Belmont Club

Looking Back At the Turning of the Century

Despite vehement denials to the contrary, the world is slowly drifting into the reciprocal of its intended course.  An administration that began its first term seeking a policy of reset with Russia  wound up locked in a new Cold War with the Kremlin, facing off against it in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

What was supposed to be a Pacific Century has turned into an arms race between China and Japan.  An administration which promised to build better relations with China is slowly being drawn, as if by a force-field into a showdown with Beijing over it’s island bases in the South China Sea.  Alarmed at China’s de facto occupation of international waters, the USN has now been forced to plan freedom of navigation deployments to beard the dragon in its lair, a response perhaps too little  and very probably too late.

The U.S. and China are headed for a showdown at sea. U.S. officials say that within days the U.S. military will conduct “freedom of navigation” patrols to challenge Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea’s strategic Spratly archipelago. That area lies more than 700 miles off China’s coast, between Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, but China’s government has warned that it is “seriously concerned” about U.S. action and “will absolutely not permit any country to infringe on China’s territorial waters.”

It’s as if something has gone very wrong with the administration’s navigational system. Countries plied with generous gifts of recognition and cash have repaid the administration with contempt instead of gratitude.  A Cuba glutted with concessions from the Obama administration has reportedly sent a military mission to Syria to help the Russians.  Iran, fresh from an infusion of billions in bribes for its coveted “historic” deal has tested a ballistic missile which even the State Department admits is in violation of UN resolutions, yet which it loathe to take issue with in case it disrupted the “deal”.

It’s deeply concerning that this latest violation does appear to be a violation of U.N. Security Council resolution 1929, and we’ll obviously raise this at the [Security Council] as we have done with previous launches,” State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner told reporters.

“We’ve seen for the past years that Iran has consistently ignored U.N. Security Council resolutions,” he added.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Tuesday that while the launch was likely a violation of a Security Council resolution, it was distinct and separate from the nuclear accord reached with Iran earlier this year.

The Ayatollahs, contrary to the expectations of the president, blew their reward on an arms shopping spree. “As it gears up to receive more than $100 billion in sanctions relief under the deal, Iran has already begun to ink lucrative arms contracts with the Russian and Chinese governments, according to a new report by the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC).” Jay Solomon of the Wall Street Journal notes that “Despite Nuclear Accord, U.S.-Iran Tensions Are on the Rise. Conviction of U.S. journalist, testing of ballistic missiles heighten concerns among deal’s U.S. critics.”

Iraq, where America once had nearly proconsular influence has insultingly joined an intelligence fusion center operated by Russia, Syria and Iran, almost as if to spite the administration.

The new security apparatus based in Baghdad, where the Obama administration hurriedly sent military advisers last year to counter the threat from the Islamic State, suggests the U.S. is losing clout in the strategic oil-producing Middle East region. Iraqi officials, frustrated with the pace and depth of the U.S. military campaign against Islamic State fighters, have said they will lean heavily on Washington’s former Cold War rival Russia in the battle against the Salafist Sunni Muslim jihadis.

Two Russian one-star generals are stationed at the intelligence center in Baghdad, according to an Iraqi official who asked not to be identified. Mr. al-Zamili, a leading Shiite Muslim politician, said each of the four member countries has six members in the intelligence sharing and security cooperation cell, which holds meetings in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, which once housed the headquarters of the U.S. occupation.

Perhaps the cruelest insult of all was a report in the Washington Post that America’s dear friend Pakistan secretly knew where Osama bin Laden had been hiding and pretended to help its ally while in reality bilking it of billions of dollars.

The coming world looks like the photographic negative of the picture the public was promised. An administration obsessed with the preventing the Republican “war on women” has unwittingly abetted the outrages of ISIS or the Boko Haram, despite a valiant effort at hashtag diplomacy. CNN reports that hundreds of Yazidi women are killing themselves in captivity rather than continue enduring a fate worse than death.

Islamic militants captured thousands of Yazidi women and children, and killed the men. ISIS claims the Quran justifies taking non-Muslim women and girls captive, and permits their rape.

The Yazidis, a small Iraqi minority who believe in a single god who created the Earth and left it in the care of a peacock angel, have been subjected to large-scale persecution by ISIS, which accuses them of devil worship.

The White House was unable prevent the Taliban from massacring women after it captured Kunduz. The AP reports, “within hours of seizing the northern Afghan city of Kunduz last month, Taliban fighters went door-to-door, hunting down not only those accused of working with security forces, but women’s rights advocates and journalists.”

“The Taliban do not believe in the values of humanity,” rights advocate Malali Rustami said. “They have no respect for humanitarian and health workers, non-government organizations, journalists, female activists – these are the people who have been targeted by the Taliban in Kunduz.”

Alissa Rubin of the New York Times describes what effect the Taliban’s terror had:

Gone are educated women who worked for the government or international organizations; gone are some women who were school administrators and women who were activists for peace and democracy. They left, mostly at night, on foot or in run-down taxis, hiding under burqas, running for their lives.”

“I won’t go back — I will never go back,” said Dr. Hassina Sarwari, the Kunduz province director of Women for Afghan Women, which ran a shelter for abused women, a family guidance center, and a center for the children of women in the Kunduz prison.

Yet by comparison with ISIS who are gaining strength in Afghanistan, the Taliban are actually the nice guys. The Washington Post reports that the cruelty of ISIS is so extreme it  is making everyone long for the gentle blades, merciful thumbscrews and reasonable whips of Mullah Omar.

When the Islamic State fighters seized the Mahmand Valley, they poured pepper into the wounds of their enemies, said villagers. Then, they seared their hands in vats of boiling oil. A group of villagers was blindfolded, tortured and blown apart with explosives buried underneath them.

“They pulled out my brother’s teeth before they forced him to sit on the bombs,” recalled Malik Namos, a tribal elder who escaped the valley along with thousands of other villagers. “They are more vicious than the Taliban, than any group we have seen.”

The rest of the PC agenda is similarly threatened.  The universal multiculturalism and gun control whose achievement was considered only a matter of time no longer looks the sure thing. German public opinion has reversed course on the issue of admitting ME migrants and Angela Merkel is now under pressure to end what is increasingly perceived as an invasion.  The future of multiculturalism and gun control in Western Europe is foreshadowed by Israel’s reaction to a Palestinian Authority campaign to kill any Jew on an individual basis in any random public place.  In response Israel has been forced to ask every man to arm, as the Washington Post reports:

The phones have been ringing nonstop at the Gun Hill shooting range, following a week of daily knife attacks by Palestinians and a clarion call by Israeli politicians requesting that permit holders should carry their pistols on their hips to help protect the citizenry against terrorists.

“It’s a madhouse,” said Yair Yifrach, general manger of the training center and gun shop here at a Jewish settlement north of Jerusalem. …

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat was photographed last week carrying his Glock 40 with an Israeli-made Roni carbine extender that turns a handgun into a rifle, while visiting a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

“Given the current escalation in the security situation, those with a licensed firearm who know what to do with it must go out. It’s an imperative,” Barkat told Israel’s Army Radio.

Coming next are expulsions and retribution. Hard pressed by security threats Israel threatens to deport disloyal residents, demolish their homes and confiscate their belongings.  On the other hand Palestinians who have known nothing but endless war are determined to fight to the finish — and there is no doubt that they mean it.  Human rights lawyers are already talking about “illegal deportations”.  They forget that when it comes to a choice between the law and staying alive, staying alive wins. It will be a terrible fight in which survival is the only prize.

“Armed with rocks and knives, the ‘children of Oslo’ come of age,” writes the Times of Israel, having achieved the very reverse of everything it was supposed to represent.  “Oslo” could almost be the metaphor for the Western one world project which has ironically achieved the opposite of its intended goals. The road which began that day in Norway, like the program pursued by the administration has led to a very strange landscape.

Those who are now alighting at the surprise destination must suspect they’ve been betrayed.  For how could the world have gone so horribly off course?  It will depend on who you ask.  For the Democratic Party the explanation for the failure is simple.  Multicultural one worldism hasn’t been tried hard enough.  As John Nichols of the Nation reporting on the Democratic Party debate put it: “The Real Debate Last Night Was Between Democratic Socialism and Casino Capitalism”.

If one could have asked the revelers on New Year’s Eve 2000 what marvels the new century would bring, almost none of them would have anticipated September 11.  Fewer still could have imagine a renewed Cold War, a Russia in Syria, a near-nuclear Iran, an open American southern border. Not many would have guessed that millions of Middle Eastern migrants would be arriving in Europe each year. Had you told them the global economy would be sustained by a money printing machine that cannot stop running for dear life most people in 2000 would have thought you mad.

Conventional wisdom has had a pretty bad run these last 15 years.  For that reason there is little purpose to trusting it further. Instead it might be better to predict a future based on observable trends rather than scenarios that politicians offer. If those trends continue one would expect to see in 2025:

  1. The self-destruction of the Muslim Middle East;
  2. The rise of ethnic and national politics in Europe;
  3. The widespread resurgence of religion and cultural identity as a consequence of (2);
  4. Mass expulsions or segregation in large parts of the world to deconflict incompatible communities
  5. Everyone packing personal weapons like the Wild West
  6. The collapse of multi-ethnic countries into simplified pacts based around of national defense, with most social law generated by local communities and affinity groups;
  7. One or more large regional wars with casualties in the tens of millions.
  8. Several, possibly many WMD attacks on major cities involving radiological weapons, low yield nukes or biological agents.
  9. The collapse of any realistic expectation of Peace on Earth, with the remaining hope of mankind vested in the new space frontier.

Such a world would be rough, dangerous and in many places, miserable.   Perhaps it will not even be as good as that; for the list above omits the occurrence of an event equivalent to World War 3, in which case we can describe the future with a single word: ruin.  But it is the world we are building, absent any change of course.  The oddest circumstance is that politicians still pretend without the slightest basis, that if we stay their perverse course we’ll go right through the ruin and out the other side and find the dream we glimpsed as we crossed into the 21st century.  

It’s a condition they call Hope, though there’s another phrase for it: whistling past the graveyard.

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