplomatic solution, has never ruled out military action.

“Iran warned in June that it would ‘impose control’ on the Gulf, including the strait, in response to any attack on its atomic installations.”

America’s Weak Banking System

Reuters reported on August 27:

“Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC) might have to borrow money from the Treasury Department to see it through an expected wave of bank failures, the Wall Street Journal reported… The last time the FDIC had borrowed funds from the Treasury was at nearly the tail end of the savings-and-loan crisis in the early 1990s after thousands of banks were shuttered.

“The fact that the agency is considering the option again, after the collapse of just nine banks this year, illustrates the concern among Washington regulators about the weakness of the U.S. banking system in the wake of the credit crisis, the Journal said.”

Another U.S. Bank Folds…

Bloomberg reported on August 23:

“Columbian Bank and Trust Co. of Topeka, Kansas, was closed by U.S. regulators, the nation’s ninth bank to collapse this year amid bad real-estate loans and writedowns stemming from a drop in home prices. The bank, with $752 million in assets and $622 million in total deposits, was shuttered by the Kansas state bank commissioner’s office and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp… Citizens Bank and Trust will assume the failed bank’s insured deposits…

“The pace of bank closings is accelerating as financial firms have reported more than $500 billion in writedowns and credit losses since 2007. The FDIC’s ‘problem’ bank list grew… to 90 banks with combined assets of $26.3 billion.”

How Germans View Obama’s Choice of Biden

On August 25, following Barack Obama’s announcement that he chose Joe Biden as his running mate, the German press responded in a divided manner.

According to Der Spiegel Online, “The right-leaning Die Welt writes: ‘(Choosing Joe Biden as his running mate) is not without its problems… In the minds of the voters, Joe Biden is just as much as a blank slate as Obama is. In America, that’s what you call “double trouble.” Naming Biden doesn’t mitigate people’s stranger anxiety with Obama. It actually accentuates it.’

“The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: ‘By deciding on Biden as his running mate, Obama … has made it clear that he considers his lack of foreign policy experience to be dangerous and that, given the current global situation, it might even be decisive in the election. Otherwise, it’s very unlikely that he would have chosen Biden, as he represents a tiny state and neither he nor Obama enjoys general popularity with the common citizen. Biden’s own runs for the presidency have usually ended fairly early, with extremely poor results…’

“The financial daily Handelsblatt writes: ‘… If Biden makes it to the White House, it would be a good thing for Europe, too. Biden is a frequent guest in European capitals, and he’s seen the problem spots with his own eyes. … With Biden, Obama is putting a specialist on his team in a time of foreign-policy crisis. That can only help the occasionally troubled trans-Atlantic relations.'”

Democrats Support Unconditional Right of Legal Abortion

The Associated Press reported on August 25 about the Democratic Convention in Denver, Colorado:

“In one of their first orders of business, delegates ratified a party platform tailored to Obama’s specifications. It backs ‘complete redeployment within 16 months from Iraq,’ as well as health care for all, a new economic stimulus package and higher taxes on families earning over $250,000 a year.

“‘The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right,’ it said.”

Catholics Attack Biden and Pelosi

The Washington Times reported on August 26:

“Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. arrived at the Democratic National Convention on Monday amid rumblings over whether his pro-choice Catholicism would help or hurt the Democratic ticket. An Irish-Catholic from a working-class upbringing, Mr. Biden won the nod as presumptive presidential nominee Barack Obama’s running mate in part because of his appeal to blue-collar Catholics… But the party’s hopes of winning the critical Catholic vote took a hit Sunday when Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver said Mr. Biden should avoid taking Communion as a result of his pro-choice stand on abortion…

“The debate underscored what has emerged as a central theme of this year’s convention: the tension between the Democratic Party’s renewed outreach to religious voters and its long-standing support for unfettered access to abortion… Catholics, the nation’s largest religious voting bloc, represent 26 percent of the electorate… Catholic advocacy groups didn’t wait long before weighing in on the ‘wafer wars.’ The conservative Catholic group Fidelis condemned the selection of Mr. Biden. ‘Now everywhere Biden campaigns, we’ll have this question of whether a pro-abortion Catholic can receive Communion. … Selecting a pro-abortion Catholic is a slap in the face to Catholic voters,’ said Fidelis President Brian Burch.”

On August 25, reported:

“In a rare public rebuke of a top politician, the archbishop of Washington [Donald W. Wuerl] said Monday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was incorrect when she recently said the [question when human life begins] has long been a matter of controversy within the Catholic Church… Pelosi responded to a question on when life begins by mentioning she was Catholic…

“Wuerl… cited Catechism language that reads, ‘Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception … Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.'”

“Black Against White” — “The Hidden Issue in the US Presidential Campaign”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on August 27:

“McCain against Obama. Republican against Democrat. Old against young. There are a number of ways to define the ongoing battle for the White House. But the most important is getting short shrift: black against white… Whenever a question about race is asked, the interviewee either tries to act as if he hadn’t heard properly, or the answer quickly meanders into meaninglessness…

“… it is not just Russia and the Georgian war that have suddenly granted McCain serious-contender status in this election. The race issue… remains, despite being pushed into the background by political correctness, unresolved. Now, the issue of race is playing a role in weakening Obama and strengthening McCain and almost no one wants to talk about it. Indeed, the issue of race in the campaign has become the province of the lunatic fringe — such as radio personality Rush Limbaugh. Obama’s candidacy, he said on air, ‘goes back to the fact that nobody had the guts to stand up and say no to a black guy.’ He also referred to Obama as the ‘little black man child.’

“Limbaugh may be extreme, but it’s not difficult to imagine that a large percentage of Republican voters are also wary of seeing a black president. More important, though, is whether the swing voters will be willing to vote for a black man over a white man. And it also depends on the fickle Democrats, many of whom voted for Ronald Reagan in the ’80s. Now they must choose between voting for Obama — or maybe, in the end, McCain.

“It will also, of course, depend upon the aggrieved and defeated Hillary Clinton and how well she fades into the background after her Tuesday night speech in Denver. Obama, for his part, can only help himself by holding his tongue when it comes to Clinton. There are, after all, a number of white skeptics who would have preferred to see Clinton as the Democratic candidate. Race, after all, was a hidden factor in the primaries as well.”

California Appeals Court Affirms Home Schooling by Non-Credentialed Parents

On August 8, 2008, The Mercury News reported the following:

“In a decision widely praised, a California appeals court this morning affirmed the right of parents who don’t have a teaching credential to educate their children at home. A three-judge panel overturned a lower-court order in February that had created an uproar among home-schooling parents when it required that they be credentialed. An estimated 166,000 California children are home schooled.

“The Second District appellate court in Los Angeles ruled that individual parents, like private schools, are exempt from the requirement that those who teach children be credentialed by the state…”

Misrepresentation of the Biblical Sabbath

RTE News reported on August 24:

“Cardinal Séan Brady has suggested that EU hostility to religion may have prompted some Irish voters to reject the Lisbon Treaty. He said a succession of anti-family, anti-life and other anti-Christian decisions by Brussels has made it more difficult for committed Christians to maintain their instinctive support for Europe in the Lisbon Referendum.”

Christianity Today added on August 25 how Cardinal Brady blatantly mischaracterized Sunday, calling it “the Sabbath.” As any serious biblical scholar knows, the Bible commands the worship of the Seventh-Day Sabbath (from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset)–not Sunday, which is the FIRST day of the week. To refer to Sunday as the Sabbath is either willfulness or blatant ignorance. The Bible prophesied however, in the Old Testament book of Daniel, that the Catholic Church WILL attempt to change the times of holy worship. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Is That in the Bible?–Man’s Holidays and God’s Holy Days.”

Christianity Today wrote:

“Cardinal Sean Brady… told the audience: ‘Successive decisions… have undermined the family based on marriage, the right to life from the moment of conception to natural death, the sacredness of the Sabbath, the right of Christian institutions to maintain and promote their ethos, including schools… Ignoring this trend within the EU and its impact on people of faith has inevitable political and social consequences, not least on levels of support for the project itself.'”

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