24 June 2013

Being Neville Chamberlain

Neville Chamberlain stepped down from the Lockheed Supra-Electra twin engine, turbo-prop airplane, to an actual sunny British day. He didn’t realize how the following speech would come back to haunt him, as he was all smiles from the trip he just finished. The date was 30 September, 1938 and he just arrived from Germany. At his meeting with Hitler, they had come to the Munich Agreement, in which Hitler was granted full access to the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia, with British “blessing”. Hitler begun to worry several people by first building up his army, sending troops into the Rhineland, and annexing Austria (Anschluss), all of which were violations to the Versailles Treaty. Ironically, neither the British nor French had the power to do anything about the German war machine, which they believed was incapable of anything after their defeat in WWI. So in comes Prime Minister Chamberlain, whose goal is to stop further expansion at all costs. The solution that resulted only created a sense of “we just got sold out” for the Czechs. Germans who lived in Czech territory who needed “reintegration” into German care had to be sucked into the fold, along with all their homes. So with Hitler poised to just “eminent domain” it all, the British gave him the OK, as long as he pinky-swore he wouldn’t take the rest of Czechoslovakia or any other territory… Back to Heston Aerodrome, where Neville is yakking away, holding a piece of paper in his hand. The now infamous “Peace for our time” note is the equivalent of paying $10 grand up front, to have your house remodeled. Hitler pretty much laughed at the whole business, and implemented a plan hatched back in 1937 to take Czechoslovakia. In March 15, 1939 he took it and thus began the road to WWII. Remember that speech a year prior? Yeah, I think Chamberlain wanted no one to remember that day at the airfield either.

"I have Hitler's promise and the secret recipe for Coca-Cola. Truly this is peace for our time." HIP-HIP! HURRAH!!!

In the end, the total amount of casualties (military and civilian) suffered in the aftermath of appeasement was (top estimation) 70-80 million lives, or 4% of the world’s population at the time. After the War, the desire to prevent a repeat is what has driven the founding EU countries to adopt such liberal policies, which some here want to imitate. Examples of this are the lax immigration laws, incredible Muslim tolerance, and refusal to deal with foreign issues like the Iranian threat or little support in intervention (Middle East). This is the result of Idealism, which sees the world through what it should be. I like to think of it as the “Disney invocation”, where one does things and hopes that it happens, and is convinced others will follow. Unfortunately it forgets that reality is quite different and it operates on different mechanics. 

 In 2008, as a candidate for the presidency, Barack Obama called for the reduction of nuclear arms, its stockpiles, and use altogether in Berlin. His rationale “With that wall gone [Berlin Wall], we do not need to stand idly by and watch the further spread of the deadly atom. It is time to secure all loose nuclear materials; to stop the spread of nuclear weapons; and to reduce the arsenals from another era.” (Bump) This idea has been repeated recently, in the same place earlier this week by the President regarding this issue. His vision of a world were these weapons, nuclear, conventional or even a proper military no longer seem necessary, are dangerous. The latest talks with President Putin of Russia are a repeat of such talks in 1938. The general amount of nuclear weapons needed to maintain deterrence, has been generally agreed to be at 1500 active and ready warheads. The numbers that Obama would like to maintain are 300 weapons. His reasoning behind this is the following: If we reduce our number, then they will follow suit because they also want to be rid of these “relics”. This same line of reasoning has been the cause for military reduction, apologies for US actions in the past, non-interference in world disputes (China-Japanese Island dispute) to name a few. The latter, is an example of reducing US world influence and power throughout the world in order to create a multi-polar world.

At the end of the Cold War, the US was the only Super-power that remained, as the Soviet Union collapsed. Due to the great influence that we possess, and none have been able to match since, the world has been shaped by US influence and domination. This has been the real reason behind the European push for a larger European Union, Chinese growth, Russian rebirth, and Middle Eastern power struggle after Saddam Hussein’s oust. The idea of sharing the wealth and responsibility of maintaining order with the world’s nations is that of ideals. The EU is Socialist entity, which is devoid of any financial, moral, or political compass to truly lead. China and Russia are engrossed at being a power at any cost. Finally, any of the MENA (Middle Eastern, North African region, I’ll be using this term often, make a note please) countries are at the core, led by a belief/political system that is Islamic, which if you understand it thoroughly you wouldn’t want it at all.

While I am not claiming that we as a nation are devoid of any faults, believe me far from it, it does have the best in mind for the world. In a fallen world, we are proof of sin’s effects, as we export sex, weapons, violence, fat (McDonalds Mmmmm!) and other such things. On the other hand, without the provision, protection, and guidance of the US, this world would still be trying to rebuild after German and Japanese aggressions. I’m just saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me thrice, here’s my wallet and stash of Oreos, you deserve it, for being so clever… I’m keeping the bacon though!”

Exporting quadruple bypasses.. MURICA!!!

Bump, Philip. "Obama's 2008 Berlin Speech vs. Todays, by the Numbers, Words, and Themes." The Atlantic Wire. The Atlantic Wire, 19 Jun 2013. Web. 23 Jun 2013. <http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/06/obamas-2008-berlin-speech-vs-2013-brandenburg-gate-speech/66400/>.

Further reading
Obama to call for U.S.-Russia nuclear arms reduction. LA Times, 19JUN13

17 June 2013

The maiden flight

The world has become a smaller place since the moment Adam and Eve left the Garden in the book of Genesis, settling into the area we have come to deduce (by Scripture) to be in the Middle East, possibly in modern day Iraq. 

1,500+ convenient Starbucks in this area alone
Since then, there are other recorded instances of people migrating to various regions of the globe, spreading from Europe to Asia, inhabiting small islands in the middle of the Pacific, to the freezer that is Alaska. From these and many more places, men grew in technology, understanding, size, creativity, influence and power (some more than others). The last two things are what I’d like to emphasize, the concept that we now know as Geo-politics or Foreign Affairs.

 Men have been able to progress (in worldly terms) to some degree or another, because of the interaction that they have had with each other since their departure from Eden. Ranging from conquests in war, to land disputes, to treaties by marriage, to paying tribute, nations have out of necessity created the art of diplomacy and dealing with other powers. Having at their disposal ambassadors, emissaries, some sort of correspondence, and the covert use of espionage to gather covert intelligence, these have been useful in making most of their power or moving cautiously. The modern world is different than the Ancient Middle East because of the means by which information is gathered, distributed, and used for governments and their leaders.

 Most people are apathetic or unaware of the fact that our “bubble” in our community, county, state, or nation even, is able to escape the effects of events on the other side of the globe. 

I REALLY don't care right now...

For every person to hear of a far off land such as China in the 1800’s must’ve been exciting and strange. Today we can know all or much about any place on the planet, with a book (several sheets of paper, bound by a thick protective cover, which has words printed on the pages. It’s much like a computer screen, for the non-bibliophiles), a TV program, the internet, or the airplane (I’m still waiting for a Transporter, but a friend of mine has her doubts). Today anyone can communicate with the simple use of a cell phone, computer, Skype, or if you want to go retro and local, smoke signals (just not near a forest or fire-prone area). Due to these reasons and the fact that all peoples everywhere are affected, whether they are aware/like it or not, global issues matter.

 I have been guilty of this once before in my life and everyone else as well. We ignore the actual world around us and forget that there exists a world full of meaningful events. Greatest and one of the first (in the US) was WWI, with all its horrors. There have been many before that. For example the Seven Years War, before the US was an actual nation, involving several countries with much at stake (money, land and pride DUH!). Fast forward to today.  I will try to limit the scope of this blog to Europe and the Middle East as these are two of my favorite places. Specifically I shall deal with issues in the realm of geopolitics, which encompasses politics, economics, military, and a little bit of religion (where applicable).

 My plan for this blog is to show today’s current events as something relevant and worth taking note of. This will be done while looking through two lenses. The first lens is history (my major), as this provides context to understand how events are the result of years (if not centuries) of people holding grudges and not forgetting. The second lens is most important in the grand scope of things as this is my worldview: through Scripture. I won’t try to exegete passages to prove any points, but I want to show how these events, for the believer, are parts of God’s big picture. Events point to something, but what? There is no doubt that things are moving in a terrible direction, and that is what I will attempt to share with the readers (that’s you). I make no attempt to disguise my leanings, because let’s face it every writer has them; I’m just willing to tell you up front. I do desire to be as objective as possible and not be FOX News (definitely NOT MSNBC). I don’t expect to win many readers by adhering to Scripture as the source of my worldviews, but I do hope to be honest with you in my writing. I’m no expert, but I do hope to sharpen my skills as I write more, hence you are now my guinea pigs. I do want to have fun with this, as this has become something of a joy to know more about, and a passion that I hope to make into a career. I look forward to learning alongside you with every new post.