Author Archives: antoniusaquinas

Is Political Decentralization the Only Hope for Western Civilization?

US Secssion Map II

A couple of recent articles have once more made the case, at least implicitly, for political decentralization as the only viable path which will begin to solve the seemingly insurmountable political, economic, and social crises which the Western world now faces.

In the last few months, over 3,000 millionaires have fled the hopelessly corrupt and bankrupt state of Illinois.  When asked, 47% of Illinoisans would like to leave the state which, over the last decade, has seen over a half million of its residents flee.  Naturally, this exodus has exacerbated the Land of Lincoln’s financial straits to catastrophic levels.*

A report published by the American Legislative Exchange Council predicted that the tax flight which is occurring in Illinois will similarly take place in the coming years in high-tax blue states such as California and New York.  The 2017 Trump tax reform will accelerate this process since under the new legislation the amount of state income tax that can be deducted on federal tax returns has been capped at $10,000 per family.  The authors of the report wrote: “. . .  high [income] earners in places with hefty income taxes – not just California and New York, but also Minnesota and New Jersey – will bear more of the true cost of their state government.”**

The not too subtle consequences of the new tax code will mean an even greater exodus of taxpayers out of blue states which will shrink state revenues even further and create job losses across the board.

While those who want to escape the crushing burden of individual state taxation and regulation, if they have the means and desire to do so, can move to more favorable climes, no such option exists (except the drastic step of expatriation) to escape federal tyranny.  Yet, the same benefits which occur from a multiple of individual states and jurisdictions would be present if the various nation states which dominate the globe were broken up into smaller political units.

While the authors of the cited articles see the advantage that multiple states have where one can “vote with his feet,” the same logic can be applied to central governments across the planet who are, on the whole, more tyrannical than local jurisdictions.  More political bodies would not only provide sanctuary for the oppressed, but it would tend to keep a check on tyranny among existing states.

Political decentralization is a far greater deterrent to government largesse than constitutions, elections, or finding the “right person” to “fix things.”  The events of the last few weeks in the realm of US foreign policy once again demonstrate that trusting candidates to fulfill campaign promises is naive, to say the least.

To get to this goal, all and every secession movement, even of a Leftist bent, should be supported, whether they are nations that want to “exit” from larger political units, such as Great Britain from the EU, or within nation states themselves such as California in the US.  All should be encouraged.

Of course, the case for decentralization has to be made on ideological grounds.  The Left, most likely, will not be a natural ally for secession, nor are conservatives, most of whom are under the spell of “nationalism” and “restoring the Republic.”  Yet, the Right offers the best opportunity to build a secession movement and needs to be convinced that the preservation of the nation state will only lead to the complete triumph of liberalism.

Secession would also necessitate the breakup of the nation-state’s monopoly of money and banking.  Numerous political divisions would be more likely to adopt a single monetary unit – gold – which would guarantee financial stability rather than the debt ridden paper-money system now in place.

Next to the outbreak of World War III, immigration is the greatest threat to what remains of Western Civilization.  Smaller political units would be far better to control their borders than reliance on a central authority which can be easily manipulated from outside agents.

The solution to the myriad of social and economic problems that confront Western societies will not come about from a “reform” of the nation state, but through its dissolution.  Only through a world made up of hundreds, if not thousands, of Lichtensteins, Hong Kongs, Monacos, confederacies, free cities, etc., will these crises be hoped to be resolved.

*Tyler Durden, “This $5 Trillion Time Bomb Will Devastate Americans.” Zero Hedge.  9 August 2017.  https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-09/5-trillion-time-bomb-will-devastate-americans

**Robert Frank.  “800,000 People Are About to Flee New York and California Because of Taxes, Say Economists.”  CNBC.com. 26 April 2018.    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/26/800000-people-are-about-to-flee-new-york-california-because-of-taxes.html?__source=sharebar|twitter&par=sharebar

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

Only Economic Collapse Will Bring Down the American Empire

trump syria

The Bomber-in-Chief announces air attacks on Syria

Despite the vehement pleas and letter-writing campaigns by a significant portion of his political base including notable media personalities such as Tucker Carlson against military action in Syria, President Trump committed what looks like political suicide by ordering air strikes on Friday evening.  The bombing, thankfully, appeared to have been thwarted by Syrian air defenses, nor, as of this date, has the insane American, British and French action led to a wider conflagration.

As of yet, no doubt due to Divine Intervention, WWIII has not erupted and although the ramifications of the attack will reverberate for weeks to come, what is clear is that President Trump is now firmly in the clutches of the neocons, Israel, and the American Deep State, all of who are the direct beneficiaries of the wanton attack on the Assad regime.

A good portion of Trump’s base is rightfully enraged by the action, which will dash any hope of it coming to his aid if future impeachment proceedings are commenced over the Mueller investigation.  Many of Trump’s supporters have been seething ever since he signed off on the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package in March and his continued failure to start construction on a border wall.

Talk about shooting one’s self in the foot!

Whether President Trump survives until 2020 or is replaced in the interim by neocon Mike Pence, American foreign policy will, in all likelihood, continue its bellicose ways.  Ever since WWI, which the current Bomber-in-Chief mentioned in his address announcing the air strikes, America has been an interventionist, destructive, and murderous empire.

The reason for this is that the nation’s ideology had changed where it had once  trumpeted the ideas of non-intervention and peace (except, of course, for the people of the South during their heroic attempt at independence) to those that glorified empire and war, largely based on the British model which, ironically, was the system that America seceded from in 1776.  By the time of WWI (actually the disgraceful Spanish-American War), the ideals of non-intervention, peace, free trade, and hard money had been gradually replaced by those of empire, central banking, war, and debt.

Until there is a change in ideology, it is unlikely that the US will refrain from its interventionist foreign policy.  And, typically, social change comes after men’s minds have been convinced of a different paradigm which, of course, does not happen overnight.

Like the British Empire before it, the only way the US will stop its murderous ways will be from economic collapse or a severe financial panic which threatens or ends the US dollar’s status as the world reserve currency.

Candidate Trump may have been the last hope of an American Firster who had the wherewithal to attain the Presidency.  Although not an ideologue, Trump spoke of getting along with Russia, disengaging from the Middle East, and backing out of, or making NATO members pay for their own “defense.”  These qualities faded once elected and the ominous talk about scuttling the Iranian arms deal and spending more on the military were pushed ahead.

After WWII, Britain had simply exhausted itself with its insane participation in the world wars and could no longer maintain its empire.  Britain’s ideology did not change, but reality stepped in: it simply did not have the capacity (wealth) to fund a world-wide empire. It had squandered its resources and men on the battlefields of Europe.

  Winston Churchill destroyer of the British Empire

The US is headed in the same direction, which is what both Russia and China are counting on.  Its crushing debt burden, costly wars, and out-of-control spending are sapping its productive capacity, which the military industrial complex taps to sustain itself.

The US’ enemies have based their strategies on this.  In reference to the US’ involvement in the Afghanistan quagmire, Osama bin Laden reportedly said:

We, alongside the mujahideen, bled Russia for 10

years, until it went bankrupt and was forced to

withdraw in defeat . . . So we are continuing this

policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy.*

  Osama Bin Laden

The question that remains is when will a collapse occur or at least another crisis like in 2008 take place?  The warning signs abound.  The most pressing is the exploding US deficit which has soared in March to $209 billion. In 2007, the entire deficit for the year was less than $200 billion!

The collapse of the US economy is unavoidable, however, it is not “if” but “when.”  For world peace, it had better be sooner than later.

*Brian Whitaker, “Al-Qaida is Bleeding US to Bankruptcy, Bin Laden Claims.”  The Guardian, 3 November 2004. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/nov/03/usa.alqaida

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

 

“Strong Dollar,” “Weak Dollar,” What About a Gold-Backed Dollar?

gold backed dollar

The recent hullabaloo among President Trump’s top monetary officials about the Administration’s “dollar policy” is just the start of what will likely be the first of many contradictory pronoucements and reversals which will take place in the coming months/years as the world’s reserve currency continues to be compromised.  So far, the Greenback has had its worst start since 1987, the year of a major stock market reset.

The brief firestorm was set off by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin who said in response to the dollar’s recent slide, “Obviously, a weaker dollar is good for us, it’s good because it has to do with trade and opportunities.”*  Mnuchin backtracked a bit as international financial leaders criticized the apparent shift in policy while Administration officials sought to clarify the Secretary’s remarks.  President Trump weighted in on the matter saying, “Ultimately, I want to see a strong dollar” and added that Mnuchin’s comments were “taken out of context.”

While President Trump sought to allay jittery currency markets that monetary policy had not changed, candidate Trump supported the Federal Reserve’s suppression of interest rates and did not want to see a rising dollar:

I must be honest, I’m a low interest rate

person.  If we raise rates and if the

dollar starts getting too strong, we’re going

to have some very major problems.**

Of course, the entire uproar about a strong dollar versus weak dollar is a sham. When the dollar (and for that matter all other national currencies) cannot be redeemed for either gold or silver, it is inherently “weak” and ultimately worthless.  That this obvious fact is not recognized by the Trump Administration, international monetary authorities, and the financial press demonstrates just how unstable the dollar and world currencies actually are.

If President Trump truly wants to see a strong dollar that will become a linchpin in “making America great again,” he should enact policies that will return the dollar to its original function – a warehouse receipt that can be redeemed for precious metals.  Just as important, an authentic strong dollar policy would mean that no dollar can be created that did not have “an equal amount” of gold/silver in bank vaults – in essence a 100% gold dollar.  These two acts would guarantee a strong dollar and insure that the dollar would remain the world’s reserve currency.    Moreover, a fully redeemable dollar would likely lead to other nations adopting similar measures.

A gold-backed dollar would also head off China’s not too subtle attempt at replacement of the Greenback with the Yuan as the world’s reserve currency.  Its “Belt & Road Initiative,” its massive accumulation of gold, and other actions are all aimed at making the Yuan the dominant world currency which, if successful, will have catastrophic financial repercussions for the US and Western Europe.

Gold-backed money will not only have positive international effects, but domestic benefits as well.  Crippling price inflation that has been intentionally under reported by government statistics will be a thing of the past.  Prices in a gold-backed currency will actually fall, raising living standards for everyone.

Without the ability of the Federal Reserve to create money out of thin air, the massive federal budget deficits would have to be dealt with.  And, without the Fed’s purchasing of US debt, the government would be forced to make cuts in spending.  Spending cuts would have to be deep and across the board.

Happily, under such a scenario, reduction in spending would mean a pull back in the American Empire.  The US would simply not have the resources to maintain bases abroad or involve itself in the countless conflicts and wars it is now engaged in.  It is more likely that when the American Empire comes to an end, it will not be because of a military defeat, but because it can no longer be sustained financially.

Sadly, under current ideological conditions, a return to gold money is not on the financial horizon.  It will most likely take a collapse of the irredeemable paper monetary system before commodity-backed money is re-established as a general medium of exchange.

It is clear from the recent exchange among Trump Administration financial officers that the same dollar policy will continue, which will lead to an inevitable dollar crisis and certain political disaster for the President.

* “Trump Wades Into the Currency Uproar, Favours ‘Strong Dollar,’ Government & Economy.”  Brit Asian News  26 January 2018.  http://britasiannews.com/en/2018/01/25/trump-wades-into-currency-uproar-favours-strong-dollar-government-economy/

**Inflation Alert: Trump Also favors Low Interest Rates, Weak Dollar.”  Weekly Market Wrap. 6 May 2016.  https://www.moneymetals.com/podcasts/2016/05/06/trump-supports-weak-dollar-000864

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

 

 

Pope Francis Wants Even More Islamic Invasion of Europe

Pope Francis (C) speaks to migrants during his visit to the island of Lampedusa, a key destination of tens of thousands of would-be immigrants from Africa, on July 8, 2013. Pope Francis called for an end to 'indifference' to the plight of refugees on Monday on a visit to an Italian island where tens of thousands of migrants from Africa and the Middle East first reach Europe. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)

Not surprisingly, the purported head of the Catholic Church, Jorge Bergoglio, a.k.a Pope Francis, has ushered in 2018 with another denunciation of those who want to preserve what is left of Western Civilization.  In a New Year’s address that the Church now calls “World Day of Peace,” instead of the traditional feast day of the Circumcision, Bergoglio once again labeled those who want to curb the coercive migration of Third World peoples into Occidental cultures as “sowers of violence,” “xenophobic,” and they “racially discriminate.”*

Francis continued his criticism of immigration opponents as being “guilty” of “demeaning the human dignity due to all as sons and daughters of God.”

A reality check is in order for Francis: the vast majority of migrants are Muslim who are mostly young males.  They are not “sons and daughters” of the Christian God and would be, to say the least, a little bit offended as being categorized as such!

Of course, for those who actually pay attention to this cretin, this is nothing new.  Since the beginning of his abominable “papacy,” Bergoglio has repeatedly pushed far-out left wing and green causes.   What is worse, however, is that Bergoglio is a heretic who has uttered a mind-blowing string of heresies that have disqualified him from being pope of the Catholic Church.  Not only has he demonstrated beyond a doubt that he is a heretic, but he cannot be pope on theological grounds.  The Argentine Apostate was ordained in the invalid post-Vatican II orders which confer no sacramental grace.  He is not a true bishop either since he also was consecrated in the new rite.  Bergoglio is simply a layman masquerading as a pope.

Nevertheless, “Pope Francis” has been cheerleading for even greater amounts of immigration, excoriating anyone who opposes him suggesting that such thoughts are “sinful.”  He has used the Chair which he illegitimately sits in both an immoral and unhistorical fashion.

In case Bergoglio is unaware, the popes were the main bulwark against the repeated Muslim attacks upon Christendom in the past.  It was the popes that encouraged and inspired the Western princes and powers to take up arms and repel the Mohammedans and reclaim Christian territory, most importantly the Holy Land during the Crusading era.  Had it not been for the popes, Europe may have already been overrun by the Infidel or at least had most of its lands compromised.

While it is imperative that enemies of the West of the likes of Bergoglio should be rebuked and, if possible, removed from their positions of power, mass migration opponents must likewise address the demographic nightmare that Europe faces. European birth rates have fallen to unsustainable levels and if trends are not reversed, Western man is headed for extinction if not marginalization in global affairs.

Declines in native European birth rates stem from factors both economic and cultural: (1) real income have continually fallen in the West which has now required many women to enter the workplace in greater numbers to offset the decline; (2) the Establishment has vigorously pushed the idea of women in professional roles and the nonsensical idea of “working mothers.” Women working during their most fertile years would naturally decrease the number of child births. There are, of course, other cultural factors – divorce, contraception, abortion – that have effects on low birth rates, all of which need to be taken in account before there can be a return to a more populous European Continent.

Foreign policy has contributed to the migration crisis. The US policy of regime change in Iraq, Libya, and its attempts to do so in Syria and now Iran has dislodged millions, making it easier for the powers that be to orchestrate their coercive mass migration schemes.  

There can be no compromise on mass immigration, the future of the European peoples and their glorious past accomplishments hang in the balance. While the enemies of Western Civilization such as “Pope Francis” want to eradicate this legacy, there is still significant numbers that understand the importance of preserving its past and the promise of its future.

For those who seek Western man’s survival, the heroic attitude of the Roman statesman, Cato the Elder, should be adopted who, after every speech, called for Rome’s lethal enemy’s destruction, “Carthago delenda est.” Hopefully, the proponents of mass migration will share the same fate as the Carthaginians did.

*Thomas D. Williams, “Pope Francis: Opponents of Mass Migration Sow ‘Violence, Racial Discrimination and Xenophobia.'”  Breitbart.  1 January 2018.  http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2018/01/01/pope-francis-opponents-of-mass-migration-sow-violence-racial-discrimination-and-xenophobia/

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

 

 

 

 

 

On the 80th Anniversary of Belloc’s, THE CRUSADES

belloc-crusades-e1514264663512.jpeg    Belloc

Review: Hilaire Belloc: The Crusades: The World’s Debate, Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee, 1937; Republished Tan Books: Rockford, Illinois, 1992.

INTRODUCTION

As millions of Muslim refugees continue to swarm mostly unopposed into Europe’s heartland, it would be instructive to review Hilaire Belloc’s book, The Crusades: The World’s Debate.  Written eighty years ago, the work not only gives a unique analysis of the Crusading Era, but addresses what remains today a fundamental issue in global politics, hence, the subtext of the book, The World’s Debate.

The Crusades were inspired by the Catholic Church and Papacy which rightly saw the threat that Islam posed to the West and encouraged military action to counter it.  The Mohammedans had taken over vast parts of the eastern half of the Roman Empire and with it control of the Holy Land which they increasingly made tougher to access for pilgrims.

The Novus Ordo Church and its current pope have repeatedly encouraged Muslim migration into Europe and have scolded those who raise even the tiniest of protests against this orchestrated event with smears of “lack of charity,” “intolerance,” and “xenophobic” among other denigrations.  Such action would have been considered heretical by the Crusaders and the popes of the past who called and helped organize the expeditions.  In fact, one does not have to go back that far to know that “Pope Francis’”[1] pro-immigration stance would have been considered treasonous a little over a half century ago.  Under the radical changes that occurred at the Second Vatican Anti-Council (1962-65), however, acceptance of false religions and heretical sects are now part of the New Creed.

For Western man, the migrant crisis has accentuated a more fundamental problem which threatens his ultimate survival – demographics.  European birthrates have plunged to unsustainable levels which, if trends continue, will mean, if not extinction, at least the marginalization of the white populations, the institutions and cultures which those peoples have built.  Most analysts of the demographic implosion and migrant crises, however, do not see that their source is ultimately a religious struggle.  The unwanted migratory invasion and the failure of Europeans to reproduce to at least replacement levels are the result of Western man’s rejection of the One True Faith.

The alarming demographic trends had not yet surfaced when Belloc penned The Crusades although the start of another global conflagration was on the horizon as the West would once again plunged itself into civilization suicide with the outbreak of World War II.  Nor had the state of Israel been created at the time of its publication, although the troubling Balfour Doctrine had been mandated which would eventually lead to a Zionist homeland in Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel which would become a constant source of conflict in the decades that followed.

For Belloc, “the world’s debate” centered on the conflict between the future of a militarily and economically dominant secularized West against a religiously fervent, although economically stagnant, Islam.  To this day, the West still holds these advantages, but its vibrancy and spirit are on the wane due to its abandonment of the Faith and the adoption of social democracy.

The Crusades were an expression of Christendom’s highest ideals which contemporary Europeans could not hope to grasp or understand.  If the West is ever going to defeat Islam, it must be spiritually revitalized which can only come about if the Church becomes once again Catholic and overthrows neo-Modernism which it adopted at Vatican II.  Military victories will never be lasting unless they are backed by a religiously committed populace.

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

Smith Crusades

Belloc takes a unique perspective on a number of aspects of the Crusading Era which differ, in some cases, quite significantly from most modern scholarship.  Almost all contemporary historians are of the school of thought that the Crusades lasted until at least the campaign of 1295 (the Fourth Crusade) while some, like the late J. Riley Smith, see “crusading activity” going well beyond that time.[1]  For Belloc, the First Crusade from its “calling” in 1095 by Pope Urban II, to its improbable and truly miraculous capture[2] of Jerusalem in 1099, was the most important.  It not only accomplished its odds-defying goal of freeing the Holy Land for pilgrimage, but in its wake the Latin Kingdoms were established in the Levant.

With the view that only the First Crusade mattered, since it accomplished its objectives, the vast majority of the book covers the years between 1095 and 1187 as Belloc asserts:

There was . . .  but one Crusade . . . it was the

great breaking out of all western Europe into

the Orient for the rescue of the Holy Sepulchre,

and within one very long lifetime it had failed;

For with Jerusalem in the hands of the Infidel

the purpose of the original great campaign was

gone, its fruits were lost. [244]

Everything that came in the wake of the first Christian triumph in Asia Minor was something different:

That historical episode, 1095-1187, was the true

Crusade, from its inception to its final failure.  All

that followed was of another kind. [244]

Yet, within their initial success, the seed of the Latin Kingdoms’ ultimate downfall was laid.  While other factors certainly played a role, Belloc, over and over again, stresses the crusaders’ failure to secure Damascus that proved fatal and would eventually allow the Mohammedans to re-conquer and end the Latin presence in the Levant.  Without Damascus, the later expeditions were never a serious threat to the Muslim strongholds and were in the historian’s words “rearguard action[s] of a defeat.” [4]

While the West failed to hold and extend the First Crusade’s success and later having suffered the tragic fall of Constantinople, it would eventually return and reclaim most of what it had lost.  The Muslim victory at Hattin appeared permanent until the end of time; yet within a few centuries, during which Europe had repelled several lethal Islamic assaults to its heartland, it returned to the Middle East, but this time the conquerors were of a different breed religiously.

The ending of Muslim rule and the colonization of the Middle East throughout the course of the 19th century up to the time of Belloc’s book (1937) was accomplished by a secularized West under the guidance and inspiration of religiously pluralistic nation states.  Christendom had long been dissolved and although the Middle East’s new overlords were superior in resources, technology, and skill their religious vitality was on the wane and would continue to evaporate as the years rolled on.  “We have returned to the Levant,” Belloc writes, “we have returned apparently more as masters than ever we were during the struggle of the Crusades – but we have returned bankrupt in that spiritual wealth which was the glory of the Crusades. . . . [N]or is the Levant held as one whole [Christian dominion], but divided between separate nations to whom the unity of Europe has ceased to be sacred.” [249]

RACE

In the modern era of Political Correctness, one can no longer speak of race, ethnicity, kinship, or “blood” unless one is disparaging Occidental people or their ancestors while at the same time trumpeting the virtues of the assorted brown and colored peoples of the globe.  Not so with Belloc, who was far from alone among historians of his generation who understood the significance of race and blood in the episodes of the human past and how important these factors were in the creation of societies and civilizations.

To scholars like Belloc, race and religion did matter, and in his view it was a significant reason why the Crusades ultimately failed to hold their possessions.  Of course, there were other factors that Belloc duly notes – the failure to control the strategically vital city of Damascus; the lack of reinforcements both in arms and people from the West; the refusal of Byzantium to ally with the Crusaders; the lack of a strong monarchy in the Latin states.  Race, however, in this instance, the mixture of French blood with the local population, was critical in the eventual defeat.  The “mixing of blood” between the Franks and the Near East population especially among the leadership proved fatal.  Few, if any academics of today could write such things.

The miscegenation among the nobility and the subsequent generations in the newly formed Latin jurisdictions proved to be “inferior” in talent, ability, and leadership to build the type of society necessary for the Crusaders’ initial victories to be turned into a permanent civilization.

A stark example of this among the nobility can be seen in the loss of Edessa:

We have seen among other causes the mixture of Western

with Oriental blood, especially in the case of the rulers,

played a chief part.  Now, it was precisely to this that the

first of the great disasters was due.  [T]he loss of Edessa. . .

was mainly due to the character of its ruler, the second

Jocelyn. . .  The mother of the second Jocelyn was an

Armenian. . . .  [T]he mixture of blood did here what it

so often does; it gave a certain brilliance to the character

of the second generation, but that brilliance was accompanied

by instability.  [192]

Belloc continues:

[I]t must be emphasized, for it underlay not

only the tragedy of Edessa but all that followed,

up to the loss of Jerusalem itself.  . . .  it was Jocelyn

the Second, who with his contemporary, the

half breed Queen Melisande, so conspicuously

typifies that new and too-sudden mixtures of races

which was largely responsible for the catastrophe. [193]

Outnumbered and with inferior leadership qualities compared to the first wave of Crusaders, the Latin Kingdoms were eventually doomed especially after the Muslims had politically united.  Yet, had the Western kings and princes addressed this matter, things may have been different and, as Belloc maintains, the Infidel may have been permanently relegated to the Arabian Peninsula.

 

Asia Minor

 

Crusader States

[1] Jorge Bergoglio cannot be head of the Catholic Church for several reasons: (1) he is a manifest heretic whose seemingly endless string of heretical acts, words, and “teachings” disqualify him for the post – a heretic is necessarily outside the Church; (2) Bergoglio is not a “priest” on “technical grounds,” but was “ordained” in the invalid Novus Ordo rite of orders which came into being at the time of Vatican II.  Nor is he a bishop since he was also “consecrated” under these non-Catholic rites.  Only the bishop of Rome can become pope and since Bergoglio is neither a priest or bishop, he cannot, therefore, be pope.

[2] Jonathan Riley-Smith, The Crusades: A History. 3rd ed., London: Bloomsbury, 1987; 2014.

[3] While Belloc does not stress it, the First Crusade was aided by heavenly intervention which has been attested to by the Crusaders as well as modern secular historians in their narratives.  See, Thomas Asbridge, The First Crusade: A New History, (Oxford: University Press, 2004).

 

To be continued…

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

 

 

 

 

 

Say it Isn’t So Rex!

Tillerson & Korea

After nearly a year of gaffes, provocations, threats, bombings, destabilizing arms deals, and, most recently, the disastrous decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the sanest member of the Trump Administration, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, appeared to have begun a new and promising diplomatic direction in relations with tiny, beleaguered North Korea.

In a surprising statement given to a Washington think tank on December 12, Secretary Tillerson said:

We are ready to talk anytime North Korea would

like to talk.  We are ready to have the first meeting

without preconditions.  Let’s just meet.  We can talk

about the weather if you want.  We can talk about

whether its going to be a square table or a round table

if that’s what you’re excited about.  And then we can

begin to lay out a road map.*

He perceptively added that it was “unrealistic” for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.

Tillerson’s reasonable approach, however, did not sit very well with either his boss or the blood thirsty war hawks within the Administration who now have enough ammunition to force his removal, probably after the first of the year.  One of Trump’s top aides reportedly said Tillerson “hasn’t learned his lesson.”**

A couple of days later, and probably after a tongue lashing by the Chief Executive, Tillerson had taken back his earlier statement and was once again pushing the hardcore, neocon line declaring: “North Korea must earn its way back to the table.  The pressure campaign must and will continue until denuclearization is achieved.”***

The “preconditions” for any US-North Korean talks was spelled out by the Secretary of State: a “sustained cessation of North Korea’s threatening behavior” and that the “ultimate outcome [of the talks] would be for North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program.”****

As an astute appraiser of the situation, Tillerson understands that the preconditions set by the US will never be agreed to by North Korea.  They would be insane to do so.  Kim Jong Un realizes what happens to regimes that renounce their nuclear weapons program – their leadership usually faces a grisly demise – see Iraq and Libya.

Why is it that the US should unilaterally set preconditions?  Doesn’t North Korea have any say in how negotiations should commence?  Wasn’t it North Korea that bore much of the destruction in the “police action” of the 1950s, when 10% of its population perished and only a few buildings remained standing in its capital after merciless American carpet bombing?

The effects of what the US did are still embedded in the North Korean psyche,  President Trump, who avoided military service during the Vietnam War due to a mysterious foot ailment, called it “pointless” to negotiate without preconditions which would in effect mean surrender for North Korea.

While anti-immigration proponents and border wall enthusiasts continue to press President Trump to fulfill his campaign promise, illegal immigration is still secondary to that of war and peace.  In fact, the two are linked.  A de-escalation of tensions in North Korea as Secretary Tilllerson’s path would most likely lead to would mean that the Trump Administration could concentrate more on domestic issues with the first priority being border security.

Secretary Tillerson’s level-headed thinking should be applied to other parts of the world that the US has poked its unwanted nose into.  A pull back in its role as global policeman would reduce the massive wasteful defense spending which would leave resources available for the domestic economy.

If, God forbid, war does break out on the Korean peninsula, the blame can be directly placed on the crazed war hawks of the Trump Administration up to and including the Chief Executive himself and not in the more moderate voices like Rex Tillerson. Not only would there be massive bloodshed and destruction from such a conflict, but it might lead to a general world conflagration.

Ultimately, however, even Rex Tillerson’s approach goes beyond what a true America First foreign policy should look like.  America has no business being involved in the political affairs of Korea.  Non-intervention, free trade, and cultural exchange are the principles of a true America First program.  Only when these ideals are adopted will the crisis on the Korean Peninsula be solved.

 

*Tyler Durden, “After Shocking Reversal Tillerson, North Korea Agrees ‘It’s Important to Avoid War.'”  Zero Hedge 12 December 2017.  http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-12/after-shocking-tillerson-reversal-north-korea-agrees-it-important-avoid-war

**Jason Ditz.  “Trump Allies: Tillerson Hasn’t Learned His Lesson.”  Antiwar.com  15 December 2017.  http://news.antiwar.com/2017/12/15/trump-allies-tillerson-hasnt-learned-his-lesson/

***Carol Morello, “In Reversal, Tillerson says N. Korea must ‘earn’ way back to talks.”  The Washington Post, 16 December 2017,  A9.

****Ibid.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

Heaven Forbid Peace Should Break Out Between the US and North Korea!

US bombing Korea

Hamhung, North Korea, June 30, 1950

As long as the US Empire can be funded and maintained on the backs of its taxpaying public, the chance of de-escalation of tensions not only on the Korean peninsula, but throughout the world are practically nil.  And, as long as the nation’s current interventionist ideology holds sway, it will only be through a financial meltdown that the US’s role as global policeman will come to a much-needed end.

The most recent example of the world’s biggest bully escalating matters is its on-again, off-again badgering of North Korea.  In contrast to Western/CIA media reports, the November 28 launch of what appears to be an intercontinental ballistic missile, the Hwasong-15, was not unprovoked.  Instead, the North Korean test firing was in response to the unexpected announcement of further US/South Korean military drills to take place starting on December 4.  The exercises are, in part, to show off the latest mass murdering “product” of America’s military industrial complex, the USF-22 Raptor stealth fighter jet.

Before the latest launch, the Kim Jong Un regime had not fired a missile for two months and was in discussions with other intermediaries about how tensions could be lessened on the Korean peninsula. For the bellicose US, however, not even an uneasy “truce” can be tolerated.  The next American scheduled drill was not to take place until the spring of 2018, yet, while negotiations were taking place, the US abruptly, and to the outrage of everyone involved, renewed exercises.  Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, explains:

We have been working with Pyongyang.  Then,

all of a sudden two weeks after the United States

had sent us the signal [about readiness to dialogue],

they announced unscheduled drills in December.

there is an impression that they were deliberately

provoking [North Korean leader] Kim Jong Un to

make him break the pause and gave in to their

provocations.*

This, of course, is not the first time that the US has acted with duplicity in foreign matters.  Its barbaric dealing with two Middle Eastern strongmen (Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi) are grisly examples of what happens to those who run afoul of the US Empire, especially those who do not possesses a nuclear deterrent.

North Korea, too, has witnessed the wanton destructive capabilities of the American military during the so called “police action” of the early 1950s:

The US Air Force estimated that North Korea’s

destruction was proportionally greater than that

of Japan’s in the Second World War. . . .   American

planes dropped 635,000 tons of bombs on Korea . . .

including 32,557 tons of napalm, compared to

503,000 tons of bombs dropped in the entire Pacific

theatre of WWII.**

The loss of life was, to say the least, catastrophic as 10% of the population, some 3 million people, perished due mostly to American bombing while the destruction of property was equally brutal.  “By the end of the war,” North Korean sources assert, “only two modern buildings remained standing in Pyongyang.”***

Is it any wonder that the North Korean leadership gets a little antsy when the US scramble its jets.  It does not want a repetition of the holocaust inflicted on it by the merciless American Air Force.

Of course, these inconvenient facts are rarely if ever spoken about in the Western media, academia, and certainly not by war-mongering politicos like U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.  They are simply ignorant of history or pretend not to know.

The US Empire only accepts peace if it favors its interests.  For the Korean Peninsula that means that Kim Jong Un must disband his nuclear program.  Such a move, however, would mean a premature death to Un and the eventual carpet bombing of his country.  The North Korean strongman will do no such thing.

The Trump Administration may huff and puff all it wants and enact greater sanctions on the North, but unless it wants to risk a nuclear confrontation that may spread into a general world war, it has little options.

Instead of another round of destabilizing military maneuvers, maybe President Trump and his foreign policy team should try to engage in genuine negotiations to bring about an equitable solution to the matter.

Why not “give peace a chance?”

*”Russian FM Reveals First Victims in Case of War on Korean Peninsula.”  Sputnik News.  2 December 2017.  https://sputniknews.com/asia/201712021059640205-russia-provocations-korea-war/

**Charles K. Armstrong, “The Destruction and Reconstruction of North Korea, 1950-1960.”  The Asian-Pacific Journalhttp://apjjf.org/-Charles-K.-Armstrong/3460/article.html

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com