Sunday, July 19, 2009

What will be left after the West has gone?

For the last 70 years, one thing has stood between tyrants and their ability to have their way in this world; American hegemony. Despised from Europe to the Middle East, it nevertheless managed to rid the world of the Third Reich, the USSR and yes, even Saddam Hussein. So, how is it that the land that afforded the West so much of the freedom it has enjoyed is not much appreciated around the globe?

The only way I can explain it is to say that I do not believe the concept of "The West" even exists much in Europe anymore, let alone any other part of the world. I lived in Finland for a few years, and people there hardly knew what I was talking about when I referred to the West. This may be a result of a historical disconnect from the concept, but I think it more attributtable to a conceptual disconnect from history.

Wikipedia explains the West to be:

Western European or Western European-derived nations which enjoy relatively strong economies and stable governments, allow freedom of religion, have chosen democracy as a form of governance, favor capitalism and international trade, are heavily influenced by Judeo-Christian values, and have some form of political and military alliance or cooperation

It doesn't take a genius to look at that description and realize the components missing in Europe and America today that makes titling them "the West" incompatible.

Europe long ago gave up favoring capitalism and Judeo-Christian values, choosing instead socialism and the removal of God from their constitution. The idea of personal responsibility before one's Creator was replaced with a government ensured Utopia where narcissism was propelled to the national level, leaving Europe unable to even defend itself let alone resolve conflicts such as that in Kosovo without American intervention. Even democracy has been eroded as the European Union elitists in Brussels decided what is best for their happy, carefree masses.

It has taken the United States a long time to get to the point where it is ready to follow Europe's example, but now that it has, the pace of the change is startling. In less than a year, banks, automobile manufacturers and possibly now the health care industry would have been socialised. American's willfully chose a President who ran on the platform of big government that would replace personal responsibility. And it wasn't long after he came to power that he declared that this was not a Christian nation. Unless something dramatic happens, it is safe to say that America will soon look a lot more like Europe, and the West just be a relic of those days sometime before the Berlin Wall came down.

The question is what will fill the vacuum? With American power and dominance out of the way, what opportunity does this present for the world? A scary one to say the least, if the suggestions to date are to be taken seriously.

Russia, China and India have called for a new world reserve currency to replace the dollar, with President Medvedev having already minted a new coin which he proudly presented to G8 leaders this month. A picture of that coin is below.

They see a declining US economy that offers a chance for a new global financial system not so controlled by America.

The Pope has even weighed in, calling in his most recent encyclical for a "world political authority" to manage the global economy. He also supports wealth redistribution by governments on so-called moral grounds.

If capitalism, so long championed by Americans, is being targeted for removal by a system of globalised socialism, then what of democracy, a system the US has tirelessly tried to export? Look no further than Islam. Emboldened by the seeming collapse of capitalism, they are now ready to export their own political system to what once was the West. Make no mistake, Islam is much more than a religion. It means submission, and the proof of that is seen clearly in every political system that it produces. Ask Iranians today whether or not they feel any pressure to submit to the Islamic system that governs them. It's also worth mentioning that President Obama in his now famous Cairo speech spoke in clear terms to the Islamic world in ways that compared America's form of governance to those of Islam's.

Just this past weekend, a global Sunni network called Hizb ut-Tahrir openly held a conference in Chicago entitled "The Fall of Capitalism and the Rise of Islam". Their aim is to establish a global Islamic empire, or caliphate, as commanded by Mohammed. Below is the YouTube video they used to advertise the event.

Now, few would believe that this group will achieve world dominance, but one only has to look at the success that Islam has had in countries like the U.K. to understand that the global Islamic agenda of world dominance is not abetting and is now being sought with greater encouragement than ever. And let's be clear, it is not ultimately your death they seek, but rather your submission to Islam, or in technical terms, Sharia law.

Whether the current US administration is willfully guiding America towards a new world order , or if they are simply ignorant to what's going on is yet to be seen. Unfortunately, if you believe anything Kissinger has to say then it's the former, since America's role in the world clearly needs to be changed for a new system to evolve.

So, what will be left after the West has gone is not really a sure thing. What we do know is that one day all of man's vain attempts at world dominance will be laid waste as every knee bows and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Oh, and by the way, unlike other gods, He doesn't need man to bring in His kingdom through holy war, or jihad.

Laying claim to Jerusalem Part II

This is a follow up to my previous blog about the mystery that is Jerusalem and the struggle that still rages over its sovereignty. As if to prove the point I made about President Obama laying a foundation upon which Israel's claim to sole sovereignty is denied, his administration has now been found to have asked Israel not to build apartments in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem.

There are numerous problems with this development.

The primary issue goes back to Israel's sovereignty. What's apparent is that Obama, like so many other Presidents before him, lusts after the Holy Grail of world peace; reconciliation between Israel and the Arabs. What's frightening is that he's decided Israel's natural expansion in the land is the greatest impediment to that peace being achieved. On the one hand, it's confirmation of the fact that Israel's contribution to this conflict has little to do with its military endeavors, and a lot more to do with the outrage and violence that is produced on the part of the Arabs as a result of Israel's very existance on the land. On the other hand, it shows a complete lack of impartiality, and even a dangerous tendency to support the notion that Palestinian areas should be Judenrein.

In this particular case, the land in question was in fact purchased by an American Jew in 1985, and is currently abandoned. It was not annexed, stolen, nationalized or assumed control of by any method other than in a legal manner as exercised in most parts of the world where exists the rule of law. Unfortunately, for a President who believes that Israel's right to exist flows from the horror of the Holocaust, it is not surprising that a different standard is applied to the Jew when seeking to operate as any other citizen in the world.

It is my belief that the American administration is working hard to ensure that the final peace deal does not fail. To do that, they have decided that Israel must understand that their claim to sovereignty over Jerusalem is not only under contention, but is ultimately to be denied. To put it another way, the issue of Jerusalem, which was always a final status item, has already been decided upon by Obama, and now Israel only has to submit and the Holy Grail will be securely within his grasp.

Netanyahu must be commended for standing firm under the mounting pressure. There's much at stake. After all, either Jews have a right to exist in the land of their forefathers or they are just refugees displaced after the great and many evils of World War II.

Laying claim to Jerusalem

There's something mysterious about Jerusalem. I've lived there, on two separate occasions, for a total of almost seven years and I'm always excited to go back. Yet, when I finally get there, after the long climb up the road from Ben Gurion airport, it's always a little anti-climatic. On paper, Jerusalem is really nothing that special. Sure, it has the history, but there are far more beautiful cities in the world. There are certainly cleaner ones, with better planning and nicer drivers.

Yet everyone wants a piece of it. And everyone has a different opinion on who it belongs to and what should be done with it.

Even President Obama.

In his famous speech from Cairo, Obama opined for "all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in prayer". This story is traditionally understood by Muslims to have occurred on the Temple Mount. Aside from the obvious problems there are with a professed Christian stating that his God's idea of peace is for the three major (and competing) religions to just "mingle" in His holy city, there is a dangerous thought at work here. Assuming that all three faiths, Christianity, Judaism and Islam have an equal claim on Jerusalem sets a very dangerous precedent.

The issue is one of sovereignty. Or, let me be more specific, denial of Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem. Obviously, Jerusalem is currently under Jewish control, and in fact all three faiths do already worship there in remarkable freedom. It's worth noting that in 1967 when Israel captured the Old City in the Six-day War, Minister of Defence, Moshe Dayan made an immediate statement affirming Israel's commitment to freedom of religion, and ceded administrative control of the Temple Mount to the Islamic Trust (Waqf). What is it exactly about this situation that doesn't work for everyone now? Why is it that America's President thinks there is something broken here that needs to be fixed?

You have to go back to the story of Isra. If Moses, Jesus and Mohammed all joined in prayer, who did they pray to? Are we to believe that there are three routes to the same god? Am I to understand that my God is so confused that He cannot decide how to "reveal" himself to different people? That's not what this is about. No, this is all about affirming the validity of the three religions, and in turn their respective claim to Jerusalem. It's not really about God at all.

And that's the big glaring point! It's God who has a claim to Jerusalem, not Judaism, or Christianity or Islam. And He's decided to give it to Israel as an inheritance. They are His custodians whether you like it or not. What a cheek, to bring God into an argument and then deny Him right to His own land. Of all the real estate in the world, God chose a thin sliver of dust filled land as His own, and picked a small group of people from the nations to live there and deliver His message of salvation to the world.

When you deny the Jewish people the right to sovereignty over Jerusalem, you might as well tell God to get off His throne because you think you've figured out a better way to run the universe. The audacity.

So, getting back to my opening line, what is it that makes Jerusalem so mysterious? Why is it so exciting and yet so frustrating? For me, there's just something eternal about it. You can't have heaven in your heart, and not be stirred by the Spirit when you enter the city God says He will make new, and then rule and reign from for eternity.

This year in Jerusalem!